Carl Johnson @carljohnson ?active 2 months, 1 week ago
James Gandolfini, ’The Sopranos’ Star, Dead at 51
Terrible news for TV fans: James Gandolfini, who played mobster Tony Soprano on HBO’s seminal drama ”The Sopranos,” died suddenly today at the age of 51, Variety is reporting.
Gandolfini was traveling in Italy on vacation when he fell ill; various reports have him suffering a heart attack and a stroke. He is survived by his wife, Deborah Lin, and a son, Michael, from a previous marriage.
He won three Emmys and one Golden Globe for his performance as Tony Soprano on the HBO drama, a conflicted, sometimes villainous role that launched the current wave of TV antiheroes. ”The Sopranos” remains HBO’s highest-rated series ever, with 13.4 million viewers tuning in for the Season 4 premiere in 2002.
In addition to ”The Sopranos,” Gandolfini appeared in dozens of movies, including memorable supporting turns in ”True Romance,” ”Get Shorty,” and last year’s ”Zero Dark Thirty.”
By Dave Nemetz
JD wrote a new blog post: Jagged Edge 16 Year Anniversary Thursday At Vanquish June 20th 1 hour, 55 minutes ago · updated 47 minutes ago · View
Aston’s Vanquish super coupe goes roofless with a brand new Volante model that drops its top in 14 seconds and launches you from 0-62 in 4.1 seconds. The car is powered by a 6.0L V12 that produces 565 hp, 457 lb-ft of torque, and a top speed of 187 mph. The car also features Dynamic [...]
“Life is not measured by the breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.”
JD wrote a new blog post: Where Teens Go Instead of Facebook (and Why You Should Too) 2 hours, 14 minutes ago · View
Stop chasing the numbers…focus on your art- Jermaine Dupri Remember a few years back, when teenagers left MySpace in droves for this new thing called Facebook? Grown-ups soon followed suit (not that they were ever much on MySpace), and joined Facebook by the hundreds of millions – which made it far less cool for their [...]
Miranda Kerr has been appearing in the nude quite often… and we’re not complaining.
JD wrote a new blog post: Steve Jobs Ponders His Legacy In Never-Before-Seen Interview 2 hours, 37 minutes ago · View
I HAVE BEEN WONDERING FOR A WHILE, WHAT WOULD MAKE A MAN SO SMART,JUST ALLOW HIM SELF TO DIE,SEEING THIS GIVES ME ALIL INSITE http://youtu.be/zut2NLMVL_k Steve Jobs: Visionary Entrepreneur is a 60-minute documentary built around a 20-minute interview of Steve Jobs in 1994 that was conducted by the Silicon Valley Historical Association. Steve Jobs was asked to give advice [...]
VSCO Cam (Free) adds separate focus and exposure rings, and a white balance lock to give you expanded control over each of your shots. Powerful editing features, an array of filters, and purchasable presets add to that control. With an Instragram-like discovery feature, and an individual web presence available to display [...]
“My Life As A DJ” Providing an intimate glimpse into the lives of musical mixers, the “My Life As A DJ” episodes give viewers a look into the musical influences and environments that surround the lives of each of these creative professionals and tastemakers. Each episode involves interviews and captivating footage with DJs as they [...]
FBI offers $65,000 for info on 2008 Times Square bomber
The FBI and the New York City Police Department announced on Tuesday an award of up to $65,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of the suspect or suspects behind the unsolved 2008 bombing of the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square.
Additionally, the FBI released videos of the key suspect and a photo of the explosive device used in the bombing. In the footage the suspect appears to be working alone, but the FBI, in its press release announcing the reward, noted that “he or she may have had a lookout or surveillance team of as many as five other individuals in Times Square at the time of the attack.”
On March 6, 2008, the unknown individual placed a small bomb in front of the U.S. Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square. Security videos from the area show the bomber fleeing the scene on a bicycle, which was later recovered in a dumpster some seven blocks away near Madison Avenue and 38th Street.
“Someone, somewhere knows something about a bomber who’s still on the run,” said FBI Assistant Director in Charge George Venizelos in the release. “Today, we’re asking for the public’s assistance in finding those responsible and encouraging the public to look at these photos and video, which could be the key to breaking the case.”
According to the FBI, the suspect may be connected to two other bombings in New York City: one in front of the British Consulate in 2005 and another at the Mexican Consulate in 2007. With both bombings, the devices were delivered by an individual on a bicycle and detonated early in the morning.
The investigation is being conducted by the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force in Manhattan, which includes FBI agents, NYPD detectives, and members of other local, state and federal agencies. The FBI asks for anyone with information on the three bombings to call 212-384-1000.
By William Holt
8 hurt, some seriously, when car jumps curb in NYC
A car rocketing down an avenue in Manhattan’s dense East Village swerved out of control, plowed down a sidewalk and smashed through a storefront flower stand Wednesday morning, injuring eight people, witnesses and officials said.
At least one person was critically hurt in the crash, which happened at around 7 a.m., police said.
A New Yorker who saw the wreck unfold said he saw two vehicles racing down Second Avenue at a frightening speed.
”They were swerving around cars. When the white car swerved right, it lost control,” said Dr. Alvaro Alban.
The vehicle smashed through everything on the sidewalk. A fire hydrant landed down the block. A large tree and a street sign were down. A person on a bicycle was struck, along with three workers at a 24-hour grocery.
”Everything that was in the way, he took it out,” said bystander Rafael Fuentes.
The car crashed through the market’s flower stand, overturning an outdoor refrigerator case.
Another witness, Najava Stone, said people were hurt by flying debris. He said the car spun before landing in a crosswalk.
Flowers were strewn on the sidewalk and on the crumpled hood of the car. Its front end was obliterated.
Police were investigating whether the driver was impaired.
The other car never stopped, Alban said.
By KAREN MATTHEWS
Chinese supercomputer named as world’s fastest
A Chinese university has built the world’s fastest supercomputer, almost doubling the speed of the U.S. machine that previously claimed the top spot and underlining China’s rise as a science and technology powerhouse.
The semiannual TOP500 listing of the world’s fastest supercomputers released Monday says the Tianhe-2 developed by the National University of Defense Technology in central China’s Changsha city is capable of sustained computing of 33.86 petaflops per second. That’s the equivalent of 33,860 trillion calculations per second.
The Tianhe-2, which means Milky Way-2, knocks the U.S. Energy Department’s Titan machine off the No. 1 spot. It achieved 17.59 petaflops per second.
Supercomputers are used for complex work such as modeling weather systems, simulating nuclear explosions and designing jetliners.
It’s the second time a Chinese computer has been named the world’s fastest. In November 2010, the Tianhe-2’s predecessor, Tianhe-1A, had that honor before Japan’s K computer overtook it a few months later on the TOP500 list, a ranking curated by three computer scientists at universities in the U.S. and Germany.
The Tianhe-2 shows how China is leveraging rapid economic growth and sharp increases in research spending to join the United States, Europe and Japan in the global technology elite.
”Most of the features of the system were developed in China, and they are only using Intel for the main compute part,” TOP500 editor Jack Dongarra, who toured the Tianhe-2 facility in May, said in a news release. ”That is, the interconnect, operating system, front-end processors and software are mainly Chinese.”
World’s Tallest Coaster May Find Home in Vegas
The newest attraction on the Las Vegas Strip may not be a new hotel, casino or nightclub but a 650-foot roller coaster.
If a coaster of this size were to be built, it would be the world’s tallest. Currently, the tallest in the world is the 456-foot tall Kingda Ka at New Jersey’s Six Flags Great Adventure.
Florida-based U.S. Thrill Rides submitted an application in April to the Federal Aviation Administration for the so-called ”Polercoaster.” The application is classified as a ”work in progress.”
Polercoaster is designed to be two attractions in one: a roller coaster and an observation tower. The coaster, according to Michael Kitchen, president of U.S. Thrill Rides, would have a very small footprint.
That’s a necessity in a city as developed as Las Vegas. Most roller coasters take up several acres of land.
The Polercoaster, Kitchen said, ”loads from the bottom, takes patrons to breathtaking heights up the center of the tower and then descends down around the structure with multiple inversions, loops and direction changes.”
Federal law requires developers to give the FAA the opportunity to review any structure more than 200 feet tall to determine if it could pose a hazard to aircraft or navigation aids and, if so, whether the hazard could be mitigated. It’s up to the local government to decide whether to issue a building permit.
For those who’d prefer to skip the drops and loops, there’s the observation deck. The U.S. Thrill Rides website said the observation tower would be serviced by two glass elevators. ”This allows operators to use the two levels on top as an observation deck and retail-restaurant space, providing additional revenue,” the website reads.
According to a map filed with the FAA application, the site of the Polercoaster appears to be at or very near the Tropicana Las Vegas. Tropicana Chief Marketing Officer Fred Harmon would not comment specifically on the proposal. ”We have been approached by many companies, given the quality of our location. However, no commitments have been made,” he said.
Kitchen would not specifically comment on the location in the proposal. He did say, however, that ”Vegas is rebounding and is unarguably one of the best tourism markets in the world.”
By GENEVIEVE SHAW BROWN
Headhunter for the Rich Turns on Them
Wall Street’s masters of the universe have a new enemy: Adrian Barrie Smith.
Mr. Smith, a British recruiter who supplies butlers, maids and other domestic workers to some of the world’s wealthiest families, has turned on his former clients.
Over the last 18 months, Mr. Smith has filed lawsuits against the families of some of the most prominent names in finance, including Stephen A. Schwarzman, the chairman of the Blackstone Group; Carl C. Icahn, the activist investor; Leonard Blavatnik, the Russian investor who recently acquired Warner Music; Howard Lutnick, the chairman and chief executive of Cantor Fitzgerald; and George Soros’s former wife, Susan Soros Webber. To top it off, he filed a suit against Jerry Seinfeld and his wife, Jessica. Before that, he sued Ron Perelman, the billionaire investor, and the singer Mariah Carey.
This week, Mr. Smith is expected to be in court with a case against the wife of Kenneth A. Buckfire, co-founder of Miller Buckfire, the restructuring firm.
In virtually every instance, Mr. Smith has accused his clients of some form of breach of contract and has then trotted out a list of complaints about race and age discrimination. His targets see it as mudslinging, even extortion. Mr. Smith says he is simply trying to get the truth out about New York’s powerful.
“I could tell you stories that you simply would never believe,” Mr. Smith told me in a recent e-mail. “Who sits in the private planes and homes, dinner parties of the elite? The butlers, the nannies, the housekeepers.” He added, “And who do they e-mail, and tell all the gossip to? Me.”
When I first heard of Mr. Smith a little more than a year ago, I have to admit, I was intrigued. He promised the secrets of the city’s biggest names and stories worthy of a Park Avenue version of the TV show “Desperate Housewives.” He offered himself up as a Robin Hood crusading on behalf of the working class that serve the wealthiest.
But I came to believe that his intent could well be to tell fanciful stories in hopes of drawing media attention to extract settlement payments in his lawsuits.
In 2011, Mr. Smith was convicted of aggravated harassment of a potential client, Tania Higgins, the wife of a hedge fund manager. “I will have a really great laugh when I see your house crumble,” he said in a voice mail message to her that included profane language that can’t be printed here. “I will have my revenge.”
When it became clear that I intended to write about him, Mr. Smith sent a series of blistering e-mails threatening me with a lawsuit. “Bring your lawyer. You personally will be sued,” he said in one e-mail. “You are on notice! A jury made up of New Yorkers will judge you, plus all your colleagues, and the press worldwide,” he told me.
One of his early rambling e-mails said, “It would be nice if someone focused on the truth rather than merely just making me look foolish.” But he quickly moved to more threats: “Who are you taking money from? Who are you doing a favor for? Someone got to you today. Right?” His final e-mail on Monday said, among other things, “You throw dirt on me, and surely it’s my right to return the favor. Walk away. That’s my advice.”
In an interview last year with a colleague of mine, Mr. Smith admitted that he had a temper, and that “curse words were used” in some of his previous business dealings. But he defended himself against allegations that he was a bully who had harassed, or even blackmailed, his high-powered clientele.
“Do I look like a bully? Do you see any tattoos on me? I don’t even drink,” he said.
And yet his Twitter account is an unfiltered diatribe against his targets.
“Gail Golden Icahn is so lazy she cannot squeeze her own toothpaste, or switch on the TVs, cook, clean or drive a car. She hires someone!” he wrote.
Another, misspelling included, said: “Rupert Murdock apparently aided his friend Nelson Peltz to burn his house to the ground for insurance money. Tommy Mottola helped. Wow.”(Mr. Mottola’s former wife is Ms. Carey.)
In his case against the Seinfelds, he contended that the family’s butler rejected a qualified housekeeper because the butler said the Seinfelds would think “she is not cute enough and she’s a little fat.”
I mention these claims not to dignify them, but rather to illustrate the nature of his claims.
In my reporting, I discovered that Mr. Smith had outstanding lawsuits against media organizations including the News Corporation, the Daily Beast, and yes, even The New York Times. (Ms. Higgins’s case against him was mentioned in passing in an article about housekeepers in the New York section last year.) He also brought a case against The Daily Telegraph in Britain, contending that the paper used a photograph of Mr. Smith without his permission.
In a twist, after threatening to sue the musician Lou Reed in 2011 and getting into a heated argument with Mr. Reed’s manager, Mr. Smith had the manager arrested on charges of harassment. That case was dismissed, but a separate case was brought against Mr. Smith, who pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated harassment in the second degree.
In Ms. Icahn’s case, Mr. Smith was hired to find a housekeeper but was quickly fired after she discovered he was finding potential prospects on Craigslist, not from the pool of experienced housekeepers he said he had relationships with, according to people briefed on the case. The cases against the others seem equally thin.
When I called many of the subjects of his suits, virtually every one of them refused to speak about him or even provide a “no comment.” They all said that they feared his retribution, name calling and other backbiting.
Oddly enough, Mr. Smith’s litigious efforts appear to be working, at least outside of court. Mr. Schwarzman paid about $19,000 to settle his case, according to people briefed on it, hoping Mr. Smith would go away. Ms. Icahn offered him $1,500, which he rejected.
But the courts could be slowing Mr. Smith down. Last December, the city’s small-claims court barred Mr. Smith from bringing any new cases without receiving permission from the court in advance, citing 51 cases he has brought since 2006. The order said it was intended “to avoid the possibility of the use of the small-claims part for the purpose of harassment.” On Tuesday, Mr. Buckfire’s lawyers are planning to seek a permanent injunction stopping Mr. Smith’s lawsuit against their client.Mr. Smith now says he is writing a book. The title? “Filthy & Rich in New York City.”
By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
- Load More