Thursday, November 29, 2012

'Webster' star Alex Karras dead at 77

(CNN) -- Alex Karras, the burly defensive lineman turned actor in the ABC sitcom "Webster," died Wednesday surrounded by his family in their Los Angeles home following a hard-fought battle with kidney disease, heart disease, dementia and stomach cancer, according to a family spokesman.

He was 77.

"Alex was known to family and friends as a gentle, loving, generous man who loved gardening and preparing Greek and Italian feasts," his family said in a written statement.

The Gary, Indiana, native was an All-American at the University of Iowa who was thrust into professional football in 1958 with a first-round draft pick by the Detroit Lions, where he played until 1971.

It was in Detroit where he helped the team's defensive line become one of several through the years to bear the nickname "Fearsome Foursome," earning a reputation for his formidable presence on and off the line.

But in 1963, NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle suspended Karras and Green Bay Packers running back Paul Hornung for gambling on National Football League games, prompting the All-Pro tackle to try his hand at professional wrestling.

SI: Karras helped revolutionize the NFL in the 1960s

The following year, after he returned to the gridiron, Karras reportedly refused to take part in a pregame coin toss.

"I'm sorry, sir," he quipped to the official. "I'm not permitted to gamble."

But Hollywood was calling. And according to his family, he "had always dreamed of being an actor" and got a boost when Lucille Ball "took him under her wing and allowed him to train in small parts."

After various appearances on television shows, Karras landed breakout movie roles, including spots in "Porky's" and "Victor Victoria." He also played "Mongo" in the Mel Brooks 1974 satirical western "Blazing Saddles," slugging a horse and uttering the memorable phrase, "Mongo only pawn in game of life."

He later joined the long-running television show "Webster," where he played George Papadapolis, the guardian of the newly orphaned Webster, played by actor Emmanuel Lewis.

Karras also co-wrote autobiographies called "Even Big Guys Cry" and "Alex Karras by Alex Karras," and sat in the broadcast booth along with Howard Cosell and Frank Gifford during "Monday Night Football" broadcasts.

"While his legacy reached far beyond the gridiron, we always will fondly remember Alex as one of our own and also as one of the best to ever wear the Honolulu Blue and Silver," Lions President Tom Lewand said.

In April, Karras -- who had been battling dementia -- joined more than 3,000 other former NFL players who are suing the league for not better protecting them from head injuries.

The players, who say they suffer from a variety of debilitating and potentially life-threatening concussion-related injuries, got a high-profile boost when the former Lion joined their ranks.

His family said he also was a strong supporter of the environment.

"His love of nature and most especially of the ocean, where he spent many happy days on his fishing boat, led him to support numerous organizations committed to protecting our environment for future generations," his family said. "In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of the organizations Alex Karras ardently supported: Natural Resources Defense Council, Bioneers, Greenpeace Foundation or the Pesticide Action Network."

Memorial services are being planned and will be announced soon, his family said.

People we've lost in 2012: The lives they lived

(Courtesy :

Sunday, September 05, 2010

Craigslist drops adult service listings

After years of mounting public pressure, Craigslist appears to have surrendered a battle over sexual ads on its website that some viewed as a test case for the boundaries of online freedom.

The popular San Francisco classifieds site removed its controversial adult services section late Friday, defiantly replacing the link with the word "censored." The move followed a torrent of legal threats and negative media reports that highlighted ads within the category that promoted prostitution and child trafficking, or led to violence against women.

The harshest critics have called Craigslist an "online pimp" and the "Wal-Mart of online sex trafficking." Last year, an Illinois sheriff filed a lawsuit that accused the site's owners of knowingly promoting and facilitating prostitution, while the South Carolina Attorney General threatened criminal action against the company.

Late last month, attorneys general in 18 states demanded the removal of the site's adult category, saying the company wasn't doing enough to block ads for illicit services. Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, set up a House Judiciary Committee hearing for later this month to explore how sites like Craigslist are being used to "facilitate criminal activity."

Speier initially applauded the removal of the adult category in a statement on Saturday.

"Craigslist's decision demonstrates a commitment to seeing these horrific abuses end, and I commend them for taking this step," she said.

About a half hour later, however, her office issued a revised statement with a far different tone. "The site is down but not forgotten," the statement said. "We can't forget the victims, we can't rest easy. Child sex trafficking continues and lawmakers need to fight future machinations of Internet-driven sites that peddle children."

No explanation for move
Craigslist executives didn't immediately respond to inquires Saturday, so it was unclear why they made the decision at this point. For that matter, it's possible the company is attempting to make a point with the "censored" label and plans to flip the section back on.

In an interview with The Chronicle late last month, the company's chief executive, Jim Buckmaster, was steadfast in his stance that removing the adult section wouldn't address the underlying issue.

"Is moving advertising around our best hope for addressing these harms?" he said. "Then the ads fall under personals, and how long before the demand is that we shut down personals? And where do those ads go next? What other sections of our site would they like us to shut down?"

Some outside observers also questioned the wisdom of removing the adult services category, and the legal basis for compelling Craigslist to do so.

Web publishers are generally protected by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and Communications Decency Act from the illegal actions of third parties who use their sites, though there are narrow exceptions in the latter law when it comes to criminal statutes.

"The legal analysis hasn't changed," said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation. "Craigslist isn't legally culpable for these posts, but the public pressure has increased and Craigslist is a small company. My guess is that they may have just decided that the public pressure was too big."

Fear of chilling effect
The broader concern is that making publishers responsible for the behavior of their users, whether through new laws or legal threats, will force them to adopt more conservative standards over what's allowed on their sites. That could have a chilling effect on online expression, said Brian Carver, an attorney and assistant professor at the School of Information at UC Berkeley.

"If you impose liability on Craigslist, YouTube and Facebook for anything their users do, then they're not going to take chances," he said in an earlier interview. "It would likely result in the takedown of what might otherwise be perfectly legitimate free expression."

Zimmerman added that any migration of ads for illicit services to other parts of Craigslist, like the personals section, would potentially make them that much more difficult to monitor and catch.

The Associated Press reported Saturday that Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal, one of the attorneys general who pressed for the change, said he welcomed the removal of the adult section and was trying to verify Craigslist's official policy going forward.

Attempts at screening
Buckmaster said that Craigslist already does far more than other websites and many print publications to monitor and filter out ads for illegal services.

In late 2008, with the attorneys general from more than 40 states demanding changes, Craigslist began requiring posters to provide a working phone number, a small per-ad fee and credit card verification to encourage compliance with the site's guidelines. Since spring 2009, the company has manually screened the images and texts of every ad submitted to its adult section before it is published. Any that indicate the involvement of an underage person are reported to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, Buckmaster said.

But suggestive posts have still managed to slip through to the site, like massage ads featuring photos of women in their underwear, providing an opening for continued criticism.

Until the brouhaha over adult ads, Craigslist was mainly known as the small, quirky company that got the best of far bigger rivals by focusing on the needs of its users rather than profits. Buckmaster called the widespread suggestion that the company is profiteering from prostitution ads "galling," and used recent blog entries to hit back at certain critics and journalists in a tone that revealed palpable frustration.

The Rebecca Project for Human Rights of Washington, D.C., has been one of the most vocal critics of the adult services section, placing ads in major newspapers, including The Chronicle, calling for its removal.

Executive Director Malika Saada Saar said she was encouraged that the company listened, but then went on to echo Buckmaster's trepidation about what will happen next.

"I would hope that there is that commitment ... to implement a more comprehensive screening process," she said. "My fear is that the ads will migrate to the 'casual encounters' section and pimps and traffickers can sell children without even having to pay for that ad."


Teammates fixed every game

akistan Test opener Yasir Hameed has confirmed that his teammates fixed "almost every game" and claimed that he was dropped from the national team for two years because he did not go along with his corrupt colleagues. The British tabloid News of the World, which stirred international related stories

It also published several more details of the spot-fixing saga. The tabloid reported that Hameed provided a "devastating insight into the shady world of betting scams" and added that he refused bribes of up to 150,000 pounds from a corrupt bookmaker to throw matches.

Hameed claimed he lost his place in the team because of this refusal, while his corrupt colleagues reportedly splashed money on plush properties and expensive sports cars. He spoke to the tabloid in a Nottingham hotel, it said. "They've been caught.

Only the ones that get caught are branded crooks. They were doing it (fixing) in almost every match. God knows what they were up to. Scotland Yard was after them for ages. "It makes me angry because I'm playing my best and they are trying to lose. The guys that have got done have got themselves killed.

They're gone - forget about them," Hameed said about the trio of Salman Butt, Mohammad Amer and Mohammad Asif. Hameed reportedly said pacer Mohammad Asif who has played around 50 matches has built four mansions. "Where did they come from? He has just built a house in Italian style in Lahore.

You go there and you will think you are in Italy - that's how good his house is." "It's because of all these wrong things that I was outed, because I wouldn't get involved," the Pakistan opener said. "If you sat here and said, 'I'm a bookie and I want you to fix the match tomorrow' - I've met lots of people like that in the past and I refused. They offered me handsome money." "I could have come to see you in a Ferrari. They give you so much money that you can live out your dreams, buy a flash car. I've been offered huge amounts of money, up to 150,000 pounds," the cricketer said.


Friday, July 09, 2010

Anti Aging, Antioxidants From Oxis International

Not everyone has heard of antioxidants and how they benefit people with their anti aging effects.

It's summer and it’s time to hang out at the pool and beaches. There is no better way to beat the heat except for being soaked in cool water. But, it’s during summer we actually expose our sensitive skin to the sun's ultraviolet and damaging rays. Although sun-screen and sun-tan lotions help protect our skin, what we actually need are some anti-oxidants to relieve the stress and wrinkles.

It is not everybody who have heard about antioxidants and how they benefit people with their anti-aging effects. Some of us may have heard of Glutathione, Resveratrol and Vitamin E, but it is one potent antioxidant that is probably one of the most effective and which is called L-ergothioneine or simply ERGO. In addition to being an antioxidant, ERGO is an anti-aging product that reduces wrinkles. It also fights free radicals that harm the body, and conserves and maintains the level of other antioxidants such as Vitamin E, Vitamin C and Glutathione.

The best place to obtain these anti-oxidants is at Advancing Oxidative Stress Technology Oxis International, Inc., is the premiere provider for the potent antioxidant, Ergothioneine. Oxis International, Inc., is the premier provider of this product and they develop this product using natural and organic methods through their patented synthetic manufacturing process. Since 1966, Oxis International has been researching and developing ERGO products to share with the public.

The Oxis company is currently under penny stocks (OTCBB: OXIS) and with everyone raving for longevity, good health and organic products, this is the perfect time to invest in Oxis Inc.

You can also follow Oxis on Twitter or follow Oxis on facebook so as to be updated on latest news and developments.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Art - Is it for real or is it all hype?

Great art does not require hype to thrive.

It is the new artists who are served by such hype. What art requires is a concentrated critical culture. The more noise that art makes, the less it matters.

Artists must first have a vision and with it a plan on how to create that vision on a medium without sacrificing quality. If the artist can do that and produce that as their own work, then that can be classified as art. Of course, there is no compulsion that anyone has to like it, let alone buy it. They also don’t need any brand value or a reputation to give that art its value.

In short, it is just what it is. Actually, art is something that re-creates the soul and the inherent connection with the viewer.

It is the critics and the artists themselves who are responsible for the current hype associated with art. However, to be fair, a large part of this problem is because of the critics who consider themselves as the final say in any form of art. It is these self classified pontificators, who classify a rudimentary finished product into a masterpiece, thus giving the product a brand equity far more than it deserves. It is here where the marketing hype creeps in.

Personally I think that if you are innately driven to create something, re-create something from a different perspective, express yourself, regardless of the medium, the channel of expression (music, dance, painting, etc.), then whatever you create is art. Art and music only sell because someone has an opinion about it that is influenced by emotion, not because it inherently has value.

Some of Picasso’s original works on canvas are just oil on canvas and would be considered junk by someone who doesn’t appreciate art, but just materials. However when a hype was created, the sales of the painting obviously went up. So, the bottom line here is that a true artist is someone who does it because they’re driven to, only because they enjoy it, and for no other reason.

Hence, there is a very small line between what is classified as art and what can be classified as hype. The market is actually art minus all other aspects. The so called aspects that comes with art is what that can be classified as hype.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How To Reduce Unsecured Credit Card Debt

Credit cards are generally unsecured. In other words, an unsecured credit card provides the user to purchase goods / services up to a specific limit. The user also can pay back this amount within a mutually agreed time frame.

Research shows that a huge number of Americans own credit cards and some even carry more than one card. In fact, the entire financial horizon is filled with hundreds of credit card offers and hence choosing one is rather a difficult choice. Hence, it is recommended that the individual, prior to selecting any credit card, assesses the offers available and selects the one that really benefits them. It is also wise to remember that a credit card should be utilized with care as it gives you a huge amount of financial freedom and this makes it important that the individual has a certain level of self-discipline.

In the US, there is a heavy competition among credit card companies. As a result, this leads to many credit card companies coming up with several attractive offers to its consumers. Most of them offer a low rate of interest with some of them even offering a zero percent interest. However, such an interest rate would be viable only for a small period, say 3 to 6 months. As these credit cards are unsecured, their rate of interest is normally higher than a bank loan. On the other hand, its interest is far less compared to the normal credit card. Nevertheless, these low rates can bring substantial savings for the user.

There is also the option of those free unsecured credit cards. But searching for an unsecured credit card that is free is like searching for the proverbial needle in a haystack. However, there are a lot many fee free card offers out there and all you have to do is just search around. A lot many credit card companies charge an annual fee on their cards and try to justify this annual fee. Obviously, a card with annual fees comes with certain benefits. All you have to do is to evaluate whether you profit from these benefits prior to paying a fee. The benefits generally include frequent flyer miles and some cash back offers. Now unless you are a frequent flyer or an avid online shopper, these benefits are basically useless. Your best choice for a credit card with no fees is to select one with not many benefits or none at all. If you can do without the frequent flyer miles, discounts at merchant stores and online cash back rebates, then you can definitely find a large amount of free unsecured credit cards.

Summarizing, people incur unnecessary expenses on their credit card and end up in a crisis. It is therefore suggested that you either go in for a short term unsecured credit card or a low cost or a free unsecured credit card with no benefits.