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Monday, March 31, 2014

Lindsay Lohan Was Almost In The Avengers, According to Lindsay Lohan

Lindsay Lohan Was Almost In The Avengers, According to Lindsay Lohan


Lindsay Lohan Was Almost In The Avengers, According to Lindsay Lohan

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:21 AM PDT

Lindsay Lohan, whose most recent onscreen opuses ranged from The Canyons to Lifetime’s made-for-TV Elizabeth Taylor biopic, says that she could have had a different film fate. In the latest episode of her Oprah-produced reality television show, the wayward star talked about how she was almost cast in Marvel’s The Avengers.

Lohan said that since her manager didn’t “push” hard enough, her super secret role was given to an “unknown.”

This, of course, begs the question of who Lohan would have played in the likely blockbuster: there’s Pepper Potts, played by the recently “uncoupled” Gwyneth Paltrow. (Not an unknown.) There’s the Black Widow, played by Scarlett Johansson. (Definitely not unknown). And then there’s Agent Maria Hill, played by How I Met Your Mother’s Colbie Smulders. (Is this who Lilo is shading?)

The only other option was an unnamed NASA scientist played by Tina Benko. Not quite a leading role.

Lohan continued chronicling her casting concerns.

“If I don’t work in a film, he passes it to Vanessa Hudgens; [my manager] passes it one of his other clients,” Lohan said. “Every day I’m not on a film set, I’m wasting my talent because that’s what I was born, and live, to do.”

Maybe one day Lohan will fulfill the role she was born to play and finally be turned into an action figure. Perhaps this long-lost Lindsay Mattel doll needs a superhero revamp:

Healthcare Among Job Sectors With Highest Obesity Rates

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:20 AM PDT

It turns out jobs in public administration, utilities, and health care and social service have some of the highest populations of obese employees.

A new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine analyzed data from the 2010 National Health Interview Survey to determine Americans’ weight, height, occupation and general stress on the job. The researchers found that employees who worked over 40 hours a week or worked in a hostile work environments were significantly more likely to be obese.

People working in protective service, like cops and security guards were the most likely to be obese. But more surprising industries like health care had high numbers of obese workers as well, likely due to high stress and long hours. The study found that those who worked in healthcare customer service and support were far more likely to be obese than actual health care practitioners, suggesting, it said, “that the impact of working conditions on obesity may be especially harmful for lower-income workers.”

The researchers say jobs with long hours can lower workers’ opportunities to get exercise, and jobs with high levels of stress are associated with eating unhealthy and consuming more calories in general. Shift workers often deal with chronic stress, which can have biological effects on the body that contribute to obesity.

Since many employers are looking for ways to cut costs related to health care, knowing what type of work environments can impact obesity levels is valuable.

Here are the top 10 industries with the highest numbers of obese workers:

1. Public administration

2. Utilities

3. Information

4. Transportation and warehousing

5. Healthcare and social assistance

6. Manufacturing

7. Construction

8. Administrative support

9. Mining

10. Agriculture, forestry, fishing, hunting

 

Iowa Expands Its ‘Do Not Rehire’ List

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:16 AM PDT

(IOWA CITY, Iowa) — Iowa’s executive branch maintains an internal “do not rehire” list that has grown to more than 1,400 people who are barred from returning to state employment after being fired previously.

A review by The Associated Press shows the two-decades-old list has grown under Gov. Terry Branstad even as the state lacks clear legal justification and policies for how workers’ names are added and removed.

Administrative law judges have ruled three times since 2009 that the Department of Administrative Services doesn’t have “the statutory or regulatory authority” to issue lifetime employment bans against fired workers.

At least 250 names have been added since Branstad returned to office in 2011, about twice the pace of his predecessor.

Iowa managers say they use the list to reject bad employees and save taxpayer money.

Manuel Valls Named As New French Prime Minister

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:15 AM PDT

(PARIS) — France’s president has named 51-year-old Socialist Manuel Valls as the country’s new prime minister.

In a prerecorded televised speech, Francois Hollande said Valls, the former interior minister, would lead a “combative government.”

Hollande admitted “it’s time to start a new stage,” just 24 hours after his Socialists suffered heavy losses in nationwide municipal elections.

Valls, who is consistently voted France’s most popular Socialist in opinion polls, is considered to be part of the right-wing side of the party and is also relatively popular with French conservatives.

Connie Britton Is Now On Twitter, Still Has the Best Hair

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 11:03 AM PDT

Important news! In a move Coach Taylor probably would not condone, Friday Night Lights favorite Connie Britton finally joined Twitter, sending her first oh-so characteristic tweet: “Hey y’all!’

The actress, who currently stars on ABC’s Nasvhille as Tami Taylor 2.0, racked up nearly 10.5 thousand followers in the 30 minutes since she sent her first tweet. (Typical.) Fans are bound to look to Britton for advice when in need of a pick-me-up after a football loss, or maybe just for life guidance.

But whether Britton will be sharing promotional teasers for upcoming projects or just insights on how to get perfect wavy hair, her followers are sure to have clear eyes and full hearts.

Say it with me again now: “Hey y’all!”

These March Madness Tickets Are Going for a Tiny Fraction of What They Should

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:58 AM PDT

College students can buy tickets for this weekend’s NCAA March Madness Final Four in Arlington, Texas, for just $40 apiece, a tiny fraction of the average seat price.

Will students turn around and flip their seats for profits of four, five, perhaps even ten or twenty times what they paid? Well, surely some will be tempted to do just that. After all, these are kids who will soon join the throngs that collectively owe $1 trillion in student loans. But it looks like the entrepreneurial students out there eager to make some cash on the secondary ticket market won't be able to cash in.

The ticket sales operation for the University of Wisconsin Badgers, one of the four teams remaining in the NCAA tournament, spell out a long list of rules and requirements for those seeking to purchase Final Four seats at the student rate. "Students may only purchase one Final Four ticket," is the first policy listed. And this one is the rule that makes it all but impossible for students hoping to sell their seats:

The credit card used to purchase tickets must be presented by the purchasing student to gain admission to AT&T Stadium, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. A credit card can only be used to purchase one student ticket, WITHOUT EXCEPTION. Students will also be required to present their WISCARD to gain admission into AT&T Stadium

The rules are the same for students at the three other schools in the Final Four, the University of Florida, the University of Connecticut, and the University of Kentucky. Students who are eligible to purchase seats at the $40 rate should have already received emails explaining how to proceed, and there's a good chance all of the $40 tickets will be snatched up by Monday afternoon, if not sooner. For everyone else, the NCAA’s sales partner offers a host of pricey options, as do the universities, including travel packages running over $1,000 per person (sometimes not including tickets) and ticket packages for the upcoming semifinal and final game starting at $300, plus a fee of $10 or $15 per ticket. (Also available, curiously: foldable chairs used by UConn during the tournament for $150 apiece.)

Still, the $300 price for tickets is cheap compared to the going rate on the secondary market. The resale and ticket information site TiqIQ.com released data on Sunday indicating that the average price for "all sessions" tickets (entrance for both semifinal games on Saturday) was $1,367.55.

Tickets for the championship game on Monday night are cheaper, averaging $614 of late, with the cheapest "get-in" price going for $118, though of course at this point it's impossible to know which teams will be playing in the game. As with most sporting events, it appears wise to wait to buy, as it's expected prices will go down as game day nears. For the last three NCAA championship games, the average ticket price wound up under $500, and the cheap seats sold for under $100, according to TiqIQ.

U.S. Ambassador to India Resigns Amid Diplomatic Row

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:57 AM PDT

The U.S. ambassador to India said she submitted her resignation Monday, weeks after the arrest of an Indian diplomat in New York City sparked a diplomatic row between the two countries.

A statement posted to the Embassy’s website did not give a reason for Ambassador Nancy J. Powell’s departure, but said she planned to retire in May after a 37-year career.

Powell has also been ambassador to Uganda, Ghana, Nepal and Pakistan and previously served as director general of the Foreign Service.

U.S.-Indian relations floundered in December after police in New York City detained and allegedly strip-searched an Indian diplomat accused of submitting false documents on an application for her housekeeper to live and work in the U.S., and failing to pay the housekeeper a minimum wage.

A judge later dismissed the case against Devyani Khobragade citing diplomatic immunity and she returned to India. But a grand jury in New York indicted her again earlier this month.

Share Too Much? Facebook Is Giving ‘Privacy Checkups’ to Certain Users

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:42 AM PDT

Facebook, in an effort to educate about the different privacy options available on the social network, has begun rolling out a 'Privacy Checkup' initiative to select users of the site.

According to those familiar with the new feature, you'll only get a Privacy Checkup if your account is set to post publicly – that is, if your settings have you sharing beyond your immediate group of Facebook friends. Upon sharing with the public, your account may get the following advisory pop-up:

It reads: "Sorry to interrupt. You haven't changed who can see your posts lately, so we just wanted to make sure you're sharing this post with the right audience. (Your current setting is Public, though you can change this whenever you post.)" The pop-up then gives you the option to quickly change your privacy settings to limit the post to just your Facebook friends.

Facebook has no doubt learned that its customer base no longer wishes to share everything with the world. By making it easier to control who sees what you post, Facebook ensures you keep posting. Remember, what matters most to Facebook is not how much you share with your friends, but how much you share with the social network itself. The more Facebook knows about you, the more money it makes selling ads.

Regardless of whether your account is chosen for a Privacy Checkup, Techlicious recommends taking your family’s privacy in your own hands. Make a habit of reviewing your Facebook privacy settings once or twice a year. If you have kids, make a clear privacy policy for your family. Teach your kids what’s acceptable to be shared and with whom. Social media can be a lot of fun, but it's important to remember: One wrong status update could seriously damage you or your child's future.

To learn more about managing your privacy on Facebook, check out Techlicious’ just-updated comprehensive guide to Facebook privacy settings.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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Is Broadway Only for New Yorkers?

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:41 AM PDT

New Yorkers, especially New York theater critics, like to complain that Broadway is being taken over by tourists — the primary target for those big, brand-name musicals we're seeing more and more of. From my point of view, however, the bigger problem is just the opposite. Too many Broadway shows these days — mostly straight plays, but some musicals as well— are steeped in a New York state of mind, overly obsessed with the experiences, issues and in-jokes of the home-town crowd. Two good (bad) new examples have just arrived.

Terrence McNally's new play, Mothers and Sons, takes place in a well-appointed apartment on New York's Upper West Side, where Katharine, a Dallas widow, has just arrived for an unannounced visit to Cal, her son's former gay lover. It has been 20 years since her son died from AIDS, but Katharine is still dripping with bitterness and resentment — not just over his death, but over the fact that Cal has moved on and is now married to another man, with whom he is raising a six-year-old son.

The play is both didactic and dated, as it contrives to make familiar points about the prejudice still faced by gay people, even as the AIDS crisis has faded and gay marriage become the law of much of the land. The point may be valid and worth making, but almost everything in the play rings false: the implausible chip on Katharine's shoulder, her tone-deaf awkwardness in dealing with the gay couple, the idealized portrait of their marriage, complete with adorably outspoken six-year-old.

But the conflict is not just between the enlightened gay couple and a prejudiced old woman; it's between sophisticated, open-minded New Yorkers and those benighted folks who live west of the Hudson. The audience is meant to laugh knowingly at the cracks about East Siders and West Siders, and smirk condescendingly when Katherine confesses she doesn’t know what the AIDS quilt is, and has to be told that the Pines is a gay enclave on Fire Island. Katharine still insists that her son wasn't gay "until he came to New York," and she professes to be mystified at New Yorkers who call the place where they live a home. "It's an apartment," she says.

It doesn't help that Tyne Daly, giving a rare bad performance, is about as convincing playing a Dallas matron as Kim Kardashian would be playing Mother Teresa. But none of the actors have much luck trying to inhabit these cardboard characters, set up by a playwright preaching to the local choir.

The new musical If/Then is a more interesting, or at least more complicated, work. Created by the same team behind Next to Normal, winner of the 2009 Tony Award for Best Musical, it tells the story of Elizabeth, a thirtysomething divorcee, who arrives in New York from Phoenix to start a new life. Actually, two lives. In one scenario, Elizabeth lands a big job in the city planning department, has an affair with her boss, rises quickly, but can't find a mate. In an alternative life, she misses out on the city-planning job, becomes a teacher and winds up marrying an Army doctor. The gimmick is that we watch both her parallel lives unfold simultaneously.

The jump-cuts between her two lives are signaled by lighting changes and name cues: she's called Liz in one life, Beth in the other. Still, keeping them straight can be a challenge. So, alas, is keeping awake, since each of her lives seem like a collection of New York clich├ęs. There are jokes about Brooklyn, about the inaudible announcements in New York City subways, about people from Phoenix. The Big Apple, meanwhile, is romanticized as a cozy small town, where people meet cute in parks and get offered great jobs that they have to be talked into accepting. Street crime and homelessness? Fuhgeddaboudit.

In a season of big musicals based on hit movies (Rocky, The Bridges of Madison County), the show’s intimate scale and soulful, if unmemorable, soft-rock score (by Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey) have some appeal. So does star Idina Menzel (who has made the show a near sellout, thanks to John Travolta's mispronunciation of her name at the Oscars), though her industrial-strength voice and hard-edged manner don’t bring much warmth to the show.

Both she and co-star Anthony Rapp (who plays a bisexual friend who sleeps with Elizabeth in one of her lives — don't ask me which) had their career breakthroughs in Rent, which is sort of the original New York musical. Yet that show at least had some grit: there were drugs and tragedy, and people actually had to pay their rent. There's a tragedy and a near-tragedy in If/Then, but they happen only when people go out of town. Back home, it’s still a Yuppie paradise.

5 Killed In Blast In Somali Area Of Kenya Capital

Posted: 31 Mar 2014 10:35 AM PDT

(NAIROBI, Kenya) — Officials in Kenya say that an explosion in downtown Nairobi has killed at least five people.

The National Disaster Operation Center said on Twitter that explosions had occurred Monday evening in a neighborhood known for its large Somali population. Sometimes called Kenya’s “Little Mogadishu,” Eastleigh has seen several grenade attacks over the last year.

The agency said five people were killed and several injured. Officials did not immediately say what caused the blasts.

Kenya has suffered from a long string of grenade attacks presumed to be thrown by Somali militant sympathizes. Officials also recently discovered a large, undetonated car bomb in the coastal city of Mombasa.

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