Breaking News

Beyonce Just Went To Another Level

 

We all know Beyoncé is a star. She’s arguably the biggest star of this era, able to influence millions with the drop of a hat or a sway of her hips. But now, she’s really on some next level , According to the Associated Press, she has been confirmed to perform at this year’s Super Bowl halftime show.

For a recording artist, this is the biggest honor you can reach, and it’s only built for true mega-watt individuals. So Taylor Swift, and any of these other cornball celebrities you see on magazine covers, please step off the curb and walk in the street. You are not worthy.

When Beyoncé steps on stage on Feb. 3, her impact will be two-fold. One, it will finally give audiences what they’ve asked for repeatedly, and that’s a contemporary artist. No shots at Madonna, The Rolling Stones or anybody that’s performed in recent years, but it’s 2012, fam. These people haven’t put out relevant music in eons and yet every year they’re propped up like they’re officially official.  Secondly, the Super Bowl needs more diversity. Beyoncé will be the first black woman to perform at the halftime show since Janet Jackson’s Nipplegate moment from ’04. There’s no excuse for eight years to have passed before another black woman got a chance. The NFL typically bows to its corporate check-writers in picking the performer (otherwise how can you explain The Who and Tom Petty getting over like this?), so it’s good that they’ve picked someone who actually warrants the selection.

As for Bey, with this on her resume, she’s almost getting to the point of being unstoppable. She’s one more classic album from legitimately barging into the GOAT argument. Detractors aside, her catalogue is powerful. One last thing: I’m assuming we’re gonna get a Jay-Z sighting on stage, too. He has his detractors as well, but, man, that’s a dude having one helluva year.

H.Sh

Hobbiton Movie Set Tours

 

Discover the real Middle-earth on the most picturesque private farmland near Matamata in the North Island of New Zealand, where you can visit the Hobbiton Movie Set from The Lord of the Rings film trilogy in a fascinating two-hour guided tour. The set has been completely rebuilt and will remain as it was seen in The Lord of the Rings film trilogy. There are spectacular views across to the Kaimai Ranges from the rolling green hills of the movie set, which is still a working sheep and beef farm.As the Hobbiton Movie Set is located on a real New Zealand farm, we also offer you the opportunity to cuddle and bottle feed the pet lambs. You can relax and soak up the unique atmosphere with a great cup of coffee or a light meal in The Shires Rest Cafe, which is also available for functions, conferences or other occasions.

 

Nada Haj Khidr

How different countries celebrate Christmas?

It is interesting to see how different countries celebrate Christmas. We asked some of our friends to explain what happens in their countries.

This is what they told us:

Belgium

On 6th December Sinterklaas or Saint-Nicholas is celebrated, which is an entirely different holiday from Christmas. Santa Claus in Belgium is called de Kerstman or le Père Noël and he does come around on Christmas day to bring children presents. There are different cultures in Belgium, the Northern part being Vlaanderen (speaking a Dutch dialect), the Southern part being Wallonie (speaking a French dialect) and the Eastern part speaking German.

Small family presents are given at Christmas too, under the tree, or in stockings near the fire-place, to be found in the morning. Christmas breakfast is a special sweet bread called 'cougnou' or 'cougnolle' - the shape is supposed to be like baby Jesus. Some families will have another big meal on Christmas day.

Brazil

Father Christmas is called Papai Noel. Many Christmas customs are similar to USA or UK. For those who have enough money, a special Christmas meal will be chicken, turkey, ham, rice, salad, pork, fresh and dried fruits, often with beer. Poorer people will have chicken, rice and beans and will also drink beer and coke. For dessert people enjoy some Brazilian sweets Brigadeiro made of condensed milk and chocolate. Both rich and poor have Christmas trees. A poor person's Christmas tree is made of plastic or is just a dry tree branch. As we don't have snow in Brazil, poor people put cotton over their Christmas tree branch to simulate snow. Christmas time varies a lot from south to north region.

Finland

Finnish people believe that Father Christmas (Santa Claus) lives in the north part of Finland called Korvatunturi, north of the Arctic Circle. People from all over the world send letters to Santa Claus in Finland. There is a even big tourist theme park called 'Christmas Land' in the north of Finland, near to where they say that Father Christmas lives. Everyone cleans their houses ready for the three holy days of Christmas - Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and Boxing Day. Christmas Eve is very special, when people eat rice porridge and a sweet soup made from dried fruits. It´s eaten in the morning or at lunchtime. They will then decorate a spruce tree in the home. At mid-day, the 'Christmas peace declaration' is broadcast on radio and TV from the Finnish city of Turku by its Mayor. In the evening, a traditional Christmas dinner is eaten. The high moment! After that comes Santa Claus (if there are children) or the presents that are under the Christmas tree are opened. In some families where there are no small kids, the presents are not put under the tree, but collected to big sacks, which are carried near the front door. Then a family member might say, Did I heard sound of reindeers and bells... Or Did I hear Santa Claus... When they go to check, there are big sacks full of presents there. So it was Santa after all. Then people drink coffee and eat cakes, cookies and other sweet things. Enjoy present and play games. Small kids go to bed but others stay up late. Many families will visit cemeteries and grave-yards to place a candle onto the burial graves of family members.

Hungary

Susanna Denes, a Hungarian friend contributed the following:
Santa Clause (Winter-grandfather) (Tel-apo or Mikulas) comes on the 6th of December. Children should clean and put their shoes outside next to the door or window before they go to sleep. Next day candies and/or small toys appear in them in red bags. For children, who don't behave well, a golden birch placed next to the sweets, a symbol for spanking... (but don't worry, it is just for fun, and not for actual punishment.)
On 24th of December, children go to their relative or to the movies, because little Jesus brings the tree and the presents that evening to their house. It is customary to hang edible things on the tree, like golden wrapped assorted chocolates and meringues beside the glass balls, candles (real or electrical), and sparklers.
Families usually cook festive dinner for that night. An example would be fresh fish usually with rice or potatoes and home made pastries as dessert. After dinner, the tree would be viewed by the children for the first time. It was very exciting. Christmas songs are sung and then the gifts under the tree are shared.
Older children attend the midnight mass with their parents.Festive food is enjoyed on the second and third day too.

Portugal

People adhere to the tradition that Father Christmas brings presents to children on Christmas Eve. The presents are left under the Christmas tree or in shoes by the fireplace. A special Christmas meal of salted dry cod-fish with boiled potatoes is eaten at midnight on Christmas Eve.

Sweden

The most important day is Christmas Eve. A special Christmas meal is eaten on Christmas Eve - ham (pork), herring fish, and brown beans - and this is the time when families give presents to each other. Many people attend a church meeting early on Christmas Day.

United States

The USA is so multi-cultural that you will find many different ways of celebrating Christmas. All year long children are told to behave, or they will get coal in their stocking. On Christmas Eve, they hang highly stylized stockings on the mantle of the fireplace, then go to bed early so that they will find presents in the morning. They are told that at midnight Santa will come, bringing a huge bag of toys. He will come down through the chimney, leave candy in the stockings and presents under the Christmas tree (anything from a Pine or Fir to a Spruce), then 'plug one nostril' and shoot up through the chimney. Cookies are traditionally left for him, and a carrot is commonly left for Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer, very much a part of Christmas tradition (Santa will land on the roof with his sleigh and nine reindeer). On Christmas morning, things such as cinnamon rolls or coffee cake are served for breakfast, and for dinner there is typically ham (and occasionally regal plum pudding). That is it for celebration — Boxing Day is never celebrated, Epiphany is only celebrated by Catholics, and Advent not commonly celebrated. On the first Sunday following January 6, grandmothers tell again the story of the Magi who came to Jesus presenting their gifts following his birth. All the children are fondly remember leaving carrots and sugar for all of the reindeer, along the milk and cookies for Santa!

 

Butheina Alnounou

 

Britney Spears, Taylor Swift are top-earning women in music

Pop star Britney Spears edged past Taylor Swift to claim the title of top-earning woman in music after bringing in an estimated $58 million from her album, endorsements and a perfume in the past year, Forbes said,according to Reuters.

Country-pop singer Swift, 22, was a close second with an estimated $57 million paycheck thanks to her tour - which made more than $1 million each night - a contract with CoverGirl cosmetics, her own line of fragrances and her new album "Red."

R&B star Rihanna, 24, earned an estimated $53 million to put her at No. 3, two places up from last year, followed by Lady Gaga, 26, who slipped from No. 1 in 2011 to fourth place with $52 million.

Katy Perry, 28, the only musician other than Michael Jackson to produce five No. 1 hit singles from one album, rounded out the top five with about $45 million in earnings.

"I think people love the comeback story - Britney never really finished her run as a superstar," Steve Stoute, marketing expert and author of "The Tanning of America" told Forbes.

Spears, 31, who was No. 10 last year, earned most of her money from her latest album "Femme Fatale" and her tour, according to Forbes, which compiled the list with estimated earnings from May 2011 to May 2012.

In September, Spears became a judge on the reality TV singing show "The X Factor," reportedly for $15 million.

Despite their huge incomes, only eight of the top women music earners were among the 25 best-paid musicians, which Forbes attributes in part to career breaks to have children.

 

Madonna made the list in ninth place with an estimated $30 million in earnings, which did not include profits from her latest tour because it was outside the time period considered for the ranking.

Forbes compiled the list after estimating pretax income based on record sales, touring information merchandise sales and interviews with concert promoters, lawyers and managers.

H.Sh

 

Barbra Streisand on 'Gypsy': What's age gotta do with it?

Barbra Streisand’s got one thing to say to anyone who thinks she might be too old to play Mamma Rose in the anticipated film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Arthur Laurents’ legendary musical Gypsy: “What’s [age] got to with anything?”

Ever since Universal announced plans last March for a Gypsy update — written by Downton Abbey’s Julian Fellowes and co-produced and starring Streisand — some critics have drawn attention to the difference between Streisand’s age, 70, and that of the real-life woman portrayed in the musical. The Academy Award-winning actress would not only have to depict a woman who, in parts of the production, is between 30 and 40 years younger than she is, she’d have to play the mother of children who are as many as 60 years younger than she is.

But that’s not standing in Babs’ way. “Age is just a number,” she told EW, when promoting her upcoming film The Guilt Trip (co-starring Seth Rogen and out Dec. 19). “Some people look old at 45. Some people look younger at my age…. I saw CGI of an actor that made him go from 60 to 30, by the way. What they can do now, technically.” Streisand added that she was “still working out one rights issue” for the movie, and that “it should happen, but it just takes forever.”According to  Entertainment Weekly

M.W