Beach Boys 40 City Reunion Tour!

By DERRIK J. LANG 04/30/12 08:35 AM ET APBURBANK, Calif. — A "miracle."

That's the word Al Jardine not-so-jokingly uses to describe the latest Beach Boys reunion – this one consisting of himself and fellow founding Beach Boys Brian Wilson and Mike Love, as well as longtime players Bruce Johnston and David Marks.

After decades of prolonged separations, legal spats and near reunions, the core Beach Boys are back together, both on stage and for an upcoming new album. Their rebirth, which became a reality earlier this year when the group performed "Good Vibrations" with Maroon 5 and Foster the People at the Grammys, has reawakened musical memories for 69-year-old Jardine.

"When I'm rehearsing over there, I'm hearing stuff I haven't performed for many years," Jardine said during a recent break from rehearsals for the iconic band's 50th anniversary tour, which kicked off last week in Tucson, Ariz.

"It's wonderful to rediscover the music that way. When you're recording three albums a year, as we did in the early days, it's yesterday's news," he said. "You're on to the next thing. Boom. That stuff gets parked somewhere though, and now it's becoming unveiled again."

When the Beach Boys formed in 1961, it was mostly a family affair: school pal Jardine established the group with Wilson and his late brothers, Carl and Dennis, and their cousin, Love. Their breezy harmonic tunes and embodiment of freewheeling West Coast sensibilities captured the nation's attention just before the Beatles invaded the United States, and continued for much of the 1960s with timeless songs like "I Get Around" "Surfin' USA" and many more.

Following the 1998 death of Carl Wilson, the group fractured and began moving in different directions. Over the past 20 years, the Beach Boys' legacy has been mired in messy conflicts that the group's members agreed to squash in honor of their fans and the band's 50th anniversary, a hallmark occasion even in this jaded age of reboots and comebacks.

"They sense that we love each other and that we really want to share that love with them (the fans)," said 69-year-old Wilson, the visionary songwriter of such classics as "Help Me Rhonda," "Surfin' USA" and "California Girls." Wilson, who has released solo albums in recent years and now speaks with a slight slur, had a turbulent tenure with the Beach Boys, notoriously leaving then returning to the band at one point as he battled mental illness and drug abuse.

"When it comes to the music, all the pretensions are aside," said 71-year-old Love, who reached a settlement with Jardine in 2008 after launching a lawsuit against him in 2003 over his usage of the Beach Boys name (he also has sued Wilson on more than one occasion, most recently in 2005).

"All the egos are aside. It's just all about those group harmonies," he added. "The effect that it has on ourselves and other people is just fantastic."

Love said that the Beach Boys, who will be supported by a backing band composed of members from the group's various touring entities, have rehearsed more than 50 songs spanning all their albums, including "Pet Sounds" and "Smile." The band noted the biggest challenge has been figuring out who is singing lead on which songs, not recapturing their chemistry.

"The chemistry is there," said 63-year-old Marks, who recorded four Beach Boys albums and has moved between the band's camps. "We pick up right where we left off, especially the five of us together. The magic bubble comes around us. It's the chemistry that's behind all successful bands, like the Beatles and the Stones. It has to be there. It's special for us."

The 40-city tour will take the band's members to bigger venues than in recent years, including headlining performances at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. To honor Carl and Dennis Wilson's contributions (Dennis died in 1983), the band will play alongside videos of the late founding Beach Boys during a tribute in the show.

"We haven't gotten the holograms together yet," joked Marks, referencing the hologram of late rapper Tupac Shakur that appeared at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival earlier in April.

For a group who could hardly be considered boys anymore, they're surprisingly unfazed by the prospect of a sweeping tour that will take them across North America, Europe and Japan. Johnston noted that "hotels are great" nowadays, while Marks was reminded that they no longer have to unload or haul their own equipment in a "U-Haul trailer and station wagon."

"The heavy lifting is the writing, arranging and recording," said 69-year-old Johnston, who joined the group in 1965. "This is not the heavy lifting. This is the chocolate cake for me because we get to pull all of these magnificently arranged parts out and sing them live. We don't have to write them now. We just have to pull them out of the trunk."

The Beach Boys will stuff more tunes into that trunk with the release of an as-yet-untitled album of new material this summer. Love said the new songs will recall their classic harmony-stacked style. The group plans to perform their new single, "That's Why God Made the Radio," while on tour and may add new tracks to the set list when the album is released.

"We're slaves to the Beach Boys legacy," said Marks. "We're just out there trying to keep that legacy alive. I can't count how many times people have come up to me after shows and told me that they sing their children to sleep with `Surfer Girl.' I look in the audience and little children know the words to `Help Me Rhonda,' and 80 year olds are dancing in the aisles."

U.S. commemorates second victory over British in War of 1812

US News: NEW ORLEANS, Kicking off a national bicentennial commemoration of U.S. victory in the War of 1812, a parade of naval vessels and square-rigged sailing ships made their way on Tuesday up the Mississippi River to New Orleans under threatening skies.

Often called the second War of Independence, the conflict is best known because much of Washington, including the White House, was burned by the British before the United States prevailed.

On Tuesday, Coast Guard helicopters hovered low above the river as the boom of a cannon and pops from a 21-gun salute by Navy seamen greeted three majestic tall ships. They included the U.S. Coast Guard Barque Eagle, and six modern military vessels entering the Port of New Orleans.

The vessels will be open for public tours through April 23 as part of New Orleans Navy Week, before traveling to New York; Norfolk, Virginia; Baltimore; Boston; and New London, Connecticut. Events to commemorate the war are planned in Milwaukee, Chicago, Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio; Detroit, and Buffalo, New York.

In the war American forces, with its small naval fleet, prevailed against the British and the vaunted Royal Navy. The victory was instrumental in establishing the United States as a formidable military force and solidified the country's claim to the Louisiana Purchase, effectively doubling the size of the nation.

It might seem strange that the United States began its commemorations in New Orleans, the site of the war's final battle in 1815.

"It's only fitting that we begin the bicentennial commemoration of the War of 1812 in New Orleans to honor the exceptional war fighters, history and traditions that emerged during this battle and laid the foundation for today's versatile naval force," said Rear Admiral Ann Claire Phillips.

Though it came to a close near the Gulf Coast, the war in which the United States sought to end Great Britain's interference in U.S. trade relations and internal affairs began to the north, with Americans battling both British and Native American forces in the Great Lakes area of the Canadian border and along the Atlantic coast.


On a cloudy, windy day in August 1812, according to the Naval History & Heritage Command, the U.S. Frigate Constitution devastated the British Royal Navy's HMS Guerriere off Nova Scotia, in the first of several American victories at sea.

The United States suffered its share of defeats along the way, with Americans suffering heavy losses at Fort Detroit. Much of Washington - including the White House - was burned.

But Americans prevailed in major battles at Lake Erie and Lake Champlain, and a turning point was a victory in the Battle of Baltimore - when Francis Scott Key composed "The Star-Spangled Banner." The bloody battle in New Orleans in January 1815 - fought weeks after a peace treaty was signed but not ratified by the respective governments - solidified the young nation's stature.

The war had been unpopular among many citizens, particularly in New England, and talk of secession surfaced at the Hartford Convention in December 1814. But as word spread that Major General Andrew Jackson's troops and militiamen had prevailed in a land battle along the Mississippi River, celebrations erupted along the Atlantic Seaboard, said Jason Wiese, assistant research director at the Historic New Orleans Collection.

"The victory had a galvanizing effect on the whole country," Wiese said. "The aftermath of the War of 1812 is when you first begin to see a cohesive sense of national identity."

The war's final battle also changed the nation's view of New Orleans, having seen the city as "exotic" and separate because of its European and African cultural roots, said Tulane University professor Lawrence Powell, author of the new book "The Accidental City: Improvising New Orleans."

"After that battle, the city was viewed as recognizably American, even though it was different," he said.

Neil Diamond Weds His Manager, Katie McNeil

Neil Diamond and his manager Katie McNeil wed Saturday in Los Angeles, the star’s representative told People Magazine.

The 71-year-old star, known for hits like “Sweet Caroline” and “Cherry, Cherry,” announced his engagement on Twitter on Sept, 7, 2011.

“Good news coming from sunny LA/ and you’re the first I want to tell/ Katie & I just got engaged/ and I hope you wish us well. Neil,” the musician tweeted.

The same day, Diamond tweeted a picture of 42-year-old McNeil and wrote, “I’d like you to meet Katie. I’m lovestruck. I took this photo in London last month. Neil.”

On Dec. 30, 2011 Diamond tweeted, “What a year! R&R Hall of Fame, Kennedy Ctr Honor, Billboard Icon Award, a Grammy nom., and best of all the hand of the girl of my dreams!”

This is McNeil’s first marriage.

Diamond has been married twice before. In 1963, he wed his high school sweetheart Jaye Posner, with whom he had two daughters. The couple divorced in 1969, and in December of that year, Diamond married Marcia Murphey, a production assistant, with whom he had two sons. Diamond and Murphey divorced in 1995.

Coroner: Breitbart Died of Heart Failure

by Breitbart News
The office of the Los Angeles County coroner has completed its investigation into the death of Andrew Breitbart on March 1, and has confirmed that he died of natural causes, namely heart failure.

Chief Coroner Investigator Craig Harvey told Breitbart News that the final autopsy report would be released next week.

A press release issued by the Department of Coroner (below) notes: "No prescription or illicit drugs were detected. The blood alcohol was .04%," a negligible amount.

The press release concludes: "No significant trauma was present and foul play is not suspected."

Nugent says had "solid" meeting with Secret Service

By Steve Olafson 
OKLAHOMA CITY | Thu Apr 19, 2012 6:43pm EDT

(Reuters) - Musician and gun-rights advocate Ted Nugent said on Thursday he had a positive meeting with U.S. Secret Service agents investigating his recent criticism of President Barack Obama, and the agency confirmed the issue had been resolved.

Nugent, who told NRA supporters in St. Louis last week that he would be "dead or in jail" next year if Obama was reelected, said in a statement that he had "met with two fine, professional Secret Service agents" in Oklahoma.

"Good, solid, professional meeting concluding that I have never made any threats of violence towards anyone. The meeting could not have gone better," the 63-year-old singer and guitarist said. He was due to perform a concert in Ardmore, Oklahoma on Thursday.

The Secret Service, which is tasked with protecting the U.S. president, senior officials and other figures, confirmed the meeting with Nugent.

"The Secret Service interview of Ted Nugent has been completed," agency spokesman Brian Leary said. "The issue has been resolved. The Secret Service does not anticipate any further action."

Earlier Leary said the agency respected freedom of speech, but also had a responsibility to "investigate intent."
Nugent, a Michigan-born conservative who has endorsed Obama's presumed Republican challenger in the November elections, Mitt Romney, drew Secret Service attention with his blunt remarks about Obama and administration officials at the NRA event.

"We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November," Nugent said at the convention.

U.S. Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Convention, responded earlier this week, saying "threatening violence - or whatever it is that Nugent's threatening - is clearly beyond the pale."

A Romney spokeswoman said the Republican candidate believed "everyone needs to be civil," but stopped short of condemning Nugent's original remarks.

Nugent is best known for hit 1970s songs such as "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Motor City Madhouse."

(Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis; Editing by Paul Simao)

Music Icon Dick Clark has died at 82

By TODAY.com staff and wire services

Famed television personality Dick Clark died of a heart attack Wednesday morning in Los Angeles, his spokesman confirms. Clark was 82.

Clark is best known for hosting long-running television shows such as "American Bandstand," the game show "Pyramid" and "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."

He was nicknamed "America's oldest teenager" and maintained his youthful looks into his 70s.
Clark had been in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, Calif., after undergoing an outpatient procedure Tuesday night. He suffered the heart attack following the procedure and attempts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful.

Clark is survived by his wife, Kari, and his three children.

Clark, who started out as a TV announcer in Utica, New York, parlayed his "Bandstand" fame into a career as a producer and host of dozens of other shows, including ABC's annual New Year's Eve telecast, which he launched in 1972.

With his clean-cut image and youthful appearance, he presided over more than three decades of pop music and dance trends as host of "American Bandstand," the first network TV show to feature rock 'n' roll.

He also produced such perennial TV events as the American Music Awards and the Golden Globes telecast.

Musicians of all ages quickly took to Twitter to remember Clark.

"REST IN PEACE to the DICK CLARK!! U were pioneer n a good man!! Thank u sir" wrote Snoop Dogg.

And Isaac Hanson of the band Hanson tweeted, "Dick Clark was a Rock 'n' Roll Radio/TV icon with an influence on pop culture for more than 50 years. Rest in peace."

Comedian Joan Rivers tweeted, "Very sad to hear about Dick Clark. What a great life. What a great career. Relevant until the end. He will be missed!"

DreamWorks Animation SKG joins Wal-Mart disc-to-digital plan

By The Associated Press 
LOS ANGELES - DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the maker of "Shrek," "Madagascar" and "Kung Fu Panda," is teaming up with Wal-Mart Stores Inc. to help people convert their old DVDs into an online movie library.

Jeffrey Katzenberg, DreamWorks' chief executive, says that the new "Disc to Digital" service will help consumers adapt to technological change. The service launches Monday at Walmart stores nationwide.

DreamWorks joins five other participating studios: Viacom Inc.'s Paramount, Sony Corp., Comcast Corp.'s Universal, News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox, and Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros.

Consumers who bring in physical DVDs and Blu-ray discs can pay $2 per disc to be able to access the movies through Wal-Mart's Vudu online movie service on computers, mobile devices, Internet-connected TVs and game consoles. To start, 4,000 titles are convertible.

For more information visit DreamWorks Animation SKG:

Faith Farrakhan Warns Whites: ‘Unless You Change, Your End Has Come’

by Billy Hallowell Billy Hallowell
Farrakhan Praises Pat Buchanan as a Great Man & Warns Whites: Unless You Change, Your End Has ComeNation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan continued his college speaking tour on Monday night at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff in Pine Bluff, Arkansas.

While his address included many of the racially-charged elements we’ve heard in other related lectures, the minister added in some new comments about whites, his personal experience with using marijuana and he even showered some praise upon conservative commentator Pat Buchanan.

(Related: Farrakhan Warns Young Leaders They Risk Being Killed if They Sell Out)

In addressing whites, Farrakhan issued his typically-offensive rhetoric.

“They know you, but you don’t know them or yourself, so you’re always at a disadvantage when you sit down with white people to negotiate,” he told his predominately black audience. “We don’t ever come in their presence like we are some little weak things.”

He continued, going on to address Caucasians directly.

“I know myself. I know you. And some of you white people – I know you better than you know yourself because God has revealed you fully,” he explained, going on to seemingly claim that he has a special, God-ordained ability to see what others cannot.

This, of course, was followed up with a cryptic warning to white Americans about their need to “change.”

“It ain’t about hating you. We ain’t got no time for that. But we know who we’re dealing with. We know what we’re dealing with,” he said. “We know your origin in the world and we know how long you were set to live and unless you change, your end has come.”

Farrakhan subsequently delved back into the omniscience that has purportedly been bestowed upon him.

“You can’t talk like this unless you know God. I don’t just talk about God or talk about Jesus … Jesus spoke like this. That’s why he was hated,” the minister said. “Why do you think people don’t like Farrakhan – what have I done?”

Farrakhan Praises Pat Buchanan as a Great Man & Warns Whites: Unless You Change, Your End Has Come

But such pious talk about Jesus was short-lived, as the minister began speaking about his use of marijuana at a young age.

“I’ve never been arrested. I did smoke reefers when I was young,” he told his audience. “When I smoked joints they were only 50 cents.”

While Farrakhan’s racial rhetoric and personal stories about marijuana use were certainly colorful, the most curious and awe-inspiring portion of his address came immediately following these sentiments when he praised Buchanan as “a great Republican.”

“But we have to say to Republicans, one great Republican — Patrick Buchanan wrote a book that they [Republicans] spent $40 trillion dollars on black people. I don‘t know whether it’s that much, but that’s what he said,” Farrakhan said. “Every time there’s a problem they throw money at it. And all the money they threw, the problem is yet not solved — cause it’s not money that will solve the problem alone.”

It’s noteworthy that Buchanan has drawn the ire of Abraham H. Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League, among others, for his purported anti-Semitism. In fact, on March 16, the ADL released an article condemning both Farrakhan and Buchanan.

British Lord Puts Bounty on American Presidents

IPT News
April 16, 2012

The first Muslim nobleman in England has been suspended from his political party following reports that he put a bounty on Presidents Obama and Bush during a speech Sunday in Pakistan. It is not the first time that Lord Nazir Ahmed has advocated on behalf of the worldwide Islamist causes.

It's also a damning indictment of how the British political system empowered and supported a radical Islamist, despite indications that his misuse of the position would convey legitimacy to extremist causes.

"If the U.S. can announce a reward of $10 million for the [capture] of Hafiz Saeed, I can announce a bounty of £10 million [for the capture of] President Obama and his predecessor, George Bush," Ahmed was quoted as saying by Pakistan's Express Tribune. The threat came during a seminar at Punjab University entitled "International Scenario, Pakistan and Our Responsibilities." It was a sharp response to an American reward for Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, the founder of Pakistani terrorist group Lashkar-e-Tayyiba, and an alleged planner of the Mumbai massacre in November 2008.

Ahmed was appointed the Lord of Rotherdam for life in 1998, during Tony Blair's reign as prime minister. He functions as a Labour Party representative for Britain's noble upper branch of Parliament, the House of Lords.

Ahmed indicated "that he would arrange the bounty at any cost, even if he was left with the option of selling all his personal assets, including his house," according to a report by Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI).

An article on the Punjab University's webpage independently confirms the threat and adds more details. It said that Ahmed told a "charged" university audience that former President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair must be indicted for war crimes, and he predicted that "Iran was likely to be attacked by the U.S. or Israel in order to get votes." If either nation did attack the Islamic Republic, "the Muslim nation [Ummah] should unite against these powers."

Britain's Labour Party immediately distanced itself from the comments and Ahmed. "We have suspended Lord Ahmed pending investigation. If these comments are accurate we utterly condemn these remarks which are totally unacceptable," a party spokesman told British news outlets.

The comments may be grounds for more than just suspension from his party. Former federal prosecutor Nathan Garrett told the Investigative Project on Terrorism that he "suspect[s] the authority exists for the British government to institute legal action against Mr. Ahmed, notwithstanding the fact that the comments were made in Pakistan."

The quotes could also cause the United States to declare Ahmed a 'persona non grata,' or enter the gray area of American prosecution if the threat matures into a plot. The danger of Ahmed's quotes may "creep its way into U.S. jurisdiction if some furtherance of the threat touches U.S. soil or otherwise involves (on the perpetrator side) U.S. persons," Garrett said.

Although multiple news sources have reported the quotes as accurate, Ahmed responded with surprise to news of his suspension. He claimed to not have offered any bounty, but merely suggested Britain and America had committed war crimes in "illegal wars" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. For those crimes, former leaders George Bush and Tony Blair "should be brought to justice," he said.

He also demanded that the British government prove he had made the quotes and told the BBC he was "shocked and horrified" at the accusations.

This isn't Ahmed's first brush with controversy. He has long promoted extremist causes to British and American audiences, including defending terrorists and lauding Islamists in both countries.

In February 2009, he sent a letter to President Obama questioning America's treatment of terrorist Aafia Siddiqui, an MIT-educated scientist who recently was convicted of trying to kill U.S. troops and federal agents in Afghanistan. Ahmed called for her to be repatriated to Pakistan.

In recently posted comments at the headquarters of the Islamic Circle of North America, an American organization known for radicalizing its membership, Ahmed denounced the prosecution of a recently convicted Pakistani lobbyist.

He called the prosecution of Ghulam Nabi Fai, who pleaded guilty to taking $3.5 million from Pakistan's terrorism-tainted intelligence forces, a "politically motivated" act. "The arrest and charges on Dr. Fai Sahib [the respected one] by American authorities was to apply political and moral pressure on Pakistan intelligence services," he said in an Urdu-language interview.

"People within America society, who support American nationalism, believe that Pakistan is not cooperating with America as before. The problem with America is that Americans think by giving dollars they can buy someone's faith," he said. "They think that by giving dollars they can murder a person or rape a person. They've made a habit of murdering and raping whether it is the case of Raymond Davis, or it is attacking Pakistani forces at checkpoints for 2 to 6 hours and making them martyrs."

In addition, he lauded pro-Hamas MP George Galloway as a "very big hero" and a "legend," referring to his outspoken colleague's actions as a "success of Muslims."

Ahmed expressed support for extremist South Asian organization Jamaat-e-Islami (JeI) Bangladesh during a 2012 ICNA meet-and-greet event. The Bangladeshi group's activities have been curtailed in its home country, its primary literature has been banned, and the national government has indicted JeI Bangladesh leaders for their roles in massacring civilians during the 1971 War of Independence. One of ICNA's current regional leaders, Ashrafuz Zaman Khan, reportedly will face charges as an executioner for the organization.

Ahmed called Jamaat-e-Islami "our Muslim brothers" and accused Bangladesh's leader of pursuing a politically motivated campaign influenced by India as an attack against Pakistan and its intelligence sources.

In England, he has rallied for Islamist causes. He came out in support of radical Israeli-Arab cleric Raed Salah [Mahajna], whom the British government tried to ban from entering the country for his Hamas fundraising activities and blatant anti-Semitism. Ahmed had tried to book a room in parliament for Salah to give a speech.

He advocated on behalf of al-Qaeda leader Mahmoud Abu Rideh, who was arrested after receiving refugee status in Britain, personally meeting with him and escorting him on a visit to the British Parliament. Rideh was later killed while fighting foreign forces in Afghanistan.

In 2010, Ahmed was booked as a speaker for a British tour of senior Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan leaders. Qazi Hussain Ahmed, the chief presenter and former head of JeI Pakistan, was quickly banned from entering the U.K. for pro-terrorist and anti-Semitic quotes.

Ahmed has given other virulent bigots a stage in Britain's governmental buildings or defended their controversial remarks.

For example, he hosted a 2005 book launch in the House of Lords for anti-Semite Israel Shamir, who claims blood libels and supposed Jewish designs to conquer the world are real.

The series of controversies follows on the heels of Ahmed's conviction for "dangerous driving," after he was caught texting while driving before a fatal car crash with another driver. Although the Labour Party kicked him out at the time, Ahmed was let back in after serving 16 days of a 12-week sentence.

Ahmed's outrageous statement about two American presidents should come as no surprise to anyone who has tracked his career in the House of Lords. A brief suspension, or anything less than his removal from parliament, should draw vehement protest by the United States.

Discovery lands at new home near DC

(AP) The space shuttle Discovery, atop a 747 carrier aircraft, makes a flyover at Dulles International...
Full Image

CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) - Space shuttle Discovery has landed at Washington Dulles International Airport, where its wheels will stop for the last time at the Smithsonian.

The world's most traveled spaceship landed Tuesday after taking off from Cape Canaveral, Fla., and soaring around the Washington Monument and White House in a salute to the nation's capital. Discovery rode on the back of a 747 jet and took a spin around Washington at an easy-to-spot 1,500 feet before it was grounded for good.

Discovery will be towed Thursday to its installation at the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum annex near Dulles in northern Virginia.

Discovery flew nearly 149 million miles before retiring last year.


Borenstein reported from Washington.
AP Aerospace writer Marcia Dunn in Cape Canaveral, Fla., contributed to this report.

Dad's Root Beer celebrating 75 years of thirst quenching fun!

Dad's Root Beer, one of America's most popular soft drinks, was developed in the 1930s by partners Barney Berns and Ely Klapman in the basement of Klapman's Chicago-area home. The first trademark registration was filed on September 24, 1938, granted on February 14, 1939 to The Dad's Root Beer Company of Chicago, and alleged use since February, 1937. Dad's unique and delicious flavor earned a loyal following. The Dad's Root Beer brand was famous throughout the Midwest and by the late 1940s, was one of the most consumed brands of root beer throughout the United States. Jules Klapman, son of co-founder Ely, successfully took the Dad's brand international. The name Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer was selected in honor of Ely Klapman's father, and other fathers, who used to make root beer at home for their families (popular in the early 20th Century).

 Dad's Root Beer distinguished itself as a brand and industry innovator when it became the first product to use the six pack format invented by the Atlanta Paper Company in the 1940s. Dad's also introduced the half-gallon bottle, becoming the first brand to market this size. Dad's was marketed as a family. "Junior" bottle size was the smallest, 7, 10 or 12 ounces. "Mama" was a quart bottle, and "Papa" was a half gallon bottle. (The image of the young boy featured on the "Junior" size bottle is Barney Berns' son, Gene Berns.) A common promotion in the 1940s was the 1 cent sale - purchase the Papa half gallon at regular price and get the Mama quart for 1 cent.

 The Klapman and Berns families sold all rights to the Dad's name and logo to IC Industries in the 1970s.The Monarch Beverage Company of Atlanta acquired Dad's from IC Industries of Chicago in 1986. At that time Dad's was distributed by the Coca-Cola bottler network, sold 12 million cases annually, and held the second largest share of the root beer category behind A & W.

In 2007 Dad's Root Beer was purchased from Monarch, along with the Bubble Up, Dr. Wells, and Sun Crest brands, by Hedinger Brands, LLC and licensed to The Dad's Root Beer Company, LLC. The company headquarters is now located in Jasper, Indiana.

Dad's Root Beer is celebrating its 75th anniversary in 2012.

Last year country artist Nathan Osmond signed on with Dad's Root Beer to help promote one of America's favorite beverages.

In Januauary Nathan Osmond visited the town of Jasper, IN where he performed for Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer Company. While in town, he visited WITZ and WBDC and hand delivered some Dad's Root Beer to some lucky radio winners. He also visited some other local businesses to meet some more of his fans. Dad's Old Fashioned Root Beer has some BIG plans with Nathan this year. You will be seeing him on the Diet Root Beer, Orange Cream Soda, Red Cream Soda and regular Cream Soda cans!

Nathan is enjoying his own popularity. His hot song 'The Tail Gate Song' rapidly climbed the charts last year to #1 on both New Music Weekly’s Major and Indie charts. He was #1 on Indie World Country’s chart for 2 weeks in a row. That made Nathan Osmond #1 on THREE Country charts in the same week!

Nathan Osmond was nominated New Artist of the Year & Male Artist of the Year on the 2011 New Music Awards

For a great time grab a six pack of Dad's Root Beer, a quart of soft serve vanilla ice cream, Nathan's latest chart busting CD and kick up your heels!

For more information on Dad's Root Beer and Nathan Osmond visit:

Gary Sinise back performing with Lt. Dan Band after car crash

by Marc Snetiker

CSI:NY star Gary Sinise is back with his Lt. Dan Band to perform two scheduled concerts in New York after a car accident in March forced him to cancel several appearances.

Sinise, 57, is currently recovering under doctor’s supervision from injuries that resulted after he was a passenger in a traffic accident on March 30. The actor will play with his band as scheduled in Brooklyn on April 27 and in Albany on April 28, with all proceeds from the concerts going towards building “smart homes” for injured army vets Spc. Bryan Dilberian and Tech Sgt. Joe Wilkinson.

The cause is certainly appropriate for the Lt. Dan Band, which was named after Sinise’s character, a double-amputee Vietnam War veteran, in 1994′s Forrest Gump. The band has a history of performing in charitable concerts that benefit the Gary Sinise Foundation, which supports disabled veterans and their families.

Titanic Treasures: Rare Memorabilia Set to Hit the Auction Block

An original Titanic launch ticket, currently valued at between $50,000 and $70,000, is among a series of Titanic-related items set to be auctioned off on April 15 by Bonhams auction house in New York. Also included in the lots are letters from survivors and memorabilia from the 1953 and 1997 films; the auction will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the ship’s sinking after it hit an iceberg only four days into its maiden voyage.

According to the Bonhams website, the ticket, which has the perforated admission stub still attached, is the only known one of its kind. Had it been used, it would have granted the bearer admission to the ship’s May 11, 1911, launch. Launched before it was fully equipped as a luxury liner, the Titanic was never christened, as per the policy of its operator, the White Star Line, a fact some attribute to the ship’s ill fate.

Another star lot is an account of the R.M.S. Carpathia’s rescue account of Titanic survivors, written by that ship’s captain, Arthur Henry Rostron. The account is projected to sell for anywhere between $90,000 and $120,000.

ht carpathia captain rostron letter ll 120411 vblog Titanic Treasures: Rare Memorabilia Set to Hit the Auction Block

The supposedly unsinkable ship hit an iceberg on the night of April 14, sinking to the bottom of the ocean by the next morning. More than 2,000 people were aboard the luxury liner; 1,503 died in the incident, mostly from hypothermia. The wreckage of the ship, images of which can be seen here, wasn’t found until 1985.

For more rare Titanic memorabilia set to hit the auction block, check out our slideshow here.

North Korea begins injecting fuel into rocket

(Reuters) - Impoverished North Korea rejected international protests over its planned long-range rocket launch and said on Wednesday that it was injecting fuel "as we speak", meaning it could blast off as early as Thursday.

If all goes to plan, the launch, which North Korea's neighbors and the West say is a disguised ballistic missile test, will take a three-stage rocket over a sea separating the Korean peninsula from China before releasing a satellite into orbit when the third stage fires over waters near the Philippines.

Regional powers also worry it could be the prelude to another nuclear test, a pattern the hermit state set in 2009.

"We don't really care about the opinions from the outside. This is critical in order to develop our national economy," said Paek Chang-ho, head of the satellite control centre at the Korean Committee of Space Technology.

Once the refueling has been completed, the North Koreans will have to inject chemicals into the rocket which cause corrosion, which means the firing could come on Thursday, at the start of a five-day window announced already by Pyongyang.

Weather conditions on the peninsula also appear to favor a launch on Thursday or Saturday, according to meteorological reports from Japanese television.

"The likelihood of a launch (on Thursday) is the greatest," said Francis Yoon, a professor of engineering at South Korea's Yonsei University and an expert on rocket technology.

The launch of the Unha-3 rocket, which North Korea says will merely put a weather satellite into space, breaches U.N. sanctions imposed to prevent Pyongyang from developing a missile that could carry a nuclear warhead.

James Oberg, a former rocket scientist with the U.S. space shuttle mission control who is in North Korea, said the rocket was not a weapon, but "98 percent of a weapon", requiring more technology, although not much.

This is the third long-range rocket test by North Korea. It says its second succeeded in putting a satellite into orbit in 2009, although independent experts say it failed.

The firing coincides with the 100th birthday celebrations of the founder of North Korea, Kim Il-sung, whose young, untested grandson, Kim Jong-un, now rules. Kim Il-sung died in 1994.

At a national conference of the ruling Workers' Party, Kim Jong-un was named first secretary, a new post created to give him the official stature to head the state where his grandfather remains "eternal president."

His father was also named party general secretary for eternity at the conference, the North's KCNA news agency said.

Paek, briefing foreign journalists in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang, declined to comment on the launch date.

"As for the exact timing of the launch, it will be decided by my superiors", Paek said.

South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North after their 1950-53 conflict ended with a truce rather than a peace treaty, warned Pyongyang it would deepen its isolation if it went ahead with the launch.

Security sources in Seoul, citing satellite images, have said that North Korea, which walked out of "six-party" disarmament talks three years ago, is also preparing a third nuclear test following the launch, something it did in 2009 and a move bound to trigger further condemnation and isolation.

South Korea holds parliamentary elections on Wednesday, although the rocket does not appear to have been a major issue with voters more concerned about job security.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton warned that history pointed to "additional provocations" from North Korea after the launch, an apparent reference to a nuclear test.

"This launch will give credence to the view that North Korean leaders see improved relations with the outside world as a threat to their system," she told cadets at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland.

"And recent history strongly suggests that additional provocations may follow."

She also called on China to do more to ensure regional stability.

China, impoverished North Korea's only major ally, on Wednesday reiterated its pleas for calm and said all sides should make efforts to establish peace in the region.

(Additional reporting by Ju-min Park and Jack Kim in SEOUL and Sui-Lee Wee and Sabrina Mao in Beijing, Writing by Nick Macfie and David Chance)

Allen West: 80 communists in the House

Rep. Allen West channeled Joe McCarthy in a town hall event in Florida that he’s “heard” that up to 80 House Democrats are Communist Party members, the Palm Beach Post reports.

The Florida Republican, and tea party favorite, made the comments while speaking in Jensen Beach, Fla. Tuesday evening.

In a video clip of the event posted Wednesday, West was responding a question from a constituent asking “What percentage of the American legislature do you think are card-carrying Marxists?”

“That’s a fair question. I believe there’s about 78 to 81 members of the Democratic Party that are members of the Communist Party,” West says in the video.

He went on to say, “It’s called the Congressional Progressive Caucus,” according to a spokesman, Tim Edson.

“He stands by his words,” Edson said in statement Wednesday afternoon. “But the words the media needs to pay attention to are the words of the members of the Progressive caucus. They speak for themselves. Call it what you may, but these House members are clearly not proponents of capitalism, free markets or individual economic freedom.”

West also criticized President Barack Obama, who spoke in Florida Tuesday about raising taxes for the wealthy, saying the president was “scared” to have a discussion on oil drilling and tax cuts, the Post reported.

“I really wish that, standing here before you, was Allen West and President Obama,” West said Tuesday, according to the Post. “We could have a simple discussion. But that ain’t ever gonna happen.”

“Why not?” an audience member asked.

“Cuz he was too scared!” West responded.

Tim Tebow celebrates Easter with 15,000

GEORGETOWN, Texas -- Easter is the Superbowl of Sundays for churches, and an NFL star turned Celebration Church's outdoor service into a semi-sporting event.

Church goers wore Tim Tebow's jersey and his iconic eye black, complete with his favorite scripture -- John 3:16.

"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life," Dakota Shipman recited.

Tebow didn't exactly preach; instead, the pastor of Celebration Church interviewed Tebow. He asked questions ranging from leadership to his famous prayers on the football field.

"I really don't think I was the first athlete to get on a knee and pray," Tebow said. "I had the same routine for the last seven years, and this past year they called it 'Tebowing,' which I have no idea why."

A crowd of roughly 30,000 listened from lawn chairs and blankets. The atmosphere was more of a rock concert than a quiet church service.

The logistics of putting on this massive service was incredible. The church rented 110 buses to shuttle people to the event from six nearby parking lots.

"We're going to have a lot of people here who normally wouldn't be at church on Easter Sunday," Collin Sanford said.

Tebow only briefly mentioned his move from Denver to New York.
"Kind of got traded. I'm on another team -- excited to be a Jet," Tebow said.
A devout Christian, Tebow's main focus Sunday was his faith.

"Regardless of what happens, I still honor my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, because at the end of the day, that's what's important -- win or lose," Tebow said.

Tebow is An NFL quarter back, not passing up the chance to share his faith with willing receivers.

"We need to get back to one nation under God, and be role models for kids," Tebow said. He went on to say that he hopes one day high school athletes will feel okay getting down on one knee on the football field.

Thomas Kinkade 'Painter of Light' dies in Calif.

Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Artist Thomas Kinkade once said that he had something in common with Walt Disney and Norman Rockwell: He wanted to make people happy.

And he won success with brushwork paintings that focused on idyllic landscapes, cottages and churches - highly popular works that became big sellers for dealers across the United States.

The self-described "Painter of Light," who died Friday at age 54, produced sentimental scenes of country gardens and pastoral landscapes in dewy morning light that were beloved by many but criticized by the art establishment.

Kinkade died at his home in Los Gatos in the San Francisco Bay Area of what appeared to be natural causes, said family spokesman David Satterfield.

He claimed to be the nation's most collected living artist, and his paintings and spin-off products were said to fetch some $100 million a year in sales, and to be in 10 million homes in the United States.

Those light-infused renderings are often prominently displayed in buildings, malls, and on products - generally depicting tranquil scenes with lush landscaping and streams running nearby. Many contain images from Bible passages.

"I'm a warrior for light," Kinkade, a self-described devout Christian, told the San Jose Mercury News in 2002, a reference to the medieval practice of using light to symbolize the divine. "With whatever talent and resources I have, I'm trying to bring light to penetrate the darkness many people feel."

Before Kinkade's Media Arts Group went private in the middle of the past decade, the company took in $32 million per quarter from 4,500 dealers across the country, according to the Mercury News. The cost of his paintings range from hundreds of dollars to more than $10,000.

According to his website, Kinkade's paintings have been reproduced in hand-signed lithographs, canvas prints, books, posters, calendars, magazine covers, cards, collector plates and figurines. The website touts his Disney collection and offers a gallery locator, where fans can find nearby dealers.

Many of those items are available in a wide selection line of home furnishings on its online store.

His artistic philosophy was not to express himself through his paintings like many artists, but rather to give the masses what they wanted: warm, positive images, Ken Raasch, who co-founded Kinkade's company with him, told the Mercury News.

"I'd see a tree as being green, and he would see it as 47 different shades of green," Raasch said. "He just saw the world in a much more detailed way than anyone I've ever seen."

Bridges are a frequent subject, as are steps or grassy inclines leading through gate images. Some of his paintings are visual depictions of Bible verses, such as "A Light in the Storm," taken from John 8:12: "I am the light of the world."

A biography on the website said Kinkade rejected "the intellectual isolation of the artist" and instead, made "each of his works an intimate statement that resonates in the personal lives of his viewers."

"I share something in common with Norman Rockwell and, for that matter, with Walt Disney, in that I really like to make people happy," he said.

He called Rockwell his earliest hero. "I remember my mom had a big collection of copies of (Saturday Evening Post) magazines, and that was really my introduction to those great illustrators," he said.

Kinkade was born and raised in the Placerville, Calif. He studied at the University of California at Berkeley and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

He said art was a major outlet growing up.

"I was always the kid who could draw," he said. "I had this talent, and it was the one thing that gave me some kind of dignity in the midst of my personal environment."

As a young man, Kinkade traveled by boxcar from California to New York with fellow fledgling artist, James Gurney, sketching the American landscape along the way.

The site says that with these sketches in hand, the two were able to get published "The Artist Guide to Sketching" in 1982, a book that helped land him a job creating background art for animated films.

Also that year, he married his childhood sweetheart, Nanette, to whom he frequently paid tribute to by hiding her name and those of his four daughters within his paintings.

"Thom provided a wonderful life for his family," Nanette said in a statement. "We are shocked and saddened by his death."

There was no immediate word on an official cause of death. Calls to the coroner's office were not immediately returned.

The newspaper said friends and family on Friday began planning a private service and were weighing a public celebration for a later date.

For more information visit: http://www.thomaskinkade.com/

Elementary School Reverses Decision To Cut 'God' From Lee Greenwood Song After Parental Outrage

photo by Ray Tharaldson all rights reserved 2012

The Huffington Post  |  By Andres Jauregui
Parents at Stall Brook Elementary in suburban Massachusetts became upset after administrators planned to remove the word "God" from the Lee Greenwood song "God Bless the U.S.A.," which fourth-grade students were scheduled to sing at an assembly about U.S. state geography.

A local Fox News affiliate reported that the children were instructed to sing "We love the U.S.A." instead of "God bless the U.S.A."

Parental anger over the proposed changes first led the administration to drop songs from the program altogether, but an updated press release posted on the Bellingham, Mass., school's website on April 5 stated that two songs would, in fact, be sung by students at the April 12 assembly, a song about the 50 states and "God Bless the U.S.A."

The press release states that students would be free to sing or not sing the words "God bless the U.S.A.", and that the school had not intended to censor a patriotic song.

"We believe the use of the word God is acceptable in patriotic songs," the release states.

Fox News reported that an e-mail was circulated among parents announcing the proposed changes, though Fox was unclear as to whether it originated from the administration or from another source.

The Huffington Post contacted Bellingham Public Schools administration for comment, and were directed to the updated press release mentioned above. No one reached for comment had information on the origin of the e-mail.

Fox news reported that some parents responded to the e-mail thread claiming that changing the lyrics would violate their children's freedom of speech under the First Amendment.

The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law prohibiting the freedom of speech. The Establishment Clause of the First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion; this is commonly seen as the basis of separation of church and state, and is the reason why prayer is considered unlawful in public schools, such as Stall Brook Elementary.

"God Bless the U.S.A." was originally released by Lee Greenwood in 1984, but the patriotic country song experienced a resurgence of popularity following the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Its lyrics emphasize the sacrifice of the "men who died" to preserve American freedom, but it is not a hymn.

Fox acquired a statement from Greenwood in which he expressed strong disapproval of the administration's proposed changes to his lyrics.

"The most important word in the whole piece of music is the word God," Greenwood wrote to Fox.

2.9 million miles and 50 years later car still on the road!

By Noah Joseph

Think of Volvos and you're likely to picture a station wagon carrying kids home from soccer practice. But 50 years ago, the Swedish automaker produced one of the most curvaceous sportscars on the market.

It was called the P1800, and it still stands as an icon in the company's history and a cult favorite among collectors. Conceived in Sweden, designed in Italy and built in England, the P1800 gained fame on the screen as Roger Moore's car in The Saint, and served as a precursor of today's halo cars, envisioned to draw customers into the showroom.

The P1800 offered customers Ferrari-like styling with Volvo levels of dependability. That last part has certainly proven true for one owner, who holds the world record for most miles traveled in a non-commercial vehicle, and continues to beat his own record every time he pulls out of the driveway.

Irv Gordon – a retired science teacher from Patchogue, New York – racked up 1,500 miles in the first 48 hours after buying his P1800 in 1966. Within ten years of ownership, he had put on 500,000 miles. He reached the Guinness Book of World Records with 1.69 million miles in 1998, and hit the big two-million mark arriving in Manhattan's Times Square in 2002. As of this writing, his odometer reads 2.9 million, and he's not about to stop short of the three-million mark, touring classic car events around the world on Volvo's behalf.
events around the world on Volvo's behalf.