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ST. LOUIS -- Cardinals outfielder Rick Ankiel was taken to a hospital on Monday night after he injured himself making a catch at the wall in the eighth inning of St. Louis' game against the Phillies. Ankiel hit headfirst against the left-center-field wall after making a catch on a deep line drive by Phillies third baseman Pedro Feliz.

According to a statement the club released late on Monday night, Ankiel underwent X-rays and a CT scan of his head, neck and back, and all were negative and showed no fractures.

Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said that Ankiel had movement and feeling in his arms and legs, and that according to the team's head physician, Dr. George Paletta, Ankiel never lost consciousness on the play. A club official said that Ankiel checked out as "neurologically intact" both on the field and at the hospital.

"He was never knocked out," Mozeliak said. "He never lost consciousness. My understanding was that he had some discomfort in the face area, obviously, from hitting the wall. But for the most part right now, we're encouraged based on Dr. Paletta's first [evaluation], just getting to see him on the field."

Feliz hit a drive to left-center with one out in the eighth. Ankiel chased the ball down and made the catch, but couldn't stop himself in time to avoid contact with the wall. He was barely able to brace himself, and his head hit the outfield wall at an awkward angle. Ankiel fell to the warning track and the ball came out of his left hand.

Outfielder Chris Duncan was the closest to Ankiel at the time. He threw the ball to the infield then rushed to attend to his friend and teammate.

"He went down and I thought maybe he might be unconscious," Duncan said. "So I tried to talk to him. I said, 'Are you all right?' and he said, 'I think so. I'm just going to lay here.' He said he had hit the wall hard and he [thought] he was all right, but he [was] not going to move. He said his back hurt a little bit, but he could feel everything and he didn't want to move. I told him to hold on and that they were coming out."

As Ankiel lay still on the track, many of his teammates came out to check on him, as did manager Tony La Russa, head athletic trainer Barry Weinberg and later Paletta. Ankiel was lifted onto a cart and driven off the field.

"It's tough, man," said starting pitcher Kyle Lohse. "Hopefully he's going to be all right. I haven't really heard too much. He's a tough guy. Going as hard as you can into a wall like that, it's amazing."

Some movement from Ankiel was visible, including a thumbs-up gesture as he was carted off.

"Being on the bench, it was tough," said Phillies slugger Ryan Howard. "We saw him get over there to the ball and I was like 'Aw, man, he caught it.' And then I saw him try to gather himself and he stumbled a bit and I was like 'Aw, man, he's going into the wall.' As soon as he hit, the first thing is that you just want to see him move. When I saw him, he just lay there and didn't move at all and I was just waiting to see if he was going to move. But when they carted him off and he gave the thumbs up, it was a good feeling."

Colby Rasmus took Ankiel's place in center field. Rasmus is likely to play center field for as long as Ankiel is unavailable. It's unclear whether the Cardinals will place Ankiel on the disabled list or make another roster move. For the time being, the concern is more about Ankiel's health than anything on the field.

"It's tough," said Ryan Franklin, who threw the pitch that Feliz hit. "That's like one of your brothers out there, a family member laying down and can't move."
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30 March 2009 @ 08:02 pm
Actually for everyone...Andy Hallett, who oh so skillfully played Lorne on Angel, passed away. I never knew he was sick. He will be deeply missed.

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28 February 2009 @ 09:00 pm
Just found out about this...such sad news. Paul Harvey passed away today. I loved listening to him, such an amazing storyteller. I will miss him deeply.

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29 January 2009 @ 09:57 am
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29 January 2009 @ 08:54 am
ORANGE PARK, Fla. – Lynyrd Skynyrd keyboard player Billy Powell, who played on such hits as "Sweet Home Alabama" and survived the 1977 plane crash that killed three band members, died Wednesday. He was 56.

Powell called 911 in this Jacksonville suburb saying he was having trouble breathing. Rescue crews performed CPR, but he was pronounced dead about an hour later, Orange Park Police Lt. Mark Cornett said.

Powell, who had a history of heart problems, missed a Tuesday appointment with his doctor for a cardiac evaluation, and a heart attack is suspected as the cause of death.

The Jacksonville-based band was formed in 1966 by a group of high school students — famously, it took its name from a physical education teacher they disliked, Leonard Skinner. Powell joined the group in 1970 and became its keyboardist in 1972, the year before they released their first album, "Pronounced leh-nerd skin-nerd."

It became one of the South's most popular rock groups, and gained national fame with such hits as "Free Bird," "What's Your Name" and especially "Sweet Home Alabama," which reached the top 10 on the charts in 1974. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

The band was decimated on Oct. 20, 1977, when their chartered plane crashed in a swamp near McComb, Miss.

Six people were killed — lead singer Ronnie Van Zant; guitarist Steve Gaines; Gaines' sister, vocalist Cassie Gaines; as well as an assistant road manager, the pilot and co-pilot.

Powell received facial injuries in the crash, but eventually recovered. He was the only band member well enough to attend the funerals of those killed in the crash.

Two years after the accident, Powell and fellow members Allen Collins, Gary Rossington and Leon Wilkeson formed the Rossington-Collins Band. It broke up in 1982.

In 1987 Johnny Van Zant — Ronnie's brother — and a new Lynyrd Skynyrd Band went on a tribute tour, and Powell was on hand again in 1991 when the revived version of the band put out a new album, "Lynyrd Skynyrd 1991" and started a tour in Baton Rouge, La., where the band was headed in 1977 when the plane crashed.

Fans who kept their tickets from the canceled 1977 concert were admitted free.

The band's last album, "Vicious Cycle," was released in 2003.

Johnny Van Zant was devastated by Powell's death. Hearkening back to the deaths of other members of the band, he said: "Maybe it is just the destiny of Lynyrd Skynyrd. We've played before millions and millions of people and it's been a wonderful ride and a bumpy one too."

Van Zant said Powell had been a roadie for the band when his brother heard him playing the keyboard.

"Nobody knew he could play the keyboard," Van Zant said.

Earlier this year, Powell and the band took a four-day cruise on a ship out of Miami with "4,000 crazy Skynyrd fans," said Van Zant.

The band had recorded several songs for a new album and had upcoming gigs, which will be canceled, Van Zant said.

Howard Kramer, curatorial director at the Rock and Roll Hall, said Powell "was a phenomenal piano player. The band may be able to get another piano player, but they will never replace Billy Powell."

"He was one of the best piano keyboardists, rock 'n' roll keyboardists, of our lifetime," said Ross Schilling, the band's manager.

Hank Williams Jr. said: "I will truly miss Billy. We have all lost one of our best rowdy friends."
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14 January 2009 @ 03:17 pm
Just saw the news...Ricardo Montalban has passed away. I'm not sure of the cause...but he is going to be missed. My prayers are with his family.

Ricardo Montalban dies at 88

LOS ANGELES – Ricardo Montalban, the Mexican-born actor who became a star in splashy MGM musicals and later as the wish-fulfilling Mr. Roarke in TV's "Fantasy Island," died Wednesday morning at his home, a city councilman said. He was 88.

Montalban's death was announced at a city council meeting by president Eric Garcetti, who represents the district where the actor lived. Garcetti did not give a cause of death.

"What you saw on the screen and on television and on talk shows, this very courtly, modest, dignified individual, that's exactly who he was," said Montalban's longtime friend and publicist David Brokaw.

Montalban had been a star in Mexican movies when MGM brought him to Hollywood in 1946. He was cast in the leading role opposite Esther Williams in "Fiesta," and starred again with the swimming beauty in "On an Island with You" and "Neptune's Daughter."

But Montalban was best known as the faintly mysterious, white-suited Mr. Roarke, who presided over a tropical island resort where visitors were able to fulfill their lifelong dreams — usually at the unexpected expense of a difficult life lesson. Following a floatplane landing and lei ceremony, he greeted each guest with the line: "I am Mr. Roarke, your host. Welcome to Fantasy Island."

The show ran from 1978 to 1984.

More recently, he appeared as villains in two hits of the 1980s: "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" and the farcical "The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad."

Between movie and TV roles, Montalban was active in the theater. He starred on Broadway in the 1957 musical "Jamaica" opposite Lena Horne, picking up a Tony nomination for best actor in a musical.

He toured in Shaw's "Don Juan in Hell," playing Don Juan, a performance critic John Simon later recalled as "irresistible." In 1965 he appeared on tour in the Yul Brynner role in "The King and I."

"The Ricardo Montalban Theatre in my Council District — where the next generations of performers participate in plays, musicals, and concerts — stands as a fitting tribute to this consummate performer," Garcetti said later in a written statement.

"Fantasy Island" received high ratings for most of its run on ABC, and still appears in reruns. Mr. Roarke and his sidekick, Tattoo, played by the 3-foot, 11-inch Herve Villechaize, reached the state of TV icons. Villechaize died in 1993.

In a 1978 interview, Montalban analyzed the series's success:

"What is appealing is the idea of attaining the unattainable and learning from it. Once you obtain a fantasy, it becomes a reality, and that reality is not as exciting as your fantasy. Through the fantasies you learn to appreciate your own realities."

As for Mr. Roarke: "Was he a magician? A hypnotist? Did he use hallucinogenic drugs? I finally came across a character that works for me. He has the essence of mystery, but I need a point of view so that my performance is consistent. I now play him 95 percent believable and 5 percent mystery. He doesn't have to behave mysteriously; only what he does is mysterious."

In 1970, Montalban organized fellow Latino actors into an organization called Nosotros ("We"), and he became the first president. Their aim: to improve the image of Spanish-speaking Americans on the screen; to assure that Latin-American actors were not discriminated against; to stimulate Latino actors to study their profession.

Montalban commented in a 1970 interview:

"The Spanish-speaking American boy sees Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid wipe out a regiment of Bolivian soldiers. He sees `The Wild Bunch' annihilate the Mexican army. It's only natural for him to say, `Gee, I wish I were an Anglo.'"

Montalban was no stranger to prejudice. He was born Nov. 25, 1920, in Mexico City, the son of parents who had emigrated from Spain. The boy was brought up to speak the Castilian Spanish of his forebears. To Mexican ears that sounded strange and effeminate, and young Ricardo was jeered by his schoolmates.

His mother also dressed him with old-country formality, and he wore lace collars and short pants "long after my legs had grown long and hairy," he wrote in his 1980 autobiography, "Reflections: A Life in Two Worlds."

"It is not easy to grow up in a country that has different customs from your own family's."

While driving through Texas with his brother, Montalban recalled seeing a sign on a diner: "No Dogs or Mexicans Allowed." In Los Angeles, where he attended Fairfax High School, he and a friend were refused entrance to a dance hall because they were Mexicans.

Rather than seek a career in Hollywood, Montalban played summer stock in New York. He returned to Mexico City and played leading roles in movies from 1941 to 1945. That led to an MGM contract.

Besides the Williams spectacles, the handsome actor appeared in "Sombrero" (opposite Pier Angeli), "Two Weeks With Love" (Jane Powell) and "Latin Lovers" (Lana Turner).

He also appeared in dramatic roles in such films as "Border Incident," "Battleground," "Mystery Street" and "Right Cross."

"Movies were never kind to me; I had to fight for every inch of film," he reflected in 1970. "Usually my best scenes would end up on the cutting-room floor."

Montalban had better luck after leaving MGM in 1953, though he was usually cast in ethnic roles. He appeared as a Japanese kabuki actor in "Sayonara" and an Indian in "Cheyenne Autumn." His other films included: "Madame X," "The Singing Nun," "Sweet Charity," "Escape from the Planet of the Apes" and "Conquest of the Planet of the Apes."

Montalban was sometimes said to be the source of Billy Crystal's "you look MAHvelous" character on "Saturday Night Live," though the inspiration was really Argentinian-born actor Fernando Lamas.

In 1944, Montalban married Georgiana Young, actress and model and younger sister of actress Loretta Young. Both Roman Catholics, they remained one of Hollywood's most devoted couples. She died in 2007. They had four children: Laura, Mark, Anita and Victor.

Montalban suffered a spinal injury in a horse fall while making a 1951 Clark Gable Western, "Across the Wide Missouri," and thereafter walked with a limp he managed to mask during his performances.

In 1993, Montalban lost the feeling in his leg, and exhaustive tests showed that he had suffered a small hemorrhage in his neck, similar to the injury decades earlier. He underwent 9 1/2 hours of spinal surgery at UCLA Medical Center.

Despite the constant pain, the actor was able to take a role in an Aaron Spelling TV series, "Heaven Help Us." Twice a month in 1994, he flew to San Antonio for two or three days of filming as an angel who watched over a young couple.

In an interview at the time, Montalban remarked: "I've never given up hope. But I have to be realistic. I gave my tennis rackets to my son, figuring I'll never play again. But my doctor said, `Don't say that. Strange things happen. You never know.'"


AP entertainment writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this story.
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10 January 2009 @ 05:18 pm
Star Wars

24 December 2008 @ 04:15 pm
Merry Chirstmas everyone! Have a happy and safe holiday!

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12 December 2008 @ 08:51 am
Betty Page, another icon lost to us

"She captured the imagination of a generation of men and women with her free spirit and unabashed sensuality," Mark Roesler, her agent said. "She is the embodiment of beauty."
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13 October 2008 @ 07:12 am
Got this from some of my Yahoo groups and thought I would pass it on.

As of October 31st, AOL is ending their Hometown webpage service and all content will be lost. I don't know how many authors have their web sites there but saving their files and/or transferring their work to another host would be nice.
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