Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Shop Cheap

We're thinking orange and black
It's the season for orange and black - at the grocery store and at the ballpark. As the stores gear up for Halloween, baseball fans are gearing up for what could be a Giant Halloween treat!
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. It's a rather routine week in the grocery world with a mix of BOGOs, coupons and weekend specials. Here's what we like:
If you haven't already, be sure to sign up for Raley's Friday Freebie. Sure, it's designed to get shoppers into the store on Friday, but the freebie is always something useful. We're liking the produce values this week at Raley's. Fuji apples, green beans and pears are all 97-cents a pound. Iceberg lettuce is 57-cents a head; pomegranates are 2/$3 and strawberries are BOGO.
If you're clippin' check out the coupons for 7-UP or A&W liters at 79-cents each; a case of Aquafina drinking water for $3.33; Oscar Mayer franks for $1.99; Eggo waffles for $1.50 and Crystal Geyser spring water - 59-cents a gallon.
Other stuff: Prego pasta sauce is $1.89; Ronzoni pasta is 89-cents; and 18-pack of eggs is $1.98 and Sunnyside Farms yogurt is 48-cents a cup. Dennison's chili is 99-cents a can and Minute Maid OJ is 2/$4.
In the sweet category, dessert for 2 is BOGO (it's now dessert for 4); Skinny Cow ice cream treats are $3.99 and Haagen Daz ice cream is $2.50 with coupon.
If Safeway is your haunt, bagged Halloween candy is on sale at $2 each when you buy 4; pumpkins are BOGO. Here's another deal that has possibilities - buy 2-12 packs of Coke and get 2 - 12 packs free PLUS two free boxes of Nabisco crackers.
Craving sausage? Aidells varieties - including chicken/apple - are $4.99 and Saag's smoked sausage is 2/$7. Foster Farms whole chickens are 79-cents a pound; top sirloin steak is $2.99lb and ground turkey breast is BOGO.
In produce, bananas are 37-cents a pound; avocados are $1 each; pomegranates are 2/$5; raspberries are 2/$6 and bell pepper is 99-cents each.
Clip-worthy coupons include a dozen eggs for 99-cents; Simply Juice or Minute Maid Enhanced juices for $2.49. Arrowhead water is $2.99 a case. Quaker instand oatmeal is BOGO; Safeway breads are $1.50  a loaf and tahe $5 Friday special is 8-piece chicken.
Heading over to Save Mart for great produce: Avocado for 50-cents; asparagus for $1.47lb; pomegranates 2/$3; pumpkins 3/$9.99 and BOGO raspberries.
Foster Farms savory chicken breasts are $3.99lb. Minute Maid Enhanced drinks or Simply juices are 2/$5. Bertolli frozen entrees are $5.99 and 18-count fresh eggs are $1.79.
If Henry's is in your neighborhood, there's a BOGO bonanza at that store. Annie's Mac & Cheese; Hansen;s juices; Kettle Chips; Haagen Daz; Cascade yogurt; strawberries; Earthbound salads, seedless watermelon and Volcanic whole bean coffee - just to name a few.
In produce, apples are 59-cents a pound; black seedless grapes are 98-cents a pound and white corn on the cob is 3/$1.
Boneless, skinless chicken breasts are $1.88lb and top sirloin steak is $2.88lb.
Come back on Thursday for recipes from the Shop Cheap Kitchen.

GateHouse News Service
I have a friend whose worst fears when her husband travels is that an appliance will die or the dog will run away or the car will break down.
For me, it is the fear that one of my kids will need help with their math homework.
I was not always mathaphobic. There was a very, very short window when I was able to help the kids with their homework confidently and with a high degree of accuracy. Unfortunately this window slammed shut when the kids were in, oh, about fourth grade. That’s when they started to move away from addition, subtraction, multiplication and division to the other stuff. The other stuff would include fractions, geometry, algebra, and all those other math disciplines that cause my eyes to glaze over and my brain to shut down.
It’s not that I’m an idiot. We have already determined that I am a genius because I know when it is time to change an empty roll of toilet paper. Furthermore, I can write a heck of a persuasive essay, and I can hold my own in a conversation with a French toddler. However, when it comes to math, I seem to be frustratingly deficient. I’m pretty sure that when you-know-who was passing out brains for school subjects, I got an extra helping of language arts, but got passed over for math.
This has not been a huge problem for me in life. I have never found myself in a situation where I needed to know if something I was purchasing for my living room was a rhomboid or a trapezoid. I have always managed to balance my checkbook and measure out the ingredients for recipes and get the right size collar for the dog without knowing his mass versus his weight versus the circumference of his neck. Sure, I’m not able to postulate the depth of a black hole, but who the heck needs to know that when they are buying shoes, anyway? And just in case you think I really am that shallow, I do know that the size of a black hole is given by GM/c2, but I have no idea what G, M or c are, or why you have to double them (the c’s, that is).
This math thing really did not present any problem at all until I had kids. Suddenly I became that parent. The one who can’t help them figure out if 20 people in a factory make 43 shoes in [(3)^.5] / 2 hours, then how many shoes do they make in an eight-hour day?
“As long as they make the shoe I want in a size nine medium, who cares how many they can make in an eight-hour day,” I responded when this question was posed to me by my oldest child.
“I care because if I can’t figure it out, I will get a zero on this assignment,” said my son.
I grumbled something about trapezoids and black holes and then told him to call his father.
Eventually the kids stopped asking me for help with their math altogether. Then they even stopped asking me the time, figuring the mere mention of numbers would set me into a tailspin. Finally, whenever a number came up around me, it was spelled.
“When is dinner?” asked my son.
“Mom said it would be ready in t-e-n minutes,” responded my daughter.
“Hello, I can’t do quadratic equations, but I can spell, you know,” I shouted and stomped out of the room.
“The kids think I’m an idiot because I can’t do math,” I complained to my husband.
“They don’t think you are an idiot,” he said. “Besides, not everyone can be good at everything. You are a great writer and you are incredibly creative and organized.”
I smiled and kissed him. “Thanks, honey. I appreciate that.”
“No problem.”
“So can you come down for dinner?” I asked as I started to leave the room.
“Sure,” he said brightly. “I’ll be down in f-i-v-e.”

Randolph County Herald Tribune

Chester, Ill. — Another long road trip for the Chester football squad resulted in another big win Friday night. The Yellow Jackets crashed Fairfield's homecoming party and defeated the Mules 42-16. 
 Chester's defense continues to show why they are one of the best in the area. They held Fairfield to only 97 yards rushing and 94 yards passing. Fairfield's first scoring drive and two point-conversion did briefly give the Mules an 8-7 lead, but their only other score came at the end of the third quarter when Chester had already put the game out of reach.
 Chester's defense also recovered two fumbles and intercepted two Fairfield pass attempts.
 Chester's six scoring drives were capped off by a one-yard run by Stephen Roth, a 53-yard pass from Zach Lochhead to Clint Cole, a 12-yard run by Baughman, a nine-yard run by Baughman, a one-yard run by Lochhead and a 30-yard run by Blake Nanney.
 Chester's balanced rushing attack included 77 yards by Roth, 76 by Cole and 75 by Baughman. Nanney finished with 34 yards, Zane Wallace added 21 and Lochhead had one. Lochhead also completed two passes in three attempts for 66 yards. One pass was the previously mentioned touchdown play to Cole for 53 yards. The other completion was to Baughman for 13 yards.
 The Yellow Jackets return to action Friday night when they host Hamilton County at 7:00 in their final home game of the regular season.

Four candidates seek Twp. Committee seats The Luxury Spot News gathers all the the luxury spot story from a ton of place around the web – Check back very often to stay updated on the luxury spot related news as as it’s happening.
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Four candidates seek Twp. Committee seats
— Jacqueline Hlavenka Four candidates are vying for two open seats on the Holmdel Township Committee in the municipal election on Nov. 2. Incumbent five-term Mayor Serena DiMaso, a Republican, is seeking re-election. DiMaso’s running mate, newcomer Eric Hinds, is seeking a three-year term on the Township Committee. read more
Read more on Independent

Charlie Banana™ Now Available at
Charlie Banana™  the international, luxury brand of modern cloth diapers and eco-friendly, organic baby products, are now available at T including the One Size 2-in-1 Eco Diapering System, Swim Diapers and Reusable Double Organic Wipes.
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The luxury spot: Target, This Is Inappropriate: Uhhhhh. Really Target? I found this today while shopping for some …

Black Chicken Power

Well la DEE da, the New York Times is making it hip to eat black chicken. High time, too, since in all objective terms, the black chicken, an wuji in China, a Silkie elsewhere, is the go-to bird. If you can get past the color barrier you’re in for a treat: complex, delicate meat with way more soul than its poor white factory-farmed relatives. Besides, black chicken has nutritive properties the Chinese have sworn by since Lu Dongbing used it for his immortality pills back in the 9th century. Here are a few easy recipes to convince you.
Black Chicken Soup
1 black chicken, whole, skinned and cut into big chunks
1 teaspoon of salt
50 grams of ginseng roots, chopped
1/8 cup dried Chinese wolf berries (Otherwise known as the Tibetan Gouji Berry  or Lycium chinense)
15 seeded dried Chinese dates (hongzao)
8 cups of water
No doubt you’re wondering where the potatoes and carrots are. This soup is as much medicine as it is sustenance, a must for Chinese women pregnant and post-natal, renowned for restoring yin energy. Call it rejuvenating your kidneys and liver if you don’t believe in such FDA non-sanctioned mumbo jumbo.
Just rub those chicken chunks lightly with salt, then toss the whole shebang in a big pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer for three and a half hours. Voila, over two liters of refined taste sensation, and a tonic even more potent than Mamalah’s kosher version.
Black Chicken Soup, Version 2
Add some papaya and almonds to the first recipe. This will filter toxins from your blood and cleanse the lungs, and add a sweet note that will change what you think goes with chicken.
1 whole black chicken (rinsed, chopped)
1 papaya (peeled, diced)
20 grams of ginseng roots, chopped
40g sweet almonds
2 Chinese dates
5 cups of water
Boil the chicken separately for five minutes this time, then add the other ingredients. After they’re boiling, turn them down to a slow simmer for just two hours. Add salt to taste.
Stir-Fried Black Chicken
Theoretically, black chicken can do anything white can. But it’s a shame to mask its unique flavor with breading or glaze, and black chicken is softer, with less fat.
1 whole black chicken cut into small pieces
2 spoonfuls of light soy sauce
2 spoonfuls of sweet black soy sauce
2 cloves of minced garlic
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, minced
Four tablespoons of light oil
First sauté the ginger until golden brown, then add the chicken and garlic . Once the chicken is changing color, add the soy sauce and stir fry for another eight to ten minutes. Just remember moistness is a virtue, and dryness a sin.

Garlic, Black Pepper and Blue Cheese Chicken Wings

While I am a HUGE fan of Buffalo Wings, I’ve found that over time my taste for wings has evolved to favor sauces a little more multi-dimensional (and not scorchingly hot) in nature. The base for this sauce is a slight twist on Ming Tsai’s Black Pepper-Garlic Sauce (Simply Ming: Easy Techniques for East-Meets-West Meals) , which he serves with a fabulous lobster dish at his restaurant “Blue Ginger”. Ever since I tried that amazing meal, I’ve been twisting his sauce to and fro to satisfy the requirements of a number of different culinary whims.
I modify it to use as a wing sauce by adding an herbal note with fresh thyme, and of course, some blue cheese! The nam pla and blue cheese add a salty tang, the garlic, a pungent bite, the black pepper a mellow, slow burn, and the butter smooths it all just enough to let you enjoy the bold flavors without forcing you to reach for a fire extinguisher.  We had these for dinner the other night with a fresh green salad and some crusty bread, but they'd be great as part of a game day spread as you root for your favorite team this football season.
2 pounds chicken wings, cut at the joint, tips removed and reserved for another purpose.
1 tablespoon canola oil 
25 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup scallions, white and green parts only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon (heaping) coarsley-ground black pepper
2 cups dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium canned chicken broth
3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
Juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cups crumbled blue cheese
2 teaspoons finely minced fresh thyme
canola or corn oil for frying

Heat large sauté pan over high heat. Add the oil and swirl to coat the pan. Add the garlic and cook until starting to soften, about 2 minutes. Add the scallions and black pepper, and stir. Add the wine, stock, fish sauce, and lemon juice and cook until the liquid is reduced by half, about 8-10 minutes.
Remove from the heat, and let cool about 5 minutes. Transfer the mixture to a blender and blend on high speed to purée. With the blender running, add the butter one piece at a time to form a creamy sauce.
Take 1 cup of the garlic pepper sauce and place it in a bowl. Whisk in the blue cheese and minced thyme, taste for seasoning and add salt if desired, set aside. Reserve the rest of the sauce, refrigerated for a later use.
Preheat oven to 350 ℉
Place the chicken wings on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for 40 minutes.
In large sauce pot or fryer, heat 3-inches of the canola or corn oil, or enough to prevent wings from touching the bottom of the pan, to 375 ℉. Add the baked chicken wings to the oil and cook for about 4-5 minutes, or until crispy and golden brown. Remove the chicken wings from the oil and drain on paper towels.
Add the wings to the bowl of sauce and toss well to coat. Dump the whole mess onto a platter, or better yet, gather around the bowl and dig in!

Recipe: Apple and Country Ham Risotto Black Chicken Updates has all the black chicken story from a ton of corner of the world wide web – Come around often to keep up to date on black chicken related news headlines as as it’s happening.
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Recipe: Apple and Country Ham Risotto
Apples, hard cider and country ham star in this risotto recipe.
Read more on Seattle Times

Cooking at Home: Mary Claire White
Mary Claire White sums up her cooking in three words: healthy, fresh and inexpensive. But she didn’t always cook that way.
Read more on Memphis Commercial Appeal

Pet expert visits for McKamey fundraiser Paws Around the World
Victoria Stilwell, host of Animal Planet’s popular show “It’s Me or the Dog,” will be in Chattanooga on Friday evening as the guest speaker at McKamey Animal Care and Adoption Center’s new fundraiser, Paws Around the World.
Read more on Chattanooga Times Free Press

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Black Chicken Must See | The meat can be either chicke…

The Silky Chicken or Black Chicken

this is a rare bird indeed!
well, on my hunt for the "out-of-the-ordinary" i came across this lovely(?) looking creature...YIKES! can i just say YIKES again.  i must say.......this one finally stumped me. you might know i'm pretty adventurous with foods.  i'm no Andrew Zimmer, but i like to go for the strange stuff.  i find a good challenge and give it a go...this one got me.  i still ask myself why?'s just a chicken, right?...well...not so much.
#1...always remember to read the fine print on the package..."head and feet intact" AND it has FIVE TOES instead of four!. i missed that part. as the thing thawed and started to unfold, and i DO mean unfold...this small little wrapped up bird was over 2 feet stretched out. AND IT"S BLUE !!!!! can imagine what i was thinking. i can handle alot of things, but this one was definitely high on the scale of "what the heck am i gonna do with this?" and "what was i thinking?" BUT, curiosity still had the best of me.
#2...investigate and research what your strange product is all about. i found a few sites with recipes for soup...i thought great! a new twist on an old favorite, chicken soup. not so much. as i read further, after purchase, i found that the black chicken is most used for Chinese medicinal purposes...mainly for sick people, pregnant women or just after giving birth. it's a very lean bird, does not necessarily produce a tasty unforgettable unctuous broth...and i don't really fall into one of the needy categories.
#3...keep your game face on. anyone walking in on you dismantling this black (blue) bird will think you are in need of some help...serious help...i don't mean with the soup...
so what do i do ?...i decided to wing it, of course...(again, sorry about the bad pun).
the easiest recipe i found was HERE at  eating club Vancouver by fellow bloggers ts & js.  they call it Mama's Silkie Chicken or "Dyong Kwe".  this recipe seemed easiest to tackle due to the short list of ingredients.  please visit their site for an easy and quick step by step (with photos) to see how Mama does it.
i didn't have a few of the ingredients so i just went with the recipe i use for Duck Soup found HERE.  it sounded pretty similar with Asian style flavors and such.  i thought if the flavors were basic and normal i might be able to salvage a meal or at least a good stock out of this deal....not so my friend.  after thawing, washing and the obvious photo session...i was not so enthused about the out come.  still i went ahead and threw everything in the pot and hoped for the best.  the best never came...the blue skin turned an unappealing limpy blackish grey and the flesh was unlike any chicken i had ever seen.  hmmmmm...not so good.
next, i thought to myself... get the photo of the finished product, make it look pretty and appealing and maybe it will seem more appetizing.  not so my "Mama" always warned me that looks can be deceiving...definitly correct when it comes to food photography.  the photo looked great and i was ready to give it a try, but like i said...this one stumped me. i removed the blackish grey skin that i just knew i was not going to be able to eat, to unveil the tough, lean flesh that was streaked with black...and i mean weirdly streaked with black.  at this point (hours from the start of this little journey) i had to give up for the day...throw in the towel...raise the white flag.   i strained the broth and threw everything into a tupperware for a second chance at it some other time. 
that second chance hasn't come up's in the freezer right now.  i didn't have the heart to toss it. a

Saudi prince jailed for life for murdering servant

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, who murdered Bandar Abdulaziz in their five-star hotel suite. Photograph: Metropolitan Police/PA
A Saudi prince who strangled and beat his servant to death at the culmination of a campaign of "sadistic" abuse was jailed for life today and told that "no one in this country is above the law".
Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, a grandson of the billionaire king of Saudi Arabia, was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years for murdering Bandar Abdulaziz in a "brutal" assault at their five-star hotel in central London.
The prince bit the 32-year-old hard on both cheeks during the attack at their suite in February, which was said to have had a "sexual element". He had been drinking champagne and cocktails when he began the ferocious beating after a Valentine's night out.
The Old Bailey had heard that the murder of Abdulaziz was the last act in a "deeply abusive" master-servant relationship in which the prince carried out frequent attacks on his aide "for his own personal gratification".
Saud initially believed he had diplomatic immunity, but his status as a Saudi royal could not save him from arrest and prosecution.
Sentencing him today, Mr Justice Bean said: "It is very unusual for a prince to be in the dock on a murder charge. No one in this country is above the law. It would be wrong for me to sentence you either more severely or more leniently because of your membership of the Saudi royal family."
The judge said he could not be sure that Saud had intended to kill Abdulaziz, but "I think the most likely explanation is that you could not care less whether you killed him or not".
The 34-year-old prince, who stood in the dock with his arms crossed, showed no emotion as the sentence was handed down. He was found guilty of murder yesterday after the jury had deliberated for an hour and 35 minutes.
He was also convicted of a second count of grievous bodily harm with intent, relating to a previous attack on Abdulaziz in a lift at the Landmark hotel, in Marylebone, where the men were staying.
During the trial, jurors were told that by the early hours of 15 February, Abdulaziz was so worn down and injured that he let Saud kill him without a fight. The prince then spent hours on the phone to a mysterious contact in Saudi Arabia trying to decide how to cover up his crime.
Saud also tried to conceal the true nature of his relationship with his servant, claiming they were "friends and equals", but a porter at the hotel said Abdulaziz was treated "like a slave".
The prince claimed he was heterosexual and had a girlfriend in Saudi Arabia, but he had booked appointments with at least two male escorts and one gay masseur, and looked at hundreds of images of men on gay websites. Photographs of Abdulaziz in "compromising" positions were found on his phone.
Saud denied killing his servant until shortly before the trial, when he admitted he had caused his death. Jurors rejected a claim by his barrister, John Kelsey-Fry QC, that Saud was guilty only of manslaughter.
His lawyers also failed in a last-ditch attempt to stop details of his encounters with male escorts being revealed during the trial. In a sign of the anxiety about his sexuality becoming public, the prince's legal team initially argued that the legal argument about the escorts should be held behind closed doors.
Kelsey-Fry said Saud had already faced abuse from Islamic fundamentalists being held alongside him in prison. The court heard that homosexuality remains a capital offence in Saudi Arabia, and the country in which the acts take place has little relevance to prosecution under the country's sharia law. If he ever returns there, Saud faces the possibility of execution. He could seek asylum in Britain when he is eventually released.
The judge said Saud had killed his servant in "a sustained and ferocious assault" and Abdulaziz was a "vulnerable victim entirely subjugated to your will". Saud had treated his victim "as a human punchbag" and had never shown any regret for what had happened.
"If you had any remorse you would have sought medical help immediately. But you were only concerned for yourself," said the judge.

UK court sentences Saudi prince to at least 20 years for murder | AP Nation / World - The News Tribune
LONDON - A British court has sentenced a Saudi prince to at least 20 years in prison for beating and strangling one of his servants at a swank British hotel.

UK court sentences Saudi prince to at least 20 years for murder
Metropolitan Police, HO   AP Photo
In this handout image issued by the Metropolitan Police, Bandar Abdulaziz,a servant who was killed by Saudi Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud. A Saudi prince has been convicted in Britain of murdering a servant. A jury in London's Old Bailey criminal court, on Tuesday Oct. 19, 2010, found Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud guilty of murdering Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz in a frenzied attack in a hotel. The 34-year-old prince faces a possible life sentence. The jury deliberated just 95 minutes before returning its verdict.

LONDON – A British court has sentenced a Saudi prince to at least 20 years in prison for beating and strangling one of his servants at a swank British hotel.
Justice David Bean sentenced Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud to life in prison with a 20 year minimum for the brutal assault at the Landmark Hotel in London on Feb. 15.
Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw says the prince had abused his aide in the past and that photographs stored on a mobile phone "plainly proved" that there was a "sexual element" to the abuse.
Bean says that while it is unusual for a prince to be a defendant in an murder case, "No one in this country is above the law."
The 34-year-old prince's grandfather is a brother of the current Saudi king.

Saudi Prince Sentenced To At Least 20 Years
A British court sentenced a Saudi prince to at least 20 years in prison Wednesday for beating and strangling one of his servants at a swank British hotel.
Justice David Bean sentenced Prince Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud to life in prison with a 20 year minimum for the brutal assault at the Landmark Hotel in London on Feb. 15. The sensational case had featured days of lurid testimony, complete with video images of the shaven-headed prince brutally assaulting his aide, Bandar Abdulaziz, in a hotel elevator.
"No one in this country is above the law," Bean said. "It would be wrong for me to sentence you either more severely or more leniently because of your membership of the Saudi royal family."
The jury had deliberated just 95 minutes before returning its verdict. The prince was convicted of both murder and a second count of grievous bodily harm with intent relating to the attack in the elevator.
Prosecutor Jonathan Laidlaw says the prince had abused his aide in the past and that photographs stored on a mobile phone "plainly proved" that there was a "sexual element" to the abuse.
Al Saud originally told police that he and Abdulaziz had been swigging champagne into the early hours of the morning, and that when he awoke at 3 p.m. he could not rouse Abdulaziz.
Jurors rejected a claim by his defense lawyer John Kelsey-Fry that the prince was guilty only of manslaughter.

Spicezee Bureau

Josh Gordon and Will Speck’s ‘The Switch’ is a funny flick, which romanticises the concept of mismatched identities to the hilt. Starring Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Jeff Goldblum, Thomas Robinson, Patrick Wilson and Juliette Lewis, ‘The Switch’ is
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the story of two thick friends Wally (Bateman) and Kassie (Aniston).
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However, things go crazy when Wally’s pal Leonard (Goldblum) takes a liking for Kassie. With Kassie deciding to have a baby without the hang-ups of a relationship, she goes for artificial insemination and solicits a sperm donor named Roland (Wilson), and hosts an amusing insemination party.
With Wally getting sloshed in the party, he makes a blunder with Roland`s sperm specimen and feels morally obliged to replace it with his own.
Post Wally’s faux pas, seven years have passed during which Kassie moved away from New York and had a charming son Sebastian (Robinson). One fine day, Kassie decides to move back to the city and arranges a meet with Wally. Amusingly, Wally is unable to recall what happened seven years ago but finds an uncanny resemblance between him and Sebastian.
‘The Switch’ is a funny film with lots of humorous moments. Watch out for Jason Bateman who keeps tickling your funny-bone with his zinging dialogues. Aniston is lovable and charming. Goldblum and Lewis can act and are nice addition to the film. Young young Robinson is a great find.
With right cast and loads of humour, ‘The Switch’ is every bit enjoyable.
Ratings: Three cheers for this one!

The Switch

Story: Jennifer Aniston tries to keep pace with her biological clock and decides to go in for artificial insemination when she fails to find a boyfriend who can be husband material too. Why escape the joys of motherhood, she tells herself and finds a suitable donor in Patrick Wilson, an assistant professor of feminist studies at Columbia. But best friend, Jason Bateman, accidentally makes a switch, replacing the donor's sperm with his own.
Of course, Aniston has no idea about it and is confronted with the seedy truth, seven years later when her son, Sebastian seems to have a greater affinity with her best friend (Bateman) rather than with his biological father, Wilson.
Movie Review: Where have all the husbands gone? Just a few weeks ago, it was Jennifer Lopez who opted for artificial insemination because she couldn't find the perfect mate in Back-up Plan. This time, it's 40-year-old feminist TV producer, Jennifer Aniston who inseminates herself with a turkey baster, when she fails to find her Mr Right: a man who would double up as perfect husband and great daddy to her unborn kid.
Are these really the new age feminists that Hollywood rom-coms are trying to throw up? You got to be joking! It doesn't take long for both our Jennifers to realise that single motherhood is hardly an option for the independent woman even as a world-without-men is a desolate, despicable and disastrous scenario for the sassy singleton. Lopez falls in love with a cheese farmer on the day she inseminates herself, while Aniston fails to pay heed to best friend Bateman's warnings, only to end up falling in love with him, seven years later. Of course, before that, she tries her best to bond with her son's supposedly biological father, Patrick Wilson who sadly shares no chemistry with neither the mom, nor his son. The poor professor tries his best to strike a rapport with his melancholic, neurotic, high-strung six-year-old son, Sebastian (Thomas Robinson) but ends up awkward and embarrassed after a disastrous birthday party in Central Park. It doesn't take long before Aniston realises why Sebastian seems to be bonding so well with the also-neurotic Bateman, who pitches in as the baby-sitter, while Aniston desperately tries to romance the wrong daddy.
The film unfolds like a predictable rom-com, but has its moments, mostly conjured up by the young kid, Thomas Robinson who does a fine tango with the self-absorbed, emotional and somewhat funny Bateman. Robinson may have a personality disorder, but it sure is an engaging one. For who wouldn't be drawn towards a kid who prefers causes like global warming and animal welfare over video gaming and cartoon network! As for Aniston, she's likeable, as always, in a candy floss way that seems to come naturally to her.
Sweet, sentimental and sufficiently funny, The Switch is a decent weekend watch.

 ‘The Switch’: Puzzled relationships (IANS Movie Review - Rating: ***)

Director: Josh Gordon, Will Speck; Actors: Jason Bateman, Jennifer Aniston, Thomas Robinson, Jeff Goldblum, Juliette Lewis, Patrick Wilson
Often we go through relationships in life, comfortable in the existence of a best friend who supports us. What we don’t consider is that the best friend could become the spouse.
Wally (Bateman) and Kassie (Aniston) have that relationship. Though Wally likes her and keeps telling her that in different ways, Kassie strictly keeps him in the best friend zone. Problem occurs when Kassie decides to get artificially inseminated and looks around for a sperm donor. Wally asks what’s wrong with him but Kassie wants to have the best possible sperm for herself.
She finds Roland (Wilson) and throws a party on the day. In a drunken stupor, however, Wally replaces Roland’s sperm with his own, not even remembering the incident. After becoming pregnant, Kassie moves away from New York and returns seven years later with her son Sebastian (Robinson).
When Wally interacts with Sebastian, he suspects the worst. When his fear that he is the father turns true, he wants to tell Kassie but can’t. To complicate things further Kassie begins a relationship with Roland.
“The Switch” is a commentary on many aspects of modern life. In our zest for the best, we forget the most compatible one that is next to us. The solution is merely to make a switch in one’s mind and consider a different possibility.
Jason Bateman plays the distraught Wally well. Jennifer Aniston is plastic, and cannot emote, perhaps due to the botox on her face. The boon of starring in “Friends” has become her “bane” and she has been unable to shake off that stereotyping.
It is however Thomas Robinson who plays his part as an over intelligent, hypochondriac kid with believability, cuteness and a quite a few laughter. Here’s a kid to watch out for.
Observant Indian audiences will notice a first of its kind censor cut, where the reason this time is male nudity and not female.
The mainstay of the film is a steady pace throughout, believable characters, settings and dialogues, even though the concept might seem a little far-fetched. Though branded a comedy, it is a little slice of urban American life. Considering the rapidity with which urban Indian life is turning American, Indian audiences are bound to enjoy this.

 The Switch is Hollywood actress Jennifer Aniston’s latest movie and in the movie, she stars as a single woman whose biological clock is ticking fast while she fails to find a suitable man to marry and have children with.

 Jennifer Aniston switch focus in life

Aniston decides not to let her lack of a marriage partner stand in her way of becoming a mother so she decides to get her eggs fertilized through artificial insemination and gets access to the sperms of Patrick Wilson, a Columbia University Assistant of female studies. However through fate, Wilson’s sperms are accidentally swapped with that of Jason Bateman, who happens to be Aniston’s best pal.
Seven years after the birth of Aniston’s son Sebastian, the real truth of the matter is revealed after Sebastian develops a closer relationship with Bateman than Wilson, his supposed biological father.
It seems like husbands are very scarce nowadays after both Jennifer Lopez and Jennifer Aniston found it difficult to get marriage partners in Back-up Plan and The Switch respectively.
Aniston, 40 works as a TV producer who is all for women’s independence decides to settle for anyone after failing to find a great husband and father for the child she wants to give birth to.
The types of independent women being portrayed in the latest Hollywood movies are hardly the real situation on the ground as many women who want to live their lives without men are not looking to give birth and raise their kids on their own without the help of their fathers.
Jennifer Lopez developed a huge affection for a man who worked as a cheese farmer in the movie the same day she had her insemination while Aniston also refuses to listen to the advice of Bateman about the artificial insemination but ends up in a love relationship with him after seven years.
After failing to get her son to have a close relationship with Wilson who she wrongly thought was her son’s biological father, Aniston notices and starts wondering why her kid is so fond of her best pal Jason Bateman who sometimes had to take care of Sebastian while Aniston tried to date Wilson.
Even though there wasn’t much suspense in the movie, the performance of the little boy Thomas Robinson was impressive as he had a great on-screen relationship with Jason Bateman. He was also very intelligent and seemed to be compassionate.
Aniston was also quite charming on screen as always and gave a great performance.

Weezer - Weezer's Split Deal

Weezer have responded to an online campaign encouraging them to split up, saying they will if they are paid $20 million.

Weezer will split up for $20 million.
The 'Buddy Holly' group - who recently released their eighth studio album, 'Hurley' - have responded to an online campaign offering them $10 million to call it a day, saying they will do it for double the amount.
Drummer Patrick Wilson - who makes up the band alongside singer Rivers Como, guitarist Brian Bell and bassist Scott Shriner - posted a joke tweet reading: "If they can make it 20, we'll do the 'deluxe breakup'!
The campaign to get Weezer to split was started by Seattle resident James Burns, who believes the group has underachieved since their 1996 album 'Pinkerton'.
He explained: "I have never been a fan of this band. I think that they are pretty much horrible, and always have been. Even in the early 90s.
"But this isn't about me. This is about the Weezer fans. Every year, Rivers Cuomo swears that he's changed, and that their new album is the best thing that he's done since Pinkerton, and what happens? Another pile of c**p like 'Beverly Hills' or 'I'm Your Daddy'."
James has made the offer via a pledge page on the website and has so far raised $182 and is pledging all fans of 'Pinkerton' to contribute $12 to his cause.
He added: "This is an abusive relationship, and it needs to stop now. I'm sick of hearing about whatever this terrible (and yes, even if you like the early stuff, you should be able to admit that they are wretched now) excuse for a band is up to these days.
"If all 852,000 of you (really?) who bought Pinkerton pitch in $12, we will meet our goal. I beg you, Weezer. Take our money and disappear."

Village Board Officially Announces Film Shoot

Roll Film!
The Massapequa Village Board officially announced that a major Hollywood film is shooting on Park Boulevard this week.
"Young Adults," starring Charlize Theron and Patrick Wilson, will be filming on-location in Woody's Tavern, according to Mayor James Altadonna.
"They're due to start shooting the movie in Massapequa Park tomorrow, and should be here for several days," he said. "This is very exciting for our town."
Village officials said  last month that the film  was considering the area as a location.  "Young Adults" is the latest movie from the director/writer team  of Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody,  who were responsible for 2007's hit film "Juno."
Altadonna also awarded accolades Monday to the first-place winners of the annual Massapequa Park Bocce Tournament held recently in Brady Park.
Charlie Murphy, Joe Thomson, Pasquale Barbara, and Tony Orlando were presented with trophies by the Mayor who congratulated them on their Bocce prowess.
Next, a certificate of achievement was given to the members of the Massapequa Park Garden Club, now in their tenth year, for their contributions to the Village.
"Everywhere you go, everyone says they want to be in Massapequa Park because of how beautiful it is," Altadonna said. "It's a credit to all of you. Thank you."
And finally, the Massapequa Park Seniors, a recreation center based out of Brady Park and sponsored by the Village, was on-hand to present Mayor Altadonna with a beautiful tan afghan.
"It's in appreciation for everything he's done for us," said Senior Center director Roseann Vainder.
Altadonna was quite impressed by the cozy, seven foot-long afghan, knitted over the course of two weeks by Senior Center member Lena Mastrandrea.
"I've tried to buy a blanket for quite a long time," he said. "They were never big enough."
When official business got underway, topics included an authorization for the Village Administrator to sign a contract with Showtiques Crafts, Inc., to run the 2011 Street fair, and approved a hearing to be held November 8 regarding a proposed new stop sign on the corner of Atlantic Avenue and Front Street.
Also covered were several minor budget issues and the authorization to establish a standard work day for elected and appointed officials to comply with the New York State and Local Employees Retirement System.

Patton Oswalt And Patrick Wilson Join The Stalking In Young Adult

Even if the sheen has worn off Juno after all this time, you'd still have to be pretty foolish not to be excited about Young Adult, another film written by Diablo Cody to be directed by Jason Reitman. The film is already set to star Charlize Theron as a young adult author who returns to her hometown to sorta-kinda stalk her hunky ex-boyfriend, and though Josh Brolin had been rumored for the ex role, he confirmed a few weeks back he wasn't part of the film.
Luckily there's no shortage of attractive men looking for work in Hollywood, and The LA Times reports that Patrick Wilson has signed on for the ex-boyfriend role, and Patton Oswalt has also gotten on board the production, which starts shooting soon in New York. The Times doesn't specify Oswalt's role but over at The Playlist they've read the script and think he'll play Theron's overweight, disabled best friend "not afraid to call her out on her shit." Apparently the handicapped fat best friend is the new "sassy gay best friend," but since it's Diablo Cody I'll hold off on judging for now.
Though Wilson has worked with a whole litany of great directors in the past, it's actually Oswalt who's had the better career fortunes lately following his stellar, creepy lead turn in last year's Big Fan (Wilson, on the other hand, was recently stuck in the middling The Switch). Both of them are more than welcome in a project with this much talent involved, especially one that will allow them both to be funny and dramatic at the same time. I cooled significantly on Jason Reitman after he was seemingly everywhere during the Up in the Air press tour, but by the time Young Adult comes around next year (inevitably during the Toronto Film Festival, I'd imagine) I think I'll be glad to have him back.

Jason Reitman's 'Young Adult' Set Photos (Exclusive)

We were lucky enough to stumble across the now-in-production 'Young Adult' earlier today, which is currently filming scenes in Massapequa Park, NY. The production has taken over the small Long Island town for at least the rest of the week, with residents crowding the streets in the hopes of catching a glimpse of the film's star Charlize Theron. With 'Young Adult', director Jason Reitman reunites with his 'Juno' screenwriter Diablo Cody on a story about a young adult novelist (Theron) who returns to her hometown in the hopes of re-connecting with an old flame (Patrick Wilson).
Though the film is being shot on Long Island, the setting is a small town in Minnesota. Aside from a Minnesota Wild-themed bar window and a few scattered license plates, there's not a whole lot of Minnesota oozing out of the stuff we've seen so far. In the scene we watched them shoot, Theron's character was sitting on a park bench with her sleek laptop open and little frenetic dog hopping around in the background. Suddenly, she gets a call on her blackberry and stops everything. Who is it and what do they want? We'll have to wait awhile to get those answers; 'Young Adult' won't arrive in theaters until late next year.

Patrick Wilson - Patrick Wilson Stars In The Normal Heart Anniversary

The American actor PATRICK WILSON starred in an anniversary reading of the ground-breaking play 'The Normal Heart', at the Public Theatre in New York on Monday 18th October 2010. The production, written by playwright LARRY KRAMER about the AIDS epidemic, was celebrating its 25th year anniversary.
Joel Grey, who starred in the original production and produced Monday's reading, spoke to the New York Daily News about the play's relevance in the 21st century, saying, "Young men are living on these HIV drugs for a long, long time. However, the youngsters think that nothing will happen to them, and they're not practicing safe sex, so it's very scary". 37-year-old Wilson was joined by the Hollywood actress GLENN CLOSE for the reading.
Wilson is not unfamiliar with the play's subject matter, in 2003 he starred in the HBO miniseries 'Angels in America', which followed the story of a gay couple living in New York during the Reagan administration. However, their lives are turned upside down after the revelation that one of them is HIV positive. Wilson won both GOLDEN GLOBE and EMMY AWARD nominations for his role as 'Joe Pitt', a Mormon gay lawyer.

PHOTO FLASH: Matthew Broderick, Glenn Close, Victor Garber, Jack McBrayer, Patrick Wilson, et al. At The Normal Heart Benefit


On Monday, October 18, the 25th anniversary benefit reading of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart was held at the Walter Kerr Theatre.
Tony Award winner and Oscar winner Joel Grey directed the production, which was a benefit for the Actors Fund and Friends In Deed. Daryl Roth produced the event.
The cast featured Michael Cerveris, Glenn Close, Santino Fontana, Victor Garber, Jason Butler Harner, John Benjamin Hickey, Joe Mantello, Jack McBrayer, Michael Stuhlbarg, and Patrick Wilson.
The play, which was first produced by the Public Theater, focuses on the terrifying early years of the AIDS epidemic in New York. Grey appeared in the original 1985 Off-Broadway production.
In addition to Kramer, who made an appearance at the curtain call, notables in the audience included Jordan Baker, Adam Bock, Matthew Broderick, Charles Busch, Andy Cohen, Rick Elice, Dominic Fumusa, Carol Kane, Kevin Kilner, Kathleen Marshall, Andrea Martin, Martin Pakledinaz, and Roger Rees.

Interview: Patrick Wilson is ‘Barry Munday’

The title character in Barry Munday isn’t exactly the kind of character you’d picture when you think of actor Patrick Wilson. He is a giant man-child who has yet to grow up. A mostly failed womanizer, saddled with a dull work life, who fancies picking up girls at Chili’s and playing video games in his underwear. He’s much like you and me, but nothing like Patrick Wilson.
Despite these not so flattering characteristics, Barry is likable. He’s that well-intentioned guy who’s not entirely self-aware who does perhaps more harm than good, and yet you still root for him in the end. So when he inpregnates a girl who’s not exactly his type, you buy him wanting to stick around to finally take responsibility and enter manhood. That’s what Barry Munday is about: Manhood.
Wilson has played characters in the past that don’t exactly have the highest self-esteem or are the ideal heroes, but Barry is different. He’s not the typical protagonist and Wilson embraces that fact. After Hard Candy, Little Children, and Watchmen it’s surprising to see Wilson in this type of role, and that seemed to have been apart of the attraction to becoming Barry Munday for him.
Here’s what Patrick Wilson had to say about emasculated men and Barry Munday.
It’s a bit surprising that after Little Children and Hard Candy you weren’t offered more comedies, was it nice being offered something so different?
(Laughs) I guess, looking at it from that perspective… Anyone who knows me knows I’m kind of an idiot, so I always felt like it came to finding the right sort of people that believed in me. Chris D’Arienzo, the director, felt like he wanted something different. Some of the people who were attached to it before were also not known for comedy, but I think that was the idea: having someone you wouldn’t normally assume in this role. In the book, he was a little bit more of an everyman, but I selfishly wanted to make an outlandish character to have some fun.
Typically, with these types of movies, you have the crazy characters surrounding you and the central figure is the more grounded guy. I thought in order for us to buy him in this world, let him be as odd as the rest of the film.
Wouldn’t you say he’s grounded, though? He feels real.
Oh, definitely. It’s not like I created some crazy guy, but I felt like it was just as bizarre as the story was. I’ve played a lot of emasculated men whether it was emotional or physical or whatever, so despite the bizarre setup, it’s a real journey of somebody becoming a man and becoming a father. But I agree with you, he feels real.
With a character like Barry, you could easily go over-the-top. Can you talk about playing a character that is a little odd, but never making him a cartoon?
It’s funny, whenever I teach master classes prominently with musical theater kids you can adapt this rule to the question you’re asking: Whatever your reality is whether it’s a broad musical comedy or Greek theater or whether it’s Watchmen or Barry Munday, that character lives in his own reality. There are real choices and real emotions that they’re dealing with. Once you get to the core of what the guy is about, which is: Funny guy, yes. Lonely guy, yes. Searching for what it is like being a father and having no father? Great. All of those I can put into any character and they’re in most.
Once you got that core and the script supports it, you can go as broad as you want. We could’ve made Barry even broader, but you get in that first scene who he is. I feel like once you can establish the core of somebody, and it’s the same with Watchmen too, you can go as broad as you want. Then you’re putting on stuff whether it is hair or weight or the glasses, and then you’re creating a character externally. But for me, there has to be a real character.
The story itself could have been done very overly broad as well. What’s it like when you explain the concept of the film and say it’s not that overly broad comedy that it sounds like?
Oh, it’s terrible. Chris and I have become very good friends, but trying to describe the movie to someone it doesn’t sound funny at all. It sounds stupid and in bad taste. Like you get, “Oh, yeah. That’s gonna be a real fun movie, good luck with that one…” Imagine explaining it like, “So then a guy gets his nuts cut off,” and it just doesn’t work. And please, for a guy that almost had it done in Hard Candy and it happened in Little Children with Jackie [Earle Haley] and Dan Dreigberg was certainly emotionally castrated, so I’ve dealt with that enough in movies. If it wasn’t good I wouldn’t want to touch it at all, but with this I felt like I couldn’t say no. It was too different and too cool of a character that I haven’t played.
Did you find making Barry likable at all difficult?
I never go into a role thinking I got to make a character likable, but again, you do feel like on the page when you see the word “Ladies Man” it always comes off as so slimy. Once I figured out that Barry is actually the most positive person you’ll ever be around and that he’s actually an eternal optimist that’s lonely, I think those are things people can latch onto and also pull for.
There are two types of people that you refer to as a ladies man: There’s the guy that is dismissive to every other women that he doesn’t want to be with, but Barry isn’t that guy. Barry kind of loves everybody (laughs). I always felt like his optimism and good attitude made you get past that he was trying to sleep with girls. At the same point, I didn’t want to water him down by trying so hard to make him likable, but to just make him interesting.
Wouldn’t you say it’s important for Barry to be likable in some sense? If he weren’t, would you really cheer for him to succeed and become a father at the end?
Oh, I’ll give you that. Every role I’ve ever played, same with Hard Candy, I don’t care if you like me or don’t like me, but I do want you to care. You have to care. If you’re not pulling for this guy then you’re dead in the water. For me, you certainly want to care because you want to feel towards the end of the film, “Come on, Ginger. Take it easy on this guy; he’s not that bad. He’s trying.” It becomes a very genuine arc for him and he wants to man up and have some responsibility, so there’s certainly an argument for that.
When the movie starts out, you get this odd feeling that this guy was raised without a father and you find out that was the case, and when you read the script did that make a lot of sense to you as well?
Yeah. I kind of felt like that. It made complete sense. [Spoiler Alert] In the book there’s more of, and we left it on the cutting room floor, there’s more of really questioning whether the kid is the Asian neighbor’s and then finding out the dad is Asian [Spoiler Over]. All that stuff is much more prominent in the book. In that first scene you see of Barry and his mom looking at those photos together, that was Jean [Smart] and I’s first scene together. It was already into heavy mother-son relationship right at the beginning. It was, “Nice to meet you, and then now we have a thirty-five year mother-son relationship. Go!”
Barry is sort of the last guy you’d think would want to be a father. What do you think motivates him?
In those terms, he’s a very basic person. The fact that he doesn’t have any testicles anymore takes away from the fact of so much of his life was about overcoming his loneliness by going out with as many women as he could, which made him feel cool. When your whole sex drive is taken away, which was weirdly what kept him going, I think he was faced with this impending fatherhood. It literally comes down to that.
Don’t you think his womanizing was makes him even sadder? He’s trying to get women just so he can feel loved.
Yeah, but isn’t it like that for most people? I mean, I’m thirty-seven and I had my fun when I was single, but I’m sure anyone who goes out for that many women they’re obviously lonely and looking for something. I’m not condemning it, but he also doesn’t really have any friends. When Donald is his best friend and doesn’t even know the most major thing that happened in his life, it’s sad. Not everybody goes after women because they’re extremely lonely, but I think he’s incredibly lonely because he doesn’t have any friends, so maybe it’s more so for Barry than the average person that sleeps around.
Aren’t Donald and him perfect for each other in a sense that they’re both people still trying to live in the era they felt cool in?
What we tried to do with these guys is we wanted to put them in the era that they felt the coolest in, so everybody is in eighties and the seventies. With Barry, Chris and I talked about early nineties post-High School rugby shirts. He’s a little pudgy and he’s still trying to act like he goes to the gym. For each character, you want them to feel like they’re dressed for the era they felt cool in. Ginger, she is more so like a grandmother.
But when you get to the end, Ginger and Barry are basically the same people.
Of course. Look, the movie is funny and quirky, but I also think it has a tremendous amount of heart. I’ve never felt so weirdly removed from a character where I genuinely miss Barry and Ginger. I guess they change at the end because they found each other, but they don’t really change (laughs). They’re the same kind of oddball people and I think that’s what makes it so sweet. It’s not like he’s cool all of the sudden and loses his look. He’s still the same dork.
You mentioned earlier how you’ve played a lot of emasculated characters. With Barry Munday, Watchmen, Little Children, and even Lakeview Terrace that seems to be a theme you play into a lot, is that just a coincidence or is that just a theme you find appealing?
Probably a little of both, and also for what I get hired for. To me, I always gravitate towards scripts that have a real arc where the character can have a real journey. Whether it’s Hard Candy or Watchmen, with Nite Owl being what motivates Dan, or Little Children, him feeling totally emasculated and his journey trying to be a man and have some responsibility similar to this story. That’s usually where I start anyway, but as a result of me liking that I’m probably better at those. It’s a little of both.
So you’re okay with playing characters that are slightly similar thematically?
Yeah, I guess. I think they’re all sort of different characters, but in the most basic sense, yes. They’re all men and I think Dan Dreiberg is drastically different from Brad in Little Children, but at the same time it’s a guy who has no identity and is searching for that. He just needs to figure that out by the end of the story, and that’s Barry as well. He has no identity. For him, his identity is being a father.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Kristi Noem

Kristi Noem:Hi guys!If money is any indication, hot Republican House candidate in the country Christi Noah. 38-year-old farmer has raised more money than the campaign of any Republican challenger in the home country.
Noem raised 1.1 million dollars over the past three months, about twice as much as her opponent, Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin (D-SD). And that money will go a long way: the media market in South Dakota is one of the least expensive in the country.

Noem may need cash. Herseth Sandlin is a moderate Democrat with proven ability to win and win big in South Dakota. She wiped her Republican opponent in 2008 with nearly 70 percent of the vote as the state voted overwhelming against Barack Obama.

Fallout New Vegas Review

There was a point while playing Fallout: New Vegas when I said to myself, "OK, this is going to be fun." Up until that point, I hadn't been sure. I enjoyed Fallout 3 (300 hours in and still counting), and all of the Fallouts that had come before, so there was no reason why I shouldn't have enjoyed this game, but yet, I wasn't sure. There was just something ... different.
In Fallout: New Vegas, you will play as a courier who's been shot and left for dead. Your mission: Find the men who shot you. That's it. Nothing so lofty as saving (or ending) the lives of all of the residents of the Capital Wasteland, or finding a water chip your family needs to survive. In New Vegas, as befitting a game set in the City of Sin, your objective is revenge.
Along the way, however, you will explore a wasteland as rich and varied as that of any other Fallout game. The colors are brighter, the mood lighter, but this is Fallout as you've always known it - perhaps better. You will encounter The New California Republic, who, having tamed California, have carried their humanist spirit east into the Mojave Desert. You will also meet Caesar's Legion, a slave army led by Caesar, a would-be warlord king.
As you search for the man who done you wrong, these two great forces (and others) will wage battle for control of the Mojave and the still-functioning Hoover Dam, arguably the most important piece of real estate in the world. You will travel to blown-out Western towns like Novac, built around a motel and a dinosaur tourist attraction, and Nelson, a town being overrun by Caesar's Legion. You will meet many people in your travels who will call upon you for help, but whether you come to their aid or not is up to you. You can barrel through this land on your own personal quest or you can take sides (any side) and make the Mojave Wasteland a better - or different - place.
What makes New Vegas satisfying is not how much choice it gives you as the player, but how much it limits you. You cannot, for example, trudge through the wasteland willy nilly without encountering some severe obstructions, whether those obstructions are impassable mountains or unbeatable creatures. You can explore, just within limits. You will need to be wary of your surroundings and cognizant of your abilities. Yet, even if you do nothing more than simply follow the main story, you will still explore a generous chunk of the wasteland, which makes the smaller side missions and random encounters feel more like gems in the rough that enhance your play when encountered, rather than missed opportunities you have to seek out.
Yet all of this is subtle. You won't feel this after only a few hours. What will hit you in the face like a ton of bricks as soon as you start playing New Vegas is the fact that this game has a sense of humor. This is as evident in the overt quirkiness of Novac's gigantic Dinky the Dinosaur as it is in the subtle touches that grace practically every element of the game. Gone is the dreary stodginess of Fallout 3, in which even the rare bit of humor added to the overall sense of doom. New Vegas, by contrast, seems content to let the misery of a post-nuclear wasteland speak for itself, and focus instead on the dark humor that makes living in that world interesting in and of itself aside from the archeological fun of seeing familiar places as they would look post-apocalypse.
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Fallout New Vegas review: Adventure with epic story & the plethora of quests.

 out of 5The victorious release of Fallout 3 back in 2008, the greatly expected follow-up title is ultimately here with Bethesda’s Fallout: New Vegas.

A proper separate sequel to Fallout 3 that skips cross-country from the urinal-coloured husk of Washington DC to a urinal-colored protect in the Mojave Desert. The lure now, aside from publisher Bethesda’s quality stamp and seal, is escort designer Chris Avellone, the guy following Planescape: Torment.

In Fallout: New Vegas, will play as a courier who’s been shot and left for dead. Your mission is that find the men who shot you. That’s it. Nothing as high as saving or ending the lives of all of the residents of the Capital Wasteland or finding a water chip your family wants to stay alive. In New Vegas, as be relevant a game set in the City of Sin, your objective is vengeance.

Beside the way, yet, you will walk around a wasteland as rich and varied as that of any other Fallout game. The colours are brighter; the mood lighter. You will encounter the New California Republic, who having controlled California, have carried their humanist strength east into the Mojave Desert. You will also get together Caesar’s Legion, a slave army led by Caesar, a would-be warlord king.

They mention that throughout gameplay, the game mysteriously froze up as many as 3 times, with each one need a hard resume to the Xbox 360 version they were testing. Also, they comment on the poor frame rate concerns which slow down significantly throughout certain parts of the game and also quite long load times.

While, Fallout: New Vegas may feel like a development to Fallout 3, it present something that fans of Fallout cannot oppose. The lengthy adventure, epic story and the plethora of quests give gamers more reasons to spend time on the game. And the rating of the game 3.0/5 based on the experts of the Xbox 360, PC gamers.

California Megachurch Crystal Cathedral Files for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

 Crystal Cathedral, the California megachurch founded by televangelist Robert Schuller, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday, the Orange Country Register reported.

The church, affiliated with the Reformed Church in America, owes about $7.5 million to unsecured creditors. The bankruptcy filing seeks court protection from its creditors.

The Orange County, Calif. based congregation oversees several costly ministries including the "Hour of Power" TV program and legendary pageants "Glory of Easter'' and the "Glory of Christmas."

In response to its massive $55 million debt, the church has laid off 140 staff, dropped its TV broadcasts in certain markets and canceled its Easter pageant.

Senior pastor Dr. Sheila Schuller Coleman -- the founder's daughter -- said in the statement that she was optimistic the church would come out of these trying times.

She and the ministry was experiencing its best cash flow in 10 years.

The church, designed by architect Philip Johnson and constructed using 10,000 rectangular panes of glass, is a southern California architectural landmark and a noted tourist attraction.

Construction of the cathedral, which seats more than 2700 people, began in 1977 and was completed in 1980, at an estimated cost of $18 million

German trains test Channel tunnel route

German trains test Channel tunnel routeSt Pancras welcomes 200mph train that railway chiefs hope will connect Frankfurt to London by the end of 2013
Haroon Siddique, Tuesday 19 October 2010 08.50 BST Article historyHigh-speed German train arrives at St Pancras Link to this video A German high-speed train of the type railway chiefs hope will connect the UK with Germany by the end of 2013 was unveiled in London this morning after a dry run.

The 200mph train operated by Germany's state railway company, Deutsche Bahn (DB), was at St Pancras station for an event due to be attended by the transport minister, Theresa Villiers.

It arrived at St Pancras after a safety exercise in the Channel tunnel. The state-of-the-art, German-made, Inter City Express (ICE3) train must pass stringent tunnel safety tests before it can start full services from Frankfurt to London, with December 2013 the likely start date.

Rail experts expect it to open up Britain to a new market for rail travel, put downward pressure on Eurostar fares and challenge one of Europe's busiest aviation markets.

DB is considering a route that would start in Frankfurt – the heart of Germany's finance industry – with possible stops at Cologne and Brussels en route to London. The service is expected to grow the high-speed rail market between London and the continent by around 10%, carrying more than 1 million passengers per year.

The service would stretch the industry maxim that rail journeys must last no longer than four hours in order to compete with airlines.

A trip between Europe's two largest financial centres would take four to five hours, with DB hoping that the appeal of broadband access and lack of airport security hassle will tempt the all-important business traveller market.

Channel tunnel safety authorities have already relaxed regulations that will make it easier for DB to operate a London-to-Frankfurt service.

Trains using the Channel tunnel have to be 375m long as that is the distance between the emergency exits in the tunnel that connect with the central service tunnel used in the event of emergency evacuations.

The ICE3 trains are not that long so two would be bolted together for the journey through the tunnel. But that would mean passengers could not travel through the length of the train, so DB has to prove that this would not be a hindrance and show that it can evacuate people from either end without serious problems. There have been three fires in the tunnel since it opened in 1994.

The service could use the high-speed terminal at Stratford in east London to tap the business market at Canary Wharf and in the City, according to High Speed One, the owner and operator of the Channel tunnel rail link.

Eurostar, the Paris and Brussels service that operates from St Pancras, has been a success since its 1994 debut, now carrying more than 9 million passengers and taking three-quarters of the air and rail market between London and the French and Belgian capitals.

Jimmy Mubenga death: three men arrested
 Jimmy Mubenga death: three men arrestedThree bailed by police in case of man who died on aeroplane after being heavily restrained
   Paul Lewis and Matthew Taylor, Monday 18 October 2010 18.09 BST Article history
Jimmy Mubenga. Photograph: Graeme Robertson

Three men have been arrested by police in connection with the death of Jimmy Mubenga, an Angolan refugee who collapsed while being escorted on a flight from Heathrow airport in London.

The Metropolitan police confirmed that the men were interviewed by police "by appointment" at a west London police station and released on bail.

Mubenga, 46, died after losing consciousness on BA flight 77 around 8pm last Tuesday. Four passengers have since told the Guardian they saw three security guards heavily restraining Mubenga, who they said consistently complained about his breathing.

The three guards worked for G4S, a private security firm contracted to escort deportees for the Home Office.

Those arrested are aged 35, 48 and 49 and were questioned by police under caution today. None have been charged, and police sources said they were interviewed "in connection" with the death.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said: "Police investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of Jimmy Mubenga in west London have today arrested three men by appointment at a West London police station.

"All have been bailed to a date in December pending further inquiries. Inquiries continue to establish the full circumstances of the incident. The death is being treated as unexplained at this stage."

According to the witnesses who spoke to the Guardian, Mubenga was handcuffed and sat between two guards at the rear of the aircraft. They kept him restrained in his seat as he began shouting and seeking to resist his deportation.

The passengers, who were sat nearby, reported Mubenga shouting "I can't breathe" before finally passing out.

Police and paramedics were called when Mubenga lost consciousness, and the aircraft, which had been due to take off, returned to the terminal.

The Home Office and British Airways have all declined to comment . G4S said in a statement: "Three of our employees are continuing to help the police with their investigation. As a result of that ongoing investigation we are unable to provide additional comment at this time."

Scotland Yard's homicide unit took over the investigation on Friday after the death became categorised as "unexplained". Detectives based at Heathrow were previously investigating the death and had interviewed passengers on the flight.

An initial postmortem on Mubenga's body took place at Hillingdon mortuary 48 hours after his death and was inconclusive, but experts are awaiting the results of laboratory tests. "Further tests will be conducted in due course in order to establish the cause of death," the police statement said.

Last week MPs called for a "wide-ranging and independent inquiry" into the UK's deportation system in light of the death.

Keith Vaz, chair of the Commons home affairs select committee, added that he would be writing to the home secretary, Theresa May, and G4S about possible questions surrounding the death.

"If, as eyewitness reports suggest, Mr Mubenga was complaining of breathing difficulties, questions must be asked as to why help was not called for sooner," he said.

"I will be writing to both the home secretary and G4S on this matter whilst awaiting the outcome of police investigations. When removing people from the UK, human rights must be fully respected at all times."

Mubenga's family have called on witnesses to come forward. "I want the truth to come out," said his son Roland, 16. "That's what I want so I know how my father passed away."

Tonight a fifth passenger on the aircraft came forward to echo concerns about Mubenga's treatment. The witness did not want to be identified, but recalled how - in an apparent reference to the failure of fellow passengers, who did not intervene - Mubenga said: "What kind of people are you that you do nothing?"

David Blanchflower: spending cuts could lead to recession

David Blanchflower: spending cuts could lead to recession• Chancellor's cuts 'misguided', says former MPC member
• Coalition guilty of 'appalling cowardice'
• Business leaders who support cuts making 'terrible mistake'
 Julia Kollewe, Monday 18 October 2010 16.33 BST Article history
David 'Danny' Blanchflower has repeatedly described the public spending cuts as the 'greatest macro-economic mistake in a century'. Photograph: David Moir/Reuters

Former Bank of England policymaker David Blanchflower today accused the government of cowardice in planning huge cuts in public spending to tackle the budget deficit.

Writing for the Guardian, Blanchflower said that chancellor George Osborne's cuts amounted to a surrender in the face of the financial crisis and warned that the policy of fiscal tightening would not work.

"A good way to think of what has happened is that we are struggling to recover from the effects of an economic war that has hit us hard," the outspoken Blanchflower, a trenchant critic of the cuts, wrote on the Guardian's Comment is Free website.

"Faced with this economic war, this misguided coalition government has … shown appalling cowardice; rather than fight, Osborne is about to run up the white flag of defeat. His response is the equivalent of surrendering immediately because of the potential impact of the war on the deficit. It's as ridiculous as that."

His comments, which come two days before the government sets out £80bn of spending cuts, are at odds with the views of 35 business leaders, including Marks & Spencer chairman Sir Stuart Rose and BT boss Ian Livingston, who have written an open letter in today's Daily Telegraph to express support for Osborne's cuts. They say there is "no reason to believe" the chancellor's plan to eliminate the structural deficit within four years will undermine the economic recovery.

The 35 also warn that Labour's plan to spread deficit reduction over more than one parliament would leave the UK almost £100bn deeper in debt by 2014/15 and increase the risk of interest rate hikes.

Blanchflower rejected this analysis, telling Bloomberg television that the business leaders "are not economists. It's a terrible, terrible mistake. The sensible thing to do is to spread [the cuts] over a long time."

He has repeatedly described the public spending cuts as the "greatest macro-economic mistake in a century".

"Clearly you have to deal with the deficit, but there is no economics that says you have to deal with it in a week or a month," Blanchflower said. "You have to be mindful of the data and if the data turns down, which it has, you have to adapt.

"The last thing you do in a recession is make things worse."

Blanchflower also said the Bank of England appears to be the government's "only back-up plan" but that additional quantitative easing may not work fast enough to help the economy.

The businessmen's letter was drawn up by Lord Wolfson, the Conservative peer and chief executive of Next. In the letter, signed by Asda chairman Andy Bond, Gordon Frazer, the managing director of Microsoft UK, and Carphone Warehouse chairman Charles Dunstone, the business leaders write: "Everyone knows that when you have a debt problem, delaying the necessary action will make it worse not better. The cost of delay is enormous, and would result in almost £100bn of additional national debt by the end of this parliament alone.

"In the end, the result of delay would be deeper cuts, or further tax rises, in order to pay for the extra debt interest. The cost of delay could be even greater than this. As recent events in some European countries have demonstrated, if the markets lose faith in the UK, interest rates will rise for all of us."

BBC offers to pay for World Service to avoid licence fee raid

BBC offers to pay for World Service to avoid licence fee raidCorporation fears government plan to make it pay £556m bill for free TV licences for over-75s

 Dan Sabbagh, Tuesday 19 October 2010 11.31 BST Article history
Mark Thompson: willing to pay some or all of £300m annual costs of running the World Service. Photograph: Graeme Robertson for the Guardian

The BBC director general, Mark Thompson, is prepared to meet some or all of the £300m annual costs of running the World Service, in a last-ditch attempt to prevent a £556m raid on its finances to fund the cost of free TV licences for the over-75s, can reveal.

Embroiled in crisis talks over BBC financing in the hours before the government's comprehensive spending review is agreed, the corporation's negotiators have been told that ministers are also considering whether to force the BBC to meet the costs of the World Service, which is currently paid for by the Foreign Office.

That would be an alternative to making the BBC pay out £556m to fund the costs of free television licences for anywhere home to an elderly person – a bill that may force existing television and radio budgets to be slashed.

Thompson's team says it is time to "start having a more reasonable conversation" about the BBC paying for the World Service because the service is a broadcaster, although it is not clear if the BBC would be prepared to pay the entire bill through the licence fee. By contrast, if the BBC were forced to fund the cost of free TV licences for the elderly there would be no benefit for most viewers on screen or on air.

Political sources report that the government's position is in a state of flux, as negotiations go down to the wire. However, there are indications this morning that ministers are moving towards favouring the BBC bearing the costs of the World Service because of the political complications of the alternative.

Yesterday, the BBC set down its opposition to paying for free TV licences, with the BBC Trust saying it "would be unacceptable for licence-fee payers to pick up a bill for what is a universal benefit". The cost of funding the benefit, received by 4m homes, almost exactly matches the £575m budget for BBC2.

Ministers are searching for last-minute cost-saving proposals after the Ministry of Defence achieved a better than expected settlement. Defence budgets are being cut by 8%, rather than the 10% originally expected, leading to a funding gap elsewhere.

There are suggestions that the World Service could be funded by some of the profits made by BBC Worldwide, the corporation's commercial arm, which licenses formats such as Strictly Come Dancing, Doctor Who and Top Gear overseas. Last year, Worldwide made an operating profit of £140m, although that cash is used to fund the BBC's wider activities.

Although the bulk of the BBC's activities are funded by the £145.50 television licence fee, the World Service has always been funded directly by the government. Traditionally the World Service has been focused on "lifeline" short-wave radio services for countries such as Burma where independent local broadcasters are weak, but in recent years activity has shifted to developing more expensive Arabic and Farsi (Persian) television channels.

A spokesperson for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that "no comments were being made prior to the announcement of the spending review".

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