How big a hit is Taylor Swift's "Red" album? As previously reported, first-week sales of 1.21 million copies decisively placed it at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 national album chart Wednesday and made it the fastest-selling album since Eminem's "The Eminem Show" sold 1.32 million more than 10 years ago.
That translates to two copies of "Red" sold virtually every second in the seven days since "Red" was released Oct. 22. Billboard noted that sales of "Red" constituted 20% of all albums sold last week, and its total exceeded the combined sales of the next 50 bestselling albums.
Still, rapper Kendrick Lamar had reason to celebrate his No. 2 finish from sales of 241,000 copies of his new album "Good Kid M.A.A.D. City," which has become one of the most enthusiastically reviewed collections of the year. It has scored 91 out of 100 on the aggregate review site Metacritic.com, based on 22 reviews, only one of which is categorized as mixed. The rest are positive.
Not to be overlooked is Tony Bennett, who at age 86 debuted at No. 5 with his new album of duets with Latino vocal partners, "Viva Duets," which sold nearly 36,000 copies out of the gate.
Snooki and pals voice support
The town that for millions made "Jersey Shore" synonymous with Snooki and fist-pumping was among the hardest hit by Sandy — and its famous summer residents sent their prayers to those affected.
"Sandy destroyed Seaside — our second home," Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi told MTV News in a statement. "It's devastating to see our boardwalk and favorite spots ruined. My prayers go out to everyone affected by the storm."
Paul "Pauly D" DelVecchio sent thanks to the "heroes" who were working to help. Sammi Giancola called the impact "devastating."
Sistine Chapel is still welcoming
Five centuries after Michelangelo's ceiling frescoes were inaugurated at the Sistine Chapel, at least 10,000 people visit the site each day, raising concerns about temperature, dust and humidity affecting the famed art.
But a Vatican Museums official says there are no plans to try to limit tourists' access.
Museums director Antonio Paolucci cited concerns about the visitor numbers in an article in the Vatican newspaper on Wednesday, the 500th anniversary of the frescoes' inauguration by Pope Julius II.
For the time being, Paolucci said, "the adoption of a maximum number [of visitors] will not be necessary."
'Anger' reruns going to Fox TV
News Corp.'s Fox Television Stations Group has acquired rerun rights to Charlie Sheen's cable comedy "Anger Management."
The deal keeps the show in the same family. News Corp.'s cable network FX telecasts new episodes of the series.
"Anger Management" began airing in June and drew solid if not spectacular ratings for FX, averaging close to 5 million viewers per episode for its 10-week season.
It once would have been unusual for broadcast TV stations to buy reruns of a TV show that first aired on a cable network. The rationale was that the cable shows had too small a following to attract the kind of audience needed to work for a broadcast station.
But that has started to change as many cable shows are now drawing audiences comparable to what the broadcast networks get. Plus, Sheen is a familiar face to viewers from his movie career and the sitcom "Two and a Half Men."
Working to save 'Chain Reaction'
Two Paul Conrad artworks will be auctioned to try to save a third, "Chain Reaction," a sculpture located outdoors near the Santa Monica Civic Center.
Santa Monica's arts commission has recommended the removal of the 26-foot-tall "Chain Reaction," citing safety concerns.
To raise money to save the sculpture, Santa Monica Auctions said it will be auctioning a bronze sculpture titled "Martin Luther King Free at Last" and a print titled "How Would You Like to Be Introduced...?" on Nov. 11.
Proceeds will be donated to the Santa Monica Arts Foundation for the restoration of "Chain Reaction."
Conrad was an editorial cartoonist for The Times for close to 30 years. He died in 2010.