Thursday, September 30, 2010

Actor Tony Curtis dies at Las Vegas-area home

Associated Press Writer

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) - Tony Curtis shaped himself from a 1950s movie heartthrob into a respected actor, showing a determined streak that served him well in such films as "Sweet Smell of Success," ''The Defiant Ones" and "Some Like It Hot."

The Oscar-nominated actor died Wednesday evening at age 85 of cardiac arrest at his home in the Las Vegas-area city of Henderson, Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy said Thursday.

Curtis began in acting with frivolous movies that exploited his handsome physique and appealing personality, but then steadily moved to more substantial roles, starting in 1957 in the harrowing show business tale "Sweet Smell of Success."

In 1958, "The Defiant Ones" brought him an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his portrayal of a white racist who escaped from prison handcuffed to a black man, Sidney Poitier. The following year, he donned women's clothing and sparred with Marilyn Monroe in one of the most acclaimed film comedies ever, Billy Wilder's "Some Like It Hot."

His first wife was actress Janet Leigh of "Psycho" fame; actress Jamie Lee Curtis is their daughter.

"My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement Thursday. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world."

Curtis struggled against drug and alcohol abuse as starring roles became fewer, but then bounced back in film and television as a character actor.

His brash optimism returned, and he allowed his once-shiny black hair to turn silver.

Again he came back after even those opportunities began to wane, reinventing himself as a writer and painter whose canvasses sold for as much as $20,000.

"I'm not ready to settle down like an elderly Jewish gentleman, sitting on a bench and leaning on a cane," he said at 60. "I've got a helluva lot of living to do."

"He was a fine actor ... I shall miss him," said British actor Roger Moore, who starred alongside Curtis in TV's "The Persuaders."

"He was great fun to work with, a great sense of humor and wonderful ad libs," Moore told Sky News. "We had the best of times."

Actress and activist Marlo Thomas said she was saddened that Curtis' death so closely followed the Sept. 22 death in Berkeley, Calif., of Eddie Fisher, a superstar singer of the 1950s who was married to Debbie Reynolds and then to Elizabeth Taylor. Fisher was 82.

"Tony Curtis and Eddie Fisher in the same week. It's very sad," said Thomas, who starred in the late-1960s sitcom "That Girl" and won Emmy, Golden Globe, Grammy and Peabody awards. Thomas was in New York on Thursday promoting her book, "Growing up Laughing."

"He was funny, so very funny, very talented and a great spirit," Thomas said of Curtis. "I found him to be a darling guy."

Curtis perfected his craft in forgettable films such as "Francis," ''I Was a Shoplifter," ''No Room for the Groom" and "Son of Ali Baba."

He first attracted critical notice as Sidney Falco, the press agent seeking favor with a sadistic columnist, played by Burt Lancaster, in the 1957 classic "Sweet Smell of Success."

In her book "Kiss Kiss Bang Bang," Pauline Kael wrote that in the film, "Curtis grew up into an actor and gave the best performance of his career."

Other prestigious films followed: Stanley Kubrick's "Spartacus," ''Captain Newman, M.D.," ''The Vikings," ''Kings Go Forth," ''Operation Petticoat" and "Some Like It Hot." He also found time to do a voice acting gig as his prehistoric lookalike, Stony Curtis, in an episode of "The Flintstones."

"The Defiant Ones" remained his only Oscar-nominated role.

"I think it has nothing to do with good performances or bad performances," he told The Washington Post in 2002. "After the number of movies I made where I thought there should be some acknowledgment, there was nothing from the Academy."

"My happiness and privilege is that my audience around the world is supportive of me, so I don't need the Academy."

In 2000, an American Film Institute survey of the funniest films in history ranked "Some Like It Hot" at No. 1. Curtis - famously imitating Cary Grant's accent - and Jack Lemmon play jazz musicians who dress up as women to escape retribution after witnessing a gangland massacre.

Monroe was their co-star, and he and Lemmon were repeatedly kept waiting as Monroe lingered in her dressing room out of fear and insecurity. Curtis fumed over her unprofessionalism. When someone remarked that it must be thrilling to kiss Monroe in the film's love scenes, the actor snapped, "It's like kissing Hitler." In later years, his opinion of Monroe softened, and in interviews he praised her unique talent.

In 2002, Curtis toured in "Some Like It Hot" - a revised and retitled version of the 1972 Broadway musical "Sugar," which was based on the film. In the touring show, the actor graduated to the role of Osgood Fielding III, the part played in the movie by Joe E. Brown.

After his star faded in the late 1960s, Curtis shifted to lesser roles. With jobs harder to find, he fell into drug and alcohol addiction.

"From 22 to about 37, I was lucky," Curtis told Interview magazine in the 1980s, "but by the middle '60s, I wasn't getting the kind of parts I wanted, and it kind of soured me. ... But I had to go through the drug inundation before I was able to come to grips with it and realize that it had nothing to do with me, that people weren't picking on me."

He recovered in the early '80s after a 30-day treatment at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

"Mine was a textbook case," he said in a 1985 interview. "My life had become unmanageable because of booze and dope. Work became a strain and a struggle. Because I didn't want to face the challenge, I simply made myself unavailable."

One role during that era of struggle did bring him an Emmy nomination: his portrayal of David O. Selznick in the TV movie "The Scarlett O'Hara War," in 1980.

He remained vigorous following heart bypass surgery in 1994, although his health had declined in recent years.

In a 2007 interview with the Las Vegas Sun, he described his frustration during a lengthy hospitalization for a bout with pneumonia in 2006. The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported he was hospitalized several times in more recent years in Henderson and New York with breathing trouble, including once in July.

Curtis took a fatherly pride in daughter Jamie's success. They were estranged for a long period, then reconciled. "I understand him better now," she said, "perhaps not as a father but as a man."

He also had five other children. Daughters Kelly, also with Leigh, and Allegra, with second wife Christine Kaufmann, also became actresses. His other wives were Leslie Allen, Lisa Deutsch and Jill VandenBerg, whom he married in 1998.

He had married Janet Leigh in 1951, when they were both rising young stars; they divorced in 1963.

"Tony and I had a wonderful time together; it was an exciting, glamorous period in Hollywood," Leigh, who died in 2004, once said. "A lot of great things happened, most of all, two beautiful children."

Curtis was born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx in 1925, the son of Hungarian Jews who had emigrated to the United States after World War I. His father, Manny Schwartz, had yearned to be an actor, but work was hard to find with his heavy accent. He settled for tailoring jobs, moving the family repeatedly as he sought work.

"I was always the new kid on the block, so I got beat up by the other kids," Curtis recalled in 1959. "I had to figure a way to avoid getting my nose broken. So I became the crazy new kid on the block."

His sidewalk histrionics helped avoid beatings and led to acting in plays at a settlement house. He also grew to love movies. "My whole culture as a boy was movies," he said. "For 11 cents, you could sit in the front row of a theater for 10 hours, which I did constantly."

After serving in the Pacific during World War II and being wounded at Guam, he returned to New York and studied acting under the G.I. Bill. He appeared in summer stock theater and on the Borscht Circuit in the Catskills. Then an agent lined up an audition with a Universal-International talent scout. In 1948, at 23, he signed a seven-year contract with the studio, starting at $100 a week.

Bernie Schwartz sounded too Jewish for a movie actor, so the studio gave him a new name: Anthony Curtis, taken from his favorite novel, "Anthony Adverse," and the Anglicized name of a favorite uncle. After his eighth film, he became Tony Curtis.

The studio helped smooth the rough edges off the ambitious young actor. The last to go was his street-tinged Bronx accent, which had become a Hollywood joke.

Curtis pursued another career as an artist, creating Matisse-like still lifes with astonishing speed. "I'm a recovering alcoholic," he said in 1990 as he concluded a painting in 40 minutes in the garden of the Bel-Air Hotel. "Painting has given me such a great pleasure in life, helped me to recover."

He also turned to writing, producing a 1977 novel, "Kid Cody and Julie Sparrow." In 1993, he wrote "Tony Curtis: The Autobiography."


Associated Press writer Bob Thomas in Los Angeles and AP video producer Nicole Evatt in New York contributed to this report.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Hooray for Kaitlyn! Congratulations!

miss wyoming usa 2011 winner kaitlyn davis

Kaitlyn Davis was crowned as the new Miss Wyoming USA 2011 held on September 26.

Kaitlyn Davis is from Leramie and she stands 5'9" tall. She will represent her state at Miss USA 2011 next year.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Tropical Storm Matthew Forms in the Caribbean - Will Likely Impact U.S.

Updated: September 23, 2010 4:50 pm ET
Tropical Storm Matthew, which formed in the Caribbean on Thursday, will likely impact the U.S. The good news: we have approximately a week to watch the system form, analyze the direction in which it will move, and pinpoint the area which it will likely impact.

Enlarge & loop this Caribbean satellite image
Caribbean infrared satellite
Click image to animate and enlarge

“So far this hurricane season, most of the storms have either developed in the Atlantic and been deflected to the east of the United States or have formed in the western Caribbean or southwest Gulf and been shoved to the west into Mexico," says TWC Senior Meteorologist Stu Ostro (Find him on Facebook).

In the past three weeks, five hurricanes form in the Atlantic. Most of those made a curve into open water before impacting the U.S. But the recent development shows the environment is favorable for tropical cyclone development.

2010 hurricane season tracks-to-date

Right now, long-range model runs have the system moving towards the U.S. Coast within the next week.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watch out for the Super Harvest Moon - Updated

Sept. 22, 2010: For the first time in almost 20 years, northern autumn is beginning on the night of a full Moon. The coincidence sets the stage for a "Super Harvest Moon" and a must-see sky show to mark the change of seasons.

The action begins at sunset on Sept 22nd, the last day of northern summer. As the sun sinks in the west, bringing the season to a close, the full Harvest Moon will rise in the east, heralding the start of fall. The two sources of light will mix together to create a kind of 360-degree, summer-autumn twilight glow that is only seen on rare occasions.

Super Harvest Moon (moonrise, 550px)
The Harvest Moon of Oct. 3, 2009, photographed by Catalin M. Timosca of Turda, Romania.

Keep an eye on the Moon as it creeps above the eastern skyline. The golden orb may appear strangely inflated. This is the Moon illusion at work. For reasons not fully understood by astronomers or psychologists, a low-hanging Moon appears much wider than it really is. A Harvest Moon inflated by the moon illusion is simply gorgeous.

The view improves as the night wears on.

Super Harvest Moon (conjunction, 200px)
A Moon-Jupiter conjunction on Aug. 26, 2010. Credit: Tom Cocchiaro.

Northern summer changes to fall on Sept. 22nd at 11:09 pm EDT. At that precise moment, called the autumnal equinox, the Harvest Moon can be found soaring high overhead with the planet Jupiter right beside it. The two brightest objects in the night sky will be in spectacular conjunction to mark the change in seasons.

The Harvest Moon gets its name from agriculture. In the days before electric lights, farmers depended on bright moonlight to extend the workday beyond sunset. It was the only way they could gather their ripening crops in time for market. The full Moon closest to the autumnal equinox became "the Harvest Moon," and it was always a welcome sight.

This one would be extra welcome because it is extra "Harvesty."

Usually, the Harvest Moon arrives a few days to weeks before or after the beginning of fall. It's close, but not a perfect match. The Harvest Moon of 2010, however, reaches maximum illumination a mere six hours after the equinox. This has led some astronomers to call it the "Harvestest Moon" or a "Super Harvest Moon." There hasn't been a comparable coincidence since Sept 23, 1991, when the difference was about 10 hours, and it won't happen again until the year 2029.

A Super Harvest Moon, a rare twilight glow, a midnight conjunction—rarely does autumn begin with such celestial fanfare.

Enjoy the show!

Author: Dr. Tony Phillips | Credit: Science@NASA

I was fortunate enough to witness the Autumnal Equinox and Super Harvest Moon. Here are a few photos I took here in Long Beach, MS

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

*SCANDAL* State officials did NO TESTING on any dead fish from the FOUR major kills near oil-impacted areas — Because they “didn’t see any oil related

WWL-TV, September 21, 2010 at 7:20 p.m. EDT:

Thousands of dead fish floated along Bayou Robinson onSunday, the latest in a string of four major fish kills plaguing Plaquemines Parish.

Millions of fish, absolutely, millions,” said P.J. Hahn, Plaquemines Parish Coastal Zone Management director. “We’re used to seeing fish kills out here at this time of year, but not at this number, mass number of fish that are dying, and not in the frequency that they are occurring now.”

What the four areas have in common is not just the fish kills, but also the fact they were previously hit by oil from the spill, prompting parish leaders to ask the state to test the dead fish. …

The Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries is the responding agency for fish kills. They sent biologists out to the sites and blamed the kills on low oxygen levels in the water — a conclusion they reached without doing a single test on the dead fish. …

No further testing was done, Pausina said, because the teams dispatched to the fish kills didn’t see any oil related pollution.

Read the report here.

See also: State biologist claims massive fish kills “are NOT a concern” — Then says could be from oil-eating microbes, “I don’t know” (VIDEO)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Researchers find beach covered in tarballs and black layers of oil underneath sand — MS official “impressed” with area’s recovery

Researchers find beach covered in tarballs and black layers of oil underneath sand — MS official “impressed” with area’s recovery

SEPTEMBER 10TH, 2010 AT 12:44 AM

Officials and scientists from the state of Mississippi and BP weren’t the only ones on Horn Island Wednesday. An investigative team from Greenpeace also walked the beaches to see how the barrier island is faring in the wake of the Gulf oil disaster. And they have a very different assessment of how the cleanup is progressing.

Science Coordinator Adam Walters and Senior Oceans Campaigner Phil Kline dug small holes in the sand and discovered layers of oiled sand less than a foot below the surface. They also found tar balls at various stages of weathering and various sizes on both the leeward and windward sides of the islands. …

Dr. Bill Walker, the director of the Department of Marine Resources, was impressed with the island’s recovery thus far. “I would say, if nothing else is done, the island would recover,” Walker said. “What you’re seeing out here is weathered oil that’s going to continue to weather and go away like the typical tar balls that wash up here all the time.”

BP crews resume drilling relief well

Posted: Sep 13, 2010 2:07 PM CDT
Updated: Sep 13, 2010 2:07 PM CDT

HOUMA, La. (AP) - A chief drilling official says BP crews have resumed drilling a relief well meant to allow them to permanently seal the blown-out well in the Gulf of Mexico.

John Wright, who is in charge of the operation aboard the Development Driller III vessel, said in an e-mail Monday to The Associated Press that drilling has resumed.

BP and the government have said it would take about four days from the time crews started drilling again to intersect the blown-out well.

Once the relief well intersects the blown-out well, crews will pump in mud and cement to permanently seal the well. The flow of crude was first stopped with a cap in mid-July.

The April 20 rig explosion killed 11 workers and led to 206 million gallons of oil spewing from BP's undersea well.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Marriage ~


If you want someone who will eat whatever you put in front of him and never say it's not quite as good as his mother's.......

..then get a dog.

If you want someone always willing to go out, at any hour,
For as long and wherever you want ...
..then get a dog.

If you want someone who will never touch the remote, doesn't care about football, and can sit next to you as you watch romantic movies......
..then get a dog.

If you want someone who is content to get on your bed just to
Warm your feet and whom you can push off if he snores...
..then get a dog !

If you want someone who never criticizes what you do, doesn't care

If you are pretty or ugly, fat or thin, young or old, who acts as if
Every word you say is especially worthy of listening to, and loves
You unconditionally, perpetually ...

..then get a dog.

BUT, on the other hand, if you want someone who will never come
When you call, ignores you totally when you come home, leaves hair
All over the place, walks all over you, runs around all night and only
Comes home to eat and sleep, and acts as if your entire existence
Is solely to ensure his happiness ......

..then get a cat!

Now be honest, you thought I was gonna say... Marry a man, didn't you?

....have a GREAT Day!!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Greenpeace scientists study oil on Horn Island - WLOX-TV and - The News for South Mississippi

Greenpeace scientists study oil on Horn Island - WLOX-TV and - The News for South Mississippi

Fishermen grill Marine Resources chief

Fishermen grill Marine Resources chief

- mmnewsom

BILOXI — Fishermen and others peppered the head of the state Department of Marine Resources with tough questions Wednesday at a meeting on seafood safety.

Asian Americans for Change sponsored a meeting that gave fishermen and others the chance to ask experts and state officials about the safety of their catch.

DMR Director Bill Walker told the group Mississippi waters fared relatively well during the BP oil gusher, and the kind of oil Mississippi got breaks down easier than what comes from wells upstate.

He said every government agency test has showed Mississippi’s seafood is still safe.

“I can tell you here tonight that every piece of evidence that has been brought forward by the state and by the federal government says that product is safe,” Walker said.

Walker said those who say the seafood is unsafe are fueling fears about the catch, which has in turn made consumers not want to buy it.

“For the small, but vocal group of folks that are continuing to push the idea that our waters are not safe, our seafood is not safe, that is hindering the recovery process,” Walker said.

Walker said though some are having trouble selling their shrimp, producers in the area do want to buy them. Those buyers are freezing a lot of it because of the low demand now, he said. Some shrimp are being bought from fishermen for about $1.50 a pound, Walker said, but the fishermen at the meeting said the price is even lower.

Some said they were getting as little as 40 cents a pound for crabs.

Others said they were finding shrimp with oil on them, but Walker said if that were the case, he’d like to have DMR officials accompany fisherman to those areas and perform tests.

Walker also said he has found no evidence of dispersants being sprayed in Mississippi waters at night, though fisherman have said they’ve seen it.

“I get reports that somebody is spraying this and spraying that and C-130s are coming over at night spraying dispersants,” Walker said. “We don’t have any real evidence of that.”

An audience member asked Walker if he could disprove that dispersants were being sprayed at night. Walker responded, “How can you prove that something doesn’t happen, ma’am?”

Walker said the only dispersants that have been used are in waters about 100 miles south of Mississippi’s Coast. He said he believes the dispersants have done their job.

“I like to use the analogy if you think about a bar of soap that is floating in the bathtub full of water, that bar of soap will eventually go away,” Walker said. “It will take awhile if it is left intact, but if you can break that bar of soap into 1,000 little pieces, it will go away a lot quicker. That is exactly what dispersants are designed to do, and quite frankly, that’s what they’ve done.”

Ed Cake, a biological oceanographer who was one of the featured speakers, said he disagreed with the “rosy picture” Walker was painting.

“The oil is here,” Cake said. “It is coming ashore on our beaches daily. All you have to do is ride down on the beach and see the BP workers walking up and down the beaches and picking it up. All you have to do is talk to the (Vessels of Opportunity) operators who have dragged absorbent boom on the bottom and you will know it is on the bottom of the Sound. It is in our deeper passes.”

Riki Ott, a marine toxicologist and former salmon fisher who saw the effects in Alaska of the Exxon Valdez spill, was also on the panel.

Ott said the pollution could affect the reproductive systems of organisms. She said it took about four years for the ecosystem in Alaska to be fully affected by the spill there.

She said the region may be in a worse position than Alaska in one aspect. That’s because the Gulf Coast is more densely populated, which exposes more people and organisms to the potentially harmful effects of the oil, she said.

Ott said it could be decades before the area recovers because it takes years to break down the kind of harmful hydrocarbons.

“It is not going to disappear overnight,” Ott said. “ It is not going to disappear in a year. It is not going to disappear for at least 10 years. You are probably looking at a couple of decades. You’re lucky. In Alaska we are looking at least 50 years.”

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Microbes are eating BP oil without using up oxygen

Posted: Sep 07, 2010 1:10 PM CDTUpdated: Sep 07, 2010 6:10 PM CDT

AP Science Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Government scientists studying the BP disaster are reporting the best possible outcome: Microbes are consuming the oil in the Gulf without depleting the oxygen in the water and creating "dead zones" where fish cannot survive.

Outside scientists said this so far vindicates the difficult and much-debated decision by BP and the government to use massive amounts of chemical dispersants deep underwater to break up the oil before it reached the surface.

Oxygen levels in some places where the BP oil spilled are down by 20 percent, but that is not nearly low enough to create dead zones, according to the 95-page report released Tuesday.

In an unusual move, BP released 771,000 gallons of chemical dispersant about a mile deep, right at the spewing wellhead instead of on the surface, to break down the oil into tiny droplets.

The idea was to make it easier for oil-eating microbes to do their job. But the risk was that the microbes would use up the oxygen in the water. So BP had to perform a delicate balancing act.

"Has it hit the sweet spot? Yes. Was it by design? Partly," said Steve Murawski, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration senior scientist who headed the federal team of researchers.

One reason that oxygen levels didn't drop too low was the natural mixing of water in the Gulf, which kept bringing in oxygen from other areas, Murawski said. Oxygen levels would have had to fall by three-quarters for the water to be classified as a dead zone, he said.

The Gulf of Mexico already has a yearly major problem with a natural dead zone - this year, it is the size of Massachusetts - because of farm runoff coming down the Mississippi River. Fertilizer in the runoff stimulates the runaway growth of algae, depleting the oxygen in a giant patch of the Gulf every summer.

Federal officials had been tracking oxygen levels and use of dispersants since the spill, which spewed more than 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf between April and July. Had the oxygen plummeted near dangerous levels, the dispersant use would have been stopped, said Greg Wilson, science adviser at the Environmental Protection Agency's emergency management office.

The use of dispersants has been a source of fierce debate because it involves an environmental trade-off: protecting the shoreline from oil at the risk of causing unknown problems in the deep. While dispersants make it easier for bacteria to degrade the oil, they tend to hide oil below the surface. There have also been concerns about the chemicals' toxicity and the long-term effects on marine life.

In May, the federal government convened about 50 scientists for advice on whether to continue using the dispersants. Though the researchers were divided before the meeting, they unanimously recommended continuing with the chemicals, said University of California Davis oil spill scientist Ron Tjeerdema.

"The best of two options - neither of which were great - was to continue dispersing," Tjeerdema said.

Louisiana State University researcher Ed Overton, who also was part of that meeting, said he feels vindicated. "Right now it looks like an incredibly good idea," he said. "It was a risky but necessary application. Damage was going to be done somewhere."

But Overton said it may be years before scientists know if there is long-term damage from the dispersants.

Last month, after federal officials said much of the oil had dissolved, dispersed or evaporated, outside researchers were skeptical. Two new studies called that into question, finding that invisible underwater plumes of oil remained deep underwater.

But Tuesday's report dovetails with another outside study, published last month, announcing the discovery of a new oil-consuming microbe in the Gulf that was flourishing on BP's spill.

The sagging oxygen levels also lend more weight to the government's claims last month that microbes are consuming oil, because there would be no dip in oxygen if the bacteria weren't feeding on the BP leftovers, Murawski said.

The new work is based on data collected from May through August at 419 locations by nine government and private research ships in the Gulf.

Larry McKinney, director of a Gulf of Mexico research center at Texas A&M University in Corpus Christi, said the new federal data showed that it was a "nearly perfect" outcome.

"They hit it on the head, which is good," said McKinney, who was not involved in the report.



NOAA report:

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Spilling Over - You Must Watch and Share This Film

Venice, La., is facing extinction. The small fishing community, located just 50 miles away from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, is in jeopardy, as the BP oil spill has put the livelihood of the residents in danger. The people of Venice are now left with a difficult choice. Do they stay and risk their health for the sake of their history and culture? Or do they give up their jobs, their community and their heritage in an effort to flee the lasting effects of the oil spill?

Spilling Over from Powering a Nation on Vimeo.

© Copyright UNC-CH News21 Project, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Highlights from the Spill into Washington Event

Cherri Foytlin speaks at the Spill into Washington

Kindra Arnesen speaks at the Spill into Washington