David Letterman apologizes to wife, staffers on program
Oct13

David Letterman apologizes to wife, staffers on program

By Verne Gay Daniel Edward Rosen Newsday (MCT) NEW YORK − The wildest soap opera on TV − that one starring David Letterman − took another dramatic turn Monday night when the embattled host apologized to his staff and wife Regina before what was almost certainly the largest audience in “Late Show” history. “I’m terribly sorry that I put the staff in that position,” Letterman said. “Inadvertently, I just wasn’t thinking ahead.” A short while later, he said, “the other thing is my wife, Regina. She has been horribly hurt by my behavior, and when something happens like that, if you hurt a person and it’s your responsibility, you try to fix it. And at that point, there’s only two things that can happen: Either you’re going to make some progress and get it fixed, or you’re going to fall short and perhaps not get it fixed, so let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me.” Of his longtime staff – and many members have been with Letterman from his days at NBC’s “Late Night,” he said − they’ve “been wonderfully supportive to me, not just through this furor, but through all the years that we’ve been on television and especially all the years here at CBS, so, again, my thanks to the staff for, once again, putting up with something stupid I’ve gotten myself involved in.” Monday night wasn’t all mea culpa. As has been his wont in 30 years on the air, Letterman’s best material has frequently been Letterman, and so there were jokes, and plenty of them. Chilly outside, he asked the studio audience? Imagine how chilly it is at home. Badum. “Did your weekend just fly by?” “The lines that really got the laughs were when he started to talk about (Former Gov. Eliot) Spitzer, and then stopped,” said Wisconsin native Lilly Staff, who was in the audience, and who agreed with others interviewed after the late afternoon taping that Letterman handled it well. Meanwhile, Gerald Shargel − defense attorney for accused extortionist Robert “Joe”Halderman, who was released Friday on bail − spoke to all three morning shows Monday, offering a preview of what Letterman might expect if the case goes to trial. “Look at the fact that there was a $2 million check,” he told CBS’ “The Early Show.” “In the history of extortion, I don’t think there’s been a single case where the alleged extortionist took a check in payment. It just doesn’t make any sense.” He added, “When the case is tried and after the cross-examination of David Letterman and the full story comes out, I’m confident...

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Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”
Oct13

Disney Pixar goes “to infinity and beyond”

Woody, Buzz and Mr. Potato Head are back on the big screen in their third appearance in a special Toy Story double feature in 3-D. Generations past and present will be able to enjoy some of America’s most popular toys for a limited time in their promotion of the third installment of the series set to release June 18, 2010. The 3-D translation of the popular family movie is stunning, to say the least. No extra scenes were added to the movies in their third theatrical appearance, but the new, subtle 3-D effects give the whole story a little more flavor and doesn’t shove the new movie presentation down the audience’s throat. None of the effects are overdone, and the new polish on the visual scheme of the film gives viewers convincing eye-candy. The double feature shows the films back to back, which could be problematic for small children or those with short attention spans, but the spectacular reinvention of these classic family movies is all the reason one needs to stick around for the full three-hour presentation. For those that haven’t had the privilege of seeing the two animated movies, the story chronicles the adventures of toys that come to life when their owner isn’t around and the emotions that they encounter when they are replaced by newer toys or more “grownup” items. The movies boast a high-profile voice acting cast, including Tom Hanks as Woody, Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear, Joan Cusack as Jessie and will include Michael Keaton as Ken and Whoopi Goldberg in an unnamed role in Toy Story 3. The third movie in the series is set just before Andy, the toys’ owner, leaves for college. The toys are dumped into a day care center, which puts the toy-box bunch in the mouths, hands and pockets of drooling preschoolers. As Buzz says, “to infinity and beyond.” The original production was the first big-screen movie to be made by Disney Pixar and premiered more than a decade ago. The story of some of America’s favorite toys brought to life revolutionized the way that animated movies were made. Following the release of Toy Story, Disney Pixar released family favorites like The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, WALL-E and the recent critically acclaimed...

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Love Happens to those who least expect it
Sep29

Love Happens to those who least expect it

Love Happens is a romantic and heartfelt comedy. Burke Ryan, played by Aaron Ekhart, is a motivational speaker mourning the death of his wife three years previously. The stereotypical “lonely man in need of love” again knows what it’s like to be in love with someone and lose them, but doesn’t practice what he preaches — the proper way to grieve. Burke is the self-help author of A-Okay, a best-seller that makes him well-known to the American culture. He and his manager (Dan Folger, playing his normal funny role) make quite a team and are about to strike a deal with a multimedia company about expanding Burke’s fame into more than just a book. The duo holds a seminar in the Chicago area for helping people to ‘get over grief.’ The hotel where the convention is held is where Burke bumps into what could unveil a dark secret and change his life for the better — forever. Eloise, played by Jennifer Aniston, is a flower shop owner who is as eccentric as her company’s vintage ’60s Ford Falcon. She works on all the center pieces at the same hotel where the A-Okay seminar is held. After breaking up with a cheating rock star boyfriend, she purposefully blows off the approaching Burke by pretending she’s deaf. Eloise’s uncanny friend/ employee (Judy Greer) believes Aniston’s character could be the one to help Burke love again. Cowriter/director Brandon Camp (of Benji) nails the romantic and emotional theme of the movie, and counters it by adding a comedic twist with specific characters. Some are Martin Sheen, Burke’s father-in-law, and his daughter’s cockatoo. Together they make several hilarious and heartwarming appearances throughout the film. One occurs when Burke breaks into Sheen’s house and bird-naps the pet to set it free — his wife’s wish. The film’s soundtrack enhances each scene by capturing the emotions of the audience. The touching script of Love Happens will bring lots of laughter, along with tears, to audiences in theaters...

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From class to the big screen
Sep29

From class to the big screen

In the past few years, students have had more opportunities to participate in area film-making than ever before They have worked with both small and large film production crews in their efforts to further penetrate and positively influence the growing Texas film industry. Two university communication students have landed roles as extras in a Robert Rodriquez film, Machete, set to debut in 2010. The movie is about a renegade Mexican federali named Machete who is hired to assassinate a U.S. senator, but gets set up by the people who hired him. He survives the attempt on his life and Rodriquez offered his fans a peek at the movie in a mock trailer in Planet Terror, a part of the Grindhouse double feature including Death Proof released in 2007. Senior mass communication/journalism major Terrance McGee was asked to be an extra in the film after auditioning and being accepted for a Southwestern Airlines commercial. McGee had a time conflict between class and the commercial, but was called back a second time to ask if he was interested in being an extra in Machete. The film employs several big-name actors, including Robert De Niro, Jessica Alba, Steven Seagal, Cheech Marin, Lindsay Lohan, Michelle Rodriguez and Danny Trejo as Machete. McGee found himself beside some of the celebrities. He said, “Often times, the majority of the extras are subconsciously trying to get in scenes with a celebrity. I’ve been nothing but blessed in my role as a reporter, which ironically placed me in scenes alongside Jessica Alba and Robert De Niro. I just think that’s hilarious.” Junior biology major Cassy Olvera was also able to take part in the film. She said, “Being on set was really awesome. It was really cool to see how everything was made and how they make the movies look the way they do. I got the opportunity to work with Danny Trejo, who is the lead character, and Lindsay Lohan. My character was actually being a day labor worker, and we got to do some fight scenes.” This was the first role in a large production that either student has been able to take part in. “Well, first off, it’s a privilege to be on set with such top-notch celebrities. I am grateful for the opportunity to work alongside people with such reputable stance. I have learned how vital it is to be a team player and that no one movie is a success without the hard work ethics of every individual,” McGee said, “It is exciting to be on a set because, not only are you surrounded by popular actors or the production team, but...

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Students groove to an ’80s royal bash
Sep29

Students groove to an ’80s royal bash

Crusaders got to “kick off their Sunday shoes” with new President and first lady, Randy and Julie O’Rear at the ’80s Bash held in their honor. Students dressed in costume were welcomed at the door of the Mabee-Farris Gymnasium by senior Jeremy Williams. Sporting a shiny red raincoat material suit from head to toe and wearing a curly-haired mullet, he stamped everyone as they entered – the stamp bearing the image of O’Rear in coat and tie. Sophomore computer graphics design major Lauren McKenzie said, “When I first got to the dance, Jeremy was stamping people. I didn’t think anything of it until I looked down on my forearm, and it was a man’s face.” McKenzie said at first she thought the stamp resembled Elvis. “But I thought, ‘Wait a minute, the ’80s weren’t his decade’,” she said. “So I did a double take, and burst into laughter when I realized it was Dr. O’Rear.” Students welcomed the night’s special guests to the dance floor with “Endless Love” for their first dance. The first lady wore a bright pink dress and elbow-length gloves. President O’Rear wore a sequined purple coat and several inches of black hair,which he must have grown within a few hours of his inauguration. Underneath flashing lights, students danced to tunes such as “Foot Loose,” “Strangers” and “One Way or Another.” As an emcee for the event, Vice President of Student Life Byron Weathersbee sported a golden MC Hammer outfit that fellow faculty found for him to wear. “Two problems,” he said. “One is that only MC Hammer wore crazy clothes like that in the ’80s, and the other is I really looked more like Aladdin.” Assistant Director of Campus Activities Jeff Sutton served as the “master emcee.” Weathersebee said, “(He) is great up front and connects with people in amazing ways.” Student Body President Tommy Wilson took center stage sporting zebra pants and killer-cool sunglasses to officially dub the O’Rears as president and first lady on behalf of the students, saying with a Bawcomlike accent, “I dub thee forever.” Crusaders snapped pictures with friends posing with various posters of so-twenty-years-ago stars next to an inflatable pool full of Cheeto balls. At a nearby table, director of student organizations Kristy Brischke dished out assorted candies in rainbow colors. Students also got to take “prom pictures” in front of a sparkling backdrop – all photos are available on Facebook. Residence directors joined the show, too. As students formed a fashion show like line of free space on the dance floor, RDs were announced, moving to the catwalk wearing their retro getup. Students cheered them on as they...

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Simplicity of the Gospel: Finding Jesus in dead cat

The search for something profound often leads to silent disappointment, while the simplicity of life’s adventures can bring us to an unexpected point of reverence; so a 4-year-old boy I babysit showed me. As we went on our usual walk—pretending to be Woody and Jessie from Toy Story—we talked about fighting bad guys and finding Buzz Lightyear, and all the other random things that go through a young boy’s adventurous mind. But as we looked down the road, a giant white monster truck—or maybe it was just a Chevy Silverado— zoomed past leaving behind a squirming baby cat half run-over. After I instructed the young boy to stay on the sidewalk, I ran into the road and picked up the baby kitty before another car could hit it. It was horrific. The kitten’s eye was literally hanging by a thread, and blood was gushing down my arm. The cat was spastically jolting from a few functioning nerves. I laid it behind a rock so the child couldn’t see death overtake the small, helpless animal. I’m not going to lie. Though I’m 21 years old and the cat wasn’t even mine, I had to hold back tears. I couldn’t believe it. A half amputated cat just died, and I watched every moment of it. I don’t even like cats. But it was hard for me to see something happen to such an innocent creature. Of course, the little boy wanted to see the cat, so I led him over there to cease his curiosity. We had a mock funeral, which included some condolences and, of course, a prayer. Then we headed toward the creek to play in the water. “The cat died,” he kept repeating until we reached our final destination. “This is real sad. There’s blood on your hands.” He kept staring at the blood on my hands. After I rinsed my arms in the water, he looked at me and smiled. “Now we can be happy,” he exclaimed. “There’s no more blood on you, and the cat is with God.” Then he asked me a simple question that really made me think. “Did the cat die because he wasn’t supposed to be playing in the road?” “Yes, the cat did die because he was in the road,” I said. “And the road is dangerous. That’s why we can’t walk in the road.” He looked at me, content with the answer. “The cat died, and it was sad. And there was blood. But now there’s no blood so we can be happy because we know we cannot play in the road,” he said. I almost envied this young child’s...

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