Thursday, January 27, 2005

A Message From Bill (1/27/05)

Hi there Everyone,

I am sorry for the lack of entries lately. Not to make any excuses, but the weather and work schedule have made it difficult lately. I do have some things to post when I get the chance.

Have a great weekend, everybody!


Dr. Phil's No. 1 Diet Secret

Dr. Phil's No. 1 Diet Secret

It's not about fat. It's not about carbs. It's all about what you believe you deserve.

Dr. Phil McGraw, author of "The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom," tells Good Housekeeping magazine that the No. 1 way to lose weight and fight fat is to recognize your personal truth--that is, what you believe about yourself when no one else is looking.

"And we live our lives based on this truth: We generate the results that we believe we deserve," Dr. Phil writes in Good Housekeeping. "If you're overweight, out of shape, depressed, I guarantee you it's because that's what you believe you deserve. On some level you're thinking, 'I'm not good enough, I'm not worthy.' But your internal dialogue needs to change. You need to realize: 'I don't have to think this way anymore. It's not anyone else's fault that I am the way I am. I choose what I think, feel, and do, and that's a tremendous power. I have the power to choose who I am going to be and how I am going to live my life.'"

Dr. Phil eschews most diets, claiming they just don't work. They are temporary fixes for lifestyle problems, he claims, insisting, "You cannot be overweight if you don't have a lifestyle to support it."

So what does work when it comes to permanent weight loss? Dr. Phil offers this advice in Good Housekeeping:

- Restrict the way you use food. Do not medicate with a baked potato.

- Get rid of the high-calorie, impulse foods. You can't eat it if it isn't there.

- Fill your kitchen with healthy, hunger-suppressing fresh fruits and vegetables that are high in fiber and nutrients.

- Finally, realize willpower is just a myth. "Willpower is fueled by emotion, and emotions are fickle." It has to be more than emotion. It has to be THE priority in your life.

Sunday, January 23, 2005

Late-Night King Johnny Carson Dies at 79

Late-Night King Johnny Carson Dies at 79

By LYNN ELBER, AP Television Writer

LOS ANGELES - Johnny Carson, the "Tonight Show" host who served America a smooth nightcap of celebrity banter, droll comedy and heartland charm for 30 years, died Sunday. He was 79. NBC said Carson died of emphysema at his Malibu home.

"Mr. Carson passed away peacefully early Sunday morning," his nephew, Jeff Sotzing, told The Associated Press. "He was surrounded by his family, whose loss will be immeasurable."

The boyish-looking Nebraska native with the disarming grin, who survived every attempt to topple him from his late-night talk show throne, was a star who managed never to distance himself from his audience.

His wealth, the adoration of his guests _ particularly the many young comics whose careers he launched _ the wry tales of multiple divorces: Carson's air of modesty made it all serve to enhance his bedtime intimacy with viewers.

"Heeeeere's Johnny!" was the booming announcement from sidekick Ed McMahon that ushered Carson out to the stage. Then the formula: the topical monologue, the guests, the broadly played skits such as "Carnac the Magnificent."

But America never tired of him; Carson went out on top when he retired in May 1992.

McMahon said Sunday that Carson was "like a brother to me."

"Our 34 years of working together, plus the 12 years since then, created a friendship which was professional, family-like and one of respect and great admiration," McMahon said in a statement. "When we ended our run on 'The Tonight Show' and my professional life continued, whenever a big career decision needed to be made, I always got the OK from 'the boss.'"

Carson's personal life could not match the perfection of his career. Carson was married four times, divorced three. In 1991, one of his three sons, 39-year-old Ricky, was killed in a car accident.

Nearly all of Carson's professional life was spent in television, from his postwar start at Nebraska stations in the late 1940s to his three decades with NBC's "The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson."

Carson choose to let "Tonight" stand as his career zenith and his finale, withdrawing into a quiet retirement that suited his private nature and refusing involvement in other show business projects.

In 1993, he explained his absence from the limelight.

"I have an ego like anybody else," Carson told The Washington Post, "but I don't need to be stoked by going before the public all the time."

Carson spent his retirement years sailing, traveling and socializing with a few close friends including media mogul Barry Diller and NBC executive Bob Wright. He simply refused to be wooed back on stage.

"I just let the work speak for itself," he told Esquire magazine in 2002.

Carson did find an outlet for his creativity: He wrote short humor pieces for The New Yorker magazine, including "Recently Discovered Childhood Letters to Santa," which purported to give the youthful wish lists of William Buckley, Don Rickles and others.

Carson made his debut as "Tonight" host in October 1962 and quickly won over audiences. He even made headlines with such clever ploys as the 1969 on-show marriage of eccentric singer Tiny Tim to Miss Vicki, which won the show its biggest-ever ratings.

The wedding and other noteworthy moments from the show were collected into a yearly "Tonight" anniversary special.

In 1972, "Tonight" moved from New York to Burbank. Growing respect for Carson's consistency and staying power, along with four consecutive Emmy Awards, came his way in the late 1970s.

His quickness and his ability to handle an audience were impressive. When his jokes missed their target, the smooth Carson won over a groaning studio audience with a clever look or sly, self-deprecating remark.

Politics provided monologue fodder for him as he skewered lawmakers of every stripe, mirroring the mood of voters. His Watergate jabs at President Nixon were seen as cementing Nixon's fall from office in 1974.

He made presidential history again in July 1988 when he had then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton on his show a few days after Clinton came under widespread ridicule for a boring speech at the Democratic National Convention. Clinton traded quips with Carson and played "Summertime" on the saxophone in what was hailed as a stunning comeback.

Competing networks tried a variety of formats and hosts to challenge Carson, but never managed to best "Tonight."

There was the occasional battle with NBC: In 1967, for instance, Carson walked out for several weeks until the network managed to lure him back with a contract that reportedly gave him $1 million-plus yearly.

In 1980, after more walkout threats, the show was scaled back from 90 minutes to an hour. Carson also eased his schedule by cutting back on his work days; a number of substitute hosts filled in, including Joan Rivers, Jerry Lewis and Jay Leno, Carson's eventual successor.

Rivers was one of the countless comedians whose careers took off after they were on Carson's show. After she rocked the audience with her jokes in that 1965 appearance, he remarked, "God, you're funny. You're going to be a star."

"If Johnny hadn't made the choice to put me on his show, I might still be in Greenwich Village as the oldest living undiscovered female comic," she recalled in an Associated Press interview 20 years later. She tried her own talk show in 1986, quickly becoming one of the many challengers who could not budge Carson.

In the '80s, Carson was reportedly the highest-paid performer in television history with a $5 million "Tonight" show salary alone. His Carson Productions created and sold pilots to NBC, including "TV's Bloopers and Practical Jokes." Carson himself made occasional cameo appearances on other TV series.

He also performed in Las Vegas and Atlantic City, N.J., and was host of the Academy Awards five times in the '70s and '80s.

Carson's graceful exit from "Tonight" did not avoid a messy, bitter tug-of-war between Leno and fellow comedian David Letterman to take over his throne. Leno took over on May 25, 1992, becoming the fourth man to hold the job after Steve Allen, Jack Paar and Carson. Letterman landed on rival CBS.

Born in Corning, Iowa, and raised in nearby Norfolk, Neb., Carson started his show business career at age 14 as the magician "The Great Carsoni."

After World War II service in the Navy, he took a series of jobs in local radio and TV in Nebraska before starting at KNXT-TV in Los Angeles in 1950.

There he started a sketch comedy show, "Carson's Cellar," which ran from 1951-53 and attracted attention from Hollywood. A staff writing job for "The Red Skelton Show" followed.

The program provided Carson with a lucky break: When Skelton was injured backstage, Carson took the comedian's place in front of the cameras.

Producers tried to find the right program for the up-and-coming comic, trying him out as host of the quiz show "Earn Your Vacation" (1954), the variety show "The Johnny Carson Show" (1955-56), the game show "Who Do You Trust?" (1957-62).

A few acting roles came Carson's way, including one on "Playhouse 90" in 1957, and he did a pilot in 1960 for a prime-time series, "Johnny Come Lately," that never made it onto a network schedule.

In 1958, Carson sat in for "Tonight Show" host Paar. When Paar left the show four years later, Carson was NBC's choice as his replacement.

After his retirement, Carson took on the role of Malibu-based retiree with apparent ease. An avid tennis fan, he was still playing a vigorous game in his 70s.

He and his wife, Alexis, traveled frequently. The pair met on the Malibu beach in the early 1980s; he was 61 when they married in June 1987, she was in her 30s.

Carson's first wife was his childhood sweetheart, Jody, the mother of his three sons. They married in 1949 and split in 1963. He married Joanne Copeland Carson that same year, but divorced nine years later. His third marriage, to Joanna Holland Carson, took place in 1972. They divorced in 1985.

On the occasion of Carson's 70th birthday, former "Tonight" bandleader Doc Severinsen, who toured with musicians from the show, said he was constantly reminded of Carson's enduring popularity.

"Every place we go people ask `How is he? Where is he? What is he doing? Tell him how much we miss him.' It doesn't surprise me," Severinsen said.

Carson won a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, in 1992, with the first President Bush saying, "With decency and style he's made America laugh and think." In 1993, he was celebrated by the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors for career achievement.

His nephew said there will be no memorial service.


AP Writer Jeff Wilson contributed to this report.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Nixon Secretary Rose Mary Woods, 87, Dies

Nixon Secretary Rose Mary Woods, 87, Dies

By MARK WILLIAMS, Associated Press Writer

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Rose Mary Woods, the devoted secretary to President Nixon who said she inadvertently erased part of a crucial Watergate tape, has died. She was 87.

Woods died Saturday night at a nursing home in Alliance, Roger Ruzek, owner of a funeral home in Sebring, said Sunday. He did not know the cause of death.

The 18 1/2-minute gap in the tape of a June 20, 1972, conversation between Richard Nixon and chief of staff H.R. Haldeman was critical to the question of what Nixon knew about the break-in at Democratic headquarters in the Watergate complex three days earlier _ and when he knew it.

Woods, who moved to northeastern Ohio after leaving the disgraced president's staff in 1976, never talked much about her years with the only American president to resign the office.

But Nixon considered her a member of the family. He wrote in his memoirs that it was Woods he asked to inform first lady Pat Nixon and his daughters in 1974 that he had decided to resign on Aug. 9.

"My decision was irrevocable, and I asked her to suggest that we not talk about it anymore when I went over for dinner," Nixon said.

When the time came for the family to privately say goodbye to Nixon before he climbed aboard the helicopter headed for Air Force One, Woods stood by with Mrs. Nixon, daughters Tricia and Julie, and their husbands.

"Rose ... is as close to us as family," Nixon said.

Woods, the granddaughter of an Irish stowaway, was born in Sebring, 20 miles southwest of Youngstown, on Dec. 26, 1917, and was raised in a strict Roman Catholic family.

She worked as a pottery company secretary in Sebring, then moved to Washington to become a typist on Capitol Hill, where she caught the eye of a rising Republican star, Congressman Richard Nixon of California.

Nixon biographer Jonathan Aitken said the two hit it off immediately. Nixon, elected to the Senate in 1950, hired Woods as his secretary.

"She was intelligent, literate, clamlike in her discretion. Technically superb, she possessed the high-speed skills of shorthand and typing necessary to keep up with her boss's often frantic and always demanding schedule," Aitken wrote.

"One of the reasons why Woods struck up such a good rapport with her boss was that their characters were similar. Disciplined in her emotions yet passionate in her convictions, Woods was intuitive, protective and obsessive about privacy."

Nixon defended his loyal employee when fingers pointed at Woods, who had spent weeks transcribing subpoenaed White House tapes.

"I know I did not do it," Nixon said. "And I completely believe Rose when she says that she did not do it."

She denied she caused the full 18 1/2-minute gap, testifying later that she inadvertently erased four or five minutes. The phone rang while she was transcribing the tape, she said.

She accidentally hit the record button. A picture in which she demonstrated her action _ stretching one foot forward while reaching back to get the phone _ became one of the most famous images of the era.

A panel of experts set up in the 1970s by federal judge John Sirica, who presided over the Watergate criminal trials, concluded that the erasures were done in at least five _ and perhaps as many as nine _ separate and contiguous segments. The panel never figured out what was erased.

Who erased the rest of the tape? No one knows.

Alexander Haig, who succeeded Haldeman as chief of staff, blamed the gap on "sinister forces." Experts later examined the tape and found as many as nine deliberate erasures. They said Woods could not have done the whole thing.

In an interview on the 25th anniversary of the 1972 break-in, Woods said she was rarely asked about Watergate anymore.

"Every once in a while I get notes and things from some of the people who were with us, but not much," she said.

"Everybody gets sort of separated."

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.