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Showing posts from October, 2011

Madonna's Halloween Nightmare

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Parts 1, 2, and 3 can be found here and here.

BREAKING: Zombies attack

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More here!!

Dracula author's journal found

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Bram Stoker's private journal sat unnoticed on his great-grandson's bookshelf in England for at least a year.

Full of notes that would inform his legendary novel "Dracula" and other stories, the thin, unmarked book had probably been lugged down from the attic at some point, along with other things the Stoker family had passed down for more than a century and placed inconspicuously in Noel Dobbs' Isle of Wight home.

Then, one day not long ago, a researcher working on a project about Stoker got in touch with Dobbs to ask if he might know anything about a journal his famous relative kept. Dobbs looked around and finally popped open this tiny book. It was signed, "Abraham Stoker."

"It's kind of incredible, but Noel was rather blasé about it," laughed Dacre Stoker, Dobbs' cousin and a professor in South Carolina who has written a book about Bram Stoker. When news reached Dacre that the journal had been discovered, he cajoled his cousin into se…

The Sanderson Sisters
"I Put a Spell On You"

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Pick Me Up of the Day
Halloween Edition

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Rick Genest as featured on Homotography.

The Funnies
Halloween Edition

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Trick-or-Treat with the President and First Lady

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Like a good theme-dresser, Michelle Obama donned black and orange for yesterday's White House trick-or-treating.

Joined by President Obama, FLOTUS greeted area students and children of military families for Halloween, handing out cookies, "White House M&M's" and trail mix with plenty of dried fruit (gotta lower those child obesity rates!).

Although the kids showed up in a variety of fun get-ups (we spy an Angry Bird...), the First Lady kept it simple: black coat, black bejeweled bangles, boots and an orange striped dress.

Michelle's mother, Marian Robinson, got a little more creative with her rabbit costume, complete with ears and drawn-on whiskers.

Below, see video and pictures of the First Family celebrating Halloween!



(Via HuffPo)

Today anchors reveal Halloween costumes

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

--> These people have the BEST job!!!

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:

#1 Puss in Boots ($34M)
#2 Paranormal Activity 3 ($18.5M)
#3 In Time ($12M)
#4 Footloose ($5.4M)
#5 The Rum Diary ($5.01M)

The Funnies
Halloween Edition

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Halloween Light Show does LMFAO's
"Party Rock Anthem"

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As a follow up to yesterday's lights treat, I bring you this slightly less festive but very cool light show.

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Eduardo Coutinho as featured on Made in Brazil.

Rosie O' Donnell talks about new talk show

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Adele cancels all live dates and promotional appearances due to surgery

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From Adele's website:

It is with deep regret that Adele has been forced to cancel her remaining live dates and promotional appearances in 2011. She is to undergo surgery to alleviate the current issues with her throat and a full recovery is expected. As a result, doctors have ordered her to rest her voice and completely recuperate before looking to schedule any work commitments.

Ticket holders for all cancelled live dates will receive a refund from the point of purchase. We apologise for any inconvenience and disappointment caused, and appreciate your understanding during this time.

The cancelled US dates are:

October (US)
7th – Atlantic City, NJ – Borgata Spa
8th – Durham, NC – Performing Arts Center
10th – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
11th – Asheville, NC – Thomas Wolfe Auditorium
13th – Orlando, FL – Hard Rock Live
14th – Miami, FL – Waterfront Theatre <-- argh!
16th – Atlanta, GA – Fox Theatre
18th – Spring, TX – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion
19th – Austin, TX – Frank Erwin Cente…

Glee's Darren Criss sings "Last Friday Night"

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In related news: The Glee cast celebrated its 300th musical performance this week. Glee returns November 1 at 8 p.m. on FOX, with its 300th musical performance airing in the November 15 episode!

Melissa McCarthy is Divine

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File this under epic win: Melissa McCarthy channels the late muse of John Waters in EW's new issue.

(Via Towleroad)

Occupy Wall Street Update

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Photo caption: Protesters gather at the Vancouver Art Gallery as thousands participate in the Occupy Vancouver protest on October 15, 2011. (Via Big Picture Blog)

--> Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times explains why OWS is not anti-capitalist:Whenever I write about Occupy Wall Street, some readers ask me if the protesters really are half-naked Communists aiming to bring down the American economic system when they’re not doing drugs or having sex in public.

The answer is no. That alarmist view of the movement is a credit to the (prurient) imagination of its critics, and voyeurs of Occupy Wall Street will be disappointed. More important, while alarmists seem to think that the movement is a “mob” trying to overthrow capitalism, one can make a case that, on the contrary, it highlights the need to restore basic capitalist principles like accountability.

To put it another way, this is a chance to save capitalism from crony capitalists.

In recent years, some financiers have chosen to li…

Global population to hit 7 billion this month

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Trying to assess the importance of the United Nations' upcoming celebration of the global population reaching 7 billion is sort of like trying to assess the meaning of life.

Perhaps the occasion will allow us to realize that we need to pay more attention to better tracking our growth and impact - our literal footprint on Earth. For some, there will be the typical celebrations: a baby wrapped in a blanket declared the 7 billionth person to enter this world as hospitals debate which baby was actually the one that hit the marker, similar to what has happened with milestones in the past. (If you're curious where you fall in the mix, Population Action International has a handy "What's your number?" interactive based on your birth date.)

But it seems like this time around, if social media and traditional media are any indication, this milestone is about a little more than just balloons and fanfare. The Wall Street Journal wrote:
"While seven billion is a nice round …

In conspiring to steal historical documents, aide pleads guilty

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CNN reports: A 24-year-old assistant to a presidential historian pleaded guilty yesterday in federal court in Baltimore to conspiring to steal historical documents from museums for hundreds of thousands of dollars in personal profit, according a statement from federal and local authorities in Maryland.

Jason Savedoff, assistant to self-styled presidential historian Barry Landau, admitted to conspiring to steal valuable old documents from museums in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York and Connecticut, the statement said.

The stolen items include documents signed by Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin and Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Authorities say the papers signed by Lincoln alone are worth about $300,000, and presidential inaugural ball invitations and programs are believed to be worth $500,000 prosecutors said.

Landau, 63, is an author and frequent television guest as a presidential historian. He claims to have had relationships with several presidents including John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, G…

Sex change case tests France's gay marriage ban

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Reuters reports: A French citizen who changed sex to become a woman but stayed with her wife of 15 years and their children is seeking legal recognition for her altered status, in a case that could reopen debate over France's ban on same-sex marriage.

Wilfrid Avrillon, a 41-year-old computer engineer, became Chloe Avrillon after a sex switch operation five years ago and still lives with wife Marie-Jeanne, a lesbian, and their three children in the west of France.

Avrillon presented her case to court officials in a closed-door hearing yesterday and is now waiting for a ruling in mid-December, her lawyer said.

"We've been waiting for years for recognition of families like ours, which may be atypical but work well," Chloe Avrillon told reporters.

France's constitutional ban on same-sex marriages was upheld by the country's highest constitutional authority last January in a case brought by two women.

Avrillon's case is different to the extent that the wedding prec…

The Funnies
Halloween Edition

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The Great Pumpkin turns 45

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The classic It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown is celebrating its 45th anniversary today. Meaning, if Great Pumpkin were a marriage, this would be its sapphire anniversary. Good grief!

The classic Peanuts gang Halloween special originally aired on October 27, 1966. It airs tonight on ABC at 8 p.m. ET.

CNN spoke to Neil Cole, President and CEO of Iconix Brand Group, which owns Peanuts Worldwide as a joint venture with the family of Charles Schulz.

"Charles Schulz and the 'Peanuts' characters continue to hold up," said Cole. "They're so human...I think a lot of people can relate to Charlie Brown and how it's not a wonderful night for him - he ends up with a lot of rocks. It kind of makes it special - when you do get the candy - that some of us don't always get the candy, and so I think there's a special story in there."

As for "Great Pumpkin's" ratings over the years, Cole told CNN "It's amazing! Last year we had, I b…

Halloween Light Show set to "This is Halloween"

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From the battlefield to the alter: a military marriage story

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The Huffington Post tells the story of two gay soldiers now living happily and freely:

Captain Adam Harmon is now 31 and the intelligence officer for a military police battalion at Fort Riley, Kansas. His partner, Captain Pete Bennett's picture sits openly on his desk in the headquarters building. And, for the past two weeks, Adam has worn a wedding ring on his left hand.

They were married on Oct. 8, just 19 days after the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell." Because of privacy laws, the Department of Defense has no data on how many gay and lesbian servicemembers have married since the Sept. 20 change. But Adam and Pete are surely among the first couples to test the limits of the Army's acceptance under the new policy.

The pair are familiar with uncomfortable moments, mostly in the form of insults shouted from cars when they hold hands in the street. And when they attempted to register at a Macy's in Columbus, Ga., where Pete was on temporary duty at Fort Benn…

Google Apps users finally get Google+

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Google announced today a number of updates to its Google+ social network, including the ability to access the service via Google Apps.

Google+ is also getting a trending topics of sorts called "What's Hot," a feature that will let you track the popularity of posts, and a photo-editing tool.

On the Google Apps front, those who use the service for school, work, or at home can now integrate with Google+.

"Starting now you can manually turn on Google+ for your organization," Ronald Ho, a Google product manager, said in a blog post. "Once Google+ is turned on, your users will just need to sign up at google.com/+ to get started. For customers who use Google Apps for Business or the free version of Google Apps and who have chosen to automatically enable new services, Google+ will automatically become available to all of your users over the next several days."

The Google Apps version will have the same features as the regular Google+, with a few perks. "In a…

Hankering for a spankering

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Never one to shy away from controversy Steven Meisel has collaborated with Edward Enniful at W magazine & littered nine fake ads throughout the magazine.

The one above is for for Tantrum undies.

Slapped bums applied by make-up artist extraordinaire Pat McGrath.

(Via Attitude)

Pick Me Up of the Day

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X Factor host Steve Jones as featured on Attitude Mag.

(Via Kenneth in the 212)

Spielberg defends worst scene in last Indiana Jones film

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EW's Darren Franich reports:
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull is not a very good movie.

Actually, it's less of a movie than a horrific catalogue of everything that is miserable and boring in modern Hollywood: The urge to sequelize into infinity, the paycheck-gravitas of great British actors, the redefinition of "plot" as "a series of digitalized set-pieces signifying nothing," the notion of Shia LaBeouf as an action hero, the notion that Russians still make interesting villains, the limits of Cate Blanchett's greatness [Ed. note: ouch], but, most of all, the TV-ification of movie stardom, whereby every movie star is only really a star when they're sleepwalking through reheated incarnations of their most iconic roles. (See also: Renée Zellweger, Sylvester Stallone, everyone who has ever starred in a superhero movie besides Christian Bale, the cast of Fast Five, the cast of Twilight.)

But Crystal Skull was directed by Steven Spielberg, …

Trailer for new Studio Ghibli film released

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The Secret World of Arrietty comes out in February.

Adele tops the charts yet again

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ArtsBeat reports: Adele continued to dominate the music charts with what is far and away the most popular album of the year as her album 21 rose once again to the No. 1 slot on the Billboard album chart.

The British soul singer has now spent 13 weeks this year on top of the chart and sold more than 4.1 million records, more than double the next best-selling album, Lady Gaga’s Born This Way,according to Nielsen SoundScan. No album has had more than four million sales in one year since 2005, when Mariah Carey’s Emancipation of Mimi sold 4.97 million copies.

Adele’s feat overshadowed a strong debut showing for Casting Crowns, a Christian rock act that had been projected to do well with its new album Come to the Well. But in the end, people bought 99,000 copies of the Casting Crown recording over the last week and the group had to settle for runner-up.

One other new album made it into the top 10: the R&B singer Joe sold 33,000 copies of his new The Good, the Bad, the Sexy putting him at…

The geography of inequality

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The Advocate reports: As social science research over the past three decades confirms, children of same-sex parents are as healthy and well-adjusted as those raised by opposite-sex parents. And, as U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn Walker noted in his 2010 opinion striking down California's Proposition 8, “[t]he children of same-sex couples benefit when their parents can marry.”

But the national legal landscape does not reflect either reality. Marriage is not an option for gays and lesbians in the vast majority of states, including several, such as Mississippi and Alaska, where more than 25% of same-sex couples are raising children, according to the Williams Institute.

And a report released yesterday further illustrates how enduring discriminatory laws, both state and federal, create barriers to adoption, treat gay partners as legal strangers in medical decision-making situations, and impose greater tax burdens on LGBT families, among other inequities.

An estimated two million childre…

Mo'Nique on marriage equality

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Mo'Nique has recorded a video in support of marriage equality as part of HRC's Americans for Marriage Equality campaign:

(Via Towleroad)

The Funnies
Occupy Wall Street Edition

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By Pat Bagley

Occupy Wall Street update

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--> Occupy Oakland: Veering around police barricades, anti-Wall Street protesters held a late-night march through Oakland streets, a day after one of their number — an Iraq War veteran — was left in critical condition with a fractured skull following a clash with police.

The show of force in Oakland along with SWAT arrests in Atlanta have sent chills among some anti-Wall Street demonstrators, and protesters elsewhere rallied in support around the injured veteran, Scott Olsen.

Another showdown between police and protesters in Oakland appeared to be averted late Wednesday night as several hundred filed out of a plaza declared off-limits for overnight use and marched through nearby streets. More at the AP.

--> Occupy Wall Street NYC: More than a month into the occupation, protesters have turned a full city block in the heart of Lower Manhattan into a campground. A sea of dozens of blue, red and orange tents dominates Zuccotti Park. Whether in an official policy shift or a simple bow t…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Bernardo Velasco as featured on Made in Brazil.

Darren Criss surprise serenades composer Alan Menken at conference

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Oscar-winning composer Alan Menken, who wrote the music for The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and many more on Monday recieved this year's Billboard / Hollywood Reporter Maestro Award.

Billboard Editorial Director Bill Werde presented Menken with the award after introducing him as "the Babe Ruth of composers."

"My favorite part about [his] career is that at some point in the '80s, BMI gave [him] a lifetime achievement award for his work on Broadway -- and then he went on to win eight Academy Awards," Werde marveled from the stage.

In a lengthy chat that was heavy on wisecracks, Menken and Werde discussed Menken's early interest in songwriting (which eventually included inspiration from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan), his transition from Broadway to Disney, his non-Disney work (his song in this summer's Captain America: The First Avenger, said Menken, was "deliberately an homage to Irving Berlin") and his multip…

Grace Kelly film in the works

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She left the big screen for good in 1956, going from High Society to the high society. Now, nearly 30 years after her death, the late Princess of Monaco will take another turn in the movies.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, European producer Pierre-Ange Le Pogam has won the rights to an in-demand spec script about one of Grace Kelly's greatest triumphs in her second life as Monacan royalty. The film will focus on the six month period in 1962 in which Princeess Grace used her smarts and charms to save the small nation's government from being overthrown by the French.

The basic history goes like this: French President Charles de Gaulle was unhappy that Monaco was a prime tax shelter for his citizens, and told Prince Rainier III that if they didn't change their laws in half a year's time, there would be repercussions. That's when Kelly sprung into action, using her smarts and charm on the European political system in much the same way she did in Hollywood.

Kelly was …

Olly Murs
"Dance With Me Tonight"

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Broadway recruits Nick Jonas to boost Kids’ Night attendance

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ArtsBeat reports: To help increase ticket sales for its annual Kids’ Night on Broadway, New York theater owners and producers have recruited a former Broadway kid himself, pop idol Nick Jonas, as the 2012 spokesman for the five-day program in February.

The 19-year-old Mr. Jonas appeared on Broadway as a boy in Les Misérables, Beauty and the Beast and Annie Get Your Gun before achieving pinup status as a member of the Jonas Brothers band, and on Jan. 24 he will take over the lead role of J. Pierrepont Finch in the Broadway revival of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Yesterday, the Broadway League announced that Mr. Jonas would be its official face of Kids’ Night, which runs Feb. 5 to 9 and allows 6-to-18-year-olds to attend Broadway shows free when accompanied by adults who pay for full-price tickets. One aim of Kids’ Night is to fill seats during a traditionally weak month at Broadway box offices, when many families do not make weeknight theater plans because of homewor…

Amy Winehouse cause of death revealed

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Amy Winehouse consumed "a very large quantity of alcohol" before dying at her London home, a pathologist said today as she declared Winehouse's demise "death by misadventure."

The inquest, at London's St. Pancras Coroner's Office and Court, settled an earlier question of whether alcohol played a role in the 27-year-old singer's death. An autopsy immediately after she was found dead in a bed in her London flat revealed no cause of death. Toxicology tests followed.

The Back to Black singer had had public bouts with alcohol and drug abuse. She was frail and reportedly suffered from emphysema due to smoking cigarettes and crack cocaine.

Her family believed Winehouse was kicking her dangerous habits. At one point a British tabloid quoted family members as saying she may have died from detoxing from alcohol too abruptly.

However, St. Pancras coroner Suzanne Greenway found that Winehouse "had consumed sufficient alcohol at 416 mg per decilitre (of blood) …

Dancing With the Stars makes its 6th cut

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[Editor's note] Caution: this post contains a spoiler.

All good things invariably come to an end. Such was the case last night for Chaz Bono on Dancing With the Stars.

The author and transgender activist was eliminated last night after he struggled with a difficult tango on Monday's performance show. Nevertheless, Bono was pleased with how his run on the show turned out.

"I got farther than I thought I would," Bono told CNN after the show. "I had an amazing time with (pro partner Lacey Schwimmer) every day. "I'm so grateful that I did it."

Though his dances were far from perfect, you can’t fault the guy for trying, and for a good cause. He stuck in the competition through painful injuries and tough criticism from the judges, all to “show America a different kind of man,” as Bono said after his elimination.

“If there was somebody like me on TV when I was growing up, my whole life would’ve been different,” he explained. “So I dedicate everything I did to …

A sign of the times

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Photo caption: Occupy Wall Street protesters and students demonstrate in Foley Square in New York City on Oct. 5.

Another idea for student loan debt: Make it go away

College prices up again as states slash budgets

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Photo caption: Gan Golan, of Los Angeles, dressed as the "Master of Degrees," holds a ball and chain representing his college loan debt, during Occupy DC activities in Washington on Oct. 6.

The AP reports: Average in-state tuition and fees at four-year public colleges rose an additional $631 this fall, or 8.3%, compared with a year ago.

Nationally, the cost of a full credit load has passed $8,000, an all-time high. Throw in room and board, and the average list price for a state school now runs more than $17,000 a year, according to the twin annual reports on college costs and student aid published Wednesday by the College Board.

Helping drive the national numbers were huge tuition increases at public universities in California, which enrolls 10 percent of public four-year college students and whose 21% tuition increase this year was the largest of any state.

But even without California, prices would have increased 7% on average nationally — an exceptional burden at a time of hig…

Obama to offer student loan relief

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The AP reports: Millions of student loan borrowers will be eligible to lower their payments and consolidate their loans under a plan President Barack Obama intends to announce tomorrow, the White House said.

Obama will use his executive authority to provide student loan relief in two ways. First, he will accelerate a measure passed by Congress that reduces the maximum repayment on student loans from 15% of discretionary income annually to 10%. The White House wants it to go into effect in 2012, instead of 2014. In addition, the White House says the remaining debt would be forgiven after 20 years, instead of 25. About 1.6 million borrowers could be affected.

Second, he will allow borrowers who have loans from both the Family Education Loan Program and a direct loan from the government to consolidate them into one loan. The consolidated loan would be up to a half percentage point less. This could affect 5.8 million more borrowers.

Education Secretary Arne Duncan told reporters on a confere…

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Martin Pichler as featured on Homotography.

Coldplay
"Paradise"

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Coldplay's new album, Mylo Xyloto, was released yesterday.

Gutters imagines an X-Men morning

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The headline reads: The Beast With The Adamantium Back

(Via Gutters)

Miss Piggy dons designer duds

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The Marquee Blog reports: Ever the fashionista, Miss Piggy is making other muppets green with envy thanks to a shoot with InStyle magazine.

The snappy diva flaunted her figure in a series of designer wares for the fashion mag's November issue, including a fringed, lacy black number from Jason Wu, and the silk, cinched-waist dress from Prabal Gurung, as seen above.

As InStyle notes, Miss Piggy has nary a wrinkle on her smooth snout, despite being in the biz for 35 years. However, don't expect any stay young tips - she tells the magazine, "I was, as the saying goes, born this way: Perfect."

"It's a gift, but one must take care of it each and every day - ideally with the help of a humongous team of stylists, personal trainers, doctors, lawyers and other sycophants," she admits. "When one begins at such a high level, one really doesn't need much help - but I figure, why the heck not?"

Of course, InStyle had to get the deets on what's really go…

Bette Midler unveils personal items for auction

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

AMC orders a third season of The Walking Dead

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ArtsBeat reports: After a recent episode of The Walking Dead that vividly revealed the contents of a zombie’s stomach, AMC has decided it still has a healthy appetite for that popular series about the survivors of an undead apocalypse.

Today the cable channel said it was ordering a third season of The Walking Dead, which is adapted from the popular Image Comics series and has turned into – if you’ll pardon the awful pun – a monster hit for the home of prestigious series like Mad Men and Breaking Bad.
The second-season premiere of the show, broadcast on Oct. 16, set a ratings record for AMC, drawing 7.3 million viewers in total and 4.8 million were ages 18 to 49, making it the highest-rated drama episode ever on cable in that age category. [Ed. note: That's because it's awesome TV!]
AMC did not immediately say when production on new episodes of The Walking Dead would begin; it made no mention of which characters will survive to Season 3, or what would be left of them.

Netflix stock plummets

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Reuters reports: Netflix Inc's shares plunged almost 40 percent on Tuesday and were set to open at their lowest level since March last year, a day after the movie rental company warned of higher subscriber attrition and mounting costs.

On Monday, the company said it would see more cancellations as it grapples with the fallout from a price increase and other unpopular moves, including a failed attempt to split its online and DVD services into two separate companies.

"We believe the NFLX model is unsustainable, as the company faces rising costs that it hoped it could pass onto its (subscribers), who appear unwilling to do so," Janney Capital Markets said in a note to clients. The brokerage cut its rating on the stock to "sell."

The company that shook up Hollywood with its DVD-by-mail service has seen its shares plummet since July, when it announced a price rise for subscribers who wanted both DVDs and streaming. Since then, its market value has shrunk by about $9.76…

Gay kiss in high school musical causes stir

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Weekend box office

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Weekend Top Five:
#1 Paranormal Activity 3 ($54M)
#2 Real Steel ($11.3M)
#3 Footloose ($10.8M)
#4 The Three Musketeers ($8.8M)
#5 The Ides of March ($4.9M)

Jerry Curl was out for a birthday bash

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[Editor's note] The Curl took a back seat this weekend because I was enjoying some time off for my birthday. Your editor is now writing as a 26 years old. They say with age comes wisdom. Well, I'm still looking for that all over the place.
Anyway, blogging will be on the lighter side this week as I have tons of stuff to work on. Cheers!

Pick Me Up of the Day

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Manuel as featured on Homotography.

Rihanna
"We Found Love"

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Occupy Wall Street: Day 34

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--> Occupy TV: The ad above will begin airing nationally. They ad: "This may well be the first time a protest movement will air a positive branding ad." (Via Towleroad)

--> Alisha L. Gordon, M.Ed., Founder of "Finding the Pieces", writes an excellent piece about the deferment of the American dream:Who is here to help us? Who will aid the American people who chased the American Dream, went to college, started a business or pursued a passion only to get to the end of the road of "promise and prosperity" and have no job or capital to help fund their way from dream to reality? Occupy Any Street is exactly that. It is an occupation, a takeover for the American Dream. Reclaiming the promise made through the blood, sweat, and tears of the people before us. It is not subject to race, nationality, or religion. It is, in fact, a universal promise made to those who call themselves American citizens.

More headlines:

--> 10 Media-created myths about OWS debunked