Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Julie Andrews Critical Of Anne Hathaway's Bosoms

HOLLYWOOD (CAP) - Broadway and Hollywood icon Julie Andrews had some critical words this week for her Princess Diaries co-star Anne Hathaway, who bares all in her new movie with Jake Gyllenhaal, Love And Other Drugs.

"As you know, I bared my bosoms in S.O.B. (1981), and I dare say they were quite a bit more perky than Anne's, which were a bit doughy for my tastes, if you don't mind me saying so," Andrews told the Hollywood Reporter. "And my bosoms were a bit further along at the time than Anne's are now," added Andrews, now 75 and "still supple, if you get my drift."

Hathaway has made headlines for her performance in Love And Other Drugs, wherein she plays a Parkinson's patient with a wild sex life. Of its 113-minute running time, Hathaway is fully naked for approximately 75 minutes, according to a study of the film by New York magazine's Vulture entertainment blog.

"Of the 75 minutes, about 40 minutes featured her bare breasts," said Vulture writer Will Plotkin. "About 20 minutes featured her bare rear end, and about 10 minutes featured a combination of the two, which required some pretty fancy camera work."

The other five minutes featured Hathaway's private area, "mostly in glimpses that you have to squint to see, and which I've edited together here in a montage from footage I took with a video camera I snuck into the theater," said Plotkin. "Um ... for work."

Andrews, meanwhile, pointed out that although she went topless for S.O.B., she never felt a need to do nudity as extensive as Hathaway's in Love And Other Drugs.

"Except in the private movies I made for Blake," she said, referring to her husband, director Blake Edwards. "Between us, you'd have to watch those to find out what supercalifragilisticexpialidocious really means.

"It's quite dirty, actually," she added, pursing her lips suggestively.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

COLUMN: You’ll be thankful you read this

As you may recall, around this time each year I like to take a moment to remind my readers that there are still plenty of reasons to be truly thankful. I do that so people will be able to put these often difficult times into perspective, and also to get them to come out from under the bed.

So stick your head out and take a gander at these, this year’s reasons to give thanks:

1) You didn’t have to run against a Republican in the mid-term elections. Or if you did you probably had to do it in Massachusetts, where the number of Republicans in the state Senate can now officially fit into a phone booth. Whatever that was.

2) You have universal health care now, sort of.

3) There’s an app for that, as long as “that” isn’t “magically generating the extra 600 bucks you’d need to buy an iPad.”

4) When something goes wrong at work, you don’t have to wait 69 days to be extricated through a tube. No matter how often it may feel that way.

5) You’re not covered in oil, or if you are, it’s probably just a lifestyle choice.

6) You didn’t have to run against Scott Brown. Or his truck. Or his barn jacket. Or his rugged, manly good looks. Not that I’m looking at his Cosmo spread right now or anything.

7) Jay Leno didn’t want your time slot.

8) Your personal assistant didn’t write a tell-all book about you, your lover and the illegitimate child you fathered when you were running for president. Heck, you probably don’t even have a personal assistant.

9) You haven’t turned up on “Sarah Palin’s Alaska,” where there’s a good chance you would have been eaten by a bear, or Sarah Palin.

10) You weren’t poisoned by Lady Gaga in her “Telephone” video, and you probably had very little exposure to police tape, and even if you did you most likely weren’t wearing it over your privates.

11) Your bosoms didn’t offend Elmo.

12) You weren’t married to Larry King, probably.

13) You’re not an illegal alien living in Arizona. Or a legal alien living in Arizona. Or a guy with a tan living in Arizona. On a related note, the entire population of Arizona has been detained for questioning.

14) The last time you answered an ad on Craigslist, nobody killed you, probably.

15) Your husband didn’t admit to canoodling with a tattooed skank. Or if he did, at least it wasn’t right after you won your Oscar.

16) You’re completely incapable of pitching a perfect game. After all, with your luck it would have been officiated by that umpire in Detroit, or the shot Roger Clemens gave you in your butt would have worn off in the bottom of the eighth.

17) You didn’t try to get in to the new Harry Potter theme park, unless you did, in which case you’re still there waiting in line, trying to gain sustenance by sucking the condensation off the end of your plastic wand.

18) You haven’t received any text messages from Brett Favre. (And if you have … for God’s sake, delete them!)

19) The Old Spice Guy beat up a pirate piñata with a petrified freshwater fish while saying your name. Wait, sorry … that was Demi Moore. But I’m sure the Old Spice Guy would have done that for you, had he known you.

20) No one threatened to burn anything of yours, or if they did, they probably didn’t go through with it.

21) You didn’t ask, and you won’t tell.

22) If you’re staying at a hotel right now, Charlie Sheen is probably nowhere in the vicinity. You can come out from under the bed now.

This column appeared originally in North Shore Sunday. Peter Chianca is a managing editor for GateHouse Media New England. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pchianca. To receive At Large by e-mail, write to info@chianca-at-large.com, with the subject line “SUBSCRIBE.”

Sunday, November 21, 2010

COLUMN: So what's up with Thanksgiving?

It’s time once again for “Mr. Holiday” to answer your holiday queries. This week: Thanksgiving.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
I understand that the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals want us to give up eating turkey on Thanksgiving. But I love turkey! Juicy, succulent, recently deceased turkey. What should I do?

Hungry in Holliston

Dear Hungry:
PETA is a very well-meaning organization, in that same way that your crazy uncle who thinks he’s a founding member of ABBA is well-meaning. But mostly they’re just looking for an excuse to parade around naked and get arrested.

In reality, studies have shown that Thanksgiving turkeys are remarkably well treated. They run free on spacious turkey farms, relaxing in little turkey saunas and smoking rich little full-bodied turkey cigars. Then they’re slaughtered and plucked, but in a well-treated kind of way.

What you should be really concerned about is the rampant, horrible mistreatment of soy.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
I dread Thanksgiving — sitting around with my family is so boring! Any suggestions?

Bored in Bakersville

Dear Bored:
You seem to have forgotten that Thanksgiving is one of the only chances your entire family gets to sit down together in a meaningful way. With that in mind, here are some topics you may want to consider to liven up the meal:

· How years of browbeating have driven you to therapy;

· The fact that just because you can’t get through a family occasion without downing an entire bottle of muscatel doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic;

· That you’ve blown the grandkids’ inheritance on Keno.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
I enjoy the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. What’s the story behind those tremendous balloons?

Curious in Connecticut

Dear Curious:
It takes dozens of people to control one of those balloons, and in a stiff wind they can actually become quite dangerous. No wait, I’m thinking of Willard Scott.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
What are “giblets”?

Cooking in Cambridge

Dear Cooking:
No one knows.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
I love finishing a huge Thanksgiving meal, heading straight into the living room, loosening my belt and watching football for the rest of the day as the stuffing congeals in my stomach cavity. But recently I began wondering: What are all the women talking about back in the kitchen while the guys watch football?

Suspicious in Scranton

Dear Suspicious:
This is one of the great mysteries of Thanksgiving. But I’m sure it’s not how they can’t believe they have to wake up every morning next to the likes of your fat, lazy self. They’re probably just comparing recipes.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
I was horrified recently to discover that the first Thanksgiving dinner was nothing like the Thanksgiving we have today. Is it really possible that the Pilgrims and Indians didn’t really have turkey and pumpkin pie?

Disillusioned in Denver

Dear Disillusioned:
Don’t worry your pretty little head off — of course the Pilgrims and Indians had turkey and pumpkin pie! Just like Columbus was a brave and gallant explorer rather than the harbinger of genocide and slavery to a proud indigenous people. Six of one, half-dozen of the other, I always say.

Granted, historians say the menu was probably more likely to include things like lobsters, mussels, grapes, plums and flint corn. However, some traditions have carried on: For instance, a Pilgrim woman named Constance Britteridge was credited with creating a delightful fruit centerpiece for the meal, based on a first-century fresco from Pompeii. Then she was arrested for securities fraud.


Dear Mr. Holiday:
What are you thankful for this Thanksgiving?

Grateful in Greenwich

Dear Grateful:
I’m thankful mostly for loyal, caring readers like you. No wait, I meant to say giblets.

Peter Chianca is a managing editor for GateHouse Media New England. He’s currently out shopping for giblets; his “Best of Chianca” column is from 2005. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pchianca.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Passengers On Disabled Cruise Ship Ate Crew, Each Other

LOS ANGELES (CAP) - A luxury cruise liner that limped into San Diego after a fire knocked out its power was lucky in many ways: a nearby Navy vessel came quickly with supplies, and the mishap occurred in tranquil waters. But that didn't stop its frantic passengers from descending quickly into panic, rioting, looting and eventually resorting to cannibalism.

"We were in decent spirits for the first few hours after the power went out," said Carnival Splendor passenger Carrie Whitehead, 32, of Chelmsford, Mass. "Then they announced the buffet was closed. That's when the deck chairs started going over the side."

Within hours, the passengers had formed into a number of tribe-like groups and staked out certain areas of the ship as their home turf, according to passenger Fred Ricker, 66, who banded together with the other senior citizens on board.

"You had all these young punks whining and crying because their cell phones weren't working," said Ricker, whose tribe of seniors ("The Otters") immediately took control of the Lido Deck, beating the younger passengers around the head and neck with shuffleboard cues.

"They wouldn't have lasted two seconds in 'Nam," said Ricker, his face still war-painted with oil squeezed from a tray of lox.

A nearby Navy vessel dropped a supply of Spam and other non-perishables aboard the ship on the first day of the ordeal, but by day two, a tribe calling themselves "The Sloths" was fomenting rebellion, according to a Carnival Splendor kitchen worker who asked not to be named.

"They had taken over the Grand Buffet dining room on the Promenade Deck, which is pretty much where they'd been spending the whole cruise anyway," said the worker, who explained that after two meals of Spam and Pop Tarts, the Sloths tied dinner napkins around their foreheads and stormed the kitchen, stampeding staffers and gorging themselves on shrimp and salmon that had gone unrefrigerated for two days.

"Between that and the fact that the ship's stabilizers were lost when the power went out, things got ugly pretty quickly," said the worker, whose co-workers were able to re-take the kitchen by pushing the rampaging passengers overboard as they leaned over the railing to vomit.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

COLUMN: Eh, who needs a shower?

You may have heard of the “swag bags” that Hollywood stars get when they attend awards shows, containing tens of thousands of dollars worth of jewelry, electronics and vouchers for luxurious getaways. Being a journalist is sort of like that, except instead of jewelry and electronics, you get giant wipes you can use to clean the sweat off your children “when a shower isn’t feasible.” Or maybe it’s just me who gets those … I’ll have to ask Brian Williams the next time I see him.

Regardless, that’s what I found in my mailbox this week — free “review” samples of “Qwik Shower Gym Class Wipes,” aimed specifically at “active children, tweens and pubescent teens who get soiled, sweaty, stinky and self-conscious.” In other words, all of them, except for the boys ages 5-13, who don’t get self-conscious so much as proud. (“Smell that smell? I made that!”)

I speak from experience on that front, because I have a 9-year-old son who, as has been well documented previously in these pages, is somewhat of an aficionado of unpleasant bodily odors. Tim is sort of like a sommelier, except instead of wine he’s an expert in what comes out of your pores after two hours of playing lacrosse in an outfit that weighs three times your natural body weight.

So I had to admit that he was an ideal candidate to test the Qwik Shower Gym Class Wipes, particularly this past weekend, when he spent an hour running up and down a court for youth basketball “evaluations.” This is the procedure by which coaches put their young players through a series of precise and elaborate drills in order to determine if any of them might, possibly, have heard of a basketball. Tim came home smelling exactly like his elementary school gym, which most local residents agree probably had a worker accidentally sealed up under the floor when it was built in 1972.

Tim was gracious enough to agree to participate in my little test, even though the Qwik Shower wipe, when opened, looked like one of those Wet-Naps they used to give out in Chinese restaurants, except dramatically enlarged, possibly by accidental exposure to gamma rays. Seeing it in its full, outspread glory, it’s hard not to think: If you’re the type of person who sometimes finds your entire body covered in duck sauce, this product is for you.

Tim’s first response when applying the Qwik Shower to his soiled, sweaty, stinky and self-conscious self: “This thing is cold!” And he was right — it might have benefited from a few seconds in the microwave first, although ostensibly if you have a microwave handy, there’s probably an actual shower somewhere nearby.

In general, though, Tim seemed generally fresher and cleaner after wiping down, smelling primarily of the vaguely sterile “slight fresh scent” promised on the packaging — just strong enough to be preferable to the typical little-boy odors, but not pungent enough so that he might be mistaken for something that should have been hanging from the rear-view mirror of a pet owner’s Audi.

As for Tim’s reaction, he was happy to avoid an actual bath, but declared, “If I end up having a rash, I’m suing!” These are words to live by if I’ve ever heard any.

Meanwhile, just when I figured I’d had enough professional exposure to bodily emissions for one week, I got an e-mail with the following subject line: “It’s Booger Season!!” You can tell from the dual exclamation points that this was not meant as simple information but rather as a declaration of catastrophic proportions, like “My Shorts Are On Fire!!” or “The End of the World is Nigh!!”

Turns out it was a release publicizing “Boogie Wipes” and their “Save the Sleeve” campaign, which “empowers kids to … blow their nose, instead of using their sleeve, to wipe away germs.” Somehow I never saw kids with mucous on their sleeves as a protected class in need of some kind of nose-blowing empowerment movement, but just to drive the point home, they included a picture of a 2-liter soda bottle filled with “boogers,” which I have a sinking feeling may be the next item I find in my mailbox.

Not to sound unappreciative, but it seems to me certain Hollywood types could probably use these products even more than I could. So if any of you celebrities (I won’t mention any names, Lindsay Lohan) want to send along some of your electronics and jewelry swag, I’d be happy to send you my Qwik Shower and Boogie Wipes in a fair exchange.

You’re on your own for the duck sauce, though.

Peter Chianca is a managing editor for GateHouse Media New England. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/pchianca. To receive At Large by e-mail, write to info@chianca-at-large.com, with the subject line “SUBSCRIBE.”

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

More proof that Linus kicks Sting's a**

I have a dream that someday, I will have the free time to spend hours editing old "Peanuts" clips into a music video for a classic rock song. But until then, I'll have to continue to rely on YouTube users like chalkdrinker. Three cheers!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

COLUMN: A pre-election post-election roundup

Editor’s note: Due to press deadlines, our reporter had to write the following election roundup before the election actually took place. We apologize in advance if there are any discrepancies.

As predicted, Republicans made an unprecedented sweep into office on Tuesday, sending what GOP leaders called “an important message” to President Barack Obama from the American people: that when they elected him based on his promise to enact healthcare reform, pass sweeping financial regulations and avert another Great Depression, they were just kidding.

“What we really wanted was for him not to raise taxes!” said Fred Hertmeyer of Glenbeulah, Wisc., who said he voted for every Tea Party candidate he could find. When told that Obama has actually lowered taxes during his first two years in office, Hertmeyer slapped his forehead and ran back to the Glenbeulah Junior High School to change his vote, but the elderly women who ran the polls had long since gone home.

New Speaker of the House John Boehner declared the GOP victory to be a repudiation of Obama’s policies, as well as “sweet revenge” against all the kids in middle school who used to call him “Johnny Boner.” Reached at her office Wednesday morning, former Speaker Nancy Pelosi disagreed with Boehner’s assessment, saying, “Look what you’ve done! I’m melting! Melting! Oh, what a world! What a world!” and then disappearing into a pile of mush under her desk.

The Republican majorities, meanwhile, immediately set about preserving the so-called Bush tax cuts, along with $1 billion in new tax cuts to help private industry finance the spontaneous, massive block parties that broke out on Wall Street and at insurance and credit card companies across the country with news of the GOP victories.

“Don’t worry, all that wealth should start trickling down any time now,” said Boehner, pausing to look at his watch. “Just you wait,” he added, tapping several times on his knee and looking uncomfortably around the room. Then, after another minute or so had passed, he pointed and yelled, “Look! Bill Clinton!” and slipped out the back door while everyone’s back was turned.

Prospective 2012 presidential hopeful Sarah Palin said she was “extastic” about the results and took credit for the fact that every candidate she endorsed won easily. She did admit, however, that she didn’t actually cast a ballot for any of them, having accidentally attempted to vote at an ATM machine. Meanwhile, one of her protégés, newly elected Sen. Christine O’Donnell of Delaware, has already filed a bill that would require people to start referring to sex by whispering “s-e-x,” and another that would turn the media into newts.

Here in Massachusetts, gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill — who ran as an independent, even though he was a lifelong Democrat — squeaked into office ahead of Gov. Deval Patrick and GOP challenger Charlie Baker, with exit polls showing that most voters had mistaken Cahill for “None of the Above.”

“We’ll take it however we can get it,” said Cahill, who then pulled of his rubber mask, revealing himself to actually be Michael Dukakis.

In another surprise here in the Bay State, the controversial Question 3, to roll the sales tax back from 6.25 to 3 percent, passed by a wide margin. The next day, thousands of teachers, police, firefighters and prosecutors lost their jobs, and the rest of society was eaten by zombies.

Most people blamed Obama.

This column ran originally at Wicked Local North of Boston. Follow Peter Chianca on Twitter at twitter.com/pchianca. To receive At Large by e-mail, write to info@chianca-at-large.com, with the subject line “SUBSCRIBE.”

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

AT LARGE Fake News Tuesday: Parents Charged After Boy Sleeps In Pumpkin Patch

MINNEAPOLIS (CAP) - Authorities have charged a local couple with child endangerment after neighbors reported they let their 7-year-old son sleep in a pumpkin patch alone on Halloween night.

Fred and Nancy van Pelt of Roseville, a suburb of Minneapolis, were arrested at their home after their son, Linus van Pelt, turned up at the James Street Elementary School still suffering from the effects of hypothermia and muttering under his breath about being forsaken by a "Great Pumpkin."

"The poor kid - he was clearly delirious," said Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fincher, who referred the case to the county's Child Protective Services department. "He had an old ratty blanket that he had wrapped around himself, and he was just shaking and mumbling."

Residents said they spotted the boy several times in a neighborhood pumpkin patch the night before, sitting among the pumpkins as his friends were enjoying tricks-or-treats. He was primarily alone, but was seen for a time accompanied by a neighbor, Sally Brown, 5, who is now being questioned by police psychiatrists.

Neighbors told CAP News that the boy believed he would be visited in the pumpkin patch by a so-called "Great Pumpkin," who would present him with toys. His parents may have fostered this charade as a form of psychological torture, authorities believe.

Ownership of the pumpkin patch has not been determined, but several local residents have noted that it has always seemed "extremely sincere."

Police are also looking into the well being of other area children who, after tricks-or-treats, apparently attended a Halloween party with no adults present. There, several girls allegedly drew a jack-o-lantern face on the head of a local bald boy; they are now facing charges under Minnesota's new bullying law.

One of the girls in question, whom authorities declined to name, described their victim as a "stupid blockhead," apparently showing no remorse.

[Read the rest at CAP News.]