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Freak Accident on Hannah Montana Set June 4, 2008

Filed under: Movie News — gervmaine @ 2:12 pm
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There was a scare on the Tennessee set of Hannah Montana: The Movie Tuesday when high winds blew a piece of production equipment onto a ferris wheel full of extras, injuring several of them.

The film’s young star, Miley Cyrus, 15, had just finished shooting a scene next to the ferris wheel when the accident occurred, according to, which first reported the incident.

“During a break in the filming of Hannah Montana: The Movie, a minor accident occurred involving a piece of production equipment,” Disney said in a statement confirming the accident. “Fortunately, there were only a few minor injuries. Medical personnel have treated the extras and crew involved. None of the cast was on the set. Filming has resumed.”

Neither Cyrus nor her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, were on the set when the “giant” piece of lighting equipment fell onto the ferris wheel, according to reports.

An extra, Brenda Blackford, described the scene to Nashville station WKRN-TV: “When the wind caught it, all the cables were loose. It started [flying]. I was watching to see which corner of it was gonna hit the Ferris wheel, because it was unavoidable.”



Brigitte Nielsen to ‘Overhaul’ Her Body on German TV

Filed under: Other Celebrity News,Unbelievable — gervmaine @ 2:09 pm

After a successful stint in rehab last year, Brigitte Nielsen is now focusing on a much-needed makeover.

The 6-ft.-plus Danish-born celebrity is planning on getting reworked from head to toe. “I’m doing a complete overhaul, a basic renovation, facelift, eyelift, facial fat injections with my own fat, liposuction and I need new teeth,” the 45-year-old former wife of Sylvester Stallone tells the Berlin-based magazine B.Z. “It really is as if a horde of craftsmen are getting an old house in top shape.”

And Nielsen is having her this “old house” makeover on TV, saying she’s having work done so publicly because “the secretiveness in Hollywood is annoying. I know that I’m the first celebrity woman in the world who’ll be filmed in the operating room without any taboos…I’m sure this will start a discussion. It’s time that things change. I feel like 30 and I want to look it, too.”

By doing so, that’ll put her closer to the age of her fifth husband, Mattia Dessi. Nielsen married the former Italian model, who is 30, in 2005 — and again in 2006.


Mary-Kate Olsen Refuses to Speak About Heath Ledger in Interview

Filed under: Other Celebrity News — gervmaine @ 2:08 pm
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After nearly five months, Mary-Kate Olsen still refuses to speak about the fact that she was the first person called after Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment.

“I’m not going to comment on that,” Olsen, who turns 22 on June 13, tells Elle in its July issue. “I won’t give you a word about that in the nicest way possible. Let’s move on.”
The actress, who said in a statement last January that “Heath was a “friend” and “his death is a tragic loss,” also keeps mum about being a celebrity.

“It’s not a part of my life. It’s a media perception of who I am,” she tells the magazine. “It’s very weird. I mean, if I see a paparazzi shot of me walking that’s in a magazine or something at some event, it’s as if I see it from an outsider’s point of view. There’s like a character, almost, and then there’s me.”


6-Year-Old Saves 5-Year-Old Friend From Drowning

Filed under: Unbelievable — gervmaine @ 2:06 pm
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FAYETTEVILLE, Ga. — Adults didn’t see a drowning 5-year-old, but his 6-year-old friend did.


Haden Stusak, 6, of Fayetteville is being called a hero after he dived into a pool to investigate a shadow on the bottom that turned out to be his friend.


Josiah Buddah, 5, and Haden are buddies. Haden is a good swimmer, but Josiah can’t swim without his water wings.


On Sunday, Josiah took off his water wings and sank to the bottom of the deep end.


“I was scared, I was scared,” said Josiah.


An adult spotted a shadow in the pool, but couldn’t get to it. No one knew the shadow was Josiah. But Haden got curious and dove down to investigate. He had been practicing diving to the bottom. When he discovered Josiah, he grabbed him and pulled him to the surface.

“Well, I grabbed him like that; he was like unconscious. I grabbed him and I was swimming like this,” said Haden.


“He jumped inside the water; he helped me get back up,” said Josiah.


Two nurses and doctor started CPR.


“They took me to the hospital,” said Josiah. “I was dead and couldn’t breathe.”


It all happened in seconds.


“I could have been burying my baby this week, so just to know that he’s here, No. 1, is amazing, because to see your child lifeless for a few minutes, you think it’s over,” said Josiah’s mother, Judith Buddha.


“So I called ‘Help, help, he drowned,'” said Haden.


Haden’s parents told Channel 2 they ask him not to talk so loudly and to keep his voice down. This is one time they’re glad they heard his screams.


Josiah is doing well and is now swimming with a float suit. He will start lessons in a couple of weeks.


And in true hero fashion, Haden says what he did was no big deal.


“We’re friends. That’s what friends do,” said Haden.


The American Riviera by train June 3, 2008

Filed under: Travel & Leisure — gervmaine @ 12:40 pm
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There’s no way I’m reading now that the train has reached the ocean.

I look out from the Pacific Surfliner at Pacific surf riders: longboarders and shortboarders, paddle surfers and surf kayakers. There are dolphins too, glowing in sunlit waves.

I imagined that the train would race by unnoticed, but the surfers turn toward the tracks. One straddling his board raises his arms, both hands splayed in an enthusiastic shaka salute.

His message, of course: Hang loose.

Which is exactly what my wife and I are doing on a train rolling through our own Southern California backyard.

I hope to rediscover familiar destinations by traveling by train. To relive the carefree days, I tell myself, like when I was a college student in England. My only plan is to stay in a trio of classic destinations (San Diego, San Clemente, and Santa Barbara), but with no pressure to hit big attractions; the small stuff would count. We’d welcome randomness. We’d embrace wrong turns. We’d free ourselves in a sense by restricting ourselves: no set itinerary, no maps and no cab fares more than $5. Those are the rules. And with gas prices hovering near $4 per gallon, we might even save some cash.

STOP 1: San Diego

There’s something liberating about being out of the car, free to discover the people and places in that big world between point A and point B. We get quick affirmation of that notion as we disembark at San Diego’s 1915 Santa Fe Depot: We come face to face with revenge of the nerds on a metropolitan scale. We have stumbled through the looking glass and into Comic-Con, the annual gathering of pop-culture tribes: comics freaks, sci-fi buffs and anime obsessives among them. While people-watching is one of the best parts of seeing a city on foot, we had hardly expected this quality of street theater. Savor San Diego’s Little Italy

Nor had we expected to get diverted even before reaching our hotel. But it turns out the train station’s old baggage room is a gallery space of the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. Burdened with our luggage, we must take turns seeing the exhibits before heading to our hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter — less than five minutes by cab and one of downtown’s best-preserved areas, with all of its Victorian and Queen Anne buildings.

After checking in, we walk along Fifth Avenue, swimming upstream against Comic-Con goers emerging from the convention center, before bailing for lunch at Bondi, an Australian-themed restaurant.

As the day ebbs, we walk in and out of stores, the character of the streets changing as we stroll. We eventually wander into Little Italy, once home to tuna fishermen and now an enclave that combines markets and restaurants with modern lofts. We come upon Anthology, a music venue that sets the vibe of a 1940s supper club in a multilevel contemporary space with audio fetishist-quality acoustics.

For years, I’ve had a knack for missing jazz legend Mose Allison, but in a nice bit of luck, he’s playing here tonight. Allison races through his classics, a human in shuffle mode, his voice still hipster cool.

We consider cabbing back to the hotel but decide to walk, extending our improvised day. I can’t say San Diego is quite a 24/7 city à la New York, but past midnight, the Gaslamp is still hopping, so we’re giving it a go.

STOP 2: San Clemente

We may be free of schedules, but Amtrak isn’t, and with only a couple of afternoon trains to San Clemente in Orange County, we have a late lunch before moving on.

South of San Clemente, the train eases into a long, stationless platform at the city’s pier — close enough to the ocean to taste the spray. Seeing San Clemente

I flash back to my senior year in England. I lived near a village of 200 outside Canterbury, in a roadhouse inn that sat across from a platform as unadorned as this one. It was that year of crashing at pensiones and hostels that most inspired us to take this rail trip. I even considered dusting off my old backpack for the journey but instead opted for a rolling bag: more forgiving for a chronic overpacker, if lacking a bit in vagabonding panache.

We roll our luggage to our inn that overlooks the platform and head to the water. I can’t prove it scientifically, but at San Clemente, the Southern California coast takes on a more tropical light, the air sweetened in summer by humid flows out of Mexico.

It’s intoxicating. Once we start walking, we just keep going, past palapas and palm trees, the air a sultry bath and our bare feet chilled in a cold plunge of foaming waves galloping ashore.

In England they call the waves’ caps “white horses,” which is the name that head chef and owner Mark Norris gave his restaurant across from the beach. I’d like to claim this spot as one of those back alley discoveries you live for as a traveler. But really, it’s steps off the lobby of our inn, with tables on a tiny patio and a Mediterranean-inspired menu.

With only a climb back up the stairs to our room ahead of us, we linger and chat with Norris after dinner, as the night’s first fog drifts through the pier’s lights. The train, Norris says, reminds him of his mother’s house in Devon, which sits by the tracks. Now that is serendipitous  to have found perhaps the only other person in town who would be reminded of England on a warm San Clemente night.

STOP 3: Santa Barbara

In Santa Barbara, the train edges a neighborhood between the idealized Mediterranean world of downtown and its dreamy California beach line. It’s called the Funk Zone, and as often as we’ve come into Santa Barbara for museums and shopping, typically on our way to the Santa Ynez Valley wine country about 30 minutes beyond, we’ve missed this latter-day Cannery Row.

We shortcut through the zone on the way to our hotel off State Street. A truck delivers hay bales to an animal-supply business near the intersection of Anacapa and Yanonali Streets (Santa Barbara has the most lyrical street names in the country). There are glimpses of the ocean and the Santa Ynez Mountains rising over town — the idea of its grapes taunting me — as we walk the back streets. Head to Santa Barbara’s waterfront

We stop in at Metropulos Fine Foods Merchant, which carries everything from Santa Barbara County olive oils to jams made by Trappist nuns in Italy. Then we discover an urban wine country: no vineyards, of course, but tasting rooms and production facilities. We work our way through several, from the Santa Barbara Winery, which pioneered winemaking here way back in 1962, to the newly opened Kalyra Winery — where winemaker Mike Brown has operations in the Santa Ynez Valley and in Australia’s Barossa Valley, and the tasting room is all tikis and Aboriginal-inspired art and surfboards.

A train whistle blows, announcing another Surfliner’s arrival. We walk past board shapers taking a break from their sanding to snag a little California sun. Hang loose, I think, remembering the surfers I saw on the way in. You wouldn’t think surfing and train travel have much to do with each other. But if surfing is all about surrendering control and working with what comes along, well, that’s an approach to train travel too. I can’t say we caught the perfect wave. But it’s been a good ride.

Train tips

Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner ($42 one-way from San Diego, with stops in San Clemente and Santa Barbara; 800/872-7245) stops at many major Southern California cities.

Pony up for business class: It’s the only way to guarantee a seat (not assigned). Business class is often $11 extra.

Pack light: You’ll mostly be hauling your own bags, and overhead space is tight.

Where to stay

The Keating Hotel: Don’t be tricked by its Victorian exterior. This San Diego hotel in the Gaslamp Quarter has a fire red lobby and an urban attitude. From $339; 877/753-2846.

Casa Tropicana Boutique Inn: Across from the train platform in San Clemente, the inn has rooms with tropical- and sea-themed decor. From $285; 800/492-1245.

Inn of the Spanish Garden: The Santa Barbara inn blends a Spanish courtyard setting with contemporary touches. From $269; 866/564-4700.

City info

San Diego 619/236-1212

San Clemente 949/492-1131

Santa Barbara 805/966-9222


Michael Johnson To Return Olympic Gold Medal

Filed under: Sports Nuts — gervmaine @ 12:39 pm
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LONDON (AP) — Olympic great Michael Johnson says he was “shocked” by former teammate Antonio Pettigrew’s doping admission and will return the gold medal the two of them helped the United States win in the 1,600-meter relay at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

“As difficult as it is, I will be returning it to the International Olympic Committee because I don’t want it,” Johnson wrote in a column in Tuesday’s Daily Telegraph. “I feel cheated, betrayed and let down.”

Pettigrew testified on May 22 at the trial of disgraced coach Trevor Graham in San Francisco that he had used banned performance enhancing drugs throughout his long career. The testimony had been described earlier in the trial.

“The news that Antonio was scheduled to testify to having taken performance-enhancing drugs shocked me like no other drug-related story,” Johnson wrote. “…He was someone I considered a friend.”

The gold medal is one of five Johnson won in his standout career. He still holds the world record in the 200 and 400 meters. Pettigrew’s testimony means that three of the four runners in the finals on the U.S. relay team have been tainted by drugs

Twins Alvin and Calvin Harrison both were suspended for doping violations. Alvin Harrison accepted a four-year ban in 2004 after admitting he used performance enhancers. Calvin Harrison tested positive for a banned stimulant in 2003 and was suspended for two years. Like Pettigrew, they were coached by Graham.

Earlier, Johnson had refused to give up the medal after it was revealed that another U.S. relay teammate, Jerome Young, had tested positive in 1999. Young, it was later ruled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, had been wrongly cleared by U.S. officials to compete. He ran only in a preliminary round, and the athletes won an appeal to keep the medals.

During the Young controversy, Johnson wrote, he had spoken with Pettigrew and both agreed they should fight giving up the medal.

“I look back on those conversations now and am amazed that he could talk to me about this knowing all along that he was guilty and that the medal was tainted anyway,” Johnson wrote.

Johnson said he is “deeply disappointed in Antonio and in the sport of athletics. I now realize that there have been a significant number of athletes and coaches in this sport who have cheated and taken the short cut, and many of them knew who else was cheating.”

Johnson talked about his past rigorous defense of the sport against a media that he felt overemphasized drug use and virtually ignored the true accomplishments of the athletes.

“But now,” he wrote, “I feel that I have been naive.”

Johnson said he would send the medal to the International Olympic Committee.

“I know the medal was not fairly won and that it is dirty,” Johnson wrote, “and so I have moved it from the location where I have always kept my medals because it doesn’t belong there. And it doesn’t belong to me.”

Johnson vowed, though, that he would “not give up on this sport and the current group of young athletes like Jeremy Wariner, Allyson Felix, Tyson Gay, Christine Ohuruogu, Usain Bolt and Asafa Powell.

“I will continue to support them but the difference is that now I can certainly understand why some fans may be hesitant to do so themselves.”

Johnson did not return a telephone message left at his office.


Tatum O’Neal: Those Cops Saved Me

Filed under: Celebrities Busted — gervmaine @ 12:37 pm

Tatum O’Neal feels saved by the officers who arrested her Sunday in New York for allegedly buying cocaine near her home.

“I’m still sober!” the 44-year-old Paper Moon Oscar winner proclaimed to the New York Post. “Just when I was about to change that and wreck my life, the cops came and saved me. I was saved by the bell, by the guys in the 7th precinct.”

O’Neal made an illicit purchase at about 7:30 p.m. Sunday on Clinton Street, Det. Martin Speechley, New York City Police spokesman, confirmed to PEOPLE. She was arrested and charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, a misdemeanor.

“There’s no excuse for what I did,” she told the Post. “I lost my Scottish terrier, Lena. That seemed to set me off.

The daughter of actor Ryan O’Neal and the ex-wife of John McEnroe, O’Neal told PEOPLE in 2002 she was abandoned by her drug-abusing mother, actress Joanna Moore, at age 7 and began using drugs by 14. She moved eventually from marijuana, Quaaludes and cocaine to heroin. The actress chronicled her struggle with addiction in her 2004 memoir, A Paper Life. She completed rehab in 1996.

O’Neal told the Post that her dog’s death three weeks ago rekindled the grief she felt after her mother died in 1998. The dog “was the fabric of our family. We had to let her go to heaven. My daughter and I had to put her down. It was too horrible for words. I couldn’t get out of it. I was going to my psychiatrist. I was doing everything I could do. I have the disease of alcoholism. It’s lifelong. I treat it every day by going to my 12-step program.”

From O’Neal’s description, the 18 hours she spent behind bars wasn’t that bad.

“I slept on a mattress with a couple of ladies because I was tired. And they were nice! And I thought the thing that was cool about New York, no special treatment. No special cell,” she told the Post. “I’m eternally grateful, as sort of grim as the situation was, that I didn’t get to do what my disease was telling me to do.”

O’Neal is due back in court July 28.