Dec 20, 2012

Kim Kardashian to Instagram — Don’t Mess with My Pics … OR ELSE!!!

Kim K to Instagram:
Don’t Mess with My Pics
… OR ELSE!!!

EXCLUSIVE


Instagram‘s problems could get A LOT worse … ’cause the app’s #1 user — Kim Kardashian — is telling friends she’s considering LEAVING unless its new policies are drastically revised, ASAP.

Instagram has been under serious fire this week … after the company announced a new terms of service policy (T.O.S.) which seemed to give the company power to sell user photos to outside companies without having to compensate the user. Instagram says the widespread interpretation of the policy was simply not true … they’re NOT selling user photos … and apologized for the “confusing” language. Instagram says it’s revising the wording and will release a new TOS in the near future.

But Kim K isn’t convinced … at least not yet … and is telling friends she’s thinking about shutting down her Instagram account, going to a rival photo-posting company … and taking ALL OF HER FOLLOWERS WITH HER.

It’s a big deal … considering KK has the most followers of any Instagram user at 5,726,343 … way past Justin Bieber (4,366,729) and President Barack Obama (1,834,079).

Plus, if Kim goes … her family members could follow … and Khloe, Kylie, Kendall and Rob are also in the Top 10 most followed on the site.

One source close to Kim tells us the reality star is planning on waiting to see the revised  T.O.S. before she makes her final decision … but unless she sees some radical changes, she’s outtie 5000.

Amy Crews Gloria Steinem

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Dec 20, 2012

30 Thoughts: NHL opts to play waiting game

The NHL doesn’t believe the NHL Players’ Association is truly ready to make a deal so barring a change, it’s just going to sit tight.

As we wait for this hockey lunacy to get sorted out, here is my best attempt at a bias-free blog on where things stand.

We have killed a lot of trees and wasted a ton of bandwidth arguing about the ongoing vote into the possibility of decertifying the NHL Players’ Association. I get mixed messages about how serious the players are about going down this road. There are some who really want to do it.  But there are others who want no part of it unless the NHL cancels the season.

Should that apocalyptically stupid scenario actually occur, the last three months will seem like a kiddie party compared to what happens next. The players and owners will really go for the jugular. But as one source said Wednesday: “We need an external push.”

A legal threat could be just that, as it was in the NBA one year ago. Another, of course, is the true deadline for cancelling the season. As of yet, the NHL refuses to reveal that information, although it’s probably around Jan. 15 at the latest.

I don’t believe either constituency supports a lost season. The players want to play and the owners do, too. But the biggest problem is that they don’t trust each other and the path is littered with poison.

As infuriating as all of this is, it’s better they’re not meeting. The breakdowns of the past two weeks are proof that the NHL and NHLPA should not be anywhere near each other unless they’re both serious about making a deal. You can blame who you want, be my guest. But the truth is this: the desire to agree to a new collective bargaining agreement was not 100 per cent there on either side. Collapses only make things worse, so it sounds like the NHL is making a change in strategy.

I don’t know if the league underestimated NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr or just received horrible intel on him. But it did not recognize two very important things.

First, Fehr’s idealogical beliefs are very strong. You may consider his CBA history lessons boring or irrelevant. But he doesn’t. More importantly, he convinced the players how much it mattered and they rallied behind him.

There’ve been times during this process when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman’s supporters have taken issue with my position that he has disrespected the players. That’s fair comment and those people are correct to point out that the players, especially on Twitter, have disrespected him, too. But the fact is that some of the NHL’s negotiating moves helped Fehr gain a greater buy-in. There is no doubt in my mind the vast majority of the players want to play. But some of Bettman’s decisions accomplished the reverse, pushing the NHLPA in the opposite direction. It was counter-productive.

The second thing the NHL missed was Fehr’s history of waiting until the last second to make deals. Whatever mistakes the league made in this process, it wanted to be playing by now. We’ve talked about the Proskauer Rose playbook and how this is all scripted by “the law firm that’s ruining sports.” But I really believe this has gone further than Bettman wanted it to, which is why he looks so frustrated. Now Fehr is controlling the tempo and has convinced his constituency that the owners will make final concessions at the end. A lot of players don’t like how long this is taking yet they seem to believe that.

Hence, the NHL’s change in strategy. It’s going to wait.

When Ron Burkle (Pittsburgh), Mark Chipman (Winnipeg), Larry Tanenbaum (Toronto) and Jeff Vinik (Tampa Bay) joined the fray two weeks ago, the NHL was upset its decision to raise the make-whole amount to $300 million wasn’t received well by the players. Again, everyone can argue who is right and who is wrong. But those owners really thought that was going to be a significant move towards getting an agreement done. It didn’t happen and, angrily, that offer was pulled from the table. 

I have had no correspondence with Bettman or deputy commissioner Bill Daly for this blog. However, after several conversations with other NHL executives, my opinion is if those two had reason to believe that putting the make-whole provision back on the table and moving in the players’ direction on contracting issues would lead to an NHLPA vote on their latest proposal, they’d be at the bargaining table immediately to find a way to do it. But they don’t believe that’s a possibility. What they see is a repeat of New York City, where these things are offered and the players say, “Thank you … and we’ll see what else there is.”

Bettman and Daly won’t take that risk. You can argue whether or not they are right or wrong to hold that position. But I think that’s where we are. The NHL doesn’t believe the NHLPA is truly ready to make a deal. So barring a change, it’s going to sit tight.

30 THOUGHTS

1. After hearing Kyle Turris’ reported thoughts about Finland, I thought he was joking, not trying to be harmful, and that he forgot two things. First, people don’t like it when you make fun of their countries, even if not meant maliciously. Second, right now, when it comes to hockey, people don’t have much of a sense of humour about anything.

2. Next apology? Evander Kane, who tweeted this photo early Wednesday morning. Oof. It’s a good thing people aren’t prone to overreacting on Twitter.

3. Winnipeg Jets teammate Ron Hainsey had a lot of interesting things to say about Kane. He’s a big fan. Hainsey believes Kane is a phenomenal talent, joking that “I can’t lift 230 [pounds] once and he does it over-and-over again as a warmup.” The thing, though, is Kane is 21 and impulsive and needs people around him to make sure he thinks things through. Clearly, that didn’t happen here. 

4. I really hate filling this with lockout-related items, so sorry in advance. But there’s some stuff to go over. Let’s look at some of the sticking points. In the aforementioned NYC negotiations, the NHLPA dropped a demand that, starting in Year 2 of the new CBA, its amount of the financial pie was protected from dropping below the previous season’s. But it did ask for a cap on escrow. I just can’t see the owners going for that at all, even with the 2012-13 schedule on the line.

5. I think the $300-million make-whole is back on the table if the NHL gets a 10-year agreement with an out after eight (as requested by the players).

6. We’ve heard Fehr’s arguments that 10 years is too long because too many players entering the league will be subject to a CBA they didn’t vote on. To me, the bigger question is what’s better for the players — that philosophy or business partners confident that they can sign a decent-sized contract with the NHL and not have to worry about another work stoppage?

7. NHL owners are going to have to move on the five-year max contracts (seven for your own free agents). I know I mentioned it last week, but the effects of Vincent Lecavalier on the Tampa sale and Ilya Kovalchuk on the continuing New Jersey situation have these guys totally spooked. Yes, it’s their own fault and they know it. That’s why they’ve got to go six and eight.

8. The one I’m really having trouble pinning down is the amnesty buyout. It’s very difficult to get a read on what’s going to happen here because word is the commissioner is absolutely against anything that doesn’t count against the salary cap. But you look at the possibility of a $60-million ceiling next season, see where some teams are and say, “This isn’t possible without one.”

9. One possibility: when Ken Hitchcock was hired by St. Louis, he was still owed about $1.3 million by Columbus. The Blues can’t pay him $1 and have the Blue Jackets cough up $1,299,999. There is a formula the league uses where the new team must pay market value, where you look at the salaries of other coaches with his level of experience.

10. So what if you tried that? Well, Wade Redden has played 994 NHL games. If you add up the combined 2011-12 salaries of active players within 50 games of that, you get $3,657,533. (Range: Lecavalier to Petr Sykora.) Redden’s current contract pays him $5 million for this year and next with a cap hit of $6.5 million. The New York Rangers should get stuck with the higher number so, if another team wants him, it must take a cap hit of $2,842,467 (ie. 6.5 million minus 3,657,533).

11. I have to tell you, nothing I’ve suggested in my career was dismissed as quickly as that and I’ve had some really bad ideas. The first two execs I asked shot it down so badly that I didn’t even ask a third. It was interesting because the first GM said, “No one would sign Redden at that number.” What’s key here are the words “at that number” — we’ll get to that later.

12. In the middle of the night, I thought of something else. As it stands now, the buyout for Redden is 67 per cent of his salary over double the term remaining, so the Rangers pay out $6.7 million during the next four years (assuming no change in the next CBA). What if you affected his cap hit the same way? Give New York a choice: $6.5 million on your cap for two years or $4.355 million for four. Do the math and $4,355,000 minus $3,657,533 is $697,467. Now Redden gets another shot.

13. One final note on Redden. It looks like the Rangers have all but guaranteed he is getting the buyout (if there is one) and the sense is there is going to be a lot of interest in him. Don’t know what the final salary will be. But if he’s willing to be reasonable — and you have to believe he will be — he’s going to have options. Lots of execs think he will be good value at a lower number.

14. I ran the same numbers on Scott Gomez. He has played 902 NHL games. The average salary in 2011-12 for players who’ve dressed for between 852 and 952 games was $3,124,656 (Range: Brad Richards to Jamal Mayers).

15. The second thing I suggested was what if teams who buy out a player can only carry 22 on their roster instead of 23? The execs liked it even less … can’t imagine that would thrill the NHLPA, either.

16. Anyway, if I was the commissioner, I’d be quietly polling my owners, asking how many of them would consider an amnesty buyout on their roster. I didn’t ask a ton of guys. But those I did talk to said the number might be lower than we think. Bettman can decide what’s an acceptable amount. However, for argument’s sake, if it’s 15, is it really worth cancelling the season for that?

17. Last thing on this topic. If I was a “have” financially, I’d be demanding it. What else are you getting in this CBA? The share is going down to 50/50 and anything you save there is going into revenue sharing. 

18. I get asked about the Olympics quite a bit. Nothing is nailed down and it might be done separately from this CBA, but it sounds like both sides want to make it work.

19. Fehr’s mentor, the late Marvin Miller, absolutely hated the idea of every player being made a free agent — a move threatened by the NHL’s anti-disclaimer legal brief. There’s a pretty famous story of former Oakland A’s owner Charlie Finley saying baseball should do just that and Miller being relieved because he knew the other owners would never listen. Miller understood the perfect setup was similar to last summer in the NHL, when you had a few A-level guys — Shea Weber, Zach Parise, Ryan Suter — drive up the price for everyone. 

20. Seth Jones: crossover appeal — a Page Six mention! (courtesy Nirva Milord from the NHL office) His father is one of the 10 nicest people on the planet.

21. Last week, it was discovered a Boston Bruins fan made a tattoo out of a Tyler Seguin autograph. This happened to Ryan Miller in Buffalo, only it was a female and, I believe, her thigh. Miller wins.

22. I’m not a big fan of players being kept from the world juniors by their NHL teams. If the player makes it clear he doesn’t want to go, like Jason Spezza after three appearances, that’s one thing. But I’m really torn on Mika Zibanejad. If he was from Swift Current, not Stockholm, we’d be demanding a federal investigation.

23. Zibanejad is struggling with AHL Binghamton. He has just seven points in 16 games and, while plus/minus is a flawed stat, he has one of the worst numbers on a team with few negative players. You have to assume the Senators want him to make an NHL impact as soon as possible, especially since they will try to continue momentum from their surprising 2011-12. I can see their rationale. 

24. A lot of people were very surprised that Frankie Corrado and Derrick Pouliot did not make Team Canada. There are always debates and those two were this year’s hotly discussed omissions.

25. Make it four straight wins for the Portland Pirates, Phoenix’s AHL edition. The Coyotes have some blue-liners coming, too. We know about Oliver Ekman-Larsson, who scored major points by deciding to stay in the AHL rather than going for a more lucrative contract overseas. But there are more.

26. David Rundblad’s overall game has improved this season — and at an important time in his career. He is a 17th overall pick (2009) who has already been traded twice and needs to establish himself. He’ll never be a monster along the boards. But there is a noted difference in his willingness to compete in that area. A guy who always competed defensively, Mike Stone, is on pace for the best offensive numbers of his career.

27. Then there’s Brandon Gormley, who fell to 13th in the 2010 draft amid expectations he would go higher. There were questions about his strength after a poor pre-draft combine. But a few teams saw his skill level and believed that, once he filled out, he’d be just fine. Gormley’s still not where he’s going to be size-wise but it’s coming. And he’s got a great head for the game.

28. A number of coaches, executives and scouts going back to junior really praise Gormley’s ability to get his shot through. In an era of blocking, that’s a big deal. Plus, he has a real confidence at the opposing blue-line. He is willing to stand outside the zone to make a play while keeping the puck inside the line. I understand why the Coyotes are so excited about him.

29. At the NHL board of governors meeting two weeks ago, a young man named Jim Charshafian waited outside Proskauer Rose, trying to make contacts and handing out his resume. Charshafian worked for the AHL San Antonio Rampage last season and was looking for something new. It’s hard to get your foot in the door and not easy to cold call like that. Good luck.

30. As we approach Christmas and the Holiday season, I wanted to send the best to anyone financially affected by the lockout. There are thousands of part-time, full-time or laid-off employees whose situations are tougher than they’d want because of this outrageous battle. This is a hard time of year to feel that way. Hopefully, you get your wish — an end, and soon. 

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Holly Hunter Amy Crews

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Dec 19, 2012

Don’t Give Government Too Much Credit

In Newsday, Reason magazine Contributing Editor Cathy Young writes:

Entrepreneurs “give back” to society not only in taxes but in products that improve our lives — and in charity. While individual success is aided by public institutions, private associations such as family and community often play a larger role.

Obama is not a quasi-communist; he is just a liberal. Yet at a time when more than 40 percent of our gross domestic product is spent by government, we should be asking how much government is too much. Obama’s speech suggests that his instinct is for more, not less.

Full column at Newsday.

Zooey Deschanel Sara Cox

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Dec 19, 2012

Harper says lockout dangerous business for NHL

The NHL is treading on dangerous territory with its second lengthy lockout in under a decade, Prime Minister Stephen Harper warned in a television interview Tuesday.

In an interview with TVA in Quebec on the 94th day of the lockout, Harper said the situation is disappointing all around.

Harper said that the league is risking its brand and relationship with sponsors as a result of the impasse.

Harper, an enthusiastic fan of the sport, said he’ll be turning his attention soon to Canada’s team at the world junior hockey championships in Russia.

In August, the prime minister said if the lockout were to occur, he hoped that Canadians would get enthusiastic about other hockey teams and leagues, including university, junior and women’s hockey.

U.S. President Barack Obama has also been asked about the NHL lockout at least twice since it began in September. Last week, Obama told a Minneapolis television station that the league and its players’ association should “do right by the fans.”

Christine Anu Rachael Leigh Cook

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Dec 19, 2012

Glew: Dickey worth hefty price tag for Blue Jays

If you weren’t convinced that the Toronto Blue Jays were going all in to win a championship in 2013 after their blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last month, then you should be now with the acquisition of R.A. Dickey.

If you weren’t convinced that the Toronto Blue Jays were going all-in to win a championship in 2013 after their blockbuster trade with the Miami Marlins last month, then you should be now.

With the acquisition of National League Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey on Monday, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has added another elite arm to the club’s starting rotation, which also includes Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow and Ricky Romero. That’s now arguably the best in the majors.

The Blue Jays did, however, pay a steep price for Dickey, shipping prized catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, heralded young hurler Noah Syndergaard, veteran catcher John Buck and teenage outfielder Wuilmer Becerra to the New York Mets. The Blue Jays also receive catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas in the trade.

The deal for the 38-year-old knuckleballer, who will make $5 million US in 2013, wasn’t finalized until he passed a physical and signed a two-year, $24-million extension (that includes a $12-million club option for 2016). According to FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, the trade had been contingent on Dickey signing an extension by 2 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

The Mets decided to part ways with Dickey after they couldn’t come to terms with him on an extension.

Long road to the majors

It hasn’t been an easy road to stardom for Dickey. The six-foot-three right-hander was drafted in the first round by the Texas Rangers in 1996. But after selecting him, the Rangers discovered that Dickey had no ulnar collateral ligament in his pitching arm. Fearing that Dickey’s arm would break down, the Rangers signed him for just $75,000.

With an arsenal that included an average fastball, an unimpressive changeup and a mysterious forkball, Dickey did eventually make the big leagues and pitch for parts of five seasons for the Rangers with limited success. Prior to the 2005 campaign, he realized his forkball was similar to a hard knuckleball and he worked to perfect the pitch.

But success continued to elude him for several years, and after two mediocre seasons with the Seattle Mariners and Minnesota Twins in 2008 and 2009, respectively, he signed a minor league deal with the Mets.

After spending the first month of the 2010 season in Triple-A, Dickey was promoted and finally excelled at the big league level, pitching superbly for the Mets in 2010 (2.84 ERA in 27 games) and 2011 (3.28 ERA in 33 games), before notching 20 wins and posting a 2.73 ERA this past season.

Naturally, there are questions about Dickey’s advanced age and how his knuckleball — which he throws harder than a traditional knuckler — will fare against explosive American League East offences. But in six interleague starts against AL East clubs in the past three seasons, Dickey has recorded a 1.71 ERA in 42 innings. And over the past three seasons, the soft-throwing right-hander has been extremely durable. This year he topped the National League in starts (33), innings pitched (233-2/3), complete games (five) and shutouts (three). It’s also important to note that knuckleballers’ arms generally don’t age as rapidly as other pitchers’ arms.

Thole, Dickey’s light-hitting batterymate, was also acquired in the deal. He’ll likely serve as Dickey’s personal catcher and save J.P. Arencibia from having to purchase a larger catcher’s mitt.

Born in Vancouver, B.C., Nickeas, who hit .174 in 47 games with the Mets last season, will provide the Jays with catching depth in Triple-A.

Lofty cost

Dickey definitely makes the Jays better in 2013, but they paid a lofty cost for him. Acquired in the Roy Halladay deal in 2009, d’Arnaud was the club’s top prospect. The promising 23-year-old catcher was hitting .333 with 16 homers in 67 games at Triple-A Las Vegas this past season before he tore the posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. The injury has left some wondering how well his knee will hold up behind the plate. And as heralded as d’Arnaud is as a catcher, talent evaluators point out that if he were moved to another position, his offensive output would look more pedestrian.

The 20-year-old Syndergaard was one of the Jays’ top pitching prospects. The six-foot-five flame-thrower struck out 122 batters in 102-2/3 innings in Class-A this past season, but scouts are split on him. Some believe he’ll be a No. 2 starter, while others suggest his lack of an effective breaking pitch will eventually relegate him to the bullpen.

Buck, who’s set to make $6 million in 2013, was never really in Toronto’s plans, while Becerra is an 18-year-old Venezuelan outfielder who made his professional debut in Rookie Ball this season. His power and speed convinced the Jays to give him a $1.3-million signing bonus in 2011.

The acquisition of Dickey is another “win now” transaction by Anthopoulos that nicely complements his November 19 mega-deal in which he landed Johnson, Buehrle, Buck, Jose Reyes and Emilio Bonifacio from the Marlins.

After a dreadful 73-89 campaign, the Jays desperately needed to improve their starting rotation, and what Anthopoulos has accomplished to enhance the staff this off-season has been remarkable. In addition to dealing for All-Stars Johnson and Buehrle, he has now reeled in the reigning National League Cy Young Award winner.

Market value

But was the price for Dickey too high?

I don’t think so. The Royals surrendered Wil Myers, arguably the best offensive prospect in baseball, in a package for right-hander James Shields. Free agent Anibal Sanchez, a less successful pitcher than Dickey, just secured a whopping five-year, $80-million deal. So the price for top-flight starting pitching is incredibly high.

In isolation, this move might look like an overpay by the Jays. But when you analyze it in conjunction with the players acquired from Miami and the comparative inactivity of the Jays’ American League East rivals, it’s a transaction that makes sense. Next season, the Jays have a rare opportunity to rise to the top of the American League East and Dickey just might be the final piece to help them do this.

So although I hate to see the Jays part with d’Arnaud and Syndergaard, the acquisition of Dickey is the type of brave, bold move that the Jays need to make to capitalize on the short-term vulnerability of their division rivals.

It’s also a clear statement that they’re going all-in to win a championship in 2013.  

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Tammy Gretchen Robyn Douglas

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Dec 18, 2012

Jesse Ronson guns for UFC contract following weekend win over Ryan Healy

Sore hands and feet are Jesse Ronson’s only career roadblocks at this moment.

Ronson believes a recent victory over fellow lightweight Ryan Healy proves he’s capable of joining his well-known teammates in the UFC.

“I would like for this fight to put me on the next level, but we’ll see how it goes,” he told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).

Ronson (12-2) dominated Healy (23-12) over three rounds to earn a unanimous-decision win at this past Friday’s Score Fighting Series 7 event, which took place at Hamilton Place Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. The event’s main card, including Ronson’s feet, aired on AXS TV.

One judge scored the lopsided fight 30-25 in favor of Ronson, a native of nearby London, Ontario. The crowd, including 75 of his friends and family, chanted “UFC” during the action.

Ronson, though, snickered at the thought of a UFC offer on his desk.

“I didn’t know they came that soon,” he joked. “Was I supposed to get it on Saturday?”

The 26-year-old has had far more time to win over his training partners at London’s Adrenaline Training Center, which Sam Stout, Chris Horodecki and Mark Hominick founded. An endorsement from the Canadian MMA stars won him the representation of agent Rob Roveta.

“They’re pulling for me,” Ronson said. “We’ll see if I get that call.”

The resources at Ronson’s disposal were considerably smaller in his early career. He trained at a kickboxing academy in London and had few grappling partners.

“I would do jiu-jitsu with the guys that were there,” he said, “with guys that didn’t know what jiu-jitsu was, and I was fighting MMA.”

That changed when Ronson joined Adrenaline in September 2010. Although he went 1-2 in his next three outings, including an eye-opening loss to the well-rounded Mike Ricci of “The Ultimate Fighter 16″ fame, he has won his past seven fights.

And Healy, who’s brother is current Strikeforce contender Pat Healy, couldn’t keep the fight on the mat to ground and pound him.

Although satisfied with his win, Ronson expressed frustration at being unable to finish his opponent, who took no fewer than three head kicks in the waining minute of the third and final round.

“I was just upset because I think I landed six or seven clean ones with my power leg and two or three with my lead leg, and I was like, ‘This guy has to go down from one of these,’” Ronson said. “So I threw the one and he wobbled, so I’m like, ‘One more and he’s going down.’ I hit him with the second one, and he didn’t go down. The more he didn’t go down, the more I wanted to hurt him and try to knock him out.”

The knockout didn’t come, but Ronson certainly made a statement about his abilities.

If the UFC comes calling, he said he’d like to fight in February. But in reality, any time will do.

“If they call me and say, ‘Do you want to fight this guy,’ I’m not going to say no,” Ronson said.

For more on Score Fighting Series 7, stay tuned to the MMA Events section of the site.

Arline Hunter Sonya Kraus

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Dec 18, 2012

UFC on FOX 5′s FX-televised prelims add Easton-Assuncao and Siver-Phan

Two fights have joined FX’s super-sized preliminary-card broadcast for next week’s UFC on FOX 5 event.

FX now airs six fights, not the usual four, prior to the Dec. 8′s main-card broadcast on FOX.

The bouts include bantamweights Mike Easton (13-1 MMA, 3-0 UFC) vs. Raphael Assuncao (18-4 MMA, 2-1 UFC) and featherweights Dennis Siver (20-8 MMA, 9-5 UFC) vs. Nam Phan (18-10 MMA, 2-3 UFC).

UFC on FOX 5 takes place Dec. 8 at Seattle’s KeyArena and features a main event between lightweight champion Benson Henderson and top contender Nate Diaz.

Although FUEL TV carried past UFC on FOX prelims, they now head to the bigger FX. Other bouts part of next week’s three-hour broadcast, which follows additional prelims on Facebook, include heavyweights Brendan Schaub (8-3 MMA, 4-3 UFC) vs. Lavar Johnson (17-6 MMA, 2-1 UFC), “The Ultimate Fighter 15″ lightweight winner Michael Chiesa (8-0 MMA, 1-0 UFC) vs. Marcus LeVesseur (22-6 MMA, 1-1 UFC), “TUF 13″ runner-up Ramsey Nijem (6-2 MMA, 2-1 UFC) vs. fellow lightweight Joe Proctor (8-1 MMA, 1-0 UFC), and lightweights Yves Edwards (41-18-1 MMA, 9-6 UFC) vs. Jeremy Stephens (20-8 MMA, 7-6 UFC).

The full UFC on FOX 5 card includes:

MAIN CARD (FOX, 8 p.m. ET)

  • Champ Benson Henderson vs. Nate Diaz (for lightweight title)
  • Alexander Gustafsson vs. Mauricio “Shogun” Rua
  • Rory MacDonald vs. B.J. Penn
  • Matt Brown vs. Mike Swick

PRELIMINARY CARD (FX, 5 p.m. ET)

  • Lavar Johnson vs. Brendan Schaub
  • Mike Chiesa vs. Marcus LeVesseur
  • Raphael Assuncao vs. Mike Easton
  • Nam Phan vs. Dennis Siver
  • Ramsey Nijem vs. Joe Proctor
  • Yves Edwards vs. Jeremy Stephens

PRELIMINARY CARD (Facebook, 3:30 p.m. ET)

  • Daron Cruickshank vs. Henry Martinez
  • John Albert vs. Scott Jorgensen
  • Tim Means vs. Abel Trujillo

For more on UFC on FOX 5, stay tuned to the UFC Rumors section of the site.

(Pictured: Mike Easton)

Nigel Hawthorne Jacinta Stapleton

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Dec 17, 2012

La Toya Jackson — My Dogs Only Drink FIJI Water

La Toya Jackson
My Dogs Only Drink Fiji

EXCLUSIVE

121712_layota_jackson_launch
La Toya Jackson wants nothing but the BEST for her two dogs — telling TMZ, her little flea bags drink ONLY Fiji-brand water.

La Toya was out in Beverly Hills Sunday night when we asked her all about her two pups — named Prince and Paris … after La Toya’s famous niece and nephew.

And that’s when she dropped the bombshell — telling our camera guy, her furry friends ONLY drink that ridiculously expensive Fiji-brand artesian water in those clear plastic bottles.

And they still probably lick their own butts.

Naomi Campbel Danneel Ackles

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Dec 16, 2012

Denver Broncos make Ravens look like pretenders

Sunday’s game between the Denver Broncos and the Baltimore Ravens was supposed to be a game of two Super Bowl contenders angling for a playoff bye.

The game ended one team looking unstoppable, and the other team in a free fall that may not stop until the offseason.

The Broncos trounced Baltimore 34-17 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated. Consider:

1. The Ravens used to be know for their home-field advantage. They were roundly booed throughout the game and have lost back-to-back games at home.

2. The Ravens tied for the league lead in three and outs before Sunday. They should have the leads all by themselves after seven more Sunday. Denver absolutely bum-rushed Baltimore’s offensive line. Joe Flacco did not react well and was sacked six times. The offense somehow looked worse after firing Cam Cameron.

3. The Ravens have lost three straight games for the first time since early in 2009. They now have to worry about winning the AFC North, much less a bye. They only lead the Bengals by one game and the Ravens still have the Giants on the schedule next week before heading to Cincinnati.

The Broncos, meanwhile, made the loudest statement possible. Sure, their schedule has been easy. But they have laid waste to everyone in their path with nine straight wins and remain very alive for a playoff bye.

This actually wasn’t even the best effort we’ve seen out of the Denver offense. Their defense carried them and Peyton Manning did more than enough. They are primed for the playoffs, while Baltimore looks like nothing more than playoff fodder for the real title contenders.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

Danniella Westbrook Black Eyed Peas

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Dec 16, 2012

Don’t Give Government Too Much Credit

In Newsday, Reason magazine Contributing Editor Cathy Young writes:

Entrepreneurs “give back” to society not only in taxes but in products that improve our lives — and in charity. While individual success is aided by public institutions, private associations such as family and community often play a larger role.

Obama is not a quasi-communist; he is just a liberal. Yet at a time when more than 40 percent of our gross domestic product is spent by government, we should be asking how much government is too much. Obama’s speech suggests that his instinct is for more, not less.

Full column at Newsday.

Stephanie Powers Nicki Minaj

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Dec 16, 2012

Champ Rockhold calls Larkin attack ‘pretty amateur,’ eyes early 2013 for return

Strikeforce middleweight champion Luke Rockhold today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that he never signed a bout agreement to fight Lorenz Larkin and never intended to fight at the promotion’s final event.

When officials announced the Jan. 12 event in early November, Rockhold (10-1 MMA, 9-0 SF) said he informed officials that a wrist injury lingered and that he was unable to fight.

That’s why he’s particularly irritated by a series of verbal attacks from Lorenz Larkin (13-0 MMA, 4-0 SF) regarding his willingness to compete.

“He was obviously misinformed to some extent,” Rockhold said. “I’ve been in that situation, but just to lash out at me, that’s pretty amateur.”

Larkin, who today addressed his grievances with MMAjunkie.com Radio, was twice scheduled to vie for the title before injuries interceded.

“I just feel like guys are acting like they haven’t paved any way for them to go to the UFC and a catastrophe could happen on Jan. 12, where [UFC President Dana White is] going to be like, ‘No. I didn’t like the way you fought, and you’re not going to come over,’” Larkin said.

Rockhold, however, said the UFC wasn’t a part of his decision. He noticed his injury eight weeks prior to a fight scheduled for a Nov. 3 event and announced his withdrawal two weeks later.

“Every time I would grip something, it would be a sharp pain,” he said. “I’d punch wrong, and it would make me want to cry.”

Rockhold saw multiple doctors and had several MRIs done on his wrist. Training never completely resumed.

Four weeks ago, he underwent a blood therapy called PRP (platelet-rich plasma) to speed the healing process on what was diagnosed as a tear to his triangular fibrocartilage complex (TFCC) and ligament sprain. He also spent three weeks in a hard cast, which was removed this past week.

“I don’t take steroids, so I don’t know if I can heal as fast as some of these guys,” Rockhold said. “I do things the way I know how.”

Strikeforce and broadcast partner Showtime dually announced the Jan. 12 event with three title fights: lightweight champ Gilbert Melendez vs. Pat Healy, Rockhold vs. Larkin, and welterweight champ Nate Marquardt vs. Tarec Saffiedine.

Melendez earlier this month withdrew from the event, later titled “Strikeforce: Champions,” citing a nagging shoulder injury. News of Rockhold’s withdrawal became public over the weekend.

Rockhold believes the confusion over his status may stem from a conversation with Strikeforce officials following his first injury in which he gave a timeline for his readiness to fight.

“They never really got back to me, and they just thought I’d be ready, and I wasn’t able to get on it,” he said. “I don’t really know. I don’t really want to get into it, to tell you the truth. I wasn’t able to train.

“They announced the fight, and I immediately called and told them how I felt and now here we are. They wanted to make a date happen, and I know they want to get done with this thing probably as much as anybody else, and for some reason they have to put on a last card. Pushing this card hard, it seems like. I just wasn’t able to make the date at that time.”

Relations between Strikeforce parent Zuffa and Showtime steadily have deteriorated since a March meeting between UFC President Dana White and Showtime officials. White said he was “hands-off” with Strikeforce after his input on the look of the event was nixed.

Two Strikeforce events have been canceled due to high-profile injury withdrawals that prompted Showtime to decline low-wattage events.

With the promotion’s final event slated for January, Rockhold won’t defend the belt he won with a September 2011 decision over Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. But he stressed that he didn’t withdraw from the event because he had designs on starting anew in the UFC once Strikeforce folded.

“That was not any part of my thought process,” Rockhold said. “I’m injured. I want to get paid. I want to shut Lorenz’s mouth. I’m not waiting in any shape or form for the UFC. You can never count on that happening. I’ve heard that in the past, and I’m not going to wait for that to happen.

“I have a lot of things I want to do in my life. This has set me back. I was going to buy a house, and now it looks like I’m going to wait until I’m more financially stable. I want to fight, plain and simple. It doesn’t matter who. Except at this point, after the talk, obviously I’m partial to fighting Lorenz.”

The feeling isn’t mutual for Larkin, who said he wants to move on.

Rockhold doesn’t hold that against the middleweight contender. He estimated he’ll be ready to return in three to four months after completely healing his wrist. He is unconcerned with the location of the next bout.

“I’d be completely happy with the UFC, but I just want to fight and get paid,” he said. “I want to be best in the world. Eventually, whether it’s here or there, I want those fights.”

For more on “Strikeforce: Champions,” stay tuned to the MMA Rumors section of the site.

Farrah Fawcett Arnold Schwarzenegger

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Dec 16, 2012

Report: Green Bay Packers to release Jermichael Finley

Green Bay Packers tight end Jermichael Finely has talked a lot about his lack of opportunities this season, calling himself the fourth option for Aaron Rodgers. It sounds like next year he won’t be an option at all.

Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports that the team “not only wants to get rid of Finley but has decided to do exactly that in the off-season.”

Lombardi: Don’t expand playoffs

If the team can’t find a trade partner, they will release Finley after signing him to a two-year, $14 million deal before the NFL Scouting Combine last February. Cutting Finley would be virtually painless for the team’s salary cap. He also is due no guaranteed money.

We highly recommend reading McGinn’s exhaustive and fascinating article. Much of it reads like a takedown of Finley’s disappointing season, from his poor blocking to his drops to his undisciplined route running and attitude. The team has reportedly also grown weary of Finley’s public comments and were said to be “livid” with Finley’s agent for tweeting that Aaron Rodgers was not a great leader.

“He’s that type of athlete that will fool people,” one scout told McGinn when asked about his trade or free agent value. “Unless you really, really dig and do your homework, and just look superficially, you’ll say all he needs is just a change of scenery.”

Perhaps this report was intended to be a wakeup call from the organization to Finley. But we don’t doubt the Packers have grown tired of Finley’s act.

With Greg Jennings also set to be a free agent, the Packers could look a lot different next season.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

Famke Janssen Thora Birch

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Dec 16, 2012

Russell: Power and influence in Canadian sport

CBC Sports is about to reveal its Top 10 most influential people in Canadian sport on Sports Weekend this Saturday. The way I see it, there aren’t enough athletes on the list.

CBC Sports is about to reveal its Top 10 most influential people in Canadian sport on Sports Weekend this Saturday. The way I see it, there aren’t enough athletes on the list.

At the top, you’ll find the NHL commissioner. But there’s a union organizer right behind him and a professional baseball executive, too. The head of the Canadian Olympic Committee is front and centre as are the men in the boardrooms of the CFL. Meantime, only three bonafide athletes made the cut, according to our editorial board.

That’s because power and influence in sport have, for too long, been defined by what happens on the sidelines.
 
It’s evident that money talks and those who have the power to spend it on salaries or dole it out to various national athletes and teams carry the big stick. This has become a widely accepted notion, that sport is nothing if not business.

That’s why you tend to find administrators, media moguls and major corporate sponsors on these kinds of lists. Those who pull the strings behind the scenes have a major influence on what the fans eventually see and how sport is presented.

According to this formula, those who patronize sport have little to no power. Do the power brokers pulling the strings during the NHL lockout fiasco really care about the consumer? It’s obvious that they don’t. They assume that rabid hockey fans will rush back to arenas when play resumes.

In Canada, they may be right. South of the border, in some of the swing states of hockey, well, they just might be looking at an entirely different animal.

So where does all of this leave the stars of sport themselves, the athletes? Ultimately, who has the power to create an iconic sporting moment like Lou Marsh Award winner Christine Sinclair did when she almost singlehandedly put soccer on the map in this country at the London Olympics? The answer is precious few Canadians.

Listen to how the man in charge of the Canadian Soccer Association described Sinclair’s affect on sport. 

“That award is a tribute to Christine and her teammates and all they’ve done in both our national and international sporting communities in 2012,” said Peter Montopoli, the CSA’s general secretary.

In Halifax, there is further proof of Sinclair’s influence. Soccer clinics sold out immediately once parents became aware Sinclair would be there to teach their kids.

“The enthusiasm of parents trying to get the kids into the camp, I don’t know how to describe it to you,” George Athanasiou of Soccer Nova Scotia told the National Post. “Plenty of people were begging for us to put them into the camp.”

Now that’s real influence in sport — the power to motivate young people and make them want to play. 

Further to that, who’s been a bigger game changer in hockey than Sidney Crosby? Who sells as many sweaters with his/her name on the back?  When Crosby plays, fans get excited and come to watch.

And who’s a better role model than the indomitable speed skater/cyclist Clara Hughes? Very few people can inspire Canadians of all ages and from all walks of life as she can. The same can be said of Milos Raonic, who has sparked a Canadian tennis revival because of his dramatic rise in the world rankings. 

Georges St. Pierre has turned a nation on to UFC and become a champion to millions with his victorious return from injury and to the top of a vicious and uncompromising sport.

Once quarterback Ricky Ray arrived in Toronto, the lamentable Argonauts thought of and then won the 100th Grey Cup in their hometown and captured the imagination of the country’s largest and most diverse city.

The point is this: athletes have the ultimate influence by virtue of their performances.

Only the athletes have the power to compete and to win or lose. They send the message. They deliver on the promise. They are the reason the fans watch. Real power in sport only exists because of what transpires on the field of play.

What’s On CBC Sports Weekend

CBC Sports Weekend is on the air at 3 p.m. ET this Saturday.

Cross Country World Cup action comes to Canmore, Alta., with the Canadian men led by trailblazers Alex Harvey and Devon Kershaw. Olympic gold medalist Chandra Crawford, a Canmore native, is the last Canadian to win on the course in 2008 and is back competing on home snow for the first time in three seasons.

In Europe, the Canadian Cowboys saddle up for a World Cup downhill at Val Gardena, Italy. They’re led by reigning world champion Erik Guay, who has looked sharp in training. But they’ll have to deal with Norwegian ace Aksel Lund Svindal, who won Friday’s super-G by a wide margin.

Plus, our Big Picture panel featuring Jenn Heil, Perdita Felicien and Jonathon Gatehouse of Maclean’s magazine tackles the subject of power and influence in sport as CBC Sports reveals it’s Top 10 most influential people in Canadian sport.

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Rachel McAdams Alyssa Milano

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Dec 15, 2012

Wharnsby: Spott is right coach for Canadian juniors

Steve Spott has had plenty of help along the way from his childhood friend Adam Graves and his mentor Peter DeBoer, head coach of the New Jersey Devils, but he’ll be in the spotlight by himself when he leads Canada into the world junior tournament later this month.

CALGARY — The team photo had just been snapped, and there was Canadian head coach Steve Spott helping the arena crew push chairs to the Zamboni entrance.

If you’re wondering what kind of man will lead this group of Canadian juniors into the frying pan in 12 days at the world under-20 hockey championship in Ufa, Russia, that gesture said it all.

The 44-year-old Spott is humble. He’s attentive. He’s organized. He’s a communicator. He’s a teacher. He cares. You just know behind those piercing blue eyes is an NHL coach in waiting.

To understand where Spott came from, we take you back to his North York neighbourhood. His best friend at an early age was, and still is, Adam Graves.

Graves won Stanley Cups with the 1989-90 Edmonton Oilers and 1993-94 New York Rangers, and is considered one of the most respectful human beings to play the game in the last 25 years. 

Spott was Graves’s best man at his wedding. Graves reciprocated when Spott married his wife Lisa.

“He’s my friend, but really we’re brothers,” Spott said. “We’ve spent so much time together.”

They always have been there for one another. When Spott failed Grade 9 math, his father made him work at his auto body shop in the East End of Toronto that summer. Graves went along to help his friend through the difficult days.

They pulled weeds around the property. They painted the roof. They cleaned up the mess inside the garage at the end of the busy day.

“That was the worst summer,” Spott recalled. “We never wanted to do that again. I guess it became pretty clear from that summer we wanted to do something else with our lives.”

So they immersed themselves in hockey. Graves went away to play junior with the Windsor Spitfires. Spott wound up at Colgate University. After four years at the Hamilton, N.Y., school, he split his first professional season in 1990-91 with the Richmond Renegades of the ECHL and then a 25-game Newmarket Saints of the AHL.

Short pro career

Saints head coach Frank Anzalone previously had coached at Lake Superior State and Spott made an impression when Colgate and Lake Superior State clashed in a game. It didn’t hurt that the assistant coach was Bill Purcell, a family friend of the Spott’s.

But Spott’s pro career didn’t last much longer. He spent a year in Holland playing, but then returned to Canada and before his 30th birthday he found himself as the head coach at Seneca College. Under Spott’s guidance, and some players were older than Spott, Seneca won the 1994-95 provincial championship.

He would then move on to coach the Markham Waxers. In the meantime, Graves had introduced Spott to Peter DeBoer. Graves and DeBoer were teammates in Windsor. Spott and DeBoer had worked a few summertime hockey schools together.

DeBoer was impressed with his new acquaintance.

DeBoer had just begun his head coaching career with the old Detroit Junior Red Wings of the OHL, who became the Plymouth Whalers, and he hired Spott as a scout.

A few years later, DeBoer was in the market for a trusty No. 2 man. He wanted Spott. The problem was he couldn’t offer Spott much money, nowhere near the teacher’s salary he was earning at Mary Ward Catholic Secondary in Scarborough, Ont.

“Thank God, this coaching thing has worked out for him,” DeBoer said. “He left a good job and was making next to nothing working for me.”

“It’s too embarrassing to tell you how much I was making [as DeBoer's assistant],” Spott said, laughing. “Let’s just say my wife was working full time and she was making twice what I was making.”

‘He died too young’

So why did Spott take a chance? His father, Martin, always told him to do something he enjoyed. The father told the son not to be afraid to take a risk. Well, Spott enjoyed teaching, but he loved coaching.

Unfortunately, Martin passed away 5½ years ago and won’t be able to experience what could be his son’s biggest triumph to date. But Spott will take his father’s spirit along for the ride. 

“He died too young,” Spott said. “He was a terrific father, a terrific man.”

DeBoer and Spott had some triumphs together. They went to back-to-back OHL finals with the Whalers — with Spott’s nephew Stephen Weiss in the lineup. The two coaches won the OHL championship and Memorial Cup title in their second year together with the 2002-03 Kitchener Rangers. They made it to the Memorial Cup final again five years later.

When DeBoer left for the NHL that summer to coach Weiss and the Florida Panthers, Spott finally became a head coach in the OHL.

“He could have been a head coach in the OHL five years before he did,” DeBoer said. “I knew I had the luxury of having another head coach working alongside me.”

“Let’s make no mistake about it, I’m standing here as the Canadian junior team head coach because of Peter DeBoer,” Spott said.

DeBoer plans to stay out of his protégé’s way when the world juniors begin. He said there are too many good people on Spott’s coaching staff and with Hockey Canada for him to muddy the waters. But DeBoer did give Spott one piece of advice last weekend, when the two chatted before Spott boarded a plane to Calgary for the junior team’s selection camp.

“I told him I’ve been to Ufa and [I said] to watch what he eats over there,” said DeBoer, who led the New Jersey Devils to the Stanley Cup final last spring.

Spott has had success in his five years at the helm of the Rangers with a pair of Western Conference final appearances. He’s also coached Ontario at the under-17 level, Canada to gold at the under-18 Ivan Hlinka Memorial tournament and was an assistant when the Canadian junior team lost in the 2010 gold-medal final in Saskatoon.

“I’m no different than any boy in this country,” Spott said. “I woke up early to watch this tournament with my family. Adam Graves played in it. My nephew [Weiss] played in this tournament. So for me to have the opportunity to be a part of it, it’s always something that I wanted to do.

“It started at the under-17 level, then the under-18 and now this. This is something for me that anytime you have an opportunity to represent your country in anything, it’s overwhelming in a lot of ways because you feel such a sense of pride.

“I’ve been fortunate to have coached in two Memorial Cups. There is obviously a lot of pressure that goes with that. I’ve told people this tournament is a thousand times [more pressure].

“The biggest question I get is ‘Why do you do this? Why do you put yourself out there?’ I don’t have an answer, other than to say any coach at our level would dream to aspire to be a part of this. I’m just feel honoured and fortunate.”

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Tracey Shaw Jessica Stroup

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Dec 15, 2012

Trey Songz Arrested for Assaulting a Woman with Money

Trey Songz
Arrested for Assaulting
a Woman with $$$

EXCLUSIVE

1215_Trey-Songz_gettyThrowing dollar bills at a woman (aka MAKING IT RAIN!!!) seems harmless, but it got Trey Songz arrested for assault in New York recently … TMZ has learned.

Songz (real name Tremaine Neverson) had an album release party on August 21 at a gentleman’s club in Queens. According to police, somewhere between 4:00 and 4:15 AM on the 22nd, Trey became involved in an altercation inside the club.

Cops described the incident this way in the criminal complaint: “Tremaine Neverson, did throw a sum of United States currency at the complainant and said sum of United States currency struck the complainant’s left eye causing substantial pain to her left eye.”

It is unclear if the woman in question was … how do we say this nicely … a stripper.

Songz was not arrested that night, but rather a month later for misdemeanor assault. Songz had a court date in NY on November 1 and an order of protection was issued. He is due back in court in February.

We reached out to a rep for Songz, but have yet to hear back.

1215_trey_songs_sub

other facts Rebecca Gibney

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Dec 14, 2012

Strip Club to Lindsay Lohan — We’ll Save Your Storage Locker, IF …

Strip Club to Lindsay Lohan
We’ll Save Your
Storage Locker, IF …

EXCLUSIVE


Lindsay Lohan might NOT have to bid farewell to her storage locker full of personal belongings … ’cause a famous strip club is offering to pony up the cash to save it — but there’s a huge catch.

We broke the story … Lohan (who’s super broke) fell way behind on her storage bill, and now the contents are set to hit the auction block later this month unless she comes up with $16k, stat.

Now, the legendary Scores strip club in NYC is offering to come to Lohan’s rescue — firing off a letter to Lindsay’s lawyer claiming it will foot the entire bill, if she’s willing to do some work for their online site, ScoresLive.com. 

But the “work” isn’t what you think — Scores says it wants the actress to serve as an online video chat host for it’s website … a job which DOES NOT require nudity.  It’s unclear how many “chats” Lohan would be required to host.

To sweeten the deal, Scores has also offered to pay the rent on Lindsay’s leased Bev Hills mansion for the next couple of months … more cash she could desperately use.

We reached out to Lindsay for comment, but no word back yet — we’re guessing the Scores gig isn’t entirely out of the question, considering the storage locker could be filled with ultra-personal items Lohan doesn’t want to go public. Plus, she did pose for Playboy when they came calling with the right sized check.

Stay tuned …

Susan George Melanie Griffith

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Dec 14, 2012

Kristen Stewart & Co. Hold Court at “On The Road” NYC Premiere

Posted Thursday December 13, 2012 10:42 PM GMT

Gathering together as they enter the final stretch of promotional obligations, the stars of “On The Road” held a ritzy premiere for their film in New York City on Thursday night (December 13).

With leading lady Kristen Stewart looking lovely in an Erdem frock and Louboutins, fellow castmates like Kirsten Dunst, Garrett Hedlund and Sam Riley also dressed their best for the SVA Theater held screening.

The outing comes as Miss Stewart recently spoke with Huffington Post about her new motion picture’s Oscar buzz and racy, breast baring scene.

The 22-year-old dished, “I do hate also when people go, ‘Oh, wow, great performance. So brave.’ Oh, because I’m naked? That’s very annoying. But at the same time, if that’s what they’re focusing on, then ‘On the Road’ probably isn’t for them anyway.”

Continuing on about the 1957 novel-based movie, Stewart said, “This book celebrates being alive and it celebrates being human, and if you want to cover up and deny any aspect of that, you are denying the spirit of the book. I need to be so rocked by something, so moved by something that the idea of letting it down or ruining it is painful, and that’s what gets you through the shoot. If you start also considering what people are going to think, you’ll never make a movie.”

With the trailer found above, “On the Road” hits theaters on next Friday, December 21st.

Enjoy the pictures from the NYC screening of “On The Road” (December 13).

Sherilyn Fenn Ivana Trump

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