America's Coolest City Parks

Flying trapeze lessons, hot-air balloon races, swing-dance parties: Get your kicks at America’s coolest city parks New York’s Central Park has a lot to offer, but when it comes to cool, the park just can’t compete with the thrill of swinging yourself off a 23-foot-high trapeze platform on Governors Island. Adding to the island’s cool factor is an expanding lineup of art installations, food-truck festivals, and rock concerts on a sandy beach—all this with skyline views.

Cities well beyond New York are investing in parks, either opening new ones or getting creative with traditional favorites like Denver’s City Park, where the Electric Prismatic Fountain puts on cutting-edge light shows. A 2010 study by the Trust for Public Land found that the most populated cities in the country spent about $5.8 billion on parks and recreation in 2008, up by a third since 2004.

Parks play a big role in making a city desirable for both locals and visitors. It’s easy to see why at San Diego’s Balboa Park. You can explore the open-air San Diego Zoo, where 4,000 animals such as giant pandas and koalas roam in natural habitats, catch a show at the Tony Award-winning Old Globe Theater, or take a breather on a garden bench overlooking the Pacific. Balboa Park is the single greatest tourist attraction in San Diego, where total park-derived tourist spending came to $114.3 million, according to the Trust.

Discovery Green in downtown Houston has hosted more than 800 events, including performances by Kings of Leon and Kenny Chesney and foam parties for kids, and attracted three million visitors since its 2008 opening—impressive considering the city’s population of just under 2.1 million.

“It’s a place where people can kick back and relax,” says Guy Hagstette, the founding president of Discovery Green, who recalls seeing a group of women coming from the nearby convention center dancing—“convention badges, tote bags, and all”—at one of the earliest park concerts. The park’s appeal is so strong that it has attracted over $500 million in development to revitalize downtown, adds Hagstette.

Whether the draw is a big-name concert or a genteel garden party serving mint juleps, America’s coolest city parks are proving they’re worth a trip across town—and even across the country.

H.SH

Hugh Hefner & Crystal Harris Wedding Pictures Revealed!

"The bride wore a floor length strapless gown in soft pink, the groom wore a traditional black tuxedo. The ceremony was followed by a private reception where they toasted with champagne and cut the wedding cake,” a mansion source said in a statement to JustJared.com.

The party décor was “an Art Deco styled nightclub with crowd pleasing performances by vintage jazz and blues singer Brenna Whitaker and her band."

Guests at the wedding included Jon Lovitz, Gene Simmons and his wife, Playmate Shannon Tweed, Don Rooney of the Rascal Flatts and his wife, 2005′s Playmate of the Year Tiffany Fallon, and baseball superstar Evan Longoria with girlfriend Jaime Edmondson.

Congratulations to the happy couple!

H.SH

Forbes List of 2012's Top-Earning Women in Music

People may question Rihanna's choices in love, but there's no disputing that the singer's business moves have paid off.  She ranks #3 on Forbes’ annual list of music’s top-earning women, beating out other top-earners including Beyonce and Sade.

Rih raked in $53 million over the past year thanks to her non-stop touring schedule promoting her Talk That Talk and Unapologetic albums.  She also has some smart deals outside of music, including partnerships with Vita Coco and Nivea, and released her latest fragrance, Reb'l Fleur.

As for Bey, she was busy in her new role as mom to Blue Ivy, and still managed to haul in $40 million.  That puts her at #6 on Forbes' list, thanks to sales of her old albums, as well as her House of Dereon clothing collection.  Forbes also notes Beyonce's $50 million deal with Pepsi and her upcoming album, which will only do more for her bank account in 2013.

Music veteran Sade comes in at #8 in the Forbes ranking, pulling in $33 million thanks to a massive tour she wrapped up earlier this year.

Here's who else made the top 10 on Forbes' list:

1. Britney Spears, $58 million
2. Taylor Swift, $57 million
3. Rihanna, $54 million
4. Lady Gaga, $52 million
5. Katy Perry, $45 million
6. Beyonce, $40 million
7. Adele, $35 million
8. Sade, $33 million
9. Madonna, $30 million
10. Shakira, $20 million

         Source:China Daily

         M.W

 

Oscars 2013: Runners and riders

Under rules drawn up by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, up to 10 films can be shortlisted for its best picture prize when its nominations are announced on 10 January.

Two months ahead of the 2013 ceremony, the BBC looks at the movies that are most likely to be up for the Academy's top award, and assess their chances of recognition in other categories.

Ben Affleck won an Oscar in 1998 for the screenplay he co-penned with fellow actor Matt Damon for Good Will Hunting.

In the decade that followed, some dubious decisions saw his leading man status wane as his friend's rocketed.

John Goodman, Alan Arkin and Ben Affleck in Argo Alan Arkin (centre) plays a grumpy movie producer in Affleck's film

But in recent years Affleck has cannily reinvented himself as a film-maker of promise and some distinction.

The fact this real-life, recently declassified rescue operation involved a phantom film production effectively casts Hollywood as the hero of the piece.

That, and Affleck's 'comeback kid' story makes it a solid bet for best picture. Affleck, who also appears in the film, is expected to receive another nomination in the director category.

On the acting front, Argo's best hopes of another citation lie with Alan Arkin for his entertaining turn as a cantankerous producer.

Having been named best supporting actor in 2007 for Little Miss Sunshine, however, the 78-year-old shouldn't need to write an acceptance speech.

Under normal circumstances, Quentin Tarantino's slavery-era western would seem a sure-fire bet for Oscar consideration.

In the wake of the tragic shootings in Newtown, Connecticut, though, Django's graphic mayhem has seen it attract censure in a reopened debate on movie violence.

Leonardo Di Caprio in Django Unchained Django star Di Caprio has been Oscar-nominated on three previous occasions

The elderly, more conservative contingent of the Academy membership might balk at rewarding such a bloodily visceral film in this charged political climate.

Compiled by: M.W

Only God knows the end of the world; predictions not reliable

 

 The Member of IRI High Commission for School Districts stressed that no one except God knew about the end of the world. He appreciated the cultural measures meant to reduce global anxiety as high priority.

“Leading predictions of the end of the world need further considerations,” Ayatollah Seyyed Mohammad Gharavi told Mehr News. “The public should look for grounds for such predictions, either religious or non-religious,” he added.

Some predictions disturb public security of human society.  “Such predictions provide no grounds for being factual. According to Islam, such predictions are not only discredited, but also unauthorized, and disturbs public security of the human communities,” he asserted.

 “What has been endorsed in religious scripts shows that no one but God knows the end of the world, and some signs indicating the end of the world, do not say the final word in this regard”, said Ayatollah Gharavi.

The Savior Cometh theme before the end of the world occurs in sacred Books.

Ayatollah Gharavi also added that according to Islamic tenets, before the end of the world, Messiah (Mahdi) (GPHA) will come. Sacred scriptures other than Islam have also heralded the savior’s coming.

 “Islamic tenets on the coming of the Messiah should be presented to the people of the world in order to diminish the anxiety stirred in societies and to discredit such predictions,” he added.

The anxiety built around the end of the world, which is based on Mayan scriptures’ predictions has brought about some unrest throughout the world, some people believing the tale being in search of a way out.

According to the Mayan scriptures’ prediction, the world comes to end on Dec. 21 2012.

Source: Mehr News

     H.SH