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Brittney Elkins

Queen Latifah to headline Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival: What does it mean?

It means Queen Latifah is headlining a festival

Queen Latifah is set to headline this year’s annual Long Beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival on May 19, causing many to question whether or not the actress-singer is gay herself.

The Inquisitr came out with a story today with the headline Queen Latifah Comes Out of The Closet, but did she? In a press release, the Co-President of the festival had this to say about the excitement of having Queen Latifah headline the festival:

“From hip hop to R&B, pop to standards, Queen Latifah is the voice of our generation, and her concert here will be phenomenal, for her to make her worldwide Pride debut here in Long Beach is a tremendous testament to the popularity of our celebration and to the strength of our community.”

Blogger David Badash wrote on the site The New Civil Rights Movement that to say Queen Latifah just came out of the closet is irresponsible.

“Queen Latifah will be headlining the Long beach Lesbian & Gay Pride Festival later this month—just as other famous (and straight) celebrities have headlined and performed at gay pride festivals and parades in years past,” Badash wrote.

Badash went on to urge journalists who have reported today that Queen Latifah “has come out of the closet” to remember that coming out is a personal choice, and it’s unfair to pressure someone to come out or to say someone has come out when they have not.

Rumors have circulated for years as to whether or not Queen Latifah is a lesbian or not. Queen Latifah has never commented about her sexuality publicly; although, it was rumored that she ended a long-term relationship with Jeanette Jenkins, president of Hollywood Trainer fitness, in 2011.

Other rumors have linked Queen Latifah to a new woman recently.

However, female artists frequently headline Pride festivals. Whitney Houston, Nicki Minaj, Katy Perry, and Jennifer Lopez have all taken stages at Pride festivals and led Pride parades. So why is Queen Latifah taking all the heat?

Now rumors are circulating on the internet that the Long Beach Pride Festival could be a coming out party for Queen Latifah. Maybe she will make some sort of announcement, or maybe the 42 year-old will continue with her life sans-comment, and live as she likes.

It’s not what Queen Latifah will say at the event that got her the spot, it’s her killer vocals. Her decade-plus standoff with the press—who has continually speculated is she or isn’t she?—in which she has declined to play their games probably raised her up in the eyes of the LGBT community as well. So it’s more likely that the actress-singer will avoid a big announcement and leave us all to mind our own business when it comes to others’ personal affairs.

Human flesh capsules smuggled into South Korea from China

Chinese government denies the capsules came from China

Human flesh capsules were reportedly confiscated by South Korean customs after being smuggled from China.

The South Korean customs agency said the human flesh capsules had been smuggled into the country through parcels and luggage carried from China. The pills were composed of “ground stillborn fetuses or babies that had been cut into small pieces and dried in gas ranges for two days, then made into powders and encapsulated.”

The Chinese government said that no medications made from human tissue have been found in China, but China will reinvestigate the allegations.

The Ministry of Health in China commented on the alleged “human flesh capsules” Tuesday, saying that China has strict rules on the disposal of the remains of dead infants, aborted fetuses and placentas, which are categorized as human remains and banned from being disposed of as medical waste. Furthermore, medical institutions and their staff are forbidden to trade human remains, including placentas.

However, the South Korean customs agency said that human flesh capsules have been “continuously smuggled into [South Korea], camouflaged as health tonics.”

The South Korean government has been investigating human flesh capsules since a magazine reported the use of dead infants in traditional medicines last year and alleged that the fetuses were purchased illegally from hospitals.

More than 35 cases and more than 17,000 pills have been found by South Korean customs authorities since August. The human flesh capsules are taken by people who believe they will help increase stamina and by terminal cancer patients.

In China, there is a large culture of people who search for bizarre and exotic ingredients like tiger genitals, bear bile, ground rhinoceros horn and dried seahorses due to beliefs that these ingredients will increase stamina and sexual arousal or cure diseases.

Despite South Korea’s allegations, China insists that no human flesh capsules are being manufactured in their country.

Maurice Sendak dies at 83

Where the Wild Things Are author will be remembered for his writing and illustrations

Maurice Sendak, author and illustrator of one of the best known children’s classics Where the Wild Things Are, has died at age 83.

Maurice Sendak passed away due to complications from a stroke he suffered Friday. According to his friend and caretaker Lynn Caponera, Maurice Sendak never regained consciousness after the stroke and died in Danbury Hospital early Tuesday.

Maurice Sendak was the son of Jewish immigrants from Poland, but he was born and raised in Brooklyn. He was introduced to the concept of mortality at a young age, losing many members of his extended family during the Holocaust.

As a child, Maurice Sendak was bedridden for prolonged periods due to health problems and developed a love for reading. It was Disney’s Fantasia that made him decide, at age 12, to become an illustrator.

Where the Wild Things Are became one of his best known books, essentially making his career as it broke genre norms and made the children’s book something to be enjoyed by people of all ages.

While Wild Things’ was shocking to librarians and adults thought it may frighten their children, it was just the beginning to the trilogy of “shocking” and “frightening” books by Maurice Sendak.

In the Night Kitchen has been widely censored due to the protagonist, Mickey, running around the kitchen naked throughout the book as he helps some bakers bake a cake.

Outside, Over There takes readers on a journey on a goblin hunt as a young girl, Ida, reluctantly trails after her baby sister, whom was kidnapped by the goblins. Ida takes off on a magical, and dark, journey almost losing sight of her mission but eventually devoting herself to the care of her sister.

Maurice Sendak won several awards for his writing, but his illustrations became iconic of many children’s favorites and helped further immortalize the works of authors like Hans Christian Andersen, and E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Nutcracker.

Maurice Sendak once said, “So I write books that seem more suitable for children, and that’s OK with me. They are a better audience and tougher critics. Kids tell you what they think, not what they think they should think.”

Maurice Sendak will be remembered for generations to come for his literary works, which have been classified as children’s literature. But he will be remembered outside the halls of primary schools by those whose imaginations have been brought to life by his stories and illustrations, and by those whose wild rumpuses have not yet begun.

Supermoon on the rise

We’ll have a chance to see the supermoon Saturday, May 5

Supermoon— it may sound like something out of a 1950s sci-fi flick, but in reality, it’s the biggest full moon of the year, and we’ll have the opportunity to see it this Saturday, May 5.

The supermoon will occur at 11:35 p.m. EDT, although the moon may still appear full to observers the day before and after the event. The supermoon will likely outshine the annual Eta Aquarid meteor shower, which also hits its peak this weekend.

The moon orbits on an oval track. The average distance between the moon and the Earth is 238,000 miles, but when it’s on the closest part of that track, it’s called the perigee. During a perigee, the moon is a little less than 222,000 miles away.

The moon will appear to be as much as 16 percent bigger and about 30 percent brighter than other full moons that have occurred this year.
The supermoon does not pose a threat to Earth.

“Supermoons have been happening for billions of years, and nothing particularly special occurs on these dates—except, of course, a beautiful moon,” said Geza Gyuk, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium in Chicago.

The closest lunar perigee of 2012 will occur just one minute before the moon falls in line with the sun (making it a “full moon”), so this supermoon will be even greater than the one in March 2011. The perigee and full moon fell 50 minutes apart during that supermoon.

According to astronomers and seismologists, earthquakes are not more likely during a supermoon. However, with the Kentucky Derby and Cinco de Mayo lining up with this year’s supermoon, it may be wise to take caution against the monthly phenomenon of “full moon crazy.” A cosmic exhibit mixed with margaritas and Mint Juleps could cause quite a show this Saturday.

Sarah Phillips: lies, extortion and layers of deceit

The 22 year-old was fired from ESPN.com after her true colors were revealed

Sarah Phillips, a former columnist for ESPN.com, has a story that is full of twists, scams and deceptions.

ESPN abruptly ended its association with the sports gambling columnist Sarah Phillips Tuesday, just hours after the release of an online story that included claims that Sarah Phillips and a partner, Nilesh Prasad, may have committed fraud and extortion.

Deadspin.com broke the story about the ESPN contributor allegedly being involved in Internet scams and perhaps using a false identity. The story included accusations that Sarah Phillips had connections to a series of fake celebrity Twitter accounts and alleged attempts to purchase others’ Twitter accounts and buy followers.

Sarah Phillips was hired by ESPN.com to write a weekly column, Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics, after working five months as a columnist for Covers.com.

The story of Sarah Phillips is layered with deceptions, grandiose promises, shady dealings and past exploits with her supposed cohort Nilesh Prasad. Some stories out this week have questioned whether Sarah Phillips exists at all, but Internet sleuths (and people who have been burned by this girl in the past) have determined that she is a 22 year-old from Oregon. They have also determined that she and Nilesh Prasad may be romantically involved.

Sarah Phillips and Nilesh Prasad worked together previously at a T-Mobile store, but they were reportedly fired for exploiting loopholes and selling phones outside of the stores.

Deadspin readers who claim to be from the same hometown as Sarah Phillips have been messaging the site with loads of details. First of all, Nilesh Prasad met Sarah Phillips when he was a senior in high school, and she was in eighth grade—still in middle school. The two began dating shortly after.

After the Sarah Phillips story started to unfold on the Internet, more and more people began to come forward with personal information about the “real” Sarah Phillips. First of all, the photo that ran with her early columns on Covers.com are not photos of Sarah Phillips. They are photos of a girl named Ivy Smith who went to the same high school as Sarah Phillips.

Another person came forward claiming to have been scammed out of $5,000 by Sarah Phillips under the pretenses of being featured on a website she was “building.” The website was never completed, and after the man made threats to take legal action, Sarah Phillips deactivated her email account and blocked him on Twitter.

As the story winds around he-said-she-said accounts and various layers this and the pair’s past is peeled back, it is unclear how long it will take for the details of Sarah Phillips’ story to come out. For now, her schemes have been derailed, and it seems that the notoriety of this story will finally put a stop to people trusting in this deceitful duo.

While ESPN’s hiring process has been considered thorough in the past, it appears to have failed them this time.

“Sarah Phillips provided the information necessary to contribute to us. We will review this instance and see if anything needs to be changed with our process,” ESPN.com’s editor-in-chief Patrick Stiegman said in a brief statement.

Sarah Phillips took to her Twitter account this week to provide the following commentary about the story:

“I never wanted to be in sports media. It just happened. I concealed my identity so I wasn’t a “gambler” to future employers.”

“My avatar is me. My YouTube video is me. I enjoyed my time with ESPN. They were great to me.”

“I have severed ties with many people today. I need a new circle. I need to get back to being a 22-year-old.”

“Today was a good day. I was able to evaluate everything and move away from sports media. You live and learn. I’m just a fan now.”

In all, Sarah Phillips tweeted 14 times on May 1, the day she was let go from ESPN.

George Vujnovich, WWII hero, dies at 96

Vujnovich led a rescue mission to save more than 500 U.S. bomber crew members

George Vujnovich, the World War II veteran known as a hero for saving more than 500 people during a rescue operation, has died in his home at the age of 96.

George Vujnovich was an intelligence agent who organized a mission to rescue the U.S. bomber crew members shot down over Nazi-occupied Yugoslavia. He is credited with leading the Halyard Mission in the region that is now Serbia. The U.S. airmen were attempting to bomb Adolf Hitler’s oil fields in Romania.

George Vujnovich led a team of Serbian-speaking OSS agents into the villages where the airmen were kept hidden by people loyal to Draza Mihailovich, leader of guerrilla fighters.

“This mission would not have succeeded without the great courage of Draza Mihailovich and his brave men,” George Vujnovich said in 2010.

The mission was not widely known until a book called The Forgotten 500 came out in 2007. After that, George Vujnovich accepted an award from the OSS Society in 2008. He also received the Bronze Star in 2010 for his rescue efforts.

“We didn’t lose a single man. It’s an interesting history. Even in Serbia, they don’t know much about it,” George Vujnovich said during the 2008 ceremony.

George Vujnovich was a long retired salesman of aircraft parts. He passed away of natural causes in his home in Queens, New York on April 24.

Oldest human blood cells found in Otzi the Iceman

5300 year-old blood looks like modern humans’

The oldest human blood was found in the remains of Otzi, the 5300 year-old iceman.

Scientists examining the remains of Otzi, the prehistoric iceman who roamed the Alps thousands of years ago, found traces of the oldest human blood ever to be recovered.

Scientists have already sequenced Otzi’s DNA and determined his last meal via intestinal samples. Now, traces of the oldest human blood have been discovered at two wound sites on Otiz’s body.

Otzi was killed by an arrow, but red blood cells found at the site of the wound show that he likely lived several days after he was shot. In addition to the arrow wound, a laceration on Otiz’s hand rendered red blood cells.

Otzi was discovered by mountain climbers in 1991 sticking out of a glacier in the Tyrolean Alps on the Austrian-Italian border. His body was somewhat preserved by the ice, lending scientists the rarest of looks into the history of human biology and now the oldest human blood.

He had brown hair and type-O blood and was believed to be 45-years-old when killed.

To analyze the oldest human blood, nanotechnological equipment scans the surface of the tissue samples with a very fine probe. As the probe moves over the surface, sensors measure every tiny deflection of the probe, line by line and point by point, building up a 3D image.

Basically, miniscule needles showed scientists that the oldest human blood looked a lot like the blood in the newest born baby. The images rendered by the analysis showed typical donut-shaped red blood cells, just like they look today.

The scientists also used a laser to identify the molecules, making sure that what they were looking at was blood and not pollen or bacteria.

“Up to now, there had been uncertainty about how long blood could survive, let alone what human blood cells from the Chalcolithic period—the Copper Stone Age—might look like,” Albert Zink, head of the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy of Bozen-Bolzano said in a news release.

“Because fibrin is present in fresh wounds and then degrades, the theory that Otzi died straight after he had been injured by the arrow, as had once been suggested, and not some days after can no longer be upheld,” Zink added.

In addition to giving us an insight about Otzi’s life, the discovery of the oldest human blood cells may help in crime scene investigations.

“This will also open up possibilities for forensic science and may help lead to a more precise determination of the age of blood spots in crime investigations,” Zink added.

Zink said he and his colleagues hope to carry out further analysis on Otzi’s enzymes, proteins and immune system.

Kentucky Derby traditions add to the most exciting two minutes

Derby Day is Saturday, May 5

The Kentucky Derby is Saturday, May 5, so dust off your most flamboyant hats and get ready for the most exciting two minutes in sports.

The 138th Kentucky Derby will be raced Saturday by twenty Thoroughbred colts. No fillies will race in the Run for the Roses this year.

The Kentucky Derby is a one and a quarter miles race at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky and is raced by three-year-old Thoroughbred horses. It’s the oldest continuous sporting event in the United States and marks the first leg of the US Triple Crown, followed by the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes. To win the Triple Crown, the horse must win all three races.

Tradition abounds at the Kentucky Derby. Second only to the horses (and perhaps upstaging the stars of the show at times) are the hats.The tradition of hats at the Kentucky derby dates back to the era when men and women of the upper-class were expected to wear a hat outside of the house. Now it is a time-honored tradition, up there with Mint Juleps and blankets of roses.

The Mint Julep is the traditional beverage of the Kentucky Derby. The sweet minty drink made with fine Kentucky Bourbon keeps the spectators cool and starts a nice buzz for the revelers in the infield.

While those in the infield have little chance of seeing the race, they still enjoy the essence of the Kentucky Derby. They show up to the general admission area for the party, and the hats here are typically more of the Mad Hatter variety.

Whether seated in Millionaire’s Row, the lavish box seats for the rich and famous, or reveling in the infield, spectators know when the horses are being paraded before the grandstands when the University of Louisville Marching Band begins to play My Old Kentucky Home.

This Saturday as the band begins to play, pour a cool Mint Julep over some crushed ice, don your flashy hats and see which colt will wear the blanket of roses at the end of the Kentucky Derby. If you already have plans, don’t worry. It only takes two minutes.

Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees is a real 'Fighting Irish'

The QB has been arrested on preliminary felony charges, including battery to law enforcement

Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees was arrested and jailed early Thursday morning on preliminary felony charges.

The Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees,19, is facing charges of resisting law enforcement, battery to law enforcement, minor consumption and public intoxication, according to the St. Joseph County Police Department.

Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees is from Lake Forest, Ill. He was being held without bond until the county prosecutor’s office decided on formal charges.

“The university is aware of this incident and is confident it will be handled in a prompt and professional manner through the criminal justice system,” Notre Dame Spokesman Dennis Brown said in a statement. “Internal discipline is handled privately, in accord with our own policies and federal law.”

Captain Phil Trent of the South Bend Police Department told the Chicago Tribune that as officers approached an off-campus house party on Notre Dame Avenue, just after midnight, five or six people hopped a fence and led police on a chase. The officers caught up with the group and used their hands to corral them, but Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees “actively resisted.”

“It wasn’t terribly violent, but it was enough to be considered resisting,” Trent said.

Trent also said that one officer suffered a minor scrape and “had the wind knocked out of him” while trying to stop the group.

Notre Dame Linebacker Carlo Calabrese, 21, was also arrested but on a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He was released after posting $150 bond.

Notre Dame Quarterback Tommy Rees started 12 of 13 games with the Irish going 8-5 last season. He started four games as a freshman in the 2010 season and was among four players competing during Notre Dame’s spring practices for the starting quarterback spot this coming season.

Carrie Bradshaw townhouse goes for nearly $10 million

West Village home changes hands for the second time in six months

The Carrie Bradshaw townhouse in Manhattan’s West Village has sold for $9.85 million.

The Carrie Bradshaw townhouse, on Perry Street, was listed at $9.65 million in March, and raked in $200,000 more than the asking price.  It is the second time in six months the property has changed hands.

For nearly $10 million, the unknown buyer gets more than just the Carrie Bradshaw townhouse made famous on Sex and the City. The buyer is set up with five bedrooms, three bathrooms, an eat-in kitchen and a sun room. The home is spread over 4,100 square feet and four floors, plus a basement and backyard.


That’s a lot more space than Carrie Bradshaw ever dreamed of when viewers ventured in to her small roundabout-style studio apartment, with one bathroom, small kitchen, and an alcove for a bedroom. But she did have that killer walk-through closet.

Of course, the show also set the location of the Carrie Bradshaw townhouse as an Upper East Side home, but that’s how television works.

The Carrie Bradshaw townhouse was used in exterior shots for Carrie Bradshaw’s apartment in the HBO show, but the famous façade had been featured on-screen before. The Carrie Bradshaw townhouse could have been called the Alice townhouse, as it was featured in Woody Allen’s 1990 romantic fantasy Alice.

Project Runway’s Tim Gunn “made it work” as his home for 16 years. He occupied an upstairs apartment in the building.

The Carrie Bradshaw townhouse will remain on the Sex and the City New York tour, so whoever the owner is (both buyer and seller have kept their identities hidden by corporations) will probably have a lot of tourists taking pictures of their front stoop.

Although Sex and the City is returning to the small screen with The Carrie Diaries this fall, the show takes place before Carrie Bradshaw had a townhouse. This Carrie Bradshaw is still in high school, so the Carrie Bradshaw townhouse will not likely make a cameo.