Zennie62 on YouTube

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Vanity Fair Magazine Print Edition Is Real Thin (Media News)

Vanity Fair is this blogger's favorite print magazine to buy at San Francisco International Airport when traveling. "VF," for all of it's faults, does a great job of presenting a certain way of the good life. While it could be more diverse in it's presentation of what that means, Vanity Fair is always an enjoyable read. The problem today is it's shrinking. Check out my video:

Yep. Vanity Fair's January 2011 print mag edition is a full 50 percent smaller in thickness than past issues. VF fans are used to seeing a thick, heavy, magazine, as was the case as recently as the December 2010 mag.

The one with Cher on the cover, wearing fishnets.

Or the April 2010 issue where Michael Douglas announced the new Wall Street movie, and the David Letterman sex scandal was detailed in all of its glory.

Those issues, two of countless many VF's I own, are all damn thick, heavy magazines.

Then, there's Johnny Depp, or the VF issue with Depp on the cover. There's only two words for it: shockingly small.

Curious, a little cyber walking revealed that Conde Nast, the company that owns Vanity Fair and other publications, embarked on an initiative to have its properties think in a more "business like" way. After losing $1 billion in ad revenue in 2009, it's no surprise to lean Conde Nast has some problems, but then, as it's CEO Chuck Townsend pointed out, so does its competition.

Its print competition.

Much was made of Chuck Townsend announcing how well Conde Nast was doing compared with Hearst Corporation and TIME media properties, but that's print. Magazine ad revenue as a whole barely recovered from the recession, and newspapers are just plain taking on water. Print's seen better days and before the Internet World.

The question is what's the future for Vanity Fair?

I can't see VF lasting as a monthly. Quarterly, yes. Monthly, no. Moreover, it's future is in television and multimedia. And it's got to up its audience grab from Oscar-related content.  Why in heck it doesn't emphasize video and video-blogging is beyond me, but the old heads there better wisen up before it's too late. The VF brand can survive, but it's got to grow out of its print-oriented mentality.

Friday, December 24, 2010

NORAD Santa Tracker - Christmas Eve Santa Tracking

This year, 2010, once again this blogger is following (kinda) the Santa Tracker, but while tree trimming, wine drinking, and talking, and listening to Nat and Frank (Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra).

 But here's my NORAD Santa Tracker Video, because I just had to!

This business of going to the NORAD website to track Santa Claus' trip around the World is rather cool, but I'm in the middle of watching It's A Wonderful Life, so I decided to embed the tracker right here in my blog:

As of 6 PM PST / 9 PM EST, Santa Claus is , well, he's moving really fast! (If the embed doesn't work in your browser, click on the NORAD link.)

Merry Christmas!

Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song

Presenting the Santa Baby 99ers Christmas Unemployment Song, or The Santa Baby 99ers Song, on Christmas Eve.

Donalee King (in photo from Zennie62.com), who goes by Paladinette, at Zennie62.com, created this variation of the classic Christmas Song Santa Baby.

King, a blogger who also has her own blog called Jobless Unite,  is one of the so-called "99ers," those who's unemployment benefits have ran out after the 99-week limit, and seek an extension of benefits, or better yet, a job.

In seeking both, the San Diego resident has become a tireless advocate for the jobless. Her work on this song landed her notice by the LA Times.

The video is below, followed by the lyrics, which are graphic but worth reading and singing...if you dare!

(In fact, if you're in Oakland, California, print out the lyrics, take them down to The Alley at 3325 Grand Avenue, present them to Rod Dibble at the piano, and ask he would accompany you in song. Santa Baby is a song he knows how to play.)

Lyrics to video song Santa Baby - 99ers Style 2010

Congress Baby, the 99ers need a tier 5......to survive
I know you’re HEARTLESS P@#*s But....so what?
My children need some dinner tonight!

The car got repo’d and the rent is awfully late...but wait
You only care for the rich that’s a B*@#H
there’s millions of us dying out here

We can’t afford a Christmas tree
While you’re all buying Cartier at Tiffany
You bailed out banks Greece and Haiti too
I think it’s time the 99ers heard from you

Obama baby, just help the 99ers please
and... don’t tease
Been a really tough year
Out here
I Hope Your change is comin’ tonight

Obama honey, you sold 99ers flat out
no doubt
and now it’s snowing out,
My stomach’s growling
I need some food and shelter tonight

Sherrod honey, Schumer and that Stabenow too
Were through we all trusted you
but senate baby your lies have left us hurtn’ out here

We’re not rich - guess we don’t count
The dirty little secret you won’t talk about
There’ll be no jobs again next Year
It’s time you kicked your senate’s butts into high gear

Congress baby just pretend to care for us poor
once more - come on it’s just a check - so what the heck?
there’s millions of us dying out here!

That’s right I’d rather work than fight
Hurry Congress there’s 99ers dying TONIGHT

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Oscars News: 248 Films Eligible for Best Picture Oscar

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS building pictured) reports that 248 feature films are eligible for the Best Picture Oscar for the 83rd Academy Awards in 2011.

While large, the list is not a record number for the category; in the past more than 300 films were eligible for the award.

Oscar Front Runners.

From the Golden Globes we have The King's Speech, and The Social Network, the movie about the founding of Facebook.com.  But the sleeper candidate looks like True Grit, the Coen Brothers' remake of the classic 1969 movie with the late John Wayne.    The list also includes animated films like Despicable Me and Toy Story 3.  And science fiction films like Inception and Tron 3 are on the list as well.

What Films Qualify?

According to AMPAS, films that are "feature-length motion picture must have a running time of more than 40 minutes and must have been exhibited theatrically on 35mm or 70mm film, or in a qualifying digital format." And movies that, say, appear in a film festival rather than at a movie theater are not eligible for an Academy Award "in any category."

Stay tuned.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Academy News: Live Shorts, Academy on Twitter, Countdown to Oscars

In this latest installment of Academy News, news from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 10 "Live Action Shorts" have advanced in the Oscar review period, AMPAS has a Twitter account, and this weeks starts the "Countdown to Oscar Night In America."

Live Action Shorts

Out of 76 pictures, 10 have moved to what could be called the semi-final round before between three and five are selected as nominees for the "Live Action Short Film" category at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards.

The next step is for The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee, which looked at all 76 movies  during special screenings in New York and LA, to have their branches in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco hold their screenings. That will happen in January 2011, with the nominees to be named January 25th, with the other Academy Awards nominations at 5:30 AM. Here are the films:

Ana's Playground, Eric D. Howell, director (StoryForge, LLC)
The Confession, Tanel Toom, director (National Film and Television School)
The Crush, Michael Creagh, director (Purdy Pictures)
God of Love, Luke Matheny, director (Luke Matheny)
Na Wewe, Ivan Goldschmidt, director-producer (CUT!)
Seeds of the Fall, Patrik Eklund, director, and Mathias Fjellstrom, producer (Direktorn & Fabrikorn)
Shoe, Nick Kelly, director, and Seamus Byrne, producer (Zanita Films)
The Six Dollar Fifty Man, Mark Albiston and Louis Sutherland, directors (Sticky Pictures Ltd.)
Sma Barn, Stora Ord (Little Children, Big Words), Lisa James Larsson, director and Andreas Emanuelsson, producer (Bob Film Sweden AB)
Wish 143, Ian Barnes, director, and Samantha Waite, producer (Swing and Shift Films/Union Pictures)
Academy On Twitter

After this blogger's badgering last year, AMPAS is finally on Twitter!  Hooray!  The Academy is at @TheAcademy and needs more followers!  As of this writing it has just 2,607 Twitter followers.  This is where stars like  with massive Twitter followers and who should be named hosts should chip in, like Ellen DeGeneres @TheEllenShow and Lady Gaga @ladygaga, as well as the Oscar Hosts Anne Hathaway @hathaway_anne and Janes Franco, who needs a new Twitter page.

Countdown to Oscars

Finally, it's just 80 days to the 83rd Annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 27th, and 50 cities will host special charity events.  While there are a number of events held in a given area, only one will be selected as the official "Oscar Night In America" party for that metropolitan area.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Bauer's Transportation Company Bus Shuttle Service

This is the San Francisco Bauer's "Wi-Drive" commuter shuttle bus service. It's the same one used by Facebook and Twitter employees to go to and from work. What this blogger likes about the shuttle bus service is the seats. Wow. They're really thick, cushy, leathery, and luxurious.

You can operate your laptop computer and work online while on your way to work. The Bauer's "Wi-Drive" bus was used by the San Francisco Giants to transport their players to and from that awesome parade after their amazing World Series win.

Need corporate transportation? Call my good friend Gary Bauer. He and Bauer's Transportation delivers for all occasions and transport needs. Bauer's Transportation is at 1-800-546-6688.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Rachel Berry: Miss Orange after The Oscars and MTV-U

This is for those who wonder "what happened to.." In the case of 2009-2010 Oscars and MTV-U College Correspondent Competition finalist Rachel Berry, she went on to become Miss Orange.

That's right. Rachel Berry went from college broadcast journalist to beauty queen.

When this blogger met her at the press conference for the Oscars / MTV-U College Correspondent Competition on the Saturday before the 82nd Annual Academy Awards, it was obvious she had great legs...

Great dancer's legs.

Yep.  That's Rachel Berry smoking up the floor last October for the Miss California 2010 Competition, where she placed as a finalist.   As for doing another "go" at the MTV-U Oscar Competition, can one do it again if they've done it the year before?

Stay tuned.

In closing, here's a cool video featuring Rachel's Oscars Red Carpet appearance:

Friday, November 12, 2010

Academy News (AMPAS): "Contemporary Documentaries" Series

In Academy news this week, the AMPAS announced that it will be hosting the final installment of their “Contemporary Documentaries” Series on November 17th at the Linwood Dunn Theatre in Hollywood. The 29th Annual “Contemporary Documentaries” series has been running influential documentaries, both full feature and short length, every Wednesday in the weeks leading up to the Academy Awards ceremony. Documentaries selected for the series were those that were nominated, or considered for the 2009 Academy Awards. The final installment is comprised of the documentaries, “The Last Truck: Closing of a GM Plant,” and “Capitalism: A Love Story.”

“The Last Truck: The Closing of a GM Plant” follows the aftermath caused by the shutting down of a General Motors assembly plant in Moraine, Ohio, through the eyes of the former employees. The documentary follows the disenfranchised workers for 6 months as they try to cope with the difficulties created by their loss of income. This Academy Award Nominated documentary was directed and produced by Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert.

“Capitalism: A Love Story” was produced by Michael and Anne Moore and presents the viewer with the scope of influence that “corporate dominance” has over, not just Americans, but people worldwide.

The final installment of the AMPAS “Contemporary Documentaries” series will begin at 7:00pm at the Linwood Dunn Theatre on 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood. Admission is free and free parking is also available one block north of Fountain Avenue at the entrance to the theatre on the Homewood Avenue side. To receive more information concerning this event you can go to www.oscars.org or call (310) 247-3600.

John Bobst

Academy News (AMPAS): "Funny Girl" Monday Nights With Oscar Returns

In more Academy news, the “Monday Nights With Oscar” series returns to the Academy Theatre at Lighthouse International in New York city after being put on hold for most of the year due to renovations.  The AMPAS series will resume on November 15th with a showing of “Funny Girl,” starring Barbara Streisand.

“Funny Girl,” was released in 1968 and is based on a Broadway musical that debuted earlier that decade in 1964.  Along with Barbara Streisand the film also stars, Kay Brice, Walter Pidgeon, Lee Alan, and Omar Sharif.  William Wyler directed the film by screenplay writer Isobel Lennart.  Barbara Streisands performance as Fanny Brice in the movie earned her the Academy Award for Best Actress that year.  Kay Brice’s contributing performance in the movie also earned an Academy Award nomination and the film received 8 Academy Award nominations in total.

Admission to the screening of “Funny Girl” for the “Monday Nights With Oscar” series is 5 dollars a ticket to the general public and 3 dollars with a student ID or membership to the Academy.  Tickets may be purchased online, by mail, or at the box office.  The Lighthouse International theatre is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.  The show will begin at 6:30 and there is no reserved seating available.  To obtain more information on the event please visit www.oscars.org and click on the events calendar, or you can call (212) 821-9251

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Academy News: AMPAS Says Oscar Red Carpet Drawing Ends Tonight

You can get a seat over The Red Carpet at The Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences (AMPAS) Presentation of The 2011 83rd Annual Academy Awards by entering a randow drawing, right now at www.oscars.org/bleachers. The drawing, which has been active for the last week allows you to be one of the select 700 people to be there live at the Academy Awards' premier pre-event, event.

AMPAS reports:

To be eligible for the random drawing, an individual must complete the application form in its entirety. Applications may only be submitted online. Forms may not be returned via any other method.

Applicants may register for themselves and one guest. Duplicate registrations will not be accepted.

Those whose names are selected in the random drawing will be notified in late September. They will then be required to submit additional information for security purposes prior to final approval. Eligible attendees will receive a confirmation letter in early January with information pertinent to the event.

Only those individuals who have been pre-approved by the Academy will have access to the bleachers. Those who wait overnight to attempt admittance will not be granted entry.

The Academy will not be responsible for securing travel and/or hotel accommodations for bleacher fans.

In previous years, as many as 20,000 fans have applied online for the limited number of red carpet seats.

Academy Awards for outstanding film achievements of 2010 will be presented on Sunday, February 27, 2011, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, and televised live by the ABC Television Network. The Oscar presentation also will be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Hurry up. It all ends at 9 PM PDT tonight.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Lady Gaga VMA 2010 - Lady Gaga Wins 8 Awards (So Far)

The Amazing Lady Gaga (Stefani Germanotta), for whom it could be said dominated 2010 pop-culture including an amazing visit with KISS, dominated the Video Music Awards, with 8 VMA award wins as of this writing, including VMA Best Female Video Of The Year.

Lady Gaga came out in her signature high heels with a flowing layered dress, and did not disappoint. Here she is accepting the VMA for Bad Romance (video by willtado on YouTube):

Lady Gaga's combination of punk, soul, politic, and provocation are a winner for a cynical 21st Century. Love her or hate her - and many more love her than hate her - Lady Gaga is an American Cultural Force.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Rosh Hashanah : President Obama's Wish, Stephen Hawking's Error

President Obama is joined by this blogger in wishing you a Happy Rosh Hashanah. Here's Obama's video from yesterday:

Prof. Stephen Hawking

Come to think of it, since Stephen Hawking elected to introduce his book The Grand Design and declare that God did not create the Universe, it's fair to say that for him, Rosh Hashanah's not good, eh?

You'd think Hawking would show some respect for Jews by not releasing his book just a day before Rosh Hashanah, right? Talk about flunking his performance review. Geesh.

This blogger still can't understand why Stephen Hawking would write a book trying to debunk the existence of God, but not The Devil. Makes you wonder if his book itself's the Work of The Devil.

From this vantage point, Stephen Hawking looks just like the religious zealots he and his fans rightly criticize. Two sides of the same coin.

I prefer the edge. It rolls, if you know what I mean.

Happy Rosh Hashanah

Saturday, August 28, 2010

UC Berkeley Letter To Students On California By Prof Michael O'Hare

 Berkeley Prof. Michael O'Hare 
The UC Berkeley Letter To Students On California by Berkeley Professor Michael O'Hare is one that California Gubernatorial Candidates Jerry Brown and Meg Whitman should see because both are part of the generations that Michael O'Hare points to as essentially responsible for the decline of California, but for different reasons.

Jerry Brown was Governor of California when Prop 13 (also called AB 8), the legislation reducing property taxes to 1 percent, was passed in 1978. Prop 13 us widely pointed to as the legislative device that robbed California of the tax revenue is used to provide the public services it was known for.

Meg Whitman never voted or bothered to register to vote, or participated in California Government and politics, but now thinks she can run the state.  The idea of running for governor somehow entered her head 26 months ago.

Who Is Michael O'Hare?

Michael O'Hare is Professor of Public Policy At The UC Berkeley Goldman School Of Public Policy, where he's chair of that schools undergraduate minor program. He also maintains a blog at Samefacts.com.

This blogger saw the "UC Berkeley Letter" in a group email from the Oakland, California-based Welstone Democratic Club's Yahoo Group, and it was taken his blog entry at Samefacts.com.

August 23rd, 2010
A letter to my students
by Michael O'Hare

Welcome to Berkeley, probably still the best public university in the world. Meet your classmates, the best group of partners you can find anywhere. The percentages for grades on exams, papers, etc. in my courses always add up to 110 percent because that's what I've learned to expect from you, over twenty years in the best job in the world.

That's the good news. The bad news is that you have been the victims of a terrible swindle, denied an inheritance you deserve by contract and by your merits. And you aren't the only ones; victims of this ripoff include the students who were on your left and on your right in high school but didn’t get into Cal, a whole generation stiffed by mine. This letter is an apology, and more usefully, perhaps a signal to start demanding what’s been taken from you so you can pass it on with interest.

Swindle - what happened? Well, before you were born, Californians now dead or in nursing homes made a remarkable deal with the future. (Not from California? Keep reading, lots of this applies to you, with variations.) They agreed to invest money they could have spent on
bigger houses, vacations, clothes, and cars into the world’s greatest educational system, and into building and operating water systems, roads, parks, and other public facilities, an infrastructure that was the envy of the world. They didn’t get everything right: too much
highway and not enough public transportation. But they did a pretty good job.

Young people who enjoyed these ‘loans’ grew up smarter, healthier, and richer than they otherwise would have, and understood that they were supposed to "pay it forward" to future generations, for example by keeping the educational system staffed with lots of dedicated, well-trained teachers, in good buildings and in small classes, with college counselors and up-to-date books. California schools had physical education, art for everyone, music and theater, buildings that looked as though people cared about them, modern languages and ancient
languages, advanced science courses with labs where the equipment worked, and more. They were the envy of the world, and they paid off better than Microsoft stock. Same with our parks, coastal zone protection, and social services.

This deal held until about thirty years ago, when for a variety of reasons, California voters realized that while they had done very well from the existing contract, they could do even better by walking away from their obligations and spending what they had inherited on
themselves. "My kids are finished with school; why should I pay taxes for someone else’s? Posterity never did anything for me!" An army of fake 'leaders; sprang up to pull the moral and fiscal wool over their eyes, and again and again, your parents and their parents lashed out
at government (as though there were something else that could replace it) with tax limits, term limits, safe districts, throw - away - the - key imprisonment no matter the cost, smoke - and - mirrors budgeting, and a rule never to use the words taxes and services in the same paragraph.

Now, your infrastructure is falling to pieces under your feet, and as citizens you are responsible for crudities like closing parks, and inhumanities like closing battered women’s shelters. It's outrageous, inexcusable, that you can't get into the courses you need, but much
worse that Oakland police have stopped taking 911 calls for burglaries and runaway children. If you read what your elected officials say about the state today, you'll see things like "California can't afford" this or that basic government function, and that "we need to make hard choices" to shut down one or another public service, or starve it even more (like your university). Can't afford? The budget deficit that's paralyzing Sacramento is about $500 per person; add another $500 to get back to a public sector we don't have to be ashamed of, and our average income is almost forty times that. Of course we can afford a government that actually works: the fact is that your parents have simply chosen not to have it.

I'm writing this to you because you are the victims of this enormous cheat (though your children will be even worse off if you don't take charge of this ship and steer it). Your education was trashed as California fell to the bottom of US states in school spending, and the
art classes, AP courses, physical education, working toilets, and teaching generally went by the board. Every year I come upon more and more of you who have obviously never had the chance to learn to write plain, clear, English. Every year, fewer and fewer of you read newspapers, speak a foreign language, understand the basics of how government and business actually work, or have the energy to push back intellectually against me or against each other. Or know enough about history, literature, and science to do it effectively! You spent your school years with teachers paid less and less, trained worse and worse, loaded up with more and more mindless administrative duties, and given less and less real support from administrators and staff.

Many of your parents took a hike as well, somehow getting the idea that the schools had taken over their duties to keep you learning, or so beat - up working two jobs each and commuting two hours a day to put food on the table that they couldn't be there for you. A quarter of
your classmates didn't finish high school, discouraged and defeated; but they didn't leave the planet, even if you don't run into them in the gated community you will be tempted to hide out in. They have to eat just like you, and they aren't equipped to do their share of the
work, so you will have to support them.

You need to have a very tough talk with your parents, who are still voting; you can't save your children by yourselves. Equally important, you need to start talking to each other. It's not fair, and you have every reason (except a good one) to keep what you can for yourselves with another couple of decades of mean - spirited tax - cutting and public sector decline. You're my heroes just for surviving what we put you through and making it into my classroom, but I’m asking for more: you can be better than my generation. Take back your state for your kids and start the contract again. There are lots of places you can start, for example, building a transportation system that won't enslave you for two decades as their chauffeur, instead of raising fares and cutting routes in a deadly helix of mediocrity. Lots. Get to work. See you in class!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Movie Trailer : Prince of Broadway, A Lee Daniels Film, September 3rd

Academy Award Nominee Lee Daniels (for Best Director for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire), is using his new fame to advance a movie that's made the way around the festival circuit since 2008: Prince of Broadway.

This movie's gritty, realistic story style focuses on what two young men do when one of them is faced with taking care of a baby boy a woman says belongs to him.

Here's the movie trailer:

Aiden Noesi and Prince Adu
Prince of Broadway, unlike Precious, which had two name actresses in Academy Award-Winner Monique (Best Supporting Actress) and Mariah Carey, as well as Oprah and Tyler Perry to help lure audiences, has a cast of unknowns, including Prince Adu and Victoria Tate making their first film debuts.

Also making his film debut is an adorable little boy named Aiden Noesi, who plays Prince.

Here's the synopsis of Prince of Broadway from the movie's website:

Prince of Broadway is the story of Lucky and Levon, two men whose lives converge in the underbelly of New York's wholesale fashion district. Lucky, an illegal immigrant from Ghana, makes ends meet by soliciting shoppers on the street with knock-off brand merchandise. Levon, an Armenian-Lebanese immigrant, operates an illegal storefront with a concealed back room where counterfeit goods are showcased to interested shoppers. Lucky's world is suddenly turned upside down when a child is thrust into his life by a woman who insists the toddler is his son. While Lucky copes with his new domestic dilemma, Levon struggles to save a marriage that is falling apart. The seedy side of the wholesale district is revealed through a journey that continually confronts the interplay between what is fake and what is real.
Set in the shadow of the Flatiron building and soaked in the colorful bustle of Broadway, the film is as much a brutal drama as it is a tender comedy. Shot in a fast-paced guerilla style that is akin to the hustler lifestyle, the film reveals the lives of immigrants in America seeking ideals of family and love, while creating their own knock-off of the American Dream.

The movie is not directed by Lee Daniels. Sean Baker is writer, producer, director, cameraperson and editor of the film. But the power of Lee Daniels name, coupled with the quick desire to get out information about it, causes some to list Daniels as its director. He's not.

Prince of Broadway opens September 3rd at the Angelika Film Center in New York City, and September 17th at the Sunset 5, Los Angeles.

Visit Prince of Broadway.com.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tom Sherak reelected Academy President; Annette Bening gets post

Tom Sherak
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) or "The Academy," announced late Tuesday evening that Tom Sherak was reelected as President of The Academy by its Board of Governors. It's his second straight one year term of office in AMPAS.

Previously, Sherak served as treasurer of the Academy, and has started his eighth year as a governor representing the Executives Branch.

Joining the wave of good Academy news, Sid Ganis, the Public Relations Branch governor and past Academy president, was elected first vice president.  James L. Brooks and Phil Robinson, both of the Writers Branch, were elected to vice president posts, with Robinson being reelected. It's Brooks first election to a post.

Annette Bening gets post
Annette Bening

Actress Annette Bening, wife of Actor Warren Beatty, was elected to the post of secretary.   It's her first Academy-elected position.

Perhaps Bening will be Academy President one day?

Tom Sherak paid his dues

The reelection to AMPAS as President is a complement to Tom Sherak and his long standing relationships in the Academy and in Hollywood. For 40 years Sherak has been a marketing, distribution and production executive, and currently is a consultant to Marvel Studios and Relativity Media.

Hartford Distributors Manchester, Connecticut shooting deaths at 9

According to The Hartford Courant in Hartford, Connecticut, Omar Thornton, who faced disciplinary action at Hartford Distributors, Inc., opened fire and killed what is now said to be nine people in Manchester, Connecticut, then was shot by police.

Earlier reports were that Omar Thornton shot himself; he did not. It was called a "cop shooting" because Omar Thornton did not put his gun down, so police opened fire.

According to Fox CT News video on the Hartford Courant page, and via the mother of a woman, Kristi Hannah, who dated him for eight months, the shooter, 34-year old Omar Thornton, who's African American, complained of racism to his employers, but they did nothing.

John Hollis, a Teamsters Union official said that Omar Thornton, who was a driver with Hartford Distributors, was a "discipline problem" and the union was bringing Thornton in to "remedy" the problem.

Thornton shot a number of people, and as of this writing, it's not known how many because what once stood at seven killed just rose to nine killed, so we don't know how many were injured in some kind of way. Here's the exact quote from the Hartford Courant regarding Omar Thornton's possible motive for the shooting at Hartford Distributors:

Joanne Hannah, who lives in the Enfield neighborhood where Thornton lived until about a month ago, said her daughter Kristi had dated Thornton for eight years. Thornton, who is black, had complained about being racially harassed at work. Thornton brought his complaints to his superiors, who did nothing about it, she said her daughter told her.

A New Trend: blacks who kill over racism

It seems there's a new and to this blogger, disturbing "small" trend of late where black men are as likely to commit workplace shootings as any white male.

Stephen Hill
The last person that comes to mind was was porn star Stephen Hill in Van Nuys, California, who, in June, went off and killed one person and stabbed another at the Ultima DVD office. Hill was black, and like Thornton, was about to be fired from his job. In Hill's case, he was called a "wacky guy" and no one mentioned racism. But then, no one who was close to him was interviewed at the time.

This is disturbing because I and my generation (I turn 48 tomorrow) was raised to be hardened and to expect racism, to point it out, but to not react violently to it.

Because racism is a mental illness, people who are racist are to be treated with pity and avoided.  That's the way I'm conditioned to think.

Frankly, you just didn't hear of someone black who would open fire and kill anyone over racism. We were instructed that it was a sickness that's "just part of the deal" and something you needed to overcome to be successful.

This small trend says nothing good about the overall mental strength of the next generation of black men. If one who's black and make expects to be successful in America, reacting violently to racism can't be considered an option.

Stay tuned.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Bohemian Grove fund-raiser to feature Grammy Award-winning acts

The Bohemian Grove is hosting its 99th Annual Monte Rio Variety Show (website: http://www.monterioshow.org ) to benefit local charities on July 29th. Here's the press release:

Monte Rio, Calif. – The Bohemian Club will hold its 99th annual “Monte Rio Variety Show” on Thursday, July 29, offering an evening of music, comedy and theater to celebrate the friendship and connection with the Monte Rio and Russian River communities and to raise funds for local charities.

Last year’s show raised more than $30,000 for local charities. In recent years the event has featured Bohemians such as country music star Clint Black, rock legend Steve Miller and Grateful Dead icon Bob Weir.

This year’s Monte Rio Variety Show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Monte Rio Amphitheater. A pre-show barbeque, hosted by the Monte Rio Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, begins at 4:30 p.m.

Anyone attending the show is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, folding chairs or a blanket. These items can be placed in advance at the amphitheater after 7 a.m. on the day of the show.

The entrance to the show is behind The Pink Elephant on Main Street in Monte Rio. Admission is payable the day of the event, by reservation or by purchasing tickets at several local outlets.

As is the tradition, this year’s Variety Show will feature special guests, Grammy Award winning musicians, hot rock bands, jazz, and special acts that are guaranteed to delight spectators of all ages.

Tickets purchased in advance are $20.00 for adults and $5 for children ages 13 to 17. Adult tickets purchased the day of the event are $25.00. Children 12 and under are free with paid adult admission. There is an additional fee for the Firefighter’s pre-show barbecue.

Ticket reservations can be made by sending a check to Monte Rio Variety Show, c/o P.O. Box 218, Monte Rio, CA 95462. For any questions, call 707-865-2234.

All proceeds will benefit St. Catherine’s Church, the Monte Rio School Foundation, and the Monte Rio Volunteer Firefighter’s Association.

The Bohemian Grove, the club’s rustic retreat near Monte Rio, provides 600 jobs for adults, college and high school students each summer. The Club also participates in charitable causes that benefit local schools and athletic programs, food banks and has partnered with the Sequoia Trust, which helps fund many programs that serve the Monte Rio and Russian River communities.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Oscar Grant, Johannes Mehserle case graffiti around Oakland Lake Merritt

As the Oscar Grant / Johannes Mehserle murder trial nears and end and fears that former BART Police Officer Johannes Mehserle increase, the fears that a riot, or series of riots, will happen in Oakland, Los Angeles, and other cities and towns in California increase, and for good reason. There are clear and visible signs that individuals and groups will take some kind of action that could include violence and property damage, and nowhere is this more apparent than around Lake Merritt in Oakland.   There, property damage has already happened.

This video blogger received a tip from a YouTube viewer:

Not sure if you're aware, but there is graffiti in red spray paint throughout the running/walking path in Lake Merritt regarding Oscar Grant and Johannes Mesherle, just thought you may want to possibly cover it, and the peoples reactions while viewing it.

Take Care

On Sunday, I did just that. My vlogging (video-blogging) journey started with a message painted in red spray paint at the AC Transit bus shelter at the intersection of Perkins Avenue and Grand Avenue in Oakland's Adams Point District. The message read "Mehserle must die too!" and seemed to imply there was at least one more graffiti tag like it around somewhere. So, I went for a walk.

At first, as I arrived at Bellevue and Grand closer to Lake Merritt, there was no other graffitt tag message. So I continued along the walking and running path through Lakeside park until I arrived at what's locally called "The Columns," the structure on the northeastern shore of the Lake that serves an an informal meeting and viewing place between Grand Avenue and Lakeshore Avenue.

There, starting at the end of The Columns on the Grand Avenue side, was the first of three messages. It read "Mehserle must die." The other two are located in what I call the center court area, and at the opposite end of The Columns on the Lakeshore Avenue side.

But it graffiti tagging didn't stop there; it continued around the path next to the Lakeshore on the Lakeshore Avenue side of the water. The majority of the messages, which varied in tone from bad to awful, were next to the benches along the path.

In all I counted 11 messages, all in the video. A sure and clear sign that someone already took action to send a warning of what they either intend to do or wish someone else would do if the Oscar Grant trial ends with Mehserle going free.

The problem is Mehserle just may walk free.

The reason is the charge is murder, not manslaughter. The prosecution in the case has to prove that Johannes Mehserle intended to kill Oscar Grant last year. This is an issue I talked about with Oakland City Attorney John Russo just weeks ago. While not saying outright that Mehserle would "walk," Russo explained that it was going to be difficult to get a murder conviction.

If Johannes Mehserle is set free, Oakland's not going to be the safest place to be on the day of the verdict.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 18, 2010

L.A. Lakers NBA Finals win causes riot: taxi cabs set on fire

The Los Angeles Lakers beat the Boston Celtics 83 to 79 in perhaps the most dramatic game in NBA Finals history. But even more dramatic was the after-game-seven celebration in LA, as riots broke out and taxi cabs were set on fire.

This video below, posted at CitizenTube.com, shows the scene just a reported two blocks from Staples Center where the NBA game was played:

According to The Associated Press, 38 people were arrested for "public intoxication, vandalism or inciting a riot."

Between that and the New York City rap riot, I wonder what's going on at times.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

NCAA USC punishment calls Pete Carroll move to Seahawks to question

The National Collegiate Athletic Association, via a source to ESPN, is set to announce that it is going to strip the University of Southern California or "USC" of the ability to play in a bowl game for two years, a forfeiture of wins at least from the 2004 season and possibility the loss of the 2004 National Championship. All of this after an investigation of activities in football and basketball, and related to former students Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, was completed.

The death blow to future USC success calls former USC Coach Pete Carroll's move to the NFL to coach the Seattle Seahawks into question, and casts a giant black cloud over all that Carroll did while he was at USC. At first, this blogger believed Carroll's departure was just because a 6 and 6 season and the criticism was too much to stomach...

But in light of the NCAA investigation and its decision to essentially destroy USC Football as we've known it, now it seems that Pete Carroll knew this was coming, even as he told Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show that he "would be surprised" if the NCAA took any action.

Well, Pete Carroll has to express surprise now, but really also has a lot of explaining to do. This level of punishment is too great for Pete Carroll to avoid. He should talk about it, and soon. Indeed, he will have to at some point.

Pete Carroll and Charlie Weis (ESPN)

And one has to wonder what former Notre Dame Head Coach Charlie Weis thinks of this news. Weis famously implied that Pete Carroll gets a pass from the media, and dropped an allegation about Pete Carroll that he later retracted. But it's clear Pete Carroll has not been one of Charlie Weis favorite people because he thinks Weis got special treatment from the media.

Also, how does the NCAA action impact the 2010 Pac-10 race, which was already wide open? Does Cal or Stanford have an open shot at the Pac-10 title? Will the Cal Stanford Big Game finally have real meaning for the first time in years?

Stay tuned for updates.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Social Networking is really Social Broadcasting

Social Broadcasting
OK. To the view of this blogger, the term "Social Networking" is not only inappropriate, it's illogical. The correct term is really "Social Broadcasting" and if more people thought that way, they would understand how media has really changed over the last two decades and how to take advantage of the tools available to them.

Two events led to the use of the term Social Broadcasting for this blogger. First, on April 10, 2008, James Earl Buck used Twitter to get out of an Egyptian jail. What happened was that Buck, a University of California at Berkeley, or "Cal student", was in Mahalla, Egypt reportedly covering an anti-government protest when he and his colleague Mohammed Maree were arrested.

While being transported to jail, James Earl Buck used his cell phone to send a message that read "Arrested." (If it were me, I'd have sent a tweet rather than a message.) Eventually, bloggers and friends at Cal and around the World were activated. They got him a lawyer, and got him out of jail.

The second event is that a number of people, generally over 40 or 50 years of age, and for the most part in the advertising industry, ask why they should "do" social networking. They want to know why they should connect with people they do not know.

On Linkedin, the busines-oriented social broadcasting system, that question comes up so frequently it's become annoying. I give the same answer all the time: to get out a message. That's when I realized the reason many don't do social networking is because the very term itself is misleading. It's social broadcasting.

According to Wikipedia, the definition of "Broadcasting" is:

"..the distribution of audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. The audience may be the general public or a relatively large subset of the whole, such as children or young adults."

But that definition is outdated because it implies the use of electronic communications as practiced in the 20th Century with television and radio. The Internet changed all that, as websites and blogs, and mobile devices allow us to send text messages.

So, to that old definition of "broadcasting" one only has to add the word "text" to understand my point, so the definition now looks like this;

"..the distribution of text, audio and/or video signals which transmit programs to an audience. The audience may be the general public or a relatively large subset of the whole, such as children or young adults."

Think about that: "The audience may be the general public or a relatively large subset of the whole, such as children or young adults." It can also be your Facebook friends and Twitter followers or YouTube subscribers. Or all of them.

In my case, it's all of them. Zennie62 YouTube video distribution is done at times using Tubemogul, which permits me to upload one video to as many as eight different video distribution sites. Then the same video automatically goes to my Facebook, Friend Feed, and Twitter accounts. This is also true for Zennie62.com blog posts.

The distribution to my network of followers, friends, and subcribers is something I call my "horizontal broadcast network." Why? Because its "cross-platform," that is from Twitter to Friend Feed to Facebook and so on. Each one of those systems is a platform.

My "vertical broadcast network" is simply the number of people in that platform I have as friends, followers, or subscribers.

So by adding platforms you expand your network horizontally. By adding more people in each one you grow it vertically.

I use the Social Broadcasting System to get out information. My Facebook page is listed as for "networking." I'm not concerned about privacy issues on Facebook because there's nothing on it I don't want people to see. Many of my Facebook friends are people I have not met before. I'm using it for Social Broadcasting.  On Twitter, I practice "retweeting" which is just a way of passing on information from one broadcast network, or set of Twitter followers, to another - in this case, your own.

This is no different than the old newspaper distribution system of subscribers. In that case, one newspaper had so many subscribers. From the newspapers perspective, some knew the writers and publishers, but most did not.

But Social Broadcasting's cross-platform reach brings in the concept of going to a Twitter stream which is a lot like tuning into a radio station while driving. You can stay there or find another station. On Twiter, you can follow and unfollow with ease. That action alters the flow of information to you, and changes your broadcast reach as well.

Note that I did not mention who you should follow or friend. That's not the point, and marks the difference in thinking. The objective is to have a wide a reach as possible. Period.

You're in the broadcast business, like it or not, and for the simple reason that you can't perfectly control what anyone consumes that you chose to put out there.  If it's something that your friends, think is worth sharing with someone you don't know; you're plan of control is trashed. Once it's out, it's gone.

If you think about Social Networking as Social Broadcasting, then you see we're all really social broadcasters. And that's how media has changed and why Old Media suffers. Communications technology has caused millions of small media production efforts to spring up, if we consider cell phone and especially smart phones.

An advertiser can chose to sponsor a media effort with someone you and I never heard of just because of that person's reach. And that person may have just a computer, a blog, and a cell phone. Two decades ago, that was unheard of; ad money flowed to newspapers like The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune.

Not any more.

What, then, is the answer for The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune? To team up, or buy up, blogs and websites. That's the only way to expand the Old Media brand. Not one of the Old Media companies can make as many blogs that have the same impact as buying existing ones with set a audience Social Broadcasting base (because they're likely to have a Twitter account and YouTube accounts as well).

The other answer is to copy Associated Content, Examiner.com, and Gather.com, and add writers and pay them based on a traffic-based estimate.

Or perhaps the best approach for Old Media (The New York Times and The San Francisco Chronicle and The Chicago Tribune as examples is some combination of both.  

From the ad agency perspective, the idea that Social Networking doesn't work can be changed if the agency thinks of it as Social Broadcasting. Then the idea of "media buys" is much different and extends far beyond television and into not just blogs and websites, but someone's Twitter account too.

But even with all that, it's only a dent (but if played correctly a big one) in the total sea of media producers. Why? Because that set of people includes you and me, and the teenager with the cell phone who texts every minute about every thing, and uses Twitter to retweet any tweet on Justin Bieber.

We're all social broadcasters. We're just too busy thinking of social networking to see it.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Tila Tequila tries to commit suicide via "Jane" personality

From Tila Tequila's blog and Zennie62.com
Wow. Proving once again that she's a troubled soul, Reality TV Star Tila Tequila tried to commit suicide Friday, tweeting her actions and posting a photo. It's a sad story broke by Zennie62.com's Nikky Raney who blogs:

Tila Tequila's "alter ego" or "multiple personality" Jane tried to kill her.
We just found out that celebrity rehab was just postponed.
I know I said I wouldn't post anymore about her, but this was just too much.
I also have a vlog that I will be posting.
She also posted a long blog entry about how Jane is trying to kill her.

Tita Tequila's reported multiple personalities first surfaced during the assault accusation controversy with San Diego Chargers Linebacker Shawne Merriman last year.  Then, Tila Tequila was revealed in this space to be a person who has real mental problems, even posting a message on her website about her personalities and their behavior.

While such reports are easy to laugh at, in reality they're no laughing matter at all.  Nikky Raney posted the shocking text that Tila left just below the bloody photo you see above.  Here it is:

I don’t know what happened. People don’t believe I have multiple personalities but this morning the last thing I remember was falling asleep cuz I was so tired. I blacked out and now that I just woke up from excruciating pains all over my body, there was blood and dope everywhere! She is evil! She single handedly smashed and broke EVERYTHING in my bedroom! Both nightstands, the bed lights, all of the surround sound system, my tv boxes and there’s glass everywhere. There’s even chunks of meet coming out of my arm from the deep slits from her slicing up my arm from all the broken glass! My arm meet from inside is starting to bubble up and seep through the cuts. This is so fucked up. Now that I’m awake, she just left but I have no recollection of what happened to me. I’m just crying right now hiding in my toilet… my entire room is in shambles. All the new furniture is broken and glass all over the bed. I don’t know whats happening! =(

Little Tila"

Raney has the full account at Zennie62.com. Check it out.

And here's a wish that Tila gets the help she needs.

Stay tuned.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Stephen Hill: killer porn star called 'wacky guy' (like Rand Paul)

Stephen Hill
Steven Hill, the porn star who killed one person and stabbed two others at the Ultima DVD office and distribution center in Van Nuys, California, outside Los Angeles, California, on Wednesday, is said to be a "wacky guy" who was involved in an inappropriate act in a night club, according to an email tip sent to this blogger.

The email, posted in such a way as to protect the identify of the source, reads as follows:

...I saw your article on porn star killer, Stephen Hill, and just wanted too add my two cents (I've seen Stephen at different porn events). If he was going to be fired for inappropriate behavior, it had to be pretty bad, because porn company employees can get away with a great deal, especially if they also double as performers for company movies. I was at a night club party where Stephen was thrown out due to having sex acts performed on him publicly by a female in attendance. He was a wacky guy...I hope Stephen is caught soon!

Stephen Hill is a wacky guy, but a killer. And Stephen Hill's still at large and considered dangerous. Ultima DVD has a $2,000 arrest award out for Hill.

As of this writing, Hill has not been seen at large.

Stay tuned.

McDonalds Shrek glass recall: thank Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA)

Movie product tie-ins are common and many new products are aimed at kids. That's why the news of the McDonalds Shrek glass recall is so terrible. But first, thank the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier for the discovery of the problem.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle via the Associated Press, there were 12 million McDonalds Shrek glasses on the market: all of them must be recalled after a discovery by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

The glasses are tainted with Cadmium, a carcinogen that can cause "long term adverse health effects." While that's in the recall notice, along with the news that the discovery came from the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier from California, that news is buried way down deep in in the Associated Press article.

The article also makes it seem as if the Consumer Product Safety Commission made the discovery. You have to read the entire, long work to see that it was Rep. Jackie Speier's office who made the find base on an anonymous tip. Spier issued this statement:

"Our children's health should not depend on the consciences of anonymous sources. Although McDonald's did the right thing by recalling these products, we need stronger testing standards to ensure that all children's products are proven safe before they hit the shelves," said Speier. "Cadmium is a toxic substance that is extremely dangerous to the developmental health of children."

Here's the text from the recall notice and the link to the web page containing it:

McDonald’s Recalls Movie Themed Drinking Glasses Due to Potential Cadmium Risk

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with the firm named below, today announced a voluntary recall of the following consumer product. Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: “Shrek Forever After 3D” Collectable Drinking Glasses

Units: About 12 million

Manufacturer: ARC International, of Millville, NJ.

Distributor: McDonald’s Corp., Oakbrook, Ill.

Hazard: The designs on the glasses contain cadmium. Long term exposure to cadmium can cause adverse health effects.

Incidents/Injuries: None reported.

Description: The “Shrek Forever After 3D” collectable drinking glass are 16 ounce glasses that came in four designs, Shrek, Fiona, Puss n’ Boots, and Donkey.

Sold exclusively at: McDonald’s restaurants nationwide from May 2010 into June 2010 for about $2.

Manufactured in: United States

Remedy: McDonald’s is asking consumers to immediately stop using the glass out of an abundance of caution. Visit www.mcdonalds.com/glasses for additional instructions on how to obtain a full refund.

Consumer Contact: For additional information, contact McDonald’s toll-free at (800) 244-6227 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or visit the firm’s website at www.mcdonalds.com/glasses

Note: CPSC was made aware of issues with this product through the Office of Congresswoman Jackie Speier from California.

If you want to thank Rep. Jackie Speier's office, visit their website here:  http://speier.house.gov/

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Steven Hill, porn star, killed 1 and stabbed 2 in L.A with sword

Also: Porn Actor Kills, Porn Actor Steven Hill, Porn Star Steven Hill, San Fernando Sword Attack, Stephen Hill, Stephen Hill Porn, Stephen Hill Porn Star, Steven Hill, Steven Hill Porn, Steven Hill Porn Actor, Steven Hill Porn Star, Sword Attack, Van Nuys Sword Attack, Los Angeles News

Van Nuys, CA- Steven Hill is an until now largely unknown 34-year-old porn star who according to ABC 7 News in Los Angeles, killed one person and stabbed two others with a "Samurai-type sword," and is on the loose.

It happened at the Havenhurst Airport Business Park, in Van Nuys, in the offices of a company called Ultima DVD, which is in the video distribution business but "there is filming going on their as well" according to ABC News in LA. Here's the video:

A Samurai Sword
Steven Hill was reportedly about to be fired for "inappropriate conduct" which is saying something considering the line of work he was in. The ABC 7 News' Carlos Granda obtained video from a surveillance camera that showed Hill getting out of a car and carrying what looked like the reported sword.

Steven Hill reportedly lived and worked in the office park, which one witness said she didn't event know was legal to do.

According to The Huffington Post, the incident started at a small "social gathering" late Tuesday at Ultima DVD; Hill had been told to leave the studio by Wednesday.

Los Angeles police Detective Joel Price said Hill just "went off and and stabbed people that probably had absolutely nothing to do with him being let go."

Steven Hill is now the focus of a manhunt around the L.A. Basin area.

Stay tuned.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Los Angeles Events: Academy (AMPAS) has Monday and Wednesday events

The AMPAS Building
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) isn't known for just the Academy Awards, AMPAS has a number of events on a weekly basis and this week is no exception.

On Monday, May 24th at 7:30 PM at The Samuel Goldwyn Theater at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, AMPAS continues the series "Oscar Noir: 1940s Writing Nominees from Hollywood's Dark Side," with the 1944 feature Laura.

Laura, a film starring Gene Tierney, was about a police detective who falls in love with the woman whose murder he's investigating. It will be introduced by Oscar-nominated screenwriter Scott Frank (Out of Sight, Minority Report).

Laura earned five Academy Award nominations, including Actor in a Supporting Role (Clifton Webb), Black - and - White Art Direction (Lyle Wheeler, Leland Fuller; Interior Decoration: Thomas Little) and Directing (Otto Preminger), and took home the Oscar for Black - and - White Cinematography (Joseph LaShelle).

Here's the trailer from Laura:

Tickets for Laura are $5, $3 for Academy Members and students with an ID. The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills, CA.

On Wednesday, May 26, at 7 p.m, AMPAS has Oscar nominees The Conscience of Nhem En and Standard Operating Procedure showing as part of its' 28th annual "Contemporary Documentaries" series at the Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood.

Admission to all screenings in the series is free.

For more information, call (310) 247-3600 or visit www.oscars.org.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Pete Carroll: NCAA punishment of USC would be "surprise"

Seattle Coach Pete Carroll 
Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll was interviewed by Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show today, Tuesday. Patrick, to his credit, did not duck from asking Carroll several pointed questions about the NCAA's investigation into alleged NCAA rules violations at Carroll's last employer, The University of Southern California. Carroll said he would be "surprised" if the NCAA punished USC.

The NCAA is expected to make a ruling this week on the allegations that USC violated NCAA rules in the basketball and football programs. In the case of the football program, the NCAA opened an investigation into charges of illegal benefits given to then USC Running Back Reggie Bush during his final year at USC. (Bush is now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints.)

And the NCAA announced that a Pac-10 coach violated NCAA rules when he retained a paid consultant to watch practice and attend games. While the NCAA does not name Pete Carroll, bloggers speculate that the NCAA could be referring to Carroll's hiring of Pete Rodriguez to focus on USC's kicking game.

On The Dan Patrick Show, Pete Carroll said there was much he did not know surrounding what went on at USC that led to the allegations. Carroll was head football coach at USC where he won two national championships, and several Pac-10 Championships. Carroll said "it's hard to control" every aspect of an athletic program.

On Seattle Seahawks-related issues, Pete Carroll told Dan Patrick he was pleased with the Seahawks 2010 Draft class and added that 1st round choice Russell Okung was already showing promise of being a special player, and 2nd round pick Golden Tate has already made big plays in minicamps.

What's interesting about The Dan Patrick Show interview of Pete Carroll is their promos leading up to it said nothing about asking Carroll about his possible role in the NCAA rules scandal. Yet, almost half of the interview consisted of questions and conversation about that issue. You could almost feel the energy come out of the room as the focus turned to the NCAA. Coach Carroll went from being energetic and happy to slow and somber in his speech. I wonder if he felt blindsided. It sure sounded that way.

Carroll's going to be really dogged by what happened as USC if the NCAA surprises him with some kind of punishment. He should get used to the questions. One just can't run away from a mess.

Stay tuned.

Pete Carroll: NCAA punishment of USC would be "surprise"

Seattle Coach Pete Carroll 
Seattle Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll was interviewed by Dan Patrick on The Dan Patrick Show today, Tuesday. Patrick, to his credit, did not duck from asking Carroll several pointed questions about NCAA's investigation into alleged NCAA rules violations at Carroll's last employer, The University of Southern California. Carroll said he would be "surprised" if the NCAA punished USC.

The NCAA is expected to make a ruling this week on the allegations that USC violated NCAA rules in the basketball and football programs. In the case of the football program, the NCAA opened an investigation into charges of illegal benefits given to then USC Running Back Reggie Bush during his final year at USC. (Bush is now with the NFL's New Orleans Saints.)

And the NCAA announced that a Pac-10 coach violated NCAA rules when he retained a paid consultant to watch practice and attend games. While the NCAA does not name Pete Carroll, bloggers speculate that the NCAA could be referring to Carroll's hiring of Pete Rodriguez to focus on USC's kicking game.

On The Dan Patrick Show, Pete Carroll said there was much he did not know surrounding what went on at USC that led to the allegations. Carroll was head football coach at USC where he won two national championships, and several Pac-10 Championships. Carroll said "it's hard to control" every aspect of an athletic program.

On Seattle Seahawks-related issues, Pete Carroll told Dan Patrick he was pleased with the Seahawks 2010 Draft class and added that 1st round choice Russell Okung was already showing promise of being a special player, and 2nd round pick Golden Tate has already made big plays in minicamps.

What's interesting about The Dan Patrick Show interview of Pete Carroll is their promos leading up to it said nothing about asking Carroll about his possible role in the NCAA rules scandal. Yet, almost half of the interview consisted of questions and conversation about that issue. You could almost feel the energy come out of the room as the focus turned to the NCAA. Coach Carroll went from being energetic and happy to slow and somber in his speech. I wonder if he felt blindsided. It sure sounded that way.

Carroll's going to be really dogged by what happened as USC if the NCAA surprises him with some kind of punishment. He should get used to the questions. One just can't run away from a mess.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Suburban Atlanta, GA - Happy Mother's Day everyone! I can't remember missing celebrating Mother's Day and it was vitally important for me to give my Mom the gift of my help here in Georgia. See, my Mom still insists on working, and I see that as a personal failure on my part because I believe if I made enough money she would not have to work. I give her money each month, as of this writing it helps but not enough to compel her to just stay at home.

Yet as I write this, i'm not sure that would keep her at home cooking and tending garden. While she does do that - tend garden and cook - I really think working around people is Mom's way of staying connected. She's a United Airline retiree but if United called, she'd answer it in a heart beat.

Mom's tried working for me but following Internet trends can be boring if you really like being out and about with folks. Not that I don't, but that's my Mom. It's good therapy for the passing of friends over time.

The one curse of old age is that your friends die. While the logical and uncaring mind would say "just make new ones" it's also a young mind that would form such a thought. Friends are supposed to be and are special people in your life. Friends know you. They're the people who have license to open your door without knocking or tell you what they think because it's for your own good.

Friends are people who borrow money from you and pay you back. They keep your secrets, well, at least the ones that are worth keeping. When you lose friends you lose a part of you. (And while I'm thinking about it, for those who are dating and hear the words "let's be friends", anyone who says "we're friends" and does not meet the criteria above isn't a friend. Don't kid yourself. In my experience, real friends come with benefits. But enough about that for now.)

I think if I were married with kids that would keep Mom at home because kids are the center of her life. It doesn't matter who you are, if you're around my age, your my Mom's kid and she talks to you that way.

I remember a neighbor of mine mistakenly and she will tell you stupidly poured gasoline on the side of the street in full view of my Mom, who was visiting. Well, she got it from my Mom. And while I didn't know her well at the time, and do didn't know what to expect as a reaction, I realized Mom has a way of putting things such that people know she cares and isn't being malicious. She has that way about her.

But fortunately, even though I'm not a father and believe I'd be an incredible one, I'm also not suffering through a divorce or discovering that my wife's cheating on me, either. So, I suppose there's a bright side too.

But I digress. I'm here for my Mom, who I love very much and always will. From the practical perspective, she's my only remaining family and I'm the only child, so I travel here each month to help her. But even if that wasn't the case, I'd be here anyway!

Happy Mother's Day! Give your Mom a kiss if she's near by and a call if she's not - even if you argue with her, at least enjoy that you're able to!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Academy (AMPAS) News: Ray Harryhausen celebrated May 14th

The AMPAS Building
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science (AMPAS) is celebrating the great career of Ray Harryhausen.

Ray's a legendary special effects pioneer known for creating and advancing the technique of "stop-motion" live-action animation called "Dynamation" and used in It Came from beneath the Sea (1955), Earth vs. the Flying Saucers (1956), The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), Jason and the Argonauts (1963), The 3 Worlds of Gulliver (1960), One Million Years B.C. (1966) and the original Clash of the Titans (1981).

This tribute to the 1981 Clash of The Titans is also a good compilation of the films's special effects (watch for the annotation "I never saw Venice!"):

AMPAS summer exhibition "The Fantastical Worlds of Ray Harryhausen," is opening to the public on Friday, May 14, 10 a.m. in the Academy’s Fourth Floor Gallery at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. Admission is free.

Additionally, the Gallery will have "Chuck Jones: An Animator’s Life From A to Z-Z-Z-Z."

The exhibition will feature iconic characters like Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Elmer Fudd, Pepe Le Pew, Wile E. Coyote and many others that were created or developed by Oscar-winning animator and humorist Chuck Jones (1912 - 2002).

For more information call AMPAS at 310-247-3600 or visit http://www.oscars.org.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Jerry Brown meets Richard Aguirre for California Governor, sort of

Richard Aguirre is an until now largely unknown Democratic candidate for Governor of California taking on California Attorney General Jerry Brown. In the video above, posted today April 17th, Aquirre walks in with the perfect activist-running-for-something attire of jeans, t-shirt, and pony tail, and expects to be taken seriously.

Richard v. Jerry at the convention
The result, even if that's his brand, is he's in a damaging video he posted on YouTube which shows him not being taken seriously. Richard Aguirre first challenges Jerry Brown to a debate in his speech, then allows himself to be shown yelling at Brown from the back of the ballroom at the California Democratic Convention.

After that, much of Richard Aguirre's camera time is spent on a not so merry chase of Brown around the convention, yelling for him to debate like a Chihuahua might bark at a Doberman Pincher.


Finally Richard Aguirre gets to within reach of Brown, who keeps going without stopping, looking at him as if Brown was in a car going by roadkill. It was pathetic.

One thing. At least Jerry could have stopped and talked to the man much as San Francisco Mayor and Lieutenant Governor Candidate Gavin Newsom did. But even Gavin, in one gesture without saying it, said "Look at this guy."

If Richard wants to be taken seriously, he has to stop showing himself as a small person who's yelling from the back room at Jerry Brown and be a person who has videos at his own events and states his own platform for governor.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

IRS tax day freebies 2010 at Starbucks, Cinnabon; help the homeless

Today is April 15th, IRS Tax Day. That day where people get their last files together to make a list of fiscal expenditures and get their tax report in to the government before midnight.

While today may be a day of dread, fear not, for it's also a time of IRS tax day freebies 2010. Now the trouble is while this is a national trend, not enough retailers or eateries are actually sending out press releases announcing a marketing effort. If this blogger were in the restaurant business, everyone would get a free drink if they purchased a meal and could prove they just filed their taxes.

Now there is one company that seems to get "IRS tax day freebies 2010:" Starbucks. If you bring in a reusable mug on April 15th, or today, you get a free brewed coffee according to their website. Cinnabon, who makes those great, big cinnamon rolls with the thick frosting on top, is also part of IRS tax day freebies 2010.

Between 6 PM and 8 PM at Cinnabon, you can get two free cupcake bites to, as the website reports, "make it less taxing." But if you do this, I personally ask that you give your free cupcake bites to someone who needs food. It's personally sad to see people sitting or begging and know that retailers have these freebees that someone homeless generally doesn't know about.

So if you see someone near by, think about them.

Stay tuned.

Friday, April 9, 2010

2010 Camaro gets Barris makeover for Saturday event with Jay Leno

The 2010 Chevrolet Camaro, the new version of the classic American muscle car from GM and Chevy, gets George Barris makeover for a Saturday event. On April 10th, Community Chevrolet, located at 200 West Olive Avenue in Burbank, California has the first, the # 1 Barris Kustom 2010 Chevrolet Camaro "Spirit" car, and it's hot.

If you're wondering who George Barris is, you haven't lived. Barris created many of the legendary television cars like the 1966 Batman TV Batmobile, The Munster Koach from The Musters, the Beverly Hillbillie truck, and Knightrider KITT car, to name some of Barris creations.

But this Barris Kustom "Sprit" Camaro is not for TV, it's for real (Barris likes to use the word "Custom" with a "K" so it's "Kustom"). Barris said:

Today so many kustom vehicles have entirely too much work done on them. I believe we have succeeded in developing a kustom vehicle with just the right amount of kustom features and keeping it affordable to the automotive enthusiast while being made in the USA.

Some of the highlighted changes in the base 2010 Camaro 2SS RS include:

Kustom painted hood with deep pearl and metallic accents emphasizing the wide, aggressive stance of the 2010 Chevrolet Camaro.
Kustom painted front fenders and doors. The aerodynamic “Spear” blurs the vision with a striking burst of speed.
Kustom foil “hand-swirled” striping and beautifully pin-stripping outline the kustom paint on the hood, front fenders and doors.
Kustom paint to accent the rear fender louvers
Kustom paint to accent the four taillight tunnels
Kustom 3 bar chrome legend grill
“Spirit” name is added to both fenders along with a Barris Kustom Crest insignia.
Barris Kustom dash plaque hand signed by George Barris.
Lexani Chrome Painted Spoked Wheels

You don't have to be in Burbank to order this car; just contact your Chevy dealer. But if you can, come to Community. There will be celebrities like John Schneider, Joe Mantegna, James Pitt (Avatar), Brenda Dickson-Young & The Restless, Claudia Wells-Back to the Future, Kat Kramer, LA Councilman Tom LaBonge, Barris pal-Jay Leno, Cindy Margolis, Tom Hallick and many others.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Star Trek's Denise Crosby at WonderCon SF

Denise Crosby was at WonderCon SF 2010 last weekend, and talking with this blogger about how she lands so many of her strong, smart female roles. From Lt. Tasha Yar on Star Trek: The Next Generation, to her current role as Capt. Susan Salinger on the TV show Southland, Denise Crosby has a long string - a tradition, really - of playing such television roles. Was it by design? In other words, did she insist on that kind of role?

"I never make those kind of demands," Crosby said. "Actors are kind of subject to the work available, you know?" I think I often get cast in those roles because there's a certain kind of energy I put out there."

But Crosby, in San Francisco to sign autographs as part of WonderCon SF, said she does play the vulnerable female roles, too. She just finished Orpheus Descending on the LA Stage where she played "Lady Torrance", ever the vulnerable woman if there was one.

Denise Crosby is part of what's commonly referred to as "The Crosby Family Dynasty" as she's the granddaughter of Bing Crosby, the daughter of actor and singer Dennis Crosby, and the nice of Mary Crosby.

Even with all that Hollywood royalty, Denise is nice, centered, and approachable. A very good conversationalist, she met her fans at WonderCon SF with a sincere kindness that wasn't always the norm during the event. That speaks volumes for her as a person.

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