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Friday, May 27, 2011

Song Made with 1000 Pairs of Jeans [Video] — I hope he bought them a few sizes too big so doesn't outgrow them musically in a couple months.

"Breastaurant" Chains Have Been Killing It Over The Past Decade

Image: Flickr
Franchises inspired by the Hooters model--such as Celtic-themed sports bar chain Tilted Kilt Pub & Eatery and faux mountain sports lodge chain Twin Peaks--have expanded rapidly over the last half decade, while corporate-owned chains like Brick House Tavern + Tap and Bone Daddy's House of Smoke are picking up steam regionally. In fact, for the next couple of years, this segment (often referred to as "breastaurants") is poised to be one of the fastest-growing restaurant categories. 
Sales figures for this specific niche aren't available, because they are lumped in with the broader casual dining segment--and numbers for the privately held companies aren't publicly reported--but sales at Hooters alone have increased in the last couple of years and average $1 billion annually.

The concept has grown in spite of the recession by focusing equally on upscale comfort food, full bars with extended beer choices, a full menu of sports on TV, and waitresses in tight shirts and short shorts. But the most important aspect of these restaurants is the same element that powers most successful eateries: customer service.

Why is this segment so popular? "It starts with comfort," says Darren Tristano, executive vice president of Technomic, a food-industry consulting firm in Chicago. "These concepts are growing by offering a different level of service and attentiveness.

They provide a service to men who may not have a person at home to take care of them in the same way. That's important to a number of people, and it drives them back."

It's hard to say exactly why these public man caves took hold in the last few years. Some think a shift away from political correctness or toward a more sexualized culture made the concepts more acceptable. Others believe that as Hooters sales flattened and expansion stalled, like-minded entrepreneurs saw a niche that wasn't being filled.

Ron lynch
Ron Lynch, CEO of Titlet Kilt. 

Ron Lynch, CEO of Tempe, Ariz.-based Tilted Kilt, thinks his concept has been well-received because customers were ready for something new. 
"Friday's, Chili's--those kinds of concepts came to be very similar in menu and look because they were chasing the same dollars," Lynch says. "When we sprang up, people were looking for something different."
That's what attracted Lynch to Tilted Kilt in the first place. In 2003, Harrah's in Las Vegas asked restaurateur Mark DiMartino if he had a concept for a space in the Rio Casino. He came up with the Hooters-goes-to-Scotland concept that is still the restaurant's theme. When Lynch--an area developer for Schlotsky's Deli--saw the place in 2005, he was hooked, and approached DiMartino about buying the franchise rights. By 2006, there were three Tilted Kilt franchises in the system. The concept has doubled each year. Lynch estimates Tilted Kilt will have 80 units open by the end of 2011, with another 70 deals for new spots in the pipeline.

There's a lot more going on at the Kilt than just men watching women, Lynch says, pointing out that one of the company's key offerings is "sports-viewing excellence," which translates to 50-inch plasma TVs throughout the restaurant, a full bar with a minimum of 24 beers on tap and a menu that ranges from inexpensive snacks to $19 steaks.

But he acknowledges that the cornerstone of the restaurant is the Tilted Kilt waitress. "We make no bones about it--that's what brings people in," he says. "We sell on sex appeal, but we are sexy classy, sexy smart or sexy cute. Not sexy stupid or sexy trashy."

Randy DeWitt had the same idea back in 2004. After growing his Rockfish Seafood Grill franchise too quickly in the Dallas area, he was faced with having to shut down stores. But instead of writing the locations off, he drilled down into the data and realized that while casual dining was tapering off, Hooters and similar concepts were doing well.

That's when he came up with Twin Peaks, a franchise based on a mountain lodge theme, where the girls wear plaid tops, suspenders and hiking boots.

"I knew guys like me would like a man cave where the waitresses are pretty and friendly, and we thought we could create a concept sufficiently differentiated from Hooters," DeWitt says. "I thought Hooters had taken the low-brow route, and we're taking the high road. We have higher-quality food, and the uniforms on our girls are more finished. Hooters is more blue collar. We do well where Hooters isn't accepted."

DeWitt's experiment worked, and he soon began converting more of his seafood restaurants into mountain lodges. Now Twin Peaks has 14 locations, with two under construction and five more in development.
What makes the restaurant stand out, besides the waitresses, DeWitt says, is its commitment to quality. All mugs are frozen, and a special draught system ensures that every beer pours at 29 degrees. They have a full line of top-shelf whiskey, and their skilled bartenders know their booze. The food is all fresh--even fryer items like mozzarella sticks, which are hand-cut, breaded and cooked to order.

But as restaurant consultant Tristano indicates, the true differentiating factor of the modern "breastaurant" is service. Most customers aren't satisfied with brusque service--they want a conscientious server and a meaningful connection.

"Everybody else is rushing toward technology with kiosks that you order off of and servers who slip food to you around the corner. We're going the other way," Lynch says. "One of our mantras during training is that we want to make a connection with our guests. We practice 'touchology,' which means touch the table often, and make guests feel at home. Sometimes waitresses are providing the best part of a guest's day."

Twin Peaks' DeWitt agrees that fostering connections is the key to a restaurant's success, especially when it breeds repeat customers. In fact, some waitresses become mini-entrepreneurs on their own, using Facebook or Twitter to let regulars know what shifts they'll be working or what specials the restaurant is offering.
"When we see regulars walk in the door for lunch, the hostesses and waitstaff greet the guy by name," DeWitt says. Regular customers often ask for certain employees to wait on them, he says, and waitresses are instructed in how to connect with guests.

"We have a certain language and we train that among our waitstaff," DeWitt says. "If you ask for a beer, the waitress will ask 'Do you want the man size or the girl size?'"

Tristano confirms that the servers drive the concepts. "The increased service is absolutely the core, not the food," he says. "I suspect a lot of this segment's success has to do with server training and hiring the right people."

Though this segment of the market is definitely heating up, none of the concepts thinks they are in danger of saturation, especially since their numbers are fairly small and they're not targeting the same geographical areas. Instead, they worry about competition from sports-oriented concepts like Buffalo Wild Wings. In fact, DeWitt says today's market is similar to the one from which Hooters emerged in 1983.

"It seems like Hooters had the whole segment to itself back then, but if you do the research, they had a raft of competitors that popped up--often with really crass names like Mugs 'N Jugs--before Hooters emerged as a clear national leader," he says.

DeWitt is wagering that most of his competitors in the male-bastion market will try to grow too fast and flame out at the regional level.

"Every concept wants to grow and be nationwide, but you have to lay in the infrastructure for growth before going into build-out," he says. "You have to bring in highly talented operators that can manage rapid growth. We're not trying to grow faster than we're capable."

The concept is still evolving. Brick House Tavern + Tap--owned by Ignite Restaurant Group, the company behind Joe's Crab Shack--touts itself as the ultimate man cave, with more than 70 beers, alcoves filled with theater-style seats outfitted with trays where customers can watch the game with friends, and special 100-ounce beer bongs with their own taps. So far, the concept has opened in seven states.

As innovative as they might be, can these concepts survive if they cater only to half the population (and the one that doesn't always choose where to dine)?

"I think these concepts have to target women to be successful," Tristano says. "One third of their customer base is female, and they have to make an effort to make women feel comfortable."

Lynch thinks Tilted Kilt, at least, is succeeding with the female demographic. "I characterize ourselves as very PG-13," he says. "When a guy empties his pockets on the dresser and his wife sees a Tilted Kilt receipt, it's going to be fine. I was surprised when franchisees started asking for high chairs. We are no threat to women, and we train our servers to make a connection with women at the table first."

Although the women may be on board, there's no question that these concepts cater first and foremost to manly appetites.

"Why do regular customers come in three times or more a month?" DeWitt asks. "What more could a guy ask for: great food, sports, beer and a cute girl to look at. We don't go real deep."

This article originally appeared at Entrepreneur.

McDonald's drive through refuses to serve horse and cart couple, KFC less bothered

By Ali Plumb

October last year, we brought you the news of a horse and its rider popping down to a Welsh branch of McDonalds for a couple of McSugar cubes. Last week, there was the story of another Welsh man trying to take a pregnant pony onto a train.

Today? It's a lady on a horse and cart who got turned away from a Derbyshire drive through – but managed to find a KFC who would serve her down the road.

McDonald's said no to Debbie Murden, 42, from Pinxton in Derbyshire, because of 'health and safety reasons' saying that they can only serve certain vehicles – not including horse and carts, it seems.

"They said it was dangerous," Debbie said. "I'm not sure who they meant it was dangerous for, them or us or other people in the drive-through. But there was no danger there."

"I got in touch with McDonald's head office and asked why, if horses and motorbikes are not allowed through, are there no signs to say so? And why is it different from branch to branch?"

"We're sorry to have disappointed Ms Debbie Murden and for any confusion caused," said a McDonald's spokesperson, adding: "The health and safety of our customers is our top priority and for this reason we are unable to serve customers in a horse-drawn carriage."

Ah, what party poopers these McDonald's types are. They should learn to enjoy horses, be they in cars, dragging people along on skateboards or boasting ludicrous names. They really are a fun animal, and no mistake.

Tags:   animals - drive through - horse - horse and cart - kfc - mcdonalds

January Jones Rocks Sexy Lingerie as Mutant Emma Frost in 'X-Men' (Exclusive First Look)

She looks plenty sultry in the Fox film, which opens June 3.

Xmen January Jones White Boots
Keith Hamshere
Fanboys, the wait is over.

For months, websites have been buzzing over rumors that January Jones dons sexy lingerie in 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: First Class. THR’s exclusive first photos of her bedroom ensemble puts those rumors to rest—mutant Emma Frost (Jones) looks plenty sultry.

Not that her other costumes are any less sexy. One outfit features Jones wearing a beaded push up bra, modified thigh-high boots (they can be worn outside, but also have the illusion of lacey thigh-highs on top) and a sheer cape with fur trim. Another has her in a simple, curve-hugging leather bodysuit.

First Class director Matthew Vaughn has repeatedly praised First Class costumer designer Samantha Sheldon for capturing the perfect of mix of swinging sixties meets superhero, mixed in with a little bit of James Bond.

Check out more exclusive photos of costumes from the film, and an interview with Sheldon, in next week’s issue of The Hollywood Reporter.


This Girl Is Some Ball Handler (video)

Uploaded by on Jun 12, 2008

European championships Turin 08
Boyanka Angelova ball final EC Torino 2008

Nude Photo Shoot Focuses on Saving 1,500-Year-Old Oak Tree, Draws Police Attention (Video)

by Jaymi Heimbuch
angel tree photo
Photo courtesy of Jack Gescheitdt
Jack Gescheidt, a California-based photographer, wanted to bring people's attention to a construction project happening on a large tract of land right next to Angel Oak, a tree believed to be over 1,500 years old and possibly the oldest living tree in North America. With the threat of development encroaching on this beautiful tree, and more importantly, the habitat in which it lives, Gescheidt figured it was time to make a statement, and that meant photographing 25 nude people posed around the tree. However, the photo shoot drew some unwanted attention... from police.

The Charleston City Paper reports that Gescheidt has used the beauty and inarguable visual draw of nude people as a way to bring attention to ancient and threatened trees, bringing together both art and activism for the greater good of the environment. The Angel Oak project is part of his larger project, called TreeSpirit.
Gescheidt's photographs are absolutely gorgeous, at times juxtaposing the textures of smooth skin and rough bark as the models drape themselves around the tree and at other times positioning the models almost as if they alone could protect the tree from potential demise.

Such is the case with Angel Oak -- the tree's health could be impacted by the new development, and the photo shoot is aimed at drawing attention to, and possibly stopping, the development next door.
While the police were not thrilled with the photo shoot, the artists were able to still capture the shot. Photographs from this shoot can already be purchased online. All the proceeds go to further photo shoots that promote the conservation of ancient and threatened trees.

Follow Jaymi on Twitter for more stories like this

Egypt finds 17 lost pyramids


A satellite survey used infra-red images to detect underground buildings.

Egypt pyramids 2011 5 25
Egyptians ride their camels past the pyramid of Khafre in Giza, on the outskirts of Cairo, on November 30, 2010. (Patrick Baz/AFP/Getty Images)
A new satellite survey of Egypt reportedly found 17 lost pyramids along with more than 1,000 tombs and 3,000 ancient settlements.

The survey used infra-red images to detect underground buildings, the BBC reports.

Satellites above the earth were equipped with cameras that could pin-point objects on the earth's surface less than three-feet wide. The infra-red imaging then highlighted different materials under the surface, it states.
The work was done by a NASA-sponsored laboratory in Birmingham, Alabama.

"To excavate a pyramid is the dream of every archeologist," Sarah Parcak who led the project told BBC.
See some of the satellite images.

Meanwhile, Egypt opened the tombs of seven men, including some who served King Tutankhamen, to tourists earlier this week after restoration, the Associated Press reports.

Egypt hopes the tombs in the New Kingdom Cemetery in South Saqqara will draw more tourists to the area.
Egypt's tourism industry has been badly hit by the revolution that toppled the government in February and subsequent political uncertainty.

Forget Digital! Photographs Taken With Eggs


Francesco Capponi likes to create pinhole cameras out of anything he can get his clever hands on. From bird houses, to hats, to small seeds, he’s made cameras out of just about everything. His latest creation? Taking pictures using a chicken egg as both the camera and film.
Capponi had the idea of making a camera that would take just one photograph and also serve as the film. With photographs that must be broken out of the shell just like a baby bird, his “Pinhegg” (pin hole egg) camera was the perfect answer.

Using photographic emulsion (a light sensitive chemical much like film) coated on the inside of the shell, Capponi’s photographs develop slowly over 30 seconds and afterward are developed like standard film photographs. The last step is to break open the hole in the shell, revealing a negative exposure of the outside world (the photographs here with a black shell have been inverted to show a positive image).
Check out his website for more images, his other unusual cameras and full instructions on the process.


10 terrifying twisters

'Biggest Loser 11' before and after [Slideshow]

Slideshow: Click to view photos.

The 11 Best Places to Watch The Sunset Around The World

See The World's Most Beautiful Sunsets.

Wed May 25, 2011 09:04

Bench on top of city at sunset Photo: Microsoft Bench at sunset

If you accidentally catch one, you suddenly become incredibly calm, contemplative and feel like you’ve snuck in on a romantic moment—I’m talking about sunsets. And snuggled up couples have been watching them since long before Glee and American Idol took up our evening free time. Some of us still skip out on modern entertainment just to go watch the sunset. Some people are sunset connoisseurs, constantly seeking out the highest rooftop, quietest beach, or most off-limits location to sneak into and watch it. For those of you out there, here are 10 spots to watch the sunset that have probably appeared on a postcard.

Ayers Rock in Northern Territory, Australia

The sky is streaked in red here when the sun goes down. That is because Ayers Rock is the seat of Uluru, a 348-meter high, 500 million year old red rock and the world’s largest monolith. When the clouds move across the sky at sunset, they reflect the rock’s blood-orange hues into the sky.

Ayres Rock Australia
Photo: Google Earth Ayers Rock Australia 

Academia Bridge in Venice, Italy
Of course one of the most romantic cities on earth offers one of the best spots to catch the sunset. Academia Bridge stretches over the Grand Canal, and from here you can watch the dying rays of light flutter across the 15th century architecture. For a more ethereal feel, go in the fall when fog makes the whole place feel like an old mystery movie.

Venice Canals at Sunset
Photo: Microsoft Sunset in Venice, Italy 

The Matterhorn in Zermalt, Switzerland
No, it’s not just a ride at Disneyland. The Matterhorn is a great Alpine peak. Visitors can hike across Gornier Glacier to Monte Rosa Hut for the best view. It’s best caught at sunrise, when the sunbeams climbing up the peak light up the tip to make it look like a candle.

Sunse on Alpine peak Switzerland
Photo: Microsoft Alpine Peak Switzerland 

Mallory Square in Key West, Florida
Also a favorite spot for locals, Mallory Square pairs the view of the sun setting over the Gulf of Mexico with street performers, amazing food vendors, and the freedom to enjoy them all with a mojito in hand.

Romantic couple at sunset
Photo: Microsoft Romantic couple at sunset 

Masai Mara in Kenya
Catching the sun set here might bring back memories of a beloved childhood film, The Lion King. This is a great destination for wildlife lovers as a large wildlife migration passes through. Elephants, rhinoceros, Cape buffalo, leopards and lions get particularly active and night time and visitors can watch their silhouettes move across the sun setting over this vast desert.

Wildlife at sunset
Photo: Microsoft Wildlife at sunset 

Gay Head in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
The sun can play with a variety of shapes and colors here. Clay cliffs peek out of the Atlantic Ocean and North America’s last glacier disintergrated here 10,000 years ago, leaving behind boulders and clay deposits. From the lighthouse, you can watch the sun move across this entire scene with water on three sides of you.

Gay Head Martha's Vineyard Sunset
Photo: Microsoft Gay Head Martha's Vineyard 

Pre Rup Temple in Siem Reap, Cambodia
Already a popular destination for visitors because of its majestic temples, Pre Rup has reflective pools that face west. When the sun sets, the pools catch the reflection of these enchanting structures and light up with the rusty red from the brick and laterite.

Mount Heleakala in Maui, Hawaii
Mount Helealaka is a dormant volcano that rises over 10,000 feet. The volcano serves as the only display of colors on the baron landscape when the sun rushes over it’s blackened sides, lighting it up like water on hot asphalt.

Sentosa Island, Singapore
Sentosa is a small island just off the coast of Singapore.From the shore, visitors can watch the sun set over the dozens of oil refineries sitting on the water, with their rising smoke playing off different colors in the sun.

Oil rigs off Sentosa Island
Photo: Microsoft Oil Rigs in Singapore

Santa Monica Pier, Los Angeles
If you sit on the beach just far enough from the pier, you can watch the silhouettes of people playing miniature golf, the waves crashing, and the lights from the Ferris wheel reflecting on the Pacific Ocean.
Sunset over pier
Photo: Microsoft Sunset over pier in California
They’re free. They’re accessible to everyone. And somehow, they always enchant us. Hopefully this gives you a good date idea for the next time you’re running low on money or you’ve just seen every movie on TiVo.

have to include Jerome Arizona: 

Arizona Sunset
There is nothing I love taking pictures of more than sunsets. We spent a cloudy day in Jerome taking some photos. On the way home the clouds starting to clear perfectly and I pulled off of I-17 to take some shots. There wasn’t anything in the way of a focal point around so I decided to let the sunset speak for itself. This is one of the things I love the most about Arizona. Enjoy!Camera: Nikon D90
Lens: with the Nikkor 18-105mm
Processing: Photomatix Pro 4, Adobe Lightroom 3

Posted in: Arizona, D90, HDR, Jerome
By: Jason Hines

Views from the Porch
Jerome, Arizona
The views from the town of Jerome are nothing short of spectacular.  The following series of photos were taken in the winter of 2010 and were all taken from the the same porch.

Winter Sunset over Jerome

Sycamore Canyon as Snow Storm clears

Roiling Clouds over Jerome 

Van Damme Friday - Van Damme's 9 Greatest Moments----Master Croc - Go see Kung Fu Panda 2

Jean-Claude Van Damme's 9 Greatest Moments

Jean-Claude Van Damme in Bloodsport

Oh, it's Jean-Claude Van Damme. Let's all get snarky and ironic.

F**k that.

Yeah, he's not winning any acting Oscars, but the Belgian kickboxer-turned-action star has entertained us more than 90% of his Hollywood peers. Fusing years of karate and kickboxing training with -- fine -- a slightly melodramatic acting style, he's made films like "Kickboxer," "Bloodsport" and "Double Impact" that have influenced a generation of martial arts movies and set the standard that many lesser imitators would follow.

In honor of his (presumably butt-kicking) role as Master Croc in "Kung Fu Panda 2," here's a look back at some of JCVD's finest moments both onscreen and off.

9. JCVD Shills for 'World of Warcraft'

We know this ad is in French, but thankfully we have a cheap, Parisian intern on staff. Play the video below and read along. Loosely translated, Van Damme is saying, "My name is Jean-Claude Van Damme and I am praying nobody in America sees this. I asked my agent what would happen to my career if I did this and he responded, 'It's over.' But for a quick 30-second spot, I was offered a ton of money, and for dinner, some sheep. Still, I had to write down the lines on my hand."

8. A Young JCVD Training in 1979

Five years before his first film, then-professional kickboxer JCVD already had his eyes on acting. Long before "Bloodsport" or "Kickboxer," Van Damme performed in this training video. You probably can't understand it, but there's not much to get.

7. 'Kickboxer' Training Sequence

After a few duds following his breakout role in "Bloodsport," JCVD made 1989's "Kickboxer," which solidified his place in the Hollywood action-star firmament. For kickboxing fans -- OK, everyone except the nerds that feared the sport might get "too big" -- we could've gone with any number of scenes, but we're partial to the montage below. You should also check out the full kickboxing sequence from the film.

6. JCVD Battles With a Stick

You know you may not yet be Oscar material if your character name is officially "Gay Karate Man," but every actor has to do the crap films first to build up a rep and stave off homelessness for another month. In "Monaco Forever," a low-budget film about a jewel thief in Monaco, JCVD (then called Jean-Claude Vandam) picks up the main character before picking up the main character.

5. The Championship Match in 'Bloodsport'

The success of 1988's "Bloodsport," in which Van Damme plays an American fighting in an illegal, underground Hong Kong martial arts tournament, ensured that the actor would never have to play bit roles again. Though predictably eviscerated by critics, the film was a surprise hit and introduced many to JCVD's helicopter kick and awkward-looking, yet effective, split. In the final match, JCVD proves that you're going to have to do a lot more than blind him to beat him.

4. The Monologue in 'JCVD'

Blurring the line between reality and fiction, "JCVD" finds Van Damme as an aging movie star who returns home to Belgium to try and regain control of his disjointed life, only to find himself caught in the middle of a bank robbery. The film showed an entirely new side to the actor's range and in this, the film's defining scene, the actor looks back on a life filled with material success, yet short on spiritual fulfillment. It's Van Damme's rawest scene in his career and a big reason "JCVD" would be the first of the actor's films to get a theatrical release in a decade.

3. Hamming It Up in 'Breakin',' JCVD's First-Ever Screen Appearance

Van Damme was only an extra in the 1984 breakdancing film "Breakin'" -- credited simply as Guy Dancing in the Background -- but even then, with his unitard and awkward white-guy moves, a star was born. At this point, Van Damme was living in his car and barely spoke English. It's doubtful that future directors saw this footage and said, "That's the guy we want in our martial arts film," but it's far from the most embarrassing debut film ever. (That would be Nicole Kidman.)

2. JCVD Is Excited... to Be on Television

We're having trouble placing the date because we don't remember any year those jeans were cool, but we do know this: If you're going to be gyrating with exotic Brazilian women, fer chrissake, wear loose pants. Otherwise this happens:

1. The Dance Scene in 'Double Impact'

You'd think "Double Impact," in which Van Damme plays identical twins, would be the actor's hardest role. But as he told The A.V. Club in 2008: "The only thing different between Alex and Chad was the silk underwear." We would explain this scene, but if you don't know it, it's funnier without any context. Sadly, the original isn't available on the Internet -- we know; we couldn't believe it, either -- but the visuals are so over-the-top, any song'll do.