9 Jan

Ringo Starr One Of The Fab Four Returning To The Stage

Early Life – A Tale of Struggle

Starr was born Richard Starkey on July 7, 1940 in Liverpool. Starr’s life was one wrought with obstacles, beginning when his parents separated when Ringo was a toddler. His mother remarried and Ringo grew up with his mother and eventual step-father in a working-class suburb of Liverpool.

Aside from family struggles, Starr also faced and conquered early health issues. When he was six, he suffered from appendicitis. Further complicating matters, his appendix burst, and the resulting peritonitis left him in a coma for ten weeks. Doctors gave him little chance to survive, but survive he did, and he was nearly recovered when another disaster hit. Ringo fell out of his hospital bed after six months of recovery and had to remain there for another six months.

As a result of these medical problems, Starr was seriously behind academically, and could not read or write when most children his age already could. His attitude towards school was never positive, and Ringo was known to play “hooky” quite often. These academic problems were part of the reason Ringo was eventually drawn to music.

When Starr was 13, he was dealt another medical blow when he was diagnosed with pleurisy, and he had to spend two years in the hospital as a result of this ailment. By the time he got out he was 15, and so far behind in school that he gave up the thought of ever returning at that point.

Starr took a series of dead-end jobs, as his career ceiling was quite limited because of his lack of academic progress. It was at this time that he discovered an outlet for his creativity – music.

Career Beginnings

Starr became enraptured with Liverpool’s Skiffle craze in the 1950’s, and in 1957 he started his first band, The Eddie Clayton Skiffle Group. In 1959, he joined The Raving Texans, and earned his nickname because of the number of rings he wore regularly and to sound more “Texan” as part of his new group.

While performing with The Raving Texans in 1960, Starr met a little-known group called The Beatles in Hamburg. The Beatles eventually replaced their existing drummer, Pete Best, in 1962, and chose Ringo as their replacement.

Legends in the Making

Obviously, this turned out to be a pretty good career move for Ringo. For the next eight years, Ringo collaborated on several albums that remain some of the best sellers of all time. The Beatles were not only a musical, but also a cultural phenomenon, and each member of the band enjoyed fame and fortune beyond most people’s imagination. Starr was not only the drummer for the band, but also helped write many songs and sang lead in several smash hits.

Solo Career

In 1970, The Beatles broke up and Ringo went right to work on his solo career. He released two albums that same year, and has produced 12 more since. Ringo released 11 singles that made the US and UK charts. Starr also spent time with Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band, a loosely grouped band of all star musicians who spent time touring together. All in all, Starr’s solo career has been a resounding success.

Accomplishments

When you add it all up, Starr has truly been a star. He won a combined 22 Grammy Awards for his work with the Beatles, Ringo Starr and His All-Starr Band and his solo work. He has sold millions of records around the world, and in 1988, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

If you love music, you most likely enjoy the work of Ringo Starr. Take advantage of the opportunity to see him live this summer.


9 Jan

Choosing A Florist For Angelina Jolie’s Wedding Flowers

Choosing a florist for your wedding is certainly one of the most important decisions you can make for the event. Because your wedding guests are likely to see the setting for the event before they see you, the flowers you choose can set the tone for the entire day. For example, if your wedding is a very formal affair, traditional flower arrangements in muted tones and elegant styles will convey this to your guests. However, if you’re having a relatively informal beach wedding, you’ll probably want looser, more brightly colored designs. It is your florist’s job to help you make decisions about your wedding flowers and develop designs that will reflect your personal style and the feeling you want for your special day.

Finding the right florist can be a confusing task if you’ve never had occasion to work with a florist before. Your florist should be someone you’re comfortable talking to, whose opinions you trust, and who you’d consider continuing to turn to for your floral needs even after the wedding. The Society of American Florists recommends you look for the following in your florist:


9 Jan

Angelina Jolie And Her Humanitarian Efforts

Angelina Jolie, partner to Brad Pitt, is the star of several blockbuster movies. Among them Girl Interrupted and Mr. and Mrs. Smith, coincidentally where she met Pitt. But perhaps her most well known portrayal was as the buxom Lara Croft, in the Tomb Raider films. During the shooting of the first movie, much of which was shot on location in Cambodia, Jolie came to witness the beautiful environment, immersive culture, and rampant poverty of the nation. This, she says, opened her eyes and was her stepping stone into humantiarian work.

After Cambodia, Anglina Jolie took a trip to Sierra Leone and Tanzania in 2001, and it was there that she first became actively involved in humanitarium causes. The purpose of that fateful trip was to discover first hand the conditions that refugees must suffer. Angelina was so shocked that shortly after, in August 2001, she was appointed Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, otherwise known as UNHCR.

The UNHCR assists over 20 million refugees in 120 countries around the world. They were created to protect and safeguard the well-being and rights of refugees. They believe that refugees have a right to seek asylum in another country and will actively seek to engage nations to integrate and support those refugees. Thus far, in only 5 decades, they have helped over 50 million people in the world.

Angelina’s contribution has greatly assisted in generating more widespread attention to this worthy cause. As a goodwill ambassador, her role is to communicate to, and provide a focus on refugees by generating mass-media attention. Though in Jolie’s case this is not merely superficial. She actually spends much of her own time and is genuinely affected by their misery. On her trip to Ecuador, Jolie wrote of the suffering, “People’s lives are truly in danger – not just in the sense that you feel your town is unsafe – their lives are actually being threatened and their houses are being burnt down.”

To further increase public awareness, Jolie has released several personal journals of her experiences during field visits. More information can be found at unhcr.org.

As well as the physical effort that Jolie contributes, her foundation with partner Brad Pitt, called the Jolie-Pitt Foundation recently donated USD$1 million to groups working in Darfur. Darfur is a region in war ravaged Sudan, which Jolie has visited three times already.

Jolie now plans to spend most of her time in humanitarian efforts, revealing that she splits her actress her salary three ways; a third for savings, a third for living expenses and a third for charity. Considering she commands a high pay packet for movies, as well as product endorsements, that equates to a considerable amount donated.

Jolie has two adopted children, and is currently thinking of a third. Maddox, a cambodian refugee boy she adopted in 2002, and Zahara, an ethiopian refugee girl. She also has a child with Brad Pitt, named Shiloh.

Together with Pitt, Jolie has stated that she will continue to promote and actively engage in humanitarian causes, as well as pursuing her acting ambitions.


9 Jan

Alice Cooper True Rock And Roll Is Live Once Again

Early Life

Vincent Damon Furnier was born in Detroit on February 4, 1948. His heritage was quite interesting, in that his grandfather was an ordained Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ and his father was an elder in the same church. After spending the first few years of his life in Detroit, the family decided to move to Phoenix, which was where Vincent spent his formative years.

Furnier enrolled at Cortez high school in Phoenix, and became known by his peers as a columnist in the school newspaper. His tone in these columns was quite sarcastic, and two of his loyal readers became his closest friends of the time – Glen Buxton and Dennis Dunaway. Buxton and Dunaway would play a large role in Furnier’s musical career down the road.

Furnier, Buxton and Dunaway were motivated by one thing in high school – gaining the attention and adulation of the female students at Cortez. Their first foray into the musical world occurred during a school talent show where they donned wigs and gave a mock performance of songs by The Beatles. Even though their show was definitely amateur in nature, the group discovered that music was definitely the way to go if they wanted to be popular.

The trio was joined by another friend, Michael Bruce, and the quartet formed a band named The Earwigs. The group’s musical influences included The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and especially Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds. The name “Earwigs” didn’t last long, as the band soon became known as the Spiders.

The Spiders released a single, “Don’t Blow Your Mind,” that was a hit on Phoenix radio, and as a result, the band once again changed their name to The Nazz and traveled to Hollywood to pursue larger goals. Despite years of struggle in Los Angeles, The Nazz did manage to play opening acts for such bands as The Doors and The Yardbirds. The final change came in 1968, when Todd Rundgren named his band The Nazz, forcing Furnier and his crew to rename their band “Alice Cooper.”

Alice Cooper Days

In 1969, the band Alice Cooper released their first album, Pretties For You, which sold reasonably well but was seen as an outlandish work at the time. One of the reasons was the legendary story that the band showed up still reeling from a night of heavy drinking to record the album. This legend helped play into the overall theme of craziness that the band embodied going forward.

The band Alice Cooper released a total of five albums, but they split up in 1974. Furnier then became known as Alice Cooper, and released his first album, Welcome to My Nightmare, in 1975. The album became a top ten hit, and Cooper was on his way to stardom.

Since then, Cooper has released more than 30 studio, live and compilation albums, and has sold millions of records worldwide. His onstage legend has never waned. Even though he denies biting the head off a chicken and drinking its blood, the story made waves all over the world and is still a subject of discussion in many interviews.

Cooper’s outrageousness is definitely part of why he is known, but he is also one of the top-selling artists of his time. He has always flown a bit under the radar, but his shock rock innovations have been admired and to an extent imitated by the likes of Judas Priest, Kiss, Megadeath and Marilyn Manson.

One thing is sure – to see Alice Cooper is to see a show you’ll never forget.


9 Jan

Celebrity Baby Names

Celebrities are not like everyday people. They have busy schedules, drive expensive cars, and wear jewelry that others can only dream of owning. Maybe it is because celebrities are so far removed from normal life that they often give their babies unusual names.

Some names are just a little different. John Travolta and Kelly Preston have two beautiful children. Their daughter’s name is Ella Bleu. Their son’s name is Jett. Jett is different, but anyone who knows anything about John Travolta knows he has a love for flying. Gwyneth Paltrow, pregnant again, came under scrutiny for naming her first child Apple. While it is unusual, it is somewhat cute, like in the “apple of their eye.” Chris Martin, her husband, tired of the controversy over the name Apple, has jokingly stated their second child, whether male or female, will be named Banana. Another cute name is Dandelion, the name of Keith Richards’ daughter. Julie Roberts recently gave birth to twins – a boy and a girl – and received flack over the names she chose. She received almost as much grief over the choice for her daughter’s name, Hazel, as she did the more eccentric choice of Phinnaeus for her son.

Many people speculated what Madonna would name her first child. Lourdes Maria seems a fitting name for child who’s mother’s name is Madonna, but she often goes by Lola. Her son is named Rocco, which sounds a bit like a cartoon character, but at least it is a tough sounding name. Actor Casey Affleck and fianc

Copied with permission from: http://plrplr.com/63449/celebrity-baby-names/


9 Jan

John Deere

In 1962, a University of Illinois archaeological team unearthed the exact location of the blacksmith shop where John Deere developed the first successful steel plow in 1837. The site is now preserved by an exhibit hall complete with a simulated conversation between John and Demarius Deere talking about their every events on the farm and his development of the self-polishing steel plow that eventually opened the prairie to agriculture.

GO WEST YOUNG MAN

As a young journeyman blacksmith in Middlebury, Vermont, John Deere soon gained fame for his considerable workmanship and ingenuity. It was a golden age of the burgeoning pioneer and John headed west to join the adventure. It took him many weeks by canal boat, lake boat and stagecoach to reach Grand Detour, Illinois – a journey of more than a thousand miles that could easily be accomplished in 16 hours by car today.

BLACKSMITH

The cast iron plows the pioneers used were designed for sandy New England and proved no match for the rich Midwestern soil. So Deere decided to come up with something better, he took an old steel saw blade and made a plow with a properly shaped moldboard and share that scoured itself as it turned the furrow slice, basically it was a self-cleaning plow blade that made the hard work fast.

MASS APPEAL

In his day it was common practice for blacksmiths to build tools as customers ordered them, however seeing the future as it was, Deere decided to start hammering out the new plows without orders. It was an entirely new way of doing business and made John Deere a very popular man.

NOTHING RUNS LIKE A DEER

Ten years after he developed his first plow, Deere was producing a 1000 plows a year. Many years later in 1911, the company purchased the Waterloo Gasoline Traction Engine Company and tractors were added to production line. By 1955 they were the leading producer of farm equipment in the world. Today, the company has become globally renowned with net sales exceeding $640 million dollars.

COMMITMENT

Constant research and development has always been key to the John Deere company, as Deere himself once said, “They haven’t got to take what we make and somebody else will beat us, and we will lose our trade.” To this day, the company spends more on research and development than most other companies in its industry.

LEGENDARY

February 7, 2004 marked the 200th birthday of John Deere, the man. His one man blacksmith shop in 1836 has spawned one of the most celebrated equipment manufacturing companies in the world.

LEAPING FORWARD

The famous leaping deer logo has gone through several changes over the years. Deere first registered it for use in 1876, it read “John Deere – Moline, Illinois”. Interestingly, the first deer to appear on the logo was an African deer and not the American white tail used today. Over the years the wording changed and the deer was simplified into line art versus the illustration style of the original. Eventually the deer as the only thing on the logo and it simply read, “John Deere”. The clean cut 1968 version was updated in 200 with the deer leaping up and forward rather than down and forward. The famous green and yellow leaping deer logo has become a hip and modern symbol of John Deere’s and Americans’ ingenuity and integrity.

The John Deere Classic, a charitable golf tournament is played on a course built in the Friendship Farm in Illinois. For many years the farm had been one of the top Arabian horse breeding operations in the United States and the property still maintains a natural beauty to this day. In 2003, $1.5 million dollars was donated to more than 400 charities to benefit children, families and handicapped individuals. This is just one of the many reasons that John Deere was named one of the 100 Best Corporate Citizens for 2002 by Business Ethics magazine.

Copied with permission from: http://plrplr.com/63460/john-deere/


9 Jan

Elton John A Musical Icon Hits The Stage Once Again

Early Life

Elton John was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in England in 1947, and his early childhood was shaped primarily by the women in his life. His father, Stanley Dwight, was a Squadron Leader in the RAF, which meant that he was rarely around his son, as his military duty kept him on tour for years.

John proved to be something of a child prodigy, as by the age of four, he was able to play piano melodies by ear after hearing them either on the radio or record player. He continued to hone his love for music, and he won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music when he was 11.

John studied at the Academy for six years, but left before he graduated because he felt he was ready to concentrate on his professional music career. John played in his share of bands while he was a student, and it was during this time that his professional attitude and style were formulated in such a way that they would serve him throughout his career.

Early Career

John’s first band was formed when he was 13, and it was called The Corvettes. The Corvettes ultimately changed their name to Bluesology, which experienced some success as a backup band for such R&B artists as the Isley Brothers and Patti LaBelle. This exposure led to Bluesology being signed to serve as Long John Baldry’s supporting band, and they would tour and play small shows throughout England during this time.

John soon became disillusioned with the tight-fisted control that Baldry exerted over Bluesology and left the band soon thereafter. Even though there were initial failures, as John auditioned for lead singer roles with King Crimson and Gentle Giant without being hired, this part of his life led him to a partnership that exists to this day.

Career Success

John once again failed in an audition with Liberty Records, but as he was leaving the audition, he was given a group of lyrics without music that were written by Bernie Taupin, who has also tried out for a role with Liberty Records. John wrote music to support the lyrics, and the two began corresponding. John and Taupin met six months later, and it was during this time that John changed his name to what it is today. After a couple of years of writing music together, the partners were ready to encounter the 1970’s, which was a decade where they experienced a level of success that was unmatched in history.

Taupin and John began releasing singles with moderate success, and formed a band of musicians that would lead to John’s first number one album, Honky Chateau, in 1972. The album contained such hits as “Rocket Man” and “Honky Cat,” and spent five weeks at number one.

The following year, John started his own label, Rocket Records, and his string of success was amazing. His next nine albums all climbed to the top of the US Album charts, and his 31 releases since his first have sold hundreds of millions of copies around the world.

Awards/Acknowledgements

John is revered by millions, both inside the music industry and by the public in general. He has been recognized in several ways. John has won five Grammy Awards, although this is just the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of his recognition. In 1995, John won an Academy Award for Best Music, Song for “Can You Feel the Love Tonight,” featured in The Lion King. He won a Golden Globe Award that same year for Best Original Song – Motion Picture for the same score. In 1996, he was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (C.B.E.), and in 1998, he was Knighted by Queen Elizabeth for his contribution to music and fund-raising for AIDS charities. Finally, in 2000, John won a Tony Award for Best Original Musical Score for his work with Aida. John was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.


9 Jan

Dog Gone It

Enter DMX the rapper (real name Earl Simmons) not wanting to be out done, twelve starving and neglected pit-bull terriers were found out his Arizona home, not to mention the three buried dogs in the back yard of the house one of which had been burned to death.

Interestingly enough just five years ago a a US court ordered DMX to make public service announcements after pleading guilty to animal cruelty, disorderly conduct and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Does this new breed (no pun intended) of celebrity have so much money and free time that being cruel to animals is the best they can do? This is out of hand.

Pit-bulls in general receive a very bad rap. The reality is it is not the dog it is truly the owners. Pit bulls are loving but emotionally high maintenance dogs that if cared for and loved will defend their family and be the most beloved member.

In addition to the fines and the jail time I think celebrities that are cruel to animals deserve to work at rescue sites for a time that is equal to their jail sentence. There is no excuse for being cruel to animals.

In fact the only things that makes us superior to animals are logic, the ability to reason and fashion sense. Ah but in this case I digress.

Copied with permission from: http://plrplr.com/63476/dog-gone-it/


9 Jan

Olivia Newton John Is Stronger Than Before

She’s wondered “Have You Never Been Mellow,” implored us to get “Physical” and made it clear she’s “Hopelessly Devoted to You.” Now singer, actress and breast cancer prevention advocate Olivia Newton-John wants us to know she’s “Stronger Than Before.”

That’s the title of the multi-Grammy-winning artist’s newest compact disc, a 10-song collection inspired by her ongoing efforts to promote women’s health. It is available only at Hallmark Gold Crown stores in September and October (National Breast Cancer Awareness Month).

Newton-John is a 13-year breast cancer survivor. Fittingly, “Stronger Than Before” features songs of courage and hope inspired by her journey to good health and strong advocacy of early detection. Hallmark specifically selected her to record the company’s first-ever CD designed to raise consciousness about the disease and funds to fight it.

In a career that has seen numerous gold and platinum records, and movie stardom opposite John Travolta in “Grease,” Newton-John says she has never been more personally attached to a project than she is with “Stronger Than Before.” She collaborated with close friends, many of them fellow breast cancer survivors, and chose each track for its meaning and significance.

Included on the album are “Phenomenal Woman,” based on a poem by Maya Angelou, with the voices of Patti LaBelle, Diahann Carroll and others, and “Can I Trust Your Arms,” written by Newton-John’s daughter Chloe.

“Stronger Than Before” is priced at $9.95. Hallmark will donate $2 from the sale of each CD to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.

Hallmark also is donating $2 from the sale of each $14.95 Angel of Grace Keepsake Ornament to the charity, along with a minimum of 10 percent of the retail price of a gift collection. The collection includes boxed note cards, a pink suede-paper journal, heart-shaped bezel box, pink champagne glasses, and a pink nightshirt.

This is the seventh anniversary of the Hallmark Gold Crown Cards for the Cure program, featuring a free, specially designed card that reminds friends and family about the importance of early detection of breast cancer.


9 Jan

Julie Chen On David Letterman

Surprisingly, when David Asked if houseguests were ‘normal’ and whether or not any of them had ever got dangerously out of hand in the house, Julie replied by acknowledging that there had been several instances in Big Brother past show history where Big Brother houseguests got out of control and were asked to enter the diary room where upon entering, they were immediately escorted out of the house by security. She also stated, “I don’t know if I would say [the houseguests] are normal people?!”

Chen also revealed that the houses on Big Brother are never actually intended to be ‘comfortable’ for the houseguests, but rather, they serve as a catalyst to create tension and drama between houseguests. She reveals this years house will do exactly that. From articles that have touched on house design, and hints from Julie Chen herself, we know the house will feature a “good” vs. “Evil” theme full of twists and surprises. The 15 foot flame wall in the living room and brick kitchen in this years house will take Julie’s desire to make the house full of discomfort to create tension to the next level.

After the announcement of the 20 candidates selected by the Big Brother producers as potentials for the All-Star house that airs this Wednesday, June 21st, viewers will have a chance to Vote in their favorites. Dave letterman follows this explanation by asking what will happen if nobody votes… Julie replies by stating that the producers will just simply pick them instead!

So MAKE SURE TO VOTE AMERICA!! (and Canada!) Julie ends the interview be telling Dave that after the casting premiere she plans to take a one week vacation with her husband.