Mexican actress best known for ‘La India Maria’ dies

thBBj2Jn8

Mexican actress and comedian Maria Elena Velasco, best known for her character “The Indian Maria,” has died at age 74.

The Mexican film institute announced through its Twitter account that Velasco, also a screenwriter and director, died Friday, but did not specify the cause.

Velasco’s “La India Maria,” which exaggerated stereotypes about Mexico’s indigenous people, became one of the most recognizable characters in Mexican film, dressed in colorful blouses and full skirts with her hair in braids.

“La India Maria,” often accompanied by her faithful donkey “Filemon,” sometimes illustrated the journey from her native village to the big city and the inevitable comic situations that followed.

Velasco started her career performing on stages in Mexico City. Her popularity eventually carried her to film fame and a long run on television.

Jerry Lewis telethon ends decades-long run, fundraising awareness for Muscular Dystrophy Association

The Muscular Dystrophy Association is ending its annual Labor Day telethon, a television tradition for decades that has slowly disappeared from view since the sudden end of Jerry Lewis’ role as host following the 2010 show.The telethon was a relic from a different age, a tuxedoed Lewis oozing show biz schmaltz and hosting stars from Frank Sinatra to Jennifer Lopez over 45 years, pushing through his exhaustion to sing “You’ll Never Walk Alone” as a tote board rang up millions of dollars in donations.

From 21 and a half hours in Lewis’ final year, the show had been reduced to two hours the last two years on ABC.

“It’s not a 21-hour world anymore,” said Steve Ford, MDA executive vice president, on Friday.

With television time costly, the MDA’s fundraising efforts will move primarily online, he said. The success of a viral event like “The Ice Bucket Challenge” proves this is a potent area for philanthropy, he said.

“The real heroes have always been our families, and what we need to do is make sure that every dollar we raise is spent working for our families,” he said.

The Labor Day tote board hit a record of $65 million in 2008, a figure Ford said reflected a full year’s worth of fundraising activities capped off by the telethon. The MDA says the telethon itself has been responsible for more than $2 billion in giving.

Lewis’ abrupt exit, announced by the MDA a month before the 2011 telethon, was never fully explained.

The 89-year-old comedian declined to comment on Friday’s announcement, a spokeswoman said.

His history with the charity goes back nearly to its beginning: the MDA was started in 1950 and, a year later, Lewis and his comic partner Dean Martin mentioned the charity on their NBC show. The two comics hosted a 1956 telethon before breaking up. Lewis began hosting it regularly in 1966, starting on a single television station in New York.

The telethon was not without controversy; in the early 1990s it was picketed by a handful of disabled people who said people with the disease were being made objects of pity by Lewis to raise money.

Yet his roster through the years represented a who’s who of entertainment, including a post-Beatles John Lennon, Michael Jackson singing with and without his brothers, Liberace, Johnny Cash, Ray Charles and Celine Dion. Former Johnny Carson sidekick Ed McMahon filled the same role with Lewis on Labor Day for many years.

In 1976, Sinatra engineered a reunion of Lewis with Martin, his estranged former partner.

With years of telethon tapes, the MDA has the equivalent of years of show biz gold in its vaults. Ford said the MDA has been discussing with Lewis ways to release some of this archived material.

Favorites Dortmund, American Pharoah lead strong Kentucky Derby field

One formula for producing the first Triple Crown winner in 37 years would be to have one outstanding horse in a slowpoke crop of 3-year-olds.

Not this year. Not in Saturday’s first leg of the crown — the Kentucky Derby.

American Pharoah is the 5-2 favorite, followed by unbeaten Dortmund (3-1 odds). But the 20-horse field at Churchill Downs will be loaded with others that have solid credentials.

“I’ve been doing this a long time. I cannot remember a Derby going in that I thought was as tough as this one is,” said Mike Battaglia, an NBC Sports analyst and Churchill Downs’ oddsmaker since the 1970s.

Battaglia noted that four horses — American Pharoah, Dortmund, Carpe Diem and Materiality — have had 19 races in their careers and won 17 of them. This year, they are 10-0.

“I can’t remember when we had a race where 3-year-olds were coming into this race undefeated like this,” Battaglia said in an NBC teleconference.

There are more challengers. Carpe Diem (8-1) would have been closer on the betting line to American Pharoah and Dortmund had he not drawn the No. 2 starting gate. Inside traffic can be tough in a 20-horse field.

“But he’s a good gate horse, and he’ll have to get away from there quickly,” said Todd Pletcher, Carpe Diem’s trainer. “That’s pretty much true whatever your (gate) draw is in this race.”

American Pharoah has drawn the most buzz, coming off an 8-length victory in the Arkansas Derby. He has run away with four races since finishing fifth in his first race as a 2-year-old. He started out this week at Churchill Downs with an outstanding workout Sunday and has taken it easy since.

But Dortmund is 6-0 in his career.

“We know that Pharoah is a brilliant horse,” said Baffert said. “But they’re both good horses. They’re pretty close.”

A month ago, Dortmund looked like the Derby favorite.

“After I watched Dortmund win the Santa Anita Derby (April 4), I thought I saw the Derby favorite. I said, ‘This horse is going to be the favorite,'” Battaglia said.

“Then I saw American Pharoah in Arkansas, and, like so many other people, I was blown away. So I thought this is going to be close, very close.

“I still think it’s going to be close, but all the hype, really, the hot horse here at Churchill Downs has been American Pharoah.”

Baffert knows American Pharoah and Dortmund aren’t the only two in the race.

American Pharoah will start out of gate No.17. Dortmund will start out of No.8. We’ll see if they’re in front in the stretch.

“I know I have two really good horses, but there is a really tough field,” Baffert said.

“There are some good horses, and with 20 horses … you need some luck. But you need a really good horse to win. … Going in, I have two. One’s undefeated; one should be undefeated. It’s a good feeling to have, but there’s a lot of anxiety.”

Even the weigh in for the Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Manny Pacquiao fight was a hot ticket in Las Vegas.

Pacquiao didn’t appear to be feeling any pressure: He took a selfie in the tunnel before he took his walk to the scales.

Mayweather also appeared to be calm and collected, walking to the stage to the strains of a hip-hop song with his Money Team personal brand in the lyrics.

Their styles have been analyzed endlessly and their minds dissected as much as possible.

And it remains anyone’s guess what kind of fight this will be.

Will Pacquiao score early and often to beat a fighter who has never been beaten? Will Mayweather risk standing and trading punches, or be content to use his defensive wizardry to win for the 48th straight time?

Will boxing get the fight the hype deserves and the sport desperately needs?

The fight is for the welterweight championship of the world, but in reality it’s much more. Mayweather will be risking his legacy against arguably the best opponent of his career, while Pacquiao will carry the weight of an entire nation into the ring at the MGM Grand.

“Everyone talks about the money, the money, the money,” Mayweather said. “I want the fight to live up to its magnitude. That’s what it’s really about.”

635661088803707805-GTY-540290836

Top 10 available players heading into final day of 2015 NFL draft

The first two days of the NFL draft are complete, which means it’s time for teams to find value.

Typical NFL thinking is that first-round picks should start immediately, while second- and third-round selections should at least contribute as rookies.

Day 3 prospects? They’re usually projects, underdogs, roster fillers and long shots. Yet there are still several players selected in Rounds 4, 5, 6 and 7 that will see the field in their first years in the league.

As the final rounds get underway Saturday, here are the 10 best available players on the board.

1. Michael Bennett, DE, Ohio State

He understands proper technique and excels at timing the ball off the snap. Bennett was extremely productive for the Buckeyes and showcases savvy in beating offensive linemen. He uses his hands well, but sometimes relies on them too much. Though Bennett appeared to take some plays off, he could blossom into a productive pass rusher if he works in the weight room, and if he can refine his pass rushing repertoire.

2. Bryce Petty, QB, Baylor

He has the size and arm coaches want in a quarterback. What Petty doesn’t have is experience in a traditional NFL offense. Consider this: the first time Petty stepped into a huddle and called a play was in the Senior Bowl. He’s a project, but if he can take to NFL coaching, Petty has the competitiveness needed to be a quarterback in the NFL.

3. Grady Jarrett, NT, Clemson

If he were a few inches taller and maybe a little heavier, Jarrett (6-1, 304) might have been a consideration for a late first-round grade. But his lack of size is something that his coaches will have to live with. What Jarrett does have is an explosive first step and an understanding of what he needs to do to beat offensive linemen with leverage and effort.

4. Jay Ajayi, RB, Boise State

You can argue that the value of running backs is decreasing in the NFL. But one thing that’s certain is that the ones that are the most sought after are the ones with versatile skill sets. Ajayi is a player who can be effective running the ball, or catching it out of the backfield. He also performs well in pass protection, but needs to correct a fumble issue at the next level.

5. T.J. Clemmings, OT, Pittsburgh

He has ideal size for the position and possesses the athleticism that had some projecting Clemmings as a possible first-round selection. A foot injury created concern and could be the primary reason to explain his slide. He displays above average explosion and competitiveness, but the former D-lineman is relatively inexperienced at the position and needs to be coached up at the next level.

6. Kwon Alexander, LB, LSU

He’s extremely athletic, understands his role and is known for being good in the locker room. One thing that might scare teams off is his lack of weight (227 pounds), but he was very productive in college. Alexander, at the very least, should be an instant contributor on special teams.

7. Tre’ Jackson, G, Florida State

With plenty of experience in a pro-style offense, he could eventually earn consistent playing time. To do that, he’ll have to spend some time in the weight room to increase his strength. But Jackson is an aggressive player who fits naturally as a guard at the next level and has potential to eventually become an NFL starter.

8. Brett Hundley, QB, UCLA

He has the physical tools you want in a quarterback. But the big question is whether he can become a consistent passer in the pocket. Another thing he’ll have to do better is executing his progressions, especially when facing pressure. Still, with a very strong arm and plenty of athleticism, Hundley is a project worth exploring.

9. Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon

If not for a serious knee injury suffered before the Rose Bowl, Ekpre-Olomu definitely would have been off the board by now. Chances are, he starts his rookie season on the PUP list. But Ekpre-Olomu is a natural athlete with above-average instincts at the position. He’s physical and — once healthy — could earn playing time by starting on special teams.

10. Rashad Greene, WR, Florida State

One thing coaches will love is his versatility given Greene’s ability to play in the slot or outside. He doesn’t have optimal size (5-11, 182), but Greene is athletic enough to contribute right away with crisp routes and moves needed to beat cornerbacks. He’s competitive and has played big college games. Another thing coaches will love: He typically shines when the pressure is on.

Royal Baby Number 2 Is Here! Duchess Of Cambridge Gives Birth To Her Second Child

Bust open a bottle of Pimm’s — the second royal baby has arrived! Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, gave birth to a little girl Saturday at St. Mary’s Hospital, Kensington Palace confirms. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge was safely delivered of a daughter at 8.34am.— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 2, 2015 The baby weighs 8lbs 3oz. The Duke of Cambridge was present for the birth.— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 2, 2015 This is the second child for the duchess …

The pink robin is a small passerine bird native to southeastern Australia?

__-_1_~1

Colorado GOP blocks successful birth-control program

Colorado launched a health initiative a few years ago with a specific target: reducing teen-birth rates. To that end, Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) implemented a program that provided tens of thousands of contraceptive devices at low or no cost.
The results were amazing: teen-birth rates dropped 40% in just five years. This week, the state even won an award from the National Family Planning and Reproductive Health Association, celebrating Colorado’s success story.
Ironically, the award came the same week Colorado Republicans chose to scrap the effective policy.
Republicans on a Colorado Senate committee Wednesday killed an effort to set aside money for a birth-control program that provides intrauterine devices, or IUDs, to low-income, young women. […]
UNITED KINGDOM - NOVEMBER 22:  50 years ago today the combined oral contraceptive pill was first introduced as a means of contraceptive use in the United States.Please refer to the following profiles on Getty Images Archival for further imagery of The Pill Turns 50: A Look Back At Contraceptionhttp://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=132024264&EditorialProduct=ArchivalMontage of various types of contraceptive pills and their packaging. Before the 1950s, contraceptive pills were too expensive to mass produce because the hormones they contain had to be prepared in the laboratory from animal tissue. It only became economic for pharmaceutical companies to produce them when chemists discovered cheaper sources of the hormones in plants. These were used to make synthetic hormones, which could alter the female menstrual cycle, usually controlled by the body's natural sex hormones, preventing pregnancy. The Pill was launched in 1960, and became closely linked with changing sexual attitudes in the ?swinging sixties?.  (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)
UNITED KINGDOM – NOVEMBER 22: 50 years ago today the combined oral contraceptive pill was first introduced as a means of contraceptive use in the United States.Please refer to the following profiles on Getty Images Archival for further imagery of The Pill Turns 50: A Look Back At Contraceptionhttp://www.gettyimages.co.uk/Search/Search.aspx?EventId=132024264&EditorialProduct=ArchivalMontage of various types of contraceptive pills and their packaging. Before the 1950s, contraceptive pills were too expensive to mass produce because the hormones they contain had to be prepared in the laboratory from animal tissue. It only became economic for pharmaceutical companies to produce them when chemists discovered cheaper sources of the hormones in plants. These were used to make synthetic hormones, which could alter the female menstrual cycle, usually controlled by the body’s natural sex hormones, preventing pregnancy. The Pill was launched in 1960, and became closely linked with changing sexual attitudes in the ?swinging sixties?. (Photo by SSPL/Getty Images)

During Supreme Court debate on gay marriage, all eyes on Justice Kennedy

Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is the perceived swing vote in the gay marriage case argued Tuesday. Based on his questions, it appears the justice may be reluctant to embrace a sweeping constitutional holding.

A sharply divided US Supreme Court on Tuesday engaged in an intense and wide-ranging debate in a potential landmark case examining whether the Constitution requires states to allow same-sex marriages.

From the opening minutes of the 2-1/2 hours of argument, all eyes were on Justice Anthony Kennedy, the perceived swing vote in a case most analysts expect will be decided by a 5-to-4 vote.

Based on his questions from the bench, it appears that Justice Kennedy may be reluctant to join his liberal colleagues in issuing a sweeping constitutional holding recognizing a fundamental right that would require every state to embrace marriages by gays and lesbians.

But that doesn’t necessarily mean that Kennedy is prepared to fully embrace the position advocated by the states in the case – adopting a go-slow approach and allowing the states to continue to define marriage.

The court has until late June to write and deliver its decision.

“The word that keeps coming back to me in this case is millennia,” Kennedy said, referring to the length of time marriage has been defined in the traditional way as a union of one man and one woman.

Baltimore ‘Mom of the Year’ explains her slap seen around the world

Toya Graham, a Baltimore mom who publicly disciplined her rioting son, tells why she reacted so strongly.

The Baltimore “Mom of the Year,” as dubbed by Twitter, has received a lot of attention after a video of her disciplining her son at the riots circulated the internet. Toya Graham, the single mother of six, is speaking out now about why she responded the way she did.

Across the country, people have both celebrated and criticized her for physically disciplining – and publicly shaming –  her teenage son for participating in the riots that erupted in Baltimore earlier this week.

Ms. Graham was watching the riots on the news when she went to pick up her son at Mondawmin Mall in northwest Baltimore on Monday afternoon. When she arrived, she saw her 16-year-old son, Michael, with a black hooded sweatshirt and mask. She said at the shocking sight of her son participating in the riots, she “lost it.”

SIDEBAR:  Kudos to you Mom, we a million more just like you!

Radio Network, Intuitive Readings, Poetry, Blog, Prayers and more

%d bloggers like this: