Saturday, November 24, 2012

Larry Hagman of 'Dallas' fame, dies

Larry Hagman, who created one of American television's most supreme villains in the conniving, amoral oilman J.R. Ewing of "Dallas," died on Friday, the Dallas Morning News reported. He was 81.

Hagman died at a Dallas hospital of complications from his battle with throat cancer, the newspaper said, quoting a statement from his family. He had suffered from liver cancer and cirrhosis of the liver in the 1990s after decades of drinking.

Hagman's mother was stage and movie star Mary Martin and he became a star himself in 1965 on "I Dream of Jeannie," a popular television sitcom in which he played Major Anthony Nelson, an astronaut who discovers a beautiful genie in a bottle.

"Dallas," which made its premiere on the CBS network in 1978, made Hagman a superstar. The show quickly became one of the network's top-rated programs, built an international following and inspired a spin-off, imitators and a revival in 2012.

"Dallas" was the night-time soap-opera story of a Texas family, fabulously wealthy from oil and cattle, and its plot brimmed with back-stabbing, double-dealing, family feuds, violence, adultery and other bad behavior.

In the middle of it all stood Hagman's black-hearted J.R. Ewing - grinning wickedly in a broad cowboy hat and boots, plotting how to cheat his business competitors and cheat on his wife. He was the villain TV viewers loved to despise during the show's 356-episode run from 1978 to 1991.

"I really can't remember half of the people I've slept with, stabbed in the back or driven to suicide," Hagman said of his character in Time magazine.

In his autobiography, "Hello Darlin': Tall (and Absolutely True) Tales About My Life," Hagman wrote that J.R. originally was not to be the focus of "Dallas" but that changed when he began ad-libbing on the set to make his character more outrageous and compelling.


To conclude its second season, the "Dallas" producers put together one of U.S. television's most memorable episodes in which Ewing was shot by an unseen assailant. That gave fans months to fret over whether J.R. would survive and who had pulled the trigger. In the show's opening the following season, it was revealed that J.R.'s sister-in-law, Kristin, with whom he had been having an affair, was behind the gun.

Hagman said an international publisher offered him $250,000 to reveal who had shot J.R. and he considered giving the wrong information and taking the money, but in the end, "I decided not to be so like J.R. in real life."

The popularity of "Dallas" made Hagman one of the best-paid actors in television and earned him a fortune that even a Ewing would have coveted. He lost some of it, however, in bad oil investments before turning to real estate.

"I have an apartment in New York, a ranch in Santa Fe, a castle in Ojai outside of L.A., a beach house in Malibu and thinking of buying a place in Santa Monica," Hagman said in a Chicago Tribune interview.

An updated "Dallas" series began in June 2012 on the TNT network with Hagman reprising his J.R. role with original cast members Linda Gray, who played J.R.'s long-suffering wife, Sue Ellen, and Patrick Duffy, who was his brother Bobby. The show was to focus on the sons of J.R. and Bobby.
Hagman had a wide eccentric streak. When he first met actress Lauren Bacall, he licked her arm because he had been told she did not like to be touched and he was known for leading parades on the Malibu beach and showing up at a grocery store in a gorilla suit. Above his Malibu home flew a flag with the credo "Vita Celebratio Est (Life Is a Celebration)" and he lived hard for many years.
In 1967, rock musician David Crosby turned him on to LSD, which Hagman said took away his fear of death, and Jack Nicholson introduced him to marijuana because Nicholson thought he was drinking too much.

Hagman had started drinking as a teenager and said he did not stop until the moment in 1992 when his doctor told him he had cirrhosis of the liver and could die within six months. Hagman wrote that for the past 15 years he had been drinking about four bottles of champagne a day, including while on the "Dallas" set.


In July 1995, he was diagnosed with liver cancer, which led him to quit smoking, and a month later he underwent a liver transplant.

After giving up his vices, Hagman said he did not lose his zest for life.

"It's the same old Larry Hagman," he told a reporter. "He's just a littler sober-er."

Hagman was born on September 21, 1931, in Weatherford, Texas, and his father was a lawyer who dealt with the Texas oil barons Hagman would later come to portray. He was still a boy when his parents divorced and he went to Los Angeles with Martin, who would become a Broadway and Hollywood musical star.

Hagman eventually landed in New York to pursue acting, making his stage debut there in "The Taming of the Shrew." In New York, he married Maj Axelsson in 1954 while they were in a production of "South Pacific. The marriage produced two children, Heidi and Preston.

Hagman served in the Air Force, spending five years in Europe as the director of USO shows, and on his return to New York he took a starring role in the daytime soap "The Edge of Night." His breakthrough came in 1965 when he landed the "I Dream of Jeannie" role opposite Barbara Eden.

In his later years, Hagman became an advocate for organ transplants and an anti-smoking campaigner. He also was devoted to solar energy, telling the New York Times he had a $750,000 solar panel system at his Ojai estate, and made a commercial in which he portrayed a J.R. Ewing who had forsaken oil for solar power. He was a longtime member of the Peace and Freedom Party, a minor leftist organization in California.

Hagman told the Times that after death he wanted his remains to be "spread over a field and have marijuana and wheat planted and harvest it in a couple of years and then have a big marijuana cake, enough for 200 to 300 people. People would eat a little of Larry."

(Writing by Bill Trott in Washington; Additional reporting by Alex Dobuszinkis in Los Angeles; Editing by Peter Cooney)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Phew! What a relief

My birthday falls on December 23 and when I read the following news report by AFP, I couldn't help but heaved a sigh of relief, .... heh heh heh.   The world is coming to an end?  Nah, not in another 1 million years and we would have been reincarnated a few thousand times to walk on this planet earth over and over again.

Relax doomsayers, the Maya people did not really mark their calendar for the end of the world on December 21, 2012.
As tourists book hotel rooms in Mexico's Maya Riviera and Guatemalan resorts ahead of next month's fateful date, experts are busy debunking the doomsday myth.

The apocalyptic prophecy that has inspired authors and filmmakers never appears in the tall T-shaped stone calendar that was carved by the Maya around the year 669 in southeastern Mexico.

In reality, the stone recounts the life and battles of a ruler from that era, experts say. Plus, the last date on the calendar is actually December 23, 2012, not the 21st, and it merely marks the end of a cycle.

So no need to build giant arks, because the terrible floods, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions depicted in the Hollywood blockbuster "2012" were not prophesied by the Mayas.

"The Mayas had a cyclical idea of time. They were not preoccupied with the end of the world," Mexican archeologist Jose Romero told AFP.

The stone, known as Monument 6, was located in El Tortuguero, an archeological site that was discovered in 1915.

Broken in six pieces, the different fragments are exhibited in US and Mexican museums, including Tabasco's Carlos Pellicer Camara Anthropology Museum and New York's Metropolitan Museum.

The first study on the stone was published by a German researcher in 1978. Since then, various archeologists have examined its significance and agree that it refers to the December 23 date.

"The last inscription refers to December 23, 2012, but the central theme of Monument 6 is not the date, it's not the prophecies or the end of the world. It's the story of (then-ruler) Bahlam Ajaw," Romero said.

The final date represents the end of a cycle in the Mayan long count calendar that began in the year 3114 before Christ. It is the completion of 13 baak t'uunes, a unit of time equivalent to 144,000 days.

"It is not the end of the Mayan long count calendar, which is endless. It's the beginning of a new cycle, that's all," said Mexican historian Erick Velasquez.

Though the Maya made prophecies, they looked at events in the near future and were related to day-to-day concerns like rain, droughts, or harvests.

The belief that the calendar foresees the end of the world comes from Judeo-Christian interpretations, the experts said.

Velasquez warned against giving too much weight to Monument 6, noting that it is just one of more than 5,000 stones from the Mayan culture that have been studied.

The Earth still has a few years left, even in eyes of the ancient Maya: Some stones refer to the year 7000.


Tuesday, November 20, 2012

There is one thing you can do, Hishamuddin

Then we will tell you right in the face ....

The latest on the Virgin Mary apparition

‘Virgin Mary’ window removed and given to Catholic Church
UPDATED @ 02:33:17 PM 20-11-2012
File photo of the purported image of the Virgin Mary seen on the window pane of the Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya.
KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 20 — The window pane with a purported image of the Virgin Mary was today removed from a hospital in Subang Jaya and handed over to the Catholic Church, as was previously agreed.

“Sime Darby Medical Centre Subang Jaya (SDMC SJ) has removed and handed over two window panes from the North Tower of the hospital complex to the Catholic Church.
“One of the panes has on it marks that some claim resemble artistic depictions of Mary, the Mother of Jesus,” the Sime Darby Group said in a statement today.
Last Tuesday, the hospital had agreed to give to the Catholic Church several glass window panes from its building that has been drawing devout Catholics and curious visitors after word of the apparition’s appearance spread.
It was also said that the glass panel will be moved to the Marian Church of Our Lady Lourdes in Klang.
“The removal of the window panes was carried out by professionals with due care, safety and caution exercised throughout the process, which started at 10am and ended without incident at 11.35am,” Sime Darby Group said.
According to the company, leaders and parishioners of the Subang Jaya Catholic church were present at the hospital during the removal of the panes.
A hospital official confirmed that the glass panels have already been safely delivered to the Marian Church of Our Lady Lourdes in Klang.
“Yes, they have already opened it and displayed it,” the official told The Malaysian Insider, saying that the panels were delivered around noon today.
In the same statement by the Sime Darby Group, the hospital thanked its patients and staff for their “patience”, as well as the Catholic Church and enforcement authorities for their “support and kind understanding”.
“SDMC SJ would like to thank its patients and their families, residents in the vicinity of the hospital and all its staff for their patience over the last two weeks.
“SDMC SJ would also like to thank the Church, the Royal Malaysian Police, Rela officers and the public for their support and kind understanding during this period,” it said.
The image had last week continued to attract a crowd to the hospital eager to catch a glimpse of the image before it was moved, with many of them praying and singing hymns as well as lighting candles.
The image, said to be that of the Virgin Mary whom Catholics revere as the Mother of God, was reported to have first been spotted two weeks ago and has been captured on camera and reproduced on social media including Facebook where it went viral.
This is believed to be the first reported sighting of an image of the Virgin Mary in Malaysia. The phenomenon has been reported elsewhere around the world.
Some witnesses have also said they could make out a second image forming on another glass pane below the vertical row housing the apparition of Mary.
According to them, the second image resembled Jesus Christ on the crucifix.
The Catholic Church said it will withhold comment until the image has been tested and verified by theologians and church authorities, a process that will take time.
[Source: The MI]

Monday, November 19, 2012

Monday Humour

1. Wife & Husband
Wife: How have you managed to get home so early today???
Husband: My boss lost temper with me and shouted.....
"Go to Hell". So I came home.

2. Black Guy & a White Girl
A Black Guy and a White Girl met at a nightclub. She took him to
her apartment and said..... Tie me to the bed and do what black
men do best!!!
So he ran off with the TV and BlueRay player.

3. Wife & Husband
Wife: I wish I were a newspaper so you can hold me every morning!!!
Husband: I wish you're a newspaper TOO, my dear, so I can have a
NEW ONE every morning!!!

4. Something Wrong
A Chinese Couple got married. When their baby was born, she had big,
blue eyes, curly, blonde hair and brown skin. They named her... SAM

5. Wedding Nights
Man to Wife on wedding night: Are you sure I'm the first man you are
sleeping with???
Wife to Man: Of course Honey, I stayed awake with all the others!!!

6. Not at all
A 70 years old Man asks his wife: Do you feel sad when you see me
running behind young girls???
Wife replied: No, not at all. Even dogs chase cars let alone nice cars but
they can't drive it.

7. Don't Disgrace your Family - A young Chinese Girl going on her 1st Date.

Her mother warned her: First he kisses your cheek; then he'll kiss your
breasts, you'll enjoy; then he wants to go on top..... You must not allow it
so as not to disgrace our family name.
Next day Girl told Mom: Everything happened exactly as you predicted. I
didn't allow him to go on top so I went on top and disgraced his family.

8. Baby Burnt
A White Couple had a black Baby. The Husband doesn't believe that it's his
Husband: Why the Baby black???
Wife: You hot, I hot, Baby burnt!!!

9. Expiry Date
Wife: Honey, what are you looking for???
Husband: Nothing.
Wife: Nothing? You have been reading our marriage certificate for an hour???
Husband: I was looking for the expiry date!!!

10. Why Black?
Boy: Mom, why am I black and you are white???
Mom: Listen Son, considering all the crazy things I did years ago, you should
be thankful that you are not barking!!!

Terry Fator and his puppets