Original Batmobile From TV Series to be Auctioned

Batman’s ride is up for sale — just the thing for cruising on those Dark Knights.

The original Batmobile from the 1960s TV series will be auctioned on Jan. 19 at the Barrett-Jackson auction house in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The 19-foot-long black, bubble-topped car was used in the TV show that starred Adam West as the Caped Crusader.

The car’s owner — famed auto customizer George Barris, of Los Angeles — transformed a one-of-a-kind 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car into a sleek crime-fighting machine. On the show, it boasted lasers and a Batphone and could lay down smoke screens and oil slicks.

And just like Batman, the Batmobile has its secrets. The auction house won’t say how much it hopes to get for the car. (AP)


Artists Move Mankind Forward

Last night I got totally sucked into the making of Michael Jackson’s Bad album on ABC. Even though I wasn’t psycho about him like some of my childhood friends, I am thankful (on Thanksgiving!) I stayed home to watch it – and not participate in Black Friday.

I got an in-depth and quick education on his discipline and style. I already knew this, but it was nice to hear from others who also witnessed it – the choreographers who helped shape his dancing in his videos (or short films as they were called), the sound engineers, songwriters and video directors who collaborated with him on a vision.

On a side note, yesterday, Thanksgiving was also the 15th anniversary of Michael Hutchence’s death. While not great how he died, (I still maintain it was an accident), it felt a little bit like a childhood homecoming of sorts –

Follow me for a second. Bad was released in 1987. ABC showed footage of his 1988 concert at Wembley – the same year I saw INXS play in Sacramento – touring in support of their 1987 album, Kick, which also celebrated its 25th anniversary this year.

The band posted this on its website honoring his death.

And then linked to this video – which if you look closely at this frame, you will see the date when I saw them play at Cal Expo.

Last week, they announced their breakup during a co-headlined Matchbox 20 concert in Perth, Australia. I won’t lie – I nearly died when I found out. But I also knew in the back of my mind this day would come.

Last night’s 90 minute long Jackson documentary made me feel like an artist again – without visionaries like him, we would not have anything aspire to, no one to look up and dream ourselves. Artists move mankind forward.

It showed me anything’s possible if you’re willing to put in the time, aka the 10,000 hour rule.

And then I re-watched some of Charlie Rose featuring JK Rowling discussing her new novel. She touches on her process, which is really important to me – it shows I feel the same meaning I may be onto something after all. Sometimes people need to keep pushing forward because they know it will turn out wonderful in the end.

Statue of Liberty, Ellis Will Not Reopen in 2012

The National Park Service says the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island will not reopen to visitors this year.

Both sites have been closed since Superstorm Sandy hit the region Oct. 29. Cleanup and repairs have been ongoing.

The Statue of Liberty itself received little or no damage. The pedestal and base, including the main floor and exhibits upstairs, are OK. But docks, a brick promenade, railings and other facilities on Liberty Island were damaged.

At Ellis Island, the storm damaged doors, windows and exhibits in the ferry building among other sites.

Park Service spokeswoman Daphne Yun said Wednesday no projected reopening date has been established.

Both the statue and Ellis Island, which served as an entry point for immigrants for a half-century, are among New York’s top tourist attractions. (AP)

Smithsonian Explores Food, Wine in New Gallery

Julia Child’s kitchen is returning to public view as the National Museum of American History opens its first major exhibit about food.

Child donated her kitchen to the museum in 2001. Now it serves as the opening story for the gallery opening Tuesday, showing her influence on culinary arts, food television and the way Americans view cooking.

Curator Paula Johnson says the second half of the 20th century brought rapid changes in America’s relationship with food.

One section of the exhibit explores the influence of immigrants from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America who introduced flavors that are now part of everyday life.

The museum also looks at the science of food production and the rise of winemaking. By 2000, wine was being produced in all 50 states. (AP)

For more information, go to http://blogs.smithsonianmag.com/aroundthemall/2012/11/food-an-edible-exhibit-examines-our-many-culinary-cultures/

Hostess Closure Sparks Twinkies Rush

Hostess Brands’ announcement that it is going out of business has spurred a rush for Twinkies. Stores around the nation are reporting customers buying boxes of the iconic “Golden Sponge Cake with Creamy Filling” by the armful and that prices on eBay have skyrocketed.

Hostess, which also makes Wonder Bread and other baked goods, said it was shutting down today because the company lacks the finances to weather an extended nationwide strike by workers. The strikes began a week ago after Hostess imposed a contract cutting workers’ wages by 8 percent. The Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union said the contract also cut benefits by 27 percent to 32 percent.

CEO Gregory Rayburn issued a statement saying, “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

News of the closing spread rapidly across the Internet and other media. It has clearly struck a nerve with consumers who got up early to buy the snack cakes while they can. A Chicago-area convenience store sold out of Twinkies by 9 a.m. this morning, according to wire reports. Stores from Manhattan to California have also reported being hit by Twinkie runs.

On eBay, one person put a $250,000 price tag on a box of 10 Twinkies. Less ironic sellers were asking $8 to $60. Individual two-packs were going for $5 and up.

The shortage has even made its way into politics — jokingly. Rotund New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie started a press conference Friday afternoon by saying, “I am not answering questions on Twinkies.”

Even amid such Twinkie-mania, the snack food is unlikely to be out of production for long.

Although the company has pinned the blame for its liquidation on striking workers, Hostess has been in financial distress for years. Hostess filed for bankruptcy in January, its second trip through court supervision since 2004. The company also has changed hands several times and is now owned by a group of investment firms, including hedge funds Silver Point Capital and Monarch Alternative Capital.

Hostess’ primary assets are its brands, which also include Drake’s Devil Dogs, Wonder Bread, Ding Dongs and Ho-Hos. They may be of interest to many companies because of their popularity with consumers. One company often cited as a possible buyer is Mexican food conglomerate Grupo Bimbo. (CBS News)

Gen. Petraeus Enlisted for Cameo in ‘Call of Duty’ Game

David Petraeus has landed on his feet with a new gig in “Call of Duty: Black Ops II.”

The retired Army general who stepped down as CIA director last week amid a scandal surrounding his extramarital affair pops up in the highly anticipated Activision Blizzard Inc. first-person shooter game released Tuesday.

A character with Petraeus’ name and likeness voiced by Jim Meskimen briefly appears as the Secretary of Defense in the year 2025.

The cameo was first reported by the gaming site Kotaku.com.

“Call of Duty” games have often employed virtual renditions of political figures.

“Black Ops II” also features an encounter with Manuel Noriega, a female president resembling current Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, an aircraft carrier named the USS Barack Obama and an appearance by retired Lt. Col. Oliver North. (AP)

INXS Breaks Up After 35 Years

This pains me to share this – but my most favorite band has now broken up. While it was somewhat expected after Michael Hutchence’s death, it’s still somewhat of a shock.

I mean the Rolling Stones are still moving right along after 50 years.

I’ve been fortunate to see them six times in concert, it’s just still sad to me. A sign of growing up and getting older I guess.

Here is the official statement posted on inxs.com:


Perth, Western Australia, November 11: It ended fittingly where it began 35 years ago, in Perth, when INXS drummer Jon Farriss declared to a 15,000+ capacity house on the opening weekend of the brand new Perth Arena and the final night of the Matchbox Twenty / INXS Australian tour that from this point INXS would bring down the curtain as a live touring band. In a fitting homage to the band, Matchbox Twenty’s Rob Thomas joined the band (INXS) and vocalist Ciaran Gribbin on stage and performed INXS’s signature closer, Don’t Change, in the band’s encore.

The remaining band members of INXS, Tim, Andrew and Jon Farriss, Kirk Pengilly and Garry Beers issued this statement.

“We understand that this must come as a blow to everybody, but all things must eventually come to an end. We have been performing as a band for 35 years, it’s time to step away from the touring arena.”

“Our music will of course live on and we will always be a part of that.”

“We would like to express our heartfelt thanks to all the friends and family that have supported us throughout our extensive career. Our lives have been enriched by having you all as a part of the journey.”

INXS forged their reputation as one of the world’s greatest live bands, relentlessly touring the US, Europe, South America, and the Far East constantly throughout the 80’s and early 90’s, fuelled by the success of records such as Listen Like Thieves, Kick, X, and Welcome To Wherever You Are.

That hard earned and hard won live reputation took INXS to the very pinnacle of the live world touring circuit with such memorable performances headlining iconic venues across the world… in the UK [Wembley Stadium 80,000], the US [Texas Stadium 60,000] and Rio De Janeiro [Rock in Rio 120,000].

But with the high, came a bitter and cruel blow… the loss of their charismatic and irreplaceable frontman Michael Hutchence in November 1997.

“It’s been 35 years for INXS as a live touring band and unbelievably it’s been 15 years ago since we lost Michael” said Jon Farriss.

“We lived for each other in the trenches and we loved each other. It was the six of us against the world and then suddenly and inexplicably we were but five. We were lost right at the moment we were on top.”

The band struggled to deal with the enormity of it all and the easy solution was to just call it a day. “We never took a soft option, it was the adversity, the challenge and the struggle that forged us into the live working band we became. And this was as big as it could possibly get when it came to a challenge” said Andrew Farriss, “and in the end we decided for a whole bunch of reasons to march forward. To us there was no other option, families always move forward.”

The band’s manager Chris Murphy said, “They believed unconditionally in each other and they also believed unconditionally in the music. People fade, sometimes way too early… that is life whether we like it or not. To live to 80 plus is a life well lived. To lose Michael so young was a tragedy for all of us. But with this band, their legacy, their music was just so damn good, it was always destined to live beyond all of us.”

The last 3 years has seen a resurgence of INXS with their songs being hammered on radio and a rise in audience numbers with the live show. The song Original Sin, with Rob Thomas on vocals, reached number 1 on the Billboard dance charts.

As Jon Farriss says, “INXS’ touring days could never last forever. We wanted it to end on a high. And it has.”

The band will be making no further comment at this time.

For some odd reason, I can’t link the video of Jon Farriss telling the Perth audience it’s over – so I’ll link the article where it’s embedded –