August 16, 2010
Posted: 03:37 PM ET
Kathleen Koch is a former CNN correspondent and author of this week's pick, "Rising From Katrina: How My Mississippi Hometown Lost It All And Found What Mattered," published by Blair. Part of the proceeds will go to charities still helping Katrina victims on the Gulf Coast. Many of you may recall Kathleen's excellent reporting from the Mississippi Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Those of us who had the pleasure of working with her at CNN are thrilled to be able to share this LKL Web Exclusive from Kathleen.
Anniversaries are a time for remembering, taking account. But that doesn’t apply to the Mississippi Gulf Coast on the fifth anniversary of Katrina. Because there’s no remembering something most Americans never knew – that the brunt of the monster hurricane decimated the entire length of the eighty-mile-long Mississippi Gulf Coast.
The collapse of the levees to the west in New Orleans was a compelling, ongoing drama. It impacted more people since some 1.3 million lived in the Crescent City and the surrounding eight parishes compared to the 366,472 residents of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. And then Hurricane Rita blew in, inundating New Orleans again.
In Mississippi, the roaring 125-mph winds and crushing thirty-plus-foot storm surge shredded the beachfront home where I’d grown up, most of my hometown of Bay St. Louis, and reduced nearly every structure in the first half mile along the water to a slab. There are no levees on our Gulf Coast. In fact, at thirty feet in elevation downtown Bay St. Louis is the highest point in the United States on the Gulf of Mexico. But it offered no protection from Katrina. The winds and storm surge swept in and out in a day, leaving little behind untouched.
From day one when the nation’s attention focused on New Orleans, people climbing out of the rubble of the Mississippi Gulf Coast wondered why no one was paying attention, why no one seemed to care. To its credit, CNN had several reporters including me there, and Anderson Cooper anchored many of his shows that first week from Mississippi. In the year following the hurricane, I did two documentaries tracking my hometown’s recovery. I was back reporting on the second and third anniversaries.
July 14, 2010
Posted: 12:55 PM ET
By Tim Nudd and Sandra Sobieraj Westfall
Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston have patched things up, and may hear wedding bells chiming. But it's going to take a whole lot more for Bristol's mother, Sarah Palin, to forgive her daughter's boyfriend.
"With her, his actions will have to speak louder than words," Bristol, 19, tells PEOPLE. "And he'll have to get his education and a job and be willing to support Tripp the right way. And then I think she'll come around."
What does she mean by "the right way" to raise their 18-month-old son?
"Like, not just have him around when the cameras are around but be there all the time and have a legitimate job and be supportive financially and just set a good example for him," says Bristol.
According to Bristol, Johnston is really changing. "Tons and tons of progress is being made," she says. "Like, he'll change a diaper without me even having to tell him, or he'll take him when I need a 15-minute break, or he'll come over and help with Tripp, and all that stuff is just so much appreciated."
April 23, 2010
Posted: 05:08 PM ET
Here's the story. Loan officer plays pick-up basketball game...catches the eye of an NBA talent scout...tries out for and makes the Dallas Mavericks. End of story, right? For Ray Johnston, that's where it starts. Shortly after making the team, Johnston learned he had leukemia, and was immediately placed into a coma. He's come close to death several times while fighting the disease, yet now he's touring with the Ray Johnston Band - and they're really good.
HDNet is following the band around and chronicling Ray's amazing story. "Ray Johnston Band: Road Diaries" premieres Sunday. Check out the clip, and read Ray's story below as told to the LKL Blog.
LKL Blog: First things first, how did you become a Dallas Maverick?
Johnston: In 2004, I took the oh so traveled path of going from the loan officer desk, to the Hoop-It-Up 3-on-3 tournament, and had my fingers crossed I'd come out a Dallas Maverick after that. It was so random. The Mavericks were just being smart and doing basic PR in their backyard. Some of the Maverick scouts came out and decided they'd invite 20 of the best they see to an open tryout. The talent in the competition is really good. A lot of folks are just home for the summer, but played in college in the Big 12, SEC, Pac 10, or even overseas.
One of the scouts came over to me after I made a flashy play, and they said "We're going to have a free-agent open tryout. You want to come?" And I thought someone was pulling my leg. But turns out he was telling the truth and that was how it all got started. There were probably 15 tryouts in a 20 day period. I remember the Chinese team was in town because they were getting ready for the Olympics, or the World Games. We scrimmaged them about 6 times. Yao Ming set some mean picks on me.
April 22, 2010
Posted: 06:32 PM ET
NOTE: As the son of a Jewish mother, I can attest there are secrets. If only I had this book as a child! "Real Housewives of New York" star Lisa Wexler, Jill Zarin and Gloria Kamen are co-authors of "Secrets of a Jewish Mother." Wexler offers this primer to the LKL blog.
Yesterday, on the first day of promotion for our new book, Secrets of a Jewish Mother, the New York Times ran an article entitled “Can the Jewish Deli Be Reformed?” Here we were, together in New York City, and the Times was ruminating on the future of New York delis. It seemed b’shert, or “meant to be.” Jewish mothers don’t believe in coincidences.
It’s no “secret” that we Jews love food. Food is not only part of our everyday lives—it’s interwoven with our religious traditions. The celebration of Passover requires us to read the Exodus story but stop in the middle to have dinner. And what a meal it is! Almost all Jewish holidays have special foods associated with them-latkes for Chanukah, hamantaschen for Purim. We even share some of our special family recipes in the book.
As the Times shows us, there is a whole new generation re-inventing the food of our past. They’re not changing the dishes but they’re reinvigorating the recipes. Some are swapping in organic ingredients; others are making their own pickles, others lightening the recipe. However you slice it, the next generation is finding a way to embrace old traditions and leave a modern mark.
April 21, 2010
Posted: 03:16 PM ET
After a two week absence, "American Idol" has returned to the top of the Nielsen ratings by less than the population of my hometown, Mesquite, Texas. Yes, I've been trying for a while to work the name of my hometown into this blog - home of the Fighting Skeeters.
The most interesting nugget this week is Fox's critically acclaimed but, until last week, low rated "Glee" came in 4th for the week. Doesn't take a network exec to figure out this was because it followed "Idol," and got some big promotion, but I'm curious to see if the show can keep those that were too lazy to change the channel after "Idol." If you watched "Glee," what did you think? Will you watch again?
"Glee" and "Idol" weren't enough though to win the week for Fox. CBS was first among the networks, followed by Fox, ABC and NBC.
On cable, Discovery's "Deadliest Catch" returned with its best numbers ever, with 4.6 million viewers. Here's the top 10 for the week of April 12-18:
Source: Nielsen, April 12-18, via USAToday.com
April 14, 2010
Posted: 01:31 PM ET
Alphabet soup you say? Well, the TV world isn't exactly the military, but we like our acronyms. Now, on to this weeks Nielsen ratings. Most notable is Monday's "Dancing With the Stars" again topped "American Idol," which again won in their head-to-head night on Tuesday. You know a show's a success when averaging about 25 million viewers is considered "down," but by most accounts this isn't Idols most compelling season. Why is that? Comments welcome. And "Lost," by the way, finished the week 20th, with 9.5 million viewers. What is it that Desmond has to do for the island? Don't tell me, still haven't watched it on Tivo.
Source: Nielsen, via USAToday.com
April 7, 2010
Posted: 05:42 PM ET
The weekly Nielsen ratings are out and ABC's Monday version of "Dancing with the Stars" topped perennial #1 American Idol. Worth noting though is that in their head-to-head competition on Tuesday, Idol got over 7 million more viewers. My favorite series, "Lost," tied for 15th this week with 10.1 million viewers. Hey, did you know Desmond is back?
Source: Nielsen / via USAToday.com
Go Behind The Scenes
LARRY KING LIVE'S Emmy-winning Senior Executive Producer Wendy Walker knows what it takes to make a great story.
With anecdotes, provocative emails, scandals, show transcripts and insights into Walker's long working relationship with Larry King, her new book PRODUCER issues readers an invitation to listen in on the most intriguing conversations on the planet.