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Medal of Honor recipients react to Supreme Court decision to overturn Stolen Valor Act on Astini News

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. - Jack Jacobs can proudly — and truthfully — say he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his valor in Vietnam. After a recent Supreme Court ruling, anyone else is free under the First Amendment to make the same claim, whether it's true or not.

Some military veterans say they consider the ruling a slap in the face. For Jacobs, though, it was the right decision. He said he wore the uniform to protect people's rights — even if he doesn't agree with how they exercise those rights.

"There are lots of things people do that revolt me, but I'm happy that I fought for this country not to give them the right to do something stupid, but for the majority of the people to do the right thing," said Jacobs, 66, who earned the Medal of Honor in 1969 for carrying several of his buddies to safety from a shelled rice field despite the shrapnel wounds in his head, the streaming blood clouding his vision.

"I'm a free speech guy," he said.

The high court ruled 6-3 on Thursday to toss out the conviction of Xavier Alvarez, a former California politician who lied about being a decorated military veteran. He had been charged under the 2006 Stolen Valor Act, which made it a crime to lie about receiving the Medal of Honor and other prestigious military recognitions. The decision invalidated the law, as the justices ruled Alvarez's fabricated story was constitutionally protected speech.

For 87-year-old Murel Winans, lies about service can cause real harm and lead people to doubt the veracity of claims made by people who actually served during wartime. He said he didn't buy the free speech argument.

"You feel like you never earned it, because when you tell someone what you've done, they'll say, `you're lying just like those other guys,'" said Winans, 87, who described himself as a "fresh young hillbilly from West Virginia" when he landed on Normandy's Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944 — his 19th birthday.

The law was inspired by the 1998 book "Stolen Valor" by B.G. "Jug" Burkett, a Vietnam veteran. The government had argued the law was a needed tool to protect the integrity of military medals.

The ruling was issued the same day as the high court's landmark decision upholding President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul. While much of the nation watched with rapt focus on what would become of the law that requires every American to have health insurance, many people in military communities were more focused on the ruling on the Stolen Valor Act.

Emotions ran high in Fayetteville, home to the 251-square-mile Fort Bragg. About 38 percent of North Carolina's population is either currently in the service, a veteran or a dependent of one, according to the N.C. Department of Administration. The state is also home to the sprawling Camp Lejeune, known for its training in amphibious assaults like the one at Normandy.

"My boys are out there giving their heart and soul," said Rose Moore, whose son is stationed in Afghanistan. "To have someone say they did it and they didn't do anything — it's a lie, it's dishonest."

Army Capt. Albert Bryant acknowledged that he was disappointed, saying the lies can detract from people who earn something like the Medal of Honor. However, his disappointment was somewhat tempered.

"I know it's the First Amendment, but maybe you need to have an amendment to the amendment to protect our enlisted men and women," Bryant said. "Very few things in life are black and white so you have to take certain things in context, but there has to be some kind of common sense applied."

The decision doesn't give anyone carte blanche to lie about their service record in an effort to get free perks, however. Anyone who fabricates any honors can still face fraud charges, which is what happened to former Marine Sgt. David Budwah in 2009. He was demoted to private and dishonorably discharged after pretending to be a wounded war hero to get free seats at rock concerts and sports events.

Twenty-year Army veteran Raymond Hunt said the justices made the right move in protecting free speech. He said it's enough that Alvarez has been publicly shamed.

"For the rest of his life he has to walk around with that look on his face and know that he was the biggest liar in the country on something that is so sensitive to our country," Hunt said.

Retired Army Lt. Hal Fritz said the court treated those medals as something abstract. But for him, it's a memory.

Fritz was leading a seven-vehicle armored column down a Vietnam highway in 1969 when enemy combatants launched a surprise attack from all sides. Fritz was seriously wounded in the crossfire, but ran through the machine gun blasts to rally his troops. After his platoon survived the first wave, Fritz charged into a second enemy advancement armed with only a pistol and a bayonet. He was seriously wounded, but refused medical attention until all of his men had been cared for. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1971.

"We would disagree with the majority saying lying about receiving the medals doesn't devalue them," said Fritz, 68, who now lives in Illinois. "I would say go back with me to Vietnam dragging the dead and dying off the battlefield."

The Medal of Honor is among the rarest of honors: Only 81 of the 3,457 recipients since the Civil War are still living. Of those, only three are younger than 35, according to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.

Of those interviewed, the Medal of Honor recipients agreed that Congress should try again to pass a similar law that would survive judicial scrutiny. That didn't ease the anger of people like Vietnam veteran Richard A. Pittman, who was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1968.

He had left his platoon to help Marines under fire, exhausting several machine guns before hurling his final weapon at the enemy: a grenade. His actions halted the Vietnamese advancement and bought time that saved many of his wounded companions.

"I'm supportive of the Constitution, but in this case I just think they're wrong," said Pittman, 68, who now lives in California. "I wonder what the Supreme Court would think if part of my resume said I was a member of the Supreme Court or I answered my phone `Justice Pittman.'"


AP Writer Chris Carola contributed from Albany.


Allen Reed can be reached on Twitter at:


Paris Jackson on ‘Ellen’: Says father, Michael Jackson, inspired her to be actress   on Astini News

LOS ANGELES — Michael Jackson's daughter says she was inspired to be an actress after seeing her father in the film "Moonwalker."

"My dad was in the movie 'Moonwalker' and I knew he could sing really well, but I didn't know he could act," Paris Jackson told talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, according to a transcript of the episode to air Thursday. "I saw that and I said, 'Wow, I want to be just like him."'

The film featuring Jackson's signature dance move and other videos was released in 1988.

Paris said her father encouraged her and did improvisation sessions to develop her skills. The 13-year-old has been cast alongside Larry King in a film based on a new children's book, "Lundon's Bridge and the Three Keys," which is in early stages of development.

The Internet Movie Database, known as IMDB, shows the film is tentatively scheduled for a 2013 release, although filmmakers have not presented the teen's proposed acting contract to a Los Angeles court as required because she is a minor.

Paris also talked about the lengths that her father took to protect her identity for an episode that will air on Thursday.

She said her father protected her and her two brothers from the media, such as by placing them in masks or dressing them in costumes when they were in public. She said she initially thought wearing the mask was stupid, but later came to realize that it was for her and her brothers' protection.

She said no one recognized her when she began attending school after her father's death in June 2009.

"I was like, yes, I have a chance to be normal," she said.

Jackson's children have since been in the public eye, appearing onstage at their father's televised memorial service, the Grammy Awards and other television appearances.


Preview: 3-D Space Shuttle Movie Will Bring the Launch Pad to Your Living Room | Wired Science on Astini News


If you missed the final launch of the Space Shuttle, or the first private spacecraft rendezvous with the International Space Station, fear not. A new documentary to be released late this year promises you a fiery, 3-D, launch-pad view of these historic flights.

A preview (above) of the film, Space Shuttle & The New Pioneers, was unveiled at the SETICON II conference June 22 in Santa Clara, California. The film chronicles the final days of the Space Shuttle program, from inside NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston to the launch pad at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

But since executive producer David Knight felt he "couldn't end the movie by saying 12,000 people were laid off," the film also follows the beginnings of the private space flight boom, as companies like SpaceX blast up to orbit.

The movie's makers are crowdsourcing some of their funding through the website Kickstarter until June 30. The film, planned for limited theatrical release, will be available on 3-D Blu-ray, as well as 2-D high-definition DVD, and will be provided for free to educational institutions, in the hopes of exciting kids about science and technology. Wired talked with Knight at SETICON about the film and the future of manned spaceflight.

Wired: Why did you decide to make this movie?

David Knight: When we started, it was a notion that somebody ought to cover the last missions of the space shuttle program. There had been many, many documentaries that tell you what the space shuttle is and about the astronauts and the crews, but nobody was covering the end of the space shuttle program and why it was ending. It wasn't a simple answer, like Congress forgot the money. And what comes after it? It turns out a plethora of things are coming after it that aren't just what SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is doing.

Early in the process I found myself standing underneath the Shuttle Discovery with Charles Bolden, the head of NASA, and I realized that there couldn't be a more important mission than getting young people excited about science and technology.

Wired: How did you first get involved in the spaceflight scene?

Knight: Back in 2003, I was visiting my parents and my brother had brought a stack of magazines. There was a copy of Wired, and on the cover was this crazy bug-eyed looking machine — a thing called SpaceShipOne, developed by the famous aircraft designer Burt Rutan. Burt Rutan was building this using financing from the co-founder of Microsoft, Paul Allen. And they were going to compete for the $10 million Ansari X Prize.

Three weeks later I found myself sitting on a jet with X Prize founder Peter Diamandis. I stopped working on the nascent tech venture I was about to start and decided I was going to join these X Prize guys.

Standing next to SpaceShipOne right after it returned from space — when the engine was still crackling — is a spectacular memory. Roll forward a number of years. Again I found myself standing by the countdown clock at Kennedy Space Center, about to watch the big one, the space shuttle. And next thing you know, I've decided to drop everything and make The Movie About the Space Shuttle.

Wired: You said nobody else was making this film. Why do you think that was?

David Knight: The people I asked told me, "Well, all the shuttle stuff's been done." And I said, "It hasn't."

Wired: Why did you choose to make the movie in 3-D?

Knight: I got to meet James Cameron and he told me something extremely valuable: He said, it's not that much more costly now to do things in 3-D, by filming two side-by-side high quality images. You're filming historic events. These things are never going to happen again so why don't you record them using redundant technology?

Wired: Who else was involved in making this movie with you?

Knight: James Cameron had this person that was sort of his right arm, named Haley Jackson. When I decided I was going to get into film production, I said, "May I borrow you to go to a space shuttle launch?" Another person who got involved is Buzz Hays, who at the time was the senior VP of technology at Sony Pictures and developed their 3-D technology center.

Wired: You started off wanting to make this iconic film about the end of the shuttle program, and at some point, it evolved into "what's coming next."

Knight: Yeah, I realized that we couldn't end the movie with "12,000 people were laid off." It just wasn't going to be a happy ending. Look at all the cool stuff that people are doing. So we sort of called it "the hopeful future," which includes all these amazing people that are taking their deep fortunes and spending them on building spacecraft. "Hopeful future" was a bit wishy-washy sounding, so I eventually decided to call these people "the new pioneers." I thought about calling them the "new mavericks," but I didn't want them to be confused with Tom Cruise in "Top Gun."

When you start looking at the panoply of spaceflight, it's actually humongous. I said, let's just talk about the new pioneers that are doing orbital spaceflight with the possibility of putting people up there.

Wired: Your movie has footage from a camera on the space shuttle's boosters. Is that in 3-D?

Knight: That's called RocketCam. We're going to take some of it and dimensionalize it (make it into 3-D). We actually have talked to NASA about putting a stereoscopic RocketCam on there, but it would probably cost all the money we've ever spent on this collectively to put another RocketCam on the outside surface of an object that can go 18,000 miles an hour.

Wired:  You were able to get pretty exclusive access to some events, such as the first two SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launches. How did you convince them to let you film?

Knight: I knew people. They just sort of called me a 'contractor.' When I got to the third launch, where Dragon capsule docked with the space station, they opened it up. And there were hundreds of reporters and photographers.

Wired: What do you still have left to do on the film?

Knight: This summer, we're going to be filming the interviews. We filmed all the stuff that's never going to happen again: launches, landings, that kind of stuff. And now we're going into the phase that's a lot calmer.

Wired: Is this a one-off project, or are you going to keep documenting it?

Knight: There are a lot of people saying, Why don't you make a sequel called "The New Pioneers?" Why not? There's so much still coming. It's going to take a few years before SpaceX can realistically start sending humans up there. As that approaches, it's going to be really exciting.

Wired: How do you see the future of orbital human spaceflight?

Knight: Here's an analogy: What do you need to build a hotel? You need materials, and you need big trucks and construction equipment. In order to build the International Space Station, we needed a "truck" — and that's the space shuttle. When the hotel opens, you don't see trucks in front — you don't need them. What's in front, once the hotel opens? Taxis, private cars, limousines. So now we're switching to [private] vehicles — a SpaceX Dragon capsule, the Soyuz capsule out of Russia.

What came out of the X-prize flights of SpaceShipOne in 2004 is that Sir Richard Branson and Burt Rutan built SpaceShipTwo, which is a lot bigger, and about 500 people have booked to go on it.

Wired: Are you planning to go up on SpaceShipTwo?

Knight:  I am. It'll probably be years away because there are so many people in front of me.

One thing I think is super interesting is something Paul Allen is doing with Burt Rutan and SpaceX, which is Stratolaunch. A gigantic version of SpaceShipTwo, it will be the biggest airplane in history. The way SpaceShipTwo works is that you lift the flying machine up to a high altitude and then you turn it on and go. SpaceX is going to build the rocket that hangs from the giant machine. That would literally have the effect on spaceflight that Moore's law and Intel did on the evolution of microprocessors: It would be an order of magnitude cheaper. And that's in our film.

Wired: What about luxury spaceflight?

Knight: Bob Bigelow (of Bigelow Aerospace) is now building big inflatable hotels that compact into the nose of a SpaceX rocket. And there have been a handful of "space tourists" who have spent a minimum fee of $20 million to train for six months in Russia and live for a week on the Space Station.

Wired: How has making this movie affected your view of manned spaceflight? Are you more pessimistic or optimistic now?

Knight: I've never diminished my optimism for private space flight. In the beginning I think I had a typical perspective on the [end of] the space shuttle program: What's wrong with those people? Now there's Elon Musk. SpaceX is the "Wild Wild West." I've been in so many startup companies, I immediately recognized that vibe. It's just like, "Get 'er done."

Wired: So in this movie, you want to inspire people about the process of getting up there?

Knight: You can't just have the ability, you have to have the fuel: money. So, anything that helps the public and eventually legislators understand what this is all about is really helpful. I think one of the reasons we didn't see Congress fund an obvious next step after the shuttle program is that nobody was really telling them about it.

The NASA party line is, We're now going to leave low-Earth orbit to private enterprise and the other partners in the station. NASA will now focus on its two primary missions. One is deep space exploration using robotic machines, including the new Mars rover and Voyager I. And the other is manned space missions. The mission is, first we're going to go land on an asteroid, and after that, we're going to Mars. Elon wants to go to Mars, NASA wants to go to Mars, President Obama wants to go to Mars, everybody wants to go to Mars!

Video: Terbine Entertainment.



Writer-director Nora Ephron dies at 71 - Entertainment News, Obituary, Media on Astini News



Nora Ephron& x2019;s most recent directing stint was 2009& x2019;s comedy-drama & x201C;Julie and Julia,& x201D; which she also adapted.

Nora Ephron's most recent directing stint was 2009's comedy-drama "Julie and Julia," which she also adapted.

Nora Ephron who started as an acerbic essay writer before moving into film as a director and being Oscar nommed for writing "Silkwood," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," died in a New York hospital on Tuesday. She was 71.Ephron died of complications from myelodysplasia, a blood disorder also called preleukemia, that was diagnosed six years ago. She directed eight films, the most recent of which was 2009's well-regarded Meryl Streep-Amy Adams starrer "Julie and Julia."Ephron picked up her first Oscar nomination in 1984 for the script she wrote with Alice Arlen to "Silkwood," also starring Streep. She was then nominated in 1990 for the romantic comedy "When Harry Met Sally," a huge box office hit that starred Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. With David S. Ward and Jeff Arch, she shared an Oscar nom in 1994 for "Sleepless in Seattle," starring Tom Hanks and Ryan.At the time of her death, Ephron had film projects in development including a biopic on singer Peggy Lee that she had penned and was to direct, with Reese Witherspoon starring and Marc Platt to produce at Fox 2000, and "Lost in Austen," which she had adapted and signed on to direct in April for Mammoth Screen and Sony. "Nora, as a writer, director and producer, is a legendary triple threat in entertainment's great trifecta: Broadway, Hollywood and publishing. With her passing, many lights have been extinguished -- studio lights, theater lights, of course. But mostly, the light from the chandelier above her dining table where so many gathered to share, with Nick and her sons, her extraordinary life. So many friends will miss her terribly and no longer know who to call, what to see, what to listen to, where and what to eat, and often, what to think. Such is her energy, her enthusiasm and her gift for friendship," said Sony Corporation chairman Howard Stringer."We are devastated and heartbroken. We all loved Nora very much," added Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chair Amy Pascal.Ephron began as a journalist in New York, scoring a scoop in 1966, while working for the Post, that Bob Dylan had secretly married. She raised her profile further with a 1972 essay, "A Few Words About Breasts," and became a widely known humorist through her perch as a columnist at Esquire, essays for other outlets and a series of essay collections. Her pointed, witty essays captured the zeitgeist of the times, often focusing on sex, food and New York City.Her second marriage, to journalist Carl Bernstein, led indirectly to her career as a filmmaker. William Goldman penned the screenplay to "All the President's Men," based on the book by Bernstein and Bob Woodward; "Carl and Bob weren't happy with it," she told the U.K.'s Guardian newspaper in 2007, "and decided they should redo it, which was not something they should have decided. So Carl and I rewrote William Goldman's script. It was a great way to learn, because Goldman was such a great screenwriter that just typing his stage directions taught me a huge amount." Their work was not used, but it did lead someone to offer her the job of penning a TV movie. After just two TV credits in the 1970s, for writing an episode of "Adam's Rib" and the telepic "Perfect Gentleman" in 1978, Ephron saw the "Silkwood" script she wrote with Alice Arlen made into a highly regarded film in 1983. The Mike Nichols-directed drama -- based on the true story of a whistleblower in the nuclear power industry who met a suspicious death -- was a far cry from the romantic comedies with which Ephron would later become associated. The real-life infidelity of husband Bernstein inspired Ephron's 1983 novel "Heartburn," which she adapted into the script for the 1986 Nichols film that starred Streep and Jack Nicholson. Continuing her interest in food, the novel included recipes from the main character, a magazine food writer.The success of "When Harry Met Sally," directed by Rob Reiner in 1989, vastly increased Ephron's standing in Hollywood. The film included many lines of memorable repartee between Crystal and Ryan, though the most-quoted, "I'll have what she's having," was said to have been improvised by thesp Estelle Reiner. Her long history in Hollywood -- and the way she saw her screenwriter parents treated -- led her to try directing, encouraged by Nichols. She made her directorial debut on a smaller film she also wrote, "This Is My Life," starring Julie Kavner as a standup comic with two young daughters, in 1992. The next year she directed the much higher-profile film "Sleepless in Seattle," a box office winner. "Sleepless" was the quintessential romantic comedy for some, though Variety and others found it "purposefully schmaltzy." She scored at the B.O. once more in 1998, writing and directing "You've Got Mail" and again working with Hanks and Ryan.Ephron and her sister wrote several projects together, including the Nora Ephron-directed adaptation of sitcom "Bewitched" in 2005, but the effort, starring Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell, was a disaster both critically and commercially.But her keen observations about aging in the 2006 essay collection "I Feel Bad About My Neck: And Other Reflections on Being a Woman" was a No. 1 bestseller. In 2010, another essay collection, "I Remember Nothing: And Other Reflections," was published.Born in New York City, Ephron was the daughter of screenwriters Henry and Phoebe Ephron, with whom she moved to Beverly Hills at the age of 4. Ephron made a foray into stagework with the 2002 play "Imaginary Friends," about the caustic rivalry between writers Lillian Hellman and Mary McCarthy. More recently, she wrote the play "Lucky Guy," about New York tabloid columnist Mike McAlary, and Tom Hanks was in talks to star in the production on Broadway next year.She received the DGA Honors in 2011, and Ephron was recognized several times by the Writers Guild of America, drawing original-screenplay nominations for "Silkwood," "When Harry Met Sally" and "Sleepless in Seattle," an adapted screenplay nom for "Julie and Julia" as well as the guild's Ian McLellan Hunter Award, presented to a WGA member in honor of his/her body of work as a writer in motion pictures or television, in 2003.Ephron was married three times, the first time to writer Dan Greenburg, the second to Bernstein. She is survived by her third husband, the writer Nicholas Pileggi; two sons by Bernstein, Jacob and Max, the latter an occasional actor; and sisters Delia and Amy, both screenwriters; and sister Hallie, a journalist and novelist.

Contact Carmel Dagan at


Lamisil on ringworm treatment - Lucius Schumacher on Astini News

Lamisil Oral Granules, manufactured by Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., are now approved for the treatment of childhood ringworm of the scalp, also known as tinea capitis. Ringworm is a fungal infection of the skin that often affects domesticated cats. A good treatment for

cats infected with ringworm is a drug called Lamisil (sometimes . Lifestyle, fitness & health information about Lamisil For Ringworm. 5 Things You Need . Ringworm Treatment; Tinea Corporis; Groin Itch; Jock Itch Ringworm; Miconazole For Ringworm Lamisil is an over-the-counter fungicidal antibiotic which comes in 250 mg tablets. For ringworm treatment, take a Lamisil tablet once daily for 6 weeks. Drug details for Allylamines for ringworm of the scalp or beard. What is the treatment for ringworm? Are there home remedies? Home remedies . Naftin), and terbinafine (Lamisil cream and solution). These treatments are effective for many . There was little or no fading during the butenafine treatment on August 1-2, then the remaining ringworm faded over the next ten days after the Lamisil was resumed . lamisil on ringworm treatment I've been doing the above treatment for 5 days and have . If he has tinea capitis or ring worm of the scalp, he . best choice considering the recent approval of Lamisil . Severe cases of infections in nails need oral treatments. With a product containing tolnaftate like antifungal Lamisil cream ringworm will be treated and faster relief . . Lotrimin, Cruex, Desenex (clotrimazole), Nizoral (ketoconazole), and Lamisil . of the scalp (tinea capitis) may also prove resistant to home care ringworm treatment . We know Lamisil Tablets as a treatment for nail fungus infection (onychomycosis) whose generic versions have been approved by the Terbinafine (Lamisil) Ringworm - Oral Treatment If there are several ringworm lesions or if the lesions are extensive, oral antifungal medications can be used. Includes: • Defining ringworm • Ringworm treatment • Prescription treatment . Terbinafine (Lamisil) Clotrimazole (Lotrimin, Mycelex) A lamisil on ringworm treatment steroid cream such as . The United States Food and Drug Administration recently approved the medication Lamisil for the treatment of tinea capitis, a fungal infection of the scalp. LamisilAT is a recommended treatment for fungal infections such as athlete's foot, jock itch and ringworm. Click here to get valuable coupons.

Hoboken skies to feature appearance from world's largest American flag on Astini News

The skies over Hoboken will feature a special patriotic guest tomorrow morning.

In what was become an annual tradition, the world's largest free-flying American flag will lift off from the campus of Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken.

The flag-shaped balloon will rise approximately 100 feet from the DeBaun Athletic Field at Stevens.

The specially-shaped hot air balloon measures in at 53 feet tall, 78 feet across, and 29 feet deep.

Those in the vicinity of Stevens should be able to catch a glimpse of it in the air between 8 and 9 a.m. tomorrow.

If you do miss it, the balloon will make an appearance at the 30th annual Quick Check New Jersey Festival of Ballooning in association with PNC Bank, held July 27-29 at the Solberg Airport in Readington, N.J.

The balloon's home is in Hoboken, and it was inflated last year for Flag Day.

Previous Coverage:
World's largest flying American flag to appear over Hoboken next month


Law & Order star Danny Pino back home in Miami - People on Astini News

Danny Pino never forgets where he came from. The actor is in town to visit his college alma mater (FIU), as well as friends and family, on a break from the NYC set of Law & Order: SVU. We talked to the father of two, 38, about his roots (he graduated from Miami Coral Park Senior High), his current TV gig and working with legends like Madonna.

You really are a local. How often do you come back to town?

I try to get here four to five times a year. I met my wife [actress Lilly Bernal] at Rockway Middle School. It was pretty much love at first talk. For us going home means going back to the 305. I'm very involved in FIU. I'm class of '96 and my wife is class of '97. I'm a member of the foundation board. We talk about where the university is strategically and the evolution of programs for the near and distant future.

What is it like joining such an established show?

I had been on another procedural show, Cold Case, for seven years, and I certainly respected the legacy of Law & Order, even though I had only seen a handful of episodes. Being a dad meant the reality was that I probably knew more about Dora and Diego [laughs]. But I saw the show with fresh eyes, and I wasn't coming in with a bunch of baggage.

How different is "Cold Case" vs. "Law & Order?"

The centerpiece of L&O is the crime, and it starts with the writing. There's a beginning, a middle and an end. It allows the audience to watch any given episode and can drop right in and not feel lost. I think the stark, raw structure has a lot to do with its longevity. There's also incredible chemistry that has changed but in a way gotten deeper and more interesting. With Cold Case, there's a much more poetic use of storytelling time, with the flashbacks and music and montages at the end. They are two different flavors.

You have worked with a diverse group of actors, in film, on stage, and on TV. How has that shaped you?

Thankfully I studied acting as a profession [at NYU] like anyone would study law or medicine. For me being in front of a camera is a matter of practicing and refining your art. I think if you're telling a story worth telling it's worth investing the time into developing.

What was it like acting with fellow Miamian Andy Garcia in the indie thriller "The Exodus of Charlie Wright?"

We watched Dolphins games together off set! He's become kind of like a mentor to me. A sounding board is so important to have in this business, which is often difficult to understand. I've always watched him and paid attention to his career. I have a lot of respect for him as an actor, musician, director, a family man, the Renaissance Man that he is. How he carries himself and his business. To call him a friend, well, you hate to say it's an honor, but you can't help it.

It must have been something to act alongside Madonna in the 2002 London play "Up for Grabs."

Everyone wants to know about that. She played an art dealer, and I was a dotcom millionaire cranked out on coke. What I can tell you is that she's incredibly professional. She works as hard as anyone I've ever worked with. I think her approach is different given she's a performer and been in front of an audience probably more than any actor could hope for, whether it's in concert or making appearances or whatnot. She's strong-willed, funny, generous. I grew to respect her process very much and learned a lot from her. You have to be on your toes; she never took a night off.


Sleeping Like Superman: Can I Survive For A Month Sleeping Two Hours A Day? on Astini News

For one month Kotaku editor Mark Serrels intends to sleep using the Uberman Sleep Schedule. Instead of one eight-hour block of sleep, he will have six 20 minute naps, spread evenly throughout the day. Madness, panic attacks, zombie sleep walks, catastrophic failure. These are all very real possibilities. This is Sleeping Like Superman.

"As a Doctor," said my friend, Clay, who is actually — believe it or not — a doctor, "you have my full permission and approval to try this."

"I just want to see what happens."

Hello, my name is Mark Serrels and it's very nice to meet you. I am 31 years old. I'm 5 feet 9 inches tall. I weigh 72 kgs. I am married to a beautiful girl, who is pregnant with our first child. I'm about to go on an adventure.

A sleepy adventure.

Most human beings on this planet, including myself until today, have a very specific way of sleeping. They go to bed, they get eight hours of rest and then they wake up. They stay awake for the following 16 hours and then start the entire cycle all over again.

I want to try something a little different.

That something is polyphasic sleep.

When a human being decides to divide their sleep schedule into more than one block, that is polyphasic sleep. It's also a strange form of madness. Some of you (especially parents) may already be in the midst of some form of amended sleep schedule. This also applies if you're partial to the odd nap.

The sleep schedule I intend to use is a little more extreme. It's called the Uberman schedule, and it looks like this.

For the next month I'll be sleeping for 20 minutes every four hours — if I can stay awake. 2am, 6am, 10am, 2pm, 6pm, 10pm; at these specific points in time, no matter what I am doing, I will stop and attempt to sleep for 20 minutes. Then I will continue on with my day, until the distinctions between my days become meaningless.

The Uberman Schedule

'Uberman': the term comes from the German phrase Ubermensch, a word that — literally — means 'Overman' or 'Superman'. Introduced by Friedrich Nietzsche in his book Thus Spoke Zarathustra, the Ubermeshch was intended to be a goal for humanity to set itself. The Superman: an inspired being willing to risk all for the enhancement of his own humanity. Picture from Wikimedia Commons

Staying awake during this experiment is the only goal I have set for myself, and most people I've spoken to, including my own wife, expect me to fail miserably. I am not a Superman, or an Overman. I wouldn't even make a decent Aquaman, yet for some strange reason, I truly believe I have the willpower to see this through.

But I am terrified. I'm scared of the consequences, both short term and long term. Will this experiment fry my brain to a frilly crisp? Will it negatively affect my health or mental well-being? Will I put on weight? Will I still be able to exercise? Will I be able to function correctly as a normal human being? Will I be able to stay up and watch Wimbledon if Andy Murray makes it to the final (he won't!)

It's difficult to say, and I'm getting mixed messages. One friend on Twitter told me his friend had to be hospitalised after attempting to transition into polyphasic sleep. Another, who has agreed to mentor me during the whole experience, miraculously managed to maintain the Uberman schedule for up for six months.

But everyone, everyone, says that the first week is the hardest.

The first week: the transition, the (deliberately) sleepless nights. One man stared at a wall for 90 minutes straight. Another found himself awake, but unconscious, strolling down the corridors of his apartment building, completely unaware of himself and his surroundings. Another baked many, many delicious pastries and consumed them. Others just feel the will to live slowly seep from the pores of their skin.

I've had multiple different types of advice for this initial breaking in period, to help shock my body from one large block of sleep to multiple tiny naps. Some examples:

  • Don't drink caffeine.
  • Drink caffeine.
  • Don't lie down. Ever.
  • Don't even sit down if you can help it
  • Do jumping jacks.
  • Dance in the middle of the night.
  • Eat small meals.
  • Find a project.
  • Eat spinach.
  • Avoid eating too many carbs.
  • Play video games standing up.
  • Play ping pong.
  • Go for long walks at night.
  • Be disciplined.
  • Don't miss naps.

Whatever you do, don't miss naps.

The fear

I'm afraid of madness. I'm afraid of hallucinations. I am afraid I'm jumping into this with too little preparation. I am afraid of having to go to hospital. I am afraid of permanent brain damage. I am afraid of setting the house on fire whilst attempting to bake many, many delicious pastries. I am afraid of not being able to function as a normal human in normal society.

But I am also afraid of failure, and I want to push on. I am curious. I want to know if I have the pure will power to make it through the difficult first week, I want to unlock the hours of extra time. I want to be more productive. I want more time for video games, for writing, for cooking, for . . . everything. Life is short, and I want more time on this planet. Picture by David Blaikie

I want to see what happens when I push my own limits. Will I crack under that pressure?

For the next month I will be writing about my experiences. Every day. I'll be writing about how I adjust, what I do to stay awake, what I do with the extra time.

Most likely I'll be writing about my inevitable, catastrophic failure.

Either way, I'm excited. And afraid.

Follow Mark's adventures over the next month in the Sleeping Like Superman series on Lifehacker.


Oosthuizen eyes second major title at Olympic - Golf on Astini News

Louis Oosthuizen of South Africa watches his tee shot on the 16th hole before winning the European PGA Tour Malaysian Open at the Kuala Lumpur

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Two months after the bitter disappointment of losing a playoff for the Masters, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen is hoping a recent dip in form will not derail his tilt at a second major title at this week's U.S. Open.

The 29-year-old has triumphed twice worldwide this season but has not been at his best in recent weeks, missing three cuts in his last four PGA Tour starts.

"I'm probably not where I want to be going into the U.S. Open but I feel like I am really close," Oosthuizen told Reuters on a sun-drenched afternoon at the Olympic Club on Monday.

"The season has been good, it's just the last month that I haven't really felt comfortable over the golf ball. I've worked on a few things and I feel a lot better now."

He launched his 2012 campaign with a successful title defense at the Africa Open, then rebounded from his Masters disappointment in April with victory at the Malaysian Open.

"Overall, I am very happy with the season," the South African world number 16 said. "I've just got to take it on from here and try to do the same that I did in Houston and Augusta."

Oosthuizen, who won his only major title with a commanding seven-stroke victory at the 2010 British Open, finished third at the Houston Open in April, a week before his playoff loss to American left-hander Bubba Watson at the Masters.

The compact South African, whose swing is widely regarded as one of the best in the game, thrilled the Masters galleries with a rare albatross at the par-five second in the final round to grab a two-shot lead.

However, he was eventually caught by a charging Watson, who went on to claim his maiden major title with a par at the first extra hole after conjuring a miraculous shot from pine straw that hooked 40 yards onto the green.


"I played well at Augusta and I'm not feeling like I threw it away or anything," Oosthuizen said. "I just got outplayed and I think that's the way you want to lose a major - if there is a way.

"You are always disappointed knowing you came that close but it makes next year at Augusta just a bit sweeter to go back and try to win it."

This week, Oosthuizen faces a challenging par-70 Lake Course at Olympic which will host the U.S. Open for a fifth time.

Though the hilly layout has no water hazards, no out-of-bounds and only one fairway bunker, on the par-four sixth, its first six holes constitute possibly the toughest start to any major championship.

"You'd probably rather have those six holes early out rather than looking up to them at the end of the round but there are a lot of tough holes there," Oosthuizen, who played all 18 holes in practice on Monday, said with a grin.

"There's not really any hole where you can stand on the tee knowing you can birdie it or feeling like you've got a very good chance you're going to birdie it.

"It's one of those stretches where you've just got to keep patient and know that everyone is going to make bogeys."

Simply "making pars" was the biggest challenge at Olympic, he said: "It's just a tough golf course. You need to hit the fairways off the tees and then the greens are really, really firm and really fast."

A unique aspect of the Lake Course is the number of dogleg fairways which slant in an opposite direction, but Oosthuizen preferred to focus on the upside to this quirk.

"It actually gets you to hit shapes," he said. "I like seeing shapes off the tee ... where you've got to hit a draw into a fairway that sits left-to-right."

The 112th U.S. Open starts on Thursday when Oosthuizen will tee off from the ninth hole in the company of Australian Jason Day and American Jason Dufner.

(Editing by Peter Rutherford)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2012. Check for restrictions at:



The CareGiver Partnership Joins Forces with Faces of Spina Bifida Magazine on Astini News

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