Category Archives: Lifestyle

American Idol winner can now afford own first name

LOS ANGELES — Phillip Phillips, the season 11 American Idol winner said that with the recording contract he’ll sign and consequential high income he’ll command, he’d finally be able to buy his own first name, after having to borrow his family’s surname as his first name for the last 22 years.

GOODBYE, ‘PHILLIP’: American Idol winner Phillip Phillips (left) with fellow finalist Jessica Sanchez at the final show

“When my folks had me, they were just fresh out of college, starting out their lives so they couldn’t afford to get me a real first name,” said Phillips, gesturing towards his proud parents sitting in the audience after the announcement was made on Wednesday night that he had beaten fellow Idol finalist, Jessica Sanchez. “The choices were limited then — they could either borrow, beg or steal a first name for me, so they decided to borrow from the family. Of course I don’t hold anything against them for it, things were tough back then,” he added, blowing a kiss to his mother.

“Now the first thing I’ll do when I get my recording contract advanced payment is to walk over to the National Registration Department and get my own name. I can’t wait to say goodbye to my pseudonym, Phillip,” said Phillips, reflecting on the difficult years in school being teased for having the same first and surnames. “I mean, Phillip is a wonderful name. But the fact that it’s just borrowed from a last name, that’s kinda taken the good vibe out of it. I felt like I was ordinary. It was tough. I had only one friend throughout high school who sympathised with my predicament, I’ve always wished for the day when I could change it.

“This win’s for you, Michael Michaels. We did it, buddy!” yelled Phillips into the camera, wiping tears from his cheeks.

Phillips continued, “It was bad enough to be called ‘stutter name’ or ‘carbon copy kid’. When I tried to alleviate the problem by just using my initials ‘PP’, they called me ‘PeePee’. I was traumatised.”

Fellow finalist Jessica Sanchez said that while she was disappointed that she didn’t win the show, she was inspired by Phillips’ success story. “I know how hard it is having a borrowed name — for a few years my best friend in school was stuck with the name Willow Willows. Fortunately in senior year, her parents bought her the first name ‘Wendy’, so she could start over her life. But not everyone was as lucky to have been able to afford a new name.

“Despite his handicap, Phillip proved that he could break through the discrimination and social stigma. I can’t think of a better person to beat me in the show. Congratulations!” said Sanchez, hugging Phillips.

Phillips said that he hopes to finalise his name purchase and registration before he releases his first album. “It would be a good start to my career. Yes, my fans and the American Idol voters know me as Phillip Phillips, but I don’t think having a different first name will affect their support.

“Artistes change their names constantly, and their fans didn’t leave them. Look at The-Artiste-Formerly-Known-As-Prince-Then-Changed-Into-A-Squiggly-Symbol-And-Now’s-Back-As-Prince. He still sells records. It’s all about the music.”

Asked what his new first name would be, Phillip Phillips admitted that he had not finalised his choice as yet, having been tied up with winning the show and all. “Honestly I haven’t been able to lock in to one name, I’ve got a few choices flying in my head,” he said, apparently overwhelmed by the turn of events. “I’d need to think about this carefully, my first name will determine my career success,” he stated, seriously.

“I’ve always liked ‘Alejandro’ and ‘Maximillian’. My folks did want to name me ‘Benjamin’ when I was born, but they couldn’t afford it. So maybe I’ll use all three.

“Alejandro Maximillian Benjamin Phillips. Now that sells records. Yeah!”

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The Devil denies wearing Prada

DEPTHS OF HELL – The Devil today issued an official denial that he wears any item made by luxury brand, Prada, as implied in the book “The Devil Wears Prada” and movie of the same name.

In a strongly-worded denial made at a Press conference, the Prince of Doom said that he was disturbed that the writers of the fictional story misrepresented him, hurting his already somewhat negative public image.

THE DEVIL: Sensible fashion sense

“I’ll have everyone know that I’m a pretty sensible and practical guy,” said the Lord of Darkness, referring to his fashion sense and shopping principles. “Where do I go to get my clothes? Not high street, for sure. Prada, Gucci and all that are a tad too flashy for me. I’m a Reject Shop and FOS kind of fellow. The max I’d go for would be Marks & Spencer, and I keep that kind of frivilous spending to a minimum of once every couple of months.

“You can check my wardrobe if you want.”

The Devil, who goes by many different names including Lucifer, El Diablo, Satan, Beelzebub, Iblis, Mammon and Suzanne, said that he was dismayed at the lack of respect for his image painstakingly built since he fell from God’s grace.

“I consider myself a pretty consistent fella,” he said. “I may be evil, damned and all, but one thing I’ve never been is flashy and frivilous. I’ve always had this understated style which I began developing a long time ago.

“Besides, being damned and falling from grace don’t get you up high in the priority list when considering budgets. The good guys always get the biggest cut of the pie, and folks like me have to make do with what little leftover pittance we get from HQ. So I can’t exactly afford paying four figures just for a shirt.”

The Devil also added that being in hell affects his choices when it comes to attires.

“Look, I work in a less-than-hospitable environment,” he said, in reference to the fire and brimstone-laden pits filled with decaying souls of the damned. “So for me, it’s not so important to have bling-blings and snazzy designs as opposed to having good heat resistant materials wrapping my body. The ‘breathable fabric developed by Nike last year was pretty good, but it went up in flames the moment I stepped out of my door to get to work.

“That was an embarrassing moment, being naked and all.”

Asked why he didn’t bring this up earlier, when the book was released or the movie, starring Anne Hathaway and Meryl Streep, was released in 2004, the Devil responded that he didn’t mind, until he saw someone’s Facebook update saying that “if the Devil wears Prada, then I wanna be in Hell too!”.

“That was it for me,” said Lucifer, sadly. “I didn’t mind some humans having fun with my name and using some creative license in their fictional work. But when people start believing that life’s all good in Hell, that it’s just a big party with everyone in branded clothes, I had to say ‘Enough!’ It’s a gross misrepresentation of reality, and I take great offence in it!” he said, pounding his flaming fist against a brimstone wall.

“But don’t get me wrong,” he added. “I loved Meryl Streep in the movie, and if I were to appear in a female human form, she’d be a great role model.

“I just don’t agree with her fashion sense.”

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Asia’s Biggest Loser loses rest of body weight, disappears into thin air

JAKARTA — Indonesian David Gurnani, 25, who last week took home US$100,000 and a car after shedding more than half his bodyweight, from 157kg to merely 74kg, in the first Asian version of popular weight-loss reality show Biggest Loser, has completely disappeared from the face of the planet after continuing with his diet and workout routine, finally losing the other half.

ULTIMATE LOSER ASIA: David Gurnani before the show, at the finale and now

Speaking from his family home, Gurnani’s weightless spirit said that winning the show inspired him to continue his maniacal quest to lose weight, which he started at the beginning on the show late last year.

“Winning the show was initially my goal,” said Gurnani, warmly referred to as ‘King David’ on the show, as his invisible aura floated above the sofa in the living room. “But after losing so much of my body weight and fat right before the finale, I discovered a new, more confident me. The 100 grand wasn’t the point anymore, nor was the car. The point was the weight loss. I realised I could shed as much weight as I wanted, and it was then that I wanted to go all the way.

Reducing his already spartan daily intake of water, air and one raisin, Gurnani decided to cut the water and raisin, after learning each raisin had 2 calories and water retention could impair his weight loss plans.

“In the beginning, it was hard,” Gurnani admitted. “After my weight dropped to 5kg, I could not even lift what was left of my finger. I could feel the weight of my bones and skin holding me down.

“But after thinking about my ultimate goal, which is to be weight-free, I somehow garnered this amazing strength to move about and continue with my routine,” he said, adding that the largest organ on a human body was the skin, and for him, most problematic to shed.

“Having achieved zero-fat and zero-muscle mass content, I was left with my skin, whose weight I thought would be impossible to lose,” said the now ethereal being softly, as he struggled to keep steady what with the ceiling fan being on at half speed. “However, I discovered an ingenius way to shed it — by baking myself in the hot sun. After a full day, my skin became so flaky and dusty, it literally broke apart and fell off!” said Gurnani gleefully, his laughter freakishly echoing around the room.

“And then there was my skeleton,” he continued, voice cracking. “I thought, now, if I were to wait until my skeleton vanishes, it would take forever. I couldn’t wait that long — I mean, look at the ice man remains and the Egyptian mummies!

“So I was left with two choices: either I self destruct by cremating whatever’s left of my body, or I eat myself into oblivion. Seeing that cremating still leaves ashes behind, which still weighs a few grammes, I decided on the latter.

“After consuming my own bones from my toes to the very tip of my skull, I finally became absolutely nothing. I am now zero weight.”

Asked how life has changed after achieving his ultimate goal, Gurnani said that he has now transcended into a whole new level of being.

“I have no physical limits, really. Having removed physicality from the equation, I am pure energy. A zero-fat, zero-weight energy. If light had weight, I wouldn’t have a problem either, as I am now also completely invisible,” he explained, soaring across the room freely.

“Having realised my ultimate dream, I feel no more pressure. I have absolutely nothing more to lose. I feel as if this burden has been lifted off my shoulders.

“That is, if I had shoulders,” he ended the interview, laughing happily.

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Facebook changes layouts again just to piss off members

PALO ALTO, CA — Facebook, Inc, the firm that owns and operates Facebook, the most used social network by worldwide monthly active users, today announced that the latest change in layout and functionality was designed to piss their users off.

“We were honestly getting tired of having too many members,” said Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckeberg at a Press Conference held at the company headquarters. “So we’ve been trying very, very hard to discourage new members from signing up, and make it as hard as possible for current members to go about Facebooking.”

‘Facebooking’? Is there such a word?” asked Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook COO. “Oh well, you’re the founder, I guess you can coin whatever term you want,” she continued, laughing.

Among the notable changes introduced to the site, which brings the company an estimated US$300 million a year, were the re-positioning of the ‘Home’ and ‘Profile’ menu bars, as well as the introduction of new and completely irrelevant icons representing ‘Notification’, ‘Messages’ and ‘Friend Request’. Mostly used applications like games, which appeared at the bottom panel on every Facebook page, now only appears on the ‘Home’ page, on the left column. The Boring Blue theme colour remains unchanged.

ZUCKERBERG: Hopes the new UI will piss people off royally

“We’ve tried so many ways to get rid of users, from introducing different settings that don’t mean anything, to bugging them with annoying apps,” said Zuckerbeg. “What we found was that the best way to piss people off is to change the User Interface (UI) so often, they get confused.”

“Hell, I’m kinda confused with the new layout, bro,” Sandberg interjected. “I was looking for the notification thingy on the bottom left of the screen and it wasn’t there. An hour later I chanced upon it, right by our logo. Impressive.”

“We’ve pissed our users off before,” said Zuckerberg, noting that the last time they changed the UI last year, Facebook’s hotline email was flooded with irrate complaints. “We lost a few thousand members, who decided to go to MySpace and other inferior social network sites. This time around, we aim to lose at least 30 per cent of our 350 million active members.

“We’re just simply tired of all this success,” said the 25-year-old, said to be worth around US$2 billion. “They say ‘money can’t buy happiness’, well I have to second that. Now I spend my days lazing about, doing nothing interesting.

“I just wish I was dirt poor again, before Facebook changed all that. I was happier.”

“On that note, I hope our latest move doesn’t backfire,” said Sandberg. “We’ve had reports of some people being happy with the new UI. Imagine that. Despite all our efforts to spit on their faces, they keep on coming back for more. What the fuck is wrong with them?”

“There’ll always be some sort of masochistic individuals out there, dude,” replied Zuckerberg.

“Maybe we’ll need to start charging them for every status change or photo upload. Then maybe these suckers will stop coming to our site. A buck for a status update, and maybe five bucks for a superpoke.”

“We can’t do that, Mark,” said Sandberg. “We’re trying to get rid of them because we’re making too much money. Charging ‘em will just bring us even more money!

“Facebook has become a monster,” added Zuckerberg, sadly. “People are spending more time on it than on real life or doing work. Our creation is slowly eroding productivity everywhere, and has destroyed countless lives,” he said, referring to the divorces caused by inter-Facebook affairs and careless Facebook comments which have led to people being embarrassed, and even fired from their jobs.

“We hope people will get pissed off and leave us. We’re praying so. But there’s only so much we can do.”

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Michael Jackson wakes up normal

Jackson shopping for fruits

Jackson shopping for fruits

LOS ANGELES — Pop superstar Michael Jackson woke up as an average person today, in what die-hard fans are calling a ‘tragedy’. Jackson, the global icon for music child prodigy who coloured the industry with his unconventional behaviours and life-choices, began his day with an average breakfast of corn flakes and coffee, and proceeded with doing actual chores normally reserved for normal people, which included grocery shopping, paying bills and catching a movie at the local cineplex with buddies.

“I don’t know, really. I just woke up and suddenly had this clarity of thought: despite my abnormal childhood, extraordinary career and out-of-this-world path in life, I can be normal,” said Jackson while queueing up at the check-out counter at a supermarket. “It’s amazing. All my life, I just wanted to be normal, a regular guy with regular things to do, with no paparazzi chasing me or journalists writing about every single thing I do. Lo and behold, I wake up, and I’m perfectly normal!”

The former King of Pop, who started singing with his brothers in The Jackson 5 at the tender age of 11, said that upon living a normal life, he realised how much normalcy he’s missed out.

“Oh my God, I feel so blessed,” Jackson said, as he gave a VISA credit card to the cashier after being told his Amex had maxxed out. “All these things which the average people experience and probably take for granted… I’m experiencing for the first time — and it feels good! I’m like a virgin Average Joe!”

Jackson, who turned 50 last year, is arguably the most successful entertainer in the world, with 13 Grammy Awards and over 750 million albums sold worldwide. His distinctive musical sound and vocal style influenced hip hop, pop and contemporary R&B artistes. However, his great legacy had been marred in the later part of his career due to allegations of him displaying behaviours most people would consider strange, like keeping a pet chimpanzee and having macabre items in his collection, like the remains of The Elephant Man, the 19th-Century London man who gained infamy from his severe deformity. Most recently, he has again attracted the wrong kind of attention with child sexual abuse charges (of which he was acquitted) and the forced auction of his property, Neverland Ranch, to pay off his mounting debts.

Jackson filling up gas on his own

Jackson filling up gas on his own

“All that is behind me now,” said Jackson happily, as he pumps gasoline into his Ford SUV, a regular mode of transportation among average family men of his age. “The scandals, controversies and negative representations — they are all but fleeting memories of an abnormal past. I’m just a normal guy now, trying to eke a living and survive the current economic crisis.

“Oh Lord, I love the smell of fresh gasoline!” he exclaimed.

Response from fans and industry players have been mixed. While some hail the new normal Michael Jackson as a breath of fresh air, some say it’s just not natural.

“The Gloved One cannot be normal,” said Patrick Hilden, 45, president of the Michael Jackson Fan Club of North America (MJFCNA). “His whole being is about being abnormal, so that is normal for him. To have him behaving like the rest of us normal folk — well, that’s just abnormal!” he retorted, angrily. Hilden said that the fan club is considering all options to force the superstar to revert to his old, ‘Wacko Jacko’ self again. “If we have to sue his ass off to get him to be him again, so be it. I mean, what next? Madonna wanting to be a born-again virgin? It’s not right!”

Jennifer Olfis, president of the competing Michael Jackson fan club, the Guild of Michael Jackson Hard-Core Fans (GMJHCF), looked at the situation from a different perspective. “I think it’s good for him; he certainly deserves normalcy after all these years of weirdness.

“He’s given the world so much, and I think he should at least be able to enjoy his later years as a regular guy,” said Olfis. “The other fan club’s reaction to this is typical — Those losers are really more interested in their own strange obsession with MJ, unlike us, who really care about our idol and what’s good for him,” she said, referring to MJFCNA’s stance.

Allan Shapiro, senior music executive at a leading Hollywood label, said that Jackson’s latest transformation would not effect the industry much, referring to the pop star as a ‘spent force’. “Michael who? Oh, him. Whatever.”

Jackson, when told about those different reactions, didn’t seem too perturbed.

Jackson catching a flick with his new buds

Jackson catching a flick with his new buds

“Why would any of that bother a regular guy like me?” he asked as he enjoyed a McValue Meal at a local McDonald’s. “They can argue all they want, I’ll just continue enjoying my new average life. There’s so much more to discover about being normal, I’ve heard so much about it, like getting stuck  in a traffic jam or being harrassed by a rude neighbour. I’m so pumped!

“I’m catching a movie at a regular theatre afterwards with some new buddies I made at the corner bar. It’ll be amazing! Pop corns, screaming kids in the front row, couples making out at the back — Wow!”

Jackson told the media that he will be auctioning off all his strange paraphernalia, like his gold-plated military-style jacket he donned in his ‘Bad’ music video and various antiques he mindlessly purchased during his many shopping sprees, to raise funds for “all the normal people in need out there”.

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