Famed Three Cups of Tea author Greg Mortenson finally conceded this morning on national television that he had "let a lot of people down."
The Montana-based Mortenson made several fund-raising trips to Idaho and cities across the globe to talk about his charitable organization. But an investigation, which was triggered by a CBS' 60 Minutes investigation, revealed that Mortenson's nonprofit had bought and promoted Mortenson's books and spent nearly $2 million to fly him on chartered jets, all without the charity receiving any royalties or any other direct benefits. The report also said unknown sums of money were wired overseas without receipts or supporting documentation and that Mortenson had charged the charity's credit cards for tens of thousands of dollars worth of personal items.
But nearly two years after the controversy first surfaced, Mortenson appeared this morning on NBC's Today Show to talk to reporter Tom Brokaw and, in hushed tones, say that he was under "tremendous pressure" to edit Three Cups of Tea and that the stories did not necessarily happen "in the sequence or the timing."
“I always have operated from my heart. I'm not a really head person. And I really didn't factor in the very important things of accountability, transparency,” Mortenson told Brokaw. “I'd also like to apologize to everybody. I let a lot of people down. There were alarms, Tom. I didn't listen to them."
12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Her, Philomena, Dallas Buyers Club, Nebraska, Blue Jasmine, Before Midnight, August: Osage County.
There's a reason why this morning's Oscar nominations look so familiar: Boise Weekly readers were among the first to hear about (and presumably see) the films that garnered nominations for Hollywood's highest honors.
In fact, 2013 was such a good year for quality films that the Motion Picture Academy decided to fill nine of its 10 allowed slots, a rare feat.
American Hustle and Gravity secured 10 nominations each, including Best Picture nods. American Hustle hauled in a slew of acting nominations from its all-star cast and Gravity swamped the nominations for technical awards.
12 Years a Slave took nominations for most of Oscar's top categories: Best Picture, Director, Screenplay, Actor, Supporting Actor and Supporting Actress.
The academy nominated nine films for best picture overall. They are American Hustle, Captain Phillips, Dallas Buyers Club, Gravity, Her, Nebraska, Philomena, 12 Years a Slave and The Wolf of Wall Street.
The nominees for best actor are Christian Bale (American Hustle), Bruce Dern (Nebraska), Leonardo DiCaprio (The Wolf of Wall Street), Chiwetel Ejiofor (12 Years a Slave) and Matthew McConaughey (Dallas Buyers Club).
The nominees for best supporting actor are Barkhad Abdi (Captain Phillips), Bradley Cooper (American Hustle), Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave), Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) and Jared Leto (Dallas Buyers Club).
The nominees for best supporting actress are Sally Hawkins (Blue Jasmine), Jennifer Lawrence (American Hustle), Lupita Nyong'o (12 Years a Slave), Julia Roberts (August: Osage County) and June Squibb (Nebraska).
The nominees for best director are Alfonso Cuaron (Gravity), Steve McQueen (12 Years a Slave), Alexander Payne (Nebraska), David O. Russell (American Hustle) and Martin Scorsese (The Wolf of Wall Street).
The nominees for best animated feature are The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, The Wind Rises and Ernest and Celestine.
The 86th Academy Awards will air March 2 from Hollywood's Dolby Theatre. The show will be on ABC.
"Hi. My name is James and I'm an alcoholic."
The British Medical Journal, in a study published from doctors at the U.K.'s Nottingham University Hospital, indicates that James Bond polishes off 92 units (each unit is about 0.3 ounces) of pure alcohol a week.
And the puns almost write themselves:
"One is not enough."
"Drink and let die."
"Tomorrow's hangover never dies."
After reading all 14 original James Bond novels doctors estimate that Bond drinks the equivalent of five vodka martinis or one and a half bottles of wine every day.
“He is also at high risk of suffering from sexual dysfunction, which would considerably affect his womanizing,” they wrote in the study published in the Christmas edition of the British Medical Journal.
Bond’s biggest daily drinking binge was in From Russia with Love, when he downed almost 50 drinks.
The team adds that Bond’s drinking would have led to some serious long-term ramifications, since it puts him into the level-3 category, “the highest risk group for malignancies, depression, hypertension and cirrhosis.”
They give him a life expectancy of just 56 years.
Alcohol is thought to be the cause of 4 percent of deaths worldwide, or 2.5 million deaths each year.
When NBC News wanted to put together a profile on Lee Schatz, they contacted Marcia Franklin about her Boise Weekly Citizen interview of the Idaho native, whose real-life drama was the foundation of Argo, one of tonight's big favorites to take home some bling from the Motion Picture Academy.
BW readers first got to know Schatz in October 2012 (BW, Citizen, "Lee Schatz," Oct. 31, 2012), several weeks after BW reported from Argo's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (BW, Cobweb, "TIFF 2012: Argo Is As Good As It Gets," Sept. 13, 2012).
"I got into this business originally because I thought I could make a difference. And you try to do that," said Schatz, a University of Idaho grad who went on to work at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. "You can't be afraid, because if you are, you're not going to be able to do your job."
Schatz's connection to Argo isn't Idaho's only connection to this year's Oscars, though.
"Honestly, one of our goals was to make something that could win an Academy Award," Boise High grad Nels Bangerter told BW. "We thought we did a pretty great job."
Indeed they did. Bangerter's work as film editor on Buzkashi Boys was good enough to garner an Oscar nomination for Best Live Action Short Subject (BW, Screen, "From Boise to Kabul to the Oscars," Feb. 6, 2013).
Bangerter will be watching tonight's ceremony from his Oakland, Calif., home with his wife Saira and their newborn.
Meanwhile, Bangerter's mom, Heidi, will be watching from her Boise home.
"We always used to joke that one day we would go to the Oscars," she said, but added that watching tonight's ceremony from home with friends and family rooting for her son will be almost as thrilling.
Feb. 14 is just another bleak winter day in Boise ... at least according to Amazon.com.
The City of Trees, which has garnered accolades for its recreation and business climate, has another distinction today: America's least romantic city.
In time for Valentine's Day, Amazon.com revealed its annual list of the 20 most romantic cities in the United States (Knoxville, Tenn., took the top spot). To crunch the numbers, Amazon compiled sales data of romance novels and relationship books (mostly through Kindle and print books), romantic comedy movies and romantic music sold on the website from Jan. 1, 2012, through Jan. 23, 2013, on a per capita basis in cities with more than 100,000 residents.
And according to Amazon customers’ purchase habits, Boise is the least romantic city in the United States.
At the top, Knoxville was followed by Alexandria, Va., Miami, Orlando, Fla., and Cincinnati.
Even nearby Salem, Ore., and Billings, Mont., made the top 20.
Recognizing that it had insulted Native Americans, Victoria's Secret has apologized for featuring a headdress in its annual fashion show and pulled the segment from a tape meant for broadcast in December.
Model Karlie Kloss took to the runway wearing the floor-length feathered headdress, which is normally worn by Native Americans as a symbol of bravery, more commonly by tribal chiefs. The Associated Press noted that, additionally, Native American women don't wear war bonnets.
Native American groups criticized the use of the headdress, which for the show was "sexed up" with leopard print underwear and high heels, according to The Independent.
Navajo Nation spokesman Erny Zah said:
"We have gone through the atrocities to survive and ensure our way of life continues. Any mockery, whether it's Halloween, Victoria's Secret — they are spitting on us. They are spitting on our culture, and it's upsetting."
Ruth Hopkins, a blogger on Indian Country, wrote:
"Let’s peel away the layers of this tacky, racist onion. For one, Ms. Kloss has no business wearing a war bonnet at all. Not only is she not Native, she hasn’t earned the honor. Among my people, the Oceti Sakowin (Sioux), war bonnets are exclusively worn by men, and each feather within a war bonnet is symbolic of a brave act of valor accomplished by that man. Not just any Tom, Dick or Harry had the privilege of wearing a war bonnet. Who wears a war bonnet? Tatanka Iyotanka, Sitting Bull. Not a no-account waif paid to prance around on stage in her underwear."
The AP cited comments made on the Victoria's Secret Facebook page as varying from praise for artistic expression to disdain for the ignorance showed toward Native American culture and history.
Victoria's Secret tweeted to its 1.4 million followers:
"We are sorry that the Native American headdress in our fashion show has upset individuals. The outfit will be removed from the broadcast."
"GIF" was chosen by Oxford American College Dictionary as its word of 2012, while its British cousin chose "omnishambles."
“GIF celebrated a lexical milestone in 2012, gaining traction as a verb, not just a noun,” Katherine Martin, head of the U.S. dictionaries program at Oxford, said in a statement. “The GIF has evolved from a medium for pop-cultural memes into a tool with serious applications, including research and journalism, and its lexical identity is transforming to keep pace.”
A compressed file format used in computer animation, GIF beat out words like Eurogeddon (the potential financial collapse of the Eurozone), super PAC, superstorm, Higgs boson, and YOLO (You Only Live Once).
Taking the Brit prize was omnishambles, defined as "a situation that has been comprehensively mismanaged, and is characterized by a string of blunders and miscalculations." It was coined by the satirical UK television show The Thick Of It, and was popularly spun off into "Romneyshambles," a word used widely by the British to describe Mitt Romney’s doubts that London had what it took to host a successful Olympic Games.
"It was a word everyone liked, which seemed to sum up so many of the events over the last 366 days in a beautiful way," said Fiona McPherson, the senior content editor for Oxford Dictionaries. "It’s funny, it’s quirky, and it has broken free of its fictional political beginnings, firstly by spilling over into real politics, and then into other contexts."
Members of the Boise City Council will be asked to consider public art in and around City Hall when they meet in a workshop session this coming Tuesday.
Officials with the City's Department of Arts and History will ask lawmakers to give guidance as to where future pieces of public art should be placed, including City Hall's primary entrace on Capitol Boulevard, and its secondary entrances on Main and Idaho streets,
Council members will also be asked if it's necessary for a significiant piece of art in front of City Hall to be a water feature, in the same location as the current fountain. Arts and History staff are expected to ask lawmakers to revisit the issue and possibly consider an alterantive piece of art but not necessarily "a big production," according to a memo from the department to the council.
"The budget for art could go much further if it did not accomodate water and pumps," reads the memo.