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Saturday, October 31, 2009

Paul McCartney's New Song (I Want To) Come Home. From the "Everybody's Fine", out on 4 December 2009.


Friday, October 30, 2009

Beatles fans lash out as hippie anthem used in BlackBerry ad

By Martin Hickman, Consumer Affairs Correspondent

Friday, 30 October 2009

Beatles fans have reacted angrily to the use of the band's hippie anthem "All You Need Is Love" to promote a range of £300 consumer gadgets.

BlackBerry, the US technology company, is likely to have paid millions for the right to play a cover version of the 1967 "flower power" song in a series of TV adverts for its smartphones.

One online critic wrote: "The idea of using this song to sell a product is distasteful enough, but BlackBerry uses a cover version with a whiny vocal that is so annoying that the song actually elicits hatred."

Another complained: "It sounds horrible. It's disgusting that companies are trying to make money off the Beatles just because of the new release of their albums." "People should stop using Beatles songs (and bad covers at that) to commercialise their stupid products," said another.

For decades owners of the Beatles back catalogue have refused album compilers, as well as radio and TV advertisers, the rights to use Beatles tunes but, in 2008, Sony/ATV announced it was making 259 Beatles compositions available to advertisers.

It is unclear whether Paul McCartney or Yoko Ono, John Lennon's widow, approved use of "All You Need is Love". Last year, Sony/ATV said it had a "moral obligation" to contact them before giving approving to such projects.

BlackBerry and Sony/ATV declined to comment.


Brief an to The Point
As far as we are concerned Grayson Matthews' version sounds more like a worsened Jonhas Brothers...The Beatles deseve better than this...


Now Walmart sells the American way of death

From 'Dad Remembered' to 'American Patriot', coffins now available online

By Guy Adams in Los Angeles

Friday, 30 October 2009

As the world's biggest and most profitable retailer, Walmart has achieved staggering success in its efforts to put itself at the centre of American life. Now it's also trying to become part of the American way of death. The company, which owns the British supermarket chain Asda, has decided to get into the funeral business, and is now selling a range of coffins and urns at prices that dramatically undercut traditional undertakers.

Fourteen caskets, from the $895 (£560) "Dad Remembered" steel casket, to the exclusive "Sienna Bronze" model, which goes for $2,899 (£1,811), are available on Walmart's website. None are yet being stocked in stores, so customers must wait 48 hours for delivery. The range includes a special coffin designed for recently deceased servicemen, or military veterans. It's called "American Patriot," it is made from 18-gauge steel, and has the national flag embroidered on its lining.

"The American spirit glows in the embroidered front panel Stars and Stripes," reads the carefully written sales patter. "Stately and dignified, the American Patriot is made right here in the USA."

With the nation preparing for Halloween, news of Walmart's foray into the death industry could not have emerged at a more inappropriate time. A San Francisco Chronicle reporter apparently stumbled on the coffins while casually browsing the internet.

To avoid negative headlines, the firm had neglected to inform either shareholders or customers of its new range, which are categorised as "household products". "We are simply conducting a limited beta test [a low-profile, no-fanfare launch] to understand customer response," said a spokesman.

The coffins are all manufactured by an Illinois company called Star Legacy Funeral Network, whose chief executive Rick Obadiah revealed that no less than 200 of their products, including pet urns and "memorial jewellery", will eventually be sold by Walmart.

People who buy them will not necessarily be intending to carry out DIY funerals. Under US law, all funeral homes are required to allow clients to use coffins that are sold or made by a third party, rather than being forced to by the funeral directors' own models.

In keeping with its business model of undercutting the competition, Walmart is offering 12-month finance deals on the range, as well as an "enjoy no payment for six months" offer.

It also has a returns policy, and invites online customers to "be the first to review this product". But unlike other Walmart products available on line, customers will not be able to "try before they buy".


Olivia Wilde - How Far Can Beauty Go?

Mirror, mirror in the hall
Besides Olivia Wilde Who is the most beautiful of all?


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fab Four strings: Williamsburg Festival features Beatles favorites on the ukulele

All uke need is love.

The entire Beatles catalogue will be played on the ukulele as part of a two-day, marathon-like musical festival in Williamsburg this December.

Nearly 100 musicians will come together for the 2nd annual Beatles Complete on Ukulele. Brooklyn-based music producer Roger Greenawalt will play the ukulele, which usually has four strings, on all 185 of the Fab Four's songs.

"My arm is going to be sore," said Greenawalt, 48, who dreamed up the unique concert with business partner David Barratt. "My hand is going to be sore, too. I'll probably be hallucinating by the end of the night."

Other musicians signed up for the event include pianist Mike Wolff of the Naked Brothers Band and Ryan Miller, lead singer of Guster.

"It's a really unique idea and it's something I'm super-psyched to be a part of," said Miller, 36. "There's going to be a crazy cast of characters uniting around this silly cause of playing the Beatles on ukuleles."

The audience is also encouraged to Help! with the music. A microphone will be set in the middle of the crowd with a projector showing the chords to each song for anyone wanting to play.

"Obviously, we're not going to turn that mic up very loud," Greenawalt said. "But people are still invited to play."

Upwards of 4,000 concert-goers are expected at this year's show. Last year's concert drew nearly 1,000 fans and raised "hundreds" of dollars that were donated to America's richest man and ukulele aficionado, Warren Buffett.

Buffett used the money to purchase 17 ukuleles for an after school program for at-risk teen girls in his native Omaha, Neb.

"We were actually invited to have lunch with Warren Buffett," Greenawalt said. "We brought him a paper bag filled with the literally hundreds of dollars we collected. He loved it."

All proceeds from this year's concert will be donated to Yoko Ono, a move Greenawalt said was not made in jest.

"Yoko gets a very bad rap for breaking up the Beatles" he said. "We want her to know we are not making fun of her."

The 2nd annual Beatles Complete on Ukulele will take place Dec. 5-6 at N8 in Williamsburg. Admission is free to anyone who brings their own ukulele or comes dressed as Yoko Ono.


Rush Was Punked: “Obama Thesis” Hoax

It must have seemed so perfect. An obscure blogger unearths some pages of President Obama's college thesis. The report supposedly comes from big-time journalist Joe Klein of Time magazine. And the thesis has some real gems: like Obama's disdain for the Constitution.
The whole thing was nothing more than a satirical post on a humor blog. But Rush Limbaugh, who quoted from the supposed thesis on his radio show, sure wasn't laughing. Here's how it went down.
An unknown blogger picked up on a made-up post meant as a joke, which claimed that Joe Klein had gotten his hands on 10 pages of student Obama's college thesis. Rush Limbaugh jumped on it, which immediately sparked Web searches on "obama thesis."
Supposedly titled "Aristocracy Revisited," the excerpt revealed the president had "doubts" about the "so-called founders." Juicy. Except not true. Limbaugh discovered halfway through his show that he'd been had, but defended himself by saying basically the thesis felt true. Listen in to Rush's mea sorta culpa.
Joe Klein finally jumped in, and called the report "nonsense" on his Swampland blog, and the blogger who thought the hoax was real also apologized.
Let's hope someone kept their sense of humor in all this. Still, for a humble post to go from humor blog to major media outlet sure seems impressive. Someone ought to write their thesis on it. For real.



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nicole Kidman And Hollywood

The Academy award-winning actor Nicole Kidman used an appearance before the US Congress to accuse Hollywood of contributing to violence against women by portraying them as sex objects.

Kidman was speaking yesterday in her role as a UN ambassador to a House foreign affairs subcommittee that is considering legislation to tackle violence against women overseas.

When asked by Republican representative Dana Rohrabacher whether the film industry "played a bad role" in the way it portrayed women, Kidman replied "Probably", before going on to say that she refused to take roles that portrayed women as weak sex objects. "I can't be responsible for all of Hollywood, but I can certainly be responsible for my own career."

The International Violence Against Women Act is draft legislation that has been before Congress since 2007, but never passed. If enacted, it would require the US government to actively assist in anti-violence campaigns overseas, through both diplomacy and funding.

Kidman's own acting career has seen her take on controversial roles in terms of the cinematic portrayal of women. Dogville (2003), directed by Lars von Trier, required her character to be humiliated, raped and chained to a large iron wheel. In Stanley Kubrick's final film, Eyes Wide Shut, she played a woman whose husband (her then real-life spouse Tom Cruise) is tortured by visions of her infidelity.

She also took the lead role in the 2004 remake of perfect-marriage satire, The Stepford Wives, and appeared in the most expensive perfume advert ever made.

But early in her career Kidman was cast as the freethinker Isabel Archer in The Portrait of a Lady, Jane Campion's adaptation of Henry James' novel, and went on to play radical modernist writer Virginia Woolf in The Hours. One of her early roles saw her playing a weather presenter who plots to kill her husband to further her career in Gus van Sant's black comedy To Die For. She is due to play transsexual Elinar Wegener in the forthcoming film The Danish Girl, about the first full sex reassignment operation.

Kidman has represented the UN Development Fund for Women (Unifem) since 2006, but has worked for the UN since 1994 when she became a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Children's Fund (Unicef). She merged her professional and ambassadorial roles in 2005, when she played a UN employee who discovers an assassination plot in the film The Interpreter.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Beatles: A Guitar Shot

Sometime back in 1965...

The Beatles: "In My Life" First Draft

Click on the image to better visualize the original first draf of The Beatles' "In My Life" song.

Comparing dates:

10/18/1965 – In My Life initial recording date
11/01/1965 – Paul McCartney’s mention of penny Lane

One may say that Penny Lane, in fact, and in principle,

was a response to (or inspired in) “In My Life”.


Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Battle Between the White House and Fox News

The Obama administration, which would seem to have its hands full with a two-front war in Iraq and Afghanistan, opened up a third front last week, this time with Fox News.

Until this point, the conflict had been mostly a one-sided affair, with Fox News hosts promoting tax day “tea parties” that focused protest on the new president, and more recently bringing down the presidential adviser Van Jones through rugged coverage that caught the administration, and other news organizations, off guard. During the health care debate, Fox News has put a megaphone to opponents, some of whom have advanced far-fetched theories about the impact of reform. And even farther out on the edge, the network’s most visible star of the moment, Glenn Beck, has said the president has “a deep-seated hatred for white people.”

Administration officials seemed to have decided that they had had enough.

“We’re going to treat them the way we would treat an opponent,” Anita Dunn, the White House communications director, said in an interview with The New York Times. “As they are undertaking a war against Barack Obama and the White House, we don’t need to pretend that this is the way that legitimate news organizations behave.”

Ah, but pretending has traditionally been a valuable part of the presidential playbook. Smiling and wearing beige even under the most withering news media assault is not only good manners, but also has generally been good politics. While there is undoubtedly a visceral thrill in finally setting out after your antagonists, the history of administrations that have successfully taken on the media and won is shorter than this sentence.

Not that they haven’t tried. In his second Inaugural Address, Ulysses S. Grant said he had “been the subject of abuse and slander scarcely ever equaled in political history.” President William McKinley labeled a gathering of the press a “congress of inventors,” and President Franklin D. Roosevelt assigned less favored press members to his “Dunce Club.” Sometimes the strategy worked — or caused no lasting damage. McKinley, like Grant, was elected to a second term. Roosevelt also won a third and fourth.

As Americans turned to TV for news, enmity from presidents soon followed. Vice President Spiro T. Agnew said “self-appointed analysts” at the Big Three networks exhibited undisguised “hostility” toward President Richard M. Nixon, subjecting his speeches to “instant analysis and querulous criticism.” Later, in the dispute with The Times over the Pentagon Papers, Mr. Nixon’s national security adviser, Henry Kissinger, accused the newspaper of treason.

Neither of the Bush presidents had a particularly cozy relationship with the press. George H.W. Bush finished the campaign in 1992 with a bumper sticker that suggested, “Annoy the Media. Vote Bush.” And George W. Bush, in the words of ABC’s Mark Halperin, viewed “the media as a special interest rather than as guardians of the public interest.” Bill Clinton, too, distrusted the press, as did others in his administration. When Vincent Foster, Mr. Clinton’s deputy White House counsel, committed suicide in 1993, he left behind a note accusing the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page of lying.

Even though almost all the critiques contained a kernel of truth, in each instance the folks who had the barrels of ink, and now pixels, seemed to come out ahead. So far, the only winner in this latest dispute seems to be Fox News. Ratings are up 20 percent this year, and the network basked for a week in the antagonism of a sitting president

It could all be written off as a sideshow, but it may present a genuine problem for Mr. Obama, who took great pains during the campaign to depict himself as being above the fray of over-heated partisan squabbling. In his victory speech he promised, “I will listen to you, especially when we disagree.”

Or not. Under the direction of Ms. Dunn, the administration has begun to punch back. On Sept. 20, the president visited all the Sunday talk shows save Fox News’, with Ms. Dunn explaining that Fox was not a legitimate news organization, but a “wing of the Republican Party.”

The one weapon all administrations can wield is access, and the White House, making it clear that it will use that leverage going forward, informed Fox News not to expect to bump knees with the president until 2010. But Fox News, as many have pointed out, is not in the access business. They are in the agitation business. And the administration, by deploying official resources against a troublesome media organization, seems to have brought a knife to a gunfight.

Tactics aside, something more fundamental is at risk. Even the president’s most avid critics admit he exudes a certain cool confidence. The public impression of him is that if anyone were to, say, talk trash on the basketball court with Mr. Obama, he would not find much space for rent in Mr. Obama’s head.

Mr. Obama has also shown a consistent ability to disarm or at least engage his critics. When he eventually sat for an interview with the Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly two months before the election, it made for great television. But for the time being, détente seems very far away and the gap seems to be widening.

On the official White House Web site, a blog called Reality Check provides a running tally of transgressions by Fox News. It ends with this: “For even more Fox lies, check out the latest ‘Truth-O-Meter’ feature from Politifact that debunks a false claim about a White House staffer that continues to be repeated by Glenn Beck and others on the network.”

People who work in political communications have pointed out that it is a principle of power dynamics to “punch up “ — that is, to take on bigger foes, not smaller ones. A blog on the White House Web site that uses a “truth-o-meter” against a particular cable news network would not seem to qualify. As it is, Reality Check sounds a bit like the blog of some unemployed guy living in his parents’ basement, not an official communiqué from Pennsylvania Avenue.

The American presidency was conceived as a corrective to the royals, but trading punches with cable shouters seems a bit too common. Perhaps it’s time to restore a little imperiousness to the relationship.


David Carr


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Roman Polanski Will Remain in Swiss Prison

Roman Polanski will remain in a Swiss prison while awaiting possible extraditiion to the United States.

On Tuesday, the Swiss Justice Ministry rejected the 76-year-old director's appeal to be let go. Ministry spokesman Folco Galli told The Associated Press there was still a high risk that Polanski would flee if released from custody.

Polanski's lawyers had hoped that the filmmaker could get out on bail or house arrest. They filed the appeal with the Ministry on Sept. 29, the same day they initiated a similar process in the Swiss courts that also seeks Polanski's freedom.

Last week, ABC News learned that 15 years after he pleaded guilty to unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor, Polanski agreed to pay $500,000 to his victim, Samantha Geimer, to settle a civil lawsuit she filed. But it is unclear whether that payment was ever made.

According to documents released to the press, the two reached a deal in October 1993, but the terms of settlement were not disclosed. According to The Associated Press, it took Geimar two years to get Polanski to agree to pay the sum, but it was unclear from the court filings if the money was ever given.

In 1978, Polanski pleaded guilty to the charge of raping then 13-year-old Geimer. He spent 43 days in a California jail where he underwent a psychriatric evaluation and was deemend mentally fit. But amid fears of facing a long-term prison sentence, Polanski fled the country before he was sentenced.

Since then, Polanski has lived in Europe but has avoided countries that have extradition agreements with the United States.

But in late September, the director, who won an Academy Award in 2003 for "The Pianist," was arrested at the airport in Zurich, Switzerland, as he was arriving for the Zurich Film Festival.

Officials there are now waiting for an official extradition request from the United States, and Polanski's attorneys are seeking bond to fight the extradition.

Nearly 31 years after he fled the United States, Polanski still has an outstanding warrant for his arrest and the 1977 rape case is still pending.

In 1993, Polanski agreed to pay Geimar the amount she was asking, but according to the AP, in December 1995, Geimar's attorneys wrote in a court filing that the Hollywood director had failed to pay. With interest accruing, that would amount to more than $600,000.

The AP reports that the victim's attorneys tried to solicit the help at the time of the Directors Guild of America, International Creative Management, Warner Bros. Inc. and Sony Studios.

It remains unclear if Polanski gave any money to Geimar and why the case was not pursued further.

In 1997, Geimar, who is now in her early 40s, began advocating that Polanski's case should be dropped. Since then, she has continually said she forgives Polanski and does not want him to face further jail time.

Experts say it's not unusual for victims in this type of a case to seek financial damages.

"There's nothing illegal, believe it or not, the victim of the crime asking for money because there's always a parrallel civil claim already attached to these things," said ABC News legal analyst Dana Cole. "Frankly, it's both expected and not frowned upon to reap some sort of financial settlement. [It] gives a victim some restitution, compensation, so there's nothing inaprorpriate about that."

And the settlement could be the reason why Geimar has forgiven Polanski and doesn't want him to spend more time in jail, he said.

"I don't think it's unsual, when a financial settlement has been reached," Cole said. "That again is part of the perhaps implied agreement between the parties. The civil claim."

He added, "It's sort of like ... understanding between parties."

Renewed Interest in Polanski's Case

ABC News obtained transcripts of Geimer's 1977 grand jury testimony, which resulted in six charges against Polanski. They include shocking details of 13-year-old Geimer testifying that the 43-year-old Polanski plied her with champagne and part of a Quaalude before performing oral, vaginal and anal intercourse on her, despite her demands to "keep away."

A former Los Angeles prosecutor who worked on the case said he believes that if people knew all the details, they would have less sympathy for Polanski.

"It's outrageous," David Wells, a former assistant district attorney on the case, told "This pedophile raped a 13-year-old girl. It's still an outrageous offense. It's a good thing he was arrested. I wish it would have happened years before."

According to Geimer's testimony, Polanski first met Geimer at her home Feb. 13, 1977. Geimer said the director asked her mother if he could photograph her for French Vogue. She said her mother agreed to a private photo shoot, which Geimer told ABC's "Good Morning America" in 2003 that she believed would help further her acting career.

The director returned nearly a week later to take Geimer for the photo shoot about a block from her home. Geimer said that at the top of a hill, Polanski asked her to change shirts, which she did in front of him.

Then, she said, he asked her to pose topless, which she also did, though she said she felt uncomfortable.

However, when Polanski turned up at her home March 10 for a second photo session, Geimer agreed to go with him. She had planned to ask him if she could bring along a friend, but said she felt he was rushing her to go.

Polanski took pictures of Geimer at someone else's residence before they drove to Jack Nicholson's home. There, events took a darker turn, as Geimer said Polanski loaded her with champagne, then asked her to pose topless again.

"We did photos with me drinking champagne," Geimer later told "GMA." "He was friendly and then right toward the end it got a little scary, and I realized, you know, he had some other intentions, and then I knew I was not where I should be. I just didn't quite know how to get myself out of there."

Geimer said the other intentions became clear after Polanski offered her part of a Quaalude, which she took, then asked her to get into a Jacuzzi without her underwear. He took pictures of her in the Jacuzzi naked, before taking off his clothes and joining her in the water, she said.

Geimer said she grew uncomfortable when he grabbed her around the waist and started to move her hips around. When she hopped out of the Jacuzzi and retreated to the bathroom, she said, Polanski followed her there and she told him she wanted to go home.

"Yeah, I'll take you home soon," he said, according to her testimony.

"No, I have to go home now," Geimer said she told him.

Geimer testified that Polanski persuaded her to go to the bedroom and lie down. Geimer went, she said, but she sat on the couch in the bedroom. She described Polanski sitting next to her and reaching over to kiss her. Geimer said she told him, "No, keep away" and "Come on, let's go home."

He ignored her, she testified, then "went down and he started performing cuddliness (sic)."

When the district attorney asked Geimer what "cuddliness" meant, she clarified, "he placed his mouth on my vagina."

"I was ready to cry," she said. "I was going, 'No. Come on. Stop it.'"

Polanski Asked Girl If She Was on Pill During Rape, Victim Testified

Instead, a few minutes later, Geimer said, Polanski began having intercourse with her, while asking her if she was on the pill and when her last period was.

She testified that he then asked, "Would you like me to go in through your back?" Then, he started performing anal sex on her.

At one point, Geimer said, there was a knock on the door. The Los Angeles Times reported that the woman was actress Anjelica Huston, Nicholson's girlfriend at the time, but Geimer testified that she did not know who the woman was who was in the house.

According to Geimer, the woman who knocked on the door said, "Roman, are you in there?"

Polanski went to the door and opened it a crack to speak to the woman. Meanwhile, Geimer testified, she put her underwear back on and started toward the door.

When asked why she didn't say anything to the woman, Geimer said, "I was still pretty much afraid of him [Polanski]." She added that he was her only way home.

Geimer testified that Polanski closed the door before she could reach it, took off her panties and began intercourse again. When he finally let up, she said, she went to the bathroom and put on her dress again.

On her way outside to the car to wait for Polanski, she said, she again saw the woman in the house, spoke with her, but didn't tell her what had just happened.

Geimer said she began to cry in the car, and Polanski got in about 10 minutes later and drove her home.

"All hell broke loose" when her mom found out, Geimer told "GMA."

"My sister overheard me telling my then-boyfriend what happened on the phone after I got home. So she went in and told my mom," Geimer said in 2003.

Polanski was arrested the next day. He claimed that the sex was consensual. Geimer said it was not and that she resisted.

Huston later described the teen as "sullen" in a probation report prepared at the time of Polanski's plea deal.

"She appeared to be one of those kind of little chicks between -- could be any age up to 25. She did not look like a 13-year-old scared little thing," Huston said..

Today, Hollywood is still rushing to Polanski's defense. Directors Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and Woody Allen are among dozens in the film industry who have agreed to sign a petition calling for the immediate release of Polanski. In a British newspaper, film producer Harvey Weinstein, who has already signed the petition, called Polanski's original plea deal a "miscarriage of justice."



Letterman's apologies bring big night in ratings

While David Letterman would undoubtedly do without the personal turmoil, his blackmail scandal is great for business.

The late-night talk show host's apologies to his wife and staff made for gripping television, and more viewers tuned in to his CBS program than watched anything on NBC in prime-time on Monday. That includes Letterman's old rival, Jay Leno.

Letterman used most of his monologue for jokes at his own expense. In revealing last week that he was the victim of an alleged blackmail scheme, Letterman also admitted to having sexual relationships with women who worked on his "Late Show."

When the laughs quieted down, Letterman apologized to his staff for "putting up with something stupid I've gotten myself involved in." Many had been humiliated by questions from reporters. Letterman said the relationships were in the past. He married longtime flame Regina Lasko in March, and said he is intent upon repairing their marriage.

"Let me tell you folks, I got my work cut out for me," he said.

CBS News producer Robert J. "Joe" Halderman has pleaded not guilty to charges of trying to extort $2 million from Letterman.

Although Letterman has acknowledged having more than one sexual relationship with staff members, Halderman referred to only one woman by name — Stephanie Birkitt — in his alleged extortion attempt, according to a law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the continuing investigation. Birkitt, Letterman's assistant, is Halderman's former live-in girlfriend.

The 5.7 million viewers who tuned in to Letterman Monday more than doubled the audience for NBC's "Tonight" show with Conan O'Brien, according to the Nielsen Co. It was slightly less than the 5.9 million who watched Thursday when Letterman broke the news of the alleged extortion attempt.

The ratings are a testament to the power of the Internet after Letterman's representatives released details of the scandal to the media about three hours before his show aired Thursday. His audience that night was more than a million more than usual, meaning word spread quickly and encouraged people to tune in.

The timing also couldn't be better for CBS, which has seen Letterman eclipse the "Tonight" show shortly after O'Brien took over. The "Late Show" is solidifying the lead partly because of the scandal and guests like President Barack Obama, who brought 7.2 million viewers when he appeared on Sept. 21.

Also appreciating the timing was the pistachio nut industry, which started its first-ever television advertising campaign Monday with commercials on Letterman and the NFL game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers, which was the most-watched event in cable TV history.

"This is gravy for us," said Dominic Engels, vice president for marketing at pistachio maker Paramount Farms.

No advertisers have publicly asked to back out of the "Late Show" since the story broke, and analysts say they don't expect the incident to make a bottom-line difference to the CBS Corp.

"The ratings popped the first night," said David Joyce, analyst for Miller Tabek. "It appears as if it's going to be a non-story."

Letterman even got an endorsement from Martha Stewart, who said his actions aren't at all disturbing unless there was force involved.

"He's a very attractive man," she said. "Very appealing. Great sense of humor, obviously, and I think all this was done while he was still not married. Although it's still probably harmful to his wife ... But, you know, men are men. I've put up with it all."

Letterman's effort to be pro-active with the issue in a self-deprecating way is helping him control the story and his image, said Michael Gordon, head of a New York-based crisis public relations firm.

"What he can't control is if there are more revelations," he said. "If just one woman claims harassment, then his ratings will go down along with his career."

Letterman arrived on stage Monday to applause and cheers from his studio audience. After drinking it in, he grinned sheepishly and inquired, with a mock stammer, "Did your, did your weekend just fly by?"

After pausing for the audience's sympathetic laughter, he went on: "I mean, I'll be honest with you folks — right now, I would give anything to be hiking on the Appalachian Trail."

"I got into the car this morning," he added, "and the navigation lady wasn't speaking to me. Ouch."

His performance drew mixed reviews.

Entertainment Weekly's Ken Tucker called it "was such a superb hour of television ... that it reminded us all over again how invaluable he is."

"It is time for those calling for his head to calm down and let the man do his job, the job he does as no one else does, and no one will ever do as well again," Tucker wrote

But editorial page columnist Yael T. Abouhalkah of the Kansas City Star said Letterman's effort to poke fun at a serious situation "made the apologies he issued look rather lame."

Joel Keller of the Web site TV Squad advised Letterman to "stop talking about this mess, immediately."

"The more jokes he made, the more I felt that he was digging a hole he couldn't get out of," Keller wrote. "And then when he made that apology, sincere as it was, it felt like the hole just got much, much deeper."

NBC's Leno made a brief reference to Letterman in his monologue Tuesday. He said a producer for "Dateline NBC" tried to blackmail him but it didn't work because "no one watches NBC."




The Associated Press