Thursday, March 31, 2011

Librarian's improbable NCAA bracket

Librarian's stunning NCAA bracket. (AP Image)

An Oregon woman defies incredible odds by picking every Final Four team.

School librarian correctly books improbable Final Four

Before the final buzzer sounded last Sunday, 99.9 percent of amateur bracketologists across the globe had already torched their brackets. For the first time in the history of the Big Dance no No. 1 or No. 2 seeds had advanced to the Final Four. The rash of unpredictable upsets made many entries appear slashed and bloodied, leaving a bitter taste in mouths of optimistic prognosticators who two weeks earlier were supremely confident they had submitted a winner.
However, one, out of nearly three million Yahoo! Tourney Pick 'Em submissions, unbelievably basked in glory. …

Missing Libya woman spurs reporters

A Ministry of Information official, center, removes Iman Al-Obeidi, who said she spent two days in detention after being arrested at a checkpoint in Tripoli, Libya, and was sexually assaulted by up to 15 men while in custody, from the Rixos hotel in Tripoli Saturday March 15, 2011. (Albert Facelly, Sipa Press/AP Photo)  

Eman al-Obeidy hasn't been seen since she accused Gadhafi troops of a horrible assault.

Libyan state TV smears alleged rape victim while foreig

Covering the story of Eman al-Obeidy has become something of a cause for foreign journalists. Al-Obeidy is the woman who burst into a hotel favored by international reporters in Libya's capital city of Tripoli last weekend and frantically recounted her alleged capture and gang rape by 15 members of strongman Muammar Gadhafi's security detail. She was then whisked away by Libyan officials, and has not been heard from since.
Meanwhile, the state-run media in al-Obeidy's home country has launched an assault on the woman's reputation.

7 reasons 'Jersey Shore' has lost its mojo

'Jersey Shore' cast.  (John Kessler/MTV)  

The hit reality TV show has become boring and repetitive, one writer claims.

Gym, Tan, Yawning: Why We're So Over 'Jersey Shore'

Okay, before you go labeling us "haterz," let us explain. We've been loyal viewers of "Jersey Shore" since the beginning, back when The Situation was just plain old Mike. And yes, the first two seasons of "Shore" were highly watchable, highly quotable reality-TV gold. But in Season 3, MTV's monster hit has seemingly run out of gas, becoming repetitive, tiresome, and (the most unforgivable sin for a reality show) dull as dirt. Here, we run down the ways "Shore" has lost our interest — and offer a few tips on how the show can win us back with the upcoming, Italy-based Season 4.

Mavs player dating former Miss Universe

Jose Barea #11 of the Dallas Mavericks. (Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)  

 J.J. Barea, one of the NBA's smallest players, says his new girlfriend keeps up with all of his games.


J.J. Barea is dating a former Miss Universe

NBA players are usually so tall that the smallest ones -- men who in any other context would just be normal people -- are often considered to be adorable little scamps who use their minor physical gifts to stay relevant in a league of giants. Never mind that they're unbelievable athletes with physical tools that most 25-year-olds would kill for -- at the highest level of basketball, they look like the closest thing to that crafty dude that wins with his tricks at the local gym.

This is ludicrous, because these men lead lives that we could only dream of. For instance, diminutive Mavericks guard J.J. Barea(notes) has a pretty impressive girlfriend. From Jeff Caplan for

7 reasons 'Jersey Shore' has lost its mojo

Tilikum returns to SeaWorld (ABC)  

 Tilikum's return one year after killing his trainer is accompanied by subtle but substantial changes.


Gym, Tan, Yawning: Why We're So Over 'Jersey Shore'

We need a break from the "Jersey Shore" gang
Okay, before you go labeling us "haterz," let us explain. We've been loyal viewers of "Jersey Shore" since the beginning, back when The Situation was just plain old Mike. And yes, the first two seasons of "Shore" were highly watchable, highly quotable reality-TV gold. But in Season 3, MTV's monster hit has seemingly run out of gas, becoming repetitive, tiresome, and (the most unforgivable sin for a reality show) dull as dirt. Here, we run down the ways "Shore" has lost our interest — and offer a few tips on how the show can win us back with the upcoming, Italy-based Season 4.

Concern looms over arming Libyan rebels

Libyan rebels jump onto the back of their vehicle as they leave Ras Lanouf, 250 km east of Sirte, central Libya, Tuesday, March 29, 2011. (Anja Niedringhaus/AP Photo) 

The U.S. grapples with questions about who the opposition is and if it can defeat Gadhafi.

Questions loom about possibility of arming Libyan rebels

Not long into the enforcement of the no-fly zone in Libya, a military stalemate appears to be taking shape. Forces loyal to Muammar Gadhafi continue to hold key towns against incursions by Libyan rebels--and the fragile international coalition that has been carrying out airstrikes over the past 11 days in order to protect Libyan civilians from attack is now at odds over whether the Libyan rebels require more direct military assistance.

10 ways to get your marriage back on track

Affectionate Hispanic couple standing on beach (Photo by Thinkstock)   

 Imagine a perfect day in your perfect relationship, then create a plan to get there.

10 Ways to Get Your Marriage Back on Track

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes happily ever after. End of story, right? Not quite… While it’s true that couples relax a bit after they think they’ve nabbed the matrimonial Holy Grail, the reality is that they may also find themselves dumbfounded if their fairytale starts slipping away. “Many people think that marriage is about marrying the right person, so when things go wrong, they automatically go to the ‘Crap, I accidentally married the wrong person’ place,” says Alisa Bowman, author of Project: Happily Ever After. “Although you do want to marry someone you are basically compatible with, marriage has a lot less to do with marrying the right person than it has to do with doing the right things with the person you married.” In other words, relationships are a constant work in progress. To keep the happy connection that made you say “I do” in the first place—or maybe even create a newer-and-improved version—try out these 10 tips to rehab your romance.

Rising star's staggering pledge to Japan

Ryo Ishikawa of Japan (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)  

 Golfer Ryo Ishikawa promises to give all of his 2011 prize money to the rebuilding of his homeland.

Ryo Ishikawa will donate all of 2011 prize money to Japan

There are people that step up during crisis situations, and people that step up, and for victims of the Japan earthquake and tsunami, they can look at young Ryo Ishikawa to be leading the latter group.
Ishikawa, just 19 years old and a Japanese professional golfer, announced on Wednesday that he will be donating all of his 2011 prize money to victims of the natural disaster that devastated Japan on March 11. That means that Ishikawa will probably be donating over $1 million, a number people estimate Ryo will win if he has a solid second full season on the PGA Tour, especially since a season ago he earned 151 million yen ($1.8 million) on the Japan Tour alone to go along with his $149,180 in the states.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mysterious bullet hole in plane spurs probe

US Airways plane found to have bullet hole (ABC News)  

A pilot's chance find in the fuselage of his 737 rattles nerves and stirs up big questions.

FBI Investigates Bullet Hole in Plane

World's highest hotel opens in prime spot

Restaurant inside the world's highest hotel (AFP/Ed Jones)  


Dizzying views aren't the only "wow" factor packed into a new record-breaking locale.

World's highest hotel opens in Hong Kong

HONG KONG (AFP) – The world's highest hotel opened its doors in Hong Kong on Tuesday, housed in the city's tallest skyscraper and offering unrivalled panoramic views of the world famous Victoria Harbour.
Towering some 490 metres (1,600 feet) above the bustling, chaotic streets of the Southern Chinese city, the Ritz-Carlton Hotel is making a grand comeback after temporarily closing in 2008.
Visitors peered out of the floor-to-ceiling windows of the 118th floor of the International Commerce Centre, which houses the hotel, for a 360 degree view of the glitzy financial hub and the South China Sea.

Best big-city hospitals in America

Doctor rushing in hallway (Photo by Pixland) 

 U.S. News ranked the top centers in cities with 1 million or more residents.

How to Find the Best Hospital Near You

For the first time, U.S. News has ranked hospitals in America's 52 largest metropolitan areas.
Some Americans are fortunate enough to live down the street from a world-class hospital. For them, where to go for highly skilled care is clear.
For most of us, though, finding a hospital that offers both excellent care and local convenience has long been a challenge. Healthcare consumers have faced a dearth of reliable information about how the hospitals near them stack up. The problem is most acute in large metropolitan areas, which are crowded with hospitals that offer varying degrees of expertise across a range of medical specialties.
In principle, going to a renowned medical center such as one of the nationally ranked U.S. News Best Hospitals is a solid option. But that could be difficult if it requires travel, expensive if not covered by insurance, and unnecessary except in the most challenging medical cases. No wonder most hospital patients stay close to home.

Billboard, new law inflame abortion debate

Close-up of billboard featuring image of President Obama  

 Two controversial moves 1,700 miles apart thrust race into the forefront of the fight.

Billboard, new law, highlight racial turn for abortion debate

As if America's debate over abortion weren't contentious enough, it's lately been stirred by the addition of another hot-button issue: race.
Yesterday, Arizona became the first state in the nation to outlaw abortions performed on the basis of the race or gender of the fetus. And an anti-abortion billboard that uses an image of President Obama to target Chicago's black community has sparked a furor.
The Arizona bill, signed into law on Tuesday by Governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, makes it a felony for doctors or other medical professionals to perform an abortion in order to help parents choose their offspring on the basis of race or gender. The law does not punish the woman having the abortion.
"Governor Brewer believes society has a responsibility to protect its most vulnerable -- the unborn -- and this legislation is consistent with her strong pro-life track record," a spokesman for Brewer told Reuters.
But opponents of the unusual measure contend there's little evidence that fetuses in Arizona are being aborted on the basis of gender or race. And they say the law could lead doctors to ask women about their reasons for having an abortion--something supporters of abortion rights view as a private decision.
About 1,700 miles away, in Chicago, a Texas-based anti-abortion group unveiled a billboard in the predominantly black neighborhood of Englewood. Next to a picture of Obama, it reads: "Every 21 minutes, our next possible leader is aborted."

The Chicago Abortion Fund, a pro-choice group, denounced the billboard. "The ongoing anti-choice movement to target women of color in cities across the country is both despicable and deplorable," it said in a statement. "Not only is the ad attempting to shame black women but placing a picture of the President Obama alongside the message is cynical and misleading."

'Dancing' star gets the ax

The Season 12 cast of "Dancing with the Stars."ABC/Adam Larkey  

 One contestant joins an exclusive list of celebs who have been eliminated first from the show.

Top 10 two-sport athletes of all time

Deion Sanders in a Cowboys uniform (AP Photo/Eric Gay)  

As Chad Ochocinco learned in a soccer tryout, it takes a rare talent to star in two pro sports.

Top 10 Multi-Sport Athletes

Chad Ochocinco took to the pitch on Monday as a reserve for Sporting Kansas City of the MLS. Is the football star's flirtation with professional soccer enough to get him into ThePostGame's top 10 list of greatest multi-sport athletes?

No. 10 Michael Jordan

MJ's brief dalliance in the Chicago White Sox farm system is generally regarded as a failure. Compared to his stellar basketball career, it was. But how many 31-year-olds do you know that could drop into Double-A baseball after not having swung a bat since high school and still hold their own in the professional ranks Jordan's failing wasn't that he was bad at baseball; it's that he didn't give himself enough time to find out how good he could be.

No. 9 Bob Hayes

Rarely has a nickname been so fitting as "Bullet Bob." Hayes earned the title of world's fastest man during the 1960s by virtue of his Olympic sprint medals and world record times in the 60-yard, 100-yard and 100-meter races. One year after his triumphs in Tokyo, Hayes was wearing a star on his helmet, lining up as wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys. He would posthumously be named to the Hall of Fame in 2009.

'Disrespectful' shirts help fuel HS upset

Screengrab courtesy of  Joseph Staszewski  

A New York team wasn't amused by its opponent's inaccurate gear before their title game.

Premature championship shirts lead to title game upset

The ancient Greeks often spoke of hubris and how it would lead to a man's downfall. Time and time again, that ancient wisdom has proven prophetic in sports, a truism that was borne out at the scholastic level on Saturday, when Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran High beat Manhasset (N.Y.) St. Mary's School in the state's Class A state championship game.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

What Obama's speech on Libya left out

President Barack Obama speaks about Libya on Monday, March 28, 2011. (AP/Charles Dharapak)  

The war the president described to the nation doesn't quite match the one we're in, an analyst says.

Analysis: Obama doesn't mention Libyan rebels

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama wanted to tell a hesitant America why he launched a military assault in Libya, and he wanted to describe it on his terms — limited, sensible, moral and backed by international partners with the shared goal of protecting Libyans from a ruthless despot.
Trouble is, the war he described Monday doesn't quite match the fight the United States is in.
It also doesn't line up with the conflict Obama himself had seemed to presage, when he expressly called for Moammar Gadhafi's overthrow or resignation. Obama's stated goals stop well short of that. And although Obama talked of the risks of a long war, he did not say just when or on what terms the United States would leave Libya.

Beach getaways that are a true bargain

Photo: St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida / Nicholas Pitt/Getty Images  

Stay on an island along Florida's west coast for as little as $65 per night.

Bargain Beach Getaways

Are you so desperate for a warm and sunny escape—and so convinced it’s beyond your means—that you’ve settled for tanning-salon sessions and homemade piña coladas?

Really, now: Jetting off to a sandy slice of heaven doesn’t have to send you to the poorhouse. There are plenty of budget-minded locales that are light on your wallet, but still heavy on balmy temperatures, swaying palm trees and beautiful beaches.

See the full list of The Best Bargain Beach Getaways

1. Culebra, Puerto Rico

Located off the eastern shores of the main island, sleepy Culebra is rich with uncrowded playas edging calm and cerulean waters--plus a small clutch of basic but bright hotels, like Mamacita's, averaging $100 nightly.

2. Playa Del Carmen, Mexico

Stretch your dollar in this laid-back Cancún respite, offering diving, snorkeling, shopping and primo sunset- cocktail spots--not to mention inns from charming to chic, like Hotel Cielo or Kinbé Hotel, for $55 to $150 a night.

3. St. Petersburg-Clearwater, Florida

This unfussy chain of barrier islands along the Sunshine State's west coast really has it all: a variety of wide beaches, cheap seafood-shack meals, a slew of affordable ($65 a night and up) places to stay and a fun nightlife scene.

Celebrities' real names revealed

Lady Gaga (Kevin Mazur/WireImage)  

The Web is wild to know Lady Gaga's birth name, but not as much as one other star's.

What's Your Real Name?

Lady Gaga Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images After her birthday on Monday, Lady Gaga is a quarter of a century old. No doubt she'll celebrate in a Gaga-ian fashion, but for now her fans (aka "Little Monsters") are most interested in knowing her real name.

Draft guide’s shocking diss of Cam Newton

Cam Newton (Getty Images)  

An NFL expert unleashes a brutal personal takedown of one of the draft's top prospects.

Draft guide rips Newton personally – how much is too much?

Every year, I read and enjoy the Pro Football Weekly draft guide written by Nolan Nawrocki — it's a very well-done and comprehensive guide that I put up there with the information given by Russ Lande of the Sporting News, and Rob Rang and Chad Reuter of (who strike me as the best in the business) when I want contrasting but trusted voices on draft-eligible players.
And one of the main things I like about the pre-draft process is that aside from the ceaseless speculation about which prospect's stock is rising and falling based on artificial factors (which you can easily sidestep if you just know who to avoid), it's more about watching tape and comparing football attributes than it is about throwing ridiculous rumors or baseless speculation out there. Sure, there seems to be one fake drug rumor per year, but those rumors generally come from "sources" in the second tier of the draft-o-sphere.
And that's why Nawrocki's takedown of Auburn quarterback Cam Newton was both shocking and very much outside the box. As much as Nawrocki talked about what Newton brings to the field, he also went way off the reservation and got deep into what he considers to be Newton's personal failings.
Under "negatives" for Newton, Nawrocki writes, "Very disingenuous — has a fake smile, comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup.  Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them.  Has an enormous ego with a sense of entitlement that continually invites trouble and makes him believe he is above the law — does not command respect from teammates and will always struggle to win a locker room . . . Lacks accountability, focus and trustworthiness — is not punctual, seeks shortcuts and sets a bad example.  Immature and has had issues with authority.  Not dependable."
Now, I'm not arguing the merits of Nawrocki's evaluation — I've heard enough "interesting" things about Newton from trusted sources to wonder if he has the tremendous mental fortitude it takes to be a successful NFL quarterback. I guess the question is — how much amateur psychology do you want in your draft guide?
There's no question that Newton has a very scripted notion of how to deal with the media; that's why he opened his combine press conference with a pre-written statement. And there's been enough off-field controversy linked to Newton's name to make teams wonder if he'll bear down when he needs to at the next level.
But "enormous ego with a sense of entitlement"? "Always knows where the cameras are and plays to them"? How relevant are these evaluations to Newton's future success? You could probably say these things about more than a few successful NFL players at any given time (and you could absolutely say them about one certain currently retired quarterback who may or may not stay retired for too long). And what does his "fake smile" have to do with anything?
As I said, I respect Nawrocki's opinion of draft-eligible players about as much as I respect the opinions of anyone who does this for a living. And just to make it clear, I'm planning to buy the guide this year, and I encourage others to do the same. But I question how relevant certain personal things are if you're not a team possibly investing millions of dollars in a prospect. In those circumstances, I would absolutely want to know every little thing about Cam Newton, and I can then decide to separate the stuff from the stuff.
And as a reader of other draft evaluations, I want to know if a player has been suspended from a program, or beat someone up in a frat house, or has been busted for PEDs. But I'm not sure how interesting or relevant it is that the prospect I'm reading about is unlikeable, phony, or has a bit too much media savvy for his own good.
How much is too much?

News Source: Yahoo

Monday, March 28, 2011

Unusual animal skills used to save humans

Snails (Who Knew)  

They aren't built for speed, but some snails provide an early alert system for pollution.

Weirdest traffic laws in America

Muddy truck (Thinkstock)   

In one Minnesota town, drivers with muddy tires can be fined up to $2,000.

You know the basic traffic laws — stop at a red light, obey the speed limit, don’t drink and drive.

But this is America, land of the free and home of the make-it-up-as-you-go-along, so in addition to the standard traffic laws, there are some weird and wacky ones out there.

Some of them are specific to activities common in that town or state, and some of them make you wonder why someone had to tell you it’s illegal to do that.

10. Screeeeeeeeeeeech!

In Kansas, it is illegal to screech your tires. That's a state law, but there are also local ordinances to back it up.

In Derby, Kansas, for example, it's part of a standard traffic ordinance that any act which causes or creates "unnecessary rapid acceleration, unnecessary tire squeal, skid, smoke or slide upon acceleration or stopping including the casting of tread, gravel, dirt or other road surface materials from the tires" is illegal. Also any acts that "simulate a temporary race."

The penalty is a fine up to $500 and/or imprisonment up to 30 days.

9. Eureka! Wake Up.

In Eureka, California, it is unlawful and an infraction to sleep in any public space. That might make you think park bench, but they go so far as to add that you are not to sleep on any sidewalk, alley or STREET. That’s right, they have to tell you not to sleep in the street.

The offense, should you live to be penalized for it, is classified as a misdemeanor and punishable by a fine up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail.

Cobra on the loose at N.Y. zoo ignites buzz

Egyptian cobra (ABC News) 

A lethal species made famous by Indiana Jones triggers an urgent hunt in the Bronx.

Missing Cobra

How to switch fields in under two years

Businesswoman (Thinkstock)  

Quick training programs can help launch you in one of six rewarding careers.

Quick-Start Careers That Pay

Start getting paid fast with these hot jobs you can train for in 1-2 years.

By Jennifer Berry
Are you feeling stuck in a job you hate? Floundering in a job search that isn't going anywhere?
Don't despair: a quick training program could provide the jolt you need to find the right career.
There is no time like the present to explore your options for going back to school. With many schools offering rolling admissions and even online instruction, it's never been easier to get started.
[Search for career training programs now]
With the right training, you could be prepared for a new career in just one to two years. That's a small investment in time that could reap big rewards over the length of your career.
Check out these six solid careers - and learn how you can train for them.

How Jay-Z built his $450 million empire

Jay-Z attends the groundbreaking ceremony for the Barclays Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)  

The music mogul earned more than nearly all the CEOs of public companies last year

Jay-Z’s $450 million Business Empire

This is a superstar economy, in which A-listers live large while minor leaguers struggle. Hedge fund managers like John Paulson may rack up big returns, CEOs like Lloyd Blankfein of Goldman, Sachs bag huge compensation packages, and all-star baseball players like Alex Rodriguez ink nine-figure contracts. But few of them can match the combination of fame, public acclaim and monetary value that Shawn Corey Carter has racked up.

Prince pulls off secret bachelor bash

Prince William (Getty Images)  

A mysterious weekend getaway stirs up frenzied speculation but leaves tabloids in the lurch.

William outfoxes press with secret bachelor bash


AP Photo/Paul Crock
LONDON — Score that Prince William 1, the British tabloid press zilch.
Far from the cameras of the U.K.'s voracious press, the prince bid his single life goodbye in a bachelor party reportedly held in eastern England over the weekend.
Palace officials confirmed Monday only that the stag party — reportedly thrown by his brother and best man, Prince Harry — had taken place.
"It has happened," a spokeswoman said, speaking on condition of anonymity in line with palace policy. "We are not giving any details."
[ Related: Prince Harry going on North Pole expedition ]
Those details have been the subject of intense speculation since William announced his engagement to 29-year-old Kate Middleton in November. The pair will wed April 29 at London's Westminster Abbey.
Would the party be held in Scotland or South Africa? Would there be good old-fashioned British boozing? And would Harry, William's sometimes wayward younger brother, organize some spectacularly off-color prank?
The world may never know. The Daily Telegraph, which broke the news, said the prince and about 20 friends attended a weekend party thrown by Harry, possibly at an estate in Norfolk owned by the father of one of the guests.
The paper said the guests had been sworn to silence, quoting Thomas van Straubenzee, one of the likely partygoers, as saying: "I'm very sorry but I have got to keep it a secret. I hope you understand."
The party — thrown just before Harry was due to leave for a fundraising expedition to the Arctic — will have disappointed the paparazzi. The princes' social lives have filled hundreds of pages of tabloid print and British media in particular have made a mint off of Harry's penchant for partying.
[ Photos: The princes when they were very, very young ]
A 2008 royal bachelor bash thrown in honor of Peter Phillips, William's cousin, was tabloid gold dust, yielding tales of drunken escapades across England's Isle of Wight and even — it is alleged — a grainy picture of an exposed royal posterior.
The British media has also speculated often about Middleton's bachelorette party plans, with one tabloid reporting that her sister Pippa will be throwing a "Dirty Dancing"-themed hen party bash at the family home in the wealthy English village of Bucklebury.
While the world's media may have missed out on William's stag do, innumerable other festivities — from pub promotions to house parties — are planned to coincide with the royal wedding itself. Even Prime Minister David Cameron is getting in on the act.
City officials said his office has asked for permission to host an open-air party in Downing Street, where he lives.

News Source: Yahoo

The most unlikely NCAA Final Four ever?

Virginia Commonwealth Rams guard Joey Rodriguez (12) reacts at the end of the game. The Rams defeated the Kansas Jayhawks 71-61 to win the fnals of the southwest regional of the 2011 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Alamodome. Bob Donnan-US PRESSWIRE  

March Madness is exactly that, as no No. 1 or 2 seeds are still alive for the first time in tourney history.

Two crazy weeks produce a Final Four full of surprises

March Madness lived up to its name this spring, delivering an upset-heavy tournament and a Final Four hardly anyone predicted when filling out their brackets two weeks ago.
For the first time in NCAA tournament history, not a single No. 1 or 2 seed managed to advance to the Final Four.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

How One Husband Met His Four Wives

Image: Kody Brown with his wives (from left) Robyn, Christine, Meri & Janelle (© TLC/George Lange/AP)

Watch: The popular TLC show 'Sister Wives' goes behind the scenes to find out how Kody Brown met his wives & why this polygamous marriage works for them.

Search: Toughest Female Killers on Film

Image: (Clockwise from left) Emily Browning in 'Sucker Punch,' Chloe Moretz in 'Kick-Ass' & Noomi Rapace in 'The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo' (© 2011 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.; Lions Gate/Everett/Rex Features; Everett Collection/Rex Features)  
Babydoll's name belies her deadliness in the new action flick, 'Sucker Punch.' But she's just the latest in a long line of Hollywood women who kill with abandon.
Emily Browning in 'Sucker Punch' (© Clay Enos/Warner Bros. Pictures/Courtesy Everett Collection)
Lady Killers: The Tough 10

Cool cars that aren't so overplayed

Alfa Romeo 4C.  (Alfa Romeo/Handout)  

When the average Ferrari or Lamborghini won't do, consider these even more exotic options.

Pagani Huayra

Cars That Will Make You Cool

Let's get something straight. Italian cars are cool--but not just any Italian car. It's got to be something special.

"There's something about the design language of Italian supercars and sports cars that just exudes coolness," says Ray Wert, editor-in-chief of the car blog Jalopnik. "An Alfa Romeo 8C? Sex on wheels. Maserati? Gorgeous. Basically any Italian car will make you cool--with the exception of a Ferrari or a Lamborghini. Those brands are so overplayed."

Wert contends that those two most iconic of Italian brands are too stereotypical to actually raise their drivers' coolness quotient--though he admits that Ferrari's new FF, due out next year, may be different, at least for a while.

"It's one of those situations where, for the first couple of months, when you're the first guy who people have seen in that car, you're cool," Wert says. "But when you're the second guy, you're not." (Ferrari declined to comment on the record for this story. Seems it prefers to let its product speak for itself.)

Tough crowd. Apparently if beauty is in the eye of the beholder, cool has got to be obvious to everyone.

The Rules of Cool
Fortunately for drivers less intuitively cool than others, there are some general guidelines that determine whether a car is cool.

For instance: The car must not be awkward to get into or out of. The extremely low-riding Lotus is disqualified here, while the slightly higher Audi R8, for instance, is not.

Also: A truly cool car must have two doors rather than four, and it must not have undue amounts of chrome or unnecessary design accents on the exterior (this disqualifies any blinged-out Bentleys, BMW's admittedly great but four-door M-line sedans, and the aggressive Aston Martin Vantage, which has huge vents carved on its hood and chrome throughout the interior (though the Aston Martin Virage or Aston Martin Rapide would qualify for consideration).

Above all, a cool car must look effortless.

"Cool is self-fulfilling," says Tim Philippo, product manager for Jaguar North America. "Cool is really satisfying only yourself: You are complete within your coolness."

Philippo says stars like Clark Gable and Steve McQueen embodied that nonchalance--they both also happened to drive Jaguars. New Jags, like the XKR-S, pull from that same heritage, Philippo says.

"We're not the obvious choice when you hit the lottery, but people still buy the new cars because they appreciate the design and the luxury," he says. "There's something that stands out about a Jaguar."

A vaunted history makes for another rule of thumb: Vintage cars are almost always cool, but you've got to do them right. An old car paired with an old driver will only look cheesy, Wert says.

"Absolutely vintage is cooler, except if you go too far back," Wert says. "Pick a target age: If you're a 25-year-old and you're driving a 20-year-old Lamborghini, that's fine because that adds 20 years to your age, so you'll be 45. That's fine. If you're a 30-year-old driving that 20-year-old-car, you're now 50. So you have to even them out. "

And if you're 70?

"An Alfa Romeo 8C, because it shows that you're hip and with the kiddies," Wert says.

Spyker C8 Aileron
The $272,000 Spyker C8 Aileron's body is all aluminum.
Simple enough. But what about that fine line between something amazing and something amusing? The Spyker C8 Aileron is pretty flashy, but its authentic aviation-inspired engineering and design elements keep it in the cool column. And at 1,200 horsepower, the Veyron Super Sport may seem too outrageous to make this list, but it's tough to argue with the fact that anyone who drives one will be swarmed with gawkers ogling the $2 million machine--and talking about how cool it is.