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Super Bowl Luxury Suite Menu is Not All That and a Bag of Chips

(via TMZ)

0126_superbowl_food_composite_superbowl_exCelebs piling into Super Bowl XLVI (46 to non-Romans) luxury suites better bring their own grub if they want fancy finger foods … because TMZ has learned this year’s stadium menu is loaded with home-style comforts.

While the Giants and Patriots do battle at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis —Centerplate catering will dish up some Midwest favorites:

— Braised Buffalo Short Ribs featuring natural buffalo in a classic French braise
— Heartland Farm Table platter with local veggie selections
— Chef designed Chicken Pot Pie

Basically, sushi lovers … stay home.

However, average joes in run-of-the-mill super expensive SB seats can get Indianapolis Shrimp Cocktails … which we’re told is legendary — despite Indy being landlocked.

Oh, and there’s a sweet consolation for the NFL teams that didn’t make it to the big game. All team owners get a giant jar of mixed M&Ms in their team’s colors.

Feel better now, Baltimore and San Fran?

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(via NY POST)

For anybody who’s ever been annoyed by some idiot texting near them in a dark theater, seeing justice done is sweet. But never more colorfully or symbolically so than at a recent performance of the off-Broadway play “Freud’s Last Session,” in which one transgressor was reprimanded by the father of modern psychology himself.

“There was a lady texting in the front row,” says actor Martin Rayner, who plays Sigmund Freud in the show, which is at New World Stages.

“It’s very distracting, especially in such a small theater. I decided at some point I had had enough of it, and I turned to her and said, ‘Stop texting!’ and carried on. She was stunned. I think my partner onstage was stunned, too, because I stuck it in the middle of a line!

Hugh Jackman, “A Steady Rain,” September 2009: “You wanna get that? Come on, just turn it off. Don’t be embarrassed, just grab it. You got it? All right, great.”

It got a cheer,” Rayner recalls.

“I think a lot of audiences hate those people sitting next to them texting.”

That moment of triumph seems indicative of a growing resentment of the boorish, entitled smartphone addicts who seem to pop up at every movie or live performance these days. The common wisdom in years past has been to simply ignore such bad behavior, or accept it as an unfortunate side effect of our perma-online culture.

Lately, though, fed-up patrons and performers are pushing back — such as conductor Alan Gilbert of the New York Philharmonic, who recently stopped the orchestra in the midst of a climactic moment in a Mahler symphony when an iPhone marimba ringtone sounded in the front row.

“Are you finished?” he asked. The tone went on. “Fine, we’ll wait.” When it finally stopped, Gilbert apologized to the rest of the audience, saying he usually ignores such things, but that “this was so egregious that I could not allow it.”

And a recent viral video from a violin concert in Prague shows another way of fighting back: When a cellphone rings, the annoyed violinist deftly picks up the tune and plays a few bars of it before switching back to the concerto.

Most of the time, though, we must content ourselves with an impotent whispered request — often ignored — or else face the daunting challenge of causing an even bigger public disruption than the phone hog.

“One of the great ironies of manners is that the people who enforce them often have worse manners than the initial violators,” says Henry Alford, author of the new etiquette book “Would It Kill You To Stop Doing That?”

Nevertheless, Alford is all in favor of combating the scourge of smartphone rudeness sweeping the nation. For inspiration, look to high-profile stage performers such as Hugh Jackman, Patti LuPone and Kevin Spacey, all of whom have stopped mid-show to chastise techno-rudeness. In May, Frances McDormand was at a pivotal moment in her Tony-winning performance in “Good People” when a cellphone rang — and its owner answered it. McDormand reportedly stopped, put her arm around her co-star and said, “Let’s wait.” Which she did, until the oblivious patron realized what she’d done and stashed the phone.

Occasionally, someone will take it to the next level. When hairdresser Wyatt Raymond took his visiting niece to a movie in Times Square, he says, “about five minutes into the movie, you hear someone talking on her cellphone. The guy in front of me stands up, looks for the person, sees her, and reaches over and closes her phone. She gets up and starts shouting, ‘You don’t do that! You don’t touch someone’s phone!’

“He waves her away and she picks up her very large soda and throws it at him. It didn’t actually hit him — it hit the guy next to him. Who grabs his soda and throws it at her!”

When all involved parties had been escorted into the lobby, the rest of the audience simply laughed it off, Raymond reports. But not all moviegoers are so forgiving.

“I think it’s really the theater’s responsibility. They should warn people on the first offense, and then on the second offense they should pull the person out by the ear and kick them in the ass, hard!” says one Manhattan movie publicist, who asked to remain anonymous.

The likelihood of having to deal with these disruptions in a movie for which you’ve paid upwards of $14, he suggests, is largely to blame for this year’s plummeting ticket sales ($500 million less than the previous year, and a 16-year low for the industry, reports Hollywood.com). “Why pay all that money to go to the movies when you can wait a couple of months to watch in the comfort of your own home?” says the publicist, whose livelihood depends on people not doing that.

So why aren’t more movie theaters following the example of the Alamo Drafthouse theaters in Texas, which famously boot patrons for texting or talking? This summer, they made one indignant woman’s angry voice mail into a public service announcement for the chain: “I’ve texted in all the other theaters in Austin, and no one ever gave a f - - k!” she rants in the spot, which concludes with a message: “Thanks for not coming back to the Alamo, texter!”

The viral video has obviously struck a chord with the public: it’s got nearly 2.5 million hits on YouTube. “We probably kick out about 100 people a year from our 10 locations,” says Alamo owner Tim League.

A spokesman for the AMC chain assures The Post that New York cinema managers “do periodically check auditoriums to make sure there’s no distracting texting going on,” though anyone who’s been to a show in Times Square lately may take issue with that assertion.

A spokeswoman for the Clearview Cinemas chain in New York, meanwhile, didn’t respond to our request for comment.

Broadway theaters and fine arts performance spaces always make announcements asking patrons to turn off their phones, but even this explicit instruction doesn’t seem to get through to everyone. At Lincoln Center Theater, “before the show begins and during intermission the ushers walk up and down the aisles asking everyone to be sure to turn off their electronic devices,” says spokesman Philip Rinaldi.

But many theater owners seem oblivious to just how deeply most patrons despise those little lap-lights. Exhibit A: the plan to have a block of “tweet seats” in select Broadway shows. The director of promotions for the current revival of “Godspell” has said the production intends to try out this idea.

The very thought makes Stephen Bienskie’s blood run cold.

The actor, who plays Buffalo Bill in the off-Broadway show “Silence! The Musical,” says he’s always stunned when patrons whip out their phones mid-performance, whether to text, talk or take pics.

Although Bienskie says he’s been known to stop mid-line and wait for a phone to stop ringing, there are some moments when it’s simply not possible to break character and yell at violators.

“I get to the end of the number and I reveal myself,” says Bienskie, who is seminude for a few seconds during the show, “and I see about 10 cellphones come up in the audience. How do you combat that?”

Still, Bienskie thinks the tide may be turning.

“People are starting to speak up,” he says.

“Audience members get as outraged as we do, and think nothing of turning to someone and saying, in so many words, to turn their phone off and have some respect. People will actually jump on them pretty quickly.”

Read more: http://trade.cc/adjj

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5 Corporate Takeaways from the Papa John’s “Lady Chinky Eyes” Debacle $PZZA

(via GroundFloor Media)

It’s a new year and time to dust off your social media crisis plan. Need motivation? Just check out how Papa John’s is mired in the damage caused this week when a single tweet started a media firestorm.

An unofficial count found nearly 500 news hits covering the Papa John’s story. It began with a 10-word tweet from a customer, accompanied by a twitpic of her Papa John’s receipt that referred to her as “lady chinky eyes.”

The customer is the communications manager for ProPublica, a nonprofit investigative journalism outlet.

Now there are calls for boycotts, and phone lines at this particular upper Manhattan franchise are overloaded with prank calls from people ordering Chinese food.

Papa John’s Twitter account went from ebullient tweets about reaching 2 million Facebook fans and giving away free pizzas to posting hundreds of responses about the incident, saying over and over: “We are very upset by recent receipt issue in New York & sincerely apologize to our customer. Franchise employee involved is being terminated.”

The issue was compounded when an employee was quoted in the media as saying, “I think the lady put it out there just to get some attention—some people like that type of attention. I truly don’t think it’s fair. It’s been taking up all our time. It’s been very disruptive.”

I bet it has.

Using this particular incident as a jumping-off point, here are several tips that should be included in any social media crisis plan:

Take immediate action. The speed at which bad news spreads on social media is mind-boggling. Companies need to have a response plan that cuts through the red tape and offers an immediate and appropriate response.

Show sympathy. On social media, an apology goes a long way. No company can manage what every employee does, but it can have policies in place to keep crises from happening. Linking to the policy and getting rid of the employee who breached it are good first steps.

Have one official spokesperson. Route all calls to an official spokesperson, one who knows the messaging. Front-line employees are busy with their jobs and may not be aware of the potential repercussions of their comments.

Ensure it won’t reoccur. Learn from the crisis, and put measures in place to minimize the chances of its happening again.

Think bigger picture. A reputation takes a long time to heal, but grand gestures can help. In the case of Papa John’s, maybe a generous donation to a relevant charity might be on point.

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ProTip: Don’t Eat the Shellfish on a Plane, Regardless of Your Street Cred DMX

(via TMZ)

DMX – Busted by Bad ShellfishRushes to Hospital

0126_dmx_EX_01DMX had the plane ride from Hell last night — throwing up all the way from Miami to Charlotte, and then rushing straight to the hospital after landing.

According to DMX, he had some “bad shrimp” at his baby mama’s house in Miami before he got on a plane — commercial — and then spent most of the flight tossing his cookies in the lavatory.

X tells us … as soon as he touched down he went to Gastonia Memorial Hospital outside of Charlotte … by limousine. Puking, but still balling!!

X spent about four hours in the emergency room getting treated for food poisoning, and then headed home.

No limo ride home though. A friend picked him up.

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Warren Buffett’s Secretary Likely Makes Between $200,000 And $500,000/Year

Paul Roderick Gregory, Contributor

Warren Buffet’s secretary, Debbie Bosanek, served as a stage prop for President Obama’s State of the Union speech. She was the President’s chief display of the alleged unfairness of our tax system – a little person paying a higher tax rate than her billionaire boss.

Bosanek’s prominent role in Obama’s “fairness” campaign piqued my curiosity, and I imagine the curiosity of others. How much does her boss pay this downtrodden woman? So far, no one has volunteered this information.

Read the rest here.

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High Price Tag For Superbowl Tickets

The rematch of the 2008 thriller between the Giants and the Patriots is attracting huge interest on ticket resale websites, where thousands of seats originally priced at $900 and $1,200 are selling for $2,500 to $15,000. StubHub even listed a street level suite for $882,375 today, hours after the Giants defeated the San Francisco 49ers for a berth in the big game. Full Article

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(via TMZ)

I Don’t Trust My Baby Mamawith My Money!

NFL superstar Ray Lewis admits he fathered an 11-year-old boy in Florida … and he’s totally willing to provide support — with one caveat … he doesn’t want the baby mama to get her hands on the money.

According to court documents filed in Florida, Lewis has an ongoing paternity case over his son with a woman named Sharnika Kelly. In court papers, Lewis acknowledges being the father, but the issue of support is slightly more contentious …

According to the docs, Lewis is hesitant to fork over money to Kelly because he says she has an outstanding judgment against her in a civil case … totaling over $1,000,000.

In the docs, Lewis says he has “grave concerns about the Mother’s character” and feels she’ll siphon off money meant for his son … either to pay off her debt or support her other child … not Ray’s.

Lewis is asking the court to establish a guardianship for his son to manage any support Lewis eventually pays.

The couple had a hearing scheduled for last month, but Lewis had to reschedule because he had a game in San Diego. The judge has yet to rule on his request.

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Fed Sees Slower Growth But Offers No Hint Of More Easing

(via CNBC.com)

The Federal Reserve, ending a two-day policy meeting on Wednesday, repeated its view that the economy faces “significant downside risks” but it offered little to suggest it was close to launching another round of bond-buying to prop up growth.

Its forecasts pointed to somewhat weaker economic growth this year and next, compared with Fed estimates published in November.

It did say, however, that it would maintain a “highly accommodative” monetary policy stance.

Earlier Wednesday, the Fed pushed back the likely timing of an eventual interest rate hike until late 2014, much later than it had previously said, because of the still-sluggish economic recovery.

In a historic step that it has touted as an effort toward greater transparency, the Fed also announced an official inflation target of 2 percent, and for the first time published individual policymakers’ forecasts for the federal funds rate.

These showed quite a wide range of views, including three of 17 policymakers who expect rates will need to rise this year and two others who do not see any increase until 2016.

Still, the biggest concentration of estimates was around 2014.

The assurance that rates would remain near zero for at least some 18 months longer than previously believed was enough to drive a steep rally in U.S. government bonds and push stocks into positive territory.

Economic conditions “are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate at least through late 2014,” the central bank said in a statement.

Many investors had expected the Fed to push its expectations for the first rate hike into 2014, but few had thought it would be late in the year.  After every previous policy meeting dating back to August, the Fed had said rates were not likely to rise until mid-2013.

The central bank also appeared more sanguine on the inflation outlook, suggesting prices were now rising at a pace consistent with policymakers’ goals. The statement also dropped a reference saying the Fed was monitoring inflation and inflation expectations.

Aside from the 2014 rate pledge, the Fed’s statement hewed closely to its last policy pronouncement in mid-December. It described the unemployment rate as still elevated and said it expects inflation to remain at levels consistent with stable prices.

In a slight shift, it acknowledged signs that business investment has slowed.

“I think what they are seeing is that the rate of growth is not sufficient to bring down the unemployment rate,” said Brian Dolan, chief strategist at FOREX.com in Bedminster, New Jersey.

Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker, an inflation hawk who rotated into a voting seat this year, dissented against the decision.

He preferred to omit the description of the time period for ultra-low rates.

In response to the deepest recession in generations, the Fed slashed the overnight federal funds rate to near zero in December 2008.

It has also more than tripled the size of its balance sheet to around $2.9 trillion through two separate bond purchase programs.

The policy is credited with having prevented an even more devastating downturn, but it has been insufficient to bring unemployment down to levels considered normal during good economic times.

In December, the U.S. jobless rate stood at 8.5 percent, and some 13 million Americans were still actively looking for work but could not find it.

While forecasters expect the U.S. economy grew at a 3 percent annual rate in the last three months of 2011, they look for growth of just around 2 percent this year.

Fed officials appear likely to bide their time in determining whether more monetary stimulus is needed.

Many economists expect they will eventually decide on another spurt of Fed bond buying – probably one focused on mortgage debt.

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