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Entertainment
According to internet rumor, Britney Spears is planning to star in a movie titled The Knoxville Carjacking Party, based on the brutal 2007 murder of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom. Spears would play Channon Christian.

The story is a hoax. More specifically, it's a case of satire mistaken as news, having apparently originated as a faux news report from "celebrity snitch, Clarence Star" on the site Ghetto Bragging Rights.

Wayne Bledsoe, a columnist for Knoxnews.com, notes that the spread of the false rumor offers a case study in how misinformation is propagated by the online media. Numerous celebrity gossip sites, such as popcrunch.com, reported the false rumor as fact, without making any effort to verify it. Bledsoe writes:

By Wednesday morning, a Google search found more than 10,000 hits for "Knoxville Carjacking Party" and the rumor had been translated into Spanish and French. Not only that, but Web "reporters" often edited out the more ludicrous parts of the story, helping to make it sound more credible. Readers not familiar with the Knoxville murders simply assumed it was a new slasher film.
Some Web browsers left comments on the sites saying that the report sounded like a hoax, but others were quick to defend it. A reader at Current.com insisted: "It's not fake. I don't think so. It's all over the international scene."
The amazing thing is that out of the 10,000-plus mentions of the fictitious movie, no one had apparently contacted Spears' management or record company to check if it was real.

(Thanks, Bob!)
Categories: Celebrities, Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Tue Aug 05, 2008
Comments (4)
Happy New Years everyone! My apologies for the absence of posts for the past week. I was on vacation, visiting family on the east coast and in Arizona.

One month ago I posted about a group of female criminals from the 1950s called the "Brassiere Brigade." They stole money from the counting room of a telephone company, where they worked, by smuggling rolls of quarters out in their bras.

I only discovered the story of these women by accident when I came across a reference to them in an old newspaper. I thought I had stumbled upon an incredibly obscure story, and it occurred to me that it was perfect material for a movie -- one of those cute "chick-flicks" that Hollywood churns out. I had visions of writing it up as a screenplay and making a fortune.

But my hopes were dashed when I recently saw the trailer for a movie called Mad Money that's coming out on Jan. 18. The movie (which stars Queen Latifah, Katie Holmes, and Diane Keaton) is the story of three women who steal money from a Federal Reserve Bank, where they work, by smuggling the money out in their underwear. In other words, it's basically the story of the Brassiere Brigade in a different setting (a bank instead of a phone company). Somebody got to my idea first!!!

I'm not sure if Mad Money actually was inspired by the exploits of the Brassiere Brigade, though it's close enough not to make a difference. The Mad Money site doesn't make any mention of the Brassiere Brigade. The movie seems to be a remake of a 2001 British made-for-TV movie called Hot Money, about a group of British cleaning women who steal money from the Bank of England. The British movie claims to be based on a real-life incident, though it provides no specifics about that incident. Perhaps there was a group of female British criminals who copied the modus operandi of the American Brassiere Brigade. Hiding money in underwear may be a far more common method of theft than I realized.

Mad Money doesn't look very good, so I'm not going to bother seeing it in a theater. Perhaps I'll rent it on DVD. I think it would have been much better if it actually was the story of the Brassiere Brigade, set in Miami in the 1950s.
Categories: Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Jan 03, 2008
Comments (14)
Survivor Tale of Woe
A contestant on the TV show Survivor:China may have lied about losing her job as a janitor at an Elementary School. If I still watched Survivor I might care more about this, but I haven't seen it in years.

Princeton Hoax Exposed
A student at Princeton who was a member of an anti-sex club claimed he was beaten up by horny liberals who were enraged by his "brave stand against promiscuity." Turns out he beat himself up. Figures.

Gold Pills
Offered for sale at the New Store Museum. "Pure gold passes straight through the body and ends up in your stool resulting in sparkly shit!" Cranky Media Guy thinks this has to be a joke. But I bet it's real. After all, all it involves is putting some gold leaf, which isn't that expensive, in a pill. It doesn't even need FDA approval.
Categories: Entertainment, Hate Crimes/Terror
Posted by Alex on Wed Dec 19, 2007
Comments (16)
The rumor going around online is that in one of the previews for the new Disney movie Enchanted, you can hear someone say "Get the f*ck outta here."

The preview in question shows the Prince attacking a bus. The exclamation can be heard around 30 seconds into it, as the bus driver is walking out of the bus.

The first time I listened to it, it definitely sounded like "Get the f*ck outta here." But when I listened to it again, it sounded more like "Get that bus outta here." Basically, it seems to me it could be interpreted either way. Who's to say what the correct way of hearing it is.

I haven't seen the movie, but I assume this scene must occur in the theatrical version as well. It will be interesting to see if the ambiguous phrase makes it into the DVD version, or if it will be edited out. (via Cinematical)
Categories: Entertainment, Photos/Videos
Posted by Alex on Thu Nov 29, 2007
Comments (16)
Joe Littrell forwarded me this strange news story posted at scifidimensions.com. I can't tell if it's real or a joke.

Supposedly a man identifying himself as "Agent Egan," a California "undercover investigator," halted a performance of Ray Bradbury's play Dandelion Wine at the Fremont Center Theatre, half an hour into the performance. Bradbury himself was in the audience.
The play, one of Bradbury’s most autobiographical works, includes performances by several young actors, and when the announcement was made from the stage about the cancellation 30 minutes after the scheduled start time, reference was made to an obscure California law requiring a State of California licensed teacher to be present at all performances with young actors. The company spokesman said, however, that they had never before been advised about such a requirement, and certainly not at show time. The play’s director, Alan Neal Hubbs, later suggested to this reporter that the play’s cancellation might have more to do with Mr. Egan’s finding an excuse to shut down the performance due to his previously having been denied free tickets to the play...

When this reporter approached the official for a photo-interview to explain why he had shut down the performance, he threatened to confiscate this reporter’s camera on the claim that he worked as an undercover police officer; however, when asked by this reporter to produce a badge or other official identification, “Egan” refused.

If this incident really happened, and if it's not some kind of publicity stunt, it seems incredible that a theater would halt a play on the word of some random guy claiming to be an undercover agent who refuses to show any kind of identification.
Categories: Entertainment, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Alex on Thu Oct 25, 2007
Comments (6)
For the second time in six months, the hosts of Blue Peter have had to apologize for deceiving their viewers. For Americans who don't know what Blue Peter is, it's a British children's show featuring always peppy presenters. It's been on the air for decades, and is like a TV institution over in Britain. I remember watching it as a kid when my family lived in London.

The latest incident involves a cat named Cookie. The show had asked their viewers to vote on what to name the next Blue Peter Cat. 40,000 votes were cast, and the name "Cookie" won, but the Blue Peter production team decided to veto that choice and instead pretend that the name "Socks" had won. It's difficult to understand their reasoning. Maybe they believed that a cat named Cookie would prove to be a disaster for the show's ratings.

The Blue Peter presenters recently apologized for the cookie cover-up and announced they would be adopting a new cat named Cookie (shown in the thumbnail), while simultaneously keeping Socks around as well. The Socksgate scandal cost Richard Marson, the Blue Peter editor, his job.

In the previous case of deception, Blue Peter had faked the winner of a charity phone-in competition. (Thanks, Joe!)

Links: The Guardian, Times Online, CNN.
Categories: Animals, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Oct 01, 2007
Comments (3)
I know it should come as no surprise to learn that a reality TV show has been faked, but it still kind of sucks to hear this about Born Survivor (aired in America on the Discovery Channel as Man vs. Wild), since I've watched quite a few episodes of this show and enjoyed it.

The premise of the show is that Bear Grylls, a former soldier with the UK Special Forces, is dropped into various extreme situations (on top of a mountain, on a desert island, etc.) and has to survive on his own until he gets rescued. Obviously there's a camera crew with him constantly, so he's never in that much danger. Still, learning that he sometimes would surreptitiously check into hotel rooms overnight kind of ruins the effect.

From the BBC:
A crew member told the Sunday Times some nights were spent in hotels... American survival consultant Mark Weinert, who was recruited by Diverse Productions, told the paper Grylls claimed to be stranded on a desert island on one occasion. However, he was actually in Hawaii and spent some of his time there in a motel, Mr Weinert alleged. Another time, he added, Grylls was filmed building a raft by himself, whereas the crew had actually put it together and dismantled it beforehand, to ensure that it worked. And in a further episode, supposedly "wild" horses rounded up by Grylls had come from a local trekking facility, he claimed.
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Mon Jul 23, 2007
Comments (25)
Yes, I realize that for most of you, explaining that "reality" shows are, shall we say, directed, if not outright scripted is as much of a revelation aas saying the Earth revolves around the Sun, but one doesn't often get a look at the actual casting process behind finding some of the people who appear on a "reality show".

Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Cranky Media Guy on Fri Jun 29, 2007
Comments (14)

Man blames health drink for unwanted erection (Bebelicious)
New Yorker Christopher Woods underwent surgery in 2004 for severe priapism – an erection that would not subside. Now he’s suing pharmaceutical company Novartis AG, claiming that their nutritional drink, Boost Plus, was the cause of his condition.

Can’t remember the name of a song? Try tapping it on your keyboard! (DJ_Canada)
This programme allows you to tap the melody of a song using your space bar to try to identify it. Results appear to be user-submitted, so they're a little hit and miss. No pun intended.

Yahoo’s list of sunscreen myths (Dily)
A Yahoo writer, Leslie Baumann, M.D., has posted a short list of common mistakes people make when considering protection from the sun.

Woman arrested for making faces at a dog (Slender Loris)
Charges have been dropped against Jayna Hutchinson from Lebanon after she was arrested for "staring at [the police dog] in a taunting/harassing manner."
Categories: Animals, Entertainment, Health/Medicine, Law/Police/Crime
Posted by Flora on Fri Jun 08, 2007
Comments (10)
My wife is a big fan of all the home-design shows that are on TV, so I end up watching a lot of them also, including "Flip This House" on A&E. The show follows people who buy homes, remodel them, and then try to sell them for a higher price. It can be entertaining, but I wasn't surprised to read that at least one of the house flippers featured on the show, Atlanta businessman Sam Leccima, was a fake:
McGee and others say Leccima's episodes of Flip This House, A&E's most popular show, were elaborate hoaxes. His friends and family were presented as potential home buyers and ``sold'' signs were slapped in front of unsold houses. They say the home repairs -- the lynchpin of the show -- were actually quick or temporary patch jobs designed to look good on camera.
Leccima said he never claimed to own the homes. While not acknowledging his televised renovations were staged, he didn't deny it and suggested that A&E and Departure Films, the production company that makes the show, knew exactly what he was doing.
"Ask anybody who works in television how a reality show is made and you'll find that ours was a very typical approach,'' Leccima said in a telephone interview.
But actually, there's really no need for 'Flip This House' to fake episodes, because often the most entertaining episodes are the ones where the people have no clue what they're doing and end up saddled with a home they can't sell. (At least, I find those episodes to be the most entertaining.)
Categories: Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Thu Jun 07, 2007
Comments (4)
image
Botched Fax Prompts “Terrorism” Scare (MadCarlotta)
Police shut down a strip mall in Boston on Wednesday after a branch of Bank of America received a faulty fax. The fax, which had been sent out by the bank's corporate office, had left off some of the text, leaving some dubious clip art. The plaza was evacuated for around three hours.

Roswell Theme Park (Madmouse)
Roswell city officials plan a UFO-themed amusement park that could open as early as 2010. Local shopkeepers base a large proportion of their trade around the UFO craze, and believe that the theme park would give tourists more to do whilst visiting.

Dutch Reality Show: Win This Person’s Kidney! (Slender Loris)
Earlier this week, Dutch TV station BNN announced their latest reality show. The premise was that a woman who had been diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour would choose which of three contestants to donate a kidney to before she died. The Big Donor Show immediately sparked international furore, with mixed attitudes towards the show's concept. Today, it was revealed that the show was a hoax. Whilst it still aired, the woman playing the potential donor was perfectly healthy and, although the three contestants were in need of replacement kidneys, they were fully aware of the show's real premise. The show was aired and advertised as it was to draw attention to the shortage of donor organs in the Netherlands. Judging from the international coverage, they succeeded.

Japanese Ghost Girl (Boo)
Youtube hosts yet another unconvincing 'ghost' video. Look for the point where the special effects kick in.

Car made of cake (Nettie)
Photos of a Skoda advertisement wherein they make a whole car from cake.

An intriguing and mysterious website (Beasjt's number is 669)
Can you decipher the code?
image A Swedish pop band called Rednex is up for sale on eBay for $1.5 million. An accompanying website, popbandforsale.com, details what you get when you buy the band:
The Music - the Trademark - the Band
The Tour - the Record Deals - the Web Site
The Record Releases - the Plans - the Contacts
The Contracts - the Styling - the Catalogue
(all previous hits and recordings)
And of course… ... the opportunities… ... the future...
At first I wondered whether this was even a real band, never having heard of Rednex before, but apparently it is real. On the band's website, they claim to have sold over 10 million records. Their heyday was back in 1994 when they had a hit song called Cotton Eye Joe. They never matched that success again, though they have had a few lesser hits since then.

Still, I wasn't sure if the sale offer was legitimate. The website popbandforsale.com looks extremely amateurish. Not what you'd expect if they really were courting a buyer willing to pay $1.5 million. The site even has google ads on it, because I guess they really need the few bucks they'll get from those ads, despite the money they're hoping to get from the sale. Also, the band doesn't mention the sale offer anywhere that I can find on their own website. Nevertheless, the sale has been widely reported in the news, so if the offer wasn't genuine, I assume the band would have said so by now.

The question is, is the band really worth $1.5 million? Maybe someone will think so, but I suspect the band doesn't really expect any serious offers. They've probably dreamed this up as a publicity stunt to get themselves in the news. And so far, it's worked.
Categories: eBay, Entertainment
Posted by Alex on Tue May 22, 2007
Comments (7)
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