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Sonar Whale Tests!
Gore Vs. Bush? Radioactive Waste,
Snow White, The Lion Mummy,
Erotic Museum, Beatles
& More!
Judge Allows Sonar Whale Tests!
Associated Press Writer 

SAN FRANCISCO January 16, 2004 (AP) - A federal judge Friday let marine biologists keep testing a sonar system for detecting deep-sea whales, despite environmentalists' fears that the noise will harm animals.

U.S. District Judge Samuel Conti said the National Marine Fisheries Service had properly issued a permit last month for the Pacific Ocean testing during the annual winter migration of gray whales. 

Environmental groups including Australians for Animals and Sea Sanctuary had contended that the high-frequency sound could distress and disorient whales, drive them from their habitat and separate calves from their mothers. 

Scientific Solutions of Nashua, N.H., argued that no whales have been harmed since testing began Jan. 6, and that the system will ultimately help protect the animals from ship collisions, military testing and underwater explosions during oil exploration

"The system is safe, and it was adequately reviewed before the permit was issued," said James Arnold, an attorney for Scientific Solutions. "The goal is to develop a badly needed technology to protect marine mammals, particularly whales, from injury or even death."

Last year, environmentalists successfully sued to block the research, contending an environmental assessment should be conducted first. Scientific Solutions got the assessment, received a new permit in December and began testing off San Luis Obispo last week. The company plans 20 days of testing each year for five years.

On Thursday, the environmental groups argued that research should be stopped again because the company and the government failed to consider the sonar's effect on whales such as harbor porpoises, which are particularly sensitive to noise and might be scared away from their feeding grounds. 

"They took the most sensitive species and buried it in paperwork," said Lanny Sinkin, an attorney for the environmental groups. 

Whale advocates scored two court victories last fall. In October, a federal judge here ordered the National Science Foundation to stop firing high-intensity sonic blasts into the Gulf of California because they harm whales. 

And in November, the Navy agreed to temporarily scale back the testing of a new sonar system designed to detect enemy submarines after a federal magistrate halted the project. 

Scientific Solutions:

Cetacean Community:

Gore Says Bush Moral Coward, Neglects Earth

By Nichola Groom

NEW YORK January 16, 2004 (Reuters) — Former Vice President Al Gore scoffed at President Bush's plan to send astronauts to the moon and Mars and said Bush was a "moral coward" for ignoring global environmental threats. 

Speaking at an event sponsored by political advocacy groups and Environment2004, Gore said Bush's record on the environment routinely puts the wishes of the coal, oil, utility, and mining industries ahead of public interests.

"Instead of spending enormous sums of money on an unimaginative and retread effort to make a tiny portion of the moon habitable for a handful of people, we should focus instead on a massive effort to ensure that the Earth is habitable for future generations," Gore said to a cheering Manhattan crowd.

The speech is one of a series Gore, who served two terms as vice president under President Bill Clinton, has made criticizing Bush's handling of the war in Iraq, the economy, and other issues. Gore lost to Bush in the 2000 election after winning the popular vote and has ruled out a rematch in 2004.

On Wednesday, Bush announced plans to send humans back to the moon as early as 2015 and eventually to Mars — an initiative critics derided as motivated by election-year politics that could cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

His dad, former President George Bush, proposed in 1989 to send humans back to the moon and on to Mars, but that idea went nowhere.

Gore accused Bush of reneging on environmental promises made while campaigning for the White House, saying Bush's "seemingly heartfelt declaration" that he was concerned about global warming and the environment was just lip service.

"While President Bush likes to project an image of strength and courage, the truth is that in the presence of his large financial contributors he is a moral coward — so weak that he seldom, if ever, says 'No' to anything that they want to do," Gore said.

In particular, Gore took aim at Bush's "Clear Skies" bill, which limits emissions of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, and mercury but fails to regulate emissions of carbon dioxide, which is believed to contribute to global warming.

He also criticized Bush's so-called "Healthy Forest" initiative, which the White House said would reduce the risk of forest wildfires but which environmental groups said promoted logging at the expense of environmental protection.

According to Gore, such policies underscore Bush's goal of satisfying the interests of large industrial corporations in return for hefty campaign contributions.

"It seems at times as if the Bush-Cheney administration is wholly owned by the coal, oil, utility, and mining companies," he said.

While environmental issues dominated the speech, Gore still criticized Bush's handling of foreign policy, saying he has "caused America to be seen by the other nations of the world as showing disdain for the international community."

Delaware Nation Sues for Pennsylvania Land
By Jon Hurdle

PHILADELPHIA January 16, 2004 (Reuters) — A native American tribe from Oklahoma filed suit Thursday claiming the right to ancestral land in Pennsylvania in an effort to establish a casino in the state. 

The Delaware Nation from Anadarko, Okla., filed the lawsuit in U.S. district court here, seeking court recognition that it is the rightful owner of 315 acres in Forks Township, near Easton, Pa., currently occupied by private houses and a factory.

The land was given to Chief Moses Tundy Tetamy, an ancestor of the tribe, in 1738 by a son of Pennsylvania founder William Penn. The Delaware Nation said in a statement there is no record of the tribe having relinquished title to the tract.

In an effort to generate revenue, more than 300 Native American casinos have sprung up since the late 1980s as smaller tribes won federal recognition as sovereign entities.

"This is property that belongs to the Delawares, and it is clear ... that the Delaware's title to the land was never validly extinguished," said Stephen Cozen, an attorney with the Philadelphia firm of Cozen O'Connor, representing the tribe.

The tribe wants to establish its ownership of the land as part of a plan to obtain gaming rights in Pennsylvania because it can't get those rights without becoming a land owner. The tribe says it has no plans to build a casino on the Forks Township land because it does not wish to disturb residents there. Instead it hopes to build a casino elsewhere in the state.

The Pennsylvania General Assembly is preparing to debate legislation authorizing slot machines at some sites around the state, and the tribe is pressing for favorable treatment.

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell is named as a defendant in the suit as are the property owners on the disputed land and the state of Pennsylvania. A spokeswoman for Rendell said he would evaluate the case.

Many smaller tribes nationwide who were passed over for federal recognition in the 19th and early 20th centuries have won that status under federal legislation passed in the 1980s, which grants certain exemptions from state law and has helped fuel a boom in casinos on Indian land.
Radioactive News!

US Lax on Radioactive Waste
By Robert Gehrke
Associated Press

WASHINGTON January 16, 2004 (AP) — The Energy Department has not done the necessary tests to justify relaxing the testing of radioactive waste shipments bound for a New Mexico storage site, a panel of scientists said Thursday.

The department has argued that safety checks required on shipments to the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., cost $3.1 billion and create delays. Changing the requirements would save time and money, the department said in petitioning for changes last week.

A report by a panel of scientists appointed by the National Research Council — a division of the National Academies of Science — said Energy has not done adequate studies to support its argument for easing regulations and those analyses should be done before it seeks to modify the state waste disposal permit.

However, a provision backed by Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and signed into law last month by President Bush orders the Energy Department to request that New Mexico relax its testing requirements and restricts the state's ability to refuse the request.

"This is another example of the management failures coming from the highest levels of DOE," said New Mexico Environment Secretary Ron Curry.

"It is another example of DOE putting the cart before the horse and making unfounded assumptions to the detriment of New Mexicans."

The Carlsbad facility buries transuranic waste — such as gloves, rags, tools, dried sludge, and other debris contaminated during nuclear weapons making — in ancient salt beds 2,150 feet below ground.

Under the Energy Department's proposed changes, instead of testing each shipment of waste, records kept on each drum of radioactive material would be used to determine whether the waste inside is eligible to be buried at the site.

There is no deadline for the state to act on the Energy Department application.

Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who objected to the Domenici provision, said the scientists' report shows that Congress should only pre-empt state regulatory authority "after a transparent process has taken place — a process that yields thoughtful and careful analysis."

The law cannot be undone, Bingaman said, but it should serve as a reminder "that there is a well-established process for modifying existing state regulations and that the federal government should respect it."

Domenici defended the provision. "Experience has shown us that intrusive sampling techniques have shown to have little environmental, public safety or health benefits," he said.

The National Research Council panel said that when the Carlsbad plant became the first operational waste facility of its kind four years ago, it made sense for regulators to be cautious and impose rigorous measures for screening waste.

Today, the site's track record could help identify changes that could be warranted. However, a systematic analysis is needed before the Energy Department can make its case that changes are justified, the panel said.

Employee Error Puts Nuclear Plant Reopening on Hold

OAK HARBOR OH January 9, 2004 (AP) — A utility asked federal regulators to delay a final inspection of a shutdown nuclear reactor, saying a minor incident suggested some workers aren't fully prepared to restart it.

The Nuclear Regulatory Commission agreed to put off inspection of the Davis-Besse plant — which had been set to begin Monday — for about a week.

The NRC said the move quashes FirstEnergy Corp.'s plans to seek a Jan. 21 meeting with NRC officials to discuss restarting the reactor. No new meeting date was set.

The reactor at the plant along Lake Erie near Toledo has been shut down since February 2002. An inspection after the shutdown revealed a pineapple-sized hole in the reactor's lid.

In the incident Tuesday, technicians testing a pressure gauge in an emergency safety system failed to tell the control room that the safety system would be off-line, First Energy spokesman Todd Schneider said.

That mistake meant the emergency system was off-line for two hours without operators shifting to a backup.

Schneider said the incident was minor but that managers believed the plant needed to do a better job of following the rules.

On Dec 19, the NRC's restart readiness inspectors and a second team looking at the plant's safety environment said they could not recommend allowing the plant to restart. Managers spent the next 10 days retraining workers.

Can Rover Fetch H2O?

AP Science Writer 

PASADENA January 17, 2004 (AP) - NASA's Spirit rover traveled 300 million miles to search for evidence that frozen, dry Mars was once a wetter planet capable of supporting life. But scientists now say their best chance for finding that evidence may be out of the robot's range.

Spirit landed in Gusev Crater, a 95-mile-wide depression thought by some to have contained a lake in the ancient past, but it has turned out to be far from a pristine dry lake bed. 

The broad depression appears to have been blanketed by volcanic debris and scoured by the wind, with the deposits of lake sediments that scientists had hoped to find either buried or erased by 4 billion years of vigorous geologic activity.

"Goodness knows what you might have stripped away," said Mars scientist Maria Zuber, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. 

That means Spirit might have to roam farther than NASA expected to find the evidence scientists seek. The most promising place appears to be in a group of hills that NASA is not even sure the rover can reach. 

"It might take a bit of searching to find," said Dave Des Marais, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Mountain View and a member of the mission science team. 

Scientists say the hills, which rise hundreds of feet above the Martian plain, represent a far bigger slice of the planet's history than the relatively shallow crater Spirit is visiting first. 

But the hills are farther away than Spirit was designed to travel, even if the solar-powered rover outlasts its three-month lifetime. Still, mission engineers continue to calculate how much ground Spirit would have to cover to reach their slopes. 

Scientists are also holding out hope that the rocks in Spirit's more immediate surroundings could be the smoking gun. Examples would include any carbonate rocks, such as limestone, that form in water. 

"Rocks are like little time capsules. They remember what formed them and the time that formed them," Des Marais said. 

Short of that, the closest evidence could be as close as 825 feet away, inside a crater that the air bag-swaddled Spirit nearly landed in when it bounced down on the planet two weeks ago. 

As Spirit zigzags toward that depression, rolling dozens of yards a day, the robot geologist should come across older rocks. Once at the crater, scientists hope Spirit can reach the rim and peer down. The rover has nine cameras, including a microscopic imager, and a rock drill to examine the terrain. 

Scientists hope to find the crater walls striped with horizontal layers of sedimentary rocks, which would suggest that Gusev once sloshed with water. 

A second Martian spacecraft, Opportunity, is on track to land Jan. 24 halfway around the planet from Spirit. Its landing site abounds in a mineral called gray hematite, which is associated with liquid water.

Snow White

STOCKHOLM January 17, 2004 (AFP) - Israel's ambassador to Sweden was kicked out of Stockholm's Museum of National Antiquities after he destroyed an artwork featuring a picture of a Palestinian suicide bomber, the artists said.

The incident, widely reported in the Swedish media, occurred at the opening on Friday of the "Making Differences" exhibit, part of an upcoming international conference on genocide hosted by the Swedish government and in which Israel is scheduled to participate. 

Sweden's foreign ministry said Saturday it would summon ambassador Zvi Mazel to a meeting to explain himself. 

"We will contact him on Monday to arrange a meeting. We want to give him a chance to explain himself. We feel that it is unacceptable for him to destroy art in this way," ministry spokeswoman Anna Larsson told AFP. 

The art installation, called Snow White and located in the museum's courtyard, featured a basin filled with red water, designed to look like blood.

A sailboat with the name Snow White floated on the water, and placed like a sail was a photo of a smiling Hanadi Jaradat, the female lawyer who blew herself up in the Haifa suicide bombing attack in October which killed 21 Israelis. 

"For me it was intolerable and an insult to the families of the victims. As ambassador to Israel I could not remain indifferent to such an obscene misrepresentation of reality," the ambassador told Swedish news agency TT. 

According to museum director Kristian Berg, the ambassador went berserk in front of the 400 specially-invited guests when he saw the piece. 

"He pulled out the plugs and threw one of the spotlights into the fountain which caused the entire installation to short-circuit and made it totally life-threatening," he told TT. 

One of the two artists who created the work, Israeli-born Dror Feiler, told AFP the ambassador was "totally unreasonable and undiplomatic" and would not listen to his explanations. 

"He said he was ashamed that I was a Jew," Feiler said. "We see this as an offensive assault on our right to express our thoughts and feelings." 

The other artist, Feiler's Swedish wife Gunilla Skoeld Feiler, told daily Expressen that the work was "not a glorification of the suicide bomber." 

"I wanted to show how incomprehensible it is that a mother-of-two, who is a lawyer no less, can do such a thing," she said. "When I saw her picture in the paper, I thought she looked like Snow White, that's why I gave that name to the piece."

Dror Feiler was to perform a piece of music but refused to do so as long as the ambassador remained at the scene. 

"Ultimately we had to escort the ambassador out of the museum," museum director Berg said, adding that he did not consider the artwork to be a provocation. "It is rather an invitation to think about why such things happen in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict." 

The museum's artistic director, Thomas Nordanstad, said he had given the artists the go-ahead to create the piece, and had "hoped it would lead to an artistic dialogue". 

The artwork was repaired and was on Saturday on view to the public, despite Israel's insistence that it be disassembled. 

"The Swedish government cannot remain indifferent and should take steps to remove it," Israeli foreign ministry spokesman David Saranger told AFP in Jerusalem. "It is impossible to justify the incitement and cultivation of hatred as shown in this exhibit in the name of freedom of expression." 

It was not immediately known whether the incident would affect Israel's participation at the "Stockholm International Forum -- Preventing Genocide" conference, which is to take place January 26-28.

Yukon Melt Reveals Oldest Hunters

WHITEHORSE CANADA January 13, 2004 (CBC) - Archeologists working in the Yukon's melting snow fields say they've found some of the oldest evidence of human habitation in the territory. 

Last year's warm summer further melted the territory's alpine snowfields, which have become a rich source of artifacts from the territory's pre-history.

The sites have been the subject of worldwide attention since scientists discovered the snowfields were once favourite summer hunting grounds. In 1997, a sheep hunter found the first artifacts near caribou droppings that had melted out of the ice in an alpine meadow. 

The ancient weapons, tools and equipment used by the hunters still litter the sites, perfectly preserved by the ice. 

Yukon researcher Greg Hare keeps one of the last field season's most fragile treasures – an ornately sewn, small leather bag – in a small plastic tub. It was found frozen in a bed of rocks and muck, below one of the high mountain ice patches. 

"To find worked leather, you know it's very rare to find something like this in Canadian archaeology," he says. "We just got the radio carbon dates back and it's 1,400 years old." 

Another object, a 1,200-year-old carved wooden piece, has scientists stumped as to its purpose. 

"We've never seen anything like it, don't know what it is, but we're pleased to have found it on a new ice patch," says Hare. 

This year's prize is a wooden dart dated at just over 9,000 years old.

"So these are very ancient artifacts and provide an insight into what the years immediately after the ice age were like," he says. "Very quickly people and caribou had moved into the alpine and established a pattern of co-existence that existed right up until the time of the gold rush." 

Eighteen similar sites have now been identified across the southern Yukon. 

American scientists are exploring two more sites just discovered near Alaska's Denali Park last summer.

Egyptian Lion Mummy Found in Ancient Tomb

By Stefan Lovgren
National Geographic News

Saqqara Egypt January 14, 2004 (National Geographic News) - French archaeologists have unearthed the first mummified lion ever found in an Egyptian tomb. 

The spectacular discovery was made in the tomb of King Tutankhamen's wet-nurse, Maïa, at Saqqara, south of Cairo.

Although the tomb dates from 1330 B.C., the researchers believe the lion was probably mummified and buried during a later Egyptian dynasty in the final centuries before Christ.

The discovery confirms the lion's sacred status in ancient Egypt. The archaeologists say the lion itself may have been a dedication to Mahes, the son of the lion goddess Sekhmet. 

"This is very special," Alain Zivie, who led the team that made the discovery, said in a telephone interview from Paris.

"We knew from pharaonic inscriptions that lions existed in ancient Egypt and were buried in these tombs, but we had never found one until now." 

The research is published in tomorrow's issue of the science journal Nature.

In Excellent Condition 

Supported by the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and working under the supervision of the Supreme Council of Egyptian Antiquities, which is headed by National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence Zahi Hawass, Zivie's team has been excavating Saqqara, the cemetery of the ancient city of Memphis, for 20 years. 

In 1996, they discovered the tomb of Maïa, the wet-nurse to the famous pharaoh Tutankhamen. In addition to a chapel, the tomb has a level of funerary apartments, which have been used for burials of both humans and later animals, mainly cats. 

While working in the main room of the funerary level in November 2001, Zivie and his team made their stunning discovery. Perched on a rock and surrounded by other animal bones lay a virtually complete skeleton of a feline creature. 

"It was quite a shock," said Zivie. "It was a big skeleton, something completely unusual, big bones. My colleague, Cècile Callou, who is a zoo-archaeologist, could see immediately that it was a lion." 

Anaïck Samzun, another member of the team, led much of the excavation. 

The skeleton was in excellent condition, except that the skull had been partly crushed. The large size indicated it was a male, and researchers believe it was probably kept in captivity before dying of old age. Although no linen bandages were found, they believe the lion had been mummified. 

Worshipping Lions

Pharaonic inscriptions have shown that lions were bred and buried in Egypt during the time of the pharaohs. But while archaeologists knew of cemeteries for baboons, ibis, fish, cats, dogs, and crocodiles, they had never found lions buried, though some bones were found in the city of Abydos. 

The lions were worshiped by the ancient Egyptians and associated with certain divine powers. There are numerous descriptions of lions in ancient Egyptian art.

The lions are thought to have been bred in sanctuary precincts, where they were ritually fed and buried in a sacred animal necropolis. 

"The lion is full of symbolism," said Zivie. "It represents strength and fierceness. The lion is the king of the animals, but he's also the animal of the kings of Egypt and he's connected, in particular, to the goddesses, many of whom are depicted with lion faces." 

In fact, above the tomb where the lion was found is a sanctuary dedicated to the feline goddess Bastet. A beloved goddess, Bastet is depicted as having the body of a woman and the head of a lion and of a domestic cat. Bastet also has an alter ego, Sekhmet, a woman with the head of a lioness, who represents the darker side of the goddess. Together, they're believed to represent the two-faced nature of women. 

However, since the lion was a male, Zivie does not think it was dedicated to Bastet or Sekhmet, but instead could have been the incarnation of Sekhmet's son, the god Mahes. 

"This is logical," Zivie said. "Mahes was very much revered in the city of Leontopolis, which is known as the city of the lion. We know he bred lions in this city, near a farm there."

The animal belongs to the later Bubasteion catacombs connected to the cult of animals that was particularly important in Late and Hellenistic Egypt.

"This was not the time of Tutankhamen, and not the lion of Tutankhamen. It's much later," said Zivie. "We're sure the lion is connected to the late burials of cats. But the fact that the discovery is in the tomb of Maïa gives it a touch of beauty and excitement." 

Full of Surprises 

In the November 2003 issue of National Geographic magazine, Zivie wrote about his recent discovery of a 3,300-year-old tomb belonging to a guardian of temple treasures under the reign of radical Pharaoh Akhenaten.

Inscriptions on the tomb reveal the guardian owner had two names, Raiay and Hatiay, and that he built the tomb for himself and his wife, Maïa, though the two were never buried there. Zivie believes that Maïa may be the same woman who was the wet-nurse to Tutankhamen. 

Zivie is now heading back to Egypt to work on the Saqqara site. But he's not looking for more discoveries. 

"Our project now is to work more on the conservation of the tomb and the site," he said. "We have a great deal of discoveries, which we have to swallow before we move on. But I hope we will make new discoveries in the future. This is a fantastic site full of surprises."

Cutting The Cheese

MADISON WI January 13, 2004 (AP) - A researcher from the University of Wisconsin at Madison has figured out a better way to slice cheese — just use a laser.

"At any other university, people would have just laughed. But this is Wisconsin. It's cheese. And this is no laughing matter," said Xiaochun Li, a mechanical engineering professor and laser expert. 

Traditional cheese processing has a number of shortcomings, he said. 

Large cutting machines require considerable care to keep cheese from becoming contaminated by bacteria. And it's impossible to slice cheese very thin because it tears or sticks to the cutting blade. 

But now Li, working with engineering graduate student Hongseok Choi, has adapted the same kind of laser used for eye surgery to slice Wisconsin's most famed food product. 

At first, Li tried using a traditional commercial laser that uses heat to cut by melting or evaporating; it fried the cheese. 

"It smelled really bad," he said. 

Li tried again using a new class of laser that emits light in ultraviolet, and therefore shorter, wavelengths. That laser, known as a cold laser, cuts by blasting apart the molecular bonds that hold materials together.

The Erotic Museum!

Associated Press Writer 

LOS ANGELES January 17, 2004 (AP) - One look at Hollywood's newest tourist attraction and it's easy to mistake it for any number of adult shops along the popular Walk of Fame. 

The nude pictures, sex toys and stag films aren't meant to arouse but to edify.

This is, after all, the Erotic Museum, which pays tribute to all things sexual, from the tame to the tawdry. 

It chronicles sex through the ages with nude abstracts by Pablo Picasso, erotic jade figurines from ancient China, vintage sex toys and sultry computer-animated dancers. 

For nearly $13 for the price of admission, visitors can touch rubber toys or peruse patent applications for various oddball erotic inventions such as a diagram of a newfangled "female security device." No one under 18 is admitted. 

Owners said Los Angeles, home to both mainstream movies and the adult film industry, seemed ideal for a museum celebrating erotica. 

"Lord knows the entertainment industry is giving people their sexual cues these days," said museum curator Eric Singley, 33. "The museum provides a good counterbalance to the media versions of sex." 

The museum joins a handful of similar institutions worldwide. Museums in New York, Spain, Holland, and Denmark exhibit everything from pornography to high-minded paintings exploring local sexual attitudes and culture. 

The Erotic Museum, just blocks away from the Kodak Theater on Hollywood Boulevard, distinguishes itself with a nod to celebrities. Among the highlights are a mosaic of Farrah Fawcett and a 56-year-old X-rated film that purportedly features a young Marilyn Monroe. 

Works by established contemporary artists such as Julian Murphy lend the museum an aura of legitimacy, experts said. So does its use of rotating exhibits and other traditional techniques.

"It's sort of rationalizing the exotic and putting into a traditional museum," said Steven Tepper, deputy director of the Princeton University Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies. "It can't just be cheap thrills." 

Co-founder Mark Volper, a former engineer who has worked in advertising, said he got the idea after visiting sex museums in Europe. The owners spent about $900,000 buying artifacts and renovating the two-story, 6,000-square-foot space, previously a Hollywood souvenir shop. 

Volper, a Russian immigrant, said the risqué exhibits serve as a reminder of his newfound civil liberties. 

Visitor Michael Williams, 52, from North Carolina, said several of the museum's displays were enthralling but a tad sleazy. Still, he found the museum "refreshing." 

"Sex is part of life. It's what we do to propagate humans, and this museum reflects life," he said, standing near a life-sized sex doll. 

Singley said he wanted the museum to showcase most aspects of sex, the only taboo subjects being children and violence. Several protesters rallied at the museum's opening Friday, Singley said, but he wasn't worried about offending visitors. 

"It's a sex museum. What am I supposed to do?" he asked. "It could not be PG." 

The Erotic Museum -

Genre News: Beatlemania! Wonderfalls, Firefly, Tim Robbins, Crossing Jordan, Angel & More!
Beatles: 40 Years Ago Today 
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK January 17, 2004 (AP) - Standing outside the Plaza Hotel in 1964, a young girl playing hooky from school hoisted a handwritten sign: "Elvis is dead. Long live the Beatles."

Forty years later, Beatlemania endures. The 40th anniversary of the Beatles' arrival in America is next month, and fans of all ages are preparing a variety of tributes. 

Organizers held a Manhattan news conference Friday to promote the events marking the Fab Four's Feb. 9, 1964, appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show." An estimated 73 million Americans tuned in to see the musicians from Liverpool in their U.S. debut. 

The band split up more than three decades ago after becoming the most popular group in the world. 

"They changed hair, they changed fashions, they changed attitudes," said Beatles historian Martin Lewis. "The '60s began when the Beatles came to America."

Anniversary events include the DVD release of the Beatles' four Sullivan appearances, featuring 11 songs from rarely seen performances; retrospectives at the Smithsonian Gallery, the American Film Institute, and the Museum of Television and Radio; and a special screening of "A Hard Day's Night" at Lincoln Center and at the American Film Institute's Silver Theater and Cultural Center in Silver Spring, Md. 

Members of The Fab 40 Committee, a loosely knit group of Beatles fans and friends, said they tracked down some obscure but semi-important people from Fab Four history. 

They include the Maryland woman responsible for getting "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" played for the first time on American radio, the official greeter for Pan Am who met the band at Kennedy Airport, and the woman who held up the sign outside the Plaza, a now middle-aged Irene Feldman. 

The news conference featured a somewhat unlikely early Beatles booster — Dr. Joyce Brothers, who had predicted the band's British success would translate on this side of the Atlantic. 

"We were ready for teenage rebellion, true teenage rebellion," Brothers recalled. "There was this idea that you can't trust anyone over 30." 

As proof, a then-35-year-old Brothers brought her teenage daughter to see the Beatles in Queens. Brothers recalled being overwhelmed by the howling fans. And she remembers what her daughter said to her as the Beatles played: 

"Mom, you're embarrassing me."

More Beatle News

Launch Music says "Producer Danger Mouse has taken all of the vocals from Jay-Z's Black Album and recorded them over music from the Beatles' 1968 set The White Album, to create The Grey Album, which will be released in March according to" [Oh, boy! What's next? Brittany sings Yoko? Pah! Ed.]

George Harrison Re-released Amid Beatle Events

January 15, 2004 (Variety) - EMI's Capitol Records will reissue on Feb. 24 digitally remastered versions of the five studio albums George Harrison recorded for his Dark Horse label between 1976 and 1987. His concert disc "Live in Japan" (1992) will be released as a DVD as well as a double SACD set. 

The quiet Beatle, who died in 2001, would have turned 61 Feb. 25; on March 15, he will be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a solo artist. 

The currently out-of-print studio albums --- "Thirty Three and 1/3," "George Harrison," "Somewhere in England," "Gone Troppo" and "Cloud Nine" --- were initially distributed by Warner Bros.; Capitol, which released his early and late solo material as well as the Beatles, originally issued "Live in Japan." 

Harrison initiated the re-release project in 2000.

Each of the albums will be packaged in the boxed set "The Dark Horse Years, 1976-1992," which comprises the six plus a DVD with footage of Harrison talking about his solo career, seven promo videos and four live songs from a 1991 Japanese tour with Eric Clapton. 

February also will see a fair number of new Beatles items as part of the 40th anniversary of their arrival in the States. 

Under the banner of the Fab 40, a film and TV tribute will take place at Lincoln Center on Feb. 8 featuring screenings of the legendary first "Ed Sullivan Show" featuring the Beatles and a new 35mm print of "A Hard Day's Night." 

A forum will follow featuring Robert Freeman, creator of the film's acclaimed title sequence and photographer-designer of the soundtrack album jacket; Beatles scholar Martin Lewis; concert promoter Sid Bernstein; concert documentarian Albert Maysles; and Bruce Spizer, author of the new book "The Beatles Are Coming!"

On Feb. 9, the 40th anniversary of the Beatles' legendary first appearance on "Ed Sullivan," an anniversary party will be held at the Hard Rock Cafe on 57th Street that will include Steven Van Zandt of the E Street Band, DJ Cousin Brucie and a Beatles tribute band. 

In Washington today, the Smithsonian National Museum of American History will open "The Beatles! Backstage and Behind the Scenes," an exhibition of 71 black-and-white photographs from the archives of CBS Television and Bill Eppridge, who covered the Beatles for Life magazine. Today is the 40th anniversary of the date "I Want to Hold Your Hand" reached No. 1 on the U.S. singles charts. Exhibition will run until June 16. 

Also today, Spizer's coffee-table book "The Beatles Are Coming! The Birth of Beatlemania in America" is being published. Featuring more than 450 color and black-and-white photographs, and documents, Spizer details the months prior to the Beatles' arrival, including the roles played by Walter Cronkite and a 15-year-old girl from Maryland in stirring up enthusiasm for the Liverpool moptops.

Harrison Guitar Suit Settled
Associated Press Writer

NEW YORK January 16, 2004 (AP) - The estate of George Harrison has settled its lawsuit against a doctor it accused of coercing the dying ex-Beatle into signing a guitar belonging to the doctor's son.

The guitar "will be disposed of privately" and Harrison's estate will give a new guitar to Ariel Lederman, the 14-year-old son of the doctor who treated Harrison for cancer two weeks before his death, according to a joint statement read aloud Friday in federal court.

No further details were available. 

The settlement came 10 days after the lawsuit was filed against Dr. Gilbert Lederman, his three children and his employer, Staten Island University Hospital. 

"George Harrison's music spoke to the heart and soul of my generation," said Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis, who presided over the settlement. He said the agreement "preserves the dignity and protects the privacy of all concerned." 

Harrison, 58, died in November 2001 after battling lung cancer and a brain tumor. 

Two weeks before his death, the lawsuit alleged, Harrison was coerced by Lederman into signing autographs at a house near the Staten Island hospital.

Lederman directs the hospital's radiation oncology department, which is known for treating large tumors with high doses of radiation. 

Lederman entered uninvited with his three children and had Harrison listen to his son play the guitar before asking the musician to sign the instrument and two cards, the suit charged. 

It alleged that the musician tried to resist, saying, "I do not even know if I know how to spell my name anymore." 

Lederman held Harrison's hand as the musician wrote his name on the guitar "with great effort and much obvious discomfort," according to the suit. The estate sought possession of the guitar and the two cards. 

The agreement prevents all parties from commenting on the dispute or its settlement. It stipulated that it does not indicate wrongdoing by Lederman, his children or the hospital.

Wonderfalls Versus JAG
By Rick Porter

LOS ANGELES January 16, 2004 ( - FOX has found a place for the dramedy "Wonderfalls" on its midseason schedule, although it may not be the easiest sell for the quirky show.

The series, about an overeducated Niagara Falls souvenir-shop employee (Caroline Dhavernas) who wonders about her mental state when inanimate objects star talking to her, is scheduled to premiere at 9 p.m. ET Friday, March 12. It will take "Boston Public's" spot for seven weeks, FOX Entertainment president Gail Berman announced Friday (Jan. 16).

Although its tone is generally lighter, "Wonderfalls" is similar to CBS' "Joan of Arcadia," which features a teenager who talks to God and airs at 8 p.m. Fridays. Berman hopes fans of that show might stick around for "Wonderfalls."

"The viewers are around, and I'd like to believe we'll be able to take advantage of that," Berman says.

"Wonderfalls" will be up against CBS' perennially strong "JAG" and ABC's freshman success "Hope & Faith," as well as another female-skewing dramedy, NBC's "Miss Match." Berman acknowledges it's a tough timeslot -- viewing levels are fairly low on Friday anyway -- but "unfortunately not every time period is a good one."

"The key was getting it on the schedule while it still felt like a real, viable show," Berman says. She also believes the promotional platform that "American Idol" is likely to provide could help expose the series to a large number of viewers.

While FOX has found a place for "Wonderfalls," the same can't yet be said for "The Ortegas" and "Still Life," two shows the network introduced to critics last summer. Six episodes of each show are finished, and there's a chance they could see the light of day in the summer, but Berman gave the standard "no decision has been made" response to questions about their fate.

Firefly Fans Get Game
By FLAtRich

January 17, 2004 (eXoNews) - has posted a Firefly computer game (the very first) on their site. It's called The Battle of Serenity, requires only Flash (which 90% of you have, even if you don't know it) and is free.

It is, unfortunately, another shooter. On the other hand, it looks nice and is mouse-driven. Don't expect to see any of your favorite Firefly characters to pop up here. Probably all too busy working on other series while waiting for the Firefly feature film to start production.

Fans probably noticed Adam Baldwin (Firefly's Jayne and X-Files Knowle Rohrer) last week on JAG. Morena Baccarin (Inara) is in the cast of Fox's Still Life.

Other Serenity crew members are doing the big screen. Nathan Fillion (Mal) is filming Doubting Riley. Summer Glau (River) is due in Sleepover. Gina Torres (Zoë - who does more TV than anybody) will be in Beauty Shop, and her Firefly hubby Alan Tudyk (Wash) is the guy behind Sonny the robot in the big time Will Smith movie I, Robot based on the classic stories by science fiction master Isaac Asimov.

Back to the Firefly game, we advise you read the instructions first and don't click the "Sound" button if you want to hear the noise.

Firefly, The Game -

Harsh Realm's Bairstow Sentenced

EVERETT WA January 17, 2004 (AP) - Actor Scott Bairstow [Lt. Tom Hobbs on Chris Carter's cult favorite Harsh Realm] was sentenced to four months in jail for an attack involving a 12-year-old girl.

Bairstow originally was charged with second-degree child rape but entered a modified guilty plea last month to a reduced charge of second-degree assault.

Bairstow, who has been in the Snohomish County Jail since Dec. 5, could be freed in 37 days with credit for time served and good behavior, authorities said. 

In the Alford plea, Bairstow, 33, maintained he was innocent but conceded he would likely be convicted if the case went to trial. 

"I did not rape her. But I believe I've caused some stress and obviously anxiety, and for that I am sorry," Bairstow said at his court hearing Friday. 

Bairstow, who appeared on Fox's "Party of Five" in 1998 and 1999, also was ordered to undergo a sexual deviancy evaluation and 12 months of supervision after his release. 

Deputy Prosecutor Janice Albert had asked for a six-month jail sentence; the defense wanted three months. 

Prosecutors said the girl, a relative of Bairstow's wife, told authorities she had sex with Bairstow in 1998, when she was 12, and three more times outside Washington state, most recently in 2001. 

Bairstow has appeared in nine feature films, including "Tuck Everlasting," and various television shows, including "Touched by an Angel." He lives in Los Angeles.

Tim Robbins Directs Punk Iraq Play

New York January 16, 2004 (Editor & Publisher) - In a major surprise, Tim Robbins' play "Embedded," about U.S. reporters and soldiers during the Iraq war, will open Feb. 24 at the Public Theater in New York. Robbins will direct the play, as he did last fall in Los Angeles, but will not star in it. 

New promotion for the play (which E&P first reviewed last October) describes it as "a ripped-from-the-headlines satire about the madness surrounding the brave women and men on the front lines in a Middle East conflict. [It] skewers cynical embedded journalists, scheming government officials, a show-tune singing colonel, and the media's insatiable desire for heroes." 

The play is dedicated, according to Robbins, to Joe Strummer, the late leader of punk rock group The Clash.

"Embedded" had its world premiere on Nov. 15, 2003, at The Actors' Gang Theater in Los Angeles, where Robbins is artistic director. 

Robbins told The New York Times today: "People have been questioning my patriotism, and that gets your attention. I grew up on the streets of New York, so I think in a survival mode. If you attack me, I'm going to respond."

The play portrays a U.S. attack on the fictional nation of Gomorrah. One of the play's chief characters is a Colonel Hardchannel who berates American journalists as maggots and tells them they must submit all reports to him. "If a Babylonian granary is bombed," he thunders, "it is to be called a poison factory." He also encourages photographers to shoot close-ups of mass graves, but avoid taking photos of casualties caused by the Americans. 

There are also characters clearly based on Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Jessica Lynch. Robbins says the play is in the "punk" spirit of "rude" satire.

Jordan Crossing Back

LOS ANGELES January 14, 2004 ( - As expected, NBC announced on Wednesday (Jan. 14) that long-absent drama "Crossing Jordan" will return to the network's schedule in March. The Jill Hennessy series will move into the Sunday 10 p.m. ET slot unsuccessfully occupied by the Rob Lowe legal disappointment "The Lyon's Den."

"Crossing Jordan" took the fall off to accommodate Hennessy's pregnancy. Initially the show was set for a January return, but the star requested slightly more time to spend with her newborn, pushing its third-season launch two months later. The show's first six episodes were shot last spring.

Hennessy returns as Dr. Jordan Cavanaugh, a Boston medical examiner with a checkered past.

Miguel Ferrer's mentoring Dr. Garret Macy and Ivan Sergei's Dr. Peter Winslow will also be back, as will Jerry O'Connell in the recurring role of Detective Woody Hoyt.

New to the cast this season is two-time Daytime Emmy winner Jennifer Finnigan ("The Bold and the Beautiful"), who will play a pathology resident in the coroner's office.

In its first season, "Crossing Jordan" was television's most watched new drama among adults 18-49 and the series averaged 10.6 million viewers last year.

Angel Called Smartest Drama on Network TV
By FLAtRich

The Web January 12, 2004 (eXoNews) - Can't say I entirely agree with "2003's Most Daring TV, Top 10 shows that broke the rules, kept us guessing" by Dave McCoy over at MSN Entertainment.

In fact, nine out of his ten choices are shows I either don't care to watch or can't because they're on pay cable stations. Strange, then, that Dave is so completely right about his number 3 choice.

Here's what he said about Angel:

"To be honest, the last several seasons of Joss Whedon's brooding vampire-with-a-soul-kicking-demon-ass-in-Los Angeles show were stronger, smarter, more inspired than the final seasons of 'Buffy.' With 'Buffy' retired, its spin-off can finally get the respect it's been deserving for the past four years. A lot went down for Angel and his crew in 2003, and in typical tradition, most of it was very, very dark, as the show required a lot from its audience. Angel had and then lost a son. He fell in love with Cordilia, only to have her fall into a coma (and off the show). His crew battled and defeated a god-like demon that felt like a pointed (and very daring) metaphor for the religious right. And finally they took over a corporate law firm that may or may not be corrupting them. Oh, yeah, and Spike (James Marsters) from 'Buffy' joined the show, sending the humor quotient even higher. As long as the execs at the WB keep giving this show air time, Whedon and company will continue to turn out the smartest drama on network TV."

Good call, Dave, but how can somebody who obviously loves Angel, puts runner-up Jon Stewart in a league of his own and praises Firefly and Lucky as "Gone but not forgotten", also like the incredibly stupid "Survivor: Pearl Islands" or the world's most ugly violent cop show "The Shield"?

I guess there's no accounting for taste. Maybe you should cut off HBO and watch more basic cable, Dave. You seem to have missed Nip/Tuck and The Dead Zone and Peacemakers and Mr. Monk last year too.

Oh, and you spelled Cordelia wrong, Dave.

If you really care to read about what Dave likes and dislikes, he's at

Angel Official site -,7353,||139,00.html

Fox Goes for Year-round Programming
By Steve Gorman 

LOS ANGELES January 16, 2004 (Reuters) - The new top executive of Fox television said on Friday the struggling network is moving to a year-round programming cycle, marking the latest bid by a major broadcaster to break from the traditional September-to-May TV season. 

"When May is over, our new season will begin in June," Fox Entertainment President Gail Berman said during a presentation to a gathering of television critics. "We are not seasonal programmers. We are 12-month-a-year programmers." 

She said the shift was dictated by changing imperatives in the television business, including growing competition from the proliferation of popular shows year-round on cable channels. 

But the move also is driven by Fox's own coverage of the major league baseball playoffs in the fall, a fact of life that has made it hard for the News Corp. Ltd.-owned network to stick with a conventional timetable for season premieres. 

NBC's top executive, Jeff Zucker, announced on Wednesday that his network will start its 2004-2005 TV season in late August and early September, using the strength of Summer Olympics telecasts to help promote its new lineup. 

While a number of networks, including Fox, have begun in recent years to launch reality shows like "American Idol" and "Survivor" during the once-fallow months of summer, few new scripted dramas or comedies are rolled out before the time-honored start of the new season in September. 

One notable exception was "Northern Exposure," which debuted on CBS in July 1990 and went on to become a hit. And Fox launched the second season of "Beverly Hills 90210" in mid-July 1991, giving the then-fledgling series a big boost against a host of summer reruns. 


More recently, Fox reaped success with last summer's launch of its steamy new drama "The O.C.," which has become one of the few bright spots on its current schedule. 

Berman said Fox has been veering away from a traditional programming cycle for the past two years, initiating development and production of new shows sooner in the calendar than was once the norm. 

Starting this year, Fox will roll out scripted new shows as early as June that are on par with the prime-time fare normally premiering in September, Berman said. "That is a huge change in the way business is done in Hollywood, and I believe the audience will come around to it," she said. 

One candidate for a June launch is the courtroom drama "The Jury," whose producers include Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson and Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street"). 

But for now, veteran Fox comedies and dramas such as "The Simpsons," espionage thriller "24" and "That '70s Show" will probably continue to make their returns after baseball in late autumn, Berman said. 

Fox is banking much of its immediate future on an upcoming third edition of the talent show sensation "American Idol," which helped transform the network's ratings from mediocre to marvelous in the second half of last season. 

Since then, Fox has found itself faltering in the ratings again, with misfires by several promising new shows, including the porn-themed drama "Skin," the new sitcom "Luis" and a second installment of "Joe Millionaire." 

Fox still has a few mid-season offerings up its sleeve for March, including the new comedy "Cracking Up," starring "Saturday Night Live" alumna Molly Shannon, and an hour-long supernatural dramedy called "Wonderfalls," about a young tourist shop clerk who talks with inanimate objects. 

The success of those shows, and Fox's new programming strategy, is especially important to Berman, who became the network's top executive with the recently announced departure of Fox Television Entertainment Group Chairman Sandy Grushow.

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