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Billy West, voice of Ren and Stimpy, Futurama, on the rough start that shaped his life

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 15-11-2019

This article mentions the Wikimedia Foundation, one of its projects, or people related to it. Wikinews is a project of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ren and Stimpy. Bugs Bunny. Philip J. Fry and Professor Hubert Farnsworth on Futurama. Sparx. Bi-Polar Bear. Popeye the Sailor Man. Woody Woodpecker. You may not think you have ever heard Billy West, but chances are on a television program, a movie, a commercial, or as Howard Stern’s voice guru in the 1990’s, you have heard him. West’s talent for creating personalities by twisting his voice has made him one of a handful of voice actors—Hank Azaria and the late Mel Blanc come to mind—who have achieved celebrity for their talent. Indeed, West is one of the few voice actors who can impersonate Blanc in his prime, including characterizations of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd and other characters from Warner Bros. cartoons.

What is the fulcrum in Mr. West’s life that led him to realize a talent to shape personalities with his voice, and how did the discovery of that gift shape him? Wikinews reporter David Shankbone found that like many great comedians, West faced more sour early in life than he did sweet. The sour came from a physically and emotionally abusive alcoholic father (“I could tell you the kind of night I was going to have from the sound of the key in the door or the way the car pulled up.”), to his own problems with drug and alcohol use (“There is a point that you can reach in your life where you don’t want to live, but you haven’t made the decision to die.”).

I’m telling you stuff that I never said to anybody…

If sin, suffering and redemption feel like the stages of an endless cycle of American existence, West’s own redemption from his brutalized childhood is what helped shape his gift. He performed little bits to cheer up his cowed mother, ravaged by the fact she could not stop her husband’s abuse of young West. “I was the whipping boy and she would just be reduced to tears a lot of times, and I would come in and say stuff, and I would put out little bits just to pull her out of it.”

But West has also enjoyed the sweet. His career blossomed as his talent for creating entire histories behind fictional characters and creatures simply by exploring nuance in his voice landed him at the top of his craft. You may never again be able to forget that behind the voice of your favorite character, there is often an extraordinary life.

Below is David Shankbone’s interview with renowned voice actor Billy West, who for the first time publicly talks about the horrors he faced in his childhood; his misguided search for answers in anger, drugs and alcohol; and the peace he has achieved as one of America’s most recognizable voice actors.

Contents

  • 1 The use of celebrities for voiceovers
  • 2 Iconic characters and choosing projects
  • 3 Discovering his talent
  • 4 “It was a horror chamber where I grew up”
  • 5 West moves to Boston after his parents divorce
  • 6 How West dealt with his father’s abuse
  • 7 Rehabilitation and sobriety
  • 8 Is West glad he experienced addiction?
  • 9 West on his career
  • 10 West on politics
  • 11 Billy West on modern American society
  • 12 Billy West on telling it like it is
  • 13 Source

Rare 1856 Double Eagle gold coin sells for US$345,000 in California

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-11-2019

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

An exceptionally rare coin, which had been hidden in a family collection for over a century, sold at Heritage Auction Galleries Californian Coin Auction for US$345,000.

The 1856-O Double Eagle gold coin, rated as XF45+ (XF meaning Extremely Fine) was discovered in July 2010, having been held by a family after it had been held in the James Bullock collection. Given a value in the auctioneer’s catalogue of $220,000, it quickly rose past that with the help of the 5,000 bidders Heritage say were involved in the auction.

The coin is believed to be one of 20 or fewer examples available commercially. Two are in the Smithsonian Museum.

The President of Heritage Auctions, Greg Rohan, said, “We were all quite impressed overall with how these coins performed”. He continued, “Collectors continue to respond enthusiastically to the best and rarest examples, as evidenced by the heated competition for the Bullock 1856-O double eagle. We don’t expect to see a drop-off in gold demand as the year comes to a close and we hold our last few auctions of 2010.”

Overall, Heritage said that a $13.4 million total was achieved with 96% of lots sold.

Market maker Bernard L. Madoff arrested in $50B ‘giant Ponzi scheme’

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-11-2019

 Correction — January 10, 2009 This article incorrectly states that Mr Madoff attended Hofstra University Law School. His education was actually with Hofstra College, which he graduated from in 1960. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Top broker and Wall Street adviser Bernard L. Madoff, aged 70, was arrested and charged by the FBI on Thursday with a single count of securities fraud, also known as stock fraud and investment fraud. He allegedly told senior employees of his firm on Wednesday that his $50 billion business “is all just one big lie” and that it was “basically, a giant Ponzi scheme (since at least 2005).” Mr. Madoff faces up to 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $5 million. FBI agent Theodore Cacioppi said Mr. Madoff’s investment advisory business had “deceived investors by operating a securities business in which he traded and lost investor money, and then paid certain investors purported returns on investment with the principal received from other, different investors, which resulted in investors’ losses of approximately $50 billion dollars.”

The former chairman of the Nasdaq Stock Market is also the founder and primary owner of Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities LLC, the closely-held market-making firm he launched in 1960. The firm is one of the top market maker firms on Wall Street. He founded his family firm with an initial investment of $5,000, after attending Hofstra University Law School. He saved the money earned from a job lifeguarding at Rockaway Beach in Queens and a part time job installing underground sprinkler systems.

A force in Wall Street trading for nearly 50 years, he has been active in the National Association of Securities Dealers (NASD), a self-regulatory organization for the U.S. securities industry. His firm was one of the five most active firms in the development of the NASDAQ, having been known for “paying for order flow,” in other word paying a broker to execute a customer’s order through Madoff. He argued that the payment to the broker did not alter the price that the customer received. He ran the investment advisory as a secretive business, however.

Dan Horwitz, counsel of Mr. Madoff, in an interview, said that “he is a longstanding leader in the financial-services industry with an unblemished record; he is a person of integrity; he intends to fight to get through this unfortunate event.” Mr. Madoff was released on his own recognizance on the same day of his arrest, after his 2 sons turned him in, and posting $10 million bail secured by his Manhattan apartment. Without entering any plea, the Court set the preliminary hearing for January 12.

Madoff’s hedge fund scheme may rank among the biggest fraud in history. When former energy trading giant Enron filed for bankruptcy in 2001, one of the largest at the time, it had $63.4 billion in assets. The scheme would dwarf past Ponzis, and it would further be nearly five times the telecommunication company WorldCom fraud and bankruptcy proceedings in 2002.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a separate civil suit on Thursday against Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities and its eponymous founder Mr. Madoff. It was docketed as “U.S. v. Madoff,” 08-MAG-02735, by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan). SEC, New York associate director of enforcement, Andrew M. Calamari, asked the judge to issue seizure orders on the firm and its assets, and appoint a receiver. The SEC pleads, among others, that “it was an ongoing $50 billion swindle; our complaint alleges a stunning fraud that appears to be of epic proportions.” It further accused the defendant of “paying returns to certain investors out of the principal received from other, different investors” for years. Madoff’s hedge fund business had previously claimed to have served between 11 and 25 clients and had $17.1 billion in assets under management. But virtually all of the assets were missing.

United States District Court for the Southern District of New York Louis L. Stanton on Thursday appointed Lee Richards, a Manhattan lawyer, as the firm’s receiver. A hearing is set for Friday, for a ruling on the SEC’s petition to grant plenary powers to the receiver over the entire firm, and an absolute asset sequestration.

Doug Kass, president of hedge fund Seabreeze Partners Management said that “this is a major blow to confidence that is already shattered — anyone on the fence will probably try to take their money out.”

Google launches Google Spreadsheets

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-11-2019

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

Google has launched an online spreadsheet site, in a private beta.

The site will allow spreadsheets to be shared between up to 10 users, which is aimed to be useful to teams and small businesses. “Many people already organise information into spreadsheets. Where they are struggling is to share it” said the product manager, Jonathan Rochelle.

Google recently bought the online word-processor Writely, launched a calendar product, as well as a desktop search tool. Many see this as them straying into Microsoft‘s markets.

Google Spreadsheets uses very advanced AJAX (Asynchronous Javascript And Xml) and Client Side Scripting to mimic very effectively it’s desktop counterparts’ functions.

It is surprisingly fast, has very good formatting and advanced formula support, but best of all it has complete support for Microsoft Excel .xls files, and very good collaboration: just enter the e-mail address and you can share easily.

Nokia appoints Microsoft Business Division Head as chief executive

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 09-11-2019

Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Finnish communications corporation Nokia announced that its Head will change on September 21. The previous chief executive Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo will continue to chair in non-executive capacity. The head of Microsoft Business division Stephen Elop will take the position. It is the first time a non-Finn becomes Nokia president and chief executive.

The change follows Nokia’s fall in world markets. It includes a decrease in Nokia’s American market share to less than ten percent after failed negotiations with a number of leading American phone providers. An analyst at a market analyst company Canalys, Pete Cunningham, said, “Despite holding 38 percent market share of the smartphone market, Nokia’s failure to compete with the iPhone and high-tier Android devices, combined with its lack of progress in gaining significant traction in the United States, has led to press and investor dissatisfaction.”

Some commenters suggested that Nokia chose Mr. Elop partly because he is a Canadian, following criticism of American candidates by the Finnish press. However a Nokia spokesman rejected this, saying, “Nationality was not a selection criteria.”

Stephen Elop was president and CEO of the graphics and web-development software house Macromedia prior to its acquisition by Adobe in 2005. He then joined Microsoft as President of Microsoft’s Business Division in January, 2008. Commenting on his new role he said, “Nokia has a unique global position as well as a great brand upon which we can build. The Nokia slogan clearly states our key mission: Connecting People, which will acquire new dimensions as we build our portfolio of products, solutions and services.”

In the announcement the Chairman of the Nokia Board of Directors Jorma Ollila stressed an expected shift of focus from hardware to software. “His [Stephen Elop’s] strong software background and proven record in change management will be valuable assets as we press harder to complete the transformation of the company. We believe that Stephen will be able to drive both innovation and efficient execution of the company strategy in order to deliver increased value to our shareholders”.

Nokia stated in an official blog post, “Nokia is transitioning from a hardware manufacturer of mobile devices to a software and solutions business. …Stephen’s background in the software industry is one of his key strengths.”

Navy helping New Orleans pets

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 05-11-2019

Saturday, September 17, 2005

The Spanish word “tortuga” means “turtle.” But in the wake of the New Orleans disaster, the USS Tortuga is helping other animals.

For nearly two weeks now, sailors from Tortuga’s repair division have devoted much of their time during this disaster relief operation to ensure the health and comfort of displaced pets.

September 4th, just after the ship moored to a pier at Naval Support Activity (NSA) New Orleans, HT1(SW) Mark Hanley and DC1(SW) Antony Graves gathered materials from the repair shop on board to construct a kennel along the levee. The facility they made soon became a popular shelter for the homeless animals of the storm.

Tortuga’s search and rescue team brought aboard more than 170 displaced citizens during this past week, providing them with food, water, medical aid and a place to sleep.

Tortuga’s makeshift kennel, named ‘Camp Milo & Otis,’ has housed as many as 90 dogs, eight cats, one rabbit, one guinea pig, a pair of parakeets and a flightless pigeon during the past week of operation.

Currently, there are 14 dogs that remain in Tortuga’s care, as many of the other pets have been taken to animal shelters in the area for extra medical attention, or been claimed by their owners upon arrival to Tortuga. The pets that Tortuga has registered have all been in the hands of professional veterinarians assigned to provide expert medical attention to the members of Camp Milo & Otis.

Dr. Kelly Crowdis and Dr. Latina Gambles, both from Tuskegee University and Christian Veterinary Missions, have treated many of the pets for infection, dehydration, malnourishment and broken bones at the Camp during the past week.

“The animals were bathed and assessed before physical interaction with the sailors,” said Dr. Crowdis. “They’ve been given immunizations, antibiotics and medications based on their medical needs.”

Dr. Crowdis added, “What these sailors have done on their own has been such a heart-warming thing. As an animal lover, it is so comforting to know that everyone cares about the animals in addition to the human lives rescued from the storm. I’m very pleased with these guys for taking the initiative to construct this kennel.”

Graves, Hanley and other members of their division have consistently bathed, fed, walked and given special attention to every dog, every day.

“We play with them,” said Hanley. “We take them out of their kennels to give them attention every day. And we’ll continue to do that for as long as our ship’s mission keeps us here.”

September 11th, the Agricultural Center at Louisiana State University donated supplies to “Camp Milo & Otis” in support of Tortuga’s efforts to help the animal victims.

”We got medical supplies, bowls, food, cages, leashes, collars, toys, cat litter and cleaning supplies from these people yesterday,” said Graves. “It’s nice to know that so many people out there have heard about what our ship is doing, and responded by donating so much to support us the best they can.”

A photo gallery of unclaimed pets is on the USS Tortuga’s web site.

As part of disaster plans, the Department of Homeland Security has also deployed Veterinary Medical Assistance Teams to provide medical care to pets and livestock, as well as provide any needed veterinary medical care for search and rescue dogs.

There are over 3,850 animals being sheltered around the state. If someone is looking for a pet they should contact their nearest Humane Society or go online to http://www.petfinder.org// . More information is also available at http://www.vetmed.lsu.edu//.

French fishermen blockade Channel ports

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-10-2019

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

French fishing vessels have blockaded the English Channel ports of Calais, Bolougne, and Dunkirk.

Not a boat will go in nor out

The protest is an industrial action over tighter fishing quotas imposed by the European Union, with French fishing unions asking for their government to provide financial assistance or take a tougher line. CFTC Fishermans Union spokesman Bruno Dachicourt told Agence France Presse: “There are easily twenty boats blocking the port of Boulogne-sur-Mer in organized ranks. Not a boat will go in nor out.”

The fishermen are protesting the lowering of European Union quotas on fishing, which place a ceiling on the amount of fish that the fishermen of each member country are allowed to catch and sell. The EU has lowered quotas in response to concerns about the sustainability of fisheries, but each drop in quota reduces the amount of work each fishing vessel can do. “The feeble amount of the quota obliges us to close the fishing zones three months after the beginning of the catch”, said Stéphane Pinto, spokesman for the CFDT trade union group representing fishermen in Boulogne.

Ferry sailings between Dover in the United Kingdom and Calais were suspended, with UK authorities implementing the Operation Stack management plan in response. Under the plan sections of the M20 motorway are closed to traffic and used as a managed lorry park. Motorists have been advised to seek alternative routes if possible. Most cars and passengers from the P&O Calais-Dover sailings at 16.10 (apparently the first sailing affected), 17.40 and 18.25 left on the “Pride of Dover” at 11.47 arriving Dover at 12.30. Two SeaFrance ferries, Renoir and another, left slightly earlier.

Fishermen have also used fires and roadblocks to interfere with access to the ports by road.

The blockades come eight days after a similar incident in the Mediterranean, when French fishermen in Marseille, Ajaccio, Toulon and other port cities interfered with oil tanker movements and blockaded ports throughout the south of the country.

Wikinews is unaware of any official statement from the British or French Governments in response to the blockade.

Space Shuttle Discovery launch scheduled for Tuesday

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 30-10-2019

Saturday, July 23, 2005

NASA has announced that the Space Shuttle Discovery is due to blast off on Tuesday 26 July at 10.39 am EDT.

The news that the 43 hour countdown will be restarted on Saturday comes after the successful resolution of the problems that forced the aborting of the previous launch attempt.

The countdown includes 28 hours of scheduled “hold time” bringing the total time period up to Tuesday.

The launch had been scrubbed previously due to a faulty main fuel tank sensor which was sufferring from electromagnetic interference. Engineers fixed the problem by improving the electrical grounding of the system to reduce interference.

Sony refreshes VAIO brand for business and entertainment

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-10-2019

Thursday, July 31, 2008

From the middle of July, Sony Corporation refreshed their senior laptop brand VAIO from “Video Audio Integrated Operation” to “Visual Audio Intelligent Organizer”. According to Sony Taiwan Limited, this refreshment is an attempt to relocate the laptop consuming market for business and entertainment factors.

In the “VAIO Experience 2008” press conference in Europe, Sony promoted their new product series for different populations including BZ for business, FW for home entertainment, Z for ultra-slim, and SR for complex applications.

Different with past series, Sony added “Clear Bright” screening technology for high-definition display, and “full-carbon production” features. BD-burning and Intel Centrino 2 processing technologies will be featured in all the new models. For security issue, Sony also embedded fingerprint system to prevent personal data to be stolen. Continued from TZ series, innovative designs including “Green Power Button”, “Situational Switch” are also added in newly-launched series.

“Due to consuming market differences, Sony only promoted BZ series in Europe and America but not included Asia. Although the TICA Show in Taipei will be different, functionality will be the greatest issue when a consumers choose a notebook [computer] before buying.” addressed by executives from Sony Taiwan Limited, during the “VAIO Experience 2008” press conference in Taiwan.

Million Dollar Homepage is close to achieving million-dollar goal

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Posted by z5w5VCvC | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 18-10-2019

Friday, December 30, 2005

Alex Tew, a student in England, has almost reached his target of one million dollars on his website: Million Dollar Homepage. He came up with the idea after jotting down ideas before he went to bed on how to become a millionaire before he went to university. Then he came up with the million-dollar idea: selling pixels at USD $1 each on a web page. Alex currently believes he can make his goal by the end of 31st December, 2005.

Advertising companies especially appreciate the website, as they wish to “make Internet history” on the Million Dollar Homepage. In fact as of writing, he has already made USD $999,000. The student says advertisers get to keep their ads for a period of five years from purchase and he says he will use the money he has made to guarantee it. Alex has said he has already got numerous job offers from companies aiming to secure his money making talent.

Tew is undergoing a business management course at Nottingham and needed GBP £7000 a year to complete his studies. He is understandably overwhelmed by the success he has achieved: “It’s just nuts. I’m in a state of disbelief. It’s like Monopoly money but then I look at my bank account and there’s a lot of cash in it.” The British National Union of Students claim that 90% of students are in debt. However, what only worries him is how he’s going to spend his money. He has already spent some of his money on a car for himself, as he thinks of what to do with his new fortune.

His website’s method is simple; his website is made up of one page divided into 10,000 boxes, each 100 pixels in size. Companies can buy one or more boxes for USD $100 each and cover it with a logo, which, when clicked on, transports web users to the customers’ own site.The figures add up with the site now carrying over 240 advertisements and has 30,000 hits a day. Even the actor Jack Black, star of “School of Rock” and “Shallow Hal“, is using the site to advertise his band Tenacious D.