Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lisa Marie Presley Marries Guitarist

Lisa Marie Presley Marries Guitarist

By Associated Press
34 minutes ago

LOS ANGELES - Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of rock 'n' roll king Elvis Presley, has married guitarist and music producer Michael Lockwood in a ceremony in Kyoto, Japan, her publicist said Thursday.

Presley, 38, and Lockwood exchanged vows in a traditional Japanese ceremony on Jan. 22, spokesman Paul Bloch said.

It was Presley's fourth marriage. She was previously married to Nicolas Cage, Michael Jackson and Danny Keough, who is the father of her two children.

The bride's mother, actress Priscilla Presley, walked her daughter down the aisle and gave her away, Bloch said.

Daughter Riley Keough was maid of honor and son Benjamin Keough was a groomsman.

The best man was Presley's first husband Danny Keough.

Also attending the wedding were Lockwood's parents, Vivian and William Lockwood.

Lockwood was Presley's musical director and is listed as executive producer on her 2005 album "Now What."

Presley lives in the Los Angeles area but Bloch said he didn't know where the couple planned to live.


On the Net:

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Save Time and Save Money: Make your time and money cooperate


Too busy to save money?

I write a lot about things you can do to cut costs and still keep a certain level of quality in your life. Often, those things take time to accomplish. Some of the articles are specifically geared toward stay-at-home moms and dads, because it's assumed that they have more time to devote to money saving strategies.

As a former "just housewife", I can tell you that's simply not true. It seems that the time you have to spend expands directly in accordance to the amount of things you have to do - but there's never any left over.

Fortunately, real savings often come more in what we don't do, than in what we do. That means we can cut out some activities and save time, energy, and money at the same time. Coupon clipping, cooking from scratch and making things we need really are some examples of things that can take chunks of time from already busy days.

Thankfully, it's not always a matter of adding chores to your workload that even will save the most. It's more of a matter of attitude and changing the way you already do things, that will actually save you time as well as money.

For example, if you know there will be days that you're too busy or too tired to cook, (and who doesn't have those days?) plan for them by having frozen pizza or lasagna or plain old frozen dinners in stock. Frozen cooked chicken bought by the box is much less expensive than the popular fried chicken fast food place, and your own instant mashed potatoes can taste as good as theirs. Yes, it's going to raise your grocery bill somewhat, but it's going to lower your "eating out" bill by a lot more. Besides that, you can kick off your shoes and stick your feet up while you're eating it if you want. Try that at a fast food place and you'll likely be in trouble.

Let something else do your mundane thinking and remembering for you. Take advantage of online reminder services, or programs that you install on your computer. A few minutes entering birthdays, appointments and so on can do away with last minute time crunches. Give yourself a few weeks notice so you can keep an eye out for the best bargains when you need to shop for gifts. You don't have to run from this store to that one if you just watch the sales casually without having to buy right away. Even if you keep a 'gift stash', give yourself time in case you don't have the perfect gift, or need to add to something you already have.

More Don'ts:

* Don't go to the grocery for a couple of items and walk out with fifty dollars worth. Make a list, go straight to the items on the list, and check out! This will save time and money.
* Party time? Don't think you have to bake a cake "from scratch" to save frugal status. Cake mixes are inexpensive and can save you a little more time.
* Start a list of things that will take five minutes, ten minutes or a half hour and keep it in a handy place, then when you have that much time, do something from the list. Examples: Cut out coupons that you'll use, or make your own liquid soap from shampoo and water, or put together a casserole from leftovers and put it in the freezer. You'll think up more as you go.
* You'll save time and money if you know exactly where your coupons or shopping lists are. You won't be tempted to run out the door without them.
* Don't go to the malls, the fast food places and the people who need to keep up with the Joneses. Staying focused is easier said than done, but you can help yourself do that by being careful about where you go, and the people you listen to.

Other Resources:

Weekly Tip - You'll find ways to to save a little here and a little there.
Ten Minutes to a More Frugal You - Get a jump start on that list of 'to do' when you have the time.
Spending Time and Money - Several answers to a college student's question.

The key is to do what you have the time and inclination for.

Katrina's Blame Game By Brynn Bacardi


Sept. 6, 2005

Since 1988, the US has experienced 53 disasters with total costs of nearly $260 billion. Just in the past 10 years, hurricanes Ivan hit Alabama (category 3 - $12 billion in damage), Frances hit Florida (category 2 - $14 billion), George hit Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida (category 2 - $6.5 billion), Opal hit Florida and Alabama (category 3 - $3.6 billion), and tropical storm Allison hit Texas and Louisiana ( $5 billion – flooding). This is no surprise to anyone. The water, winds, and terrain make this a great place for catastrophic weather to occur. So, why weren’t the states and cities more prepared?

President Bush requested 10.5 billion dollars for hurricane Katrina’s relief effort and signed the bill as soon as it passed through the House and Senate yesterday evening. In fact, he actually declared Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida a disaster area on Monday, August 29th before all of the problems started. He DID act fast – and did all that he could within his powers. The rest lay with the state and city officials. Everyone seems to be pointing the finger at President Bush and FEMA – but the fingers need to be pointed at several key figures.

It is widely evident at this point that the governors of Alabama and Mississippi, and Mayor of New Orleans had no evacuation plan at all. They got on television and said, “evacuate”. And then went on their merry way. Why weren’t city transit buses and school buses mobilized to pick up those without transportation? Not only would they have save hundreds of people, they would have also saved the vehicles from destruction. Why didn’t they AT LEAST evacuate the hospitals and have alternative trauma centers set up in nearby cities? Did they have a plan? Did they even consider what could happen? Obviously not. It is not an impossible feat – look at the effort put forth by the city of Houston – they have mobilized and organized faster than anyone else to accommodate some 50,000 people. They had a plan. Why didn’t New Orleans? Major Ray Nagin ordered a mandatory evacuation of New Orleans on Sunday night, but what did he do to make it happen? Absolutely nothing! And now he is on the radio swearing and embarrassing himself and his city by whining about there being no help. What did he do to help? Does he even have a clue?

The administration at Tulane University evacuated the university and got their students and faculty out of the area. They did not give anyone a choice. And they provided transportation for all affected. They were not only responsible to their students but well prepared to implement their plan. Why didn’t the New Orleans officials do the same?

And despite new reports to the contrary, government agencies did and are still aiding people. The US Coast guard went in and rescued 1200 people on Monday in the New Orleans area. Over 1000 people were evacuated from Tulane University Hospital with the help of US military. The National Guard troops in the area moved in Tuesday to assist with the looting and crime (that’s a whole other story and I’m not even going to go there now – apparently Mayor Nagin didn’t have a plan to deal with that EITHER).

Look, it is not as if this was an unforeseen event. New Orleans lies up to 12 feet below sea level; sits on a swamp and lies between a river and lake. Think about it – when water comes in, either by rain or storm, it can’t get out! And, if the banks of the river and lake overflow, the only place it will flow is to a lower elevation – New Orleans. Any kid who’s played at the beach can understand the scenario. But still, no effective, responsible, plan was designed or implemented, unless you call sending people to what became a concrete island in the middle of town a plan.

It is not FEMA’s ultimate responsibility to have a plan for every possible emergency scenario in every city of every state. It’s impossible. And even if they could do it, they would need the cooperation of the respective cities. FEMA is there for response and recovery. And since September 11th, they have been focused on dealing with the potential results of a terrorist assault using weapons of mass destruction (such as biological and chemical warfare). Granted, their efforts have been somewhat lax – but would no doubt have been more than sufficient had the appropriate measures been taken before hand by the state and local governments. And let’s not forget – when the planes hit the towers on September 11th, it was not FEMA that ran up the stairs – it was the men and women of the NY City police and fire department. Sure FEMA came in later, but the immediate response was up to the affected city.

Right now, the supplies are there – but no one knows where to bring them – are there specific places set up in the affected areas for relief station and medical help? Did anyone in the state or city government take a look at a map over that past 30 years and find key locations to set up aid stations if another major hurricane hit? Evidently not. Relief stations are moving from day to day and people don’t know where to go for help. Where they given specific instruction for areas to go to in the event there was a major catastrophe? No! The state and city officials all just sat around sipping their mint juleps assuming that the federal government would save the day – it’s so much easier to place blame than to take responsibility, isn’t it?

Remember, we live in a DEMOCRACY – we supposedly do not want any government intervention – well, unless it is WHEN, WHERE, and HOW we want it. We scream for our privacy and civil rights – we don’t want "big brother" in our lives. But as soon as we need help and it doesn’t go EXACTLY the way we think it should, we turn around and scream INJUSTICE! RACISM! INCOMPETENCE! It just doesn’t work that way.

Put the blame where blame is due. Take a look at the LOCAL officials who lived and worked right there where the hurricane hit. No one knows the needs and requirements of their cities better than they do - or do they?


Email Brynn Bacardi:

Monday, February 13, 2006

Skating legend Michelle Kwan withdraws gracefully By Christine Brennan


Sun Feb 12, 4:37 PM ET

TORINO - For the past dozen years, Michelle Kwan's name has been synonymous with the sport of figure skating. She won every competition imaginable, most of them many times over, except, of course, for the Olympic Games, where the color of her medal somehow never quite turned to gold.
Throughout it all, she handled disappointment with grace, victory with humility. She never got in trouble, never said anything wrong. Unlike other multimillionaires, she didn't try to get away with saying she wasn't a role model, and in fact lived every moment of her life as if a child might be watching, trying to pick up pointers.

Along the way, she became the most visible skater of all time, coming of age as her sport exploded on television in the wake of the Tonya-Nancy saga. Her longevity was remarkable considering that her dominance occurred at the most turbulent time in the history of the sport. Little girls would come and go, but Kwan always remained, a model of constancy, always on the medal podium, always at the big events, always there, always.

For 12 years now, Kwan and her sport have been quite a team. But no more. Figure skating must now go solo. Michelle Kwan has withdrawn from the Olympic Games. (Related gallery: Saturday's practice session )

This was not how Kwan wanted it all to end, if this in fact is the end of her competitive career, which certainly seems likely. It wasn't supposed to finish with her unable to hold back tears, physically unable to skate, finally betrayed by a body that for so many years performed beautifully while absorbing the impact of thousands of jumps on the unforgiving ice.

That Kwan made it to 25 before finally having to stop due to a recurring groin injury is another feather in a stuffed cap. Consider, for instance, that Tara Lipinski, who defeated Kwan for the gold medal at the 1998 Olympics, underwent major hip surgery at 20 and no longer skates.

Kwan's career was always so perfectly choreographed, until now. If only it were as easy for a skater to figure out how to leave a sport as it has been for her to dominate it. In hindsight, knowing what the last 48 hours would bring - the re-injury, the uncertainty, the decision to withdraw, the sleepless night - Kwan never would have tried this, never would have come to the Games.
What a devastating moment for her: only four days after arriving in Italy, Kwan was out of the Olympics and planning a flight home.

Conspiracy theorists can have a field day with what has happened here, but it certainly looks like Kwan simply wanted nothing more than to try her hand at one final Olympic Games. Always considered one of her sport's finest competitors, she was hopeful her body would hold up just a little longer, hopeful that the tremendous strides she showed in that monitoring session 16 days earlier would only continue, hopeful that she somehow might contend for another Olympic medal. How could anyone find anything wrong with that?
Then, when Kwan realized she couldn't do it, she was true to her January promise that if she was not 100%, she would withdraw and give her spot to alternate Emily Hughes. That is exactly what she did Sunday, giving Hughes plenty of time to get to the Games before the women's short program Feb. 21.

"I respect the Olympics too much," Kwan said, explaining why she was giving up.

In the past month, some wanted to turn the Hughes family and Michelle Kwan into rivals fighting over that last Olympic spot. What a futile exercise this was. Over the last few years, I've had my share of phone interviews with members of the Hughes family, and, invariably, they hung up by saying, "Tell Michelle hello next time you see her."

As the debate raged on about whether Michelle should be allowed to go to the Olympics, it was 2002 Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes who stood up most majestically for Kwan.

"I've always had the utmost respect for Michelle not only as a skater but also as a person," she told me in a January phone interview. "She has brought so much prestige to our sport. I always thought I was on the ice with a legend. Whenever they talk about the history of skating, they will talk about her."

Even in their euphoria, celebrating a second daughter going to an Olympics, the Hughes family paused.

"We really feel bad for Michelle," John Hughes, Emily's father, said in a phone interview Sunday. "Michelle and Emily were at the same event three or four times, and every time, Michelle went out of her way to say hello, to welcome her, to be nice. Michelle deserved this chance. It's really unfortunate for her that it didn't work out."

Hughes will replace injured Kwan in the Olympics
By Gary Mihoces, USA TODAY


TORINO — Instead of going for the gold, Michelle Kwan is going home. The Olympic title, the only major figure skating prize she hasn't won, has eluded her again. When asked about that at a news conference Sunday, Kwan's thoughts turned to her parents, Danny and Estella, who've watched her skate since she was 5.

"They always want me to be happy, and they want their baby to 'win the gold' and my dreams to come true," said Kwan, who, now 25, might not be able to compete in the next Olympics. "But I've learned it's not about the gold. ... I have no regrets. I tried my hardest, and if I don't win the gold, it's OK." (Related audio: Kwan 'OK' with not winning a gold | Early on, she knew she couldn't compete.)

Kwan, a five-time world titlist, made it to her third Olympics. She won silver in 1998, bronze in 2002. But she pulled out early Sunday after being examined for what a team doctor and U.S. Olympic officials said was a "new" groin injury. (Related: Reaction | Injury timeline)

She was hurt in a mistake-filled Saturday practice that left her visibly shaken.

Her departure opens a spot for Emily Hughes, 17, of Great Neck, N.Y. Hughes is the sister of 2002 Olympic gold medalist Sarah Hughes.

"I think it's all about the United States having the best team," Kwan said, "and I wouldn't want to be in the way."


Michelle Kwan in the way? To those in the hierarchy of U.S. figure skating and the Olympic movement, she has led the way.

"Michelle Kwan means more to the United States Olympic Committee than maybe any athlete that's ever performed for the United States Olympic Committee," USOC chairman Peter Ueberroth said. "She's a real loss to all of the United States Olympic Committee, to the United States of America and to the world."

Kwan was conditionally named to the team even though she did not skate in last month's nationals, also citing a right groin injury. Her spot was finalized when she performed her programs Jan. 27 before a five-member panel from U.S. Figure Skating. She consequently bumped off Hughes, who was third in nationals.

Ron Hershberger, president of U.S. Figure Skating, said Kwan came here "ready to compete" after multiple medical examinations. "Michelle Kwan is truly a great champion," he said. "She is so widely admired and, in fact, adored by ... figure skating fans everywhere."

NBC analyst Sandra Bezic, a former Olympian and Canadian pairs skater, said, "Anytime Michelle is at an event, the level is heightened. She's conducted herself in such an elegant way. ... Her life is not over, it's just taken a new direction, but it's heartbreaking."

It came apart quickly.

Kwan's coach, Rafael Arutunian, was delayed in arriving Saturday by visa problems, according to her agent, Shep Goldberg. Kwan practiced anyway, though she said she "woke up really stiff" after being outside for the opening ceremonies Friday night. She said she was hurt on an attempted triple flip. "When I flipped out of it, I knew I had done something," she said.

She tried another triple, fell and left the ice 15 minutes early. Saturday night the groin stiffened and the pain worsened. (Related gallery: Saturday practice )

Jim Moeller, a U.S. team physician, said he got a call about 2 a.m. Sunday to report to the athletes village to examine Kwan. He met her about 15 minutes later and within 15 more minutes made his assessment. Moeller said he recommended she withdraw.

Kwan made her decision after the examination and called her parents.

By 7:30 a.m., the USOC petitioned the IOC to substitute Hughes. The petition was granted about 10:30 a.m. Sunday.

Ueberroth, asked if the USA's chances of replacing Kwan would have been jeopardized if it had been a pre-existing injury, said, "If it happened to be something else, the same outcome would have happened and Emily would be able to compete."

Moeller said the injury is not career threatening.

Kwan shares the record for U.S. titles of nine with Maribel Vinson. Kwan wasn't saying whether she would skate competitively again.

"I can't really think past right now," she said. "I think the best thing for me is to go home and get better, and I wouldn't want to be a distraction."

Kwan was not considered a favorite as in prior Olympics. She skated once under the new scoring system, a fourth in the 2005 world championships, and she'd been sidelined all season with a hip injury and the more recent groin issue.

Second-time Olympian Sasha Cohen, 21, becomes the senior member among the three U.S. women's skaters. Hughes turned 17 on Jan. 26. Kimmie Meissner is 16.

Cohen has won silver medals in the last two worlds. In Kwan's absence, Cohen won her first U.S. title. Just before a Sunday news conference of her own, Cohen found out about Kwan. "I was a little bit shocked," Cohen said.

Before, during and after nationals, Cohen frequently was asked about Kwan by the media. Ditto Sunday. She would not say she is relieved to be out of Kwan's shadow.

"I'm definitely used to answering whatever questions come my way, and of all the questions, the Michelle questions aren't the hardest," Cohen said. "I've learned to shift my focus away from other people onto myself. So you can ask me the questions, but they kind of just bounce right off."

Cohen continues to train for the Feb. 21 short program. Kwan is going home.

"It is one of the toughest decisions I've had to make," Kwan said. "But I know it's the right one."

Contributing: Kelly Whiteside