Monday, February 28, 2011

DEVILS POOL AT VICTORIA FALLS,0,5341031.photogallery


Danielle Hope, far right, on stage with other cast members of The Wizard Of Oz

Urmston teenager Danielle Hope became the nation’s Dorothy when she beat off competition from more than 9,000 hopefuls to land the leading role in The Wizard Of Oz.

But having won BBC talent show Over The Rainbow the 18-year-old faced her toughest challenge yet, to fill the ruby slippers of Judy Garland in the hearts and minds of the theatre-going public.

Lord Andrew Lloyd-Webber wants his Wizard Of Oz to match the classic film, something no stage version has come close to achieving. Until now.

For Danielle, whose first ever audition was at the Over The Rainbow auditions at Old Trafford in January last year has repaid the faith the public put in her with her portrayal of Dorothy.

Just like Judy Garland, the former Knutsford High School pupil shows the vulnerability and engaging appeal of the young Kansas farm girl on her journey along the Yellow Brick Road to Oz. And just like Judy, whose voice made Somewhere Over The Rainbow one of the all-time favourite film songs, Danielle’s sweet, crystal-clear voice, brings a tear to the eye.

She has mastered the American accent, unlike some of her fellow cast members who are still getting to grips with the Kansas drawl ahead of next Tuesday’s press night.

And she looks very comfortable with Toto, her adorable canine friend (played by four lookalike West Highland Terriers) who came close to getting as big an ovation as she did. She’s also unfazed by the status of her co-star, Michael Crawford, who plays the Wizard, internationally renowned as he is for playing the title role in The Phantom Of The Opera.

All the much-loved songs from the Oscar-winning movie score – Follow The Yellow Brick Road, We’re Off To See The Wizard and If I Only Had A Heart, feature in this production as well as some new additions to the score.

Yet it is those memorable tunes from childhood together with the clever staging and stunning special effects – you almost feel like the Twister scene when Dorothy is transported to Oz is in 3D - make this a must-see show. And watch out for the Wicked Witch Of the West as she flies down towards the audience on her broomstick.

On the strength of this preview performance, Danielle is set to emulate the success of talent show predecessor Connie Fisher whose Maria in The Sound Of Music drew favourable comparisons with Julie Andrews.

And when she had taken her final bow the West End’s newest star went outside the London Palladium to meet dozens of adoring young girls who’d gathered, proof that for a new generation of Wizard of Oz fans, Danielle Hope is their Dorothy.


Frank Buckles, last American veteran of World War I, dies at 110

Frank Buckles, one of more than 4 million Americans to serve in World War I, drove ambulances in France and was later a civilian prisoner of war during Japan's invasion of the Philippines in WWII.

Frank Buckles is honored by members of Congress and veterans in June 2008 on Capitol Hill. (Karen Bleier, AFP/Getty Images)

 Frank Woodruff Buckles, a onetime Missouri farm boy who was the last known living American veteran of World War I, has died. He was 110.

Buckles, who later spent more than three years in a Japanese POW camp as a civilian in the Philippines during World War II, died Sunday of natural causes at his home in Charles Town, W.Va., family spokesman David DeJonge said.

A total of 4,734,991 Americans served in the military during World War I.

When 108-year-old Harry Landis died in Sun City Center, Fla. on Feb. 4, 2008, Buckles became the war's last standing U.S. veteran.

"I always knew I'd be one of the last because I was one of the youngest when I joined," Buckles, then 107, told the New York Daily News. "But I never thought I'd be the last one."

Earning that distinction resulted in numerous honors for Buckles in 2008.

In March 2008, he met with President George W. Bush at the White House, then attended the unveiling of an exhibit at the Pentagon of recent photographic portraits of nine World War I veterans, including himself, who had lived to age 100 or older.

In April, then-West Virginia Gov. Joe Manchin formally dedicated a section of the new four-lane state Route 9 in honor of Buckles, who lived with his daughter, Susannah Flanagan, and her husband on a cattle farm near Charles Town, a small community in West Virginia's eastern panhandle.

And on Nov. 11 — the 90th anniversary of the signing of the armistice — Buckles was recognized by the secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs as "our last living link" to World War I.

He was born Feb. 1, 1901, on a farm near Bethany, Mo., and moved with his family to a farm in Oklahoma's Dewey County as a teenager.

When the United States entered the war in April 1917, Buckles was eager to enlist — even though he was only 16.

After being rejected by Marine and Navy recruiters, Buckles tried the Army. When the recruiter asked to see his birth certificate, Buckles said Missouri didn't keep birth records when he was born and the only record was what was written in the family Bible.

His word was good enough for the Army.

Buckles enlisted on Aug. 14, 1917, and went through basic training at Ft. Riley, Kan.

"I was a snappy soldier," he told USA Today in 2007 while looking at a sepia-toned photo of himself in his uniform. "All gung-ho."

In his Daily News interview, Buckles recalled that an old sergeant told him, "If you want to get to France in a hurry, then join the ambulance service."

He shipped off to England in December 1917 on the RMS Carpathia, the ocean liner that had rescued survivors of the Titanic in 1912.

Initially stationed in England, where he drove dignitaries around, he successfully hounded his officers for an assignment in France. He never got close to the action. But, as he told columnist George F. Will in 2008, "I saw the results."

When the war ended, Buckles remained in Europe to help escort prisoners of war back to Germany.

After returning home a corporal, he attended a business school in Oklahoma City for several months and, among other jobs, worked for a bank. But he grew bored.

Satisfying a desire for adventure, he got a job with the White Star Line shipping company and traveled the world. He was in Manila when the Japanese attacked the Philippines on Dec. 8, 1941, and was among the Western civilians later taken prisoner.

Buckles spent about 3 1/2 years at the Santo Tomas and Los Banos internment camps. At Los Banos, he said in a 2009 interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer, he once saw three prisoners nearly beaten to death.

"There was no mercy as far as the Japanese were concerned," he said.

Buckles, who led daily fitness classes in the camp, said food became scarce as Japan began losing the war. He had gone in weighing 140 pounds and had lost more than 50 pounds by the time the camp was liberated in February 1945.

After returning home, Buckles married Audrey Mayo, whom he had met in California before the war. In 1954, they moved to the 330-acre West Virginia cattle farm.

"I had been bouncing around from one place to another for years at sea," Buckles told the Charleston Daily Mail in 2007. "It was time to settle down in one place."

Buckles' wife died in 1999, the same year French President Jacques Chirac awarded him the French Legion of Honor.

He continued to live on his farm and reportedly drove a car and a farm tractor until he was 102.

Just before his 108th birthday in 2009, Buckles told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he always knew he'd live a long life: His father died at 97, a sister at 104. And other relatives on his mother's side of the family hit the century mark.

As for living long enough to be the last U.S. military veteran of World War I, he grinned and said, "If it has to be somebody, it might as well be me."

He is survived by his daughter, Susannah Buckles Flanagan.

Sunday, February 27, 2011


Actor James Franco is set to play the title role in new movie Oz: The Great and Powerful.

Franco's deal with Disney puts the film on track to begin production in July, with Franco reuniting with his Spider-Man director Sam Raimi.

The film, based on the L Frank Baum novel, is the prequel to the classic Wizard of Oz.

Robert Downey Jnr had originally been in talks to star in the film but Franco will now begin filming in the summer, according to Hollywood site Deadline.

The script, written by Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire, will focus on the iconic character's past as a circus wrangler who is transported to the fairytale land by a tornado, where he's mistaken for a powerful wizard




Thursday, February 24, 2011




INDIANAPOLIS (AP)—Rex Ryan is at it again.

Brimming with confidence after his team reached the AFC championship game the past two seasons, the outspoken New York Jets coach has promised a Super Bowl win next season.

“I believe this is the year we’re going to do it,” he said. “I believe this is the year we’re going to win the Super Bowl. The fact is, I thought we’d win it the first two years.

“I guarantee we’ll win it this year.”

The Jets are the only team to play in a conference championship game each of the past two years, something Ryan mentioned more than once while speaking to reporters Thursday at the NFL scouting combine. Ryan said his team made major strides last season, and he believes it is natural to expect the Jets to take the next step.

“I care what our organization believes and what our fans believe,” he said. “If we can improve a little more, then why not us?”

Ryan made headlines when he made the Jets’ divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts a “personal” matchup between himself and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning(notes). The Jets prevailed 17-16. The next week, he pulled out the personal card again, this time calling out New England Patriots coach Bill Belichick, and the Jets won 28-21.

Ryan wasn’t as brash heading into New York’s AFC Championship matchup with Pittsburgh, and the Steelers defeated New York 24-19.

Thursday’s 17-minute session was vintage Ryan. He talked for more than five minutes before taking a question, often drawing laughs from the media.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum doesn’t mind his coach speaking up.

“Anyone that’s down or feeling bad about themselves, spend a couple hours with him and I promise you’ll laugh a few times,” Tannenbaum said. “He’s a great football coach. There’s a lot been said about his personality, his guarantees, but at the end of the day, we got to judge him by his record. We’re lucky to have him.”

This isn’t the first time Ryan has promised a title. During last season’s training camp, Ryan was asked to sign his team’s logo sticker on the back of ESPN’s tour bus. Instead of just signing his name, the brash Ryan wrote: “Soon to be Champs.”

When asked if such boasts become hollow if the team doesn’t follow through, Ryan became defensive.

“I’m not the smartest guy of all time and the sharpest tack,” he said. “And guarantee? I don’t know. I just know how I feel.”

Ryan said he’s already started preparing for next season.

“You have time to go back, look at the tapes,” he said. “You start looking at the films. Our offensive staff and defensive staff have been hard at work really looking at where we are as a team, breaking down everything, looking at ourselves critically, looking at what we did well, looking at what we can improve.”

Ryan added that the team’s 5-3 home record last season was disappointing, and he quipped that their No. 3 defensive ranking wasn’t up to their standards.

“Our fans deserve better, and you know what?” Ryan said. “I think we’re going to figure it out.”

Ryan said he’s not worried about the league’s labor issues, he’s only focused on winning.

“We have a plan for every scenario, and we feel great about our plan,” he said. “I can comfortably say we’re making no excuses. We’re just going to find a way to get it done.”


Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Despite young men dying daily in Afghanistan and throughout the world defending our country, the media pays more attention to Justin Beiber cutting his hair..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

If Justin Bieber cutting off his hair meant the end was near, then the fact that those sheared-off locks just sold for $40,668 on EBay must mean the end is actually here.

That's a big chunk of change for some strands of celebrity hair. But hey, shipping was free.

Last week, the day after the "Never Say Never 3D" star trimmed his tresses, he put them in a signed box for Ellen DeGeneres to sell at auction, with the proceeds to be donated to the Gentle Barn, an animal rescue foundation operating out of Santa Clarita.

The lucky bidder also gets to meet the 17-year-old the next time he appears on DeGeneres' show.

No word on who won -- the winning bidder used a new EBay account identified only as "a***0" -- but watch out, Selena Gomez.


Actress Mila Kunis has been cast in the Wizard of Oz Prequel! Rumored to be playing the Wicked Witch, it looks like its official now that the Black Swan star has been in talks with Director Sam Raimi. Get the details here and see videos and photos of Mila Kunis below the fold.

Worstpreviews.Com is reporting that Mila Kunis of that 70’s Show fame will be playing the green faced Wicked Witch in the upcoming Wizard of Oz Prequel being directed by Sam Raimi. You know – the one that mostly likely gave you nightmares when you were a kid!

The Disney production, that could be filming in Michigan with a $105 million dollar budget, has nabbed Kunis to play the role of Theodorah (who becomes the wicked witch) in the prequel, which has the working title of ‘Oz, The Great And Powerful.’ Director Raimi’s Oz remake also includes actor James Franco in the role of an illusionist, who finds himself in the land of the lollipop kids, replacing the previously cast Robert Downey Jr..

Previously the twenty-eight year old performer was rumored to be part of the live action remake of Akira from director Albert Hughes but has since turned down a spot in the film. The actress has really stepped up her A game since becoming a big screen performer. First beginning her career in TV land, Kunis has moved on from her break out role as Jackie to appear in Date Night, Black Swan, and The Book of Eli. She is also on board the movie Ted and Friends With Benefits in the role of Jamie.

Mila Kunis will begin shooting on the set of the Wizard of Oz Prequel this coming July. Tell us what you think about Mila joining the Raimi production as the Wicked Witch below!


With previews of a new production of The Wizard of Oz at The London Palladium this week, I thought it was an ideal time to review two novels set in the world of Oz that were written by James C Wallace II, who regularly posts comments to A Bad Witch's Blog.

James sent me pdfs of his two novels about the magical world made famous in L Frank Baum's The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - entitled Magician of Ozand Shadow Demon of Oz.

James said: "I hope you'll consider a review for each. Sometimes, it's good to look at the other side of magic... Even if it is fiction."

Now, I don't often review new fiction on A Bad Witch's Blog - I've got a huge pile of non-fiction waiting to be read and if I do decide to pick up some fiction once in a while I usually stick to classics or authors I know.

However, I had some very good reasons to read these, quite apart from the topicality of the setting. First, James seems like a really nice bloke; second, I was keen to try out reading books in pdf format on my new Kindle.

I've been reading the books on my Kindle on the bus when I visit my elderly mum, who is in a nursing home while she recovers from a bad fall. I needed something light and escapist to cheer me up, as this has been a stressful few weeks. James' short novels fitted the bill perfectly.

Magician of Ozis the story of Jamie Diggs, grandson of Oscar Zoroaster Diggs - the Wizard of Oz himself. Jamie inherits his grandfather's trunk containing all sort of apparatus to perform stage illusions. Inspired by this, he takes up sleight of hand as a hobby. I'm guessing this is what author James meant by "the other side of magic" and I certainly did learn something about what it takes to perform magical illusions.

However, Jamie Diggs soon discovers that some of the items in the trunk have powers that go beyond stage magic and he finds himself transported to the Land of Oz. There he meets many of the characters from L Frank Baum's fictional world, including Dorothy, Glinda the Good Witch and the Tin Woodman.

The story is a charming tale of travel through the fantastic lands of Oz, sunny days, wonderful banquets and meetings with characters familiar to anyone who has read the original Oz stories, seen the movie or gone to a stage production. Jamie learns that in Oz he can do real magic as well as perform illusions, and eventually must use his powers to defend the realm from attack by rebellious sentient trees.

James' second story follows on from the first. Jamie Diggs returns to Oz to defend it from a threat greater than walking woodlands. A shadow demon, which came from a distant part of the galaxy on a comet, is terrifying the inhabitants of Oz and threatening to steal their spirits. Jamie must use his magical powers - and his wits - to defeat evil. This is a somewhat darker book than Magician of Oz, and shows James' ability as a writer of children's fiction.

Although I don't often read children's novels, sometimes, when life is tough, it can be good to escape through a book to a place over the rainbow where dreams can come true.

I can also confirm that reading books in pdf format on a Kindle is pretty easy, so long as they are mostly plain text and have regular page sizes. Large books and those with lots of pictures or complicated layout styles are not quite so easy to read. However, if you want to try these books on your Kindle, you won't have to use pdf format because Magician of Ozis available in traditional book format and Kindle edition through Amazon. Shadow Demon of Ozis also available in Kindle edition.

Regular performances of The Wizard of Oz Musical will be on from 1 March at The London Palladium, Argyll Street, London W1F 7TF. You can call the box office to book tickets on 0844 412 2957.


Magician of Oz

Magician of Oz Kindle Edition

Shadow Demon of Oz

Shadow Demon of Oz (Royal Magician of Oz)

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (Penguin Popular Classics)

Posted by badwitch at 00:01

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James C. Wallace II said...

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank you for your kind review and even kinder words about me personally.

As an author, we want only for others to enjoy the vision that we put down on paper (or in this case, put down on electrons).

For me, Oz has been a means of expressing my message in a way that makes me very satisfied.

I noticed that the UK does indeed have its own magic convention coming up in a matter of days.

It would seem that magic is everywhere, if only we take the time to look...

10 February 2011

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The Beatles:

John Lennon

Paul McCartney

George Harrison

Ringo Starr

The Rolling Stones:

Mick Jagger

Keith Richards

Charlie Watts

Ron Wood

Brian Jones (guitar, 1961-1969)

Bill Wyman (bass, 1962-1992)

Dick Taylor (bass, 1961-1962)

Ian Stewart (piano, 1961-1962; road manager until 1985)

Mick Taylor (guitar, 1969-1974)

The Who:

Pete Townshend - guitar, primary composer, piano; synthesizer on studio recordings

Roger Daltrey - vocals, harmonica

Keith Moon - drummer

John Entwistle - bass guitar, brass instruments

Kenney Jones - drummer (joined after Moon's death in 1978)

John "Rabbit" Bundrick (keyboardist, 1978+)

Simon Townshend (second guitar, backup vocals, 2002+)

Led Zeppelin:

Robert Plant

Jimmy Page

John Bonham

John Paul Jones

The Beach Boys:

Brian Wilson

Carl Wilson

Dennis Wilson

Mike Love

Alan Jardine

Pink Floyd:

Roger Waters

Syd Barrett

Bob Klose

David Gilmour

Nick Mason

Richard Wright

Black Sabbath:

Ozzy Osbourne

Tony Iommi

Geezer Butler

Bill Ward


Freddie Mercury

Brian May

Roger Taylor

John Deacon


Bono (Paul David Hewson) - vocals and guitar

The Edge (David Howell Evans) - guitar, pianos and vocals

Adam Clayton - bass

Larry Mullen Jr. - drums and vocals

The Doors:

Jim Morrison - lead vocals

John Densmore - drums

Robby Krieger - guitar

Ray Manzarek - organ, piano, keyboard bass


Joseph Simmons

Darryl McDaniels

Jason Mizell

Sly and The Family Stone:

Sly Stone

Freddie Stone

Larry Graham

Rose Stone

Cynthia Robinson

Jerry Martini

Gregg Errico

Little Sister

Rusty Allen

Pat Rizzo

Andy Newmark

The Clash:

Joe Strummer

Mick Jones

Paul Simonon

Topper Headon

The Grateful Dead:

Jerry Garcia (1965-1995)

Bob Weir (1965-1995)

Phil Lesh (1965-1995)

Bill Kreutzmann (1965-1995)

Ron "Pigpen" McKernan (1965-1973)

Mickey Hart (1967-1971, 1975-1995)

Tom Constanten (1968-1970)

Keith Godchaux (1971-1979)

Donna Jean Godchaux (1972-1979)

Brent Mydland (1979-1990)

Vince Welnick (1990-1995)

Velvet Underground:

Walter Powers (1970-1972, bass guitar, backing vocals)

Lou Reed (1965-1970, vocals, guitar, piano, harmonica)

Maureen Tucker (1965-1972, drums, percussion, vocals)

Doug Yule (1968-1973, vocals, bass guitar, keyboards, guitar, drums)


Kurt Cobain - vocals, guitar

Krist Novoselic - bass

Aaron Burckhard - drums (1987)

Dale Crover - drums (1987-1988, 1990)

Dave Foster - drums (1988)

Chad Channing - drums (1988-1990)

Jason Everman - guitar (1989)

Dan Peters - drums (1990)

Dave Grohl - drums (1990-1994)

Pat Smear - guitar (1993-1994)

The Supremes:

Florence Ballard (1959 - 1967)

Mary Wilson (1959 - 1977)

Diana Ross (1959 - 1970)

Betty McGlown (1959 - 1960)

Barbara Martin (1960 - 1961)

Cindy Birdsong (1967 - 1972, 1973 - 1976)

Jean Terrell (1970 - 1973)

Lynda Laurence (1972 - 1973)

Scherrie Payne (1973 - 1977)

Susaye Greene (1976 - 1977)

The Temptations:

Otis Williams (1960 - present)

Elbridge "Al" Bryant (1960 - 1963)

Melvin Franklin (1960 - 1994)

Eddie Kendricks (1960 - 1971, 1982 reunion)

Paul Williams (1960 - 1971)

David Ruffin (1964 - 1968, 1982 reunion)

Dennis Edwards (1968 - 1977, 1980 - 1984, 1987 - 1989)

Ricky Owens (1971)

Richard Street (1971 - 1993)

Damon Harris (1971 - 1975)

Glenn Leonard (1975 - 1982)

Louis Price (1977 - 1980)

Ron Tyson (1983 - present)

Ali-Ollie Woodson (1984 - 1987, 1989 -1998)

Theo Peoples (1992 - 1998)

Ray Davis (1994 - 1996)

Harry McGilberry (1995 - 2003)

Barrington "Bo" Henderson (1998 - 2003)

Terry Weeks (1998 - present)

G.C. Cameron (2003 - present)

Joe Herndon (2003 - present)

Public Enemy:

Carlton Ridenhour (Chuck D)

William Drayton (Flavor Flav)

Richard Griffin (Professor Griff)

Norman Rogers (Terminator X)

The Kinks:

Ray Davies

Dave Davies

Jim Rodford

Bob Henrit

Ian Gibbons

Everly Brothers:

Don Everly

Phil Everly

Van Halen:

Eddie Van Halen - guitar (1974-present)

Michael Anthony - bass (1974-present)

Alex Van Halen - drums and percussion (1974-present)

David Lee Roth - vocals (1974-1985)

Sammy Hagar - vocals (1985-1996)

Gary Cherone - vocals (1996-1999)


Ginger Baker

Eric Clapton

Jack Bruce

The Allman Brothers Band:

Duane Allman (1969-1971) - guitar

Gregg Allman (1969-present) - vocals, keyboards, guitar

Dickey Betts (1969-2000) - guitar, vocals

Berry Oakley (1969-1972) - bass, vocals

Butch Trucks (1969-present) - drums

Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson (1969-1980; 1989-present) - drums

Chuck Leavell (1972-1976) - keyboards

Lamar Williams (1972-1976) - bass

Dan Toler (1978-1982) - guitar

David "Rook" Goldflies (1978-1982) - bass

David Toler (1980-1982) - drums

Mike Lawler (1980-1982) - keyboards

Warren Haynes (1989-1997; 2000-present) - guitar, vocals

Allen Woody (1989-1997) - bass

Johnny Neel (1989-1990) - keyboards

Marc Quinones (1991-present) - percussion

Oteil Burbridge (1997-present) - bass

Jack Pearson (1997-1999) - guitar

Derek Trucks (1999-present) - guitar

The Ramones:

Joey Ramone - vocals

Johnny Ramone - guitar

Dee Dee Ramone - bass guitar (1974-1989)

Tommy Ramone - drums (1974-1978)

Marky Ramone - drums (1978-1983, 1987-1996)

Richie Ramone - drums (1983-1987)

Elvis Ramone - drums (1987)

C.J. Ramone - bass (1989-1996)

Crosby, Stills, and Nash (later "and Young"):

Neil Young

David Crosby

Stephen Stills

Graham Nash

Fleetwood Mac:

John McVie

Stevie Nicks

Mick Fleetwood

Christine McVie

Lindsey Buckingham


Dave Evans - vocals (1973-1974)

Colin Burgess - drums and percussion (1973-1974)

Angus Young - guitar (1973-present)

Rob Bailey II - bass (1973-1974)

Larry van Kriedt - Bass, saxophone (1973-1975)

Malcolm Young - guitar (1973-present)

Brian Johnson - vocals (1980-present)

Cliff Williams - bass (1977-present)

Phil Rudd - drums and percussion (1975-1983,1994-present)

Bon Scott - vocals (1974-1980)

Noel Taylor - drums and percussion (1974)

Peter Clack - drums and percussion (1974-1975)

Mark Evans II - bass (1975-1977)

Simon Wright - drums and percussion (1984-1989)

Chris Slade - drums and percussion (1989-1994)

The Byrds:

Roger McGuinn (prev. Jim McGuinn) - vocals

Gene Clark - vocals

David Crosby - vocals

Chris Hillman - bass

Michael Clarke - drums

John York - bass

Gene Parsons - drums

Clarence White - guitar

Skip Battin

The Eagles:

Glenn Frey - guitar/keboard/vocal (founder)

Don Henley - drum/vocal/guitar (founder)

Bernie Leadon - guitar/mandolin/banjo (foudner)

Randy Meisner - bass (founder)

Don Felder - guitar/vocal (1974-2001)

"Average" Joe Walsh - guitar/vocal (1975+)

Timothy B. Schmit - bass/vocal (1977+)

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles:

Smokey Robinson (1955-1972)

Ronnie White (1955-1983; 1993-1995)

Pete Moore (1955-1978)

Clarence Dawson (1955)

James Grice (1955)

Emerson Rogers (1956)

Bobby Rogers (1956-1983; 1993-present)

Claudette Rogers (Robinson) (1956-1964)

Billy Griffin (1972-1978; late 1990s)

Dave Finley (1978-1983; 1993-present)

Sidney Justin (1993-c.2000)

Tee Turner (1996-present)

Mark Scott (2005-present)


Michael Stipe

Mike Mills

Peter Buck

Bill Berry (1980-1997)

Creedence Clearwater Revival:

John Fogerty

Tom Fogerty

Doug Clifford

Stu Cook


Steven Tyler - vocals (1973-present)

Joe Perry - guitar/vocals (1973-present)

Brad Whitford - guitar (1973-present)

Tom Hamilton - bass (1973-present)

Joey Kramer - drums and percussion (1973-present)

Jimmy Crespo - guitar (1979-1984)

Rick Dufay - guitar (1980-1984)

Curtis Mayfield and The Impressions:

Curtis Mayfield (1958-1970)

Jerry Butler (1958-1960)

Sam Gooden (1958-1983)

Arthur Brooks (1958-1962)

Richard Brooks (1958-1962)

Fred Cash (1960-1983)

Leroy Hutson (1970-1973)

Ralph Johnson (1973-1976)

Nate Evans (1976-1979)

Reggie Torian (1973-1983)

The Drifters:

Clyde McPhatter

Gerhart Thrasher - tenor

Andrew Thrasher - baritone

Bill Pinkney - second tenor

Willie Ferbee - bass

Walter Adams - guitar

Jimmy Oliver - guitar

David Baughn

Johnny Moore

Bobby Hendricks

Jimmy Ricks

Tommy Evans

Charlie Hughes

Jimmy Millinder

Charlie Thomas

Doc Green - baritone

Elsbeary Hobbs - bass

James "Poppa" Clark

Ben Nelson - baritone

James Poindexter

Rudy Lewis

Johnny Lee Williams

William Van Dyke

George Grant

Eugene Pearson

Johnny Terry

Dan Bainbridge

William Brent

Rick Sheppard

Bill Fredricks

Charles Baskerville

Milton Turner

Don Thomas (real name "Charlie" Thomas, but not same as earlier band member)

Butch Leake

Grant Kitchlings

Clyde Brown

Billy Lewis

Joe Blunt

Ray Lewis

Louis Price

Jonah Ellis

George Chandler

John Thurston

Joe Cofie

Tony Jackson

Keith John

Peter Lamaar

Roy Hemmings

Patrick Alan

Rohan Delano Turney

Jason Leigh

Victor Bynoe

The Police:

Sting (Gordon Matthew Sumner) - vocals, bass

Stewart Copeland - drums

Andy Summers - guitar

Henry Padovani - guitar (early line-up)


Bob Rock - bass guitar; producer

Cliff Burton - bass guitar

Dave Mustaine - lead guitar, vocals

James Hetfield - vocals, rhythm guitar

Jason Newsted - bass guitar

Kirk Hammett - lead guitar

Lars Ulrich - drums

Lloyd Grant - lead guitar

Robert Trujillo - bass guitar

Ron McGovney - bass guitar

Pearl Jam:

Mike McCready - lead guitar (1990-)

Jeff Ament - bass guitar (1990-)

Eddie Vedder - lead vocals, guitar (1990-)

Stone Gossard - rhythm guitar (1990-)

Matt Cameron - drums (1998-)

Dave Krusen - drums (1990-1991)

Matt Chamberlain - drums (1991)

Dave Abbruzzese - drums (1991-1994)

Jack Irons - drums (1994-1998)

Deep Purple:

Ian Gillan

Steve Morse

Don Airey

Roger Glover

Ian Paice

Bill Haley and His Comets:

Marshall Lytle

Johnny Grande

Bill Haley

Billy Williamson

The Band:

Robbie Robertson - guitar

Richard Manuel - piano, harmonica, drums, saxophone

Garth Hudson - organ, piano, clavinet, accordion, synthesizer, saxophone

Rick Danko - bass guitar, violin, trombone

Levon Helm - drums, mandolin, guitar, bass guitar


Carlos Santana - guitar/vocals

Tom Frazier - guitar

Mike Carabello - percussion

Rod Harper - drums

Gus Rodrigues - bass guitar

Gregg Rolie - organ/vocals


Alan White - drums

Bill Bruford - drums

Billy Sherwood - guitar, keyboards

Chris Squire - bass guitar

Geoff Downes - keyboards

Igor Khoroshev - keyboards

Jon Anderson - vocals

Patrick Moraz - keyboards

Peter Banks - guitar

Rick Wakeman - keyboards

Steve Howe - guitar

Tony Kaye - keyboards

Trevor Horn - vocals

Trevor Rabin - guitar, vocals

Jefferson Airplane:

Marty Balin

Paul Kantner

Jorma Kaukonen

Signe Toly Anderson

Jerry Peloquin

Bob Harvey

Skip Spence

Jack Casady

Spencer Dryden

Grace Slick

King Crimson:

Robert Fripp - lead guitar, occasional mellotron or piano (1968-present)

Adrian Belew - guitar, vocals (1981 - present)

Tony Levin - bass, Chapman Stick, backing vocals (1981-1999, 2003-present)

Pat Mastelotto - percussion (1994 - present)

Greg Lake - vocals (1968-70), bass (1968-69)

Peter Giles - bass (1969-70)

Gordon Haskell - bass, vocals (1970)

Boz Burrell - bass, vocals (1971-72)

John Wetton - bass, vocals (1972-74)

Trey Gunn - Touchstyle basses (1994-2003)

Michael Giles - percussion (1968-70)

Andy McCulloch - percussion (1970)

Ian Wallace - percussion (1971-72)

Jamie Muir - percussion (1972-73)

Bill Bruford - percussion (1972 - 1997)

Peter Sinfield - lyrics, lighting (1968-71)

Ian McDonald - reeds, woodwinds, mellotrons (1968-69, sideman in 1974)

Mel Collins - sax, flute (1970-71)

David Cross - violin, viola, mellotrons, keyboards (1972-74)

The Isley Brothers:

Ronald Isley

Ernie Isley

O'Kelly Isley

Rudolph Isley

Vernon Isley

Marvin Isley

Chris Jasper

The Moody Blues:

Ray Thomas

Michael Pinder

Denny Laine

Graeme Edge

Clint Warwick

John Lodge

Justin Hayward

The Sex Pistols:

Johnny Rotten

Steve Jones

Glen Matlock

Paul Cook

N.W.A. (NWA):

Dr. Dre/Andre Young

Eazy-E/Eric Wright

Ice Cube/O'Shea Jackson (left in 1989)

MC Ren/Lorenzo Patterson

Yella/Antoince Carraby

Talking Heads:

David Byrne

Chris Frantz

Tina Weymouth

Jerry Harrison

Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers:

Tom Petty

Mike Campbell - guitar

Benmont Tench - keyboards

Ron Blair - bass

Steve Ferrone - drums

Scott Thurston - guitar, harmonica, bass

Howie Epstein - bass

Stan Lynch - drums

The Bee Gees:

Barry Gibb

Robin Gibb

Maurice Gibb

The Yardbirds:

Keith Relf - harmonica, vocals

Chris Dreja - guitar; later bass guitar

Jim McCarty - drums

Paul Samwell-Smith - bass guitar

Anthony "Top" Topham - guitar

Eric Clapton - lead guitar

Jeff Beck - lead guitar

Jimmy Page - bass guitar; lead guitar

Alan Glen - harmonica

The Four Tops:

Abdul "Duke" Fakir

Lawrence Payton

Levi Stubbs

Renaldo "Obie" Benson


Thom Yorke

Jonny Greenwood

Ed O'Brien

Colin Greenwood

Phil Selway

Guns 'N' Roses:

Axl Rose - lead vocals, piano (1985-present)

Dizzy Reed - keyboards (1990-present)

Robin Finck - lead guitar (1997-present)

Tommy Stinson - bass (1998-present)

Brian Mantia - drums (2000-present)

Richard Fortus - rhythm guitar (2002-present)

Rob Gardner - drums (1985)

Tracii Guns - lead guitar (1985)

Steven Adler - drums (1985-1990)

Izzy Stradlin - rhythm guitar (1985-1991)

Gilby Clarke - rhythm guitar (1991-1994)

Slash - lead guitar (1985-1996)

Matt Sorum - drums (1990-1997)

Duff McKagan - bass (1985-1998)

Josh Freese - drums (1997-2000)

Paul Tobias - rhythm guitar (1994-2002)

Buckethead - lead guitar (2000-2004)

Tracey Amos - vocals (1991-1993)

Teddy Andreadis - harmonica, keyboards, vocals (1991-1993)

Roberta Freeman - vocals (1991-1993)

Diane Jones - vocals (1991-1993)

Anne King - horns (1991-1993)

Lisa Maxwell - horns (1991-1993)

Cece Worrall - horns (1991-1993)

Chris Pitman - keyboards, vocals (1998-present)


Walter Parazaider - saxophone

James Pankow - trombone

Lee Loughnane - trumpet

Terry Kath - guitar

Robert Lamm - keyboard

Danny Seraphine - drums

Peter Cetera - bass

Donnie Dacus - guitar/singer/songwriter

Bill Champlin - keyboard/guitar/singer

Chris Pinnick - guitar

Jason Scheff - bass/vocal

Dawayne Bailey - guitar

Tris Imboden - drums

Keith Howland - guitar


Geddy Lee - bass, vocals, synthesizers (1968-present)

Alex Lifeson - guitar (1968-tresent)

Neil Peart - drums (1974-tresent)

John Rutsey - drums (1968-1974)

Earth, Wind, and Fire:

Maurice White

Verdine White

Ronnie Laws

Larry Dunn

Ralph Johnson

Philip Bailey


Rock music artists / rock


The Religious Affiliation of the

100 Greatest Rock Musicians

The list of musicians below is from: Jim (editor), "Greatest Artists of Rock" (last updated 26 September 2005) on Digital Dream Door website (viewed 21 November 2005).

This page notes: "Criteria: These artists were ranked for their Cultural and Musical Impacts, as well as their Influence on the rock world in general, and their Popularity... There is nothing 'Official' about these lists. They are compiled by the 'editor' using the stated criteria, and revised considering the competent suggestions of visitors to this website only."

1 Beatles Anglican/Catholic (John Lennon); Catholic (Paul McCartney); Catholic/Hindu (George Harrison); Transcendental Meditation, etc.

2 Elvis Presley Assemblies of God

3 James Brown Protestant

4 Rolling Stones Catholic (Mick Jagger); Charlie Watts (Jewish)

5 Bob Dylan Jewish; temporarily "born-agan Christian"

6 Chuck Berry Baptist (lapsed)

7 The Who

8 Led Zeppelin

9 Stevie Wonder

10 Jimi Hendrix

11 Ray Charles

12 The Beach Boys

13 Pink Floyd atheist (Nick Mason)

14 Aretha Franklin Baptist

15 Little Richard Seventh-day Adventist

16 Marvin Gaye

17 Bruce Springsteen Catholic

18 David Bowie Buddhist

19 Fats Domino

20 Black Sabbath Seventh-day Adventists

21 Queen mostly non-religious (Brian May); Zoroastrian (Freddie Mercury)

22 Buddy Holly Baptist (lapsed)

23 Bob Marley Rastafarian

24 Sam Cooke Baptist (lapsed)

25 Elton John

26 Neil Young

27 U2 Anglican and reportedly "born-again Christian" (Bono); "born-again Christian" (Adam Clayton); Catholic/"born-again Christian" (Larry Mullen Jr.)

28 The Doors Jewish (Robby Krieger); spiritual (Jim Morrison); spiritual (Ray Manzarek)

29 Run-DMC Christianity

30 Bo Diddley

31 Jerry Lee Lewis Assemblies of God (lapsed)

32 BB King

33 Sly & The Family Stone Jehovah's Witness (Larry Graham)

34 The Clash Jewish (Mick Jones)

35 Prince Seventh-day Adventist; Jehovah's Witness

36 The Grateful Dead Episcopalian/Catholic/Urantian (Jerry Garcia); Jewish (Mickey Hart)

37 The Velvet Underground Jewish (Lou Read)

38 Nirvana Catholic (Dave Grohl); Jewish (Pat Smear)

39 Michael Jackson Jehovah's Witness; Nation of Islam

40 The Supremes Baptist (Diana Ross)

41 The Temptations Baptist (David Ruffin)

42 Madonna Catholic; Kabbalah

43 Public Enemy

44 The Kinks Catholic (Ray and Dave Davies)

45 Otis Redding Baptist

46 The Everly Brothers

47 Van Halen Catholic (Alex and Eddie Van Halen); Jewish (David Lee Roth)

48 Elvis Costello Catholic

49 Simon & Garfunkel Jewish (Paul Simon); Jewish (Art Garfunkel)

50 Cream

51 Frank Zappa Catholic; Reichian

52 Roy Orbison Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell); Baptist

53 Eric Clapton

54 George Clinton & Parliament/Funkadelic

55 The Allman Brothers Band

56 Janis Joplin Church of Christ (Stone-Campbell)

57 The Ramones Jewish (Joey Ramone, Tommy Ramone)

58 Crosby, Stills, & Nash (& Young)

59 Fleetwood Mac Jewish (Peter Green)

60 AC/DC

61 The Byrds "born-again Christian" (Roger McGuinn)

62 Joni Mitchell

63 The Eagles

64 Smokey Robinson & The Miracles Christianity

65 R.E.M. Buddhist (Michael Stipe); atheist (Mike Mills, Peter Buck)

66 Creedence Clearwater Revival

67 Johnny Cash Baptist

68 Van Morrison atheist father; eclectic mother; nominal Anglican; Scientologist (lapsed)

69 Aerosmith Jewish (Joey Kramer); Steven Tyler (Catholic)

70 Curtis Mayfield & The Impressions

71 The Drifters

72 The Police

73 Metallica Buddhist (Kirk Hammett); "born-again Christian" (Dave Mustaine)

74 Pearl Jam atheist (Eddie Vedder)

75 Deep Purple

76 Bill Haley & His Comets lapsed Baptist (Bill Haley)

77 The Band Jewish (Robbie Robertson)

78 Santana Hinduism/Sri Chinmoy Fellowship (Carlos Santana)

79 Yes Jewish (Trevor Rabin and manager Brian Lane); Baptist (Rick Wakeman)

80 Jefferson Airplane Jewish (Spencer Dryden, Marty Balin, Jorma Kaukonen)

81 King Crimson

82 Al Green Baptist

83 The Isley Brothers Seventh-day Adventists

84 The Moody Blues Urantian

85 The Sex Pistols Catholic (Johnny Rotten)

86 N.W.A. Islam (MC Ren)

87 Talking Heads Quaker (David Byrne)

88 Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers Jewish (Stan Lynch, Howie Epstein)

89 Billy Joel Jewish Catholic atheist

90 The Bee Gees Vegan (Robin Gibb)

91 The Yardbirds

92 The Four Tops

93 Radiohead Vegan (Thom Yorke)

94 Patti Smith Buddhist

95 Guns 'N' Roses

96 Chicago

97 Rush Jewish (Geddy Lee); Objectivist (Neil Peart)

98 Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band

99 Rick Nelson

100 Earth, Wind, & Fire Christianity (Philip Bailey)


Friday, February 18, 2011



Sadly, there was no shortage of contenders in 2010 for the "Top 10 Anti-Semitic Slurs" list we put out at the Simon Wiesenthal Center each year. Taken together, the comments suggest that a bold new kind of anti-Semitism is emerging around the world.

Our list of offenders includes a journalist, government leaders, a historian, a banker and even a prominent Hollywood director, all of them regurgitating the same worn-out themes that have led to hatred and bloodshed through the ages. Who were they? Let's consider a few.

The journalist: "Jews should get the hell out of Palestine. They should go home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.... Congress, the White House, Hollywood and Wall Street are owned by Zionists." That was White House correspondent Helen Thomas speaking, a reporter who covered every U.S. president from JFK to Obama. And now she's advising Jews to return to countries that did everything in their power to wipe them out. She claimed the No. 1 spot on our 2010 list of infamy.

The government leader: "Jews had always been a problem in European countries. They had to be confined to ghettoes and periodically massacred.… Even after the massacre by the Nazis of Germany, they survived to continue to be a source of even greater problems for the world." Those are the words of former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad speaking at a conference, but they could just as well have appeared in the infamous Nazi-era Der Sturmer newspaper, whose tagline read, "Die Juden Sind Unser Unglueck" ("The Jews Are Our Misfortune").

Another government leader: "The Jews have no historical or religious ties to the Temple Mount or the Western Wall. There is no archeological evidence that the Temple Mount was built during the period of King Solomon." That was the deputy minister of information for the Palestinian Authority, Mutawakil Taha. Contrast this to what the Supreme Muslim Council said about the very same site in its 1924-53 official guide to Jerusalem: "Its sanctity [Dome of the Rock] dates from the earliest times. Its identity with the site of Solomon's Temple is beyond dispute."

The economist: "All Jews have a certain gene … that distinguishes them from others." That remark, reminiscent of the master-race thinking of Nazi Germany, comes from Thilo Sarrazin, an economist who once sat on the board of Germany's central bank.

The historian: "The [Nuremberg Trial] was the biggest legal farce in history … the legend about 6 million supposedly murdered Jews acquired a legal basis, even though the court did not have a single document signed by A. Hitler concerning the extermination of Jews." Historian Petras Stankeras, who worked for Lithuania's Interior Ministry, wrote those words in a column for a popular Lithuanian newsmagazine. The article sparked enough outrage that he resigned from his position. But the idea that the Holocaust is still being denied by some European officials is terrifying.

The Hollywood director: Greater attention has been focused on the Holocaust than on Russian suffering during World War II because of "the Jewish domination of the media." That's according to none other than Oliver Stone. He later apologized, but it's hard to take back a statement that went on to say: "There's a major lobby in the United States. They are hard workers. They stay on top of every comment; the most powerful lobby in Washington." And according to Stone, "Israel has [fouled] up United States foreign policy for years." His actual statement substituted another word for "fouled," but it's not publishable in a family newspaper.

In compiling this year's list, I was reminded of an old Yiddish joke about a Jew in 1938 who insisted on reading Nazi newspapers. A friend scolded him: "Aren't you ashamed of yourself — why don't you read a Jewish paper?" The Jew replied: "When I do, I get depressed — they talk about poverty, death, schools without heat. But when I read the Nazi publications, I'm uplifted. They say we control everything, all the banks, all the world economies."

I understand his sentiment. But as Albert Einstein said, "The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don't do anything about it."

When anti-Semitism moves from the back alleys into the D.C. press corps and Hollywood, it's time for all of us to take note.




Len Lesser -- "Seinfeld's"' cantankerous Uncle Leo -- has died.

As Lesser once told the Los Angeles Times about his character: "He's the kind of guy who is a total nuisance at times and the kind of guy you avoid. He's is very warm and outgoing and loud. He's a very expansive character, and that has an attraction to it I think.

"Many people have told me, 'Oh my God. My father is like you.' "

"Something comes up every day," Lesser said in a 1998 interview with The Times. "I just want to do stuff that interests me now. Suddenly, in my old age, I'm working and I'm known much more than I ever had been."

So it's no wonder the Internet is abuzz with remembrances and tributes to the actor, who died Wednesday in Burbank. To wit: the above YouTube video, which was actually posted in January, set to the song "Lido Shuffle" by Boz Scaggs.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


LAKELAND, Florida (AP)—Detroit Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera(notes) was arrested late Wednesday on suspicion of drunken driving in Florida, police said, the latest episode for the first baseman who has struggled with drinking-related problems.

The 27-year-old Cabrera was spotted by a deputy in a car with a smoking engine alongside a road in Fort Pierce. Inside the vehicle, Cabrera smelled of alcohol, had slurred speech and took a swig from a bottle of scotch in front of a deputy, according to the St. Lucie County Sheriff’s Office. He refused to cooperate and more deputies were called to the scene.

AP - Feb 17, 9:24 am EST 1 of 3 MLB Gallery The arrest occurred about 110 miles (175 kilimeters) southeast of Lakeland, where the Tigers hold spring training. Pitchers and catchers began workouts earlier this week, but position players like Cabrera don’t start until Saturday.

“It’s hard,” said second baseman Carlos Guillen(notes), who is in camp recovering from an injury. “He’s a really good friend. I know he was working hard in the winter to have a good season this year.”

According to the police report, Cabrera was wandering into the road with his hands up before he was handcuffed. He kept saying, “Do you know who I am? You don’t know anything about my problems,” and cursed at deputies who tried to get him into a patrol car.

One deputy struck Cabrera in the left thigh several times with his knee after Cabrera pushed into him, causing the ballplayer to fall into the patrol car. Cabrera refused to take a breath test, deputies said.

He was arrested on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and resisting an officer without violence. He posted $1,350 bond and was released from jail at 7:45 a.m. Thursday.

The news was slow to reach the Tigers’ spring training complex, but Guillen, who like Cabrera is from Venezuela, was shaken when he found out.

“I worry about him. He’s got a lot of talent,” Guillen said. “It’s tough for him, for us, for Venezuelans.”

Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski wasn’t immediately available for comment.

Cabrera is coming off perhaps his best season. He hit .328 with 38 home runs and 126 RBIs in 2010 and finished second to Josh Hamilton(notes) in the American League MVP vote.

In 2009, police said the All-Star first baseman got into a fight with his wife after a night of drinking, right before his team surrendered the American League Central Division title to the Twins.

Dombrowski had to pick up Cabrera at the station after that incident. No charges were filed.

During spring training last year, Cabrera said he was done drinking alcohol after he spent much of the offseason in counseling.

“You guys write in the paper ‘alcoholic,’ that’s not right,” he said last March before a spring training workout. “I don’t know how to explain, but it’s not an alcohol problem.”

Cabrera has a home in Boca Raton, about 75 miles (120 kilometers) south of Fort Pierce. There was no phone listing for him.


Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Hickory is lapping up the limelight after winning Best in Show at the 2011 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show tonight in New York City.

The 5-year-old female Scottish deerhound -- full name Gch. Foxcliffe Hickory Wind -- has been the number one Scottish deerhound for the last three years. But this was her first Best in Show appearance at Westminster.

After entering the ring at Madison Square Garden under a spotlight to rapturous applause, handler Angela Lloyd - a junior handler winner at Westminster in 1998 - led her to a swift and popular victory.

Judge Paolo Dondina, who paid tribute to all the seven finalists as "the best he could remember," did not take long to select Hickory as his choice for Best in Show. He watched their initial entrance lap and took a closer look at each dog before quickly deciding on Hickory.

"I think she was beautiful," he told reporters after the award. "This one feels perfect - very well balanced and beautiful. She did a marvelous job."

The victorious dog and handler drew the adulation of a large crowd as she basked in the victory. Some attendees paid as much as $155 to attend Best in Show, which was also broadcast live on the USA Network.

Lloyd, who has been living with Hickory at her home in Virginia, heaped praise on the deerhound. "She went in there tonight and showed like she's never shown before," said the 31-year-old handler. "She was solid and steady despite all the flashbulbs and cameras. She came right through it."

The Competition

The Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show is considered the most prestigious in the nation, with more than 2,500 dogs each year vying for the top title of Best in Show. It is the second-oldest continuous sporting event in the country, trailing the Kentucky Derby by a year.

Tuesday night's seven finalists had all emerged victorious from several tough rounds, which began Monday at 8 a.m. ET. They had each advanced from their Best of Breed heats and then each went on to win their respective group categories -- Terrier, Herding, Sporting, Non-sporting, Toy, Hound and Working.

The contest was a little tougher this year because Westminster introduced six new breeds that had been officially recognized by the American Kennel Club. In total, 2,597 dogs representing 179 breeds from 49 states, Washington, D.C., and Canada competed in this year's show.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011



maiden victory...

acorn stakes victory

mother goose stakes

coaching club american oaks

soroity stakes








famous scene with Kenneth Mars

Kenneth Mars, 75, a veteran actor whose most memorable performances were his two collaborations with director Mel Brooks in "The Producers" and "Young Frankenstein," died of pancreatic cancer Saturday at his home in Granada Hills.

During a career that spanned five decades, Mars appeared in more than 35 films, including "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid" (1969), "Desperate Characters" (1971), "What's Up, Doc?" (1972), and "Radio Days" (1987). He also had roles in scores of television shows, including "Love, American Style," "Fernwood Tonight, "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," "McMillan & Wife" and "Malcolm in the Middle."

In "The Producers" (1968), he played Franz Liebkind, a somewhat demented Nazi whose play, "Springtime for Hitler," attracts a couple of scheming Broadway producers played by Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel. One of his most quoted lines was, "Not many people know it, but the Fuhrer was a terrific dancer!"

In "Young Frankenstein," Mars again displayed a flair for Germanic characters in the role of Inspector Kemp, a monocled police chief with a hilariously malfunctioning prosthetic arm.

"[F]ew actors anywhere can portray daffy Germans as superbly as Kenneth Mars," Robert Alan Crick wrote in the 2009 book "Big Screen Comedies of Mel Brooks."

Mars was born April 4, 1935, in Chicago. A fine arts graduate of Northwestern University, he began acting in the early 1960s.

In his later years, he was a sought-after voice actor in children's cartoons and animated features. He voiced the part of Grandpa Longneck in "The Land Before Time" series and King Triton in the "The Little Mermaid."


IBM's Watson on Jeopardy: Round 1 ends in a tie

IBM's Watson landed a tie in the first round of Jeopardy's man-vs.-machine challenge Monday night.

Watson, IBM's supercomputer, and Brad Rutter each ended Day 1 with $5,000 in winnings, while Ken Jennings, the other human competitor, came out with $2,000.

Jennings -- who had previously won 74 consecutive Jeopardy matches -- defeated Watson in the practice match between the three players leading up to the three-round faceoff.

Round 2 is Tuesday night, and the final round airs Wednesday.

While Watson proved competitive, there were some missteps.

At one point during on Monday's episode, Watson gave a wrong answer, saying "What is 1920s,” after Jennings had just given the same incorrect response.

Host Alex Trebek responded with "No, Ken already said that."

Watson, named after IBM founder Thomas J. Watson, started off Monday's episode in dominating fashion with $5,200 on the board by the first commercial break, while Rutter accumulated $1,000 and Jennings rung up $200.

The first night was a huge learning experience for the engineers who've spent years working on building Watson for this very match, said Steve Canepa, IBM's general manager of global Media and the entertainment industry.

"I've seen a lot of the the videos we've put together about the making of Watson and things like that, but I hadn't actually seen it in action until tonight," Canepa said Monday after the first night of competition.

"When Watson repeated that answer, to the general public it was probably pretty funny. But Watson only takes his input from the question board so the fact that somebody else gave the same answer already doesn't factor to into Watson says. He can't hear what the other players are saying, but maybe that's a feature we can add in the future."

Offering the same response as Jennings also shows just how smart Watson is, he said.

"There is obviously some form of logic that was very similar to that of the human player tackling that problem, and that is fascinating to me," Canepa said. "The ability to sort through what is a couple hundred million pages of information in a very short amount of time, all the data that we create in blogs and tweets and articles and all of that unstructured text on the Internet -- to be able to find the relationship between words so quickly is what the point of all this is."

All the data stored in Watson is acquired from the Internet, as well as books and journals, though for competition, Watson is disconnected from the Web, he said.

IBM is looking to change the way computers, and people, search and learn using computers, Canepa said, and Watson is searching information as humans create it, not just by data put into rows and columns as has been done before.

"We'll see what happens over the next two nights, but I'm not overly focused on the win or loss myself," he said. "In Chess, as finite as it is, there's a finite number of moves. But in this there are an infinite number of questions that can be asked and with all the puns and ways there are to ask a question.

"I'm really focused on the many real-life situations for this ability to be able to dive into unstructured data and make sense of it. The kind of search we do on a search engine today is much more keyword oriented and this is way beyond that ... If we can search with intelligence, it could open up all sorts of new fields and possibilities."

round two,,watson bashes humans

At the end of last night the totals stood at $5,000 Watson and Brad Rutter, while Ken Jennings had $2,000.

Watson opened night two absolutely crushing his human competition, opening the scoring and not looking back for several straight minutes. Watson wagered some $6,000 and change in the first Daily Double—he got it!

The first few minutes were simply outstanding for those of us cheering for Watson. And how weird it was to see humans in the audience cheering on the A.I.

Our only hope is that Watson doesn’t rebel against his masters and cause a bit of havoc à la Shodan (not that I’m altogether opposed to a robot takeover, mind you).

The night ended with Watson at $35,734 Brad Rutter at $10,400, and Ken Jennings at $4,800 after an exciting round of final Jeopardy in which Watson, bizarrely, thought Toronto was a U.S. city.


Jeopardy!" has a new champion, and its name is Watson. During the Wednesday finale of the three-day "Jeopardy!" challenge that pitted all-stars Ken Jennings and Brad Rutter against an IBM-engineered supercomputer, the machine ultimately beat the men. Watson finished with $77,147, with Jennings coming in second with $24,000 and Brad Rutter last with $21,600.

The win is a publicity coup for IBM, which created Watson as part of its Great Mind Challenge series. The company hopes to sell Watson’s question-answering technology for use in hospitals and call center help desks. The last time IBM created a man-versus-machine challenge of this scale, it built Deep Blue, the chess-playing supercomputer that beat champ Garry Kasparov.

Watson had a huge advantage going into the final match, with a lead of more than $20,000 over Rutter, then in second place. Though it missed a Daily Double answer regarding "The Elements of Style," it showed its versatility later, buzzing in correctly on everything from "The Simpsons" to halter tops.

Watson also won Wednesday night’s Final Jeopardy round, offering the correct answer to a clue asking which author's most famous novel was inspired by William Wilkinson's "An Account of the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia." Watson, Jennings and Rutter all knew the answer was Bram Stoker.

Ken Jennings, ever a good sport, bowed to the new "Jeopardy!" champ. “I for one welcome our new computer overlords,” he wrote on his video screen, quoting an episode of “The Simpsons."

Sunday, February 13, 2011