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Denny Miller dies at 80; actor played lead in 'Tarzan the Ape Man'

BY DAVID COLKER

DENNY MILLER, A NOTED UCLA BASKETBALL PLAYER IN THE 1950S WHO DROPPED THE SPORT TO PLAY THE TITLE ROLE IN THE 1959 MOVIE "TARZAN THE APE MAN" AND WENT ON TO APPEAR IN "WAGON TRAIN" AND NUMEROUS OTHER TV SHOWS, DIED TUESDAY AT HOME IN LAS VEGAS. HE WAS 80.
THE CAUSE WAS ALS, SAID HIS WIFE, NANCY.

MILLER, WHOSE SELF-EFFACING HUMOR MADE HIM A HIT AT TARZAN AND WESTERN FILM FESTIVALS, KNEW HIS TARZAN MOVIE WAS NOT A CINEMATIC MILESTONE. "IN A BOOK CALLED 'TARZAN OF THE MOVIES'" HE NOTED IN A 1997 NEWSDAY INTERVIEW, "IT WAS UNDER THE HEADING, 'TARZAN THE WORST.'"

AND HE WAS WELL AWARE THAT HE GOT THE PART BECAUSE OF BRAWN INSTEAD OF ACTING EXPERIENCE, OF WHICH HE HAD NONE AT THE TIME. MILLER WAS SPOTTED BY A TALENT AGENT WHILE MOVING FURNITURE FOR A JOB HE HAD WITH BEKINS STORAGE. THE AGENT ARRANGED FOR A SCREEN TEST AT MGM AND MILLER GOT A SEVEN-YEAR MGM CONTRACT.

"I WAS GOING TO BE A BASKETBALL COACH," HE SAID IN A 2012 INTERVIEW WITH THE CHARLESTON GAZETTE. "IT WAS HARD TO EXPLAIN MY CHANGE IN CAREER PLANS — AND MY NEW CONTRACT WITH A MAJOR STUDIO — TO THEATER ARTS MAJORS IN MY FRATERNITY HOUSE."

THOUGH HE LOVED BASKETBALL AND GREATLY ADMIRED HIS COACH, THE LEGENDARY JOHN WOODEN, A FILM CAREER HAD MORE POTENTIAL TO PAY OFF HANDSOMELY. BESIDES, HIS FIRST MAJOR ROLE, EVEN IN A TURKEY OF A MOVIE, WAS GREAT FUN.

"I WAS A KID," HE SAID TO NEWSDAY. "RIDE THAT ELEPHANT. KISS THAT PRETTY GIRL. WHY ME, GOD?"

MILLER WAS BORN APRIL 25, 1934, IN BLOOMINGTON, IND. THE FAMILY MOVED TO LOS ANGELES WHEN HIS FATHER GOT A POSITION TEACHING PHYSICAL EDUCATION AT UCLA. MILLER GRADUATED FROM UNIVERSITY HIGH SCHOOL AND EVEN THOUGH HE DROPPED OUT OF UCLA TWICE — TO SERVE IN THE ARMY AND WHEN HE GOT THE MGM CONTRACT — HE EVENTUALLY EARNED HIS BACHELOR'S DEGREE AT THE SCHOOL IN KINESIOLOGY.

POST-TARZAN, HE PLAYED DUKE SHANNON ON "WAGON TRAIN" FROM 1961 TO 1964, AND APPEARED IN NUMEROUS OTHER WELL-KNOWN SERIES, INCLUDING "GILLIGAN'S ISLAND," "THE ROCKFORD FILES" AND "DALLAS." IN LATER YEARS HE WAS IN NUMEROUS COMMERCIALS, MOST PROMINENTLY AS THE BEARDED FISHERMAN FOR GORTON'S SEAFOOD.

MILLER PREFERRED COMEDY OVER DRAMA — HIS FAVORITE FILM ROLE WAS IN 

"THE PARTY" (1968) — BUT HE OFTEN PLAYED THE HEAVY.

"I GOT A LOT OF WORK, USUALLY BECAUSE OF MY SIZE," HE SAID IN AN INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER CHARLES GABREAN. "I GOT BEAT UP BY EVERYBODY IN TOWN."

IN ADDITION TO HIS WIFE, MILLER IS SURVIVED BY SON BRAD AND DAUGHTER COURTNEY.

A PREVIOUS MARRIAGE TO ACTRESS KIT SMYTHE ENDED IN DIVORCE.
TWITTER: @DAVIDCOLKER
By AMANDA LEE MYERSCOLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — One of the last times anyone ever saw Tommy Thompson, he was walking on the pool deck of a Florida mansion wearing nothing but eye glasses, leather shoes, socks and underwear, his brown hair growing wild.

It was a far cry from the conquering hero who, almost two decades before, docked a ship in Norfolk, Virginia, loaded with what's been described as the greatest lost treasure in American history — thousands of pounds of gold that sat in the ocean for 131 years after the ship carrying it sank during a hurricane.

On that day in 1989, Thompson couldn't contain a grin as hundreds cheered his achievement. But his victory was short-lived.

For the past two years, the U.S. Marshals Service has hunted Thompson as a fugitive — wanted for skipping a court date to explain to investors what happened to the riches. The rise and fall of the intrepid explorer is the stuff of storybooks, a tale receiving renewed attention amid a new expedition begun this year to the sunken ship.



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"I think he had calculated it, whatever you want to call it, an escape plan," Marshals agent Brad Fleming said. "I think he's had that for a long time."
Around 1983, Thompson grew obsessed with tracking down the SS Central America. When the ship went down off the South Carolina coast in 1857, 425 people drowned and gold worth millions was lost.
Thompson, an oceanic engineer at Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, convinced 161 people to invest in his quest, raising $12.7 million. On Oct. 1, 1988, he finally found the treasure, which he would later describe as "otherworldly in its splendor."
But his joy faded fast. Thirty-nine insurance companies sued Thompson, claiming they had insured the gold in 1857 and that it belonged to them. In 1996, Thompson's company was awarded 92 percent of the treasure, and the rest was divided among some of the insurers. Four years later, Thompson's company netted $50 million after selling 532 gold bars and thousands of coins to a gold marking group.
Yet his legal troubles weren't over.
By 2005, Thompson's investors still hadn't been paid, and two sued — a now-deceased investment firm president who put in some $250,000 and the Dispatch Printing Company, which publishes The Columbus Dispatch newspaper and invested about $1 million. The following year, nine members of Thompson's crew also sued, saying they, too, were promised some proceeds.
Thompson went into seclusion, moving into a mansion in Vero Beach, Florida. After that, his behavior turned bizarre.
Thompson refused to use his real name on his utility bills, telling realtor Vance Brinkerhoff that his life had been threatened and asking him, "How would you like to live like that?" Brinkerhoff recounted the exchange in a court deposition.
In another deposition, maintenance worker James Kennedy recalled once going to the house and seeing Thompson on the pool deck wearing only socks, shoes and dirty underwear. "His hair was all crazy," Kennedy said. "After that, me and (a friend) referred to him as the crazy professor."
It's not clear exactly when Thompson disappeared. On Aug. 13, 2012, he failed to appear at a hearing in the court battles, and a federal judge found him in contempt and issued an arrest warrant. Not long after, Kennedy went inside the Florida mansion and found pre-paid disposable cellphones and bank wraps for $10,000 bills, along with a book called "How to Live Your Life Invisible."
The Marshals Service has splashed Thompson's face on electronic billboards and run down hundreds of tips — from the guy who thought he might have shared an elevator with Thompson to a report that the name "Tommy" was signed on a memorial website for a dead friend of the treasure hunter. Nothing has panned out. A "Wanted" poster even hangs in the barge making a new voyage to the Central America in a new expedition to recover more treasure from the "Ship of Gold."
Since April, Florida-based Odyssey Marine Exploration has brought up millions of dollars in gold and silver bars and coins. That work will continue indefinitely, an Odyssey spokeswoman said, and Thompson's original investors are expected to receive part of the recovered riches.
An attorney for the investors who sued did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a number of the investors.
As to where Thompson, now 62, might be, theories abound. The crew members' attorney, Mike Szolosi, asserts that he's seen records indicating Thompson took 500 gold coins worth $2 million and took potentially millions from his own company on top of his approved compensation.
"Presumably all of that is still somewhere with Tommy," he said.
Attorney Rick Roble, who defended Thompson's company until he withdrew from the case last month, said there's no proof Thompson stole anything.
Author Gary Kinder, who chronicled the treasure hunt in "Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea," said nothing in his time with Thompson gives him any insight into his whereabouts. "I don't know what it would entail to hide like that. Get your teeth fixed? Buy a blond wig?"
Agent Fleming believes Thompson is likely still stateside, although "we definitely never rule out ... that he may be abroad or at sea."
If caught, Thompson would be asked to account for the missing coins and explain where proceeds from the treasure's sale went. He could face jail time and hefty fines if he refuses.
Gil Kirk, a former director of one of Thompson's companies, said he put $1.8 million into the treasure hunt. Though he hasn't gotten any of that back, Kirk still supports Thompson and insists he never bilked anyone.
To Kirk, Thompson remains an American hero, "like the Wright brothers." The tragedy, he said, is that Thompson's dream became his doom.
"Tommy used the word, what's the word?" Kirk said. "Plague of the gold."
__
Follow Amanda Lee Myers on Twitter at https://twitter.com/AmandaLeeAP

Tony Stewart investigation complete; it will go to D.A.’s office



The investigation into the accident that claimed Kevin Ward Jr.’s life on August 9, after he was struck and killed by Tony Stewart‘s car, has been completed by the Ontario County (N.Y.) Sheriff’s office, and has now been reported to the District Attorney’s office.
No results were reported in the case, after a release issued by the office of Ontario County Sheriff Philip Povero.
Here is the official statement:


The Ontario County Office of Sheriff has completed its investigation into the death of Kevin A. Ward, Jr., which occurred August 9, 2014, at the Canandaigua, New York, Motorsports Park. The entire thorough investigation, including a forensic video enhancement recently received from the New York State Police Laboratory in Albany, has been submitted to the Office of the Ontario County District for review. The District Attorney’s Office, which has been meeting throughout the investigative process with members of the Sheriff’s Office, will make a statement late next week advising what action will be taken regarding the investigation.

The Shortsightedness of the Chipotle Walkout

by James (J.G.) Gingery
For those of you who may have missed this tweet yesterday, nearly the entire staff of a Penn State area Chipotle (CMG) resigned in an ill-advised display of workplace activism by locking out their colleagues and posting this poorly proofread signcomplaining about "borderline sweatshop conditions" and accusing Chipotle of being a--Gasp!--profit seeking enterprise. One wonders if this was part of the SEIU's "Fight for Fifteen" pressure campaign that has caused national headlines (and not much else) over the last few weeks.
In it, they include the hashtag #chipotleswag as part of their plea to get this trending. I suppose it worked. For its part, Occupy Wall Street NYC retweeted the image with the quote "they can only push us sooooo far"--that may be true Occupiers, but, there are more of you than jobs, so the tyranny of numbers reigns supreme.
From Yahoo Finance:

"Market forces aren’t on the workers’ side... More than 11 million Americans remain unemployed and many others without jobs have stopped looking for work. So the pool of people qualified to do low-skill jobs is a lot bigger than the number of workers needed, which makes it a buyers’ market."

In other words: these are low-skill jobs, and a wage hike to 15$/hr for the lowest employee compensation l
evel would put the entire restaurant's menu over 9$ an item, as this infographic shows. I say low-skill because Chipotle Corporate controls everything for their locations. There are no franchisee's doing their own calculations. Take a look through their most recent 10-K here: The managers (on location) are in charge of staffing, but inventory and cost tracking and accounting are left to the corporate systems. This is for a number of reasons, most important of which is quality control (thank you, Oracle,) and the sad reality is that these workers are being paid the incremental marginal value of their entire industry; that is, the lowest wage price any member of the low-skill service sector is willing to accept for that job. Everyone would love to be paid 100$/Hr to do anything, but for whatever reason, there exist multitudes of people who are ready, willing, and able to do that same job for under 10$, hell, they may even be willing to do it for less than $7.

Chipotle's "pursuit of profit" is because their price to earnings is currently sitting at 58. Any perceived tangible slowdown in growth, profits, or earnings would tank the stock and crunch their corporate liquidity, which given Chipotle's role as disruptor to the fast-food industry (hence the high P/E), would affect a hell of a lot more people than any wage increase would benefit. Labor is a market and like all free markets it operates on the principle of a voluntary exchange of goods and services, in this case my labor for your dollars. To pay any more than the market value for a service with no quantifiable benefit or even intangible benefit, is charity which although morally commendable, is not the prerogative of a for-profit enterprise. That doesn't mean that for-profit companies shouldn't be charitable it just means that they bear no obligation to do so

Let's game this out:

Say Chipotle acquiesced and raised wages, holding all other variables constant;

The cost of labor will have increased by some degree, therefore, the producer's total expense increased by that proportional degree. In order to record the same revenue, prices must be raised, or one of the inputs (usually number of workers) need to be cut. 

Leading to......

Bueller.....

Bueller.....

Increased Consumer Costs! Layoffs! 

And I can't imagine that even the staunchest "living wage" advocate wants to wait an hour and a half for a 2 person-staffed Chipotle to charge them $11 for their sofritas burrito.

Whatever the reason for their walkout, it's clear this is an issue that has seemed to permeate the national discourse. And so I leave with this final message to those Chipotle employees who were pawns in another man's game:

You've forfeit your livelihood, and what will you have to show for it? There is no long term benefit to raising wages arbitrarily. Even then, you would have been better advised to demand additional compensation in equity, over more dollars. Education, however, is indeed an intangible that could bring its own long term benefits far beyond anything a minimum wage hike would bring.

Maybe it would have been better to demand a corporate human capital investment strategy a la Starbucks education program via Arizona State, rather than accusing your already generous employer (who pays 25% above the national average as a base wage) of forcing you to work in "borderline sweatshop conditions" and that a higher wage would make it better, because I'm not buying it, and you shouldn't have, either.

Why I stayed, and why I left

By Charity Morton

"She only married him because of the money." "I'd take an uppercut to the jaw to get part of 25 mill." "She said she's sorry, so why should he be punished." "If she can move past it why can't we." "B*tch didn't care he hit her, she married him!" I found all these statements on Twitter yesterday. All different people, all with the same view, it was Janay Rice's fault that Ray Rice attacked her.
Would you tell me it's my fault?
Would you tell my mother it's hers?
That we both deserved to be slapped around, that we both deserved to be broken and beaten? Or is it different because our partners were not multimillionaire athletes? Then you wonder why women stay?
It's because we're told it's not really abuse, that it's normal to fight, that he'll change, that God will heal him. We're so convinced that we're not allowed to be hurt by it because "he didn't mean it." or "it was a mistake." Or even worse, that because he didn't actually hit you, that it's not abuse.
No.
A mistake is burning a pizza. A mistake is mixing up there, their, they're. Violently assaulting your life partner is a decision. Breaking down a person's self-esteem to the point that she is dependent on you for everything is a decision. But victims are so convinced that we are in the wrong that we stay. We stay because it's what we know, because it's not easy to turn and say everything is wrong and we need help.
I stayed because it's all I knew. I assumed abuse was normal. My dad abused my mom, my boyfriend abused me. My friends' boyfriends hit them. It was small-town culture at its finest. (It's strange to look at my Facebook feed to see most every "like" on the domestic violence statistics I've posted has come from someone from my small town – all girls who have been through it themselves.)
But it wasn't normal. And it wasn't right.
I know that now because I left. I found strength in numbers, in people who had been through the same. I left because I knew I wanted children and they deserved to have a life where this wasn't the norm. I left because I did deserve better.
So today on Twitter I scrolled through my timeline wondering why all these people were so quick to victim shame and I realized it's because they don't understand domestic violence. They don't understand that one out of every four women will be subjected to some type of abuse. That in most cases the victims are so convinced it's their fault that they take the blame, even when clearly it's not their fault, and most times don't even report it. In fact it takes a victim an average of 35 hits to report abuse. 35 hits – think about that.
That's why I'm standing up today, to say that it can happen to anyone. Domestic violence knows no age, race, gender, social economic standing, nothing. It can happen to anyone and it doesn't just end when you leave. The physical and mental scars will follow you the rest of your life. Yes, I stayed because I didn't know better. But I left because I deserved better.
Charity Morton is a server/bartender who lives in Anderson Township with her husband and two children. Follow her on Twitter at @ThisisCharity

U2 Releases New Album for Free on iTunes




The company made the announcement after the band performed at the end of the company’s two-hour press event, where it unveiled larger iPhones and the first Apple Watch, its foray into the wearable tech market.
SEE ALSO: Apple Unveils Larger iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus
“From the very beginning U2 have always wanted our music to reach as many people as possible, the clue is in our name I suppose—so today is kind of mind-blowing to us. The most personal album we’ve written could be shared with half a billion people… by hitting send. If only songwriting was that easy,” said U2 lead singer Bono. “It’s exciting and humbling to think that people who don’t know U2 or listen to rock music for that matter might check us out. Working with Apple is always a blast. They only want to do things that haven’t been done before—that’s a thrill to be part of.”
Apple is offering the U2 album to every iTunes customer (500 million worldwide) in 119 countries.“Songs of Innocence” features 11 new songs from the band. It’s the Irish rockers’ first studio album in five years.
Apple and U2’s surprise offer crashed the company’s servers shortly after the announcement.SEE ALSO: Apple Launches First Apple WatchFILED UNDER:   Apple Apple Watch Iphone Itunes U2