The Lycos 50 Blog: News from the Pop Culture Fast Lane
Monday, 11 August 2008
Soul Sensation Isaac Hayes Passed Away
Academy-award winning musician, Isaac Hayes, was found dead at his home in Memphis, Tennessee on August 10. The 65-year-old funk-soul legend was found unresponsive on the floor in his home next to a treadmill that was still running by family members around 1:00 p.m., states Shelby country sheriff spokesman Steve Shular. "We don't believe there was any foul play," Shular said. "Based on the statements by family members that Mr. Hayes had been treated of late for a number of medical issues, we believe that led to his death today. There are no plans for an autopsy." Hayes was a talented singer, songwriters and composer. Hayes won an Oscar in 1972 for best original song for the theme from Shaft. He was renowned for his characteristic baritone voice and mastery of several instruments, including the saxophone and the piano. His guest star appearances included TV shows "The Rockford Files" and "Miami Vice." He also appeared in feature films such as "Escape from New York" and "Hustle & Flow." In 1997 he began voicing the role of chef in the animated Comedy Central cable ' series "South Park," but quit in 2006, apparently because of a conflict with Scientology, a religion he followed since the mid 1990s.
According to the Official Airline Guide (OAG), customers can expect reduced flight availability and seats in the upcoming year. In response to high oil prices and the global credit crisis, airlines are set to cut 59.7 million tickets available in comparison to October-December of 2007. Reduced availability will likely force up ticket prices, routes will be scrapped at 275 airports around the world and 3,500 fewer plans will be needed. America will be hit the worst with a reduction of 20 million seats, while Europe will loose 5.5 million seats. Steve Casley, the chief executive of the OAG, states, “The data speaks for itself. It took a good three years for the industry to recover from the downturn in 2001 when it had 5% drop in capacity and a 7% drop in flights. From our statistics, it looks quite possible that we may be facing a far more severe global downturn than we have experienced before. The industry's resilience will be pushed to its limits in the coming months.”
Extra! Hires Mario Lopez! Perez Hilton is reporting TV gossip show Extra is replacing hosts Dayna Devon and Mark McGrath with Mario Lopez. Veteran Devon will stay on as a special correspondent and backup host while McGrath departs from a three-year stint to return to his music career. His band Sugar Ray is currently recording a new album, which w ill be documented by Extra. The show will return for its 15th season next month.
The infamous meddling mother Sophia on the Golden Girls, Estelle Getty, died on the morning of July 22. The 84 year-old costarred on the Golden Girls from 1985 through 1992 as the opinionated Sophia and also appearing on four other TV series including The Golden Palace, Nurses, Empty Nest and Blossom. Getty was 47 when she got her first significant role in an off-Broadway musical called Torch Song Trilogy, playing Harvey Fierstein’s acidic mother. She was an active supporter of gay right and in fundraising for AIDS research. Getty retired in 2000 after revealing she suffered from Parkinson’s disease and only two years later announced she was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease.
Elizabeth Ann Kommes, 30, of Iron Mountain Michigan, was arrested and charged with drunk driving and bribery of a public official. According to onlookers, the woman left a Wisconsin Dells parking lot intoxicated, driving a red Pontiac Grand Am with Michigan license plates reading, “TROUBLE.” When Kommes was stopped by officers and given a sobriety test she allegedly offered the officer $10,000 plus sexual favors to let her go. This is Kommes fifth drunk driving offense on top of being on probation for possession of three pounds of marijuana, she faces up to six years in prison and $20,000 in fines.
A 48-year-old gas station owner flew a lawn chair rigged with helium-filled balloons more than 200 miles across the Oregon desert on July 5, landing safely in a field in Idaho. Ken Couch, from Cambridge, Idaho, covered 235 miles in nine hours after taking off in a green lawn chair rigged with a cluster of more than 150 giant party balloons. This was Couch's third balloon flight, he first realized it was possible after watching a TV show about the 1982 lawn chair flight over Los Angeles, done by Larry Walters who was fined $1,500 for violating air traffic rules. During Couch’s first attempt in 2006 he had to parachute out after too many balloons popped and last year he flew 193 miles, just short of his goal of crossing state lines, “I'm not stopping till I get out of state,” he said. Each balloon can carry 4 lbs, the chair alone was 400 lbs along with Couch and his parachute adding 200 more. “I'd go to 30,000 feet if I didn't shoot a balloon down periodically,” Couch said. To shoot the balloons down he carries a Red Ryder BB gun and a blow gun equipped with steel darts. He also had a handheld Global Positioning System with altimeter, a satellite phone and two GPS tracking devices.
eBay is feeling the heat! A French court ordered the online auctioneer to pay nearly 40 million euros (63 million US) in damages to Louis Vuitton on June 30 for selling fake products against copyright protection. The court ruled in favor of six of LVMH brands and four perfumes that were being sold, Christian Dior, Kenzo, Givenchy and Guerlain. eBay immediately announced it would lodge an appeal, rejecting the view that the court had upheld copyright law. The case, which started a year and a half ago, stated that eBay knowingly allowed the sales of counterfeit products on its site. The court also issued eBay a cease and desist order preventing it from running ads for the perfume and cosmetic brands. If they don't oblige, they'll face a fine of 50,000 euros per day (over $78K.)
The New York Post reports a musical adaptation of the Addams Family is due to hit Broadway with what is shaping up to be an all-star cast. The roles of Morticia and Gomez have been offered to Tony winners Bebe Neuwirth and Nathan Lane. The remake is being written by Adam Lippa, who wrote The Wild Party in 2000, along with Phelim McDermott and Julian Crouch, who created Shockheaded Peter, designing and directing. The $10 million dollar ordeal is scheduled to hit the stage in 2009.
Tomatoes have been on the do-not-eat list since the FDA told consumers to stay away from the tomatoes grown in Florida after a salmonella outbreak hit 16 states, sickened 145 people and killed a Texas man. Six new illnesses have been connected to the tainted toms in NYC. The New York Health Department claims seven people have been affected by the salmonella since the outbreak was reported earlier this month. The U.S. government counts 228 illnesses in 23 states and is urging consumers nationwide to avoid raw red plum, red roma or red round tomatoes unless they were grown in specific states or countries the FDA has approved. The source of the outbreak is still unclear, the FDA reports central and southern Florida are suspect, along with parts of Mexico.
Rumors of NBC’s The Officespin-off have been making their way around Hollywood, especially now that Aziz Ansari, of MTV’s sketch comedy Human Giant is the first hired cast member according to Variety. Producers Greg Daniels and Michael Schur are keeping a low profile on Ansari’s role, but the studio confirmed he did sign a one-year contract with Universal Media Studios as a part of his deal. Producers, keeping details under tight security, will not comment on any specifics of the show. Recently, Daniels and Schur have been spotted working diligently on plans for the new show, which is scheduled to premiere on Thursday nights at 9:30 P.M. immediately following The Office. “We're focusing on making the best show we can make as a companion to The Office,” said Schur. “We're trying to come up with the best concept and hire the funniest writers. In the next couple of weeks, we'll be making the final move to one specific idea.”