Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Global 2012: Kristen Stewart betrays Team Edward

Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame p...Kristen Stewart of "Twilight" fame plays on the vampire mystique at the 82nd Academy Awards, March 7, in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We are shocked SHOCKED at the tawdry flameout of Kristen Stewart, 22, and Robert Pattinson. The highest paid actress in the world kissed her married "Snow White and the Huntsman" director Rupert Sanders, 41, and the paparazzi snapped it up. We feel Pattinson's pain. Stewart's pain. Hey, we even feel the pain of the director, suddenly stepping into the "Twilight" cast in the home-wrecker role. Still, most of the ire is directed at Stewart as Team Edward fumbles at the finish line, apparently on the verge of proposing. There are few clearer ways to express that a relationship is over than to kiss another man (or woman). It's the coward's way out, but it's a way out.

This is the star's "Scarlet Letter" moment, what Melissa Silverstein at IndieWire candidly calls "the public shaming of Kristen Stewart." But before we get celebrity gossip whiplash, let's pause to remember that Kstew and RPats are media constructs — brands traded like margarine on the cover of Us Weekly, People, or the National Enquirer. The "Twilight" duo's coupledom is as material as John Travolta's marriage. Oops! Followed by belated revelations that Travolta had a long-term relationship with a man. Tell me: Who in the offices of Us Weekly didn't know that already? (I worked there for 11 years — trust me on this one.) Or the fairytale romance of TomKat that was more of a boardroom contract servicing the Tom Cruise brand. To me, the question in that case is why Katie Holmes made the deal with the devil (OK, money is part of it for sure).

The role of America's supernaturally strung-out sweetheart never sat easily on Stewart — and it's that sense of unease that was so perfect for the teen grunge goddess Bella Swan. Given the chance, Stewart made dark indie movies on the side. In "The Runaways," she played rock rebel Joan Jett — and kissed co-star Dakota Fanning. In the quirky "Welcome to the Rileys," she starred opposite James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo as a New Orleans runaway lap-dancer that the couple tries to tame and adopt after their own daughter dies tragically. In both these box office flops, Stewart was drawn to kohl-eyed outsiders whose inner rage clawed at the delicate external beauty.

While Stewart may be romantically linked to Sanders, his direction of her in "Snow White and the Huntsman" (now sequel-bound) was no smoking gun. The smoky fable had the unflattering effect of showcasing co-star Charlize Theron's ample talents. Stewart's not a still beauty or a Jennifer Lawrence action heroine of laser focus. Her line readings when Snow White rallies the troops of dwarves and warriors at the movie's climax presents an awkward imitation of a St. Crispin's Day speech. She seems to leave the would-be warriors more stupefied than inspired although, perhaps I am projecting my own stupefaction there.

"The Hunger Games" connection: Katniss and Peeta forever

Stewart found herself in a position parallel to Katniss vis a vis Peeta from the rival, supernatural-free saga, "The Hunger Games." My 13-year-old daughter -- and guru in all things "Twilight" and HG — shared this insight with me. In "The Hunger Games," Woody Harrelson's cynical Haymitch Abernathy makes it clear to Katniss (Lawrence) that creating the illusion of a romance with Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) will save her life,and possibly Peeta's too. The moment Katniss places her hand in Peeta's atop their flaming chariot during the games' opening ceremony, she comes closer to survival and further from her true feelings. This is doubly complicated because Peeta has always carried a torch for Katniss, while her hometown hero Gale Hawthorne (Liam Hemsworth) witnesses this betrayal on TV surrounded by their families.

Clearly, it's messier when there are real beating hearts off-screen. Stewart's apparent shame, Pattinson's embarrassment, director Sander's guilt are all to some degree real, however cushioned by paychecks we will most likely never experience. Whatever Stewart's true feelings, and I can't venture a guess, it was immensely good for the franchise that she and Pattinson had a romance that went beyond the screen and spilled onto exotic beaches around the globe and splashed across the covers of endless tabloids.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Global 2012: Bret Michaels & His Long-Time Rock Of Love Call Off Engagement

English: Bret Michaels with Poison at the Moon...English: Bret Michaels with Poison at the Moondance Jam on July 11, 2008 in Walker, Minnesota. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Back in December 2010, on the finale of the first and only season of Bret Michaels' family-friendly VH1 reality show, "Life As I Know It," the reformed rocker proposed to his long-suffering on/off girlfriend of 18 years, Kristi Gibson. Viewers were supposed to assume that after years of cavorting with whiskey-guzzling groupies (sometimes on-air, on his arguably more entertaining but much less family-friendly VH1 show, "Rock Of Love"), Bret's many serious health problems had led to some sort of epiphany, and he'd now finally realized that Kristi was his real rock of love all along. But on Monday, Bret's publicist, Joanna Mignano, announced that the couple have called off their engagement. Mignano's statement declared that Bret and Kristi will "remain great friends and are committed to jointly raising" their young daughters, Raine Elizabeth and Jorja Bleu.

And despite Bret's above-mentioned optimistic statement to People, even when he was proposing to Kristi on the air in 2010, it seemed like a coldly made-for-TV event, little more than a no-brainer setup for a second season of "Life As I Know It"--one which would presumably chronicle Bret's cold cowboy-booted feet leading up to his nuptials, then culminate in a two-part, "Scott Baio Is 46 and Pregnant"-style wedding finale, complete with a tearful final scene in which the couple would slow-dance to "Every Rose Has Its Thorn." I'd even wondered if Daisy De La Hoya, that crazy lady Brittany (the one who hoarded sweatsocks on the "Rock Of Love" bus), or Bret's rumored ex-love interest Tish Cyrus (Miley's mom) would bumrush the ceremony at the crucial "speak now or forever your peace" moment (with bouncer Big John intrepidly intervening). That would have been some awesome television, for sure--but sadly, it was not meant to be.

Even more sadly--and obviously more seriously--it is a shame that after almost two decades together, Bret and Kristi could not make their relationship work on- or offscreen, especially since they have a family together. But on the bright side, maybe this means there will soon be a fourth season of VH1's "Rock Of Love." So stay tuned...

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Global 2012: All Windows 8 apps will offer a try-it-before-you-buy-it feature

Image representing Microsoft as depicted in Cr...Image via CrunchBase
There's nothing worse than shelling out a couple bucks on an app, only to find out that it's absolutely terrible, right? Well, Microsoft has a plan to eliminate "app regret" — when you're considering an app from the upcoming Windows 8 Store, you'll be able to try it for free for seven days before you have to shell out cash for it.

The free trial program may be a necessary tool for Microsoft to overcome the challenges posed by their house minimum: All Windows 8 apps will have a price tag of $1.49 or higher (up to $999.99). That's significantly higher than the Apple App Store's 99-cent minimum. Microsoft no doubt hopes higher sales prices will mean more revenue — after all, the company just posted their first ever net loss last quarter.

While you're able to return Android apps for a refund within 15 minutes of purchase, Microsoft is truly offering a real try-it-before-you-buy-it option. While this is no doubt exciting for future owners of Windows 8, the news may also affect other operating systems if it proves successful. After all, if the public responds favorably to a try-it-before-you-buy-it scheme, it may very well become the standard.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

Global 2012: Charlize Theron Accidentally Makes "Slutty" Comment About "Being Naked"

Charlize Theron at the Meteor Ireland Music Aw...Charlize Theron at the Meteor Ireland Music Awards, 2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Charlize Theron has no qualms about taking her clothes off -- for the right role, that is.

The Academy Award winner, 36, shares the cover of W's August issue with her Prometheus costar Michael Fassbender, 35. The magazine spread features the scantily-clad actors fondling each other in a grimy warehouse.

When asked if it's harder to film a death scene or a sex scene, Theron quips, "It depends on who you're doing the sex scene with. I don't have issues being naked . . . That sounds very slutty."

"Kind of," Fassbender teases. "I didn't want to say anything, but yes."

"What I mean is, I'm not hung up on my body," Theron clarifies. "I've been lucky to work with people I've been really comfortable with. I've had maybe two occasions where [I wasn't]."

Theron then joked, "And Michael's one of the two who did not make me feel very comfortable!"

Fassbender -- who famously went full-frontal nude for his role in 2011's Shame -- admits that "sex scenes sound like more fun than they are. Death scenes are easier, really. Maybe because I've died so many times. I've had a lot of practice. In my movies, I'm often naked or dying."

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Global 2012: Mila Kunis' airbrushing nightmare

English: Mila Kunis attending the Premiere of ...English: Mila Kunis attending the Premiere of "Max Payne" Hollywood, CA 10/13/2008 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Mila Kunis is, by any estimation, beautiful. But when she was in high school, some of her classmates had their doubts.

Chatting with James Franco (her co-star in the upcoming "Oz: The Great and Powerful") in Interview magazine, Kunis, 28, admits to receiving some harsh criticism after she appeared in a spread for Stuff magazine at the age of "16 or 17" when she starred in the popular Fox sitcom "That '70s Show." Like many lad-mag photo takes, Kunis says her body was "enhanced" in post-production.

Kunis says it "was a horrible thing to do, because then you have these boys who assume that you look this way when you don't.... So I showed up to class, you know, out of the shower and in sweatpants, which is the way I look when I show up to work at 6 AM and is not necessarily the way that I look when I walk out of the hair-and-makeup chair at 10 AM. But I think for a 15-, 16-, 17-year-old kid, that's a hard thing to fully understand... It's uncomfortable.”

"In real life," Kunis says, "I didn't wear push-up bras. [My male classmates] were like, 'You don't look like you do in those pictures. This is false advertisement.' And I was like, 'I know, tell me about it.' I don't even think the boys spoke to me.”

Still, she must have been asked out for dates, right? After all, this is Mila Kunis. Surprisingly (shockingly), the answer is no. "I never got asked out at Fairfax [High School in Los Angeles]," she said. The only dance she went to was with a boy from another school whose mom, Kunis claims, made him ask her. Madness!

But don’t feel too bad for Kunis -- her first kiss was with heartthrob Ashton Kutcher (with whom she has recently been romantically linked). "I was like, 'Oh, he's so cute, it's the Calvin Klein model!'" the actress told People in 2001. "Then I was like, 'I have to kiss him?' I was so nervous and uncomfortable. I had the biggest crush on him."

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Global 2012: George Michael Pulls Out Of Coma

Wham!Cover of Wham!
Careless whispers were definitely not on the agenda when George Michael woke from a lengthy coma late last year. In fact, quite the contrary--the singer and former Wham! frontman scared his doctors by speaking his first words in an accent totally different from his usual dialect.

Michael, who normally talks like the London native that he is, found himself inexplicably using a distinctive burr from England's West Country for a couple days. Since he'd just spent three weeks in a coma due to a life-threatening case of pneumonia, medical staff feared this meant he'd suffered brain damage.

"My doctors were genuinely worried that I had this condition, it's a genuine thing where people wake from comas speaking French or some other language they learned at school," Michael explained to a London radio station.

"They were worried I could have spoken like that for the rest of my life...Not that there's anything wrong with the West Country accent--but it's a bit weird when you come from North London."

Michael noted that although his doctors were concerned, his family was just so relieved to have him awake that they found the bizarre accent hysterical. "They were just laughing away at me talking in this weird accent," he said. "I basically did two days' worth of stand-up comedy."

The star was rushed to an Austrian hospital last November in the middle of a European tour, forcing him to cancel all his remaining appearances. He's since rescheduled the tour and invited the hospital staff to attend one of the shows. His new music video, "White Light," which features model Kate Moss, references his near-brush with death.

As Michael noted, there's nothing wrong with a West Country accent--it's simply a colorful way of speaking that, like many distinctive accents, has been parodied in regional comedy over the years. To us Yanks across the pond, perhaps a reasonable equivalent would be if someone from Detroit suddenly woke up talking like a New York City cabbie or a country singer from Tuscaloosa.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Global 2012: Burger King Employee Stands on Lettuce

CHICAGO - AUGUST 24:  A sign hangs outside a B...CHICAGO - AUGUST 24: A sign hangs outside a Burger King restaurant on August 24, 2010 in Chicago, Illinois. Burger King Holdings Inc., the No. 2 U.S. burger chain, reported its fourth-quarter net income fell nearly 17 percent following weak sales and increased costs for ingredients and packaging. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)
Ever feel like nothing is secret any more because of the Internet? You may be right. It took 4Chan users only 15 minutes to track down and bust the Cleveland-area Burger King employee who stood on top of two containers of shredded lettuce and then posted a picture of the gross act. 4Chan is a bulletin board-type website where members post images and comments.

"This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King," wrote the unnamed employee on the evening of July 16. Guess he thought that was funny. Other users weren't laughing: according to Hypervocal.com, Anonymous, the notorious vigilante hacking group, used GPS data embedded in the photo to locate the fast food restaurant's address and reportedly contacted the franchise and FoxNews8. "Whoever this is is getting fired," a morning shift manager named Andrea, told the Cleveland Scene.

Bryson W. Thornton, Director of Burger King's Global Communications, wrote in a statement to Yahoo! Shine:

"Burger King Corp. has recently been made aware of a photo that shows a BURGER KING® restaurant employee violating the company's stringent food handling procedures. Food safety is a top priority at all BURGER KING® restaurants and the company maintains a zero-tolerance policy against any violations such as the one in question. The restaurant where this photo was taken is independently-owned and operated by a BURGER KING® franchisee. The franchisee has taken swift action to investigate this matter and terminated the three employees involved in the incident."

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Global 2012: Tom Hardy knew nothing about part before signing on to ‘Dark Knight Rises’

The Dark Knight RisesThe Dark Knight Rises (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Tom Hardy didn't need to see a script before he agreed to play the villainous Bane in "The Dark Knight Rises."  All he needed was a phone call.

Hardy said that in their initial conversations, director Christopher Nolan "wouldn't tell me anything else about the character, except that he was a very bad guy."

In an interview with Yahoo! Movies, Nolan discussed how he recruited Hardy, who had previously appeared in Nolan's "Inception," to take on the role of the hulking masked terrorist who faces off against Batman.  Nolan recounted how he called Hardy after finishing "Inception" and laid out the unique challenges of the part.

"I said, 'Tom, there's good news and bad news,'" Nolan recalled.  "The good news is I've got a great character for you. The bad news is, you're going to cover your face. People are only going to see your eyes. You're going to have to express depths of evil just through your voice, your eyes, and your physicality. And I knew he'd be up for that, and he was. He loved it."

Hardy has also said that audiences not seeing his face -- or not getting to see the script himself beforehand -- did nothing to dampen his enthusiasm for the role.  Hardy said he asked Nolan, "You want me to come and work with you, travel around the world, have a stunt team and all the weapons I could possibly want to play with, and all I have to do is wear a mask?" When Nolan answered yes, Hardy said, "I'm in!" Eventually, of course, he discovered that he was playing the masked villain Bane.

After agreeing to the role, Hardy set about transforming himself from the slick, well-dressed forger he played in "Inception" to the menacing bad guy.  Hardy had some experience beefing up for earlier movies like "Bronson," where he played a notorious prison inmate, and "Warrior," in which he played an MMA fighter.  For Bane, he put on 30 lbs. through months of rigorous training (and eating).

He also had to deal with Bane's mask, which in the movie delivers an anesthetic to dull the constant, paralyzing pain from a botched prison surgery.  The mask was designed from a 3D computer model of Hardy's face so it would seal tightly around him.  Costume designer Lindy Hemming said, "It was gripping Tom's head like a vice... The fact that he tolerated it, let alone acted with it, was astounding."

Hardy is actually one of three actors from "Inception" drafted by Nolan to come aboard "The Dark Knight Rises."  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Marion Cottilard also play significant roles in both film.  Hardy told The Hollywood Reporter at Monday night's premiere for "Rises" that he didn't realize that Nolan was considering him for Bane while they were making "Inception."  Hardy said, "I hope he quietly auditioned me during this film for something else."

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Global 2012: Kate Upton Defends Her Curves

Sports Illustrated 2009 iPhone applicationSports Illustrated 2009 iPhone application (Photo credit: cattias.photos)
Model Kate Upton's va-va-voom physique has been in the news since she lit up the cover of Sports Illustrated in February. She isn't your typical model--at least not your typical rail thin millennial cat walker. The voluptuous twenty-year-old is more of a throwback to the late 1980s early '90s when glamazons like Cindy Crawford dominated the fashion pages and Anna Nicole Smith first posed for Guess.

Not everyone in the world of fashion and beauty approves. "She's like a Page 3 girl," Sophia Neophitou, who books Victoria's Secret Shows, told the New York Times earlier this year referring to the half-naked women featured in British tabloids. "She's like a footballer's wife, with the too-blond hair and that kind of face that anyone with enough money can go out and buy."

Upton seems to take it in stride. Although she hasn't responded directly to haters like Skinny Gurl (contrary to some news reports), in a recent interview with the Sunday Times UK, she said, "My body is something that you have to work out and eat healthily for. I'm not doing drugs or not eating. I want to enjoy life and I can't be enjoying life if I'm not eating and miserable."

More Pictures: Rare Early Photos of Marilyn Monroe from LIFE

The irony is, Upton doesn't look out of place in magazines such as Vogue where she recently posed in demure autumn attire, and she's certainly not overweight. According to the New York Times, she is 5'11", and her measurements are 36'-25'-34'. You can argue that the model has been overexposed (both literally and figuratively)--"We apologize in advance for your decreased productivity" tweeted GQ annoyingly after publishing its July issue which featured Upton licking a popsicle in a tiny bikini--but describing as her fat represents a twisted view of the female form. Her rep says, "Its absurd. Kate's gorgeous and very healthy."

And Upton fans aren't buying it either. A backlash against the post has pushed Skinny Gurl to remove features such as her "Starving Tips of the Day" from the website and add links to resources on "depression, eating disorders, and self harm."

As for Upton, we suspect she's enjoying a burger from Carl's Jr., (which she represents) and scheduling a wax appointment for her next bikini shoot.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Global 2012: Can two bedrooms make one happy marriage?

English: A Sleeping moon in a cap.English: A Sleeping moon in a cap. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It’s now officially a substantial trend: a study by the National Sleep Foundation found that 25 percent of couples sleep in separate rooms. That’s one in four couples! Many who choose to sleep separately are reluctant to discuss it, but for most people, the decision to sleep in separate beds is a practical decision. It seems that sleep is elusive when you bed down with a partner who snores, tosses relentlessly, traipses to the restroom repeatedly, hogs the covers or is drenched in sweat each night.

One partner often retreats to a guest room, kid’s bed or the family room sofa while hoping that people won’t assume the worst about their relationship. By 2015, The National Association of Home Builders says that it expects 60 percent of custom-built homes to include dual master bedrooms for this exact reason. “It’s important for couples facing these issues to try their best to avoid being influenced by negative social stigma and [others’] judgment around sleeping apart and be as creative and innovative in finding solutions that work for them,” says Manhattan psychologist Dr. Joseph Cilona. And while sleeping in separate beds may solve some issues, it’s not always a perfect solution. Sleeping separately may mean you’re both getting better rest, but will it chip away at the romance or take a toll on overall intimacy? Some folks think that sleeping apart robs a marriage of its special connection.

Here’s how couples can combat living as roomies and keep close, cozy and connected even if they sleep in different beds:

1. Stay touchy-feely with each other. Even when couples don’t hold each other all night long, a lot of touching goes on while you’re falling asleep. Touch enhances the sense of intimacy and it also has a measurable biological effect: it stimulates the production of oxytocin, the hormone that deepens human bonding.

2. Engage in pillow talk. You may have lots of focused conversations about your kids, the car, work and the dog, but there’s also intimacy in the kind of pillow talk couples engage in as they relax before falling asleep. Good marriages thrive on these private, unplanned conversations that may vanish when you start sleeping separately.

3. Plan your romps between the sheets together. If you’re not snoozing together, you might end up having less sex. But psychologists say that many couples’ sex lives are enhanced by sleeping in separate rooms — in fact, it can even lead to greater desire for a partner or more frequent sexual encounters.

4. Find other ways to sustain your emotional connection. It’s easy for any couple to get caught up in the daily grind and take each other for granted. If you’re not sharing a bed nightly, it may be even easier to miss each other’s cues for connecting emotionally.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Global 2012: The science of flirting

Cover of "Why Him? Why Her?: Finding Real...Cover via Amazon
We know flirting can lead to all kinds of things, but most of us don’t know how it works. So I asked some brain experts what the heck’s going on — here’s what they had to say.

“Our brains respond in a very complex way to both pleasant and unpleasant [flirting] experiences by ‘firing’ and ‘releasing’ neurotransmitters and then deciding how to react,” says Shadi Farhangrazi, biochemist, neuroscientist and founder of Biotrends International™ in Denver, CO. According to Dr. Farhangrazi, PET scans of the brain show “activity in the amygdala (which is responsible for regulating emotions), nucleus accumbens (which controls the release of dopamine), the ventral tegmental area (which actually releases that dopamine) as well as the cerebellum, which controls muscle reaction — and, as a result, the response to fear, unpleasantness or happiness. In addition, the hippocampus, prefrontal cortex, and pituitary gland (which releases beta-endorphins) and the insula — which is a small region of cortex beneath the temporal lobes — also appear to show activity.”

In other words, when it comes to matters of the heart, it’s all in your head.

The brain’s reward system lights up when we’re flattered by someone

When we first see someone, our brain goes to work evaluating that person, checking items off our must-have list and indexing past experiences. “That’s the cortex sizing up this person as a suitable partner,” explains Dr. Helen Fisher, author of Why Him? Why Her?: How to Find and Keep Lasting Love, research professor of anthropology at Rutgers University and Chief Scientific Advisor to Chemistry.com. Then, emotions and feelings kick in.

“When we are attracted to someone or feel ‘love-like’ feelings toward [that person], neural activity is restricted to foci in the medial insula, the anterior cingulate cortex, the head of the caudate nucleus and the putamen,” explains Jennifer Johnston-Jones, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist in Pacific Palisades, CA. “In other words, we lose focus on everything else and put all of our attention on the person we are attracted to.”

That hyper-focus drives us to begin flirting or become open to receiving flirtation from another person. “As we’re beginning to feel attracted, it’s my educated guess that the reward system of the brain is beginning to crank up,” Dr. Fisher adds. That reward system is run by dopamine, and it’s the brain system for goal-oriented behavior, motivation, wanting, etc. “[It] begins to help you focus your energy on this person. That’s when you decide to start flirting,” Dr. Fisher explains. “The same system works when someone who appeals to you starts flirting, but with different responses. You allow the other person to ‘move in.”

When a pass feels unwelcome, dopamine production grinds to a halt
And what about when nature says “Do not touch” instead — like when we get that yucky feeling inside because someone we’re not attracted to starts flirting with us?

“When there is a ‘bad feeling’ or intuition telling us that we are uncomfortable with this person, that is…associated with a lack of dopamine in the brain,” Dr. Johnston-Jones says. “Often, from a psychological as well as an evolutionary perspective, this ‘bad feeling’ has a strong basis in reality.” In other words, there’s something about an individual’s behavior that turns us off or reminds us of an unpleasant person or experience. “If we are uncomfortable with this person from the start, more likely than not, the neurological bond of attachment will not develop, and there is no possible healthy long-term relationship,” asserts Dr. Johnston-Jones. “All humans need this bond of attachment in order to feel secure in their relationship.”

Your brain’s role in the flirting process
Flirting is a good “early indicator” of compatibility, but you can’t tell for sure if someone’s right for you without getting more information first. “The brain has millions of forces registering at the same time — many feelings, motivations and cognitive processes are constantly chiming in,” Dr. Fisher explains. “With all the new information, we continue to calibrate and to analyze [in order] to see if this person is really right for us. In the beginning of a relationship, you know very little about your date, so you over-weigh the little that you do know. The thing to do next is to get to know the person more.”

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Global 2012: Randy Jackson Speaks Out on Jennifer Lopez, Steven Tyler's American Idol Exits

LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23:  Judges Steven Tyler...LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 23: Judges Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, and Randy Jackson greet the contestants onstage during Fox's 'American Idol 2012' results show at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on May 23, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Image credit: Getty Images via @daylife)Jennifer LopezCover of Jennifer Lopez
Randy Jackson's future on American Idol remains to be seen, but one thing is clear: the Idol veteran won't sever ties to Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez just because they've exited the FOX series.

"Steven and Jennifer are truly two of the most talented and consummate professionals I've worked with," Idol's only remaining original judge, 56, told Gossip Cop in a statement. "I was friends with them before we hopped on this crazy journey together and I have no doubt our friendships will continue long after. I will love them for life."

On Friday, Lopez, 42, confirmed her much-anticipated exit to Idol's host, Ryan Seacrest, on his KIIS-FM radio show. "The time has come," Lopez said, one day after her colleague Tyler announced he too would not return for season 12. "I've decided it's time for me to let go of my mistress American Idol before she boils my rabbit . . .I strayed from my first love, Aerosmith, and I'm back," the rocker, 64, admitted.

As Idol fans and its FOX network come to terms with Lopez and Tyler's departures, the show may be in for an additional shakeup, as a source tells Us Weekly Jackson's role may change from judge to mentor.

When it comes to filling the judges' panel, many high-profile names have been bandied about. Among the top contenders: Mariah Carey. "They are in serious talks with Mariah and it's very close to being a done deal," the source says.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Global 2012: "Ice Age" puts chill on "Spider-Man" at box offices

Cover of "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs ...Cover via Amazon
Ice Age: Continental Drift," the fourth film in the animated series featuring a woolly mammoth and his prehistoric friends, trampled "The Amazing Spider-Man" and took the top spot at U.S. and Canadian box offices on Sunday with $46 million.

Featuring the voice of comedian Ray Romano as the warm-hearted mammoth Manny and John Leguizamo as Sid the fast-talking sloth, the 3D film's opening weekend beat forecasts and topped the debut of the most recent movie in the series, 2009's "Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs," which opened to $42 million.

The biggest opening in the series was 2006's "Ice Age: The Meltdown," which grossed $68 million in its first weekend. Overall the animated series, which was produced for Fox by its Blue Sky Studios, has collected $1.9 billion in worldwide ticket sales, according to ticket tracking website Box Office Mojo.

"Ice Age" had been projected to gross around $40 million for the weekend, according to Paul Dergarabedian, president of Hollywood.com's box office division.

"Spider-Man," the reboot of the blockbuster series that starred Andrew Garfield as the superhero's alter ego Peter Parker, collected $35 million over the weekend, after selling $140 million in ticket sales during a six-day run that began with midnight shows the day before the July 4th holiday.

Its cumulative domestic ticket sales after roughly two weeks in theaters now stand at $201 million. Add another $320 million overseas, and worldwide ticket sales total $521 million, easily making it among the year's top movies.

"Ted" a comedy about a man and his foul-mouthed, pot-smoking teddy bear, slipped to third place with domestic sales of $22.1 million from Friday through Sunday. Directed by "Family Guy" creator Seth MacFarlane, the Universal Pictures release has earned $159 million domestically since its June 29 debut and has become a Hollywood summer season surprise.

Disney's animated fairy tale "Brave" weathered the entrance of the edgier "Ice Age" and landed in the No. 4 spot. The movie about a rebellious, red-haired Scottish princess, produced by Disney's Pixar unit, grabbed $10.6 million at U.S. and Canadian theaters and has collected $196 million after four weeks.

Another surprise hit, Warner Bros. male stripper film "Magic Mike," edged out Oliver Stone's gritty drug drama, "Savages," to claim the No. 5 spot. "Mike" rang up $9 million in ticket sales to boost its domestic total to $92 million.

"Savages, produced by Universal Pictures, totaled $8.7 million over the weekend, bringing its cumulative sales to $31.5 million after two weeks in theaters.

"Ice Age" was released by 20th Century Fox, a unit of News Corp.. "Spider-Man" was distributed by Sony Pictures Entertainment, the movie studio wing of Sony Corp and produced by Marvel Studios, a division of Walt Disney Co.

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