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Updated: 1 hour 53 min ago

Showbiz Analysis with Jane Seymour

Wed, 11/19/2014 11:18 AM


Courtesy Crown Media Family Networks/Hallmark Channel Jane Seymour in "A Royal Christmas". (Courtesy Crown Media Family Networks/Hallmark Channel)

The stars in Hollywood often shine bright, but it is rare when one sparkles for decades. So I was thrilled to catch up with Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actress, producer, artist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Jane Seymour for my podcast Whine At 9 to discuss her non-stop career and role in the Hallmark Channel’s new holiday movie A Royal Christmas.

Hallmark Channel’s A Royal Christmas premieres Saturday, November 22nd at 8/7c.

From James Bond’s Live and Let Die (1973) and Wedding Crashers (2005) to the beloved series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993-1998), Jane Seymour seems to become a leading lady in every genre she graces. And this month, she’s getting the royal treatment in the Hallmark Channel’s Countdown to Christmas film, A Royal Christmas. Seymour is no stranger to playing it regal, but this time she’s a queen with a twist. “This queen was way over the top,” notes Seymour. “This was an O.T.T. Queen.” You see, Queen Isadora of Cordinia (a fictitious small sovereign state near Switzerland) isn’t thrilled with the fact that her son’s love life has detoured off course. Says Seymour, “She (Isadora) is holding onto the traditions of her country and holding onto them very tightly and hoping that her son will follow in his royal title as the next king. And of course she sends him off to America to get an education and he falls in love with a commoner–from Brooklyn no less–a tailor’s daughter.” Of course Queen Isadora, who had anticipated her son’s marriage to ex-girlfriend and duchess Natasha (played by Seymour’s real life daughter Katherine Flynn), isn’t quick to accept her son’s change of matrimonial plans.

Seymour was especially pleased with the fact that the film examined the relationships of its characters and the nuances of personality. Notes the actress, “I think what’s great about Hallmark movies, especially this movie, is you see the humanity.” Seymour may play a mean queen, but she channels the feeling of a parent who wants what she thinks is best for her child. Most parents have been there.

What was it like for the English actress to work with her American actress daughter on A Royal Christmas? “It was really fun playing with her, especially since we were not playing mother and daughter– and especially since she had to play with an English accent which was amusing for me,” chuckles Seymour.

Seymour agrees that her recent roles have been enjoyable. “I’ve been getting some fun parts that’s for sure….I get to do all kinds of different things. And I’m really having a lot of fun with my career right now.” She credits her happiness to doing the things she loves on and off set. From painting and writing to philanthropic endeavors, design work, and co-producing the new touching documentary Glenn Campbell: I’ll Be Me, Jane Seymour epitomizes the fact that your life can soar in many directions. Says Seymour, “I love working with Hallmark. I always get to have a lot of fun with great characters. And of course they were the host of Dr. Quinn (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) for a very long time too. I think it’s fun to change it up you know. You can do a Wedding Crashers and then you can do a Hallmark.” And so this season, Jane Seymour can be seen as the mean queen we can’t help but love.

Watch a video preview of Hallmark Channel’s A Royal Christmas here.

Listen to Nancy’s interview with Jane Seymour here, on iTunes, or Stitcher Radio.

Nancy Berk, Ph.D. is a clinical psychologist, author, comic and entertainment analyst. The host of the showbiz podcast Whine At 9, Nancy digs a little deeper as she chats with fascinating celebrities and industry insiders. Her book College Bound and Gagged: How to Help Your Kid Get into a Great College Without Losing Your Savings, Your Relationship, or Your Mind can be seen in the feature film Admission starring Tina Fey and Paul Rudd.

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Categories: Entertainment

Watch the Video: Prince William Joins the Fight Against Ebola

Wed, 11/19/2014 11:15 AM

The Duke of Cambridge has added his voice to those who are raising awareness about the ebola epidemic in West Africa, recording a 40-second video in which he states his support of the music video ‘Ebola is Real’, made by filmmakers Future View in Sierra Leone.

“It’s an educational piece that will keep you guys safe on how to treat and prevent the spread of ebola,” he says, adding that he believes healthcare workers in the area are doing a “tremendous job.”

“I want to congratulate them on the tackling and prevention of the disease, it’s a horrible disease and [they're] working in very difficult circumstances,” Prince William says of those fighting the disease.

He goes on ask people to “please listen to the healthcare workers. They know what they’re talking about.”

“Keep safe, the world is thinking of you,” he concludes.

‘Ebola is Real’ is a video that aims to educate people on how to stop transmission of the disease, which has killed more than 5,000 people according to the World Health Organisation’s figures, claiming most of its victims in West African countries.

Several weeks ago, Queen Elizabeth II showed her support for those working to prevent the disease’s spread, making a donation to the Disasters Emergency Committee to help tackle the ebola epidemic.


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Categories: Entertainment

The Daily Cute: 8 Great Birrrrrrrrrd Photos

Wed, 11/19/2014 11:06 AM

It’s cold out there, people. Well, for most of you people. And, as my Great Grandmother used to say (no, she didn’t, but I imagine she would have), “Cold weather is for the birds!” So, in the spirit of what my Great Grandmother might have said, launch the gallery and see eight photos of birds dealing with the cold and escaping from it.

Click here to see “Wake Up!” and check back every weekday for a new Daily Cute!








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Categories: Entertainment

Gail Simmons on Her Favorite Thanksgiving Dishes and Top Chef‘s New Wrinkle

Wed, 11/19/2014 9:10 AM

Want to know how much Gail Simmons wanted food to be her career? Even though she was a journalist writing about food at home in Toronto and Montreal, she decided that, when she moved to New York, she’d go to culinary school. That led her to working with the world’s leading chefs, along with everything she does today. ” It wasn’t just that culinary school came in handy, it was the foundation of my career,” she told me last week. “It allowed me to do everything that came after it, for sure.”

That “everything” is a lot. As influential as she is as the Special Projects Director of Food & Wine magazine, she’s probably more influential as one of the long-time judges on Bravo’s Top Chef. That job has spun her off into gigs on Top Chef Duels and Top Chef Masters, along with a co-hosting gig – along with Marcus Samuelsson and Max Silvestri – of The Feed on FYI.

On November 20, she joins her Feed co-hosts to turn Thanksgiving upside down in the FYI special Thanksgiving Unstuffed. During our conversation, she gave me her favorite Thanksgiving recipes, compared how the holiday is celebrated in the U.S. versus Canada, and talked about some new wrinkles on the venerable Top Chef, now in its 12th season.

Where did the genesis of the Thanksgiving special come from?
When we finished shooting the season there was so much good stuff in terms of cooking that we didn’t get to do that we wanted to do. I think we all agreed that we just wanted to be in the kitchen more. The network thought well wouldn’t it be fun to do some holiday specials that allowed us to do that. It’s the perfect jumping off point for a show like ours, which aims to show traditional things in a new light, give it a twist, a spin, look at trends and look at different ways around the country, around the world that people do different things. This was the perfect way to enhance that because it really was about us taking traditional Thanksgiving recipes and not only introducing our own family recipes but doing twists on classic Thanksgiving food that put Thanksgiving in a whole new light.

I was going to say is it also an interesting perspective because you’re from Canada and Marcus is from Sweden via Ethiopia.
I think it is. I mean Thanksgiving is one of those holidays that’s so perfectly American so it’s an adopted holiday for both me and Marcus. [Co-host] Max Silvestri was the only American in the kitchen. He’s not spending as much time cooking as we are. He brought a whole other side to the show. I think what it also showed him was when you’re American you sort of take for granted Thanksgiving in a way. You just assume well there’s always turkey and there’s always this and that. I think what was great about Marcus and I coming in and doing the special is we questioned everything and we changed it.

A lot of people don’t like changing Thanksgiving. It’s this one constant in the world that every year you gather with your family, you eat turkey and all the traditional things that your family eats or whatever your family may do. We questioned it and said well why do you need stuffing? Why does there have to be a traditional sweet potato dish? Why do you do it this way? We still think we really kept the spirit of Thanksgiving and the idea of the history of the holiday in mind, just gave it a little more of a global twist.

I’d also imagine it’s just a matter of comfort and family and all that kind of stuff and that’s why people expect that stuff.
Absolutely. We keep that. It still is for us too but we brought in our own culinary traditions from Sweden, from Ethiopia, from Canada, from our worlds that might be a little different than what most Americans are used to.

What’s a fundamental difference between Canadian Thanksgiving and American Thanksgiving?
Canadian Thanksgiving was sort of modeled after American Thanksgiving and is by no means the same size of a holiday. It’s not as wildly celebrated. It just doesn’t hold the same gravitas that it does in the states. In the states, Thanksgiving is the biggest holiday of the year, the biggest travel day of the year. No matter who you are it’s completely nondenominational, completely bipartisan. You spend time with your family, your friends, you cook a huge meal, and you watch football. It is ingrained in the fabric of this country from the first time it was celebrated with the pilgrims.

That history doesn’t exist in Canada. It is still very much in that same spirit of giving thanks and the harvest and thinking about the people who settled Canada but it doesn’t have that same story and that same weight. It’s a Monday first of all. When I was growing up at least we didn’t observe it in such a big way. It was more just like a long weekend. We got off school. Sometimes my mom made a turkey but we never traveled. We never brought our whole family together. We didn’t always even have Thanksgiving dinner. Parts of Canada are more observant about it than others. It was just not at all this huge culinary and familial holiday that universally everybody observed.

How old were you when you first moved down here?
I was 23 I believe. I moved down here for culinary school originally. In the long term because I wanted to write about food but I first moved here and did a year of culinary school and worked as a cook in restaurants and then went back to writing. I had been writing for a magazine and a newspaper in Canada and realized that food was what I wanted to write about. I thought I knew a lot about food but actually I didn’t so an editor convinced me to actually go learn to cook for a year and then I could write about it with a little bit of authority and so that’s what I did and I never went home.

When you first came down here were you surprised at how people celebrated Thanksgiving here?
It wasn’t like a surprise I would say but what was foreign was just the enormity of the holiday and the traditions and how devout and dedicated to Thanksgiving people here are, how strong the food aspect is which is something I never did so it was exciting. I would say hands down it’s my most favorite kind of adopted thing about living in America.

How are things between the three of you guys when you’re waiting for things to cook on the set?
We’re very close friends the three of us. The whole experience of making the show was just like hanging out with my two brothers.

Something I always wanted to ask also with Top Chef too, is it weird taping Thanksgiving specials in the summer?
A little bit but it’s very easy to get in the spirit and the food was so delicious and everybody was game. It’s just a bonus really. I got two Thanksgivings. I got three Thanksgivings this year actually because I got my FYI Thanksgiving, my Top Chef Thanksgiving, and then I’ll actually get the real Thanksgiving.

What have you found are the favorite things that you like to make on Thanksgiving for your family, for your friends?
So many things. I think I’m a little more open to experimenting on Thanksgiving and doing things differently as is Marcus. Unlike other holidays that I’ve been observing my whole life where I like to have it exactly as my mother did it and her mother before her and most Americans I feel like I feel traditional about it too in a great way. I love experimenting with my turkey. I do generally always make turkey but sometimes I’ll make an Asian turkey. As you saw on the show, I did Cornish hens just to do something different. I did them with an Asian glaze. I did them in this spicy sauce that had fish sauce, soy, ginger and chilies so that was something different. I made a bacon and mushroom bread pudding because I’ve never been a huge fan of stuffing. It just wasn’t something I ate because it wasn’t something that we made in our house and I didn’t grow up with it. When I came here and the first couple stuffings I had they weren’t that great so I worked on how to make something that’s in the same realm of stuffing but I thought was tastier and fun. I love making pies so I made the Tarte au sucre, which is very traditionally Canadian, French Canadian actually. It’s just a play on a pie. It’s not unlike making a pecan pie or a pumpkin pie, which I often do make apple pies.

The weird thing about stuffing by the way is I know people who won’t eat homemade stuffing but they’ll eat Stove Top.
Stouffers. Right. Sure. That’s part of the tradition because that’s the flavor that they traditionally knew. That’s how their parents did it and probably how their parent’s parents did it in the ‘50s. People have very, and I appreciate that, I’m actually fascinated by how people have very strong allegiances to traditional food on Thanksgiving because that’s the way that they were used to eating it.

What holidays do you make the stuff the way your mom made it?
That’s easy. Definitely Hanukkah. I’m very traditional because my mother’s brisket and my mother’s chicken soup and I make them that way. I have quite animated, heated discussions with my friends about the way to make a latke because I love the way my mother makes them. So many latkes that you get if you go to a deli in New York or if you go to a Jewish deli in New York or most places are these sort of dense hockey puck. That’s nothing like my latke. That’s for sure a holiday.

Because I’m Jewish definitely Passover is a very traditional meal in my family so I often do things the way that my mother and my grandmother did it. Then there’s just certain recipes handed down that I eat throughout the year that I would never change. You have to know your position with them and when it’s okay to experiment and when it’s okay to just do it exactly as it was meant to be.

Marcus talks a lot about that. I don’t know if it actually made it into the final cut of the special or not about how when he cooks with his wife. He actually talks about this in his newest book Off Duty that he will cook Ethiopian food but because he’s Ethiopian but wasn’t raised in Ethiopia he brings a very global perspective to it and he’ll add in Indian spices and he’ll add in his European and Swedish flavors from his childhood to it. His wife who is Ethiopian and raised in Ethiopia will look at him like he’s crazy like you just don’t do that. Why would you mess it up? This is how it is or fixed this way.

I feel like I always love that push and pull that people have in the kitchen and Thanksgiving is a perfect time when that comes out. For example, on the show I made my mashed potato soufflé. That came out of everyone throws mashed potatoes or mashed sweet potatoes and I wanted to do something a little bit more elegant, a little bit more fun. That was just kind of kicking it to a slightly different place without disturbing the balance that people love so much about mashed potatoes.

What do you think the producers of Top Chef are trying to do to kind of shake things up in its 12th season?
They do a lot actually. Every year we spend a lot of time making sure that it feels different, that it feels fresh. We were in New Orleans last season so going from New Orleans to New England is just about as far as you can go on the culinary map in this country. There’s so much great history in Boston of food with things like lobster rolls and baked beans and the tea party. I mean you could go on and on. There’s also great sports history and so we were able to do things at Fenway Park. This upcoming Thanksgiving episode we’re shooting at Plymouth Plantation where the very first Thanksgiving ever took place. Things like that really give a lot of color and make every episode and every challenge unique.

The other thing we’re doing is changing the game a little bit. This season we introduced sudden death quickfires. A couple seasons ago we introduced quickfires that all of a sudden were able to win you money and now we’ve introduced quickfires that do the opposite.You come into the kitchen in the morning and you could be packing your knives before the elimination challenge even begins.

Then of course changing the judge’s table is something that we always do.

I was going to ask you about that because because now you’ve got everybody in the room seeing the winners and the losers get their feedback. What was the thinking behind that?
There were two reasons that we did that. When they first told me about the idea I was very skeptical but I came to really like it. It started originally because over the last 12 seasons and Top Chef Masters, where we also have judge’s table, the comments we get from the chefs themselves is the top three people get feedback and the bottom three people get feedback but then there’s all those people in the middle and if you’re someone who’s just in the middle it’s almost worse. You don’t get anything. You have no idea how you did, where you stood, what we thought of it, if we loved it, if we hated it. They understand that they weren’t the best and they weren’t the worst but how do you learn and how do you progress when you’re sort of just in the dark in that black hole that we call the stew room for an hour or two maybe? Sometimes they’re in there for five hours waiting for us to deal with the top and bottom contestants.

We wanted a way to bring them into it so that they could understand our method of deduction, how we came to our decisions, why the person who won, won and why the person who lost is going home. We tried once putting a video in the stew room so they would see a little bit of judge’s table and see us talking but it was hard to do from an editing standpoint. We decided the best way to do it was to bring them out every episode. Have them hear it even if we’re not talking about them directly they will learn by hearing our feedback to the other chefs. Hearing just our general comments about the day, the challenge, the reasoning behind our decisions and it really allowed them to be a lot more invested in their work because now they’re not just shooting to be mediocre they want to strive to be part of that conversation. That was really helpful. It just allowed everyone to be much more involved in the show from start to finish.

Over the course of the season, did you see how that contributed to their improvement?
Absolutely. You see the chefs evolve for sure over the course of the season just in their cooking from the beginning to end. Once the strong chefs who make it through start getting the hang of the kitchen, understanding what we’re looking for but time and again they would come back to us and say I remember in judge’s table when you told so and so to do this. Well I was really remembering that person went home for it or that person was really criticized for it so now I can know not to do it.

Standing up in front of us is one thing but standing up in front a room of your peers listening to criticism or listening to praise is a very humbling experience and that was another layer to having them all out there. It’s hard to get critiqued face-to-face in front of someone but usually you can forget the cameras are there, you forget it’s going to air nationally. It can just be the top or the bottom three people and the four of us in the room and that’s all that exists but when you’re standing in front of your peers hearing this criticism you’re also much more apt to defend yourself, to search a little harder for the answers, for the reasoning and prove yourself a little more. We definitely saw that as well.

They fought a little more. They’re sort of working a little bit harder because when they got up there in front of 12 other people and had to defend the dishes that they made they didn’t want to sound stupid. They wanted to make sure they knew what they were talking about. They were really articulate in front of us as well.

Can you give me a big tease as to what we might be seeing?
Well I can tell you that the challenge we give them for Thanksgiving is not the hardest Thanksgiving challenge we’ve given them but possibly the hardest challenge I can remember. It’s a different challenge. It’s a completely unique challenge. It is not just make Thanksgiving dinner for us and a bunch of our friends. We really channel our location and sort of bring them back in time and it’s a pretty exciting challenge. We have them do things they have never done before, we have never done on the show before to pretty interesting results. It was a stressful, stressful day. My favorite episodes are the ones that take us out of traditional kitchen environments all together and get them outside cooking not in a kitchen, not in a restaurant kitchen, not in the Top Chef kitchen. This was just a really great example of how exciting it can be.

You have the FYI show, you got Top Chef, you got Top Chef Duels, you got Top Chef Masters. Anything else on the Gail Simmons calendar?
Christmas vacation? I had a baby this year as well so there’s a lot on my proverbial plate. I’m going to take a little vacation over Christmas. I’m working on a cookbook proposal that I hope will take shape very soon. As always, I work at Food and Wine magazine. That’s my home so I’m based there and I’m doing a number of projects with them for the New Year.

Well Gail I appreciate you taking the time and the special made me want to try all those recipes.
I’m so glad. They’re so delicious. I have to say I was so enchanted by them. The best reward for making the special was our whole crew afterwards saying these are exactly what we’re all going to make for Thanksgiving. Everyone changed their menu plan while we were making this special and decided that they were going to take our recipes and make them. They’re all really makeable. That’s the best part and all the recipes obviously will be available on FYI.TV.


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Categories: Entertainment

Carrie Ann Inaba’s DWTS Blog: Who Went Home?

Wed, 11/19/2014 7:40 AM

It is the end of an era. The era of Feel Good Tommy Chong has come to a sad ending. For those who watch the show to feel good, they will be missing Mr. Chong and his incredibly laid back, peaceful presence, as will I. However, the diehard dancing fans, the ones who want to see only the best dancers in it to win it, will be happy that next week, the final four will be Bethany, Sadie, Janel and Alfonso. Diehard fans are super-excited because this is going to be a close one. All four have the potential to win it this season!

In my mind, the best two dancers—the ones with the most polish and highest scores so far—are Janel Parrish and Alfonso Ribeiro. The two dark horses are Bethany Mota and Sadie Robertson. But this is an interesting year. Our social media presence has grown and people are voting and getting involved in our show in new ways. We have a broader audience now, a younger one to enhance our extremely steadfast family of viewers who have stayed with us all these years. (And I thank you for that!) We love our fans. They have become our family!

But the two dark horses have big fan bases that are younger and more social media savvy. This could make the finale interesting. In the past, we’ve had younger stars (Cody Lindley and Sabrina Bryant, for example) with incredible fan bases. Their dancing was worthy of making the finals, but their fans didn’t stick with them. This year, it feels like the fans are here! They are making their presence known. I see it in my twitter and Instagram feeds and on my Facebook and whosay pages. This is the face of the new generation of DWTS fans. Welcome!

I really wonder how this year is going to turn out. All four of the competitors have had great performances. All are capable of getting perfect scores, and all have gotten perfect scores. All four finalists have had high and low points throughout the season. It’s exciting to watch! I believe it’s anyone’s game.

Today, each judge goes into the studio to work one-on-one with the contestants. It’s a busy day so I don’t have a lot of time to write. I thought I’d go over what I think are the strengths and weaknesses of each finalist instead of recapping their performances.

Alfonso Ribeiro and Witney Carson
His secret weapon is the way he uses the audience and really gets the crowd going. He’s got polish and finesse. Witney has been creating incredible choreography this whole season for her partner. She’s a newer pro but that works to their advantage. She is not stuck to any ideas of what she should do. She’s excited and she has an incredible arsenal of styles of dance to pull from. We haven’t seen enough of her choreography to be sick of it, which could prove to be an incredible asset in their freestyle, if they get there. The only downfall for Alfonso is his injury. This is a serious back injury, and it’s obvious he is hurting. We have chosen the Jive for him to perform as his judge’s pick (this was before he got hurt) so I’m a bit concerned with whether he will be able to pull it off. Can he surprise us? Can he still wow us? That’s the question for him. I wish him a speedy recovery.

Bethany Mota and Derek Hough
Her secret weapon is her ever-growing confidence. Also, she has Derek as a partner. He is an incredible choreographer who knows exactly how to showcase his partner in the best light. But he does stress himself out sometimes. But she is a dynamic and exciting performer. Each time she performs, I see more depth from her. (Last night’s Samba was an exception.) It was not Derek’s best choreography but hey, it wasn’t bad! Let’s keep it in perspective. She has a great ear for the music and she really feels the music. I think she let’s herself get lost in the performance which is what is so exciting to watch. She’s got a style that is edgy, and she’s also able to perform the characterizations with so much charisma and charm. Her weakness is that sometimes you can see her pause to think. Every once in a while, she will come out of character or not finish a move. She is a teeny-tiny bit inconsistent. It’s to be expected of a person who has never danced before. But if she can find that focus, and stay focused intensely, she’s definitely got a great shot to win.

Sadie Robertson and Mark Ballas
Her secret weapon is her grace and her smile. She lights up a room with her smile and innocence when she dances. She’s like a beautiful ballerina on the dance floor. Because she has such long limbs her movements are much prettier than the other girls; everything is elongated beautifully. She’s precise in her movements and there’s a feeling that everyone wants to root for her since she is the youngest of the competitors. She’s got that “underdog” thing going for her. Mark is a fearless choreographer, but sometimes his choices give the judges room to dislike the set up or the prop. This can work for or against them as we head to the finals. When it works, it works oh so well, but there’s not a lot of room for error. I still feel that Sadie’s got another breakthrough in her. And if that happens in the finals, the Mirrorball could be hers!

Janel Parrish and Val Chmerkovskiy
Her secret weapon is her passion. When she dances, she throws herself into it completely. She is so versatile that it’s mind blowing. She’s a wonderful well-seasoned and well-rounded performer. What I love most is that she never plays it safe. She pushes herself to her edge every time. Her weakness is that she is very sensual as a performer. I love that in women and think it’s quite a powerful aspect of dance to embody sensuality, but some people are put off by it. Is dance not the “vertical expression of a horizontal desire”? OK, not all dances are sensual, but primal passion is an underlying energy in all forms of dance. I think that when people feel that she is relying too heavily on the sexy, it looks like she is not working as hard on the dance style. She’s naturally sexy. I don’t think people should penalize her for it. It’s a character trait, like Sadie’s innocence or Bethany’s intrigue. I think the way to win DWTS is for competitors to embrace who they are as a performer, bring out their best for the finals and show us something we’ve never seen before. They have to knock us out with something spectacular. This has been an incredible season and my expectations are very high for the finals.

I wish every finalist a great week of rehearsals. I wish them a lot of creativity, physical strength, a lot of rest and most importantly, good health as they head to the finals. Remember to have fun enjoy the journey. It has been my pleasure to watch each of you perform and grow on this incredible journey that is DWTS. Good luck!

Carrie’s fashion credits:
Dress: Parker
Shoes: Karrie Sandal by bebe
Jewelry: all courtesy of XIV Karats LTD


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Categories: Entertainment

Jadium – November 19

Wed, 11/19/2014 6:00 AM

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Categories: Entertainment

So, What Do You Think, Readers ?

Wed, 11/19/2014 5:00 AM

Anonymous in Marshfield, Massachusetts, writes:

I don’t know why, when, or who started answering questions with the word so, but now a lot of people have picked up on the usage. As far as I know, the word so is mainly used as an adverb. I’m not sure if this is the new “in thing” or what. Do I need to update my grammar?

Marilyn responds:

In a way, you do. It’s perfectly fine (if not perfectly grammatical) to use the word “so” to begin a sentence when written or spoken casually (or for a special effect). It’s also fine to start a sentence with the word “and” or “but.” The reason this usage has become so popular is that it helps break up lengthy sentences that can be difficult for readers and listeners to understand. I do this routinely myself to make my writing clear and comprehensible.

Also, if one adheres too strictly to rules of grammar when writing or speaking informally, one tends to sound bookish or pedantic. Consider the famous apocryphal quotation of a well-known orator, “Ending a sentence with a preposition is something up with which I will not put.” Ugh!

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Categories: Entertainment

Numbrix 9 – November 19

Wed, 11/19/2014 12:00 AM
Categories: Entertainment

Exclusive Clip of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope

Tue, 11/18/2014 8:05 AM

Nothing says the holidays to me like a song from Bing Crosby. From “White Christmas” to his duet of “Little Drummer Boy” with David Bowie, the legendary entertainer’s voice seems to usher in the holiday season once one of his festive songs hits the airways.

PBS will be premiering American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered on Tuesday, December 2 at 8p (DVD released on the same day) with an encore presentation on Friday, December 26 at 9p (check local listings). The season finale of American Masters explores the life and legend of Bing Crosby with never-before-seen footage and interviews. Narrated by Stanley Tucci, this new documentary shows the man behind the big-name persona that dominated the entertainment scene in the first half of the 20th century.

Nostalgia abounds as Crosby’s estate granted American Masters unprecedented access to the entertainer’s personal and professional archives, including never-before-seen home movies, recordings, photos and more. New interviews include singers Tony Bennett and Michael Feinstein, record producer Ken Barnes, biographer Gary Giddins, and writers Buz Kohan and Larry Grossman, who both share the story behind Crosby’s Christmas special duet with David Bowie.

An accompanying soundtrack, American Masters: Bing Crosby Rediscovered – The Soundtrack, features songs heard in the documentary, including 16 previously unreleased recordings (available November 24).

“I’ve never seen an entertainer more comfortable in his own skin, more certain of who he was,” says Emmy-winning director Robert Trachtenberg. “With the new material I’ve found, I think the breadth, depth and candor of his story will hopefully allow people to see him in a new light.”

Close to 40 years after his death, Crosby still remains the most recorded performer in history with nearly 400 hit singles – more than Elvis Presley or the Beatles.

“We naturally think of Bing at Christmastime, but with more No. 1 recordings than anyone, it is easy to overlook all of his other achievements. Thankfully, this film delves deeply into all of his remarkable work, and will surprise many viewers with a unique perspective on his private life,” says Michael Kantor, executive producer of American Masters.

Included is a great montage of the “Road to” movies with Crosby and Bob Hope where Bing always got the girl and the two friends were always feuding over something. Who remembers watching those films on a Saturday afternoon? My brother and I loved watching those movies (along with the Incredible Mr. Limpet).

Parade has an exclusive clip from the documentary of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope and how they came together and became the “it” couple of the 40s. Would their bromance mashup name be “Crope” or “Hosby” in this day and age?

Fun tidbits about Crosby include:

  • Bing was part owner of the MLB’s Pittsburgh Pirates
  • A fan of thoroughbred racing, Crosby was the founding partner of the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club at the Del Mar racetrack
  • An avid golfer, Crosby is a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame
  • Bing grew up in Spokane, Washington and attended Gonzaga University, where he coached the football team.

I can almost hear him crooning my favorite Christmas tunes now.


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Categories: Entertainment

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