celebrity

Alice Cooper – True Rock And Roll Is Live Once Again

The originator of “shock rock” is brining his live act back to the stage in 2006, and Alice Cooper is sure to create the same frenzy he always has. Cooper’s past acts on stage are famous, or infamous, depending on your point of view, but one thing that’s indisputable is that his show is one that every member of the audience remembers. Cooper’s sound is as memorable as his live act, and a look at his life may help explain how his persona came to be. Early Life Vincent Damon Furnier was born in Detroit on February 4, 1948. His heritage was quite interesting, in that his grandfather was an ordained Apostle of the Church of Jesus Christ and his father was an elder in the same church. After spending the first few years of his life in Detroit, the family decided to move to Phoenix, which was where Vincent spent his formative years. Furnier enrolled at Cortez high school in Phoenix, and became known by his peers as a columnist in the school newspaper. His tone in these columns was quite sarcastic, and two of his loyal readers became his closest friends of the time – Glen Buxton and Dennis Dunaway. Buxton and Dunaway would play a large role in Furnier’s musical career down the road. Furnier, Buxton and Dunaway were motivated by one thing in high school – gaining the attention and adulation of the female students at Cortez. Their first foray into the musical world occurred during a school talent show where they donned wigs and gave a mock performance of songs by The Beatles. Even though their show was definitely amateur in nature, the group discovered that music was definitely the way to go if they wanted to be popular. The trio was joined by another friend, Michael Bruce, and the quartet formed a band named The Earwigs. The group’s musical influences included The Beatles, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, The Who, The Kinks and especially Eric Clapton and The Yardbirds. The name “Earwigs” didn’t last long, as the band soon became known as the Spiders. The Spiders released a single, “Don’t Blow Your Mind,” that was a hit on Phoenix radio, and as a result, the band once again changed their name to The Nazz and traveled to Hollywood to pursue larger goals. Despite years of struggle in Los Angeles, The Nazz did manage to play opening acts for such bands as The Doors and The Yardbirds. The final change came in 1968, when Todd Rundgren named his band The Nazz, forcing Furnier and his crew to rename their band “Alice Cooper.” Alice Cooper Days In 1969, the band Alice Cooper released their first album, Pretties For You, which sold reasonably well but was seen as an outlandish work at the time. One of the reasons was the legendary story that the band showed up still reeling from a night of heavy drinking to record the album. This legend helped play into the overall theme of craziness that the band embodied going forward. The band Alice Cooper released a total of five albums, but they split up in 1974. Furnier then became known as Alice Cooper, and released his first album, Welcome to My Nightmare, in 1975. The album became a top ten hit, and Cooper was on his way to stardom. Since then, Cooper has released more than 30 studio, live and compilation albums, and has sold millions of records worldwide. His onstage legend has never waned. Even though he denies biting the head off a chicken and drinking its blood, the story made waves all over the world and is still a subject of discussion in many interviews. Cooper’s outrageousness is definitely part of why he is known, but he is also one of the top-selling artists of his time. He has always flown a bit under the radar, but his shock rock innovations have been admired and to an extent imitated by the likes of Judas Priest, Kiss, Megadeath and Marilyn Manson. One thing is sure – to see Alice Cooper is to see a show you’ll never forget.

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When Success Shines Through Failure In American Idol

Like about 200 million other people around the world, my wife and I settled down to watch the American Idol Grand Finale earlier this week. With the benefit of satellite, we watched live from our tropical island home by the Sulu Sea in the Philippines. We were already happy, as our two favourites, Katherine McPhee and Taylor Hicks had, the previous evening, been where they belonged, singing in the final. Whoever won did not matter; we loved them both, but after Taylor Hicks final song, he did look the likely winner. However, they would both, as well as Chris Daughtry, have made worthy American Idols.

There were many memorable moments during the American Idol 2006 series, but for me one of the most memorable, and significant, came with the announcement of Taylor Hicks as the winner. I was delighted for him. He has been an inspirational entertainer all the way through the American Idol series, never flirting with the exit door (despite Simon Cowell’s attempts to shove him there), and with a unique ability to take just about any song, turn it into his own, and bring the audience to its feet. Taylor Hicks is…well, Taylor Hicks; never afraid to do his own thing and entertain the audience. Even if Simon Cowell wrote a funeral dirge, Taylor Hicks could turn it into something special with his unique character, and have the house rocking.

Taylor Hicks being announced as the winner was, of course, the peak of the series; it was what all the contestants had been aiming for since the auditions. However, for me there was something very special about that moment, that some may not have been so aware of: the reaction of Katherine McPhee. Her reaction was one of genuine delight for Taylor’s success. There were no artificial congratulations, no tears of disappointment, no sombre face because she had lost the final; just magnanimous delight for Taylor Hicks being voted American Idol 2006.

Katherine McPhee is a born star, and she will have a good singing career, a dream come true for her. Yet, despite her stunning beauty and exceptional singing talent, she remained modest even at the pinnacle of the show. In her own failure to win the contest, she simultaneously recognised with magnanimity the success of Taylor Hicks, and glowed in her own success of getting that far herself. She did not exude one iota of failure in her demeanour as the announcement was made. If anything, she epitomised success.

Seeing Katherine McPhee at that moment reminded me of how intermingled success and failure are. Even the same achievement can be viewed by one person as a success, and another as failure. No doubt there are some mean spirited people who will dismiss Katherine with a simple oh, she was beaten, she failed. But anyone who genuinely respects achievement of any type would appreciate what she has done to get as far as she has, and in such style.

The parents of Katherine McPhee must be very proud of what their daughter can do, has done, and will do in the future. But they should also be very proud of themselves for bringing up such a delightful young woman, who can take her moment of disappointment and turn it into a celebration of success, both for her and her conqueror, Taylor Hicks.

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Who Killed Heath Ledger?

The first time I saw Heath Ledger, it was by accident. My date and later to-be husband, Nick, took me to see ‘The Sixth Sense’, finally succumbing to peer pressure to guess ‘the big surprise ending. By now, ‘The Sixth Sense’ was off the major theater chain circuit and only screening in small suburban independent theaters, which led us to experience one of those now rare events: a double-feature matinee. The first movie was ’10 Things I Hate About You’.Well passed ‘teen movies, even those with Shakespearian-based scripts, we shyly admitted to liking 10 Things. Wow, I really like the male lead, what was his name? “He’s Australian, you know”, replied Nick. And in typical Aussie-fashion, I was doubly impressed and now stupidly filled with national pride. Another brilliant Australian up-and-comer to join the rapidly increasing queue to grace Hollywood screens.Years later, I would often grab the DVD to fill a cheerless afternoon and find myself watching and rewinding the same scene. Over and over and over again. My secret guilty pleasure. Heath sliding down the pole, microphone in hand, singing “You’re just too good to be true, can’t take my eyes off of you …” The brass band kicks in. And that charmingly defiant half-run, half-prancing across the school steps. The scene is brilliant. It’s inexplicable. He simply has that old-fashioned ‘it’ factor.I’m not a star-struck fan and was never one of those teenagers with movie-star idol posters plastered all over my bedroom walls, but this kids got talent.And then came those scene-stealing roles that totally blew us away. The Patriot. Monsters Ball. And finally leading-man status and an Academy Award nomination. By now, we were just used to having another famous Australian up there with the rest of the world’s great talent churning out an endless array of diverse, yet illustrious film roles.We had no idea. It was not endless. It was not what we expected.When people who I’ve never met but greatly admire die, I’m sad. But I’ve never cried before. I have never before felt that heart wrenching overwhelming shock that lasted for days after I heard the news. This time it was somehow more personal. As soon as I read the detailed list of the first report of his deathbed scene, I intuitively knew how he died.Ten days later the final medical examiners report confirmed my suspicions.Hollywood is ‘Xanax-city. Feeling down, pop a Xanax. Feeling stressed, pop a Xanax. Need to perform at your very best, pop a Xanax. A-list stars feel the pressure to provide A-grade performances when working on multi-million dollar films. There’s too much money at stake. The intense stress, both internal and external, is immeasurable. The studios are risking billions, paying the stars millions, and the actors are unnaturally subjected to more pressure than we mere mortals can imagine.Heath Ledger, himself, admitted that after the worldwide release of A Knights Tale with its instant paparazzi-bulb-flashing stardom, his stress levels increased ten-fold.Xanax is the trade name of the generic anti-anxiety/tranquillizer prescription drug, alprazolam, listed in Ledgers toxicity report. The other anti-anxiety drug was diazepam, or more commonly known as Valium. These drugs are from a class of commonly prescribed tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines or simply referred to as benzos.According to the latest National Health Study, approximately 10 million scripts of benzos are written annually in Australia alone with its meagre population of 20 million compared to 300 million in the US.Many doctors will write a script for benzos faster than a speeding bullet. But the real danger is that too many of them do not know the long-term effects these drugs have on your system, how to give their patients the correct advice when administering or monitoring the dosages, and – more frighteningly – how to manage their patients benzo withdrawal program.Firstly, this is how benzos affect your body – or more importantly – your brain. Benzodiazepines increase, or rather, enhance your brains main neurotransmitter, commonly known as GABA. Eventually, and this can be as quickly as 3 to 4 weeks if taking a daily dose, your brain will stop producing its own GABA and rely totally on the artificial benzo.GABA is the most important neurotransmitter because it affects just about everything else. Primarily it enhances the brains other neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Dopamine. All of the brains neurotransmitters have important functions such as, voluntary movement of the muscles, wakefulness, sleep, memory function, sensory transmission – especially pain, and much, much more.The problem is that from this point on your brain needs more benzo as tolerance starts the downward spiral, and the brain needs higher and higher dosages to obtain the same effect. If the patient is not given the correct dosage or management advice, that insidious and often-undiagnosed disorder known as Benzo Withdrawal Syndrome (BWS) will start its ugly and potentially dangerous descent.BWS is known by experts in the field for its severity and prolonged nature. It may take years to fully withdraw from benzos, even with proper care and supervision. Without this knowledge, the unwitting patient can suffer from over 30 symptoms, the most common being unrelenting insomnia, severe pain and mood changes. People who have been taking benzos for a relatively short time can experience withdrawal symptoms even whilst taking the drug. In addition, if you have been taking them for a prolonged time, and then suddenly stop, dire circumstances may happen. Or, at the very least, more pain, more depression and unrelenting insomnia.When we now read about Heath Ledgers complaints, does this sound familiar? Everything points to extreme Benzo Withdrawal, but no-one is exclaiming its dangers. In fact, most GPs and even hospital doctors admit they know very little about Benzo Withdrawal. Some even refer their patients to drug rehabilitation centers – an absolute no-no according to benzo counselors. Benzo withdrawal is the exact opposite to alcohol or street drug dependency. You don’t want to abruptly eliminate the benzo from your body, as they often do in drug rehabilitation. The brain needs the benzo. One must gradually withdraw the artificial benzo until the brain can eventually increase its own GABA. Sudden cessation of benzos can cause severe problems such as seizures and blackouts.When in BWS, the counselors advise against taking any medication or drugs whatsoever. Paracetamol is probably the only thing the body can cope with for pain relief. Nothing else. Even codeine is forbidden. Also, one should totally refrain from alcohol, caffeine, and all stimulants. There is a strong protocol to be followed and without this knowledge, the patient is easily put at great risk.The Ashton Manual, the acknowledged benzodiazepine ‘bible, warns:“Drug interactions: Benzodiazepines have additive effects with other drugs with sedative actions including other hypnotic’s, some antidepressant’s (e.g. amitriptyline [Elavil], doxepin [Adapin, Sinequan]), major tranquilizers or neuroleptics (e.g. prochlorperazine [Compazine], trifluoperazine [Stelazine]), anticonvulsant’s (e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin [Dilantin], carbamazepine [Atretol, Tegretol]), sedative antihistamines (e.g. diphenhydramine [Benadryl], promethazine [Phenergan]), opiates (heroin, morphine, meperidine), and, importantly, alcohol. Patients taking benzodiazepines should be warned of these interactions. If sedative drugs are taken in overdose, benzodiazepines may add to the risk of fatality.”The real problem is that there are extremely few experts in treating BWS; they will not include your local doctor, hospital, or drug clinic. However, there are good BWS specialists that can be extremely helpful, but they are usually found in specially funded tranquillizer recovery clinics.One must ask, why don’t doctors know about this? The problem is they simply don’t. Is it their fault or the pharmaceutical companies that profit from these addictions? There is little or no dissemination of information within the community, the medical fraternity or from the pharmaceutical companies about benzodiazepines. And, according to BWS counselors working in the field, there is insufficient research or empirical studies on the effects of benzos and BWS management to assist them with their intensive workload’s.Why? Who is at fault? Who is responsible for remedying the situation? Why are the people who write the scripts uninformed about the after-effects and potential dangers associated with benzodiazepines?Can our beloved Heath Ledgers death be at least one catalyst that will draw this devastating travesty to the public’s attention to demand more information?I hope so.

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Celebrities and their Sunglasses

Every celebrity out there knows the real value of a pair of designer sunglasses. Whether it’s to hide the effects of a late night out on the town or an effort to blend in on the street, a pair of quality sunglasses is absolutely indispensable. We’ve seen a lot of trends come and go, but a great pair of sunglasses will always transcend the passing fads of the day. With the summer just around the corner, we have begun our fashion trend spotting efforts for 2006. Like years passed, celebrities are on the forefront of eyewear fashion. One of my favorite pastimes is to monitor the fashion trends of my favorite celebrities. As with last season, big sunglasses are all the rage for the ladies. God bless you, Jackie O! Carmen Electra is one of my favorite celebrities, and one of the most stylish women in entertainment. While I could do without another season of her dreadful “reality” television show, I am dying to get my hands on a pair of the Missoni shades she was recently spotted in. They are oversized and oh-so-glamorous! Catherine Zeta-Jones may have a thing for old, outdated actors but her fashion sense is as fresh as a spring breeze. I recently saw her sporting a pair of Dolce & Gabbana glasses that were out of this world! I suspect they were the utterly amazing “4005” model. They were black, with the D&G logo designed into the arms of the glasses. The shades are big, bold, and beautiful! Heidi Klum, our favorite supermodel and partygirl, has incredible fashion sense. I saw a picture of her earlier this week wearing a classic pair of Aviator shades. While a number of people in the fashion industry have been lamenting the prevalence of Aviator shades, I couldn’t imagine a world without them. Heidi was wearing a pair made by Ray Ban, and they were absolutely fabulous! Speaking of partygirls, how could I go on without mentioning Paris Hilton? I adore Paris. She may not be taken seriously as an actress or singer, but she reigns supreme over the fashion world. She was recently spotted wearing a pair of the new Oakley glasses for women. That’s right, kids. Oakley just launched a new line of shades exclusively for women, and they are the must-have item for this fashion year. Believe the Hype!

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Paris Hilton Sedu Hairstyles

“Paris the Heiress” is famous for her too many scandals as well as for the controversial Paris Hilton Sedu hairstyles. It seems that Paris Hilton had everything – Sedu short hair styles and long ones. We are proud to declare that Paris Hilton may join the Sedu celebrity hair styles club. Before we learn more about the Paris Hilton sedu hairstyles we are obliged to give you a short description of Miss Hilton. She was born on 1981 as the proud and rich grad daughter of Conrad Hilton the founder of the Hilton hotels. Paris Hilton likes celebrities – You may ask Leonardo DiCaprio and Edward Furlong or watch her famous sex tape. Some say she is a trouble maker and recently Sir Elton john banned her from future Oscar parties. You can guess why. Following is a description of some of the famous Paris Hilton Sedu Hairstyles: 1. New style bob cut – In my opinion, this his the best Sedu short hair style Paris Hilton goes with. The length of her hair is just above the shoulder and the combination of her beautiful face and this round haircut is almost perfect. 2. A wax funky style haircut – This Paris Hilton Sedu hairstyle is unique. It is a typical Sedu celebrity hair style but not typical at all for Paris Hilton. The hair is pinned tightly back and high giving her a princess look. 3. Long blond hair. Probably the most common Paris Hilton Sedu hairstyle is long hair extensions hairstyle. 4. Half up half down Sedu celebrity hairstyle – This is a relatively easy to make hairstyle and one of the pretty ones. This Paris Hilton hairstyle looks much more natural than the other ones. By the way, according to the latest rumors from Paris Hilton hair stylists and hair dressers, her hair is in a bad condition because of the constant makeovers and changes it is going through.

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Who Killed Heath Ledger?

The first time I saw Heath Ledger, it was by accident. My date and later to-be husband, Nick, took me to see ‘The Sixth Sense’, finally succumbing to peer pressure to guess the big surprise ending. By now, ‘The Sixth Sense’ was off the major theater chain circuit and only screening in small suburban independent theaters, which led us to experience one of those now rare events: a double-feature matinee. The first movie was ’10 Things I Hate About You’.

Well passed teen movies, even those with Shakespearian-based scripts, we shyly admitted to liking 10 Things. Wow, I really like the male lead, what was his name? Hes Australian, you know, replied Nick. And in typical Aussie-fashion, I was doubly impressed and now stupidly filled with national pride. Another brilliant Australian up-and-comer to join the rapidly increasing queue to grace Hollywood screens.

Years later, I would often grab the DVD to fill a cheerless afternoon and find myself watching and rewinding the same scene. Over and over and over again. My secret guilty pleasure. Heath sliding down the pole, microphone in hand, singing Youre just too good to be true, cant take my eyes off of you The brass band kicks in. And that charmingly defiant half-run, half-prancing across the school steps. The scene is brilliant. Its inexplicable. He simply has that old-fashioned it factor.

Im not a star-struck fan and was never one of those teenagers with movie-star idol posters plastered all over my bedroom walls, but this kids got talent.

And then came those scene-stealing roles that totally blew us away. The Patriot. Monsters Ball. And finally leading-man status and an Academy Award nomination. By now, we were just used to having another famous Australian up there with the rest of the world’s great talent churning out an endless array of diverse, yet illustrious film roles.

We had no idea. It was not endless. It was not what we expected.

When people who Ive never met but greatly admire die, Im sad. But Ive never cried before. I have never before felt that heart wrenching overwhelming shock that lasted for days after I heard the news. This time it was somehow more personal. As soon as I read the detailed list of the first report of his deathbed scene, I intuitively knew how he died.
Ten days later the final medical examiners report confirmed my suspicions.

Hollywood is Xanax-city. Feeling down, pop a Xanax. Feeling stressed, pop a Xanax. Need to perform at your very best, pop a Xanax. A-list stars feel the pressure to provide A-grade performances when working on multi-million dollar films. There’s too much money at stake. The intense stress, both internal and external, is immeasurable. The studios are risking billions, paying the stars millions, and the actors are unnaturally subjected to more pressure than we mere mortals can imagine.

Heath Ledger, himself, admitted that after the worldwide release of A Knights Tale with its instant paparazzi-bulb-flashing stardom, his stress levels increased ten-fold.

Xanax is the trade name of the generic anti-anxiety/tranquillizer prescription drug, alprazolam, listed in Ledgers toxicity report. The other anti-anxiety drug was diazepam, or more commonly known as Valium. These drugs are from a class of commonly prescribed tranquilizers known as benzodiazepines or simply referred to as benzos.

According to the latest National Health Study, approximately 10 million scripts of benzos are written annually in Australia alone with its meagre population of 20 million compared to 300 million in the US.

Many doctors will write a script for benzos faster than a speeding bullet. But the real danger is that too many of them do not know the long-term effects these drugs have on your system, how to give their patients the correct advice when administering or monitoring the dosages, and more frighteningly – how to manage their patients benzo withdrawal program.
Firstly, this is how benzos affect your body or more importantly your brain. Benzodiazepines increase, or rather, enhance your brains main neurotransmitter, commonly known as GABA. Eventually, and this can be as quickly as 3 to 4 weeks if taking a daily dose, your brain will stop producing its own GABA and rely totally on the artificial benzo.

GABA is the most important neurotransmitter because it affects just about everything else. Primarily it enhances the brains other neurotransmitters such as Serotonin and Dopamine. All of the brains neurotransmitters have important functions such as, voluntary movement of the muscles, wakefulness, sleep, memory function, sensory transmission – especially pain, and much, much more.

The problem is that from this point on your brain needs more benzo as tolerance starts the downward spiral, and the brain needs higher and higher dosages to obtain the same effect. If the patient is not given the correct dosage or management advice, that insidious and often-undiagnosed disorder known as Benzo Withdrawal Syndrome (BWS) will start its ugly and potentially dangerous descent.

BWS is known by experts in the field for its severity and prolonged nature. It may take years to fully withdraw from benzos, even with proper care and supervision. Without this knowledge, the unwitting patient can suffer from over 30 symptoms, the most common being unrelenting insomnia, severe pain and mood changes. People who have been taking benzos for a relatively short time can experience withdrawal symptoms even whilst taking the drug. In addition, if you have been taking them for a prolonged time, and then suddenly stop, dire circumstances may happen. Or, at the very least, more pain, more depression and unrelenting insomnia.

When we now read about Heath Ledgers complaints, does this sound familiar? Everything points to extreme Benzo Withdrawal, but no-one is exclaiming its dangers. In fact, most GPs and even hospital doctors admit they know very little about Benzo Withdrawal. Some even refer their patients to drug rehabilitation centers an absolute no-no according to benzo counselors. Benzo withdrawal is the exact opposite to alcohol or street drug dependency. You dont want to abruptly eliminate the benzo from your body, as they often do in drug rehabilitation. The brain needs the benzo. One must gradually withdraw the artificial benzo until the brain can eventually increase its own GABA. Sudden cessation of benzos can cause severe problems such as seizures and blackouts.

When in BWS, the counselors advise against taking any medication or drugs whatsoever. Paracetamol is probably the only thing the body can cope with for pain relief. Nothing else. Even codeine is forbidden. Also, one should totally refrain from alcohol, caffeine, and all stimulants. There is a strong protocol to be followed and without this knowledge, the patient is easily put at great risk.

The Ashton Manual, the acknowledged benzodiazepine bible, warns:

Drug interactions: Benzodiazepines have additive effects with other drugs with sedative actions including other hypnotic’s, some antidepressant’s (e.g. amitriptyline [Elavil], doxepin [Adapin, Sinequan]), major tranquilizers or neuroleptics (e.g. prochlorperazine [Compazine], trifluoperazine [Stelazine]), anticonvulsant’s (e.g. phenobarbital, phenytoin [Dilantin], carbamazepine [Atretol, Tegretol]), sedative antihistamines (e.g. diphenhydramine [Benadryl], promethazine [Phenergan]), opiates (heroin, morphine, meperidine), and, importantly, alcohol. Patients taking benzodiazepines should be warned of these interactions. If sedative drugs are taken in overdose, benzodiazepines may add to the risk of fatality.

The real problem is that there are extremely few experts in treating BWS; they will not include your local doctor, hospital, or drug clinic. However, there are good BWS specialists that can be extremely helpful, but they are usually found in specially funded tranquillizer recovery clinics.

One must ask, why dont doctors know about this? The problem is they simply dont. Is it their fault or the pharmaceutical companies that profit from these addictions? There is little or no dissemination of information within the community, the medical fraternity or from the pharmaceutical companies about benzodiazepines. And, according to BWS counselors working in the field, there is insufficient research or empirical studies on the effects of benzos and BWS management to assist them with their intensive workload’s.

Why? Who is at fault? Who is responsible for remedying the situation? Why are the people who write the scripts uninformed about the after-effects and potential dangers associated with benzodiazepines?

Can our beloved Heath Ledgers death be at least one catalyst that will draw this devastating travesty to the public’s attention to demand more information?

I hope so.

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