Archive for Wednesday, November 5, 2008

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November 5, 2008

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Opus hasn't marched off his mortal coil

Berkeley Breathed has a message for those "Opus" fans who were worried that the penguin was deep-sixed Sunday when his 5-year-old comic strip shut down.

"Jumpin' Jehosphat," Breathed told the Los Angeles Times via e-mail, "Tony Soprano sleeps with the fishes, which is to say, dead. Opus sleeps with a bunny in a feather bed, dreaming of a more hopeful tomorrow morning."

Most fans got that sweet image when they saw the final "Opus" online at humanesociety.org/opus. But others were worried because the penultimate strip in print took place in an animal shelter setting and then, in the finale, Opus was being put to sleep (so to speak) in the pages of "Goodnight Moon," the nursery classic.

They can rest easy now that Breathed has clarified that Opus is, well, resting easy.

"Opus" ended its run with one foot in children's literature and another in the unpredictable world of technology.

The final comic showed Breathed's pudgy penguin peacefully napping, while Breathed's farewell note to his readers crashed the comic strip artist's Web site.

"I assure people in my Web note that Opus is in the comforting place that would make me smile when I think of him in the years to come. I can only hope that his fans will smile too."

Will.i.am to debut new video postelection

New York - Will.i.am felt so confident about Barack Obama winning the presidency, he's created a new song and video - much like his viral hit "Yes We Can" - to celebrate.

"It's A New Day" was to debut today on the Web site dipdive.com.

Once again, will.i.am enlisted fellow celebrities, asking them to send him their video testimonials: He spent part of Election Night editing them so he could debut the final product the next morning.

"This was inspired by America. It's about Obama winning, and really paying tribute to those people who are responsible for that happening, and that's the American people," the Black Eyed Peas leader said Tuesday night. "The whole thing is really for people to leave testimonials ... to create a page and leave testimonials on how they feel about this American accomplishment."

Will.i.am was an early backer of Obama's candidacy, and his video "Yes We Can" - which featured celebrities such as Ryan Phillippe, John Legend, Scarlet Johansson and others giving vocalizations to an Obama speech over will.i.am's music - was a viral hit when it debuted in February, getting millions of views online.

Doctors remove tumor from Haggard's lung

Bakersfield, Calif. - Merle Haggard is recovering after having a malignant tumor removed from his lung.

Friends said Monday's surgery at Bakersfield Memorial Hospital was a success and that the 71-year-old country crooner was in stable condition.

Doctors informed Haggard, who's from a Bakersfield suburb, about a spot on his lung in May. He told The Bakersfield Californian in August that he wasn't going to seek treatment, but friends and family members convinced him otherwise.

Haggard became a household name after the anthem "Okie From Muskogee" hit No. 1 in 1969. He has had 38 No. 1 hits stretching back to 1966.

Diddy votes: 'It was a joyous moment'

New York - New York is a deep blue state, and was almost assured to go the way of Barack Obama on Election Day. Still, as Diddy cast his ballot for the Democratic presidential candidate Tuesday, he couldn't help but feel that he had made a difference.

"I felt like my vote was the vote that put him into office. It was down to one vote, and that was going to be my vote. And that may not be true, but that's how much power it felt like I had," the hip-hop mogul said.

After spending much of the campaign using his star wattage to get other people to the polls, Diddy, like other celebrity political boosters, led Tuesday by example. He arrived at his polling site - a school in midtown Manhattan - in the morning and waited in line as a bevy of media prepared to capture the moment.

Diddy said he believed he was potentially making history by voting for the first black president, and also felt the weight of the past in the voting booth.

"I'm not trying to be dramatic, but I just felt like, Martin Luther King, and I felt the whole civil rights movement, I felt all that energy, and I felt my kids," he said. "It was all there at one time. It was a joyous moment."

Hundreds complain about BBC's 'Top Gear'

London - Just days after being engulfed in a controversy involving two of its biggest on-air personalities, the BBC acknowledged it has received more than 500 complaints about an unsavory joke made by another of its leading presenters.

The complaints were about Jeremy Clarkson joking on his popular TV auto show "Top Gear" about truck drivers killing prostitutes, the British broadcaster said Tuesday on its Web site.

In February, former truck driver Steve Wright was convicted of murdering five prostitutes in southeast England.

Clarkson, who is known for making edgy comments, was describing a driver's day.

"Change gear, change gear, check mirror, murder a prostitute, change gear, change gear, murder," he joked in the Sunday evening show that was watched by 7 million viewers.

"I just think it was highly distasteful and insensitive," said Brian Tobin, director of The Iceni Project, a charity for sex workers that had helped some of Wright's victims before they were murdered.

Just last week, the BBC was forced to defend its editorial standards after comedian Russell Brand and fellow presenter Jonathan Ross left lewd messages on the phone of 78-year-old actor Andrew Sachs about his granddaughter.

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