Friday, May 14, 2004

ExtraTV.com : 'Idol' Insider: London Calling

La Toya London gave "Extra" her first interview since the shocking announcement that the 'Idol' favorite had been voted out of the competition, Wednesday night, sharing her reactions as well as her plans for the future. One thing's for sure, even if she's out of competition, you haven't heard the last of La Toya.

The vote seemed to surprise everybody. Did La Toya herself expect to be the one voted off? "No, I didn't expect it. Not this soon. I don't know," La Toya laughed. "Maybe they didn't watch the show that night."

And for the first time, La Toya talked about her feelings for Jasmine, who may have gotten America's sympathy vote at La Toya's expense. "It's not her fault. I know she has a lot of mixed emotions. She is happy. I know she feels bad for me."

And while La Toya was always Simon's favorite singer, he thought she had no personality, commenting, "I think it was quite boring." But Simon told us that it was La Toya's Tuesday night interview with Ryan Seacrest that really did her in, when she said of herself, "At this point you are a winner, I mean everyone's gonna move on and have great careers."

Says Simon of that comment, "it was one of the dumbest things I've ever heard said after a performance."

However, that's not the way La Toya sees it. "I was there to handle my business," she told us. "Not to make people like my personality."

But there is a side to La Toya that America hasn't seen -- she wants to be an actress. So who would be her ideal leading man? "Leading man? Johnny Depp."

And there could be another leading man for La Toya on the musical side of things: 'Idol' guest judge Elton John, who noted on the show that, "La Toya I would also give a record contract to straight away."

So, is La Toya going to go knocking on Elton's door? "Definitely," she confirmed.

Now, as the show moves on to the final 3, Seacrest broke news about next week's guest judge -- legendary music business mogul Clive Davis, who discovered stars like Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, among many others. This is good news for the remaining idols, since, according to Ryan, Davis is, "the one that can really dictate what happens in their career."

La Toya may no longer be center stage -- but there's no doubt she'll be back!

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Calif. college grads get Schwarzenegger's autograph

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Calif. college grads get Schwarzenegger's autograph

Bridget Colleen O'Brien holds her diploma from the University of California at Los Angeles. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph is at top left.

Associated Press
May. 12, 2004 04:23 PM

LOS ANGELES - California's college graduates are getting a bonus on their diplomas this year: the autograph of a Hollywood superstar.

Now that Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor, his name appears on every degree awarded by the state's two largest university systems. That has excited some graduates who are fans of the governor but dismayed others who aren't fond of his movies or politics.

"It kind of makes the diploma seem like a bit of a joke that an action hero has signed and validated it," said Bridget O'Brien, who graduated in December from the University of California, Los Angeles. "I got a B.A. in geography, but I think my diploma is B.S."

O'Brien, who opposed the recall election that propelled Schwarzenegger to the governor's seat, was among the first batch of students to receive diplomas with the actor's signature. The others will be given out after the more traditional graduation ceremonies this month.

Devin Theobald, who graduates this week from Humboldt State University, said the signature has symbolic value to him because Schwarzenegger rose from roots as an Austrian immigrant to become one of Hollywood's biggest stars and California's governor.

"He is a man living the American dream, giving all hope for success," said Theobald, a member of the Republican club on campus.

The "Terminator" star's signature will appear on the diplomas of the 125,000 students who graduate each year from the nine-campus University of California system and the 23-campus California State University system.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

www.TheRaceSite.com - Your NA Sports Car Racing Source

Craig Stanton, of TheRaceSite.com Racing, Answers Fan Questions

5/11/2004 - Jeff asks: Craig, I know you are not scared going almost 200 MPH around the banking at Daytona, so I wanted how big the surf has to get before you start getting scared?

Craig said: I can surf very big surf, double or triple overhead is not a problem. The big waves don't' scare me at all; it's the paddling back that scares me the most. The worst case scenario is to be caught inside between the waves without your board in huge surf and drowning.

Mark asks: Do you think you will continue winning and have an undefeated season?

Craig said: David and I will give 110%. That's all that Terry and I did for all those three races. We worked together as a team, had a plan and executed the plan to a 't' and then deserved our results. So, David and I will be no different.

Chad asks: First of all, congratulations for a dominant season so far. I want to know what it will be like to be competing against Terry Borcheller after you have dominated Grand-Am Cup together this year?

Craig said: Terry is a great competitor, and he's a hard charger. He comes into the new team with as many points as I do, so he has equal chance for winning the championship. Racing toe-to-toe with Terry is always tough. David and I have our work cut out for us. We can't make mistakes, we need to charge really hard and we have to have a good plan and execute it properly.

Dustin asks: I've been a big fan of yours for many years. Why do you only drive Porsche, and how do you have the time to compete in so many races?

Craig said: Thanks for the support, Dustin. I've been driving Porsches for many years, and they design a very, very good endurance race car. Every part is designed to be in an endurance environment. Having the dynamics of a Porsche requires certain skills and I have developed my skills so that where my style of driving compliments how a Porsche should be driven. I just seem to fit in a Porsche better than any other race car. I love the heritage, and I love the results that Porsche has given me. I think having such a diverse background with midgets, off-road trucks, late models and other types of sports cars and open wheel cars has given me a lot of tools in my toolbox. That has allowed me to hone my craft where I can get good results in a Porsche.

As far as how I have time to run all of these races? This is all I'm doing right now, driving for Porsche teams. I am blessed with the fact that I can just train and race this year. I am really fortunate to be able to do this at this time in my career. I am in a place right now where I am making enough driving that I can just focus on driving and not building houses. That is what I did before I got to this point in my career in racing, I was a contractor building houses here in California.

In my 'free' time, I get to coach and do a lot of testing for teams and manufacturers.

GTO asks: Do you think that the Nissan 350Z is going to be competitive with the recent changes to boost performance? What team out of the Nissan 350Z's do you think will win a race first, the No. 23 and No. 33 of Unitech Racing or the No. 34 and No. 35 of Schutimaker Motorsports?

Craig said: I do believe that the Nissan's have a new rules package where they will be competitive for the rest of the season. They were very competitive at Phoenix. I think they will only do more development throughout the year. It is a relatively new program and the development is ongoing and I think those guys will only speed that car up and move it up the grid. TheRacingSite.com Porsche is being developed as well. We aren't sitting around doing nothing. We've had some good tests, and I am encouraged by what we have for the rest of the season.

Both Nissan teams have the ability to do real well with the new rules package, so we will just have to wait and see. It's going to be a competitive year.

Rick asks: How does it feel to be able to race in Grand-Am Cup with your Rolex Series co-driver David Murry?

Craig said: I'm really excited about having David as my teammate. We talked about it at the first of the year, but it didn't work out. It feels real good, Rick, because David and I are on the same page with setup, philosophies and driving style. And that is not to mention that he is a great family man and a great friend outside of the track as well. He is a great ambassador for the sport and for Porsche, and I am just really pleased to be his teammate in three series this year. It is really great to be with a teammate who is so genuine. Terry and I have been friends even longer than David and I have, and it was a great pleasure to have worked the first three races of the year with Terry. And I am really going to miss him but, as much as I am going to miss Terry, I am equally happy to have a co-driver that I have for two other series.

David asks: How do you prepare for endurance races like the Rolex 24 At Daytona and the two six-hour races coming up?

Craig said: They are definitely similar. I do train a lot. I try and do two hour-and-a-half sessions of cardio a day with an hour and a half break between them. That simulates my stints and time out of the car during a race. It gets your muscles and your mind going in the same direction. The only difference between the six-hour and the Rolex 24 is that I might get up two times during the night when I'm training for the Rolex 24 to do some cardio just to get your muscles and brain trained to do that in the middle of the night.

Jennifer asks: What's your most memorable moment in your motorsports career?

Craig said: Wow, Jennifer, that's tough. Every time I hear 'gentlemen start your engines' it's memorable. I have been thinking about this longer than any other question. The most memorable moments are the ones I get to deal with the fans: autograph sessions, interviews, moments like with Jacob Dodge at Daytona this year. A moment when I can interact with the people that allow me to be out here. It's also the great places around the world that I have been to because of racing. The sunrises, the sunsets, its everything about the sport. In terms of actually racing, I'd have to honestly say that every race I am in is special. Even those that I have finished fourth in, if I learn something, that is special. It's people like you that make this sport really special and really memorable.

Dale asks: I've read that you are striving to become the most fit driver in racing. What are your workout routines?

Craig said: Its pretty complex to explain in this short space. But I do four to six hours of strength training - resistance training or climbing wall a day. On my off-weeks (when not racing), I do between six and ten hours of cardio. I have a nutritionist and a chiropractor all aimed at getting me to be the best I can be. At this point in the year, I am on a maintenance program where I am keeping my fitness consistent all through the year just for driving. The basic philosophy is to be over-fit as a driver for all the series I drive so that a lack of fitness doesn't become an issue at all. I tailor my whole training to duplicate and enhance what I do in a car with shoulders, arms and core. Core strength and endurance is very important because all of your power and energy source comes from the center part of your body. And to bring it all together I do a lot of karting for reaction, hand-eye coordination and endurance.

Brian asks: I heard you kart a lot. Do you think it makes you a better driver?

Craig said: Brian, that's a good question. I believe in my heart that karting helps me when I get to the racetrack in the Porsches. I race a 125cc shifter and that accelerates, brakes and turns quicker than any car I drive. It helps my endurance, it helps my strength and it helps my hand-eye coordination. That translates, to me, as quicker lap times in all the Porsches I drive. I train/test twice a week and try and race on the weekends that I have off. It also gives my brain a chance to think about setup, think about strategy. It's just another way for me to stay focused towards my career.

Carrie asks: I've seen you family around the track. Do they fully support your racing?

Craig said: My Mom and Dad, brother and his family are my biggest fans. My Mom and Dad go to quite a few races, maybe a third, and they always bring me energy when they are there. My Mom loves to be in the pits, right there where things are going on. It's always a real comfort when they're there. My brother and his family can't come to every race, but he is watching on the computer and on TV. He was my crew chief for four or five years and we won eight championships on the amateur side of racing together. So he understands me and understands the every day workings of the race track. He has a great insight that I rely on for guidance at times for setup strategies and for a calming voice when I need one. The kids, Sadie and Drew, are always big supporters of Uncle Craig. My wife, Joy, is a personal trainer, and we've been together for a long, long time. She is definitely an asset around the race track. She is well liked, and is a huge supporter in my life not only at the track but at home. She keeps me on track fitness and nutrition-wise and keeping a great environment at home so that I can do this.

Nick asks: I have a son that wants to get into racing what do you recommend?

Craig said: Nick, I get asked this a lot about future drivers or kids getting into the sport. It's really important for him, first and foremost, that he gets an education. Aim him towards doing well in school. Sports is really important too to teach teamwork. Having good competition and sportsmanship skills is important. Then, down the road, make sure that he gets a marketing or business degree. This is definitely a business, and the big-name drivers treat this as a business. In life, a really well balanced schedule is important. Get him involved in soccer or baseball or whatever because it is important not to just have racing skills but an overall balance in life. As far as driving, start out in karts. I think that is a great way to get an education on the basic principles of the sport. How things get done, how you get to the races. As he gets older, just get him in as many different types of race cars as possible so that he gets that many more tools in his personal toolbox. Good luck! I hope to race against him some day.

Ben asks: What's the funniest thing that has happened to you in racing.

Craig said: This is a good story, Ben. I was racing a midget up at Ventura, Calif. The fairgrounds is right on the beach. We got there early-which I always like to do. I knew we would be getting there early so I threw the surfboard in the truck. The day was beautiful and the surf was awesome. I was out surfing for way too long. So I was sitting in the lineup waiting to catch the next wave when I heard my name over the PA from the track for the first round of practice. All the guys were waiting on me. So, I had to rush out of the water and walk through the pit lane with my surfboard under my arm. I just walked through there dripping wet. Everyone was looking at me like I was nuts. I had to rush into my firesuit and then into the car. That is probably about the funniest thing that has ever happened to me at the track.

Celeste asks: Would you ever consider being put on a calendar?

Craig said: Is that an offer? If it moves my career forward and it is in good taste, I am in.

Craig: I want to thank all the people that wrote in and asked all the questions. This is one of the best things I get to do as a driver. It's these kinds of things with the fans that make it all worth while. Thanks for the support!

Monday, May 10, 2004

New York Post Online Edition: news

A Brooklyn teen - whose mother helped create the popular "priceless" MasterCard ad campaign - has filed a police complaint, claiming he was assaulted by a member of the singer's entourage while waiting for an autograph, and yesterday said he plans to sue the thug for the unprovoked attack.

"I just thought it was ridiculous," said Aidan Thomas, 17, about last Friday's incident outside the Henri Bendel boutique on Fifth Avenue, which sent him to the hospital with a bruised, swollen back.

"What do these people think they're doing? Who do they think they are, treating people like that?"

Thomas, a senior at St. Ann's School in Brooklyn, is the son of McCann-Erickson ad woman Joyce King Thomas. She's a creator of the MasterCard campaign that compares the prices of things bought with the credit card to the "priceless" experience a person has by doing so.

Matthews could not be reached for comment. A police report did not identify the assailant, but detailed Thomas' account and said the suspect was wanted for harassment.

Thomas was among a group of people waiting for Matthews outside the "Late Show with David Letterman" studios on Broadway in the hope that the rocker, who had just taped a performance on the show, would sign guitars they had brought. Thomas sells celebrity-autographed items and said a guitar autographed by the Dave Matthews Band frontman would be worth about $700.

Matthews left the studio, jumped into a limo and went to Bendel's, according to Thomas, who trekked to the store with the other autograph seekers.

Thomas said he was waiting patiently outside the store when Matthews walked out by him at just after 6:30 p.m. At that point, Thomas said, a man in the singer's entourage grabbed him by the shirt collar for no reason, pulled him in front of Matthews, and "threw my spine directly into a pillar, the corner of a pillar, and after he did that, he threw me as hard as he could to the floor."

"It was completely unprovoked," he said, adding that the man ran off into Matthews' limo, which sped off after Thomas told him to stay because he was calling the cops.

Justin Steffman, a photographer who shot pictures of Thomas lying on the ground after hearing him scream, said, "Aidan looked totally shocked." Steffman said neither Thomas nor anyone else did anything to justify being attacked.

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