HIGH profile St Kilda fan Samuel Johnson is coming to the end of a remarkable ride to pay tribute to his ill sister.
Born just 12 months apart, Samuel and Connie have always been tight. But now their relationship has gone to an entirely new level as Connie (35) struggles to overcome her third battle with cancer.
At the age of 11, Connie fought off a very rare and aggressive bone tumour in her leg. At 22, she successfully battled a tumour in her womb. But this time it’s breast cancer and its terminal.
The mother of two young boys has been given 6-12 months to live as the cancer spreads to her lungs, liver, pelvis, spine and knee.
What began as a light-hearted, throwaway comment in the kitchen has morphed into an inspirational tale of courage and selflessness from one of Australia’s most recognisable personalities best known for his roles in The Secret Life of Us, Crackerjack and Underbelly II.
On February 15, 2013, Samuel departed on a year-long mission to break the Guinness World Record for the furthest distance travelled on a unicycle. In the process, he committed to raising $1million for Breast Cancer research and raising awareness about the disease that is gradually eating away it his beloved sister.
His mission: to remind every Australian woman to be ‘breast aware’ and to promote early detection.
It was a Guinness World Record that was previously set at 14,686.82km by a man named Lars who cycled across 48 US states.
Samuel was determined to break the 15,000km barrier riding around Australia – all of this in under 365 days.
As it turns out, he has already travelled 15,389km (and counting), raised $1,371,066.00 (and counting) and finishes this rousing journey on Thursday February 13 at Federation Square in Melbourne – arriving at 11.45am.
All in the name of charity and for his dying sister.
Connie and Samuel’s message is clear and simple: “Don’t fall into the booby-trap, be breast aware!”
To donate, head to: https://www.giving.garvan.org.au/makeadonation
For more information on this remarkable journey, visit: http://www.loveyoursister.org/welcome
This is a story about loyalty, something increasingly rare in soccer these days, and how a loyal coach who led a team to an historic victory, then made a sacrifice to stay and build on that success, was fired less than a year later.
Loyalty is something that should work both ways. Arsenal is the perfect example. Arsene Wenger has been coaching there since 1996. He rewarded his hiring by winning championships, and the team has stood by him the past few years that have produced excellent seasons and attractive play but no trophies. And both Wenger and management have been praised for their sensible approach to finances and budget as salaries have gotten out of control.
Swansea is no Arsenal, and likely never will be. But the small club from Wales was promoted to the English Premier League for the 2011-12 season and finished a respectable 11th under Brendan Rodgers, who quickly became a hot coaching commodity. And Rodgers made the most of it, moving on to become Liverpool coach.
Swansea turned to Michael Laudrup, who been coaching small clubs throughout Europe but had played for big clubs such as Juventus, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Lazio and Ajax in a long career that also saw him earn 104 caps and score 37 goals for Denmark.
Laudrup, who signed a two-year contract, began to bring in players, including Spanish midfielder Michu from Rayo Vallecano. Michu became a building block, scoring 14 goals, and Swansea was lauded for its attacking play.
In Laudrup’s first season, Swansea reached the League Cup final, where it thrashed Bradford, 5-0, at Wembley Stadium to win the first major trophy in the club’s 100-year history and earn a berth in this season’s Europa League.
Rumors immediately started about Laudrup leaving, just as Rodgers did, as more prestigious clubs came calling. But Laudrup put an end to that and insisted he wanted to stay, likely passing up millions to remain with a club that had been in the fourth tier of English soccer not too long ago. His reward was a contract extension through 2015.
But this season didn’t start off well. Swansea was struggling to find its form and was in the bottom half of the standings when management fired Laudrup last week. Laudrup said he never received a reason for his firing and was seeking legal advice for an explanation. Reports also claim he was banned from the team’s training facility, even to say goodbye to the players.
Unlike Wenger, Laudrup did not receive loyalty from ownership. Apparently, a couple of years in the limelight made Swansea’s management team forget the struggle to get there.
Over the years we have come to expect little loyalty from players, who as they sign contracts with a club are already looking for their next move to a bigger one. Their goal? To play in the Champions League.
Which brings us to another point.
The Champions League has all but ruined club soccer.
The tournament is such a huge money-maker, and teams that advance to the lucrative group stage, and beyond, line their coffers with millions they use to buy more players.
The Champions League has become the most important trophy in club soccer, more important than any domestic league title or cup competition. And if that’s not bad enough, the major clubs that play in it every year have tied their budgets to not only qualification, but advancement.
That’s why there’s such a panic right now at Manchester United. Management knew there would be a transition from longtime coach Alex Ferguson to David Moyes, but the club is in seventh place, six points behind Tottenham for England’s final Champions League berth, and the difference in money from the Champions League and the lesser Europa League won’t pay some of the hefty salaries on Man U next year.
Champions League money tilts the game to the rich teams, which use that money to buy players to fill out their rosters because they need cover for all the tournaments they will play that year. Tournaments that are needed to bring in money to play all those players. It’s a vicious cycle, and when it’s broken, teams fall quickly.
In the 2003-04 season, Borussia Dortmund failed to advance out of the qualifying rounds of the Champions League. The expected loss of revenue crippled the club and Dortmund had to borrow millions of dollars from Bayern Munich to make their payroll, which came after the club was forced to sell its stadium due to poor financial management and a heavy debt.
And as we have seen lately, clubs that control all the best players dominate their leagues, which makes most of the regular season meaningless. Does anybody care about a Spanish league game that doesn’t involve Barcelona or Real Madrid? And that goes for the handful of big clubs in all the major European Leagues. Three-quarters of the teams in those leagues have no shot to win the title and are basically playing to avoid relegation. They don’t have the money to compete, and they can’t live without the revenue of first-division soccer.
Yet European soccer continues to thrive despite the same teams winning each season. And not just winning, but in some cases by dominating margins over the second-place team.
Parity doesn’t exist for the majority of leagues throughout Europe, which makes each weekend fairly predictable. It’s the haves vs. the have-nots, and how much fun is that?
United States defender Timothy Chandler will need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his left knee and likely will be sidelined eight to 10 weeks. Chandler was injured in Nuremberg’s 2-0 loss to Bayern Munich on Saturday. … Former U.S. captain Thomas Dooley is the new coach of the Philippines national team. Dooley follows other Americans who have coached national teams outside the U.S., including Steve Sampson (Costa Rica, 2002-04), Bob Bradley (Egypt, 2011-13) and Thomas Rongen (American Samoa in 2011). Other Americans currently in charge of national teams are Ian Mork (Belize) and Jack Stefanowski (Nepal). … U.S. forward Aron Johannsson scored a goal but was forced to leave AZ Alkmaar’s 2-0 win over Vitesse with a reported groin injury. …
U.S. forward Juan Agudelo scored his first goal for Dutch club Utrecht in a 2-1 loss to PEC Zwolle. … U.S. defender Oguchi Onyewu injured his calf for Sheffield Wednesday and will be out several weeks. … The U.S. women’s national team has been drawn into Group B at the annual Algarve Cup in Portugal and will play Japan March 5, Sweden (and former U.S. coach Pia Sundhage) March 7 and Denmark March 10. Group A includes China, Germany, Iceland and Norway. The Group A and B winners will play for the title March 12. … The U.S. women will play Russia for the second time in six days Thursday in Atlanta. The Americans beat Russia, 7-0, Saturday in Boca Raton, Fla., the 17th time in history they have scored seven goals in a game. …
Sky Blue will open its National Women’s Soccer League season April 12 at FC Kansas City. Sky Blue’s first home game will be April 19 against the defending champion Portland Thorns at Rutgers University’s Yurcak Field. … The 2014 Guinness International Champions Cup will be played July 26-Aug. 4 and MetLife Stadium appears a likely site among a projected 13 cities. The field will include Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Liverpool, AS Roma and Olympiacos, although Manchester United may have to pull out if it has to play European qualifying matches around the same time. The group breakdown and schedule will be announced Feb. 20. … Chelsea defender Ashley Cole is reportedly interested in coming to Major League Soccer and perhaps join former Arsenal teammate Thierry Henry on the Red Bulls. …
Former U.S. and MetroStars midfielder Mike Sorber has been hired as an assistant coach by the Philadelphia Union. … The Red Bulls will play the Union in a preseason game tomorrow in Jacksonville, Fla. On Monday, they will travel to Orlando for the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. … The Los Angeles Galaxy signed coach Bruce Arena to a multi-year contract extension. Arena, a three-time coach of the year, joined the Galaxy in 2008 and has led the club to MLS titles in 2011 and 2012. He has an 82-46-44 regular-season record. … The Portland Timbers have reached an agreement with Providence Health & Services to rename Jeld-Wen Field Providence Park. … Former Timbers forward Eddie Johnson is suing the club and members of its medical staff for $9.9 million, alleging that he was allowed to practice while he still had concussion symptoms. …
Liverpool finally defended its home field against Arsenal when it routed the Gunners, 5-1, Saturday. Arsenal hadn’t lost at Anfield since 2007. Arsenal will have a chance for revenge when it hosts Liverpool Sunday in the fifth round of the FA Cup. … Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic says he will leave the club at the end of the season. … Joe Kinnear, Newcastle’s director of football, resigned. … Birmingham owner Carson Yeung resigned as the club’s president and director as he awaits the verdict in his money laundering trial in Hong Kong. …
West Ham striker Andy Carroll lost his appeal against a three-game ban for violent conduct. Carroll’s arm caught Swansea defender Chico Flores on the head in West Ham’s 2-0 victory Feb. 1. … Abderdeen knocked off defending champion Celtic, 2-1, to reach the quarterfinals of the Scottish Cup. … Borussia Dortmund midfielders Marco Reus (torn thigh muscle) and Sven Bender (thigh strain) were injured in Saturday’s 5-1 victory over Werder Bremen. Reus may miss two weeks while Bender may be sidelined one week. …
Werder Bremen (5-10-5) is off to its worst start in the Bundesliga since the 1974-75 season following a 5-1 loss to Borussia Dortmund on Saturday. … The German Cup quarterfinals will be played today and tomorrow. … Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani strained his right thigh and could be out three weeks. … Lyon and Paris Saint-Germain advanced to the final of the French League Cup, which will be played April 19. …
Brazil forward Alexandre Pato was traded from Corinthians to Sao Paulo for midfielder Jadson. Despite having 10 goals in 27 international appearances, the 24-year-old Pato has struggled and never became a regular starter for Brazil. … Bologna midfielder Alessandro Diamanti joined Chinese Super League champion Guangzhou Evergrande, which is coached by Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi. … The second legs of the Italian Cup semifinals will be played today (Roma at Napoli) and tomorrow (Udinese at Fiorentina). Roma won the first leg, 3-2, while Udinese beat Fiorentina, 2-1. Udinese hasn’t reached the final since 1922. …
Atletico Madrid midfielder Tiago Cardoso sprained his right knee and fractured his left wrist during Saturday’s 2-0 loss to Almeria. He will be out indefinitely. … Real Madrid forward Cristiano Ronaldo has been suspended for three Spanish league games for receiving a red card and then making a mocking gesture toward the match officials during a game at Athletic Bilbao. It didn’t seem to matter much Saturday as Real Madrid, without Rinaldo, beat Villarreal, 4-2. …
Atletico Madrid moved into first place in the Spanish league by itself for the first time since 1996, but weekend results left Atletico tied for first with Real Madrid. … The second legs of the Copa del Rey semifinals will be played today (Real Madrid at Atletico Madrid) and tomorrow (Barcelona at Real Sociedad). Real Madrid (3-0) and Barcelona (2-0) won the first legs. The final is April 19. … Ethiopia, which qualified for the African Cup for the first time in over 30 years and lost a playoff to Nigeria for a berth in the World Cup, fired coach Sewnet Bishaw.
Nepal: Sushil may not award Home Ministry to UML
A day after arriving at a seven point power sharing pact with the second largest party, United Marxist Leninist, the Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala was elected as the country’s thirty-fifth prime minister by a two-third majority in the parliament, February 10, 2014.
However, dispute between the two parties over the home ministry portfolio led to the cancellation of swearing in ceremony on Monday.
President Ram Baran, who perhaps deserves Guinness World Record for administering oath to highest number of prime ministers during his term as the elected head of the state, reports have it, was waiting until late evening on Monday beginning 2 PM at his secretariat to administer the oath of the office to Koirala.
Whereas the United Marxist Leninist has decided to send its Vice Chairman Bam Dev Gautam in government as the Deputy Prime Minister with Home Ministry portfolio, the Nepali Congress leaders have been taking serious stand that the ministry should be retained by the Prime Minister himself.
The Nepali Congress leaders have it that with the local level elections likely to be held within a year, the Ministry of Home Affair should be retained by the party.
PS: In the mean while, it has been learnt that Sushil already NO to UML that he would not award the Home ministry to the UML.
The first jolt.
FREMONT — This eastern Nebraska town of about 26,000 souls is known for its picturesque sandpit lakes, for setting a Guinness World Record with a 1,652-pound Spam sandwich and for a housing law that thrust it to the front lines of the national immigration debate.
Tuesday, Fremont voters will decide whether to do away with one of those distinctions, the law that bans landlords from renting to illegal immigrants and requires all renters to get occupancy licenses from the police department.
In June 2010, residents approved the city ordinance, which also requires local businesses to use the federal E-Verify system to check the immigration status of new hires. The vote made headlines across the nation.
The issue has polarized the town, which has two anchor industries: meat processor Hormel Foods and manufacturer Valmont Industries. Both are outside the city limits, and report about 1,400 and 1,500 employees, respectively.
The housing portion of the ordinance never has been enforced.
It was first put on hold while federal courts sorted out a legal challenge brought by attorneys representing landlords, tenants, employers, the ACLU Nebraska Foundation and Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.
The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year upheld the city law, reversing an Omaha judge’s ruling that some provisions were preempted by the Immigration and Nationality Act and violated the Fair Housing Act.
After the court refused to rehear the case, the city council set a second public referendum and suspended enforcement until after the polls close Tuesday. Those pushing for repeal of the housing portion of the law fear future lawsuits and say it paints the town as prejudiced and intolerant, which harms development efforts.
The town’s economic development arm, the Greater Fremont Development Council, and the Fremont Area Chamber of Commerce, have both said the city law needs to go.
Supporters of it are frustrated and angry that after months of gathering signatures during the dead of winter, a resounding victory at the polls with 57 percent approval in 2010 and fighting off legal challenges, the council has now opted for a do-over.
“We are about as far away from racists as you can get. We’re for legal immigration,” said John Wiegert, a 48-year-old lifelong Fremont resident and fifth-grade teacher. “We just want people to abide by our laws.”
If the housing law is repealed, he said, illegal immigrants will see it as an invitation to move to Fremont.
“If we lose this and they win,” he said, “then we basically become a sanctuary city.”
Both sides accuse the other of distorting the truth and even spreading outright lies.
A tough issue
Ivadene Bowman, who was born in Germany as the daughter of an American serviceman and moved to Fremont eight years ago with her husband, said she doesn’t talk about the ordinance at the downtown shop where she works — or in public at all — for fear of offending someone.
“It’s a tough issue, and a lot of people are divided on it,” said Bowman, who believes both sides make valid points and said she just wants what’s best for the town.
That reluctance to talk was the first thing Virginia Meyer and three other women decided to tackle when they created Fremont Yes! The women met at a November council meeting and planned their strategy around kitchen tables while their children played in the background.
They made phone calls, raised money, wrote letters and ordered yard signs.
Meyer, who works for the nonprofit Center for Rural Affairs, said Fremont has many great things going for it — great outdoor recreation, Midland College, proximity to Omaha shopping — but the immigration ordinance overshadows it all.
“It’s like a little black rain cloud crowding out the good things about our town,” she said. “Having the housing ordinance in place hurts the town, and it’s not addressing undocumented people.”
Meyer calls the measure toothless.
Landlords can apply for the occupancy license on behalf of tenants, who can still lie about their legal status. Authorities will not check the validity of those who claim to be American citizens. And people who can’t prove their legal status in the United States can live just outside the city limits or in neighboring towns such as North Bend, Valley or Arlington.
And there could be other collateral damage, Meyer said.
Earlier this month, a full-page ad signed by the directors of six assisted-living centers ran in the local paper, urging people to vote for repeal because they fear the law could require them to get a new occupancy permit every time they move a resident into a new room.
Supporters of the ordinance have said it would not affect senior living centers. The city’s attorneys have been mum on the issue.
State Sen. Charlie Janssen, who was on the city council when the ordinance was proposed in 2008, said it doesn’t hurt Fremont. Opponents are “hiding behind a straw man,” he said.
“I’ve heard from people across the state that we are a model for them, for standing up and doing what is right,” said Janssen, who earlier this month withdrew from the Republican primary gubernatorial race.
He said the measure should stand, and he plans to vote to keep it.
“The thing that really disturbs me the most about this,” he said, ” … the city council has basically said, ‘Your vote does not count, and we’re going to take that out of your hands. We know better than you.’ When people speak, you listen to them.”
Fremont Mayor Scott Getzschman calls the ordinance hateful and discriminatory and said the publicity has hurt Fremont’s ability to attract new businesses. He said at least one company has said it eliminated the town as a potential place to open a shop because of it.
Wiegert, who helped gather signatures for the first vote, questioned the mayor’s honesty and said if a company doesn’t want to come to Fremont because of the anti-illegal-immigration ordinance, it’s probably not the type of business he would want in town.
“You don’t want those businesses in your town that are coming here to exploit cheap labor,” he said.
The fight started in 2008, when then-Councilman Bob Warner proposed the city adopt an ordinance to take on illegal immigration. He offered a draft written with the help of Kris Kobach, a key author of strict immigration measures in Alabama and Arizona.
Parts of the Arizona law were struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012. Kobach, now Kansas secretary of state, defended the Fremont law in federal court.
Warner said residents were frustrated with federal authorities’ failure to deal with people who come into the United States illegally. He was hearing complaints about people without insurance speaking Spanish in hospital emergency rooms and the need for interpreters at an annual kindergarten gathering where kids and parents meet teachers, he said.
His proposal drew such a crowd that city leaders moved a second hearing on it to the high school auditorium. After hours of public testimony, the council waived a final reading and voted 4-4 on it.
Then-Mayor Donald “Skip” Edwards ended the night with an emotional speech capped with a no vote that broke the tie.
Edwards, who since has died, said at the time that the decision weighed heavily on him. He told the crowd he opposed illegal immigration, but said his vote wasn’t about that. It was about fear of opening a legal Pandora’s box full of lawsuits that could bury the city.
The issue made it to a public vote two years later.
Since then, the city council has levied, collected and set aside almost $1.5 million to deal with costs associated with the ordinance, of which about $184,000 has been spent, including $111,438 in legal fees and $72,612 in enforcing the E-Verify portion of the law, according to a document on the city’s website.
Maribel Lango moved to Fremont in 1998 after graduating from Columbus High School. At the time, the number of Hispanic people in town could be measured in the hundreds. The U.S. Census in 1990 recorded 232 Hispanics in all of Dodge County.
Lango was born in Mexico, moved to California as a toddler and to Columbus when she was 12. She became a U.S. citizen more than 10 years ago and works as a dental hygienist.
The first time she walked into a Fremont McDonald’s, people stared, she remembers. At St. Patrick’s Catholic Church back then, Hispanic families took up only three pews.
By 2010, Fremont’s Hispanic population had ballooned to 3,149, growing 190 percent since 2000. Today, Hispanics now make up nearly 12 percent of the city’s total population, and Lango said they fill the pews during Sunday afternoon Spanish Mass at St. Patrick’s.
Lango said she still gets looks when she goes certain places, like a bar down the street from where she works that is popular with older white people, but now the looks are more suspicious and less curious.
Fear rippled through Hispanics here when the ordinance first came up for a vote in 2010, said Mayra Gonzalez, who runs the downtown bakery, Tortilleria Anita & Taqueria, with her husband.
Gonzalez, who wears a white apron and has her hair bundled up under a net as she sells breads and pastries from behind a counter, said her sales dipped during the weeks surrounding the vote. People stayed home, worried about being profiled and harassed by police.
In March 2010, a few months before the vote, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested 17 people for immigration violations at Fremont Beef, which employs more than 280 people.
“The whole environment, it was really hostile,” Gonzalez said. “People would rather stay home.”
When mass arrests and harassment by local police failed to happen, she said, the feeling passed.
Gonzalez, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Mexico, said the atmosphere in town now is completely different.
In the bakery, she paused to take money from a man and woman buying pastries, speaking to them in Spanish and pointing to a nearby shelf with literature urging people to vote yes on Tuesday.
They each picked up a Spanish-language flier before walking out the door.
Gonzalez likes Fremont. The Hispanic community is tight-knit, and neighbors take time to speak to each other. But for outsiders, the town remains branded a hostile and intolerant place, she said.
“It is really nice here with the lakes,” Gonzalez said. “But my family, they won’t come here, because they say, ‘Oh, no, there will be racists.’”
Keonjhar: Five thousand years in one calendar. That is what a farmer in Keonjhar district has claimed to have put together in one calendar.
Mohan Charan Mohanta, 40, of Baikala village under Saharpada block he has formed three tables in his calendar – number of the years, days with code letters and combined days with the date.
The Plus II passout, who, like his ancestors, became a cultivator to earn a living, said, “First, one has to go through the first table to see the year. Then, he will come down to the second table straight column wise to get a code letter with the month. Then, one will have to go the third table to get the day.
“I designed the calendar within a month. I started working on the calendar on January 1, while playing on my mobile phone. First, I designed the calendar for 30 years, then 100 years and finally I compiled the calendars of 5,000 years” Mohan said.
“I want to make way into the Guinness Book,” Mohan added with a smile.
Sujit Patnaik, who supported Mohan in completing the calendar, said, “It is a rare example of a farmer designing a 5,000-year calendar. We hope he achieves the record.”
The Erie area surpassed 100 inches of snowfall Wednesday, putting Erie in position to finish out the season as one of the snowiest ever.
The National Weather Service’s snowfall totals as of 5:30 p.m. Wednesday put Erie at 103.2 inches of snow since Oct. 1, including 7.4 inches of snow measured at Erie International Airport on Wednesday.
If it happened all at once, Erie’s snowfall would be enough to completely block your front door, with a couple feet to spare, or entirely submerge the world’s tallest man, an 8-foot-3-inch-tall Kurdish man in Turkey, according to Guinness World Records.
Weather service meteorologists said the current snowstorm accounted for 9.2 inches of snow as of late Wednesday afternoon.
Erie is well above its average snowfall totals so far this winter. At this point in an average season, the Erie area is expected to have 69.6 inches of snow.
From October through April, Erie averages 100.9 inches of snow, according to the National Weather Service in Cleveland. During that span in late 2012 and early 2013, Erie had 105.6 inches of snow.
With snow likely to continue into April, Erie has about two months to reach record totals. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Erie’s snowiest season came in 2000-01 when 149.1 inches fell on the area.
This stretch of snowy weather could go down as one of Erie’s top five snowiest if the area gets average amounts of snowfall for the rest of February, March and April.
Even before the current snowstorm, Erie held an 11-inch lead in the race to be the snowiest city of 100,000 or more residents, according to GoldenSnowGlobe.com. The two cities closest to Erie are Grand Rapids, Mich., and Buffalo.
SEAN McCRACKEN can be reached at 870-1714 or by e-mail. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmccracken.
WATERBURY >> Bring your significant other to Seven Angels Theatre on Friday, Feb. 14 or Saturday, Feb. 15 at 8 p.m. for a fantastically funny night of comedy. Not only will four of New York City’s funniest comedians perform, but as part of the ticket price you’ll get chocolates and a free glass of champagne before the show.
Performing will be Fran Capo, John Ivarone (Friday only), Bob Luparello (Saturday only), Vanessa Hollingshead and headlining both nights will be Billy Garan. Plus, the Devils Corner bar will open one hour before the show offering a fine selection of wine, beer and other drinks.
Tickets are $35 and $30 for season subscribers. Seven Angels Theatre is located on Plank Road in Waterbury just off I-84 with plenty of free parking. To purchase tickets stop by the box office, call 203-757-4676, or online at SevenAngelsTheatre.org
Fran Capo is a comedienne, motivational speaker, 18 time author, spokesperson, TV host, comedy producer and 6 time world record holder most known as the Guinness Book of World Records fastest talking female clocked at 603.32wpm. Fran has been featured on over 4500 radio shows, and 350 television shows including Entertainment tonight, Fox & Friends, Martha Stewart Show, CNN, The Late Show & Good Morning America. She has performed on every continent (even Antarctica – the penguins were dressed very nicely.) Her three latest books are “Myths and Mysteries of New York”, “Hopeville: the City of Light” and “Almost a Wise Guy.” Also , known as Travel Adventure Mom she blogsfor traveling mom and also does Movie reviews for New Media Stew with Fitness Celebrity John Basedow.
John Ivarone is a premiere New York comedian performing in the comedy circuit at clubs such as Comic Strip Live, Carolines, Stand-Up NY, Wisecrackers and The Brokerage. Empire Casino, Laugh Lounge, Mohegan Sun, Governors, Dangerfields, Comic Strip Live, Carolines, Stand-Up NY, Wisecrackers, The Brokerage, Treehouse Comedy, Bananas, Ehrhardt’s Poconos, HA!, McGuire’s, Coastal Entertainment. He has performed many times at Seven Angels Theatre.
Bob Luparello The angry Italian Comic who’s at odds with life (with a wife and 3 kids Bob has no life) Bob’s ire, he feels comes from being force fed calamari as an infant. The agita he experienced has been with him ever since! Bob experiences growing up in an extended Italian family and the warped way they can turn the simplest situation into an emotional buffet have been told at clubs and colleges all over the country as well as on Summer Unwrapped on the Food Network, The Toyota Comedy Festival, Caroline’s on Broadway and Foxwood’s Resort and Casino. Bob’s comedic training includes improvisational classes under the tutelage of Michael Gelman of the Second City Troupe, Commercial Acting courses at The New School and Comedic writing under Steve Rosenfield.
Vanessa Hollingshead- Vanessa was recently on VH1’s Lords of the Revolution, has had her own Comedy Central Presents, has taped her second DVD at Gotham, “American Anglomaniac” and is taping her third DVD, “Drunk” at Stand Up New York. She has performed for Comedy Central in Australia, as well as numerous shows in the UK and Amsterdam, she also has had critical acclaim with her one woman show “Flashback”, and just complete her second one person show, called “The Hold”.
Vanessa was featured on Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, Dateline, and Oxygen as well as doing the Montreal “Just for Laughs” tour with Kevin Pollock. She has done The Montreal Comedy Festival 5 Times in total, as well as appearing on the original pilot of the AJ Benza Show on “E”. She’s a favorite of Comedy Central and did “Canned Ham”, where she did a spoof parody of the movie, “Nurse Betty” as well as an appearance on “New Joke City”. She was the guest host on NBC’s “Later” as well as the critically acclaimed film “Ghost Dog”, directed by Jim Jarmusch.
Vanessa has also performed on the “The Jim Bruer Show”, Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and NBC’s “Louie Anderson Comedy Showcase.” She’s a national headliner, can be seen all over the United States as well as Europe. But, she can always be seen a little closer to home at the Comic Strip, Stand Up New York, Caroline’s, The Boston Comedy Club, Gotham Comedy Club, The Improv, The Laugh Factory, and the Comedy Cellar in New York City.
Billy Garan began his career performing stand-up at Catch A Rising Star in New York City. He expanded his career by joining a comedy troupe called Funny Business which toured hundreds of colleges throughout the country.
Billy’s staggering list of impressions is demonstrated in his “Hollywood High” routine where he plays all the characters in a classroom of celebrity students, ranging from Truman Capote to Sylvester Stallone. He not only does the voices with superb accuracy, but also the mannerisms. Billy’s high energy and machine gun style delivery have defined him as a unique talent having made him a valuable opening act for Robert Klein, Jay Leno, and Jerry Seinfeld. He has produced, written and performed numerous radio commercials and has been seen doing comedy on NBC, Showtime and A&E. His career as an actor has covered a wide range of appearances from ABC’s “Phenom” & “America’s Funniest People,” NBC’s “Saved by the Bell,” & “California Dreams,” Showtime’s “Sherman Oaks”.
Members of South Korea’s men short track team practice during a training session at the Iceberg venue in Sochi on February 6, 2014, on the eve of the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games opening ceremony. AFP PHOTO / YURI KADOBNOV (Photo credit should read YURI KADOBNOV/AFP/Getty Images)(Photo: YURI KADOBNOV AFP/Getty Images)
Let the Games begin!
Slopestyle, which makes its Olympic debut Thursday, incorporates elements of parkour and slopes that snowboarders have been doing for years. Athletes will glide down rails, flip over obstacles and jump over hills. Halfpipe gold medalist Shaun White was slotted to compete, but pulled himself out of the event on Wednesday. Team figure skating also begins Thursday with the men’s short program and pairs short program.
Which city is the USA’s most literate?
For the fourth year in a row, the nation’s capital is named the most literate city in the country. Washington tops the ranking of cities with a population of 250,000 or more. The study looks at the number of bookstores, library resources, Internet use and education levels. Atlanta made a leap up from No. 8 to No. 4 this year.
It’s curtains for Jay Leno
Jay Leno says goodbye to the Tonight Show, again, after more than 20 years on the stage. His farewell is sandwiched tonight between the Super Bowl and the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, and includes Billy Crystal — his first guest in 1992. Jimmy Fallon takes over the show and will likely invoke a new format for his younger fan base.
Sony calls time on PC unit
Sony will cut as many as 5,000 jobs as the Japanese electronics giant attempts to sell its troubled PC business and focus more on tablets and smartphones, the firm said Thursday.
Tallest building in western U.S. to start with big pour
The foundations of the 73-story, 1,100-foot tall Wilshire Grand building in Los Angeles will be poured in one huge effort on Feb. 15. More than 2,100 truckloads will deliver 21,200 cubic yards of concrete weighing 82 million pounds in an attempt to set a Guinness World Record with the largest continuous concrete pour ever.
By Anne Gagliano
Isn’t it funny how we get reflective on holidays and major events, like Christmas or the birth of a child? Memories of long ago suddenly spring into life as if they had just happened yesterday; they are somehow inextricably linked to that event. Like the Christmas I got my new bike, how it gleamed in the lights of the tree, or the day my eldest son was born—how I regretted having eaten four slices of pizza that night. Tiny details that we would normally forget are forever etched in our minds because of the momentous occasion around which they revolved. For me, a native Seattleite born and bred, this is true of this year’s Super Bowl. Super Bowl, you may ask? How can that even begin to compare to the birth of a child? Okay, maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but for those of you who may not know this, the Seahawks are more beloved by their fans than any other sports team; our recent Guinness world record should attest to that fact. We call ourselves “The 12th Man,” as our support does indeed help lead our team to victory.
You might wonder why we’re so fanatical; why on every car you see flags, on mailboxes you see balloon bouquets, and why even on one fence you see a beautifully hand-crafted steel sculpture of the Seahawk logo. One local family, whose last name is Mann, even gave their newborn baby girl the middle name “12th”; talk about dedication! So they’re going to the Super Bowl this year. The Steelers and the Cowboys have gone multiple times; what’s the big deal? I’ll try to explain. The big deal is this: Seattle’s baseball team has never even been to a World Series, let alone won, and the Seattle Sonics left our town for Oklahoma City. The only major victory for a professional men’s team that I can recall is when the Sonics won the NBA Championship in 1979—when I was just a kid. Seattle went bonkers that night, I can tell you. Even as far north as I lived, horns were blaring, people were cheering in the streets, and multiple fireworks lit up the dark waters of the Puget Sound. But that was nearly 40 years ago; we’ve been hungering for a victory ever since.
Flash forward from 1979 to 2006; at long last, Seattle had a team that made it big— the Seahawks were going to Superbowl XL. Keep in mind that Seattle hosts the only pro teams in the entire Pacific Northwest; we have fans from Idaho, Oregon, even Montana. It was a very “big deal”; I remember it like it was yesterday. Nothing galvanizes a town like a winning team, and Seattle finally had one.
I remember the events surrounding that Super Bowl with amazing clarity. Our eldest son, Michael, was in his freshman year at college. We had wept and cried that fall as we sent him off. Would he succeed? Would he graduate? Would he ever get a “real job”? We had just learned his grades for that first semester and we were, to be quite honest, very worried. Our youngest son, Rick, was a senior in high school. He, too, had just been accepted to the same private university as our eldest and would be joining him there the following fall. Our boys are just one school year apart; we were bracing ourselves for the shock of an impending empty nest and double college tuition. We were struggling enough already just to pay for one. How in the world would we ever pay for two? Would it all work out? Would our boys have a future? Was college worth the sacrifice, or was it a foolish gamble for a single-income, middle-class family?
On that Super Bowl Sunday, eight years ago, my husband Mike was also facing a weighty decision: Should he continue to try to teach a little thing called “Air Management for the Fire Service”? Was it a colossal waste of his time, energy, passion, and resources? After all, he was getting mostly resistance, flack, and even outright mockery from nearly everyone. Air management wasn’t cool; it wasn’t “sexy”; it was for wimps. So far he hadn’t earned a dime for his efforts; in fact, he was completely out-of-pocket. And he had to consider the upcoming double college tuition bills; would Air Management get in the way of his fatherly obligations? Was he (along with his co-teachers Phil, Casey, and Steve) on a fool’s errand?
These were the circumstances surrounding that momentous occasion, the Super Bowl eight years ago. But we four put them out of our minds that day as we gathered around to watch the game. We were tight, inseparable, an amazing foursome. Michael was able to come home from school to be with us; he chose to do so, for there was no one else he’d rather watch the game with than us. We had all of our favorite goodies in place to nosh: crab legs, pizza, chips, and donuts. The game began. We were so excited; we cheered, we yelled, then we became outraged and devastated as we watched the Steelers win it yet again. To this day, Seattleites begrudge the referees as we believe they gave the game away. It seemed our one chance at a Super Bowl victory had forever passed us by; surely it could never happen again.
But isn’t it amazing how things have a way of “working out”? If I could go back to that first Seahawks Super Bowl eight years ago, I would tell my little family to be of good cheer; all the problems you’re so stressed out about today will be okay tomorrow. Have faith, have hope. Miracles do happen; the Seattle Seahawks are playing yet again in Super Bowl XLVIII. Michael, despite his poor start, did eventually graduate from college with a chemistry degree. He met the girl of his dreams, got married, and even has a “real job” as a computer services manager at the university he graduated from. Rick, too, graduated with a double major, cum laude, and went on to law school in Washington D.C., where he is currently in his third year and on track to actually getting a law degree. As for Air Management, it is now the national standard for the fire service, a bestselling book, and taught nationwide. It opened the door to many other opportunities as well, and all of this has paid the college tuition for both of our children.
As Mike and I, alone, prepared to watch the Seahawks this year, we reflected on these events, which is what seems to happen on such momentous occasions. We gathered our favorite noshes once again (crab legs, pizza, chips, and donuts) only without our precious boys beside us; our inseparable foursome is no more. Michael spent the big day with his beautiful bride in their beautiful new house; Rick is in D.C., too far away to join us. You win some, you lose some, but in the end, it all works out.
A note to Bobby Halton, who bet Mike dinner on the outcome of the Super Bowl: He loves the lobster at Ruth’s Chris in Indy.
Anne Gagliano has been married to Captain Mike Gagliano of the Seattle (WA) Fire Department for 29 years. She and her husband lecture together on building and maintaining a strong marriage.
A team sent by Tesla Motors, Inc. (TSLA – Analyst Report) has completed the journey from Los Angeles to New York, setting a record for the lowest charge time for an electric vehicle traveling across the country. The team traveled in two Tesla Model S cars and relied solely on Tesla’s Supercharger network during the cross-country drive. As a result, the team incurred zero fuel cost.
Tesla is hopeful of getting recognition from the Guinness World Records for the feat. The 3,464.5 mile journey was competed by the team in 76.5 hours.
The journey was an excellent marketing strategy implemented by Telsa to highlight the recent completion of its first cross-country Supercharger route. The drive displayed the efficiency of the Supercharger network in terms of saving both time and cost.
Last week, a father-daughter duo beat team Tesla becoming the first to complete the coast-to-coast journey using Superchargers. However, they took almost 6 days to complete the journey.
Tesla’s Superchargers not only provide free charging to Model S owners, but also charge faster than normal electric charging stations. They can restore half the battery charge in just 20 minutes, while normal charging stations take as much as 9 hours for a full charge.
Tesla currently has over 70 Superchargers in North America and is expanding the network fast. The company recently also completed the feat of having at least one car registered in all 50 states of the U.S.
In a separate news, Tesla will soon open its first store in Contra Costa County, according to Contra Costa Times. The electric carmaker has seven other stores in the Bay Area.
Tesla currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Some other automobile stocks worth considering are Volkswagen AG (VLKAY), Geely Automobile Holdings Ltd. (GELYY) and Dongfeng Motor Group Company Limited (DNFGY). Volkswagen, Geely and Dongfeng carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).