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Son of Dusty Rhodes carves out his own American dream in pro wrestling

Born the son of one of pro wrestling’s most beloved figures, Cody Rhodes had been part of that colorful community of performers and fans for most of his 32 years. Also for about 32, he has run into spoilsports and naysayers who can’t wait to opine that wrestling is fake.

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Fortunately, he’s had decades to come up with a pithy comeback.

"I usually say, ‘Well, Christian Bale’s not Batman,’” said Rhodes, whose late father was the legendary “The American Dream” Dusty Rhodes, and whose brother is Dustin Rhodes, also known as “Goldust.” 

Cody Rhodes will visit West Palm Beach on Friday with Ring of Honor Wrestling. You can spot him wrestling simply under the name “Cody.”

Rhodes has been in the family business for about 12 years and spent time with World Wrestling Entertainment and Total Non-Stop Action Wrestling. He defends what he does, not only because people worldwide love it, but because he loves it, too.

“Every now and then, someone from so-called ‘higher’ forms of entertainment will look down their nose at it," he said. But having grown up with Dusty Rhodes as  his father, Cody's been ready to defend wrestling for a long time. 

“I got started when I was 19, but for some reason, and I don’t know what I was thinking, I went to L.A.. I started acting classes there for a year, and wasted a bunch of money. I really enjoyed the classes, but I kept thinking ‘When I make it as an actor ...’ but then I thought ‘This is kind of dumb. Be a wrestler. Just do the thing you want to do.”

Currently a heel, or a villain, ROH’s Cody bills himself as “The American Nightmare,” a riff on his father’s famous salt-of-the-earth persona. Dusty Rhodes, born Virgil Riley Runnels Jr., didn’t look like other athletes. He wasn’t professionally trained. But what he was, his son said, was real.

“He communicated to people who he thought would need (his message). He needed it as much as they did. His whole image, being ‘the son of a plumber,’ that whole story was real. They had no money,” Cody Rhodes said. 

“I really think the idea that your friend, someone in your family in real life could get in the ring and do amazing, was what it was, because Dusty was like them. He was overweight. He had a different look. I honestly think it gets explained too much. He just had that thing that everybody wants. He had a way. He wasn’t selling you a product. He wasn’t even selling you himself. He was just bringing you along for the ride.”

Anyone who’s ever seen wrestling up close and personal knows there’s a difference between watching it in your living room and being there in person. 

To Rhodes, who also wrestles for New Japan Pro-Wrestling, “the live experience is the lifeblood of wrestling. The live experience in ‘Ring of Honor’ is a party. Essentially it’s going to a party with a ton of people that you don’t know, some of the greatest people you’ll ever know. People make friends in the meet-and-greet line.”

Those fans in the line, Rhodes said, are loyal, diverse and involved. He says it’s his job and that of companies like Ring of Honor to give them what they want.

“We try to have as much as fun as we can. There shouldn’t be that many rules for going to a wrestling show,” he said. “Give them that experience and guarantee they’re leaving having had a good time. It’s hard to get people’s money — it’s hard to get my money — so it’s gotta be good.”

‘American Idol’ results: here is the top 10

(Posted Monday, April 23, 2018 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog)

There was really only one big surprise in the top 10 tonight on “American Idol” and it was the one woman I liked a lot last night but hardly anybody else did: Michelle Sussett, who the judges put through despite sometimes shaky vocals. They simply like her personality, stage skills and star potential in the Latin crossover market.

The first six in the top 10 are Catie Turner, Michael J. Woodard, Caleb Lee Hutchinson, Gabby Barrett, Maddie Poppe and Cade Foehner, all based on America’s vote.

Continue reading...

Ex-NFL kicker Jay Feely apologizes for 'joke' prom date gun photo 

Former NFL kicker Jay Feely said he was trying to be funny when he posed in a Twitter photo standing between his daughter and her prom date holding a pistol, but in the wake of the Parkland shootings in February, social media posters did not appreciate the joke, WFLA reported.

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Feely, who played in the NFL from 2001 to 2014 and is an analyst for CBS Sports, apologized Sunday. 

In the photo, Feely has his left arm around his daughter and a pistol in his right hand at his side. Next to Feely is his daughter’s prom date, who is smirking. 

"Wishing my beautiful daughter and her date a great time at prom," Feely wrote, using the hashtag "#BadBoys."

The reaction from some on social media was swift and critical.

“Oh yay -- American dads have kicked off the season of 'let’s pretend I’m going to shoot my daughter’s date for impugning her chastity' pics," tweeted Shannon Watts, who is the founder of the gun control group Moms Demand Action.

“The Stoneman Douglas shooting was 2 months ago,” author Geraldine DeRuiter posted on Twitter. “But sure, let's make jokes about murdering high schoolers.”

The backlash was vocal enough for Feely to issue an apology Sunday on Twitter.

“The prom picture I posted was obviously intended to be a joke. My Daughter has dated her boyfriend for over a year and they knew I was joking," he wrote. "I take gun safety seriously (the gun was not loaded and had no clip in) and I did not intend to be insensitive to that important issue."

Some Twitter users defended Feely’s post, noting that he was referencing the movie “Bad Boys 2.”

“He’s referencing a scene in the movie #BadBoys2,” Twitter user Mike McLeod wrote. “The kid knows it’s a joke -- it’s not pointed at anyone and barely in the picture. I’m sure there’s a picture with his daughter and just the date also. This isn’t anything to blow out of proportion.

Stormy Daniels' attorney talks about 'locked and loaded' DVD, Sean Hannity

The attorney for Stormy Daniels reiterated that a DVD of evidence of the adult film actress’ affair with President Donald Trump is “locked and loaded,” Newsweek reported. 

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Michael Avenatti appeared on HBO’s “Real Time With Bill Maher,” and in the online-only Overtime segment, the attorney was grilled about the DVD, which he teased with a photograph in a tweet last month.

Maher asked whether Avenatti would ever “release the contents of the warning-shot disc of evidence you tweeted about.”

“Possibly. It depends how the case progresses,” Avenatti said.

Maher tried to get specific, asking “What’s on it?”

“Well, we took that picture and we tweeted it out and it was exactly that -- it was a warning shot to Michael Cohen and the president that if they tried to claim that my client was a liar after ‘60 Minutes’ there was gonna be consequences, and it worked, and it worked perfectly because we heard nothing from them,” Avenatti said.

Avenatti also was asked about Cohen’s legal relationship with Fox News host Sean Hannity.

“Here’s what I think: I think that when the documents actually come out, and there are documents -- there’s no question in my mind, there are documents with Sean Hannity’s name on them -- the extent of that relationship, when it finally surfaces, I think will be very embarrassing to Sean Hannity,” Avenatti said.

Hannity has claimed that Cohen merely advised him on a real estate query. 

Avenatti described Cohen as a “zero,” Newsweek reported

“I think that Michael Cohen knows where almost all the bodies are buried, and I think that he’s going to sing like a canary,” Avenatti said. “I know he’s going to fold, because here’s the problem, when you have a fixer, you need two things at least: You need a guy who is tough, and you need a guy that is smart. This guy is neither tough nor smart. I think he’s a zero.”

'Smallville' actress Allison Mack indicted for alleged role in sex trafficking case

Actress Allison Mack, who starred as Chloe Sullivan in the television series “Smallville,” was indicted Friday on charges of sex trafficking, sex trafficking conspiracy and forced labor conspiracy, the Justice Department said in a statement.

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Mack, 35, who starred in the series from 2001 to 2011, allegedly was involved with an organization called Nxivm that claimed to be a female mentorship but instead was a scheme in which some recruits “were exploited both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants' benefit," U.S attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in the statement.

Nxivm's founder, Keith Raniere, known as Vanguard, was also indicted Friday, CNN reported.

According to court filings, Mack directly or implicitly required her slaves, identified as Jane Does 1 and 2, to engage in sexual activity with Raniere. In exchange, Mack received financial and other benefits from Raniere. 

“Allison Mack recruited women to join what was purported to be a female mentorship group that was, in fact, created and led by Keith Raniere,” Donoghue said. “The victims were then exploited, both sexually and for their labor, to the defendants’ benefit.”

Raniere, 57, was arrested in March in Mexico by federal officials on sex-trafficking charges, The New York Times reported.

Mack was arraigned Friday afternoon and a plea of not guilty was entered on her behalf, the Times reported. She was held without bail, with a bail hearing set for Monday.

In addition to her role on “Smallville,” Mack was featured in the movies “Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves” in 1997 and “The Ant Bully” in 2006.

Eva Longoria gets star on Hollywood Walk of Fame

Actress Eva Longoria said the unveiling of her star Monday on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was the culmination of a dream that began 20 years ago.

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"I feel like I'm still a little girl from Corpus Christi, Texas who had a big dream -- and big hair," Longoria told KABC. "And I want to say as a woman and as a Latina I represent a lot of communities, and I want to tell all those communities that this isn't my star, this is our star."

Longoria, who is pregnant, was joined by several friends at the unveiling of the star, including “Desperate Housewives” co-stars Felicity Huffman and Marcia Cross. Huffman called Longoria “extraordinary.”

“Not because she's raised over $40 million for charity, not because she's an actress, a director, a producer, a philanthropist, a restaurateur, a filmmaker, a documentarian,” Huffman told KABC. “No. But because she is kind and because she is hopeful. She is kind to everyone and she is hopeful for the world.

Some viewers irked when ‘Jeopardy!’ is preempted to announce Barbara Bush’s death

And the Final Jeopardy answer is …

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Viewers in the Eastern time zone watching “Jeopardy! 2018 College Championship” semifinals Tuesday had to go to Google and Twitter to find out, as the syndicated program was interrupted by CBS, ABC and NBC to report the death of former first lady Barbara Bush.

Some viewers of the quiz show were not amused.

>> Former first lady Barbara Bush dies at 92

“@CBS really interrupted Jeopardy with breaking news that Barbara Bush died? Y’all couldn't have waited 5 min when it was over?” one woman tweeted

“Hey I know Barbara Bush was a former First Lady but you COULDN’T WAIT UNTIL THE END OF #Jeopardy NBC?!” Joe D tweeted.

“Thanks for preempting @Jeopardy there @ABC you going to show it again?” another viewer tweeted

The category for Final Jeopardy was Russian culture, and the question was “This work was over 50 years old & excerpts had been popularized when it had its first full U.S. performance on Christmas Eve 1944.”

>> Condolences pouring in for Barbara Bush

That was the topic confronting contestants Hannah Sage, a sophomore from at the University of Central Florida from Sarasota, Florida; Eric Thorpe, a senior at Dartmouth College from Laguna Niguel, California; and Thatcher Chonka, a sophomore at the University of Oklahoma from Tulsa, Oklahoma. 

The correct response was “What is the Nutcracker?”

All three contestants had the correct answer, but Sage won when she bid $10,201 to edge Chonka by $1, collecting $28,401. Chonka had $28,400, whole Thorpe was third with $20,400.

Sage will compete in Thursday’s final.

Here is the final recap of the episode:

Photos: See the athletes competing in next season of ‘Dancing with the Stars’

Who will be competing during “Dancing with the Stars” all-athlete season? Take a look.

Who was Omar Sharif? Google honors 'Lawrence of Arabia' actor

In honor of what would have been famed Egyptian actor Omar Sharif’s 86th birthdayGoogle featured a dashing illustration of “The Noble” on its home page.

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On this day in 1932, Sharif was born Michel Demitri Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt, to a Lebanese family of Melkite Catholic descent.

It wasn’t until 1955, when he converted to Islam, that he changed his name to Omar Sharif, a surname that translates to “noble” or “nobleman” in Arabic. 

Before becoming an Egyptian and Hollywood actor and playing the iconic role of Arab warrior Sherif Ali in the 1962 epic “Lawrence of Arabia,” Sharif worked for his father’s lumber company. 

According to Al Jazeera, Sharif also attended Cairo University and graduated with a degree in mathematics and physics. He left the family lumber business to study acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

He married Egyptian actress Faten Hamama in 1955, soon after converting to Islam, but the pair divorced in 1974.

After being nominated for an Oscar for his role in the Hollywood hit “Lawrence of Arabia,” Sharif went on to gain international fame, scoring roles as a king of Armenia in “The Fall of the Roman Empire” (1964), a Mongol leader in “Genghis Khan” (1965) and a Russian doctor in “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) among others.

He also earned two Golden Globes and a UNESCO Einstein medal, an acknowledgement of his contributions to cultural diversity, Google wrote in its doodle blog.

At one point, Sharif even ranked among the world's top contract bridge players and co-wrote a syndicated column on the game for the Chicago Tribune.

But according to Al Jazeera, “international recognition came at a hefty personal price.” In an interview with The Associated Press in 2003, he said the global fame “separated me from my wife, from my family ... We didn't see each other any more and that was it, the end of our wedding. I might have been happier having stayed an Egyptian film star."

Sharif, 83, died of a heart attack in Cairo, Egypt, on July 10, 2015. His ex-wife, Hamama, had died six months earlier.

More at google.com/doodles.

Contestant loses $7,100 in embarrassing 'Wheel of Fortune' gaffe 

You’ve got to pronounce it properly to win.

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A “Wheel of Fortune” contestant named Jonny lost a shot at $7,100 and a trip to Spain because he mispronounced a word, WGN reported.

Jonny correctly guessed the final letters in a puzzle that read “Flamenco Dance Lessons.” All he had to do was say the phrase that pays.

But Jonny said, “Flamingo Dance Lessons,” which meant that host Pat Sajak had to hit the buzzer and tell the disbelieving man that his answer was incorrect, WGN reported.

Sajak then handed the question off to another contestant, Ashley, who read the phrase correctly and won the prize, WGN reported.

Jonny was just having a bad day.

Earlier in the game, he landed on the $2,500 space and was two letters from solving the puzzle: “Dog and Pony Show Me the Money.” The only letters missing were “g” and “p.”

Jonny guessed “c.”

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