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Wednesday, August 10, 2011

It's National S’mores Day: 16 decadent s'mores recipes & cocktails Continue reading on It's National S’mores Day: 16 decadent s'mores re


Celebrate National S'mores Day with 16 decadent s'mores recipes & cocktails.
Celebrate National S'mores Day with 16 decadent s'mores recipes & cocktails.
Credits: James Rubio

No matter how you look at it, August 10th is a great day! Not only is today Lazy Day, but it is also National S’mores Day! Just imagine yourself relaxing in the hammock, sipping on a Lazy Day cocktail and munching on one or two decadent s’mores – crisp graham crackers filled with gooey marshmallows and rich chocolate.

While the origins of this annual holiday are unknown, s’mores were probably “invented” by the Campfire Girls decades ago. Gobbled up by both young and old alike, s’mores are tasty treats frequently made at campfires.

Don’t know how to make ‘em? You’re in luck: Whether you use an open fire, toaster oven or microwave, Kraft shows you just how it’s done with these simple step-by-step s'mores directions. If you have a camping trip coming up, have the kids practice making s’mores with this fun game by Hershey’s.


Hershey's S'mores Photo Contest

In honor of National S’mores Day, Hershey’s is asking folks to share their favorite s’mores memories by uploading your favorite s’mores-themed photo and sharing with friends. S’mores-themed prizes include a camera, photo printing gift card, outdoor fire pit, roasting skewers and more. But hurry – the contest ends today.

Give Me S’more S’mores Recipes!

  • Campfire S’mores Recipe – You’ll need graham crackers, chocolate bars and large marshmallows for this simple recipe. Don’t forget skewers or long sticks and a fire!
  • Golden Grahams S’mores – This recipe, from Betty Crocker, calls for Golden Graham cereal, mini marshmallows, chocolate chips, light corn syrup, butter and vanilla.
  • Sure Fire, No Fire S’mores – Paula Deen shares her top-rated recipe that calls for graham crackers, mini marshmallows and Hershey’s Milk Chocolate bars. No fire needed for this one – you’ll need your oven broiler.
  • S’mores Cookies – Fair warning - this recipe looks amazing!
  • Chocolate and Peanut Butter S’mores Recipe – You’ll need peanut butter, thin chocolate wafers and marshmallows.
  • S’more Turtles – You’ll need caramel, honey grahams, chocolate candy kisses, marshmallows and pecans for this recipe from Kraft.
  • Strawberry and Chocolate S’mores – Just add strawberry slices to graham crackers, dark chocolate and roasted marshmallows and you are good to go!
  • S’more Brownies – You’ll need graham crackers, unsweetened chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, mini marshmallows and semi-sweet chocolate chunks for this recipe from Kraft Foods.
  • S'more Brownies – This homemade recipe, from the Food Network, looks fabulous.
  • Cookie S’mores Recipe – The folks at Hershey’s shows you how it's done with this simple downloadable recipe.
  • S'mores Cheesecake Squares – ‘Nuff said!
  • Caramel-Drizzled S’mores – You’ll need peanut butter cookies, bittersweet chocolate, caramel sauce and marshmallows for this one.
  • S’more Cupcakes – This made-from-scratch recipe looks divine and doesn’t require a campfire!
  • S’mores in a Jar Recipe – This recipe is a great gift idea! You’ll need 16-ounce Mason jars, graham crackers, butter, flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla extract, milk, heavy cream, baking soda, egg and marshmallows.
  • S'mores Martini - You'll need Toasted Marshmallow Syrup, chocolate vodka and chocolate sauce for this adult drink.
  • Smokin’ S’mores Cocktail – Wow – this adults-only recipe is smokin' HOT! You’ll need Teddy Grahams, Bacardi vanilla, butterscotch schnapps, Bailey’s Irish Cream and Bacardi 151, mini marshmallows, toothpicks, matches and chocolate shot glasses.

Happy National S’mores Day! Enjoy!

Foodie Underground: Top 10 Oddest Food and Foodie Blogs

ColumnThanks to the internet, there’s a blog for every kind of food, no matter how weird.

The only thing more important to a foodie than a kitchen is the internet. How else are you going to showcase all of your favorite food porn shots that you take at dinner every night? But just like with anything on the internet, it’s easy to go too far. Fortunately that means entertainment for the rest of us, and if you’re really lucky, maybe even some weird food inspiration. Here are our top 10 picks of weird food blogs, enjoy!

1. Scandybars

“Like a blog in a candy store,” this blog is almost a scientific collection of candy. It features the photos of cross sections of various candy bars, making you think of your favorite $0.99 overly sugary chocolate fix in a whole new way.

2. Scanwiches

The cross section fad continues, this time with scanwiches. Some look grosser than others (hint: hotdogs), but you never know what might just turn into the inspiration for tomorrow’s lunch.

3. F*ck You Yelper

As helpful as Yelp can be, crowd sourcing food reviews inevitably leads to a fair amount of moronic opinions. Thankfully F*ck You Yelper has them all rounded up in one place, sure to amuse anyone that’s ever questioned the future of society after spending a little too much time perusing Yelp comments.

4. The Bacon Show

Disclaimer: there are a lot of bacon blogs out there. But this one is one of the most extensive, currently claiming over 2000 recipes. And they stick true to their motto of, “One Bacon Recipe, Everyday, Forever.” So if you’re as obsessed with bacon as every other internet user, check it out.

5. Airline Meals

There’s no getting around it: traveling is fun but airplane food is not. Just because you got yourself on an international flight and don’t have to pay $10 for a dry and scratchy turkey – wait, is that actually turkey?? – sandwich, does not mean you’re going to get a satisfying meal. If you’re stuck in economy, all you can do is hope that your meal will be interesting enough to photograph and pop onto Airline Meals, which has a stunning archive of all kinds of meals served to the mile high club.

6. What the F*ck Should I Make for Dinner?

Tired? Feeling a drought of culinary creativity? Take that negative energy and make your way over to What the F*ck Should I Make for Dinner, a site that gives some simple and humorous suggestions on what you should be serving. Don’t expect any recipes, but at least you’re getting some advice, which we all know the internet is always good for.

7. This is Why You’re Fat

An internet sensation, This is Why You’re Fat is the epitome of weird food blogs. Feel bad about your diet lately? A quick scan through some of these photos will get you back to carrot sticks and hummus in no time.

8. Hipster Food

A quality food blog whose name is intended to be tongue-in-cheek. It’s actually a vegan food blog with creative recipes and hipster enough that they don’t capitalize the first letter of a sentence. Even if you have a vegan vendetta, you should still probably check it out.

9. Cutest Food

If you’re like me and have a cupcake aversion, consider yourself warned: this blog is sweet, saccharin, and mostly pink. Think panda cupcakes and waffles with multicolored heart shaped sprinkles. Le sigh.

10. Paula Deen Riding Things

What can we say, the iconic sugar, butter and fried queen photoshopped onto various images is hilarious. Almost as great as Paula’s actual website.

Crazy bathroom art!


The world's longest 'water coaster' Take a virtual ride on the Mammoth — a gushing, 1,763-foot, $9-million attraction opening in 2012 posted on August

Take a virtual ride on the Mammoth — a gushing, 1,763-foot, $9-million attraction opening in 2012

The Mammoth, a planned Indiana water coaster opening in 2012, will be 1,763 feet long.

The Mammoth, a planned Indiana water coaster opening in 2012, will be 1,763 feet long. Photo: YouTube

Best Opinion: Huff. Post, Attractions, Courier Press

The video: Holiday World, an Indiana theme park that is already home to the world's largest water coaster, has announced plans to build an even larger water coaster. The Mammoth, a $9-million ride that's scheduled to open in 2012, will take thrill-seeking passengers on six-person rafts through a 1,763-foot course that includes an initial drop of 53 feet and spreads out over three acres. (Watch a video of the planned ride below.) For those uninitiated in the finer points of water-park rides, a water coaster differs from a water slide by offering uphill climbs as well as downhill drops. Motors that create magnetic fields beneath the coaster's track will propel Mammoth's passenger rafts uphill. The new attraction will take up residence right next to Holiday World's popular Wildebeest ride, which currently holds the record for world's longest water coaster, at 1,710 feet.

The reaction: The Mammoth "is guaranteed to make a big splash," says The Huffington Post. Indeed, says Andy Guinigundo at Attractions Magazine. And while it's true that lots of details about this ride still have to be sorted out — speed and run time, for instance, won't be determined until 2012 — "this looks like loads of wet fun!" You've got that right, says Holiday World president Dan Koch, as quoted by the Evansville, Ind., Courier Press. Once constructed, there won't be "another ride like this on the planet." See for yourself:

JJ Abrams: 'I called Spielberg and he said yes'

Lost creator JJ Abrams's new film Super 8 was produced by Steven Spielberg. He explains what it was like to work with the man who inspired him to make movies – and why he's proud to be a geek

  • JJ Abrams
    JJ Abrams ? 'Now it's a point of pride to be a geek.' Photograph: Jeff Minton/Corbis Outline

    Much has been made over the connection between JJ Abrams, director of Super 8, and his hero – and Super 8 producer – Steven Spielberg. Both view the world like wide-eyed, overgrown boys, and in their most beloved work (Abrams's Lost, Alias and Star Trek; Spielberg's ET and Close Encounters of the Third Kind) blend the wonder of the supernatural with the tender harvest of the human heart. Coincidentally, both also kicked off their film careers at the age of 12 by making 8mm home movies. Spielberg was after a Boy Scout photography merit badge, while Abrams's focus was his lifelong obsession with special effects.

    1. Super 8
    2. Production year: 2011
    3. Country: USA
    4. Cert (UK): 12A
    5. Runtime: 112 mins
    6. Directors: JJ Abrams
    7. Cast: Amanda Michalka, Elle Fanning, Gabriel Basso, Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Noah Emmerich, Riley Griffiths, Ron Eldard, Ryan Lee, Zach Mills
    8. More on this film

    "What I loved about special effects was the magic of it," Abrams tells me. We're sitting in the soft-focus, mumsy luxury of a beachside hotel suite in Santa Monica, French doors thrown open to the late afternoon Pacific breeze. The 45-year-old director-writer-musician (he has composed the themes for many of his TV shows, including Lost, Felicity and Fringe) is dressed casually in jeans and wearing black intellectual-nerd glasses, his wavy black hair a skybound thicket, as if perpetually charged by the intensity of its owner's convictions.

    "When I was a little kid – and even still – I loved magic tricks. When I saw how movies got made – at least had a glimpse when I went on the Universal Studios tour with my grandfather, I remember feeling like this was another means by which I could do magic. It wasn't the guy with the top hat and the rabbits, it was a way of creating illusions that something was real that wasn't. It could be a time and a place, it could be a weather system, it could be an aeroplane flying through the air, it could be a creature that wasn't really there, a fight scene, blood splattering, window breaking, fire – it could be anything. All these things were little magic tricks, and the idea that they could all add up to create the illusion that something was real, so that people would have an emotional reaction to the relationship, a circumstance, an event – that was very exciting to me.

    "It was almost like creating my own assignments: 'I want to see if I can make that thing look real; like that spaceship's really flying, like that person has a twin and they're in the same frame.' And then I would go about doing it. Frankly, I use some of those ideas far more now than I ever did when I was a kid."

    I can see Abrams getting lost in the question – in every question during our conversation – furrowing his brow and looking down into a middle space as he formulates his response, his answers picking up steam after an initial hesitant launch, until his words spill out in a salvo of emphatic zeal. He's a fast talker.

    "What I love, and what Steven Spielberg has in his work, is a sense of unlimited possibility, the sense that life could bring you anything, that around every corner could be something amazing . . . extraordinary. And that's not to say glorious and good. It could be terrifying, it could be confusing, it could be disturbing, or it could be wonderful and funny and transportive."

    Terrifying, funny and transportive are apt descriptors for Super 8, Abrams's first film as both director and writer. Using his adolescent auteur experiences as the jumping-off point, the story follows a group of children in the summer of 1979 as they set about making an 8mm zombie film. Our hero is Joe, a 13-year-old struggling with his mother's sudden death in a factory accident, while he assists his friends' film by designing monster makeup and exploding model trains.

    Make-believe careens into chilling reality one night during the youngsters' shoot at an old train depot, when they witness a horrifyingly violent crash, followed by what seems to be the escape of a malevolent presence from one of the mutilated carriages. In the aftermath, eerie phenomena occur, the military descend, people start to disappear and Joe fights to save the ones he loves.

    "When I called Steven, it was an instinct to work with someone who was a hero of mine since I was a kid, and I had no idea what the movie was," admits Abrams. "All I had was the title, and knew this could be a movie about a group of kids making movies, and he was the one person I knew who had done this the way I had, who could help a movie like that get made. So I called him, and he said yes."

    But curiously, Super 8 is not the first time Abrams has worked for his hero. When he was a teenager, he was profiled in a newspaper article about his participation in a young film-makers' festival in Los Angeles. In a coincidence straight out of a movie, Spielberg read the article and hired Abrams and a friend to repair some 8mm reels that he had knocking around from his own teenage movie-making days.

    Super 8 Left-right: Ryan Lee as Cary, Joel Courtney as Joe Lamb, Elle Fanning as Alice Dainard and Riley Griffiths as Charles Kasnick in Super 8. Photograph: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

    Abrams's mother Carol has described her horror at finding the spaghetti pile of Spielberg's unspooled films blanketing the floor of her son's bedroom. "What have you done?!?" she's reported to have screamed. "He's going to sue us! We're going to lose our house! We're going to lose our cars!" Fortunately for both the Spielberg archives and Abrams's future in Hollywood, young JJ finished the job and split the $300 fee with his partner, though he had yet to actually meet the famous director.

    Even the casual cineaste will be able to connect the dots between Super 8 and Spielberg classics ET, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jurassic Park, even The Goonies. I wondered if Abrams had struggled to avoid quoting Spielberg on the master's turf of emotional, child-oriented sci-fi, or if it was a deliberate homage.

    "The initial conceit was not 'do a Spielbergian movie,'" Abrams says. "I didn't think: 'Oh, let's start ripping off other Spielberg films.' It was just: 'This is a story that could be cool.'

    "I'd called a guy who had a production company called Amblin, who made a bunch of movies that I loved [when I was] growing up and still love now, and when you're working with someone who inspires you in a certain way, that's part of the fun of it.

    "Super 8 is about kids in 1979 who are the age that I was at that time, and I was massively influenced by Steven's films. What made perfect sense was not: 'OK, let's ape his movies and start copying things,' but let's make a movie that feels like it belongs on a shelf with other Amblin movies.

    "It was a spirit, not a scene, that I was trying to emulate. It felt like: 'This is what the movie wants to be.' I would actually say that because I was doing it with Steven, I felt entirely liberated to embrace that kind of stuff. I never would have made this movie this way, I'm certain, had he not been a producer."

    What about the decision to set Super 8 in 1979, before the onset of the internet and instant YouTube stars?

    "The idea of doing a story about a bunch of kids now making a movie on an iPhone has no interest for me whatsoever," Abrams declares. "Part of this was about an era where, if you were that age, making movies, you were an oddball. Not every kid had a camera the way they do now, on their phone. It meant effort, because you had to consider: 'Well, I only have so much film, so what am I gonna film?' You couldn't just record over it. You had to make a choice.

    "I'm obsessed with things that are distinctly analogue. We have a letterpress in our office. There's an absolute wonderful imperfection that you get when you do a letterpress, and that is the beauty of it. The time that is put in setting the type and running the press, inking the rollers, all that stuff – that kind of thing is clearly an extreme example. But it's the beauty of the actual investment of time, and the amount of time that goes by lets you consider things that somehow, in a kind of weird osmosis or spiritual way, is somehow implicit in the final product. And that seems to not exist much any more."

    Was there pressure to come up with a terrifying monster for Super 8, given Abrams's early focus on special effects?

    "It was a challenge," he acknowledges. "I needed the creature to be intimidating, scary, but also be emotive and not just be empathetic, but sympathetic. Which means eyes. Which means a mouth. Well, how many eyes? How many mouths? The idea of the movie being that you have to face the thing that is the most frightening to you, the most devastating to you, to get past it. Ultimately, it wasn't that we see the creature, but it was what happens with the creature."

    The talk shifts to Lost, and Abrams's continued fascination with magic – in this case, the magic that occurs when an audience's engagement with a show turns it into something bigger than originally conceived.

    "[Lost] was very much about faith versus science, and the notion of who has had a profound impact on your life and how these characters form a kind of tapestry," Abrams muses. "When you do a show that has that kind of ongoing conversation, the audience not only invests in the show in ways that you could never anticipate, but also makes connections to things that you may not have even considered. When you work on something that combines both the spectacular and the relatable, the hyperreal and the real, it suddenly can become supernatural. The hypothetical and the theoretical can become literal. And that is part of the genius of science-fiction or fantasy writing, which is that it suddenly lets you go, 'Ooh – what if?' which the straight drama almost never lets you do."

    Do woebegone Losties give Abrams an earful about the finale?

    "Oh my God, yes," he groans. "For years, I had people praising Lost to death, and now they say: 'I'm so pissed at you for the end of Lost.' I think a lot of people who were upset with the ending, were just upset that it ended. And I've not yet heard the pitch of what the ending should have been. I've just heard: 'That sucked.'"

    In addition to the premiere of Super 8, Abrams has a full platter of projects: the Mission: Impossible film he's producing; the upcoming TV shows, Alcatraz and Person of Interest, which he is consulting on; Fringe, the ongoing supernatural thriller series; as well as a comedy series he is developing – a new direction for him. And then there's the next Star Trek film, which he's keen to direct ("The idea of someone else saying 'action' to those actors in those characters on that set makes me jealous," he says), though nothing is decided.

    As man who continues to frolic on his boyhood playing fields of magic and movies, Abrams represents the outsider who lives in his head. Does he feel responsible for perpetrating the new supremacy of the geek?

    "No." Abrams shifts impatiently in his armchair. "First of all, the definition of geek has changed. When I started, a geek was an undeniable loser: long-necked, trips over his own feet, a complete outcast. And now geek means someone who likes science-fiction. When I was a kid, it was a huge insult to be a geek. Now it's a point of pride in a weird way. I feel very lucky to be working in a business and to be part of stories that are embraced by people who fit the current definition of geek. And also maybe the occasional athlete."

    • Super 8 is released on 5 August

Larry Intervenes in a 'Chat and Cut' on 'Curb Your Enthusiasm' (VIDEO)

A slightly helpful Star Wars guide to buying sunglasses

By Oliver Jones

Who needs some new sunglasses for the summer? Yoda, that's who. Yoda and you.

Both of you fashionistas need to know what's going to be 'in' this year and that's where we step up, with the help of Vivienne Westwood designer Chloe Struyk.

That's right cool cats, with the help of one of fashion's top labels and the cast of Star Wars (obviously!) we present what's funky this year and what faces, human or otherwise, they fit...

(NB: Apologies for the standard of the photoshopping. We had to do it while bull's-eyeing womp rats in our T-16 back home.)

Style: Aviators
Our expert says: "This style suits round faces. The big swooping lenses lengthens the face. Gold frames suits pale skin tones like the baggy old Emperor here, while silver frames suit more olive skin tones. There are plenty of variations on the aviator out there, it's best to keep it simple and try as many frames as possible."
Cooler than: The Emperor's new clothes. What do you mean he's been wearing the same cloak for years?

Style: Circular
Our expert says: "Round frames are really on-trend right now. It's a really strong look but it won't work for some face shapes. They suit angular and long faces. They soften big cheekbones and long jaws. I mean they're helping Moff Tarkin here a bit, but that really is a hell of a face."
Cooler than: A Nine Inch Nails gig on the Death Star.

Style: Wayfarers
Our expert says: "Wayfarers are awesome. They'll always be cool. They have this amazing capacity in that they really suit most face shapes. They pull in long faces and extend round ones. Black, or ideally, deep tortoise shell frames, look better on long faces like old Hammerhead here."
Cooler than: A planet Hoth Slush Puppie.

Style: Wayfarers
Our expert says: "Yeah like I said they suit all face shapes. But if you've got a round face, you can go for slightly more outlandish frames. Now I've seen Yoda in these I can't remember what he looks like without them. That's how hard he's pulling these off. The thick-framed, Ray-Ban, 50s reissue, with the over-sized hinges are the best example."
Cooler than: Admiral Akbar supping a scotch on the rocks at Mos Eisley.

Style: Sports
Our expert says: "Sports visors suit round and oval face shapes, and they're going to be massive again this summer, whether it's the Kanye grill shades, or the rather natty 80s hold-screen style being flexed right here. I'm not sure they do anything for green skin-tones though. Be loud and proud with the frame, bright colours, anything goes really."
Cooler than: 80s orange tank tops.

Style: Teigan or Square lenses
Our expert says: "These suit oval and round shaped faces. They are achingly cool, and all you really need to pull them off is a lot of confidence, something Lando isn't short of. There is something about a square lens shade with facial hair too, that really works. I can't explain why exactly, but look at Lando. Phwoar."
Cooler than: Lando's 'stache. Actually, nothing's that cool.

Style: 80s wraparound
Our expert says: "Oval faces and men with lots of facial hair. The 80s angular style wraparound glasses are just incredible. Team them up with a simple v-neck tee, a pair of cropped trousers and some espadrilles, you'll look the bomb. Can't imagine Obi-Wan adopting that look mind. Good photoshopping by the way." Liar.
Cooler than: A carbonite office table.

Style: Clubmaster
Our expert says: "Square-jawed blokes get the honour of wearing the clubmaster. They were without doubt last year's hipster frame of choice and are sure to be everywhere this summer. It's a difficult frame to pull off, because they're so top heavy and square. Blokes with strong jaw lines should try them, but everyone else beware."
Cooler than: When Star Wars meets football.

Style: 80's visor glasses
Our expert says: "This is a really bold statement. This style was very big, very briefly in the 80s, but was even a bit outlandish then. Whether we're sartorially enlightened enough to cope with them this time round, only time will tell. Personally I adore them, and Chewie here is really working them. They're big and heavy, so they'll suit long broad heads best but might overwhelm small, rounder face shapes."
Cooler than: A breakdance fight between Wookies and Ewoks. Brrrrap!

Surfing Snowboarding Skateboarding Dog — Tillman used to be "just" a skateboarding bulldog, but like Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson, Travis Pastrana and new Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, he's expanded his athletic prowess to new sports. While other bulldogs are killing time on the pavement, tongues hanging out in exhaustion, Tillman's hitting the skate parks, beaches and slopes. 2 days ago

Explosive Jackie O tapes 'reveal how she believed Lyndon B Johnson killed JFK and had affair with movie star'

By Liz Thomas

Former first lady Jackie Kennedy is said to have made the tapes within months of JFK's assassination

Former first lady Jackie Kennedy is said to have made the tapes within months of JFK's assassination

Jackie Onassis believed that Lyndon B Johnson and a cabal of Texas tycoons were involved in the assassination of her husband John F Kennedy, ‘explosive’ recordings are set to reveal.

The secret tapes will show that the former first lady felt that her husband’s successor was at the heart of the plot to murder him.

She became convinced that the then vice president, along with businessmen in the South, had orchestrated the Dallas shooting, with gunman Lee Harvey Oswald – long claimed to have been a lone assassin – merely part of a much larger conspiracy.

Texas-born Mr Johnson, who served as the state’s governor and senator, completed Mr Kennedy’s term and went on to be elected president in his own right.

The tapes were recorded with leading historian Arthur Schlesinger Jnr within months of the assassination on November 22, 1963, and had been sealed in a vault at the Kennedy Library in Boston.

The then Mrs Kennedy, who went on to marry Greek shipping tycoon Aristotle Onassis, had ordered that they should not be released until 50 years after her death, with some reports suggesting she feared that her revelations might make her family targets for revenge.

She died 17 years ago from cancer aged 64 and now her daughter, Caroline Kennedy, has agreed to release the recordings early.

John and Jackie Kennedy with daughter Caroline, who allowed the tapes to be released to ABC in return for their cancelling of the mini series about the family

John and Jackie Kennedy with daughter Caroline, who allowed the tapes to be released to ABC in return for their cancelling of the mini series about the family

Portrait of actor William Holden (1918-1981).
Portrait of actor William Holden (1918-1981).

Jackie is said to reveal her affair with actor William Holden, right, which she did in retaliation for her husband's many flings

In the tapes, Jackie allegedly blames President Lyndon Johnson for the death of JFK, who took over the post from her husband after his assassination

In the tapes, Jackie allegedly blames President Lyndon Johnson for the death of JFK, who took over the post from her husband after his assassination

Daughter Caroline Kennedy released the 'explosive' tapes

Daughter Caroline Kennedy released the 'explosive' tapes

A programme featuring the tapes will be aired by U.S. network ABC, and it is understood British broadcasters are in talks to show it here too.

ABC executives claimed the tapes’ revelations were ‘explosive’.

They are believed to include the suggestion that Mr Kennedy was having an affair with a 19-year-old White House intern, with his wife even claiming that she found knickers in their bedroom.

And they go on to reveal that she too had affairs – one with Hollywood star William Holden and another with Fiat founder Gianni Agnelli – as a result of the president’s indiscretions. It has also been claimed that, in the weeks before Mr Kennedy’s assassination, the couple had turned a corner in their relationship and were planning to have more children.

Historian Edward Klein, who has written several books on the Kennedy clan, said: ‘Jackie regarded the pretty young things in the White House as superficial flings for Jack. She did retaliate by having her own affairs.

‘There was a period during which she was delighted to be able to annoy her husband with her own illicit romances.’

It is believed that Caroline, 53, agreed to the early release of the tapes in exchange for ABC dropping its £10million drama series about the family.

The Kennedys, starring Tom Cruise’s wife Katie Holmes as Jackie, critically charted the family’s political and personal trials and tribulations since the 1930s. The series was eventually broadcast on an independent cable channel, and on BBC2 in the UK, against Caroline’s wishes.

A spokesman for ABC said the claims about the content of the tapes were 'erroneous'.

He said: ‘The actual content of the tapes provide unique and important insight into our recent past from one of the most fascinating and influential First Ladies in American history.’

The broadcaster did not reply to repeated requests for comment and would not clarify what was on the tapes, saying the programme was not scheduled for broadcast until mid-September.

98-year-old woman earns judo's highest degree black belt


Congratulations to Sensei Keiko Fukuda of San Francisco, who at ninety-eight-years-young just became the first woman ever promoted to judo's highest level: tenth dan (or degree) black belt. She is only the sixteenth person ever to achieve that distinction, and one of only four living judoka (judo practitioners) to reach judo's pinnacle. (The other three are all men living in Japan.)

While other women her age might worry about throwing out their hip, Fukuda is still teaching the art of hip throwing and hand techniques three times a week at a woman's dojo in Noe Valley, San Francisco. She gave up marriage to devote her life to the martial art known for balance, flexibility, and the maximum use of energy, in 1935.

As a young girl in Japan, she studied the traditional arts of calligraphy, flower arrangement, and tea ceremony, before moving on to become a four-foot-eleven asskicking machine. She is the last surviving student of Kano Jiguro, the founder of judo, who opened his first dojo, the Kodokan, in 1882.

Fukuda has battled gender discrimination her entire judo career, being stuck at fifth dan for thirty years due to a rule that disallowed women from being promoted any higher. That rule was finally changed in 1972, when she became the first woman ever promoted to sixth dan by the Kodokan. Fukuda taught judo at Mills College, a liberal arts women's college in Oakland, California, from 1967 to 1978. Her personal motto is "Be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong, both mentally and physically." Sensei Fukuda cried tears of joy upon learning of her tenth dan promotion by USA Judo, saying "All my life this has been my dream."

The Dutch Way: Bicycles and Fresh Bread

Robin Utrecht/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In the Netherlands, respect for bicycles is hard-wired into the culture.


Russell Shorto is the author of “The Island at the Center of the World” and a contributing writer at The New York Times Magazine. He is working on a book about Amsterdam.


AS an American who has been living here for several years, I am struck, every time I go home, by the way American cities remain manacled to the car. While Europe is dealing with congestion and greenhouse gas buildup by turning urban centers into pedestrian zones and finding innovative ways to combine driving with public transportation, many American cities are carving out more parking spaces. It’s all the more bewildering because America’s collapsing infrastructure would seem to cry out for new solutions.

Geography partly explains the difference: America is spread out, while European cities predate the car. But Boston and Philadelphia have old centers too, while the peripheral sprawl in London and Barcelona mirrors that of American cities.

More important, I think, is mind-set. Take bicycles. The advent of bike lanes in some American cities may seem like a big step, but merely marking a strip of the road for recreational cycling spectacularly misses the point. In Amsterdam, nearly everyone cycles, and cars, bikes and trams coexist in a complex flow, with dedicated bicycle lanes, traffic lights and parking garages. But this is thanks to a different way of thinking about transportation.

To give a small but telling example, pointed out to me by my friend Ruth Oldenziel, an expert on the history of technology at Eindhoven University, Dutch drivers are taught that when you are about to get out of the car, you reach for the door handle with your right hand — bringing your arm across your body to the door. This forces a driver to swivel shoulders and head, so that before opening the door you can see if there is a bike coming from behind. Likewise, every Dutch child has to pass a bicycle safety exam at school. The coexistence of different modes of travel is hard-wired into the culture.

This in turn relates to lots of other things — such as bread. How? Cyclists can’t carry six bags of groceries; bulk buying is almost nonexistent. Instead of shopping for a week, people stop at the market daily. So the need for processed loaves that will last for days is gone. A result: good bread.

There are also in the United States certain perceptions associated with both cycling and public transportation that are not the case here. In Holland, public buses aren’t considered last-resort forms of transportation. And cycling isn’t seen as eco-friendly exercise; it’s a way to get around. C.E.O.’s cycle to work, and kids cycle to school.

It’s true that public policy reinforces the egalitarianism. With mandatory lessons and other fees, getting a driver’s license costs more than $1,000. And taxi fares are kept deliberately high: a trip from the airport may cost $80, while a 20-minute bus ride sets you back about $3.50. But the egalitarianism — or maybe better said a preference for simplicity — is also rooted in the culture. A 17th-century French naval commander was shocked to see a Dutch captain sweeping out his own quarters. Likewise, I used to run into the mayor of Amsterdam at the supermarket, and he wasn’t engaged in a populist stunt (mayors aren’t elected here but are government appointees); he was shopping.

For American cities to think outside the car would seem to require a mental sea change. Then again, Americans, too, are practical, no-nonsense people. And Zef Hemel, the chief planner for the city of Amsterdam, reminded me that sea changes do happen. “Back in the 1960s, we were doing the same thing as America, making cities car-friendly,” he said. Funnily enough, it was an American, Jane Jacobs, who changed the minds of European urban designers. Her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” got European planners to shift their focus from car-friendliness to overall livability.

When I noted that Manhattan’s bike lanes seem to be used more for recreation than transport — cyclists in Amsterdam are dressed in everything from jeans to cocktail dresses, while those in Manhattan often look like spandex cyborgs — Mr. Hemel told me to give it time. “Those are the pioneers," he said. “You have to start somewhere.”

What he meant was, “You start with bike lanes” — that is, with the conviction that urban planning can bring about beneficial cultural changes. But that points up another mental difference: the willingness of Europeans to follow top-down social planning. America’s famed individualism breeds an often healthy distrust of the elite. I’m as quick as any other red-blooded American to bristle at European technocrats telling me how to live. (Try buying a light bulb or a magazine after 6 p.m. in Amsterdam, where the political elite have decreed that workers’ well-being requires that shops be open only during standard office hours, precisely when most people can’t shop.)

But while many Americans see their cars as an extension of their individual freedom, to some of us owning a car is a burden, and in a city a double burden. I find the recrafting of the city in order to lessen — or eliminate — the need for cars to be not just grudgingly acceptable, but, yes, an expansion of my individual freedom. So I say (in this case, at least): Go, social-planning technocrats! If only America’s cities could be so free.

Evidence Found For Space Created DNA


Its been speculated for years that the molecules found in meteorites that carry genetic instructions - the building blocks for life - were created during their epic flight to their new home, Earth. Recent scientific analysis supports the claims.

The Long-Shot Rifle That Can Drop a Taliban Fighter from 1.5 Miles Away


1.54 miles. That's the world's longest recorded sniper strike. It's the distance at which British Corporal Craig Harrison eliminated a Taliban machine gun team in Afghanistan in 2009. This is the gun he used: the L115A3 rifle.

Dubbed the Arctic Warfare Super Magnum, it uses a .338 Magnum caliber shell that combines the power and range of the traditional .50 BMG round with the maneuverability of the smaller 7.62 x 51 mm NATO cartridge. While the AWSM's rounds lack the overwhelming impact of their .50 cal brethren, they produce less recoil, report, and muzzle flash when fired (keeping the sniper better concealed) and are still strong enough to penetrate armored glass. They come in FMJ, hollow point, Armor Piercing and Armor Piercing Incendiary varieties.

The bolt-action AWSM has a 27-inch barrel constructed of a proprietary blend of stainless steel with an aluminum chassis and polymer stocksides. Its detachable steel magazine holds five rounds. The rifle is designed for accuracy up to 1,600 yards—wait, so how did Cpl Harrison eliminate the Taliban machine gun team with consecutive shots at nearly that double that distance?

As he described to the Times Online, while providing cover for providing covering fire for an Afghan national army patrol south of Musa Qala in Helmand Province, Afghanistan,

We saw two insurgents running through its [the Taliban compound's] courtyard, one in a black dishdasha, one in green...They came forward carrying a PKM machinegun, set it up and opened fire on the commander's wagon...Conditions were perfect, no wind, mild weather, clear visibility. I rested the bipod of my weapon on a compound wall and aimed for the gunner firing the machine gun.

The first round hit a machinegunner in the stomach and killed him outright. He went straight down and didn't move...The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too.

At that distance, the rounds took nearly three seconds to hit their targets despite exiting the barrel at three times the speed of sound. The official range per GPS measurement: 2,475 meters, or roughly 27 football fields.

The AWSM has also been credited with another incredible long-distance shot as well. British Corporal Christopher Reynolds killed an Afghan warlord suspected of coordinating attacks against British and American troops at a distance of 1.15 miles (1856 meters) in 2009. It was the previous longest sniper kill in the Afghanistan conflict.