Last September three daredevils (or crazy people, depending who you ask) jumped off 1 World Trade Center, 1,368 feet up in the air. All three turned themselves into authorities Monday, and this incredible footage of the long leap, shot from a helmet cam, was released for the first time. For those of you with a fear of heights, you might want to skip this one.
COMMENTARY: Wow, that's one hell of a jump, and at night too. That makes it even more dangerous than jumping during the day. Makes you wonder how they were able to get into the construction area of the new building, then get up to the room of the building.
The trio have been identified as Marco Markovich, Andrew Rossig and James Brady - and their look-out was allegedly Kyle Hartwell
Police believe the thrill-seekers climbed through the same hole in a fence to get to the top of the skyscrapper that a New Jersey teen, Justin Casquej, did last week
Courtesy of an article dated March 24, 2014 appearing in Digg
My First Day Adventures is an original and unique children's series concept that reinforces positive, educational and developmental themes such as conquering fear, working together, peer respect and the acceptance of new ideas – while conveying the fun and colorful learning a day with Buddy Bear inspires.
Hello, my name is John Aguirre. In 2002 I had an idea that turned into a one-day shoot resulting in the award-winning "My First Day At Preschool With Buddy Bear." I realized I was on to something special when we received a myriad of awards, great press and accolades from parents and critics alike for our micro-budget show. In 2005, ThinkFilm launched their ThinkFilmKids brand with our title, with the intention of producing a series of My First Day Adventures With Buddy Bear. Unfortunately, they couldn't weather the economic downturn that soon followed and went out of business – taking Buddy Bear down with them. Not being one to give up on my dreams, I teamed up with Dale Fabrigar to produce and design a new looking Buddy Bear and to create a new set of shows dedicated to educating and entertaining a new generation of young audiences.
We can't do this alone.
With your help, we'll have the opportunity to "re-boot" Buddy and the series to create new shows that will "Edutain" kids and families for years to come. We’ve already assembled a team of dedicated and talented cast and crew to help make this happen.
Our goal is to raise enough money to complete production on "My First Musical Adventure with Buddy Bear," a new chapter in the series that introduces our young audience to musical instruments, songs and dance, and encourages children to get up off the couch and participate.
Whether you’re a major studio or an independent filmmaker, it takes a lot of money to produce quality shows. We’ll be producing half-hour shows at 1/10 the average cost of a major studio.
We will need at least $50,000.00 to produce a broadcast quality show. Every penny raised will be used for production. Expenses range from script development and acquisition, to construction of our main puppet characters, to production rentals including: stage, grip / electric, camera, sound, lighting, talent fees, music production, catering, insurance, location fees, editing, post production mix, sweetening & color correction, animation, final output, marketing and much more.
We've already incurred many expenses, beginning with the design and development of our animatronic puppet character, Buddy Bear, as well as the camera tests we've shot and original music produced. Your hard earned contributions will go to help take the sting out of some of those expenses if we don't make our complete raise. No matter what we raise, I will do my personal best to complete at least one new episode of "My First Day Adventures With Buddy Bear."
Contributions from supporters like you will also have a strong effect on the remaining financing of the total production budget. If we raise contributions beyond our target goal, your support will enable us to expand this amazing project by adding more shows.
A great thing about crowd funding is the possibility of giving something back immediately. We’ll keep you posted on our progress with frequent updates, feedback, photos and videos from the production. Additionally, we’ll be giving away some great rewards and perks based on your generosity!
The entire team (below) is extremely excited and passionate about this project - with your help, we believe we can make Buddy Bear a success!
Other Ways You Can Help
If you can't contribute, we understand. You can still help by clicking the "Like" button above and sharing this Indiegogo page everywhere you can. It will be a tremendous help. Post it to your facebook, tumblr, twitter, reddit, pintrest or wherever else you can spread the word! There are a ton of preschool teachers and bloggers out there and it's really tough for us to reach out to them by ourselves. Indiegogo has some fantastic tools to help all of you spread the word.
JOHN AGUIRRE - Director / Creator
John's recent directorial credits includes 2 music videos he co-directed with Dale Fabrigar; both, "Feels So Right" and "Laugh Laugh" videos were assigments for mega music producer, RedOne (Gaga's secret weapon). The videos are currently enjoying hundreds of thousands of hits on YouTube and Feels So Right enjoyed a broadcast run on national tv in Morocco where it was shot. John's Indie feature film credits include "The Utopian Society (director), "You Did What" (produced by), Black Gold (2nd unit director) Soul Fire Rising web series (director) My First Day At Preschool (director). Other recent credits are stage managing for "The Bold and The Beatuiful" and assistant directing gigs on "Big Time Rush" and "Fresh Beat Band" for Nickelodeon and "Pair Of Kings" and "Lab Rats" for Disney.
DALE FABRIGAR - Producer / Director
Dale is a creative force to be reckoned with. He just completed directing the feature film entitled, "Lonely Boy" for Extit 43 Productions, due for release in 2013 and also recently directed the popular creature feature/thriller, "Area 407" for IFC Midnight/Sundance Selects. He produced and directed a web series for STARZ Digital Media and Koldcast.tv and has many short film and 2nd unit directing credits. Not only is Dale producing, but he will be directing a future episode of My First Day Adventures With Buddy Bear. Dale and John have successfully collaborated on several projects together over the past 4 years.
ROLAND CANAMAR - Executive Producer / Director of Photography
Roland is a veteran D.P. and craftsman of motion pictures. He's worked on feature films, tv pilots, commercials and web series. After years of hard work in the trenches, he has bulit an affordable studio environment, Silver Dream Factory, where independent filmmakers are able to express their creativity and realize their dreams without having to sell off an internal organ.
ROB MANKOWITZ - Business Development
Rob has been affiliated with My First Day Productions since 2004 and has been instrumental in ongoing public relations, marketing, promotions and development of the Buddy Bear brand. Rob has broad entertainment experience from the creative, sales and marketing side of the business. Rob was instrumental in securing national recognition for “My First Day at Preschool” which led to numerous awards.
TERRA JOLÉ - Buddy Bear Suite Performer
Terra is a veteran performer of stage and screen. She has performed on both large and small stages, on television shows and in films and is an accomplished pop singer and dancer. Terra is armed with a positive attitude and brings an electric energy as well a lot of heart when it comes to animating Buddy Bear to life. She's an integral part of the show and inspires the crew to do their best.
Mark Zuckerberg married long-time girlfriend Priscilla Chan on Saturday, May 19, 2012 in a secret wedding in the backyard of their Palo Alto, California home. (Click Image To Enlarge)
The Facebook billionaire, 28, topped off a remarkable week with a surprise wedding Saturday to college sweetheart Priscilla Chan, 27. A hoodie was good enough for his pre-IPO meeting with Wall Street investors, but Zuckerberg — either by his own choice or at the insistence of his fiancee — donned a big-boy suit, white shirt and tie to mark the occasion. Yes, some things are sacred.
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan wedding picture (Click Image To Enlarge)
The wedding announcement was classic Facebook: Zuckerberg simply updated his profile to: “Married Priscilla Chan.” The news had almost 850,000 “likes” Sunday evening.
Mark Zuckerberg announces marriage to Priscilla Chan on his Facebook page (Click Image To Enlarge)
The couple pulled off the stealth nuptials by inviting 100 guests to what they thought was a surprise party for Chan, who graduated from medical school at the University of California at San Francisco last Monday — which also happened to be Zuckerberg’s birthday. He posted during the commencement ceremony.
“I’m so proud of you, Dr. Chan :).”
But the surprise was on their friends: The wedding had been in the works for months, a friend of the couple told the Associated Press; the fact that it came one day after Facebook debuted on the stock market was entirely coincidental.
Details quickly leaked out, although none of the guests were willing to be quoted on the record.
The ceremony took place in the backyard of the newlyweds’ Palo Alto, Calif., home.
The bride wore a white dress with a lace overlay and received a simple ruby wedding ring designed by Zuckerberg.
Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong sang, according to the Mercury News.
Dinner came from the couple’s two favorite restaurants, Palo Alto Sol and Fuki Sushi. For dessert, there were Burdick Chocolate “mice” (tiny chocolate truffles in the shape of mice), which they ate during their first date. (Awww.)
What’s most impressive (aside from Zuck’s suit) was that they managed to keep it under wraps. Celebrity weddings usually leak out from a guest or vendor, which makes a secret A-list ceremony like John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette’s so rare. Chan and Zuckerberg used the classic bait-and-switch tactic employed by Julia Roberts for her Fourth of July marriage to Danny Moder in 2004: Invite all your friends for a party, then spring the wedding on them. All your loved ones in attendance, but no advance gossip.
The Chinese-American bride grew up in the Boston suburbs and began dating Zuckerberg when they were students at Harvard. Zuckerberg, scheduled to graduate in 2006, dropped out to run his company; Chan received her undergraduate degree in 2007. She spent a couple years teaching science before entering medical school, where she specialized in pediatrics — and inspired Zuckerberg to promote organ donation on Facebook. (Read more aboutPriscilla Chan, tech’s newest first lady.)
Mark Zuckerberg poses with Priscilla Chan after her Harvard graduation ceremony (Click Image To Enlarge)
Although the two have been dating for nine years, Chan was famously not depicted in the 2010 film “The Social Network,”(click to see my blog post) the cinematic account of Facebook’s creation. The movie opens with Zuckerberg’s getting dumped by a girlfriend, which allegedly sparked what would become his social media explosion. The movie included a few random groupies, but no serious love interest — a better dramatic narrative than the real story: Zuckerberg and Chan have been in a serious relationship throughout his spectacular rise to worldwide fame and fortune. (Another reason, ladies, to give those college geeks a shot.)
Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan pose in the kitchen of their home in Palo Alto after preparing Thanksgiving Day dinner for a small group of friends (Click Image To Enlarge)
Public reaction to the marriage ranged from hilariously obvious to genuinely funny and even kind of mean.
Steve Case tweeted.
“Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg weds on day after IPO #aweektoremember.”
Daily Show head writer Tim Carvel tweeted:
“Congratulations, Mark Zuckerberg! As a gift, I got you the names of all my friends, a list of my favorite movies, and some photos of me!”
And there were plenty of folks who wondered whether the newlyweds had a prenuptial agreement. Reps for Zuckerberg didn’t respond to requests for comment, but anyone worth $19 billion who gets married in a community property state would be an idiot not to have a prenup. Zuckerberg, love him or hate him, is no idiot.
Donald Trump, unaware of the impending wedding, speculated about Zuckerberg’s future on CNBC on Tuesday:
“They get married, and then for some reason over the next couple of years they get divorced and then she sues him for $10 billion and she hits the jackpot.”
Trump thinks the new Mrs. Zuckerberg should get much less:
“I’m notoriously cheap with these things, I think if she made $1 million, that would be very good.”
But it was old-fashioned love, not money, that Zuckerberg’s sisters cared about: Arielle wrote,
“Now I’m the only unmarried Zuckerberg. . .”;
“This week = :) :) :) :)”
COMMENTARY: I have been poking fun at Mark Zuckerberg and his girlfriend Priscilla Chan since I found out that he had a girlfriend. I won't poke fun on this very special occasion. Congratulations to Mark and Priscilla, and may you have a very happy marriage that lasts foreverrrr.
Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (1898-1988), race car driver, entrepreneur and founder of Ferrari Motors
ENZO FERRARI’S CLASSIC CARS GET THE ULTIMATE GARAGE—A MUSEUM IN MODENA DESIGNED BY FUTURE SYSTEMS.
There was a time when Enzo Ferrari’s last name didn’t conjure up visions of the ultimate sleek-and-sexy sports car. The man came of age at the turn of the last century just as autos started to rev their engines, and competed as a driver and racing team manager for Alfa Romeo before starting his own manufacturing company and forever shaping the industry he adored. Museo Casa Enzo Ferrari, a new museum in his hometown of Modena, Italy, pays tribute to Ferrari’s fame with two complementary structures that nod to his humble past and impressive legacy.
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London-based architectural firm Future Systems won an international competition to design the new building in 2004 with a curvaceous, swooping structure consistent with the studio’s signature style. After principal Jan Kaplický’s passing in 2009, the commission went to Future Systems alum Amanda Morgante and Shiro Studio, who completed the project according to Kaplický’s original plans. The striking “Modena yellow” aluminum roof sweeps across the red brick dotted skyline like a hood, or “bonnet,” complete with incisions that evoke auto air intake vents. Here, those allow natural light into the 56,000-square-foot museum, which showcases classic models in an expansive, crisp-white setting. Just adjacent is a complete refurbishment of Ferrari’s early home and workshop, built by his father in the 1830s, where visitors can learn about the man behind the brand.
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COMMENTARY: Enzo Anselmo Ferrari (February 18, 1898 – August 14, 1988) was an Italian race car driver and entrepreneur, the founder of the Scuderia FerrariGrand Prix motor racing team, and subsequently of the Ferrari car manufacturer. He was often referred to as "il Commendatore".
Ferrari grew up in Modena where his father was a manufacturer. He decided he wanted to become a racing driver at a young age, after going to the races in Bologna with his family.
Ferrari grew up in Modena where his father was a manufacturer. He decided he wanted to become a racing driver at a young age, after going to the races in Bologna with his family.Enzo Ferrari was born on 18 February 1898 in Modena and grew up with little formal education but he always knew he wanted to be a racing driver.
The First World War killed both his father and brother in 1916. Enzo was enlisted in the third Alpine Artillery of the Italian army until he contracted the deadly flu at the end of the war. He survived.
The jobs that he took immediately after the war were all related to cars. He worked for CMN and Vespa as a test driver, and then got a position at Alfa Romeo. At the same time, he was developing as a driver, taking part in the first post-war sporting event of 1919.
His success in racing got him promoted to full factory driver for Alfa Romeo and he started taking part in higher profile events. He was awarded by the new leader, Mussolini, for his ability.
In 1932, he married Laura with whom he had a son called Alfredo in the same year. He was brought up to be Enzo's successor but he died from muscular dystrophy in 1956.
His interest in the technical dimension of cars meant that he was not content to be a driver. During the next war he was involved in manufacturing for the war effort.
Ferrari's mistress Lina Lardi gave birth to his son Piero in 1945, who was named as his successor after Laura's death in 1978. He is now vice-president of the firm.
In 1946, Ferrari produced the first car to take his name. The Ferrari company flourished in the post-war economy of the 1950s. He raced in the Formula One Championships when they were first established in 1950 but he did not get his first victory until the British Grand Prix in 1951.
His team won their first F1 Championship in the 1952-53 season. His decision to continue racing in the dangerous and grueling long-distance competition Mille Miglia brought his company new victories and public recognition.
In 1957, a Ferrari car driven by Alfonso de Portago blew a tyre and crashed into the roadside crash at the Mille Miglia. The driver, co-driver and nine spectator including five children were killed. In response, Ferrari and tyre manufacturer Englebert were charged with manslaughter as they chose to let the car continue for an extra stage rather than stop for a tyre change. It was dismissed in 1961.
The firm's greatest victories were enjoyed at Le Mans rather than in F1 despite a number of victories during the 1960s in Grand Prix.
The man himself remained dedicated to the company for the rest of his life; many considered him a workaholic. After his death, his management was called into question as seven Ferrari drivers were killed while racing between the late 1950s and through the 1960s - a high toll even for that period.
Even though it was responsible for making some of the most stylish models of car of that era, the company's fortunes declined in the 1960s, and 90 per cent of it was bought by Fiat in 1969.
Ferrari stood down as company president in 1971, although he remained closely involved until his death in 1988. He died at the start of the Honda-McLaren dominance of F1 but the Ferrari team has enjoyed success in recent years with the brand winning the world championship in 2004 with Michael Schumacher and in 2007 with Kimi Raikkonen.
Ferrari Motors dedicated the Ferrari Enzo to Mr. Ferrari.
The Ferrari Enzo is dedicated to Enzo Ferrari, founder of Ferrari Motors (Click Images To Enlarge)
For wallpaper images of all Ferrari cars click HERE.
IT’S HARD TO GET PRECISE ABOUT THE DIFFERING WAYS THE NORTH AND SOUTH MYTHOLOGIZE THEMSELVES. BUT THESE INFOGRAPHICS GET CLOSE.
In my northerner mind, country songs are all about heartbreak. Or drinking. Or God. Or trucks. Or the South itself. Likewise, it wouldn’t be hard to find a southerner who looks at the north as Godless, Frenchified dandies hell-bent on socialism. As it ends up, the stereotypes are somewhat true: There really is a divide in the way the regions view themselves, and you can get a fascinating insight into culture by analyzing country music versus pop music.
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This duo of infographics from Very Small Array charts out locations mentioned in the song titles of Billboard #1 hits. The first map shows the places mentioned across any genre of top hit. The second is just for country music hits:
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Now maybe it’s fair to say that we’re all a bit obsessed with the South, but I’m guessing most of you could spot which map is which, solely by the dots. (And you could also spot which songs on the general map are on the country hits map, too.)
It’s clear, country musicians love singing about the South, and they’re particularly precise in their geography of Texas--El Paso, Abilene, Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Galveston, and Luckenbach each make between one and 14 appearances over the last 60 years.
Meanwhile, pop hits frequently dream of other shores, including Paris and London but also, mysteriously, the Volga river. Moreover, country hits are obsessed with teeny tiny towns--seemingly, the more obscure, the better and more authentic? Meanwhile, pop hits focus almost solely on the big cities. (And we’ll bet the one mention of El Paso was a cross-over country hit.)
Political scientists often talk about the city/country divide--about how those in urban areas vote differently than those in rural areas. But charts like these start to get at the very different aspirations and reference points that make that divide so pronounced.
Another fun and fascinating part of these graphics is the Country Hits’ breakdown of the 12 most common words used across all of the genre’s songs titles. Romantic tropes like “love,” “heart,” “man,” and “woman” all make an appearance, sure, but “angels” and, the absolute best, “wheel” (which I think should totally count for “truck”) sneak in the list as well.
So while this northerner may have been wrong about drinking, I did hit the nail on the head with the South’s obsession with heartbreak, religion, trucks, and the South itself. And I think four out of five really isn’t that bad, at least for a rude, fast-talking, city-dwelling Yank such as myself.
COMMENTARY: I don't listen to country & western music at all, even though I will admit to wearing cowboy boots, country shirt and hat during the "urban cowboy" era that hit the national sceen in the late 70's and early 80's. I also did some line dancing, and thought I really had the moves down, if I may say so. Heeehaaawww!!
When you have become so famous that there is no more famous to become, what do you do next? Found a social network devoted entirely to yourself, naturally.
That’s the word from Lady Gaga, the world’s most unsettling pop diva, who is preparing to launch littlemonsters.com, an online home for her millions of fans, in collaboration with Backplane, a social media start-up that counts Gaga as one of its investors with a 20% stake. The network is still being set up, but visitors to the Web address can register for an invitation by submitting their email addresses.
The social network is a key step for the pop superstar, allowing fans to find each other and fuse their energies into a great Gaga vortex, perhaps as a preamble to some kind of cosmic pop event (I’m thinking the star-baby from 2001). After all, successful pop stardom is all about the mystical rapport between the celebrity and her fans, but also between the fans themselves, as they join together in a cult-like, communal appreciation of the celebrity, egging each other on in a mutually reinforcing cycle of teenage tweakedness. This naturally also includes lots of extra-crazy fan-generated content.
It’s not clear how, or whether, Gaga intends the new site to integrate with her many other social media platforms, especially Twitter, which has until now enjoyed something of a symbiotic relationship with Gaga, growing along with her fame. However, if all of Gaga’s 18 million Twitter followers join her new social network and visit at least once a month, it would put littlemonsters.com ahead of sites including Pinterest (with 7.5 million unique visitors in December 2011, per comScore), Barnes & Noble (14 million), and the U.S. Postal Service (15.5 million).
COMMENTARY: I must confess that I used to follow Lady Gaga on Twitter, but she never followed me back, so I decided right there and then, to dump her. No pop Diva, no matter how many fans she has, is entitled to call me a her "little monster,". I looked it up, and Lady Gaga now 18.9 million followers on Twitter 47.6 million fans on Facebook.
Lady Gaga is without any doubt very talented and a great entertainer, but she is also one of the best self-promoters and marketers around. She is not just a celebrity, but a brand. The famous "Meat Dress" that she wore to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards is legendary and is ranked as one of the top marketing coops of all time. Checkout any of Lady Gaga's YouTube videos, and there isn't a single one that has been viewed less than 10 million times. On May 20, 2011, she partnered with Starbucks to promote her album "Born This Way," and offered free downloads for her hit song "The Edge of Glory."
Lady Gaga is unique among entertainers. She is totally over-the-top and never willing to be upstaged. Below is her famous "Egg Capsule" she used to make her grand entrance at the 2011 Grammy Music Awards.
Lady Gaga appeared at the 2010 Brit Awards wearing a see-through costume and towering hairpiece designed by the late fashion designer Alexander McQueen.
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Make no mistake, LadyGaga is quite an entrepreneur, and having her own social network will be a seamless way to drive more traffic to her LadyGaga.com site where she spreads the latest news about her upcoming events and appearances, provides the lyrics to her songs, has a chat room for her fans and has an online shop where she sells her branded merchandise, from jewelry to outerwear, and in five different languages. Her Lady Gaga Helvetica Monster Sunglasses sell for $25.o0. You can also purchase music CD's of all her albums from $6.98 to $29.95.
Here just a few of her Twitter Tweets:
"Really wanna get a new tattoo. Can't decide where. Was thinking on inside of my forearm under the peace sign. Whatcha think."
"Screw it. I had too much wine."
"Can't believe I have 18,000,000 TwitterMonsters, really rad, was just a few years ago I had barely any."
"Merry X-mas Little Monsters! Listen Here to my UNRELEASED SONG "Stuck On Fuckin' You": bit.ly/t2MVBl
"@LadyGaga's hot-selling album Born This Way has moved over 8 million copies around the world, Billboard magazine reports."
SEOUL—North Koreans bade farewell to dictator Kim Jong Il Wednesday as his body was borne around the snowy capital of Pyongyang in a motorcade that was broadcast on TV a few hours after it happened.
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Tens of thousands of North Koreans gathered along the procession route, which began and ended at the palace built for his father, North Korean founder Kim Il Sung, and where visitors had lined up for the past week to view his body under a glass case.
North Korea's military held a funeral procession for leader Kim Jong-il, led by his successor son Kim Jong-un, in Pyongyang. Courtesy of Reuters.
The casket bearing Mr. Kim's body was carried atop a black limousine covered in white chrysanthemums, the flower used for mourning in both Koreas. Several dozen other sedans followed behind, carrying members of Mr. Kim's family and leaders of his authoritarian government.
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Mr. Kim's third son, Kim Jong Eun, walked at the right-front corner of the limousine during brief ceremonies on the palace grounds before and after the procession, which lasted about two hours.
Kim Jong Il's brother-in-law Jang Song Thaek and several generals who were close to him also flanked the car during the ceremonies at the palace, reinforcing other TV images since his death that his son, who is now expected to take control of North Korea, is being protected and guided by his associates.
And, the crying began in earnest along the funeral procession.
It's a Crying Shame (Click To Enlarge Images)
Even the ruthless dictator's youngest sun Kim Jong Eun who takes over for his departed father cried too. He's crying because he is taking over the reins of power, and probably thinking, "Oh, shit, I'm in charge now."
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Choi Jong-kun, professor of international relations at Yonsei University in Seoul said.
"The point they're trying to make is the leadership is pretty stable. The key thing they want to put out is that succession is going smoothly."
North Korea provided few details about the event and its state-run news agency didn't release information about it until TV broadcasting began, which was at least two hours after it started. Some South Korean TV stations relayed the North's broadcast of the procession for about an hour, then returned to regular programming.
The coverage occasionally showed mourners along the procession route speaking fondly of Kim Jong Il. The mood appeared predominantly somber and calm, although North Korean TV cameras picked out some scenes of people doubled over and even flailing their arms in apparent anguish.
A woman soldier whose name wasn't given said on the North Korean broadcast said.
"The falling snow brings me even more tears because of thoughts about the general's toils. It's as if my heart is being torn to pieces."
The event clearly stretched the capabilities of North Korea's TV broadcaster, one of the chief manufacturers of the regime's projection of might and power. The organization didn't have enough cameras and transmission equipment to cover the motorcade route, resulting in several long stretches in which the procession was out of view. During those times, the broadcaster simply showed shots of crowds waiting for the procession. The 40-kilometer route took the motorcade through much of central Pyongyang .
The procession resembled the one held after Kim Il Sung's death in 1994. At that time, Kim Jong Il walked beside his father's hearse, which appeared to be the same vehicle used Wednesday.
North Korea plans a nationwide memorial event at noon Thursday, when citizens will be asked to observe three minutes of silence. After that, gun volleys will be fired in Pyongyang and nine other provincial capitals, and vehicles will blow whistles, horns and sirens in a final salute.
North Korean state TV broadcast a two-hour tribute to Kim Jong Il on Wednesday morning, chiefly showing images of him as a young man.
Many of the images appeared to be from the 1970s and '80s, when Mr. Kim was rising up in his father's government and aiming to secure his role as the country's eventual leader. The last 30 minutes of the broadcast were devoted to his time as leader.
A narrator said as the image showed Mr. Kim handling products like toilet paper and children's clothes.
"He always took responsibility for the living of all people. He always took care of all North Korean people with his warm love."
COMMENTARY: The death of Kim Jong Il does not end of pain and suffering that the Kim family has inflicted on its people. An estimated 1 million North Koreans are imprisoned in Russian-style gulags where they work as slaves and hundreds them die every day of exposure and starvation. Let there be no doubt, that although the North Korean people are crying for their fallen dictator, they are probably deeply relieved he is gone. But, don't hold your hopes. His son Kim Jong Eun is a real work of art from what I have read. Kim Jong Il by-passed his two older brothers because they lacked the "meanness," wanted in a future leader and dictator. I have a feeling we will be hearing from him very soon, as he tries to proove himself to his little rat rogue nation. In a previous blog post dated December 20, 2011, I reported on Kim Jong Il's death, and you can see more images of the young pudgy new dictator.
But now, Hefner, 85, says he and his former fiancée, 25, are still going back and forth about who gets permanent ownership of the pooch.
Hefner told PEOPLE on Thursday at the Playboy Mansion in Los Angeles.
"We both love the puppy. I told her if she wants to keep the ring and the Bentley, then maybe I can keep the puppy. I [hope] we will work it out."
Playboy July 2011 Cover
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The Wedding Invitation
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The Wedding Cancellation
The Wedding Ring Auction
An unnamed source claims that
"Crystal couldn’t bear to look at the ring anymore because it brought back bad memories”
So naturally, the logical step is to put that bad memory up for a very public auction. While prior reports claimed Hefner paid $90,000 for the ring, Christie’s only set an estimate of $20,000-$30,000 on the ring. The lot description on the Christie’s reads:
A diamond ring. Set with a circular-cut diamond, weighing approximately 3.39 carats, to the circular-cut diamond hoop, mounted in platinum.
A diamond isn’t always forever, sometimes it’s only for 6 months, especially for Hugh Hefner’s ex-fiancee Crystal Harris.
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The Big Cry
Crystal Harris has revealed she called off her wedding to Hugh Hefner because she couldn't cope with the Playboy mogul's lifestyle.
The 25-year-old blonde, who was due to marry the 85-year-old at his mansion on Saturday, feels 'relieved' the ceremony has been called off but regrets 'disappointing everybody.'
In a tearful interview with America's Entertainment Tonight, she said: 'I wasn't the only woman in Hef's life. I didn't feel comfortable in my heart knowing that and getting married to him, because a marriage is between two people.
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Crystal told Entertainment Tonight.
'That's not what our relationship was.'
Hefner has long been famous for having multiple girlfriends and it seems he had no plans to change his ways.
She also blames 'stress' of having to deal with legal experts for her shock decision.
"We had to deal with lawyers, I never had a lawyer for anything.I'm going to pre-nup lawyers and lawyers to do a show - we had a two-hour special on Lifetime underway - lawyer meeting contracts, all kinds of stuff.. it was crazy."
Pre-nups and nasty lawyers have a tendency to do that to some gold digger chicks.
"The View" Interview
COMMENTARY: The Pope warned the world during his traditional serman on the eve of Christmas about, "too much glitter during Christmas," which is why this article had to be my very first post-Christmas blog post. It's so apropos.
What a life of pure ecstacy and glitter. The Pope must've been thinking of Hef and the Playboy Mansion girls when he said there was just too much glitter during Christmas (i.e. the over-commercialization of Christmas) and that the problems of the poor, sick and down trowden are swept under the rug.
When the 85-year old Playboy mogurl Hugh Hefner became engaged with Crystal Harris, the 25-year old Playmate and live-in at the Playboy Mansion, I got visions of little "Hef" baby boy or girl running throughout the Playboy mansion, but it was not to be. Instead, the world was shocked to receive this Tweet from Hef:
"The wedding is off. Crystal has had a change of heart."
Crystal later reponded with this post on her website.
"After much deep reflection and thought I have decided to end my engagement with Hef. I have the utmost respect for Hef and wish him the best going forward. I hope the media will give each of us the privacy we deserve during this time."
Hef invited over 300 people to the wedding using Papeterie custom-made invitations (see above), which called for a pink Romona Keveza gown and Torrance Bakery strawberry cake.
If Hef and Crystal had beeen married, this would've been Hef's third marriage, and her first. Hef filed for divorce in 2009 from his second wife, former playmate Kimberly Conrad. He was previously married to Mildred Williams, whom he divorced in 1959.
Harris's manager Michael Blakey tells PEOPLE.
"I heard the sad news today this morning. The split was a mutual decision and the two remain good friends."
The Final Talley
So just how much did Hugh's relationship and engagement to Crystal Harris cost him? Here's a rough estimate:
Playboy Mansion room and board from January 2009 to October 2011 ($10,000/mo) - 22 months x $10,000 = $220,000.
Weekly Playmate Allowance ($1,000 per week) - 96 weeks x $1.000 = $96,000.
Playboy Playmate fee - $1,000,000
Playboy travel and entertainment for things like dinners, trips, parties, etc. ($2,000 per month) - 22 months x $2,000 = $44,000.
Engagement ring - $90,000
Bentley Continental GT automobile - $170,000
Gifts and other goodies - $50,000
Wedding costs and reception - $150,000
Attorney's fees - $25,000
I was very conservative with the cost estimates, and I left out the costs of music and singing lessons, recording, etc. that Hef paid to help out Crystal pursue her music career, so Hef probably paid out about $2 million just for Crystal when it's all said and done.
Here's the video of Crystal Harris' debut album "Club Queen." Was it money well spent?
On the positive side of the ledger, the July 2011 "Runaway Bride" issue sold 450,000 issues at the newstand at $4.95 per issue for total newstand sales of $2.250 million. After deducting printing and distribution costs, Hef netted about half or $1.250 million, so he only lost about $750,000 on Crystal Harris. The publicity he got was worth at least that, and probably more, so when it's all said and done, the engagement was a win-win for Hef and Crystal. Crystal got her music career launched and Hef sold more Playboy mags.
I did find the following video of Crystal at a pool party at the MGM Resort Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, dancing and drinking champagne with another very beautiful and curavacous Bunny friend. Notice that they are leafing through a magazine, probably the Playboy "Runaway Bride" July 2011 issue.
Anyway, Heff is a whole lot happier now, with his two new girlfriends, and attendant harem. What a life.
Courtesy of an article dated December 26, 2011 appearing in CNN
The body of St Bernadette Soubirous is displayed in a glass coffin at the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes, Lourdes, France,. one of the major Catholic pilgrimage sites in the world.
This is amazing! The thing to remember is that the poor sisters of those days were buried in a pine box and in no way embalmed like today.
St. Bernadette’s Body after 122 years is one of the 200+ miracle facts of incorruptible bodies that can only be traced to most of the declared saints of the Roman Catholic Church.
The body of St Bernadette Soubirous appears without a trace of decomposition even after 122 years
These are the pictures of St. Bernadette who died 122 years ago in Lourdes, France and was buried; her body was only discovered 30 years ago. After church officials decided to examine it they discovered her body is still fresh until today and if you ever go to Lourdes, France you can see her in the church in Lourdes.
Her body isn’t decomposing because during her lifetime, the Mother of Jesus would always appear to her and give messages and advice to all mankind on the right way to live on this earth. Many miracles have taken place in this place of Lourdes and still do until today. These pictures show her body after 122 years.
The beautiful face of St Bernadette Soubirous as it appears 122 years
Below is a picture of Bernadette Soubivous after her death and before she was buried.
Click Image To Enlarge
St. Bernadette Soubirous
Bernadette Soubirous is the saint of Lourdes, France. Visionary and messenger of the Immaculate Conception, she told us the very words of the Virgin Mary, spoken in the native Basque tongue of Southern France and Northern Spain. She spoke words teaching of the merits of prayer, penance, poverty and church. In the first and most widely recognized Marian apparition of modern times, a personal message was delivered also to Bernadette—She would not find happiness in this world, but only in the next.
She was to die twenty–one years later in 1879 after a prolonged and painful illness. She remained hidden in a convent about 300 miles from home, a refuge from the interrogations and the pilgrims that never ceased seeking her. At thirty–five, her strong–willed manner gave way to her frail body, and she finally entered into her eternal happiness.
While she took with her the knowledge of certain secrets the Virgin gave her, one secret remained hidden in our presence. The most spectacular of all the incorruptibles, Bernadette’s miraculously preserved body remained buried in a damp grave for thirty years until the cause for beatification was taken up. To this day, the body of Bernadette is a profound source of inspiration and of mystery surrounding the ways of the Lord. The face of Bernadette is one of surreal beauty, and will remain for us always the face that gazed into the eyes of the Mother of God.
Scientists have wondered about this because it defies the laws of nature and instead of expecting a foul smell of a dead body, a fragrance of flowers can be experienced when the glass of coffin is opened. Some say they experience the fragrance by just going near the coffin. You can visit the Church of Lourdes , France to verify yourself the authenticity of this truly wonderfu experience and see for yourself a living miracle of our times.www.turnbacktogod.com.
The Incorrupt Body of St. Bernadette Soubirous
The following YouTube video was uploaded by Benjamin Teixeira on May 13, 2011. It includes pictures of the grounds of Sancuary of Our Lady of Lourdes in Lourdes, France and the video of the Incorrupt Body of St. Bernadette Soubirous as it appears to this day.
The following YouTube video was uploaded by Wayney Peyney on March 15, 2010. It includes all the pictures ever taken of St. Bernadette Soubirous. At the very end are pictures of St. Bernadette Soubirous as she laid in rest after her death. It's a miracle, but she has been so well preserved that her face has not changed in 122 years.
COMMENTARY: When I saw the body and face of St. Bernadette Soubirous, I thought that it was nothing less than a divine miracle that even the best embalming methods would not prevent some weathering or decomposition.of a body that is 122 years old.
As it turns out, As part of the canonization process, her body was exhumed three separate times, in 1909, 1919, and finally in 1925, when she was moved to the crystal casket. Her body was pronounced by the church as officially "incorrupt," but it seems the qualifications for that term may have been somewhat lax. In the words of the attending doctor in 1919:
"The body is practically mummified, covered with patches of mildew and quite a notable layer of salts, which appear to be calcium salts... The skin has disappeared in some places, but it is still present on most parts of the body."
After a few ribs were removed to be sent to Rome as relics, it was decided that the "blackish color" of her face might be off-putting to pilgrims, and so a "light wax mask" was in order. Her new face and hands were designed by Pierre Imans, a designer of fashion mannequins in Paris.
Today,the body of St. Bernadette Soubirous lies in that glass enclosed coffin as if Bernadette were just asleep thanks to the splendid work of Monsieur Imans. Her new wax face make her skin look smooth as silk, almost life-like, with not a single wrinkle or spotting.
Below are actual pictures of Bernadette Soubirous as a French peasant girl and as a nun at the Sisters of Notre Dame convent in Nevers, France in 1866.
Bernadette Soubirous as a young peasant girl
Bernadette Soubirous as a young nun at the Sisters of Notre Dame convent in Nevers in 1866
Saint Marie-Bernarde Soubirous (7 January 1844 – 16 April 1879) was a miller's daughter born in Lourdes. From 11 February to 16 July 1858, she reported 18 apparitions of "a small young lady" who asked for a chapel to be built at that site at Lourdes.
Despite initial scepticism from the Catholic Church, these claims were eventually declared to be worthy of belief after a canonical investigation, and the apparition is known as Our Lady of Lourdes. Since her death, Bernadette's body has apparently remained internally incorrupt, but her body is not without blemish; during her third exhumation in 1925, the firm of Pierre Imans made light wax coverings for her face and her hands due to the discoloration that her skin has undergone. These masks were placed on her face and hands before she was moved to her crystal reliquary in June of 1925.
The shrine at Lourdes went on to become a major site for pilgrimage, attracting over five million Christian pilgrims of all denominations each year.
On 8 December 1933, she was canonized as a saint by the Catholic Church; her Feast Day is celebrated on 16 April. She is considered a Christian mystic.
On 11 February 1858, Bernadette, then aged 14, was out gathering firewood and bones with her sister Marie and a friend at the grotto of Massabielle outside Lourdes, and had her first vision. As she recounted later, while the other girls crossed the little stream in front of the grotto and walked on, Bernadette stayed behind, looking for a place to cross where she wouldn't get her stockings wet. She finally sat down in the grotto to take her shoes off in order to cross the water, and was lowering her first stocking when she heard the sound of rushing wind, but nothing moved. A wild rose in a natural niche in the grotto, however, did move; from the niche, or rather the dark alcove behind it, "came a dazzling light, and a white figure." This was the first of 18 visions of what she referred to as aquero, Gascon Occitan for "that". In later testimony, she called it "a small young lady" (uo petito damizelo). Her sister and her friend stated that they had seen nothing.
Below are pictures of the Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes and the Grotto where St. Bernadette Soubivous saw the vision of the Immaculate Conception.
Click Image To Enlarge
Click Image To Enlarge
In the touching 20th Century Fox film, "The Song of Bernadette" (1943), Jennifer Jones starred as Bernadette Soubirous, an adolescent peasant girl, who has a vision of "a beautiful lady" in the city dump. She never claims it to be anything other than this, but the townspeople all assume it to be the virgin Mary. The film (see below video clip) is a very accurate depiction from the historical point of view of the first apparition of February 18, 1858. The film received 12 Academy Award nominations, winning Oscars for Jennifer Jones (Best Actress), Arthur Miller (Best Cinematography), Alfred Newman (Best Musical Score) and James Basevi, William S. Darling and Thomas Little (Best Art Direction).
The film, "The Song of Bernadette" has been uploaded on YouTube in 16 parts. Below is part 1.
Below is the final part (Part 16) and I must confess that it is a tear jerker. They just don't make pictures with this quality of acting anymore.
On 14 February, after Sunday mass, Bernadette, with her sister Marie and some other girls, returned to the grotto. Bernadette knelt down immediately, saying she saw aquero again and falling into a trance. When one of the girls threw holy water at the niche, and another threw a rock from above that shattered on the ground, the apparition disappeared. Bernadette fell into a state of shock, and the girl who had thrown the rock actually thought she had killed her. On her next visit, 18 February, she said that "the vision" asked her to return to the grotto every day for a fortnight.
This period of almost daily visions came to be known as la Quinzaine sacrée, "holy fortnight." Initially, her parents, and especially her mother, were embarrassed and tried to forbid her to go; the local police commissioner called her into his office and threatened to arrest her, as did the district attorney, but since there was no evidence of fraud there was little they could do. The girl herself remained stubbornly calm and consistent during her interrogations, never changing her story or her attitude, and never claiming knowledge beyond what she said the vision told her. The supposed apparition did not identify herself until the seventeenth vision, although the townspeople who believed she was telling the truth assumed she saw the Virgin Mary. Bernadette never claimed it to be Mary, consistently using the word aquero. She described the lady as wearing a white veil, a blue girdle, and with a yellow rose on each foot — compatible with "a description of any statue of the Virgin in a village church".
Bernadette's story caused a sensation with the townspeople, who were divided in their opinions on whether or not Bernadette was telling the truth. Some believed her to have a mental illness, and demanded she be put in an asylum. She soon had a large number of people following her on her daily journey, some out of curiosity and others who firmly believed that they were witnessing a miracle.
The other contents of Bernadette's reported visions were simple, and focused on the need for prayer and penance — on 24 February, she reported that aquero had said Penitenço ... Penitenço ... Penitenço ("penance"). That day, Bernadette kissed the muddy ground of the grotto; the next day, she went further, and during her trance chewed and ate grass she plucked from the ground, rubbed mud over her face, and actually swallowed some mud, to the disgust of the many onlookers and the embarrassment of those who believed in her visions. She explained that the vision had told her "to drink of the water of the spring, to wash in it and to eat the herb that grew there," as an act of penance. To everyone's surprise, the next day the grotto was no longer muddy but clear water flowed.
At the thirteenth of the alleged apparitions, on 2 March, Bernadette told her family that the lady had said "Please go to the priests and tell them that a chapel is to be built here. Let processions come hither." Accompanied by two of her aunts, Bernadette duly went to parish priest Father Dominique Peyramale with the request. A brilliant but often roughspoken man with little belief in claims of visions and miracles, Peyramale told Bernadette that the lady must identify herself. Bernadette said that on her next visitation she repeated the priest's words to the lady, but that the lady bowed a little, smiled, and said nothing. Then Father Peyramale told Bernadette to prove that the lady was real (that is, objectively) by asking her to perform a miracle. He requested that she make the rose bush beneath the niche where she appeared to Bernadette bud and flower on the last week of February.
As Bernadette later reported to her family and to church and civil investigators, at the ninth visitation the lady told Bernadette to drink from the spring that flowed under the rock, and eat the plants that grew freely there. Although there was no known spring, and the ground was muddy, Bernadette saw the lady pointing with her finger to the spot, and said later she assumed the lady meant that the spring was underground. She did as she was told by first digging a muddy patch with her bare hands and then attempting to drink the brackish drops. She tried three times, failing each time. On the fourth try, the droplets were clearer and she drank them. She then ate some of the plants. When finally she turned to the crowd, her face was smeared with mud and no spring had been revealed. Understandably, this caused much skepticism among onlookers who shouted, "She's a fraud!" or "She's insane!" while embarrassed relatives wiped the adolescent's face clean with a handkerchief. In the next few days, however, a spring apparently began to flow from the muddy patch first dug by Bernadette. There is also a suggestion that the spring had been there previously.  Some devout people followed her example by drinking and washing in the water, which was soon reported to have healing properties.
In the 150 years since Bernadette dug up the spring, 67 cures have been verified by the Lourdes Medical Bureau as "inexplicable", but only after what the Church claims are "extremely rigorous scientific and medical examinations" that failed to find any other explanation. The Lourdes Commission that examined Bernadette after the visions also ran an intensive analysis on the water and found that, while it had a high mineral content, it contained nothing out of the ordinary that would account for the cures attributed to it. Bernadette herself said that it was faith and prayer that cured the sick.
Her 16th claimed vision, which she stated went on for over an hour, was on 25 March. During this vision, the second of two "miracles of the candle" is reported to have occurred. Bernadette was holding a lighted candle; during the vision it burned down, and the flame was said to be in direct contact with her skin for over fifteen minutes, but she apparently showed no sign of experiencing any pain or injury. This was said to be witnessed by many people present, including the town physician, Dr. Pierre Romaine Dozous, who timed and later documented it. According to his report, there was no sign that her skin was in any way affected, so he monitored Bernadette closely but did not intervene. After her "vision" ended, the doctor said that he examined her hand but found no evidence of any burning, and that she was completely unaware of what had been happening. The doctor then said that he briefly applied a lighted candle to her hand, and she reacted immediately. It is unclear if observers other than Dozous were sufficiently close to witness if the candle was continuously in contact with Bernadette’s skin.
According to Bernadette's account, during that same visitation that she claimed, she again asked the woman her name but the lady just smiled back. She repeated the question three more times and finally heard the lady say, in Gascon Occitan,
"I am the Immaculate Conception"
(Qué soï era immaculado councepcioũ, a phonetic transcription of Que soi era immaculada concepcion).
Four years earlier, Pope Pius IX had defined the dogma of the Immaculate Conception; that, alone of all human beings who have ever lived (save for Jesus, Adam, and Eve), the Virgin Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin. Her parents, teachers, and priests all later testified that she had never previously heard the expression 'immaculate conception' from them.
Bernadette was a sickly child; she had cholera in infancy and suffered most of her life from asthma, and some of the people who interviewed her following her revelation of the visions thought her simple-minded. However, despite being rigorously interviewed by officials of both the Catholic Church and the French government, she stuck consistently to her story. Her behavior during this period is said to set the example by which all who have claimed visions and mystical experiences are now judged by Church authorities.
After Salman Rushdie’s profile was mistakenly deactivated, he called Facebook a ‘bunch of morons.’ Then the author threatened a Twitter defection after being forced to go by ‘Ahmed.’ Brian Ries on who won out.
For a few hours on Monday morning, Salman Rushdie had just about had it with Facebook.
The social media site had detected a profile over the weekend—his Facebook profile—that it had mistakenly determined was fraudulent. So, without warning, Facebook flipped its switch, digitally executing Rushdie’s profile and removing it from the site. To get it reactivated, he was told, he would have to send a photograph of his passport, thereby proving his identity as the real Salman Rushdie, the Indian-British author of Midnight’s Children and The Satanic Verses, and not a fraud. But when he did as instructed, his profile emerged from its Facebook purgatory with a problem.
Click Image To View Salman "Ahmed" Rushdie's Facebook Profile
“Facebook deactivated my account because they thought I wasn’t me. Now they insist I call myself by the first name I have never used. What a bunch of morons.”
That rarely used first name, Ahmed, is what’s printed on his passport. Salman, technically speaking, is his middle name. And a post about “name standards” on Facebook’s Help Center—which the company on Monday acknowledged is a bit dated and then quickly updated after a query by The Daily Beast—suggested that middle names simply aren’t allowed.
“Or, if F. Scott Fitzgerald was on #Facebook, would they force him to be Francis Fitzgerald? What about F. Murray Abraham?”
Salman Rushdie's Twitter page:
Click Above Image To Visit Salman Rushdie's Twitter Page
Others agreed. The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal wondered.
“What is the point of forcing Salman Rushdie to go by Ahmed Rushdie? How does this benefit the social web?”
When reached Monday afternoon, a company spokesperson told The Daily Beast it does permit users to identify by their middle and last names. Rushdie’s profile suspension, and resulting name change, was all a mistake.
The spokesperson said in an official announcement.
“This action was taken in error and Mr. Rushdie’s account has been reactivated with the correct name. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.”
That inconvenience was almost Facebook’s—Rushdie nearly took his presence elsewhere. He wrote in a post earlier in the day, before inviting readers to follow him on Twitter—Facebook’s on-again-off-again competitor.
“As I don’t and will never recognize myself as ‘Ahmed Rushdie’ I will be reducing FB activities to just about zero and cutting back my list of friends to actual friends or at least acquaintances, just to keep in touch. I’m done.”
But later Monday, once Facebook had reinstated the profile as “Salman Rushdie,” the author made a triumphant return. He posted on his profile.
“Victory! Goodbye Ahmed, get back into the passport where you belong. Salman returns.”
And with that return, a confirmation: Facebook users, middle names are A-OK in Zuckerville.
COMMENTARY: It's most unfortunate to see Facebook make an ass of themselves over your name. Everybody knows who Salman Rushdie is. Zuck should personally apologize to Salman for treating him with such outrageous disrespect. A lot of celebrities use different names. Lady Gaga has a real name. So by Facebook's rules she should be asked to change her Facebook name to Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.
Twenty years ago, novelist Salman Rushdie was a wanted man with a million pound bounty on his head. His novel, The Satanic Verses, had sparked riots across the Muslim world. The ailing religious leader of Iran, the Ayatollah Khomeini, had invoked a little-known religious opinion - a fatwa - and effectively sentenced Rushdie to death. Never before had a novel created an international diplomatic crisis on such a scale, and never before had a foreign Government publicly called for the killing of a private citizen of another country.
The following film documentary looks back on the extraordinary events which followed the publication of the book and the ten year campaign to get the fatwa lifted. Interviews with Rushdie's friends and family and testimony from leaders of Britain's Muslim community and the Government reveal the inside story of the affair. Rushdie himself was forced into hiding for nearly ten years.
British columnist Christopher Hitchens discusses Salman Rushdie's 'The Satanic Verses' and the famous fatwa.
Here's an interview with Salman Rushdie and his response to the Ayatollah Khomeini's fatwa:
Anybody with the balls to imply that the Prophet Mohammed is evil or even Satanic, then have the Ayatollah Khomeini personally call a 'fatwa' for his assassination, can be my Twitter friend anytime. You should've been knighted by the Queen.
In conclusion, I would like to say:
Dear Mr. Salmen Rushdie.
Fuck Facebook. Welcome to Twitter. The only true democratic social network. I hope that we can follow each other. Here's my Twitter page. Yours truly,
Courtesy of an article dated November 14, 2011 appearing in The Daily Beast