Monday, February 18, 2013

Country Singer Mindy McCready Dead of Apparent Suicide

Mindy McCready, the 37-year-old country singer originally from Ft. Myers, Florida, died this afternoon of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound at a lake home in Heber Springs, Arkansas. The New York Daily News reported at 9:15 pm EST that her brother, Josh McCready, confirmed the singer’s death.
Update, 10:15 pm EST: The following statement now appears on the website of the Sheriff’s Office of Cleburne County, Arkansas.
“At 3:31 PM, Sunday, February 17th Deputies from the Cleburne County Sheriff’s Office were dispatched to a report of gun shots fired in the area of 1132 Fox Chase Drive in Heber Springs. Officers arrived on the scene at 3:58 PM and discovered the body of 37 year old Melinda Gayle McCready on the front porch of the residence at 1132 Fox Chase. Ms. McCready was pronounced dead at the scene from what appears to be a single self-inflicted gunshot wound. At this time family members have been notified of the incident. Ms. Mcready will be transported to the Arkansas State Crime Lab for an autopsy and the matter will be fully investigated.”
Her death comes exactly five weeks, almost to the hour, after the apparent suicide of David Wilson, her record producer boyfriend and father of her infant boy.
McCready was ordered on February 6th to check into a rehabilitation clinic ten days ago due to family concerns for her well-being following Wilson’s death. Billy Dukes at A Taste of Country reported that she was released a few days later for outpatient treatment but her two boys remained in foster care.
In addition to nine-month-old Zayne, McCready has a six-year-old son, Zander, with her former boyfriend Billy McKnight. McKnight served 30 days in prison for physically attacking McCready in 2005.
News of McCready’s death broke on Twitter with the message above from NBC Dateline correspondent, Andrea Canning. (Note added: I’ve since found that Stacy McCloud, Fox17 Nashville reporter, tweeted the same news 12 minutes earlier.)
Canning had an exclusive interview with McCready on January 29th as Arkansas investigators continued their probe of Wilson’s death. Canning had asked McCreary about her possible role in the shooting:
“Oh my god, no. Oh my god, no,” McCready responded. “He was my life. We were each other’s life. There’s no way to tell where one of us began and the other ended. We slept together every night holding hands.”
The property at the address of 1132 Fox Chase Road (not Drive) in Heber Springs, Arkansas is owned by a family trust that includes David C. Wilson. The 1,400 square-foot home was built in 1970 and valued in 2012 at $141,555 plus $300,000 for the lakefront lot on Greers Ferry Lake in Heber Springs. The property appears to have been in the Wilson family since at least June 1, 1995.
This January 14th press release implies that Wilson shot himself at the same property on the 13th.
McCready broke onto the country music scene in 1996 with her #1 hit, “Guys Do It All the Time,” from her double platinum album entitled, “Ten Thousand Angels.” Billboard magazine has posted a compilation of her chart history: a total of 12 songs charted on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs between 1996 and 2002. Her final album, 2010′s “I’m Still Here,” rose to only #71 for one week. McCready sold 1.8 million records during her career, 1.2 million of which were her first, recorded with BNA Records (now a label of Sony Music).
Fans may also appreciate this acoustic version of “I’m Still Here” from McCready’s 2010 appearance on the Fox News show, Fox and Friends.
“Underdog from birth”
In 2011, McCready began publishing excerpts of an upcoming autobiography on her fan page. From her first chapter, she wrote:
I was an underdog from birth. I was born into an unhealthy house ruled by a mother who was too young and too violent to successfully take care of children. My two brothers who would eventually look to me for rescue came later. Nature gave me the ability to sing and favorable looks. My mother taught me the art of manipulation and convenient detachment. My father taught me to depend on no one. My brothers showed me the necessity to succeed and sever the dependence on our parents. Armed with this, I graduated high school early and moved to Nashville to be a star.
The last entry for her book, Chapter 3, was dated June 4, 2012.
McCready’s lifelong struggles with depression and alcohol and substance dependence were perhaps best known from her appearance in Season 3 (2010) of the VH1 series, “Celebrity Rehab,” with Dr. Drew Pinsky. One episode captured her having a detoxification seizure while chatting with roommate and actress, Mackenzie Phillips.
Country music stars came out on Twitter acknowledging her struggles. Singer Terri Clark wrote, “I hope our society shows compassion and realizes the severity and reality of mental illness, and addiction.”
Wynnona Judd wrote a long series of tweets about her own addiction and those in judgement of McCreary and others suffering from substance dependence:
“People who don’t understand addiction can easily judge. I myself am a recovery story. I don’t for 1 minute consider myself weak in character. I am addicted to the word “More.” It has almost killed me. Tonight I sang with such a heavy heart for Mindy & for those who still struggle with this dis EASE. I will always be reminded of how what happened to Mindy could have easily happened to me.”
In 2004, McCready was arrested for using a fake prescription to obtain the opioid analgesic, OxyContin. McCready had been reported to have made at least three previous suicide attempts, twice in 2005 and again in 2008. She was involved in a bitter child custody battle with her mother that appears to have continued until her death.
A timeline of McCready’s “long, tortured journey” has been assembled from various sources by Chelsea J. Carter at

Lil Wayne Says He Humped Chris Bosh’s Wife

Lil Wayne Says He Humped Chris Bosh's Wife

Hey everyone, Lil Wayne is being crazy again. Wayne gave a performance in Houston last night as part of the NBA All-Star Weekend festivities, and he took some time out of his set to take his beef with the Miami Heat to Defcon 1. Recall: Wayne was recently involved in some kind of kerfuffle at a Lakers-Heat game, and he claimed he was kicked out of the game by arena security.
Last night, Wayne told the crowd that he has been banned from all NBA events at the request of the Miami Heat. It's hard to believe that this is actually true, but that didn't stop him from telling the NBA and everyone associated with the Miami Heat to go get fucked. The coup de grâce came when Wayne loudly proclaimed that he has boned Chris Bosh's wife.
Thanks to TMZ, you can watch video of Wayne's entire rant:
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If we're lucky, this will give birth to a long and vicious feud between Wayne and Bosh, consisting of Wayne dropping diss tracks and Bosh repeatedly photobombing Weezy and his entourage.

Lakers owner Jerry Buss dies at 80

Fans will remember the real estate mogul for enjoying extraordinary NBA success -- 10 championships in three-plus decades -- but equally important to his legacy was a sense of showmanship.

Longtime Lakers owner Jerry Buss has died at the age of 80. Last week, it was revealed that he was hospitalized with an undisclosed form of cancer.
Jerry Buss, the longtime owner of the Lakers whose penchant for showmanship helped turn the game of basketball into “Showtime” and who led the team to 10 NBA championships, died Monday. He was 80.
A self-made millionaire who built his fortune in real estate, Buss bought the Lakers in 1979. He charted his successful course with marquee players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, Hall of Fame coaches Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, celebrities sitting courtside and Laker Girls dancing during timeouts.
"I really tried to create a Laker image, a distinct identity," Buss said. "I mean, the Lakers are pretty damn Hollywood."
It was a remarkable winning streak for a man who dug his way out of a hardscrabble youth.
A Depression-era baby, Jerry Hatten Buss was born Jan. 27, 1933, in Salt Lake City. His parents divorced when he was an infant.
His mother struggled to make ends meet as a waitress in tiny Evanston, Wyo., and Buss remembered standing in food lines in the bitter cold.
Later, Buss earned a science scholarship to the University of Wyoming. At 19 he married a coed named JoAnn Mueller, and they would eventually have four children: John, Jim, Jeanie and Janie.
By the mid-1950s, the couple had moved to Southern California, where Buss earned a doctorate in chemistry at USC. He worked briefly in the aerospace industry, and in the late 1950s, he and a colleague, Frank Mariani, tried their hand at real estate.
They scraped together a few thousand dollars to buy a 14-unit apartment house in West Los Angeles and, to save money, did all the repairs themselves. Their real estate company kept growing as they invested in residential properties, hotels and office buildings.
In 1979, Buss and his partners bought the Lakers (along with the Forum in Inglewood), the NHL’s Kings and a 13,000-acre ranch in Kern County for $67 million from Jack Kent Cooke.
At the time, the NBA had fallen by the wayside and several teams stood on the brink of bankruptcy.
But to Buss, the Lakers looked like a gem in the coal bin. They had a dominant center in Abdul-Jabbar, and the team picked the effervescent Johnson out of Michigan State in the 1979 NBA draft.
Success came quickly. With former Lakers star Jerry West maturing into one of the most gifted general managers in the league, the team won an NBA championship in Buss’ first season. Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and Michael Cooper guided the Lakers to five titles.
The Lakers' next title era came with O’Neal; the precocious Bryant, whom they traded for after he was drafted out of high school; and Jackson as coach. The Lakers won three consecutive championships from 2000 through 2002.
The team then flamed out in the 2004 NBA Finals against the Detroit Pistons and traded O’Neal to the Miami Heat. At the same time, Jackson walked away.
After a few more disappointing seasons, Bryant demanded a trade, but Buss stood firm.
The Lakers, with Jackson back as coach and with Pau Gasol added to the team, defeated Orlando for the 2008-09 title. The following season, they beat Boston for another championship. It was their 10th and final title under Buss.
"Jerry Buss helped set the league on the course it is on today," NBA Commissioner David Stern said. "Remember, he showed us it was about 'Showtime,' the notion that an arena can become the focal point for not just basketball, but entertainment. He made it the place to see and be seen."
Former Times staff writer Mark Heisler contributed to this report.

Beyoncé On Jay-Z: 'We Were Friends First' (VIDEO)

By OWN Posted:
In the documentary "Beyoncé: Life Is But a Dream," audiences get a great sense of the relationship the superstar singer has with her husband, rapper Jay-Z, Oprah says. In this clip from "Oprah's Next Chapter," Beyoncé tells Oprah she would not be the woman she is today if she didn't have Jay-Z in her life.
"It just gives me such a foundation," Beyoncé says of her marriage to Jay-Z. She tells Oprah that being friends for a year and a half before even dating helped to solidify their relationship. "Just to have someone that you just like is so important," she says. "And someone that is honest."
To see the interview in its entirety, tune in to "Oprah's Next Chapter" on OWN, Feb. 16, at 8 p.m. ET.
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Tonight: Beyoncé on HBO; OWN; Christoph Waltz hosts ‘SNL’

First Look: Oprah’s Next Chapter with Beyoncé
Think Beyoncé is overexposed?
In recent weeks, the singer has generated wide discussion after her perormances at Barack Obama's second inauguration and during the Super Bowl halftime. Did she cheat at the inauguration by singing to a track? Was she too sexy at the Super Bowl? She rolls forward, a superstar undeterred.
If you're operating on Beyoncé overload, you'll want to steer clear of OWN and HBO Saturday night. HBO presents the singer in the documentary "Life Is but a Dream" at 9. In this highly personal work -- she is listed as a director -- the Grammy-winner discusses her marriage, baby, parents, career and goals. The 90-minute work also serves up flashy concert performances. Beyoncé turns surprisingly vulnerable offstage, but she projects a robust style onstage. When she pledges to do her best for the audience, you believe her.
Oprah Winfrey talks to Beyoncé on "Oprah's Next Chapter" at 8 on OWN. Beyoncé's topics, according to OWN, include "her daughter Blue Ivy, what Jay Z is like as a father and as a husband, letting her father (music executive Matthew Knowles) go as her manager, her heartbreaking miscarriage and what is next for her career and her life."
Also Saturday:
Oscar-nominee Christoph Waltz ("Django Unchained") hosts "Saturday Night Live" at 11:30 p.m. on NBC. Waltz has a smooth charm in his movie performances; will that translate to live television? The musical guest is Alabama Shakes.
If you want a timely science program, check "Russian Meteor Explosion" at 8 on Science Channel. The topic is the meteor that broke up over over Chelyabinsk, Russia, and injured 1,100.
CBS' "48 Hours" offers "Honor and Dishonor" at 10. CBS News says the program gives "a rare look at the Army’s Judge Advocate General's Corps (JAG) judicial system as it handles a case of double murder." The case: The attempted prosecution of Army Sgt. Brent Burke in the 2007 murders of Tracy Burke and Karen Comer. Tracy and Brent had been going through a turbulent divorce.
Closer to home, at the Daytona International Speedway, Fox presents the "The Sprint Unlimited at Daytona" at 8. Guiding viewers through the first race of this year's NASCAR season will be announcer Mike Joy and analysts Larry McReynolds and Darrell Waltrip.

Alabama Shakes pull double-duty on TV tonight

— Fans of Limestone County’s own Grammy-nominated Alabama Shakes can get a double dose of the band on television tonight.

The group will perform on "Austin City Limits" tonight at 10 p.m. on Alabama Public Television. The group taped the performance earlier this year.

Alabama Shakes will also be the musical guest tonight on "Saturday Night Live." The show will air at 10:30 p.m. and be shown locally on NBC affiliate WAFF-48.

Watch a performance of "Hold On" from the band's Austin City Limits set below.

Danica Patrick ready to qualify for Daytona 500 now that questions about personal life out of the way

Published Saturday, Feb 16, 2013 at 2:36 pm EST
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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Danica Patrick has had her personal life picked apart in the last few weeks. Now it is time for her to get her career back on track and see if she qualify for the Daytona 500.
Patrick will attempt to make NASCAR’s biggest race Sunday to start her first full Sprint Cup season. She started 29th and finished 38th in last year’s Daytona 500 after being swept into a wreck on the second lap.
Even after running last year’s race, Patrick isn’t sure what she needs to do to make sure she is in the Daytona 500 field.
MORE: Practice speeds | Qualifying order | Ricky says Danica 'hot' | Drivers curious about romance
She’s not alone. While not as confusing as in the past, the qualifying procedure for the Daytona 500 is different than any other race.
All Patrick knows is that she needs to perform on either Sunday or Thursday or she is in jeopardy of not making the season’s biggest race.
With only 45 cars entered, she likely will get in, but even a driver such as Dale Earnhardt Jr. is not guaranteed a starting spot.
“I have absolutely no idea how qualifying works,” Patrick said Thursday during a rare break from questions about her romance with fellow driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. “Does anyone? I think I was actually sent like a long email with the way that qualifying works. I didn't read it.
“Because you're just going to drive as hard as you can, right? What else am I going to do? I have got to qualify in the top two or top six, whatever it is. You're going to go as fast as you possibly can and deal with it afterwards.”
The Daytona 500 field is set through a mix of qualifying speed on Sunday and results from the two 150-mile qualifying races on Thursday.
The front row (the top two starting spots) is set by qualifying speed on Sunday. Patrick will go out eighth among the 45 drivers vying for 43 starting positions.
Spots 3-32 will be set by the qualifying races Thursday. The top 15 finishers in each race, not including the drivers already locked into the front row, will fill spots 3-32.
The next four spots (33-36) will go to the four remaining drivers with the best qualifying speeds.
Danica Patrick is ready to qualify for the Daytona 500. (AP Photo)
Positions 37-42 will then go to the remaining drivers based on 2012 owner points. The 43rd spot is reserved for a past Cup champion. If all past champions are already in the field, then there is another spot available based on 2012 owner points.
Patrick’s Stewart-Haas Racing team has the points that are 42nd among the 45 drivers entered for the Daytona 500 through a deal with Robinson-Blakeley Motorsports.
So there is a slight chance she could still get a provisional as long as two of the following three drivers — Scott Speed, Mike Bliss and Brian Keselowski — don’t qualify on speed or through the qualifying races.
There also is the chance she could miss the race. The only drivers guaranteed spots are the top six in 2012 owner points (Brad Keselowski, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin) and Tony Stewart (2011 champion).
Patrick has made the transition from IndyCar driver to Sprint Cup the last four years. She spent 2010 and 2011 running a part-time Nationwide schedule and then went full time in 2012 by running the complete Nationwide schedule and 10 Cup races.
“I'm excited,” Patrick said. “I think of all the years I've competed at a top level, I feel like I'm most excited for this season.
“I really am. I think it's going to be a fun season. I think it's going to be a great season.”
Patrick had a best finish of 17th in her 10 Cup races last year. She was 10th in the Nationwide Series final standings.
“Driving stock cars, it's really fun to me,” Patrick said. “The racing is really fun to me. While I get nervous, it's something I really care about, I want to do really well.
“For some reason I have more excitement than I do so much nerves.”
It wasn’t that way for Patrick when she was racing in IndyCar.
“I always felt like there was a lot of pressure and I felt like every lap was on the edge,” Patrick said. “The racing was getting really dicey at the end. People were just all over the place and I felt nervous going into that.
“Now I just feel excited. I feel a little nervous but definitely more excited.”