Saturday, 29 January 2011

Super Bowl Advertising Statistics: An Overview

Without doubt, Super Bowl Sunday is the most coveted show-piece event on the advertising calendar. Super Bowl advertising statistics as compiled by Advertising Age and Nielsen Media Research confirm that this annual event is at the top of the list for both advertising firms and companies hoping to weave their way into the public conscience -- and stay there!

Below, we give you a general breakdown of these numbers, decade by decade, year by year.

The 1960s: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial

The first Super Bowl was played on January 15, 1967 between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs. It was televised by both CBS and NBC. Super Bowl 2, between the Green Bay Packers and Oakland Raiders, took place on January 14, 1968. Super Bowl 3, between the Baltimore Colts and NY Jets took place on January 12, 1969.

Games that took place in the 1960s offered 30 second commercials for what now seems like bargain prices. The charge for a 30 second ad during Super Bowl 3 was $55,000 only about $500 more than Super Bowl 2 at $54,500. Super Bowl 1 was $42,500 by CBS and $37,500 by NBC.
The main advertisers during these early times of the Super Bowl were beer, cigarette and car companies.

The 1970s: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial.

The decade of the 70s marked a significant increase for 30 second Super Bowl commercials owing to a marked rise in TV audience numbers for this sporting jamboree. The average total audience crept past the 40 million mark and by 1979 had peaked at just over 70 million for the championship game. Networks leveraged the increased popularity to charge more for their 30 second spots.

Following is a breakdown by cost of 30 second ads for the Super Bowl in the 1970s. Note that prices increased every year except 1971 when NBC made the decision to lower the cost from the previous year to attract more advertisers.

  • 1979 - $222,000
  • 1978 - $185,000
  • 1977 - $162,000
  • 1976 - $125,000
  • 1975 - $110,000
  • 1974 - $107,000
  • 1973 - $103,500
  • 1972 - $86,000
  • 1970 - $78,200
  • 1971 - $72,000

Some of the more memorable commercials during this decade of Super Bowl advertising include the 1973 Noxzema skin cream commercial that featured NY Jet Super Bowl 3 winning quarterback Joe Namath and the Master Lock iconic commercial showing a sharpshooter that could not open the lock despite bullet hit. Another memorable commercial was the Xerox ad featuring Brother Dominic, a Monk that copied documents in the serenity of a medieval monastery.

The 1980s: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial.

The Super bowl had now become something of an annual ritual. More than 80 million people on average tuned in each year to watch the big game and also to see the highly anticipated new commercials. Prices kept rising by the year from 1980 through 1989 for the much coveted 30 second spots during the Super Bowl. Following is the decade breakdown:

  • 1989 - $675,000
  • 1988 - $600,000
  • 1987 - $575,000
  • 1986 - $550,000
  • 1985 - $500,000
  • 1984 - $450,000
  • 1983 - $400,000
  • 1982 - $345,000
  • 1981 - $324,300
  • 1980 - $275,000

Some of the best and most memorable Super Bowl ads were produced in the 80s. In 1980, for example, Coca-Cola created the Mean Joe Greene ad where the huge defensive end for the Pittsburgh Steelers is given a Coke by a young boy and reciprocates in kind by giving the boy his jersey and thus making a great memory for the boy. Equally impressive was one by Apple Computer in 1984. Playing on the Orwellian theme from the fictional novel "1984," Apple introduced the Macintosh computer.

The 1990s: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial.

All three of the major networks, ABC, CBS and NBC continued to alternate as host network for the Super Bowl. In 1997, a fourth participant hosted the big event. FOX did not miss a beat as they continued to raise the 30 second rate for advertisers buying time for the Super Bowl. The year 1998 marked the final year for NBC, at least until the current year, that they would broadcast the Super Bowl. Again, the price for a 30 second spot increased or stayed the same for each of the 10 years and for the first time ever, in 1995, the cost for a 30 second ad hit one million dollars -- yes, $1million folks.

The breakdown:

  • 1999 - $1,600,000
  • 1998 - $1,300,000
  • 1997 - $1,200,000
  • 1996 - $1,100,000
  • 1995 - $1,000,000
  • 1994 - $900,000
  • 1993 - $850,000
  • 1992 - $800,000
  • 1991 - $800,000
  • 1990 - $700,000

Commercials for the Super Bowl during the 1990s continued to attract millions of viewers that were not football fans. The build-up for these million dollar commercials that cost as much to produce as to place, was at an all-time high. Anheuser Busch and their Budweiser brand established themselves as a fixture during the different Super Bowls. The Bud Bowl became one of the more memorable advertising campaigns and commercials featuring the impressive Clydesdale horses – these were particular audience favorites. McDonalds also weighed in employing the services of Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in a 1993 ad that showed the two basketball superstars competing in a game of H-O-R-S-E for a Big Mac. LOL! The shots were incredible, even for the best players in the world. Other major advertisers during this decade included Chrysler, Pontiac, Nissan, Toyota, AT&T, Doritos, Gillette, FedEx and American Express.

The 2000s: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial.

In this decade, the Super Bowl became the highest viewed television program of all time. In 2010, Super Bowl 44 between the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts attracted 106.5 million viewers for CBS. Prices for 30 second spots continued their upward trend, although there were several years when advertising costs dropped. In 2009, the rate hit 3 million dollars. Even at these grossly prohibitive rates, it wasn’t uncommon for spots to sell out -- companies willing to pay these high prices could not be accommodated.

The rate for each year from highest to lowest is shown below.

  • 2009 - $3,000,000
  • 2008 - $2,700,000
  • 2007 - $2,600,000
  • 2006 - $2,500,000
  • 2005 - $2,400,000
  • 2004 - $2,250,000
  • 2003 - $2,100,000
  • 2000 - $2,100,000
  • 2001 - $2,050,000
  • 2002 - $1,900,000

Major advertisers like Coca-Cola and Pepsi continued to run ads during this decade. Newcomers to the world of Super Bowl advertising were the dot com companies. Hoping to get instant name recognition by sponsoring multi-million dollar Super Bowl ad campaigns, companies like,,,,, and many other internet based businesses jumped into the fray. Some like, with the use of a super-sexy woman in their ads, were catapulted to the top of viewer consciences. Others were not so lucky and quickly faded into obscurity.

2010 & 2011: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics Ranked By Cost Per 30 Second Commercial.

The 2010 Super Bowl dropped its advertising rate by 10% from the record $3,000,000 charged in 2009. A 30 second spot cost $2,700,000 in 2010.

The most memorable commercial in 2010 was one for Snickers candy bar that featured octogenarian actress Betty White. In a most humorous twist, Betty White gets tackled and slammed to the ground with the implication that a Snickers Bar is full of energy.

This year’s Super Bowl is expected to attract more than 100 million viewers worldwide and the Fox Network has set 30 second commercial rates at 2.8 to 3 million dollars per spot. The list of expected advertisers for the February 6, 2011 Super Bowl between the Green Bay Packers and Pittsburgh Steelers includes many repeat advertisers as well as a few new sponsors.

Expected advertisers this year include (27 in total):
  • Paramount
  • Universal Pictures
  • Best Buy
  • ETrade
  • Anheuser Busch
  • CarMax
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Coca-Cola
  • Disney
  • Audi
  • BMW
  • Bridgestone
  • PepsiMax
  • Pizza Hut
  • CareerBuilder
  • Chrysler-Dodge
  • HomeAway
  • Doritos
  • Hyundai
  • Kia, Mars
  • Skechers,
  • Relativity Media
  • Teleflora
  • Sony Picture
  • Volkswagen.

Happy viewing!

» Next article: Super Bowl Biggest Upsets Ever.
« Previous article: Bath Salts Abuse.

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Friday, 28 January 2011

Bath Salts Abuse: A Growing Problem

Picture this scene: Wednesday night. Dee gets home from work and decides a long hot bath is in order, maybe then she’ll call some friends. She goes to the bathroom and runs the hot water. Then she returns to the TV room with her bath salts, rolls them into a joint and gets stoned. Yes folks, welcome to the world of bath salts abuse.

What are bath salts?

Bath salts refer to a range of bath additives that are of a solid nature, are dissolvable in water and apparently, enhance the bathing experience, improve cleaning and also serve as a vehicle for cosmetic agents. It has also been claimed that they have some medical benefits too.

Bath salts can easily be prepared at home by following this Bath Salts Recipe.

Bath Salts Abuse: A Growing Epidemic

Bath salts abuse is growing to epidemic proportions across the States and as of the 16th of April 2010 they were banned in the United Kingdom. Not all bath salts are intoxicating just those with the ingredient MDPV (3, 4 methylenedioxpyrovalerone). This substance has a similar effect on users as cocaine, ecstasy or meth.

Ivory Snow, Purple Wave, Snow Leopard , Blue Silk, Star Dust, Pure Ivory, Vanilla Sky, Ocean Burst and White Dove are just some of the names these psychedelic bath salts trade under. Pretty evocative names, wouldn’t you say? Star Dust, or better still Purple Wave sound like fancy drinks in a trendy bar.

For years now, bath salts abuse has been common practice amongst a few with the general public none the wiser to the potent effects of these substances. The brands are typically sold in convenience stores, discount tobacco stores, gas stations, pawnshops, tattoo parlors and truck stops, among others.

They are sold as bath salts, plant food, bath crystals and herbal incense. In Ireland many of the ‘head shops’ – the shops where various drug paraphernalia were sold – were shut down in 2010 because of the outcry against the herbal incense that was being sold there and smoked by users.

What’s happening in America?

In central Pennsylvania a similar product is sold under the brand name Blizzard. It looks like a white fine powder, similar in consistency to baby powder or flour. Some of the brands are brown in color.

Users can smoke, inject or snort the substances. The effects include an intense high, a sort of euphoria or total relaxation. In some cases they also cause extreme energy and hallucinations. They can also cause users to be easily agitated and have irrational bouts of anger.

Medics and the US Centre of Poison Control realized the problem was reaching dangerous levels when some emergency rooms around the country were receiving as many as ten calls a day asking for advice on how to treat people who had taken overdoses of these drugs.

A Baton Rouge Poison Control center confirmed that they received one hundred and sixty five calls in September alone from various medics looking for advice on how to treat kids who were suffering from bath salts abuse.

Patients who had ingested dangerous amounts of the bath salts were experiencing paranoia, delusions, violent behavior and high blood pressure. In December, the state of Louisianan banned the products with the aforementioned dangerous ingredients. Since the ban, calls to the center have decreased dramatically.

Health officials at the center are happy with the results of the ban but they say more has to be done. The problem with policing these substances is that the makers operate on the basis that not all chemicals are illegal.

Dealing With Bath Salts Abuse

Firstly, it has to be said that dealing with this abuse is made all the more complicated as the bath salt makers simply replace one banned substance with another equally potent but legal one.

Officials in Louisiana say that to really curb the problem of bath salts abuse, the locations where the products are sold, the convenience stores, gas stations and tobacco stores have to also be held responsible. These people know that the products are suspicious but they still choose to stock and sell them. In fact, Louisiana was ahead of the posse when they chose to battle bath salts abuse by banning these substances. Other states starting to see a rise in bath salts abuse will hopefully follow suit.

Most recently, the state of Missouri is reporting a high incident of cases. Whereas they noted only twelve cases for the year 2010, already in 2011, they are seeing a rise in the use of bath salts and the Missouri Poison Control center is experiencing a rise in calls relating to this problem.

But the fact is that many people see recreational drug use as a perfectly normal way to relax and chill out and that’s why bath salts abuse exists in the first place. Ultimately, this boils down to the good old argument about drugs.

» Next article: Super Bowl Advertising Statistics.
« Previous article: Jack Lalanne: A tribute to the King of Workout routines.

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Jack Lalanne: A Tribute To The Godfather Of Fitness

With the passing of Jack Lalanne, the Godfather of Fitness (and King of workout routines), we thought we should share a few thoughts on this modern day legend. Those of you old enough may remember some of his most amazing feats:

In 1975 at the age of sixty-one, he swam – underwater – the entire length of the Golden Gate Bridge handcuffed and towing a one thousand pound boat.

But that was nothing for Jack. In 1980, at the age of sixty-six, he towed ten boats carrying seventy-seven people more than one mile and he did it in less than hour.

To say this man was the powerhouse of the fitness world is, if anything, an understatement. He championed exercise as a way life for his entire life and was committed to two hours of exercise every morning including weight lifting right up to the very last year of his life. He passed away this January, 2011 at the age of ninety-six.

Starting Out

Lalanne was born in San Francisco, California in 1914. His parents were French immigrants. He was brought up in Bakersfield where his parents moved to become sheep farmers. His father died at the age of fifty of a heart attack.

Lalanne was always close to his mother who had a habit of giving young Jack sweets and cakes as a reward for completing chores. Jack later confessed that he was a full blown ‘sugarholic’ by the time he became a teenager. His schooling and his physical health suffered as a result. He was a weak and skinny kid with few friends, bad skin, flailing health and bad moods. He said he also suffered from suicidal thoughts.

One day, when Jack was fifteen, out of desperation, his mother brought him to a talk by a health nutritionist called Paul Bragg. Because Jack and his mother arrived late and the hall was full, Bragg insisted on seating the duo on stage. Bragg then singled out Jack, asking him questions about his diet and exercise routines. When the young Jack admitted that he lived on cakes and candy and that he did no exercise, Bragg told him was a ‘walking garbage can’ and promised that with a change of attitude, he could change his life.

That was it. Jack was hooked. He immediately transformed his diet only eating natural foods. He starting exercising and quickly became popular at high school because of his new-found energy and sporting prowess. His grades improved and his life changed.

Business and Working Out

Upon leaving school Jack began his entrepreneurial career by selling his mother’s homemade healthy foods and bread. He also began developing the Jack Lalanne workout routines but he worked mostly with police officers and firemen. In 1936, he opened his first gym, the Lalanne’s Physical Culture Studio in downtown Oakland. But he was quickly subject to lots of criticism. The critics said that he would turn housewives into body builders and men into action men.

Lalanne persevered. He went to a local school and picked out the skinny and fat kids slowly turning their lives around consequently raising the popularity of the gym with people queuing up around the block to have their lives changed too.

Next he got a slot on TV. He had to take the early morning slot because that is all he could get. In order to attract the early morning children’s audience, he got a dog and called it Happy. He encouraged the kids to get their moms exercising. The show ran for more than thirty years. He went on to create health food products, juices, give lectures, keep exercising and develop more Jack Lalanne workout routines. He also created a lot of the exercise machines that are now standard in most gyms.

From crackpot to genius

Whereas at the start of his career Lalanne was often criticized for his methods, by the end of his career Lalanne was lauded as a genius. In 2002 he was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Despite his strict regime on himself, he was always philosophical about other people’s interests, choices and behaviors. ‘You have to accept people the way they are’, he was fond of saying. His long-life best friend was a chain-smoking overweight guy that liked to drink a quarter a day.

For Lalanne, his greatest legacy was teaching about nutrition and the importance of physical and mental health. He was the first to champion the idea that a healthy mind was impossible without a healthy body.

There's no question that Jack Lalanne’s legacy will live on forever. Different people will remember different things about him none more so than all too famous Jack Lalanne workout routines.

» Next article: A look at the Bath Salts Abuse Problem.
« Previous article: Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis.

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Kevin Smith And Bruce Willis: The Spat

Kevin Smith, the American producer and director, is well known not just for his many creations but also for his honest and often acerbic remarks. This is not a man who holds back! So when Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis got together to work on his latest film, Cop Out, it was inevitable that sparks would fly between these two big  personalities.

Smith says his directorial style is very hands-off. He lets the actors follow the script and trusts them to get on with it. When it came to Willis, Smith wanted some of that classic Willis blasé attitude. But he quickly realised that he could not teach Bruce Willis how to be Bruce Willis.

Silent Bob, Noisy Kevin

Kevin Smith came to fame for his creation of his ‘Silent Bob’ character who debuted in Smith’s first film, Clerks, which was released in 1994. One year later, Mallrats was released to much critical acclaim.

In his early career, Smith’s biggest success was Chasing Amy which starred Ben Affleck and Lauren Adams. The film earned $12 million at the box office. Smith followed the success of this film with a more controversial film, Dogma.

Dogma had an all-star cast including Chris Rock, Salma Hayek, George Carlin and Alan Rickman. Explicit references in the film to the Virgin Mary’s sexual appetite enraged Christians across the country and resulted in Smith receiving three death threats.

Despite his on-screen success, Smith is first and foremost a writer. He has written a number of books including his first book Silent Bob Speaks and his second book, a collection of short stories called My Boring-Ass Life: The Uncomfortably Candid Diary of Kevin Smith. This book hit the New York Times bestseller list.

Hasta la Vista Bruce Willis

Those of us of a certain age will remember Willis from his days as a private investigator on the TV series Moonlighting. Actually Willis got his kick-start in acting at a younger age on off-Broadway productions. His first theatre show to appear in was a remake of the play Heaven and Earth.

But movie stardom beckoned and Willis effortlessly carved a career path for himself as an adaptable character actor. His film roles varied widely with him cast in serious drama, comedy and action films. Few other actors manage such variety in their careers.

His first big successes came in the late 80s with the Die Hard movie series in which he played the memorable John McClane. The first three Die Hard films earned more than $700 million at the box office and shot Willis to the upper echelons of Hollywood aristocracy.

In the late nineties he went on to star in a number of box office hits including Pulp Fiction, The Fifth Element, Twelve Monkeys and The Sixth Sense. He went on to enjoy more television success in his starred in the series Friends. He won an Emmy for his performance on Friends.

Kevin and Bruce Lock Horns

Both men, it would be fair to say, are titans of the American film making industry and have had long and successful careers. They have shown that they are not afraid to speak their minds and that they have the power to follow their own stars.

It’s therefore only natural that when two huge personalities come together, there is bound to be a monumental clash of egos. Is that what happened on the Cop Out film set? Willis was noticeably absent from the premier night party at the launch of the film forcing many to ask, how bad had the clash between these two had actually been?

The fact that Smith has now appeared on many shows across the States explaining the reality behind filming Cop Out and openly joking about his own directing style suggests that the fall-out may not have been as bad as some reports are suggesting.

Will Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis be working together again in the future? Well, don’t forget folks, this is Hollywood and in Hollywood there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies: only permanent interests! Keep your eyes and ears peeled for news of the next exciting venture between Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis!

» Next article: A tribute to Jack Lalanne.
« Previous article: The Damn Beliebers.

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Monday, 24 January 2011

Damn Beliebers: Justin Bieber's Cyber Army. Who Are They?

Justin Bieber fever is sweeping the net once again. What is it about this boy? Can he do no wrong? No other young star has triggered such a flurry online activity or been the target of so many online pranks. His ‘Damn Beliebers’ crew ensures he’s a mainstay on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube always cranking up the number of his video views, wall posts and tweets whilst the pranksters, on the other hand, seem determined to provide what now seems like a much needed balancing act making for a pretty exciting sub-plot -- for the neutrals atleast.

From Singing to Stardom

In fact, if it wasn’t for YouTube there would be no Justin Bieber or Damn Beliebers. Way back in 2008, Bieber’s mother posted a video of Bieber singing on stage for a local competition. She wanted her friends and family to see the talent of her 13-year-old son.

Well Bieber’s friends and family got to see his talent, but so too did Scooter Braun, a music industry producer who owns a production company in partnership with R&B megalith, Usher. It took Braun some time to convince Bieber’s mother that his intentions were genuine. When he did finally convince her, they both moved to Atlanta so Bieber could pursue his dream. He was musically gifted from a young age, teaching himself how to play the piano, drums, guitar and the trumpet alongside song writing.

Once Bieber got signed up to Braun and Usher’s label, things moved pretty quickly for the ambitious teenager from Stratford, Canada. His first single, ‘One Time’ reached number 12 on the Canadian Hot 100 in July 2009 and number 17 on the Billboard Hot 100.

Bieber’s first album, My World was released later in 2009 spawning three more hit singles ‘One Less Lonely Girl’, ‘Love Me’ and ‘Favourite Girl’. The album went platinum in America, UK and Canada. Bieber then hit the road to promote the album and cement his popularity. He appeared on countless TV shows including The Today Show, The Next Star, Chelsea Lately, Good Morning America, It’s On With Alexa Chung, The Ellen DeGeneres Show and The Wendy Williams Show.

Internet Legend

By the time Bieber released his next single, ‘Baby’, his career was ready to go stellar. ‘Baby’ was a wildly huge hit propelling Bieber to the halls of music history. He is the youngest male star to reach the top of the US charts since Stevie Wonder back in 1963.

By mid-2010, Twitter reported that Bieber generated three percent of traffic on the site and the video for ‘Baby’ was the most viewed video on YouTube, even managing to out-view Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’.

Damn Beliebers And Crowd Control

Needless to say, this level of exposure and success meant that Bieber’s shows were marked by frenzied chaos with crowds of teenage girls swarming his concert venues in the hope of catching a glimpse of their newest, sensational superstar gracing the stage with his silky smooth R&B dance moves. To-date, for safety reasons, some of his concerts have had to be cancelled by law enforcement due to the uncontrollable crowds – usually followed by a simple tweet-apology by the young star.

At just 16, Justin Bieber is following in the footsteps of other stars like Miley Cyrus, Brittany and Justin Timberlake, who all started their careers at a very tender age.

Online Pranks

This level of exposure also ensures Bieber is the subject of countless online pranks. A case in point is when the Google Trends chart  was topped by the ‘Justin Bieber Syphilis’ story – which, as you can guess, turned out to be lot of hot air.

Some of his YouTube videos have been interlaced with p*rn clips causing bemusement, embarrassment or downright anger amongst innocent viewers. Rumors have also been spread claiming that Bieber was been killed in a car accident. Bieber, it seems, takes all this in his stride.

Damn Beliebers Crew

Put simply, the Damn Beliebers crew is that gang of predominantly teenage fans that grew out of Twitter, YouTube and Facebook professing their unwavering support for Bieber and tend to gang up against anyone who tries to attack their ‘little messiah’. Most recently, the crew lit up Twitter once more with a barrage of attacks on all and sundry that had the temerity to speak unfavorably of the ‘head Belieber’.

It must (or should it?) be ever so refreshing for the young superstar to know there’s an army out there in cyberspace always at the ready; ready to spring to his defense like rabid dogs whenever there’s a faint whiff of anti-Bieber sentiment.

» Next article: A look into the Kevin Smith and Bruce Willis Spat.
« Previous article: A synopsis on Catwoman and her costumes.

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Friday, 21 January 2011

Catwoman: The Stars And The Costumes

What do Eartha Kitt, Michelle Pfeiffer, Halle Berry and Anne Hathaway have in common? Besides being some of Hollywood’s top earning actresses, they are also among illustrious few who have had the chance to don the sexy, authentic Catwoman costume on the silver screen!

And let’s face it: quite a number of lady folk wouldn't sniff at a chance to scale roofs, beat up bad guys and look super stunning at the same time in authentic Catwoman costumes -- who could resist a bad-gal look in shiny leather pulled tight across the torso making waistlines waif-like and a super-cleavage that would bring Pamela Anderson to tears, never mind countless grown men!

We all know Catwoman as the fearless feline female counterpart of batman. But come on folks, who looks better in skin tight Lycra: Anne Hathaway or Christian Bale? I think everyone knows that answer to that question:

Charting Anne Hathaway

The new batman film is called ‘The Dark Knight Rises’ and it's due out in theatres in July 2012. Warner Bros. announced just this week that Hathaway had won the role of Catwoman.

Anne Hathaway is no stranger to big blockbuster movies. She made her debut in the Princess Diaries way back in 2001 which lead to other roles in children’s movies included Hoodwinked! In which she played the voice of Little Red Riding Hood. Audiences loved her so much in The Princess Diaries that she went on to star in The Princess Diaries 2. Then she turned her hand to more serious stuff with roles in Havoc, an R-rated film that was not released in the States and Brokeback Mountain, which cleaned up at the Oscars when it was released in 2006.

Hathaway would later say about Brokeback Mountain that the film had a profound effect on her in terms of the future film roles she wanted to play and the stories she wanted to tell. After Brokeback, she went on to star in The Devil Wears Prada alongside Meryl Streep. This was a big moment for Hathaway as she cites Streep as one of her all-time heroines. The movie, a comedy, was a huge hit.

In 2007, Hathaway went back to her classic roots playing Jane Austen in Becoming Jane.

2008 was one of Hathaway’s busiest years to date. During that year, she won a contract with make-up giant Lancome, to be the face of their then new perfume, Magnifique. Later that year, she starred alongside Steve Carell in the film adaptation of the television series, Get Smart.

2009 saw her star beside Kate Hudson in Bride Wars. She also did the voice-over for her character in an episode of The Simpsons and won an Emmy for her performance.

In 2010, she did Tim Burton’s version of Alice In Wonderland, Through The Looking Glass, in which she starred alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Johnny Depp. Later that year, she did another romantic comedy: Valentine’s Day.

Anne Hathaway: Scandal and Stardom

Despite Hathaway’s young years – she is 28 – she has had an amazing career already. However, it's not been plain sailing all the way. Most notable among her pitfalls was her involvement withh Raffaello Follieri. Follieri set up a charity to help children in third world countries called the Follieri Foundation. He was one of its main donors and also served on its board.

However, in 2004, the charity came under investigation when the IRS noticed that the organization had failed to file the correct tax returns. Follieri was later arrested and sentenced to four years in prison. Hathaway was never charged with any wrong-doing. When she subsequently appeared on Saturday Night Live, she joked about the experience.

Hathaway is not an actress who trades on her appearance but she has been named in various industry beauty bibles as one of the most beautiful people in the world. No doubt it is this along with her stellar acting career that won her the role of Selina Kyle in 2012’s The Dark Knight Rises.

The Dark Knight Rises

Christopher Nolan, director of the new batman film, is said to be taking a risk with the inclusion of a new feline protagonist. Industry buffs claim that The Dark Knight sequel didn’t have enough time to tackle the feline storyline, but evidently Nolan feels different.

Fans are now suitably poised and purring to catch Hathaway as the furry feisty feline that adds spice to Batman’s on-screen capers.

Halloween and Authentic Catwoman Costumes

Of course, most women don’t have any reason other than Halloween to don authentic catwoman costumes. But if Anne Hathaway can do it in July, I’m sure we can drum up some other good reasons.

If you are feeling the need to get saucy, check out these websites for a select choice of authentic catwoman costumes.

» Next article: A tribute to Damn Beliebers.
« Previous article: The Steven Tyler and Plastic Surgery rumors.

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Steven Tyler: Before And After Plastic Surgery?

Well, Steven Tyler may once have sang that the ‘dude looks like a lady’ but more recently, he himself has been looking a bit like one. Like most celebs, Mr. Aerosmith has been rumored to have succumbed to the knife and we now wonder whether we have a Steven Tyler before and after plastic surgery.

Steven Tyler  has earned many monikers during his forty year reign as the ‘demon of screamin’ and frontman of one of rock history’s most successful bands. Despite rumors in 2009 that he had left Aerosmith, a new tour in 2010 confirmed that the band was still going strong. Whatever the rumors, Tyler is an integral part of the bedrock of rock history and nothing can shake that – a megalith of the rock industry with a personality to match – which is probably why he was fortunate enough to land the job of judge on American Idol, the world’s biggest, mightiest TV music talent show.

Steven Tyler Before Plastic Surgery

Now that he is splashed across national & international TV screens, newspapers and the wider Internet and his face is beamed into millions of homes, people are starting to ask questions. One look at those sunken eyes, protruding cheeks and bulbous lips and it’s little wonder that people are now speculating whether we have, on our hands, a classic ‘before and after’ story for Steve Tyler.

Let us, for a moment, turn back the clock and check out how the modern day Steve came to be.

Tyler’s rock career began in the early seventies when he and the other bandmates, Joe Perry and Tom Hamilton met. The seventies were a heady time for the group. Their stars began to shoot up when they teamed up with New York agents, Steve Leber and David Krebs. Krebs was to later describe the band as the ‘closest thing to The Rolling Stones’ that he had ever seen.

During the seventies, the band had a number of chart-topping hits including ‘Toys In The Attic,’ ‘Sweet Emotion’ and ‘Walk This Way. They embarked on heart-stopping touring schedules that were matched by equally gruelling backstage antics. In 1978 Tyler appeared on The Beetles ‘St. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ film – his acting debut. An experienced front man, Tyler lapped up the role and sailed through the performance.

The band was notorious for its drug use. Steven Tyler and Perry were often called the ‘toxic twins,’ a nickname they earned due to the amount of stimulants and heroin they consumed. It was not uncommon for Tyler to collapse during stage performances. The band members also changed regularly during this time. This was the time that Tyler cemented his trademark look of long shaggy hair, tight leather pants, lots of scarves and lots of lip. As with most glam rockers, he was not shy of wearing make-up, which did a lot to accentuate his natural feminine looks. This was the beginning of the public’s fascination with Tyler’s appearance and why now he is prompting the question, ‘are we looking at Steven Tyler before or after plastic surgery?’

1984 and Aerosmith’s ‘Back in the Saddle’ tour was a big time for the band. Tyler’s drug use had worsened after an accident. The band was at breaking point. Perry who had by now left the band and set up his own band, was called and asked to re-join. He did so but only by forcing Tyler to go to rehab. Tyler agreed. The other band members followed suit. They fired their managers and hired a new one. Things were looking up. But it was until 1986 and their performance of ‘Walk This Way’ remixed with Run DMC that the band made their real comeback.

The mix was a huge hit. Not only did it re-launch Aerosmith, it exposed the band to a new, younger audience and allowed rap to break into the mainstream music scene. Tyler’s performance on the ‘Walk This Way’ video was particularly iconic. His long haired look created a whole new generation of shaggy rockers with tight jeans and over-sized lips. At this point, Tyler’s plastic surgery rumor mill had been well and truly set in motion.

The nineties too were stellar for Aerosmith. They were kings of the charts and a firm favorite on MTV. In 1993, they released ‘Get a Grip’ which would be their most successful album to date and the most successful rock album at he time, selling fifteen million copies worldwide.

Likewise 2000 to 2010 was also a stellar decade for the band. As well as working on various albums, they toured consistently, only taking a break in 2008 when Tyler had an accident falling off stage and breaking his shoulder. That same year, Tyler entered rehab again, this time to help his recovery from his accident and to help him get off the pain killers he was addicted to. Whatever the successes of Tyler’s professional life, his personal life has always been a struggle, but this was and still remains to be part of his unique and wider appeal to so many of his fans.

Steven Tyler After Plastic Surgery?

If you are one of the folks asking whether he’s done it or not, the simple answer is: he has admitted that he is a fan of botox and it’s quite possible that during those stints in rehab or whilst he was away from the public eye, he might have helped himself to a little nip and tuck.

Still wondering? Well, we suggest you put those questions to bed. Stop wondering whether you’re looking at Steven Tyler before or after plastic surgery. Accept that most likely he did and then focus on the legend’s amazing musical genius. We salute you Steve!

» Next article: Catwoman.
« Previous article: Parents and Facebook.

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Thursday, 20 January 2011

Parents And Facebook Privacy Concerns: What Are The Risks? Are some Of The Fears Unfounded?

‘Parents and Facebook privacy concerns’ is a frequently recurring theme that only keeps growing in prominence online and in millions of homes across the globe owing to an explosion of teenage usage of the social networking website. The stance taken on this issue is largely determined by a user’s own personal experience, whether such a user is a parent or not and the generation to which that user belongs.. It may also be worth noting that quite a few parents themselves are actually Facebook users.

Mark Zuckerberg, co-founder of Facebook, upholds the belief that privacy means different things to different generations. Whereas a middle-aged couple would have no desire for the world to see photos of their romantic dinner at a posh restaurant, young people would be chomping at the bit to let the world know about any fun social event.

A lot of the issues relating to parents and Facebook privacy concerns have to do with attitude and as with everything, teenagers’ attitudes to Facebook is distinctly different from that of their parents.

What is Facebook?

Facebook was set up in 2004 by Mark Zuckerberg and his close friends, while he was a Harvard student. It quickly grew to become the largest social networking site in the world as well as one of the internet’s top three most visited destinations – plus, it now boasts of a userbase of over 550 million.
It’s a social portal that allows users to keep in touch with friends and make new friends and lets users to post/send/share messages, photos, links, random thoughts, etc… Business people use it to promote their products and services while artists and writers use it to promote their creative works.Since 2006 Facebook has lowered the age with which a person can sign up to the site to 13. The only requirement, besides age, is a valid email account.

What are the concerns?

Central to these concerns is the fact that Facebook is used by a multitude of teenagers, some even below the required age limit and as such has become the focus of the media, social experts and the wider public, particularly parents.

A case in point is that of Phoebe Prince, the Irish girl who committed suicide in early 2010: she was seen as a clear victim of this sort of Facebook abuse. Bullies from her school in Massachusetts had posted horrible statements about Phoebe as well as tormenting her outside of school. Her death thrust Facebook into the headlines again and clearly demonstrated how teenagers and young persons could use the social networking site to victimise and bully classmates.

Another concern is one where kids use Facebook to warn other kids about bullies at school. This aspect of Facebook is clearly a double-edged sword for parents as it presents them with a dilemma with regard to what nature of guidance to give to their teenage children. If approached incorrectly, it could be tantamount to throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Also worrying for parents and Facebook privacy is the fact that so many teenagers willingly disclose their full names, addresses and full date of birth. Disclosure of this type of information paves the way for the criminal minded type to use such details for nefarious purposes such as bank fraud or paedophilia.

In 2007, Facebook lit up a firestorm amongst privacy campaigners when they removed privacy controls from users’ news feeds and mini feeds. This lack of control meant that users had no hand in selecting what was published within their news feeds which in turn gave rise to “news feed spamming” consequently making it easier to victimise users particularly the teenagers. This issue has since been addressed and users can now elect to filter out specific content types from their news feed and also choose who sees what.

What is Facebook's privacy policy?

Users must be over 13. But like any online system, Facebook is not fool-proof. It’s relatively easy for a new user to lie about their age and there is no doubting that users under 13 do exist.Read more about Facebook's privacy policy here.The policy contains nine sections, and you can jump from one section to another by following the relevant links.

Moving on ...

Facebook is aware of the privacy concerns that blight its service and as such has undertaken every effort to circumvent these problems. They do not want to become another Chatroulette -- which allows people from all over the world to communicate via webcam but eventually came to be a breeding ground for the sexually perverse. The chief problem here was the curious absence of sufficient privacy controls from the outset. Facebook periodically amends its privacy policy. It aims is protect a user’s profile information from third party applications or websites that may want to use that information for either promotional or criminal intentions.

That said, in July 2010, Ron Bowes was able to scan information from Facebook and collect over 100 million profiles. Bowes then published the information which included the URL for each user, their email and personal ID names. Facebook claimed that this information was already in the public domain but this episode only served to raise parental jitters about Facebook and privacy.

It looked as if Facebook applications were under attack again later in 2010 when a group of Turkish Internet hackers fiddled with Facebook’s translation services. The group tweaked the system to replace standard translated messages with sexually explicit messages. The translation service was subsequently removed from Facebook in some countries.

Parental Vigilance

Parents and Facebook privacy concerns is not an issue that is going to go away overnight. The reach, power and sheer size of Facebook is too vast to expect quick fixes to this problem. The good news however is that Facebook is actively tackling this problem with reasonable success. Most important however is that parents remain uniquely vigilant. As with any other service, information is key. Parents are more likely to be concerned over what they don’t really understand so it is up to parents to make every conceivable effort to be accurately informed about Facebook’s services and its restrictions or privacy policy and continuously monitor just how tightly such policies are upheld. Up-to-date information is perhaps the only way to calm the nerves of parents and their concerns about Facebook privacy.

» Next article: Steven Tyler Plastic Surgery rumors.
« Previous article: Propofol Overdose Treatment.

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Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Propofol Overdose Treatment: A Quick Guide

Before we look at the actual treatment of a Propofol overdose, let’s explore some basic facts about this drug including what it is and how it’s administered...

Propofol is a fast-acting anaesthetic drug that is also known by its brand name, Diprivan. It’s a sedative-hypnotic agent that is intravenously administered or injected for optimum results. If administered correctly, Propofol can be expected to work in as little as thirty to sixty seconds. Its effects, depending on the dosage, range from sedation to total unconsciousness. It has one legitimate use and that is to sedate patients for medical procedures. Due to the fact that it can only be injected or taken intravenously to work properly, it is always administered by a medical professional. This makes cases of an overdose rare.

It is crucial that the patient is also monitored after Propofol has been administered as it can cause shallow breathing. For this reason, some patients require an oxygen mask while sedated.

It can also lead to decreased or increased blood pressure and has been known to affect the heart rate by either slowing it down or speeding it up. It has also been linked to seizures in some patients.

To induce anaesthesia in a patient, a dosage of 40mg is administered intravenously every ten seconds. Because of how it works, Propofol is rarely given in one large dose and is instead given in regular smaller spurts. To maintain a state of anaesthesia it is normal that between 100 and 200mg is further given after the initial dose. Usually the dosages for children and elderly people are much lower.

In order for an overdose to occur, a dosage in excess of 200mg is required. Considering a state of sedation or anesthesia is achieved after just 40mg, a self induced overdose is quite unlikely. That said, it has been known to happen.

Ok, the treatment ...

Professional medical attention is vitally important and cannot be emphasized enough in cases of an overdose. In a medical environment, the immediate first step taken by the attending nurse or doctor would be the instant removal of the intravenous drip in order to avoid respiratory failure. Other actions must then be taken to counteract the possible effects of respiratory or cardiac failure.

Other drugs may also be administered to increase blood pressure and to aid the redistribution of blood and oxygen to the tissues ensuring the Propofol is properly eliminated from the system.

The effectiveness of a Propofol overdose treatment depends on a number of factors including the size of the dosage, the health of the patient and the state of the patient’s liver and kidneys which will determine how quickly the Propofol can be metabolized and eliminated from the system.

Unlike Demerol or Oxycontin, Propofol has no antidote. Both Demerol and Oxycontin are opiates and an opiate overdose can be counteracted by administering an opioid antagonist such as Narcan. This has the effect of bringing the patient back to full consciousness within minutes if not seconds.

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« Previous article: The Propofol side effects in children.

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Propofol Side Effects in Children: What Are They?

Propofol is a type of anaesthetic that is also known as Dirprivan. It is administered by way of an intravenous tube and is given to patients prior to surgery or whilst in intensive care. Well-documented research exists into Propofol side effects in children.

It is a very strong anaesthetic and has been known to cause organ failure. For this reason, some medical professionals think that it is not recommendable that Propofol be prescribed for children. However, under correct medical supervision, Propofol is used regularly in paediatric wards to both sedate children and put them to sleep for short medical procedures.

Generally speaking kids don’t like Propofol because it’s administered through an IV tube or injection, both of which require a needle. Nursing and medical staff must do their best to distract kids who might be put off by this.

One of the most common Propofol side effects in children is slow and shallow breathing. Because of this children are given an oxygen mask to assist their breathing while sedated. In rare cases, children may also be given a breathing tube to help with their respiration during a medical procedure or operation.

Propofol is also known to lower blood pressure. Because of this, a child’s blood pressure is also monitored through an operation or procedure. It is also possible that IV fluids are given either before or during the procedure in order to maintain blood pressure levels. In fact, both cardiac and blood pressure monitors are put in place during a procedure to monitor both heart rate and blood pressure.

Some children also experience muscle movement but this is a normal reaction and is not just caused by the Propofol.

Keep in mind that Propofol is a very fast acting drug so although a child can be put to sleep in under a minute, the drug will wear off fifteen to twenty minutes later and the child should wake up feeling fine, although a little drowsy. The child should be fully back to normal an hour or so later.

Parents should only become alarmed by Propofol side effects in children if after its use the following signs are noted:
  • the child is regularly vomiting,
  • the child is extremely irritated,
  • the child has trouble waking up, or
  • the child shows any one of : fever, rash, wheezing or trouble breathing.

Propofol Side Effects in Adults

The anaesthetic Propofol has potentially much the same side-effects in adults that it has in children. As with children, it can cause high or low blood pressure in adults. It can also potentially lead to cardiovascular secondary effects of a serious nature such as restricting the flow of blood to the heart and heart attacks.

It can potentially affect the nervous system which leads to either an increase or a reduction in the movement of muscles, muscle spasms and tingling or numbness. Propofol can also cause agitation, dizziness, some drowsiness and delirium. Euphoria, seizures, chills, some anxiety, depression, twitching, headaches and insomnia are some other side effects Propofol has been linked to.

In some cases, it can lead to respiratory problems including wheezing, coughing and hypoxia.

Further possible secondary effects that have been linked to the use of Propofol include alterations of taste, double vision, failure of kidneys, some pain in the patient's eyes, ears and a ringing sound in the ears.

All in all, with correct medical supervision, Propofol is not a dangerous drug and both Propofol side effects in children and adults are rarely a cause for grave concern.

» Next article: Propofol Overdose Treatment.
« Previous article: Propofol side effects in dogs.

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Propofol Side Effects In Dogs: Get The Facts

Unlike other anaesthetics, Propofol is not clearly understood and medics are sometimes unsure how it works. That said, it works effectively as both a sedative and an anaesthetic. Yet vets are generally clear about Propofol side effects in dogs.

It has been tested and used as an anaesthetic in animals including dogs since the 1970s. But it has become particularly popular in the last ten to fifteen years. This is because it is easy to administer, acts quickly, is metabolised quickly and so also wears off quickly.

Although the drug is considered to be perfectly safe for dogs, it has been known to cause some side effects  too. When a dog is given Propofol, it takes effect within thirty to sixty seconds. Depending on the dosage, the effect will either be a mild sedation or total unconsciousness. The effects of Propofol usually last about twenty minutes.

First, it is important to note that total unconsciousness is not one of Propofol’s side effects in dogs and for this reason, it is often mixed with other drugs. It is often used in conjunction with tranquilizers, barbiturates, opioids and inhalant anaesthetics.

Even in dogs, Propofol must be administered intravenously because of its fast acting properties. If taken orally it will not work as an anaesthetic. It has also been known to temporarily increase a dog’s appetite while also reducing the impulse to vomit. But unlike other anaesthetics, Propofol does not have any pain relieving properties.

In people, Propofol is known to slower heart rate, to cause shallow breathing and to lower blood pressure. In fact, the same is true for dogs. For this reason, it is important for the vet to monitor the dog carefully after the dog has been given a dosage of Propofol. If the dog has an allergy to Propofol or suffers from hypersensitivity, then it will be dangerous to give the dog Propofol and any quantity of it could lead to death. Also dogs that are in shock, or have suffered extreme stress or are the victim of a trauma should also not be given Propofol.

An important element of Propofol side effects in dogs is that is has been known to cure seizures, whilst in other dogs it has been known to cause seizures. It is important to go to a vet who known the medical history of your dog, so that the vet will be able to accurately assess the likelihood of such an outcome. This is also important with regard to other medications that the dog may be taking. For example if the dog is on acepromazine, atropine, cimetidine or narcotics, it is not advisable to give the dog Propofol. The types of procedures that Propofol can be used in examinations of ear and mouth flushes, diagnostic ultrasonography, transtracheal aspirationremoval of tumors, abscess drainage, castration, ovariohysterectomy procudures, biopsies and small laceration suturing.

These operations or procedures are relatively short or quick, which makes Propofol a good choice. For longer procedures, Propofol is mixed with other drugs to ensure the dog is sedated and unconscious for a longer period of time. As mentioned, Propofol can affect the dog’s breathing and heart rate. For this reason, the vet will monitor both the dog’s breathing and heart rate whilst sedated.

With proper supervision, Propofol side effects in dogs are limited and there is no reason why the dog should not make a full recovery once the procedure is completed. It is normal to expect the dog to be up and about again as normal within an hour of the procedure.

» Next article: Propofol side effects in children.
« Previous article: Chatroulette alternatives.

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Friday, 14 January 2011

Chatroulette Alternatives: The Lowdown

Firstly, Chatroulette in a nutshell: naked men in multi-coloured bras, tiger costumes and freaky masks, lonely dudes with todgers in hand and horny schoolgirls hiding from their mothers, these are just some of the wacky types you are likely to encounter via webcam on Chatroulette!

Since its launch in 2009 by 17-year-old Russian whiz-kid, Andrey Ternovskiy, Chatroulette was an instant success, attracting celeb users like Kelly Osborne, Nicole Ritchie and Paris Hilton (well, we all know Paris' appetite for online videos).

Chatroulette has been referred to as the bastard child of Skype and StumbleUpon. It basically combines the communication accessibility of Skype with a webcam. A scene from the 'The Deer Hunter' film of 1978 inspired the name.

Users simply sign on, link in their webcam and they have access to thousands of would be screen stars surfing the net from their home computers and broadcasting all sorts of bedroom madness from quirky theatrical shows to pornographic podcasts.

What Goes Up Must Come Down!

Unfortunately for Chatroulette, after its launch to great media fanfare, traffic has dropped by over 55 percent, funding offers are down to a trickle and the site is being written off as a passing fancy. Against this backdrop, it's little wonder that its perceived demise has paved way for scores of Chatroulette alternatives.

There is no doubt Ternovskiy showed impeccable entrepreneurial flair for someone his age by launching the site, but his lack of experience showed in the absence of censorship or policing tools on the site.

Although initially it was the weird and wonderful users that Chatroulette attracted, which made it so unique & attractive, it has become a cesspool for racists slanderers and other groups of generally unwholesome folk bent on airing their angry ideologies, creepy sexual orientations and such like.

Moving On ...

The fact is life in the Internet fast lane moves at cyber speed. Chatroulette may have only been launched in 2009, but it is already old school. Today, many Chatroulette alternatives are available.

Here we give you a quick insight into some of the most popular Chatroulette alternatives.

Meet the Chatroulette alternatives ...


First on the list of Chatroulette alternatives is Stickam, which was set up in 2007. Stickam is a social networking site where users can submit pictures, audio clips, video clips and make use of a live webcam service too. Not only is it possible to chat with other users live on this site but it’s also possible to stream webcam feeds into other sites. Stickam does have a strict policy regarding the age of users -- it does not allow users under the age of fourteen.


WebChatFan is a Chatroulette alternative that is very similar to the original but has a cleaner design. It describes itself as a ‘video chat game’ that allows random people from all over the world to chat via webcam.


With more than four million users and four thousand chat rooms, PalTalk is not only one of the largest Chatroulette alternative, it is a video chat megastar in its own right.


JabberCam is another Chatroulette alternative that is very similar to the original in its concept. It focuses on live webcam chats, but adds some features such as blurring the screen to encourage users to wait a few seconds before hitting next and moving on to next chatter.


As the name suggests, camStumble is a Chatroulette alternative offering strangers who stumble upon each other the chance to, well, you guessed it, chat via webcam. This site does require users to sign up for membership.


ShufflePeople is a video webcam site with a fun feel to it. It links random people via text, video and voice chat. Users must be over 18 and the site does ask users to ‘keep it clean’ or risk being reported.


Open FlipChat and it immediately invites new users to ‘meet a complete stranger!’ Flashing images show that this site is particularly popular for young users.


SpinTheCam is the Chatroulette alternative with the funkiest name (remember Spin The Can, anyone?) And the site’s appearance stays true to its zany moniker. Brightly coloured with lots of whizzing images, SpinTheCam definitely catches the attention. Expect to find lots of girls in their underwear lurking here.


As its name suggests, VideoEncounter is a more serious Chatroulette alternative, serious in every way! VideoEncounter states clearly on its home page that the site attracts the best of the weird and wonderful and the sexual. This is an adults only site.


MyChanceRomance is the Chatroulette alternative that combines online dating and webcam chat. As with other webcam sites, it is possible to flick from user to user until an attractive face pops up -- the goal here being: to find romance.


This site attracts users based on common interests. Chatfe links like-minded people who want to share info on music, politics, travelling, philosophy, religion, entertainment gossip and movies. This site does require users to sign up for membership.


Omegle is another site that gives users the chance to link up via text or webcam. As users are introduced to each other randomly, the links are anonymous, but users can trade whatever info they choose. This site is free to use.


Zupyo is plain in its appearance compared with other Chatroulette alternatives. It allows users to link by searching for keywords. For example, if a user puts in the keyword 'New York', the site will link that user to others who put in the same keyword.


AnoChat has the look and feel of a social networking site. It's possible to chat with random people, to link up with friends or invite friends. The site does require membership and at the moment has just over 7,000 users.


ChatTino exclusively caters for a German audience.


ChatRide has a unique feature that allows users to target others directly on other web sites.


ChatHopper is the Chatroulette alternative that encourages users to express themselves. Flirting is a big feature of the site.


Apparently popular with French speaking users, Bazoocam is localized in six languages: French, English, Spanish, German, Italian and Portuguese.

And that's it. A list of the top Chatroulette alternatives online today.

» Next article: Propofol side effects in dogs.
« Previous article: Ted Williams: Golden Pipes.

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Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Ted Williams: Silky Voice Of A Homeless Man

It would be fair to say that Ted Williams is living proof that dreams can come true - particularly the American Ones ;). Practically overnight, he went from being a homeless nobody to a silky voiced sensation. It’s little wonder that an entire nation is transfixed on this man now nick-named "Golden Pipes".

If anything, his story proves the power of the Internet. When a video featuring the full glory of Williams' baritone was posted online by The Columbus Dispatch, the video clip quickly went viral. It reached 8 million viewings in little over a week on YouTube. Before anyone could say, "give that man a second chance", the job offers had started flooding in.

Anyone would agree that his story does not make for happy reading. From a young age, Williams had dreams of being a radio announcer. He trained in this field but then fell on hard times.

Like so many who are enamored with the entertainment industry, Williams succumbed to the lure of drugs and alcohol. Williams himself agrees. In one interview, he states that he had a long history of drug and alcohol abuse and that it was most definitely the catalyst for his downfall. He had been living on the edge of society since 1996 when fame finally found him.

The mother

His mother, now 90-years-old, is a proud woman who laments her only son’s downward spiral into a life of alcohol and drug abuse. She says that he comes from a good family and his unfortunate downfall occurred as a result of series of bad choices.

Clearly upset by her son’s lifestyle she reiterates in the video clip that his upbringing was a good one and that he let not only her, but also his own family down by choosing drugs and drink over them. She says that his problems started when he dropped out of the army in the seventies.

She admits that the viral video that has propelled her son to possible stardom embarrasses her but she is also hopeful. Like all mothers, she wants her son to do well. She hopes this is the lucky break that he deserves and that finally he will be able to do something good for the family he left behind so many years ago.

The women

Because of his wayward lifestyle, Williams was reckless with the women in his life, and one more so than all the others. That woman is Patricia Kirtley. She had four daughters with Williams. Williams left the family home when the girls were still young.

Not only that but Williams had children with other women, pro-creating a total of nine kids. It was Patricia who came to the rescue of these children too. She took under her wings a baby boy who was the son of Williams and a ‘druggie’ girlfriend.

But Patricia didn’t stop there. She also arranged for the other babies to be put in the homes of her cousins and relatives. ‘I couldn’t bear to see those babies go into a foster home,’ she said in one interview.

Patricia was the sole provider for all five children as Williams left the family home almost twenty-three years ago due to chronic drug abuse. ‘I am good at making soup,’ Patricia joked when she asked how the family survived.

All five children are now grown and have jobs and children of their own. Patricia’s story is all the more remarkable due to the fact that she is partially blind. ‘That’s why my children are such good readers,’ she said, ‘because I made them read aloud to me.’

Williams did not play a big role in the upbringing of the children because he was never home. But Patricia did maintain contact with him and he sometimes visited for Thanksgiving. He did not contribute financially.

When asked about her relationship with Williams, Patricia’s response is one of sadness tinged with nostalgic pride. When asked why she fell for him, she confirms what we all suspect. ‘It was his voice,’ she said, ‘who couldn’t love that voice.’

The children too are proud of their father’s new found fame but that doesn’t mean that some of the old tensions don’t exist but more of that later.

The "discovery"

There is no doubting that there is lots of sadness in the story of Ted Williams but all that changed last week when he was approached by a reporter from The Columbus Dispatch -- you just never know when someone's luck is about to change.

The reporter approached Ted and offered him a dollar to demonstrate his voice. Williams was holding a sign which made reference to his baritone talents.

Ted Williams was so grateful to receive the dollar – at the time he said it was like getting twenty dollars – that he happily gave the reporter a little demonstration.

He boomed, “When you’re listening to the best of the oldies, you’re listening to Magic 98.9.” The reporter was so impressed, he gave Williams two dollars.

Later that day, the reporter came back with a camera and the rest, as they say, is history. That video clip went up on YouTube and practically overnight became a YouTube sensation. Just like The Laughing Baby and Justin Beiber, Ted Williams story is an unquestionable example of the power of YouTube and the Internet.

What is, without question, most startling in the video is how mismatched the man and the voice appear. But the ear does not deceive the listener. This is a man with a unique voice and a unique talent.

Despite his very apparent state of squalor, Ted Williams displays a certain charm that is both endearing and exceptional. His warm personality, jovial demeanor and willingness to joke in spite of the obvious difficulties is a sight to behold.

As soon as the video went viral, the interview and job offers started flooding in. He was first asked to appear on a radio station in his native Ohio.

Upon hearing his interview on this radio station a woman, named Tracy, called up the station saying she was a representative of the Cleveland Cavaliers. She said that she was so impressed by Williams she wanted to offer him a job as their full-time voice-over artist. And she didn’t stop there -- a mortgage/rent-free house in Cleveland followed as a perk!!

Ted Williams was both moved and shocked by the offer. ‘They offered me a house!’ he exclaimed with genuine emotion.

That was only the start of the merry-go-round. Since then he has been invited as a guest on to The Early Show, The Today Show, Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Entertainment Tonight, Dr. Phil, Good Morning America, to mention but a few.

And just to prove that he has made it to the top, the most recent offer has come from Oprah Winfrey. There is no doubting that the baritone star never imagined he would see the words “Ted Williams Oprah Winfrey” in the same sentence, but God knows stranger things have happened in his life.

When he appeared on The Early Show he was asked specifically about how he felt the trappings of fame and success would affect his history of addiction.

‘It’s not going to be easy,’ he admitted. Williams does have an addict counsellor working with him and he repeated the counsellor’s advice in the interview. ‘My counsellor says that I am going to have to learn to meditate instead of medicate.

When his mother, who appeared on the show with him, expressed her concern, he concurred that it was a valid concern. ‘Two years is not a great length of sobriety … All I can do is take it one day at a time.”

Despite the dramatic changes to his professional circumstances, the silky voiced charmer still has some way to go before he sorts out his personal affairs and re-build burned bridges with his family.

Bust-up with daughter

Evidence of existing tense relations with his family were all too clear on Monday night when he and his daughter were cautioned by police for arguing outside the Renaissance Hotel & Spa in Hollywood. Williams was there to appear on Entertainment tonight and Dr. Phil.

The argument erupted late on Monday evening. His daughter, Janey started screaming at her father. The police were called to the scene and the angry duo was brought to the local police station.

When Williams later appeared on Entertainment Tonight, he explained that it was just a family gathering that got out of control.

Janey had a different story. She said that her dad had been drinking and that during the evening he had consumed a bottle of whisky as well as numerous bottles of Corona and Budweiser. ‘He is a heavy drinker,’ she confirmed in a separate interview. On the Entertainment Tonight show, Williams denies that he was drinking.

Williams will have to work hard to maintain his good fortune but the help is certainly there. As well as the various job offers, the Screen Actors Guild Foundation has offered to help Williams become a guild member voice-over artist.

His appearance on Dr. Phil will also be a tough one. He is due to appear with five of his nine children along with their mother Patricia. No doubt there will be many hard memories to overcome there and living them out in the public eye will not be easy, but the fact that his family are there show that they ultimately support him and wish him well.

Many are saying that the story of Ted Williams is indicative of the times we live in. On the streets he was little more than another wasted talent. One reporter bashed the state of the American economy that allowed such talent to go to waste.

But this is also the story of an individual with a dream. In an interview with the Associated Press, Williams makes it clear that he has been clean for two years. No one can imagine the strength of will that it must have taken to get clean whilst living on the streets but that can only be testament to the power of Williams dream.

It is up to him, now that he has been given this chance, to make the most of that dream. Here’s hoping his star shines on and on.

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