Category: General

The Advocate: Tom Petty Assumed Gay by Violent Dad



Tom Petty admits that his father physically and verbally abused him because he assumed the singer was gay.

"[My father] was scary and violent," Petty said in the new issue of Rolling Stone,according to website Spinner. "He beat the living hell out of me, and there was constant verbal abuse."

Haven’t heard from Tom Petty in a while. Of course it would help if I listened to the radio.


More here.

Swine Flu Virus Found in Minnesota Fair Pig Sample


Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack today announced that USDA’s National Veterinary Services Laboratories (NVSL) has confirmed the presence of 2009 pandemic H1N1 influenza virus in a pig sample collected at the Minnesota State Fair submitted by the University of Minnesota. Additional samples are being tested.

"We have fully engaged our trading partners to remind them that several international organizations, including the World Organization for Animal Health, have advised that there is no scientific basis to restrict trade in pork and pork products," said Vilsack. "People cannot get this flu from eating pork or pork products. Pork is safe to eat."

I’m still eating pork. Enough said.

More here.

Charges Pending in ‘Balloon Boy’ Case; Research Assistant to Richard Heene Breaks Silence

Multiple media sources are reporting that charges are pending in the case of Richard and Mayumi Heene, whose son Falcon was the so-called ‘balloon boy’ who millions believed was aboard a helium balloon that reportedly had taken off with the boy inside.

From WTAE Pittsburgh:

A Colorado sheriff said he was pursuing criminal charges in the case of a 6-year-old boy who vanished into the rafters of his garage while the world thought he was zooming through the sky in a flying saucer-like helium balloon.

The boy’s parents, Richard and Mayumi Heene, met with Larimer County investigators for much of the afternoon, but Sheriff Jim Alderden didn’t say who would be charged or what the charges would be.

Alderden didn’t call Thursday’s hours-long drama a hoax, but he expressed disappointment that he couldn’t level more serious charges in the incident, which sent police and the military scrambling to save young Falcon Heene as millions of worried television viewers watched.

“We were looking at Class 3 misdemeanor, which hardly seems serious enough given the circumstances,” Alderden said. “We are talking to the district attorney, federal officials to see if perhaps there aren’t additional federal charges that are appropriate in this circumstance.”

He said deputies were seeking a search warrant for the family’s home, and there would be more information at a news conference Sunday.

Other media sources are essentially running the same article from the Associated Press.

And then there’s this “exclusive” from Gawker: Exclusive: I Helped Richard Heene Plan a Balloon Hoax. In the article, 25-year-old researcher Robert Thomas reveals to Gawker how earlier this year he and Richard Heene drew up a master plan to generate a massive media controversy using a weather balloon. From the article:

One night, when Richard and I were sitting and talking, he brought up Wife Swap, and specifically a confrontation he had with a woman on the show who claimed to be a psychic. They very much disliked one other. Richard said, “Well, think about it. We were the 100th episode of Wife Swap. And why are we the most recognized Wife Swap family and episode? It’s because of the controversy. I don’t care what people say about me as a person, but the fact of the matter is that they know who I am.”

And then we delved into the area of UFOs. I was reading a book on witness reports of Roswell at the time, just out of curiousity — I’ve never concluded whether it really took place or was an elaborate hoax. And Richard said, “how much do you want to bet we could facilitate some sort of a media stunt that would be equally profound as Roswell, and we could do so with nothing more than a weather balloon and some controversy?”

Read more here, or you can get a bullet-point summary of Robert Thomas’ accusations here.

Video: Michael Jackson’s ‘This Is It’

The album, Michael Jackson’s This Is It
, is a companion piece to the Michael Jackson’s This Is It Movie and features the music that inspired the film, demo recordings and two versions of the previously unreleased song, "This Is It".


David Letterman Admits Affairs with Female Staffers; Targeted by Alleged Extortionist

Here’s the scoop from the Chicago Tribune:

David Letterman acknowledged on Thursday’s show that he had sexual relationships with female employees and that someone tried to extort $2 million from him over the affairs.

During the taping of his CBS late-night show in New York, Letterman discussed receiving a threat to either pay $2 million or risk the relationships being made public.

In a release from the show’s production company, Letterman said he referred the matter to the Manhattan district attorney’s office and that an investigation ended in an arrest Thursday. Letterman did not identify the person he said was arrested.

As part of the investigation, Letterman said he issued a “phony” $2 million check to the individual and the arrest followed — along with testimony by Letterman.

This one really didn’t take me by surprise.  I really don’t have much to say.

It’s Thursday night, and I’m watching his opening monologue now.  He sounds fine.  I suspect we’ll hear more than we care to about all of this in the days and weeks ahead.

Where the Hell is Matt?

A new friend of mine showed this to me today. I never heard of Matt before today.

Apparently, over 24 million people already know who Matt is. Nice to meet you, Matt.

This is just too, too cool. And a wonderful moment of Zen.

A little bit about Matt:

Matt is a 32-year-old deadbeat from Connecticut who used to think that all he ever wanted to do in life was make and play videogames. Matt achieved this goal pretty early and enjoyed it for a while, but eventually realized there might be other stuff he was missing out on. In February of 2003, he quit his job in Brisbane, Australia and used the money he’d saved to wander around Asia until it ran out. He made this site so he could keep his family and friends updated about where he is.

A few months into his trip, a travel buddy gave Matt an idea. They were standing around taking pictures in Hanoi, and his friend said "Hey, why don’t you stand over there and do that dance. I’ll record it." He was referring to a particular dance Matt does. It’s actually the only dance Matt does. He does it badly. Anyway, this turned out to be a very good idea.

A couple years later, someone found the video online and passed it to someone else, who passed it to someone else, and so on. Now Matt is quasi-famous as "That guy who dances on the internet. No, not that guy. The other one. No, not him either. I’ll send you the link. It’s funny."

The response to the first video brought Matt to the attention of the nice people at Stride gum. They asked Matt if he’d be interested in taking another trip around the world to make a new video. Matt asked if they’d be paying for it. They said yes. Matt thought this sounded like another very good idea.

UPDATE: A huge tip of the hat to PENGUINSIX for the lyrics to Praan, the "Stream of Life" song. First, a transliteration of the original, which is sung in Bengali, from the composer’s blog, followed by a translation:

Praan Lyrics – Transliteration

Some people have asked for this. So here you go.

Bhulbona ar shohojete
Shei praan e mon uthbe mete
Mrittu majhe dhaka ache
je ontohin praan

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami
(Repeat 3X)

Shei jhor jeno shoi anonde
Chittobinar taare
Shotto-shundu dosh digonto
Nachao je jhonkare!

Bojre tomar baje bashi
She ki shohoj gaan
Shei shurete jagbo ami

Stream of Life
by Rabindranath Tagore

The same stream of life that runs through my veins night and day
runs through the world and dances in rhythmic measures.

It is the same life that shoots in joy through the dust of the earth
in numberless blades of grass
and breaks into tumultuous waves of leaves and flowers.

It is the same life that is rocked in the ocean-cradle of birth
and of death, in ebb and in flow.

I feel my limbs are made glorious by the touch of this world of life.
And my pride is from the life-throb of ages dancing in my blood this moment.

Want to dance with Matt? Go here for more:

Download the song Praan, by Garry Schyman, here.

Nancy Reagan to Son Ron Reagan: I’ll Miss Ted Kennedy

Ron Reagan interviewed his mom, Nancy Reagan, today on Air America Radio regarding the death of Senator Edward Kennedy. It was incredibly, incredibly moving. Ron’s show comes on every day at 5:00 p.m. in the Chicagoland area.

Asking his mother how her and her late husband’s friendship with Ted Kennedy started, Mrs. Reagan responded responded, “Nobody really knew it,” that their friendship was so close. “I think they couldn’t quite conceive of two people in two different parties, how could that become a friendship? Which it, of course, did.

“Yes,” her son Ron replied.

“I think it started when we first got to Washington and Teddy asked Dad, Daddy, if he could bring his mother to the Oval Office. And Daddy, of course, said, ‘Of course.’ Which he did.

“And then after that, he asked him to speak at the Kennedy Library, which he did. And from then on, they developed this friendship.”

“Both of them respected one another,” Mrs. Reagan continued. “It was a very good friendship. It’s what there should be more of today.You know, two different parties. Enough with all this other stuff.”

Ron commented that it would be unusual today, his father and Ted Kennedy, “polar opposites politically,” that a friendship like that could begin and endure for so long.

“But it shouldn’t be,” his mother replied. “It shouldn’t be thought of as unusual. That’s my point. It just shouldn’t. They were two men who respected each other — didn’t agree, politically — but that doesn’t make any difference. You can still respect one another. And they did.”

She continued, “Ted gave the best speech about Daddy that I have ever heard. I forgot what it was, but, oh, it was a good speech. So good.”

“I got to know him better over our association over stem cell [research], because we both worked very hard for that,” Mrs. Reagan went on. “There just was a great, great friendship and respect for one another.”

“I’ll miss him,” Mrs. Reagan said.

The interview is very moving, especially when the conversation turned to President Reagan’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease. A subsequent phone call Mrs. Reagan received on her birthday is also very moving.

“It was a good, solid friendship,” Mrs. Reagan said, “We need more of them today.”

Ron asks his mother if perhaps there was an “air of sympatico” between his father and Senator Kennedy because of the attempt on President Reagan’s life, and Mrs. Reagan says she “never thought about it like that. How smart you are!” she says to her son.

That was quite nice.

Mrs. Reagan also expressed her hope that health care reform would pass.

Listen to the whole interview here:

I have to say, this was one of the most touching interviews I’ve ever heard in my life. I had to pull the car over because my eyes were watering up. Gave me a whole new perspective on Mrs. Reagan, and I appreciate that.

Very moving. Very stirring.

Also, please visit the Ron Reagan show on the Web, and listen to Air America Radio.

11-year-old Adonis Bell Saves His Family

Adonis Bell saved the lives of his family early Wednesday morning when a fire broke out in his grandma’s Roselind two-flat.

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

At 3:30 a.m. Wednesday, the 11-year-old woke up when a fan started pushing heavy black smoke into the room where he slept.

He was the only one in his grandma’s Roseland two-flat to notice.

Barefoot in a tank top and jogging pants, Adonis went to the kitchen where he saw the ceiling on fire near his bedroom — billowing black smoke and orange flames that were gnawing a giant hole above the kitchen stove.

The boy remained calm.

“I knew what to do,” Adonis said. “A fireman came to our school.”

He ran to wake his mother, who told him to get his 2-year-old godsister, Jordan Hobbs, out of the house.

That’s what the fireman at school said, too. “Get myself and everybody out. He told us not to grab any stuff,” Adonis remembered. “Just get out.”

Firefighters tell us every second counts in a structure fire.  I saw a controlled demonstration of such a fire once in Park Forest.  The flames grew tall and hot very fast.

Quick thinking, Mr. Bell.  Kudos to you, sir.  You saved the lives of every member of your family in the house that night.

Mayor Daley, this young man deserves official recognition from your office.  He’s one of Chicago’s finest.

Read the rest of the story here.

Les Paul Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Tip of the hat to Rich Miller for posting this video on The Capitol Fax Blog.

Watch, listen, enjoy.

Park Forest Art Fair Goes With Skin This Year

Call it a sign of the times, but the Tall Grass Arts Association is sure to get your attention with this year’s advertisement for the Park Forest Art Fair:

That’s okay.  Just visit the Art Fair this year.

Click here for more on this year’s festivities.