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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Sore Loser (GIF)

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Coming down the final stretch, the man in the red knew he didn’t have the legs to keep up with the guy in the white.  So he did what any sore loser would do; give your opponent a smack in the back of the head as he zips by you and heads towards the finish line.

Mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave is a no-show for 2nd straight year


FILE - A Jan. 19, 2008 file photo shows the original grave of Edgar Allen Poe, with a bottle of cognac and roses left by a mysterious visitor, in Baltimore. Fans of American author Poe are heading to Baltimore again this year to try for a glimpse of the shadowy figure known only as the "Poe toaster" _ even though the mystery visitor was a no-show last year. (AP Photo/Rob Carr, File) (Rob Carr, AP / January 19, 2008)

Associated Press

BALTIMORE (AP) — Telltale hearts beat with anticipation during a rainy, midnight dreary and beyond, hoping the mysterious visitor to Edgar Allan Poe's grave would return after a one-year absence.

But once again, the unknown person who for decades has left three roses and a half-empty bottle of cognac at Poe's grave on the anniversary of the writer's birth failed to appear Wednesday, fueling speculation that he may have died.

Four impostors came and went overnight. The real one never showed. Around 5 a.m., the dozen Poe fans who were left began to wonder if the eerie ritual is indeed nevermore, so they walked to Poe's tombstone and performed their own tribute by leaving roses and drinking a cognac toast.

A fascinating tradition that ran for some 60 years and was never fully explained appears to have ended at the downtown Westminster Hall and Burying Ground.

"I think we can safely say it's not car trouble, and he's not sick," said Jeff Jerome, curator of the Poe House and Museum. "This doesn't look good."

It would be an ending befitting of the legacy of Poe, the American literary master of the macabre who was known for haunting poems such as "The Raven" and grisly short stories including "The Tell-Tale Heart," ''The Fall of the House of Usher" and "The Pit and the Pendulum." He is also credited with writing the first modern detective story, "The Murders in the Rue Morgue." He died in 1849 in Baltimore at age 40 after collapsing in a tavern.

Sometime in the 1940s, it seems, an anonymous man began the annual tribute at Poe's grave. It was first referenced in print in 1949 by The Evening Sun of Baltimore.

Those who have glimpsed the "Poe toaster" always saw him dressed in black, wearing a white scarf with a wide-brimmed hat. Jerome has kept watch over the vigil since 1978, watching from inside the Presbyterian church while Poe fans peered through the locked gates of the cemetery.

After last year's no-show, Jerome this year was expecting Poe toaster wannabes imitating the real thing, and they showed up in brazen style. One emerged from a white stretch limo shortly after midnight. Two others appeared to be women. The fourth was an older man. All walked in clear sight of the Poe fans, contrary to the secretive nature of the real Poe toaster. All wore black hats and left roses and cognac, and two left notes, but none of the four gave the secret signal that only Jerome knows, and none of the four arranged the roses in the unique pattern established by the Poe toaster over the decades.

The "faux Toasters" provided excitement for the Poe fans who braved rain and near-freezing temperatures through the night. One couple traveled from France, another from Chicago. Two friends came from New York. A mother from Cleveland brought her 19-year-old son because it's on his bucket list. Raven See, who was named after the Poe poem, took time off from her studies at Elmira College in New York to make her sixth appearance at the vigil. Some sang "Happy Birthday" at midnight and read aloud from Poe's writings.

"There's so many conspiracy theories," See said. "Like it ended in '98 and now the church does it. Or maybe in '09 they wanted to end it because it was the bicentennial. It just adds to the mystery. The best part of it is meeting people."

In 1993, the visitor began leaving notes, starting with one that read: "The torch will be passed." A note in 1998 indicated the originator of the tradition had died and passed it on to his two sons.

The sons didn't seem to take the duty as seriously as the father. One left a note in 2001 referencing the Super Bowl and another in 2004 implying criticism of France over its objections to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, upsetting many of the traditionalists. When the Poe toaster didn't show last year, Jerome theorized that the 200th anniversary of Poe's birth in 2009 might have been considered the appropriate stopping point.

Or, it was thought at the time, perhaps the toaster just had a flat tire on the way to the cemetery.

But that's the sort of happenstance unlikely to happen two years in a row. Jerome says he'll return one more year. If the visitor fails to show in 2012, he'll considered the tradition over and done.

"It's sort of like a marriage that ends," Jerome said. "Part of you still wants the warmth that was part of it, and you go looking for the same woman. No, it's over with. And if it's over with, it's over with. If people want to continue the tradition, it's going to be without me."

It appears at least some sort of Poe tradition will indeed continue every Jan. 19. Most who attended this year said they plan to return next year, and maybe beyond. Cynthia Pelayo, who traveled from Chicago with her husband for the second straight year, handed out roses after the gates were open shortly before 5 a.m., and those were the flowers that were presented — one by one — at Poe's grave.

Pelayo also left a note.

"Dear, Edgar," it said. "You are what all us macabre writers only hope to be. Thank you. 'Til next year."

Breaking Down The Infamous Apple Email Style


Apple is good at many things revolving around technology, but many would say that the key to their tremendous success is the way they do their marketing. They have created a brand that exudes pride amongst its users, a subculture that is both coveted and reviled by the different sections of the masses. Just look at how they do their emails – love it or hate it, they work.
This breakdown by our friends at Flowtown puts it all into perspective for us. Every element is done for a purpose. Every detail is precise. There are no questions about how or why they do it. These emails work. In a world where so many fail at email marketing, Apple seems to shine over the competition…
… as they seem to do in many areas.
Anatomy of an Apple Email
Flowtown – Social Media Marketing Application

8 Milestones in the Evolution of Natalie Portman


Leader image for 8 Milestones in the Evolution of Natalie Portman

In this weekend’s surprisingly not-near-as-bad-as-it-could-have-been release, No Strings Attached, Natalie Portman plays a doctor who’s too busy for a proper relationship, and instead creates a pact with Ashton Kutcher that develops into a “sex-only” one. How did Portman transform herself from child star to the odds-on favorite to take home Oscar gold (note: not for No Strings Attached) next month? You can always trace a direct line through a handful of important roles to illustrate what led to an actor’s current success, and with Portman, that line has been on a steady uphill climb sine her debut in Léon. So let’s look at eight performances — including something called “World Patrol Kids” — that trace the evolution of one Natalie Hershlag.

World Patrol Kids (1992)

Yes, in one of her first filmed performances, Portman dances around as a member of the World Patrol Kids who — for better or worse — try to educate the masses on the benefits of recycling. She’s doesn’t quite have down the dancing skills that she displayed in Black Swan, but could totally have been an extra in the video for Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth.”

 World Patrol Kids from Eden Riegel on Vimeo.

Léon (The Professional) (1994)

Portman, in her first film role, plays a young girl who comes home to discover that a corrupt DEA agent has murdered her entire family. Seeking solace at a neighbor’s apartment (who also happens to be a hitman), Portman learns how to exact revenge and, in the process, falls in love with the hitman. It should be noted that Portman was 12 when she filmed this role and the hitman, Jean Reno, was 45. From an early age, Portman was never one to avoid controversial roles. Speaking of…

Beautiful Girls (1996)

In Ted Demme’s high school reunion dramedy, Willie (Timothy Hutton) — who is having a hard time figuring out what his relationship means — finds solace in the company of Portman’s character, Marty, who is 13. When filming, Hutton was only 35 — so not near as creepy of a relationship that we saw in Léon? No, still very creepy. This also marks the last time Rosie O’Donnell appeared in a film that could be considered watchable (for those who will say “It’s her only watchable film,” allow me to remind you of A League of Their Own, which I’ll defend until the day that I die.)

Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones (2002)

The tables, as they say, have turned. Now it’s Portman who finds herself the cradle robber, falling in love with a Jedi Knight five years her junior (in reality, Hayden Christensen is two months older than Portman). Of the three Star Wars prequels, this is probably the worst — which is saying something — but, in Portman’s case, it did give her the most to do. She basically spends the first film sitting around dressed in strange head ornaments until near the end; in the third, it would appear that her instructions were to “sit around and look pregnant.” At least in the second film she gets to see some action from start to finish. Regardless, it’s a testament to Portman that she isn’t identified by her role in Star Wars, a label which pretty much every other actor (including Harrison Ford) has found hard to avoid. If nothing else, Portman holds the distinction of being nominated twice for Worst Screen Couple with two different actors: Jake Lloyd and Hayden Christensen.

Garden State (2004)

OK, there are a lot of people that hate Garden State. And, yes, most of the people that do hate Garden State do so for their deep-seated (and sometimes understandable) loathing of Zach Braff. But what Garden State did for Portman was make her such an indie darling, that her roles in the Star Wars prequels (including the yet to be released Revenge of the Sith) became an afterthought. After Star Wars, it was almost a cry of, “Hey, this actress can show emotion! We all forgot!” Also, for better or worse, Portman can be held 100 percent accountable for turning The Shins into a mainstream band, causing all Shins fans at the time to declare them “over.”

Closer (2004)

To date — and we have less than a week to say this — Closer is Portman’s only Oscar nomination. Here, she plays a stripper with a somewhat mysterious past involved in a relationship with an obituaries writer played by Jude Law (since this was 2004, it was safe to assume that the co-star in every film was Jude Law). Due to an aversion to nude scenes at the time, Portman never appears nude in this film, even though she portrays a stripper (some nude scenes were cut, perhaps due to her then work in Star Wars?). An aversion that she no longer has considering less clothed scenes in Black Swan and, more notably, the prequel to The Darjeeling Limited, Hotel Chevalier.

Saturday Night Live 2006

Has one SNL Digital Short done more to change the image of an actor? Though filmed in jest during Portman’s promotional tour for V for Vendetta, Portman message was clear: She’s no longer putting up with your sh*t. “All the kids looking up to me can suck my d*ck.” Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t remember Mark Hamill having a similar message in 1984 — but, perhaps he should have. As Chris Parnell found out, future interviewers of Portman, don’t ask her stupid questions.

Natalie Portman Uncensored Rap
Uploaded by newsoftheworld. - See the latest featured music videos.

Black Swan 2010

At this point, what else can be said about Portman’s role in Black Swan? In a week, Portman will be introduced as “two-time Academy Award nominee,” and in a little over a month she will be an Oscar winner. (Unless something really crazy happens and/or Annette Bening pulls a Tonya Harding.) Also, it should be noted, Ashton Kutcher is in no way associated with Black Swan.

The Evolution of Nicolas Cage's Hair

Montage of Nic's various hairstyles. For list of films:

Music: "In the Hall of the Mountain King" by Edvard Grieg

'Social Network' Team Reuniting for Ben Mezrich's 'Sex on the Moon'

Stephen Lovekin/Getty Images

Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti will work on the Sony project.

Many of the key people behind Sony's awards season darling The Social Network are reuniting for another movie project.
The studio has picked up the movie rights to Sex on the Moon, a book proposal from Ben Mezrich, whose non-fiction tome The Accidental Billionaires was the basis of Social Network.

Scott Rudin, Michael De Luca, Kevin Spacey and Dana Brunetti, who works with Spacey at Trigger Street Productions, worked together to produce Moon.

The new book, another true tale, centers on a rising NASA scientist, who in 2004 came up with the brilliant idea of stealing moon rocks and sell them on the Internet. The goal? To impress his girlfriend.

Social Network is coming off Golden Globe wins for best picture, best director, best screenplay and best original score.

US eases travel restrictions to Cuba

Playboy iPad ‘Uncensored’ App Arriving this March; Hugh Hefner Tweets So!

From :

By Sanjeev Ramachandran
Apple iPad users, you are in for something exciting! Though this might sound a bit bizarre, we have reasons to believe it is happening.  Playboy founder Hugh Hefner seems to be bent on popularizing his way of celebrating the female body on to the Apple iPad too, with a new explicit Playboy app in the works.

Playboy iPad Uncensored App Arriving this March; Hugh Hefner Tweets So!

We just wonder if Apple is fully okay with Hefner’s plan. The Playboy boss has tweeted that an “uncensored” Playboy iPad app is coming in March. Playboy had earlier launched its iPhone app back in 2009, but wasn’t explicit.

All the iPhone app had been  offering are some sexy lingerie shots and interview excerpts. The iPad app will see women strip down for a fuller view!

Apple already has in place some extremely stringent rules when it comes to nudity. However, the Hefner tweet makes us think Apple is loosening up a bit.

Going by what Hefner says, old and new Playboy editions will be available on iPad with no cuts whatsoever. The thought of uncut Playboy versions waiting to arrive on our iPads by way of the new app makes us go wild in anticipation. May be this is what Hefner too is aiming at.

It is also being said that Hefner might be trying to make the most of Steve Jobs’ absence. As you already know, the Apple boss is on medical leave.

Even as we continue to stay excited over the possibility of uncensored playboy versions on our iPads, we would also want to know if Hefner just teasing Apple or does he really mean to bring in the app in March?