Sunday, February 28, 2010

Alvin Lee, "The Gibson 335" Guitar Superman

Alvin Lee, the former front-man for Ten Years After, still remains one of the greatest "Guitar Supermen" in the world today. His trusty sidekick is his beloved Gibson 335 and his Marshall Jubilee 2550 amp. Alvin named his Gibson "Big Red", and he's been offered as much as $500,000 for it by a fan, but he bluntly refused to sell his beloved companion. "Big Red" has now become too valuable for Alvin to tour with it as he continues to play concert events. Alvin's guitar is worth more than many homes, and costs lots to insure. But Gibson did make Alvin a replica copy of it to travel with. The original "Big Red" only cost Alvin Lee around $90 when he first bought it.

Alvin once explained how he modified his Gibson to give it both hum and distortion to guitar legend Les Paul, and he replied, "I do all this work to make pickups that don't hum by putting screens on them and the first thing you do is take them off again". Alvin "took off the humbucker covers" and turned the "bridge pu" backwards according to his own words.

Alvin has always been something of an electronic wiz. According to his own website, he built his own amp at the young age of just 16. And his experiments on his guitars have always contributed to their unique sound. With Alvin Lee at the helm, Ten Years After was always one of the greatest live guitar acts ever. His appearance at Woodstock was one of the greatest highlights of that entire music festival. Alvin Lee, Jimi Hendrix, Pete Townshend and Carlos Santana all turned in awesome guitar performances.

Alvin continues to record and tour. His last release, ALVIN LEE IN TENNESSEE is a great Cd, done with a number of very talented sessions musicians and other music legends.

For a lifetime of fantastic guitar work and music, Wizbang Pop officially recognizes Alvin Lee with the honorary title of "Guitar Superman" here.

ALICE IN WONDERLAND Faces Theater Boycott Threat

AMC Theaters are threatening the blockbuster new version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND with a boycott threat unless the producers of the movie keep the current theater to DVD cycle at 17 weeks, rather than shortening it to just 12 weeks. Theater owners fear that a shorter box office to DVD cycle will mean less movie-goers. However, a recent trend has been towards shorter theater to DVD cycles as movie producers attempt to maximize profits while films are still hot and fresh in the public mind.

The new version of ALICE IN WONDERLAND has so many blockbuster powerhouse factors going for it. The film is from Disney and director Tim Burton, and stars Australian actress Mia Wasikowska as 19 year old Alice Kingsley, along with box office smash star Johnny Depp. The film cost $150 million to produce and is shot in 3D. AMC would be damn fools to turn down an opportunity to play this film which will surely be a box office smash for sure.

Actress Mia Wasikowska is very nice, yet not very well known in the U.S. yet. I got to meet this talented 20 year old actress a few months ago when she was working out of my Clinton Market grocery store filming the new Gus Van Sant project tentatively titled RESTLESS. RESTLESS now looks likely to have a 2011 release date. Mia Wasikowska is also scheduled to star in JANE EYRE in 2011 as well. Besides ALICE IN WONDERLAND, the very versatile young actress will appear in the controversial film THE KIDS ARE ALL RIGHT which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Since just 2004, the young actress has had 17 films including the upcoming JANE EYRE and RESTLESS.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Osmond Family Suicide Tragedy

Sadly, the adopted son of Marie Osmond killed himself last night by jumping to his death from his apartment building in downtown Los Angeles. 18 year old Michael Blosil left behind a note claiming that he suffered from lifelong depression, had no friends and felt like he just didn't fit in. The death of her son had to be a heartbreak to the 50 year old actress, singer and doll designer.

In 2007, MSNBC had reported that Michael had entered a rehab facility due to problems he was having. In 2009, Marie Osmond announced that her adopted daughter, Jessica, was living in a lesbian relationship, which is a lifestyle contrary to the teachings of the Mormon LDS faith of the family.

The death of her son is only the latest sad event to hit the life of the beautiful entertainer, who's life once seemed so ideal.

Friday, February 26, 2010

UGLY BETTY Coming To An End In April

ABC's once proud comedy break-out hit comedy, UGLY BETTY, will come to an end in April. America Ferrara once won both the Golden Globe and SAG awards for best actress in a comedy series as well. Actress Salma Hayek had the vision to produce this odd little show, and for the first few years ratings were good as were the critical reviews. But then, the ratings started to dramatically soften, and it appeared as if the series had run it's course with many viewers. What was once fresh and cool eventually seemed sort of tired.

The cast and production crew put up their very best efforts on this show, often putting in 12 hour days, days a week, at least 10 months of the year. And that effort seemed to show because of all the critical acclaim. But now that's all coming to an end. Now the only question is how the series ends.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

General Larry Pratt's "Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Of Fame" Quickly Ending

For 62 year old General Larry Pratt, his "Andy Warhol 15 minutes of fame" appears to be quickly ending. Last week, his newly recorded version of "Pants On The Ground" debuted at #46 on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 charts. This week the song tumbled down to #60. And on the Digital charts, his song tumbled from a debut at #22 down to #33.

There are several key reasons why the General's song has faded so quickly. First, it took weeks to get his outrageous song recorded. Secondly, the recorded version of the song was nowhere as funny as the live version of the song he performed on AMERICAN IDOL. His live performance was hilarious, including his rolling on the ground. It was so absurd that it was a real comedy classic. But, the recorded version of the song quickly leaves the impression that this isn't such a great song after all. "Pants On The Ground" never was a great song to begin with. It was simply a piece of silliness that became water cooler talk overnight. And even the marketing of the song took too long to strike when the iron was hot.

In Addition to the single version, there's a dance version of the song as well. But so far, there doesn't appear to be an album available. Maybe, there won't be one.

Well, it was fun while it lasted.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Charlie Sheen's Personal Problems Endangering TWO AND A HALF MEN

You heard it here first. We warned you that Charlie Sheen's latest batch of personal problems might just derail the filming of TWO AND HALF MEN and possiby endanger the wildly popular comedy series. Now, it's happened. Charlie Sheen was a no-show for Monday and Tuesday's scheduled shoots. Now, amid new problems with Charlie Sheen entering rehab according to a TMZ report, as well as potential bail problems stemming from his domestic charge, filming for the #1 comedy in the U.S. is being suspended for at least two weeks.

It is still possible that the series will go on and the remaining six episodes including the season finale can still be shot in time for CBS to continue to air the series without interruption. However, the mounting problems for Charlie Sheen are only making the future of this series look considerably clouded.


THE HURT LOCKER is so far the very best movie ever made about the Iraq War. It is also a strong contender for Best Picture at the Oscars this year as well. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film gets an awesome 97% rating from the polling of film critics. The film follows the heroism of a bomb disposal team in Iraq seeking to rid 2004 Baghdad of roadside bombs and other booby trap devices.

Capturing realistic war action, and courage under fire, members of an EOD(Explosive Ordinance Disposal) unit with only 38 days left on their current tour of duty, face some of their worst and most dangerous situations. Screenwriter Mark Boal based this story on his firsthand experiences he hand in Iraq working as a journalist following an elite bomb disposal team. What Boal penned was a very gritty and riveting tale, and the photographic style of this film reminds you of a journalistic vision of U.S. soldiers at very dangerous work. The film also well captures all of the anarchy and confusion of war, where you cannot tell your friend from foe, and potential danger lurks everywhere. U.S. soldiers are like policemen in the middle of a major security crisis, attempting to restore order to a complete chaos situation.

It doesn't matter what position you hold on the war itself, because you can't help but admire those like this bomb disposal unit who are saving lives by doing their very dangerous work. Those that plant bombs in the middle of civilian areas due to the religious tensions between the rival sects create a serious danger to civilian as well U.S. servicemen lives. And not everyone in Iraq likes the American presence despite this important peacekeeping duty.

THE HURT LOCKER is an extremely good film. It certainly deserves serious consideration for Best Picture this year, although AVATAR probably remains the public favorite.

The Bottom Line: An extremely good film for the most part with few faults. +++ 1/2(three and a half stars, or nearly excellent).

Tuesday, February 23, 2010


THE STEPFATHER is a far better than usual crime/horror drama that is like a fictionalized version of an AMERICA'S MOST WANTED episode. In fact, AMERICA'S MOST WANTED even proudly featured this movie in a mention a few months ago. Dylan Walsh plays a disturbed, but handsome young husband who brutally murders his entire family, but then seeks to replace that family with a new one. As usual, Sela Ward is a fine actress here, playing a single mother who falls for new man in her life, not realizing his past. However, some neighbors and her son all have serious concerns about her new man, claiming that he sure looks like a criminal that was featured on AMERICA'S MOST WANTED. Why no good photos, only police sketches exist of the family murderer is a good question. But you need to suspend a little disbelief here.

Critics generally didn't like this remake of the 1987 cult film classic by the same name, but they seem to have missed the point that this movie is more like an extended AMERICA'S MOST WANTED segment in many ways. And besides, the young actress, Amber Heard, looks pretty good in a bikini or underwear anyway if you don't like the story very much.

And, hey kids, "daddy's home" will take on a whole different meaning after watching this unsettling show. And overall, THE STEPFATHER is real entertaining and a decent enough film. And the acting is certainly good enough with good actors like Dylan Walsh and Sela Ward.

The Bottom Line: A pretty fair and effective film or three stars +++(good).

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cd Review:The Who's A QUICK ONE(Japanese Limited Edition)

If you're a major league fan of The Who with an extra $129.59 burning a hole in your pocket, then you just can't live without getting the definitive version of A QUICK ONE. This limited edition Japanese 2 cd version of the second album by The Who from 1966 is produced in ultra-high quality SHM-Cd format sound that is compatible with any normal Cd player. It is set to debut on April 6, 2010.

Besides the original album reproduced in monophonic sound on disc one, disc two includes the album in stereo along with a number of rare and unreleased tracks. Remastered from the best possible remaining master recordings of the original songs existing at the time, there are 45 tracks total on the two Cds.

While this album has been reissued before, the much higher quality of the SHM-Cd format sound and the unique new remastering made solely for this album make this the best possible version of A QUICK ONE ever released. The previous best release of the album only had just 20 tracks as well. 45 tracks is far better.

A QUICK ONE has always been a little bit interesting with fans as well, because managers for the The Who had urged all of the band members to contribute songs for the album, so some interesting songs by both Keith Moon and John Entwistle also appeared on the album. Keith Moon's strange little instrumental piece, "Cobwebs And Strange" is a little gem. And John Entwistle also proves he's a skillful writer in his classic, "Boris The Spider" and "Whiskey Man". Far beyond just Pete Townshend's writing for the band, A QUICK ONE well proves that The Who were a true supergroup just like The Beatles.

A QUICK ONE also comes attractively packaged in a paper sleeve boxset form that reproduces the original UK artwork of the 1966 album. The album also includes the content of the EP, READY STEADY GO as well.

The Bottom Line: An excellent package that no true fan of The Who should have to live without, although the $129.59 price is steep(that's the sale price at Cd Universe) ++++(four out of four stars).

The Undertaker Suffers Minor Burn Injuries At Elimination Chamber Event

Popular WWE wrestler, The Undertaker, suffered some minor burn injuries last night when a pyrotechnic explosion went out of control and engulfed him in flames. Amazingly, after suffering minor chest burns comparable to a sunburn, the wrestler proved himself to be a real trooper and carried on with the event.

For the last several weeks, The Elimination Chamber event had been built up by the WWE. And in St. Louis where the huge pay-per-view event was staged, the accident was an unexpected event that could have derailed the show. But The Undertaker(real name Mark William Calaway), proved that he's a real tough customer and just shook off the injuries after a medic checked him out.

Calaway, born in 1965, is a 6 foot 10 1/2 inch man mountain who was a former high school basketball player. He is huge fan of custom Harley Davidson motorcycles and loves heavy metal rock acts as well as Nick Cave music, although he also loves both country and blues. And despite his extreme very "tough customer" image, Calaway is actually a very generous and decent man who started a research fund at Texas A&M College Of Veterinary Medicine to help to save the lives of large breed dogs. Calaway is also looking beyond his good wrestling years , and has become a partner in a real estate construction business and recently finished construction on a $2.7 million dollar office complex in Loveland, Colorado.
Calaway adds that being a television star is a major door opener that really helps him in the real estate business. But as his other persona, The Undertaker, he's one of most intimidating presenses ever in the ring. Fortunately, he wasn't badly injured when things went wrong last night. But being on fire is a fair enough reason for The Undertaker to have to break character for a few moments while he's being checked out by a doctor.

One Slammed Henry J

I've seen slammed cars before. But this little Henry J hot rod is really really slammed. Careful not to hit any bumps, otherwise it's bodywork city for this ride!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Kelly Osbourne Channels THE FLINTSTONES

Let's sure hope that this won't become all the rage, but not only Jeremy Scott's 2010 Spring Collection fashion show in London as well Kelly Osbourne all seem to channeling THE FLINTSTONES right now. In fact, Ozzy's little girl is such a fan of THE FLINTSTONES look that she's considering a line of fashions based off the old prehistoric animated version of THE HONEYMOONERS, where Fred was channeling his best Ralph Kramden impersonation.

Imagine, all the ladies running around with the Wilma and Betty look. Huh?

Recorded Version Of 'Pants On The Ground" Debuts At #46 On BILLBOARD HOT 100

Just like a bad cold or the flu, you just knew it was coming on. General Larry Pratt's outrageous song, "Pants On The Ground" has finally debuted on the BILLBOARD Hot 100 charts this week, making him the first contestant this year from AMERICAN IDOL to have a hit record. Even more impressive, on the Top 40 Digital downloads chart, the General debuted at #22. An awesome feat.

After an outrageous and laughable appearance from the 62 year old singer on AMERICAN IDOL a few weeks back, his silly song about the fashion trend of some young men wearing very low hanging pants became a sort of hit, but no recorded version existed. A recording company rushed to offer the older singer a contract and to get the song to the market. Now after a few weeks have passed, the song seems to be gaining traction and has the potential to be a hit single.

Actually, the low slung pants look has become some gang members and some kids into the Hip Hop culture scene. Probably, they are no fans of the song by the General and won't be rushing out to buy a copy. Whether this fashion look can endure the onslaught wrought on by the General's song remains to be seen.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

The Cool 2010 Can-Am Spyder RT-S Touring Motorcycle

The new bigger and wider 2010 three wheeled Can-Am Spyder RT-S touring motorcycle is an interesting package. With prices ranging from $20,999 to $24,999, the Spyder RT-S includes a vast number of creature comforts as well as seating for two that is pleasurable for all day riding. However, with a tested fuel economy range only around 26.1 mpg, and a 172 mile range for the fuel, refills will be needed a little more often than one would want for long trips. But with a 960 weight, plus two riders and 998cc engine, such lackluster fuel economy might just be about as expected. But for a touring motorcycle a little more range might be good.

And there is some issues with the handling as well, where some reviews expected it to be better as well.

But where the new Can-Am Spyder RT-S does well is in the area of lots of features, rider comfort, a cool design, and a matching trailer that gives the bike more cargo room than some Jeep models.

All in all, the high price of admission seems worth it for such a fun toy as this. And from the front, the trike has a cool ATV-like look crossed with a sport bike appearance. It's not like every bike on the road by far.

The bottom Line: +++(three stars out of four, or a very good fun toy by all means).

Huey Lewis Performs His Solo Version Of "We Are The World"

Pop singer Huey Lewis was apparently not invited to join in on latest version of "We Are The World". So, he decided to take matters into his own hands and do a little solo version of the song on JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE. Okay. But it did provide a few funny moments.

Huey Lewis was part of the original 1985 version of the song. However, for the JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE version, Lewis did funny parodies of other singers including absurd wigs and costumes. It was a great TV moment.

Although, not the huge pop chart presence that he once was, Huey Lewis And The News still continue to perform. This band has existed since 1979, and has had 19 top ten pop chart songs as well as many top selling albums. During the 1980's Huey Lewis was one of the greatest pop charts performers of that decade. And although Huey Lewis sometimes reminds a person of a nightclub performer in many ways, he's still a great front-man for a long running rock and roll outfit. Last night, he proved himself to be a great sport and open to a little self-parody.

Jamie Gillis, 1970's Adult Film Legend Dead At 66

Jamie Gillis, the controversial but very popular 1970's adult film actor has died at the age of 66. Gillis was best known for numerous appearances with his then girlfriend, Serena, in many adult films, often with very extreme and hard content such as BDSM themes, playing dominant roles.
Gillis was actually trained to be a mainstream actor, and certainly was a powerful on-screen presence in any movie in which he appeared, but by the 1970's he seemed drawn to the world of adult films, although Gillis had made some film appearances in a few mainstream movies as well.
Gillis was born in New York, NY, and was a graduate of Columbia University. He once worked as a cab driver while trying to find work as an actor. He answered an ad in THE VILLAGE VOICE for a nude model once, and slowly began to find work in the adult entertainment industry.
Recently, Gillis had been suffering from cancer and finally died of the disease. Some reports claim that Gillis was actually bisexual, and he had starred in at least one all male film as well. While never as popular as either John Holmes or Ron Jeremy ever were, Gillis was still a highly recognizable star in many films, both adult and mainstream.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Violent cult filmmaker Quentin Tarantino has created one of the most unusual takes on the classic war picture with this odd film that pays homage to the old 1970's exploitation film genre as well. In 1977, a cult film, INGLORIOUS BASTARDS starring Fred Williamson(BLACK CAESAR) debuted that was a great influence for this film, although the plotlines of both stories are very different. And the result has been a nomination for Tarantino's film for best picture by the Academy Awards this year.

Odd and violent, the story involves a young woman who escapes the brutal Nazi slaughter of her family, to start a new life running a cinema in France, only to have fate cross her once again when the Nazi colonel who ordered the killings four years earlier wants to use her cinema to premiere a new Nazi war history propaganda film. While she plots to kill this Nazi officer by burning down the theater because of the very high flammability of film stock, another plot to kill the top Nazi leadership at the theater is being plotted by tough American special operations officer, Lieutenant Aldo Raine(Brad Pitt) is leading a tough group of Jewish soldiers in a plot as well.

INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS is a strange film, and hardly a conventional war movie by any means. Yet, the movie is masterfully made and one of the best by Quentin Tarantino. The movie will likely not win the best picture award. Yet, the film is good enough to be nominated, which says much about the quality of it.

The bottom line: A very good and artistic film on many levels. +++(three stars, or good).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some CBS Shows Look Likely To Be Canceled For 2010-2011 Season

Several CBS shows appear to be in serious danger of facing cancellation as CBS may attempt to free up time for several new shows with a higher potential of success. The once popular COLD CASE appears to have faded enough in ratings that CBS will very likely cancel this once great series. And as good as NUMB3RS is, the future doesn't too look too good at all for this series either. The critically acclaimed but ratings soft, THE GOOD WIFE, will likely be renewed though, as CBS might hope for a possible growing audience shift to this show.
One other drama that was a purchase from NBC, MEDIUM, may also be in some danger of cancellation as well. Unfortunately, as good as this show is, most of it's best days were from it's past life over at NBC. Often, moving shows to another network isn't always a good move. But in the case of JAG, it worked excellent. JAG also helped to spin off the super-successful NCIS franchise for CBS as well, so this move was nothing short of brilliant for CBS.

And with comedies, CBS will probably pick at least two to cancel from OLD CHRISTINE, GARY UNMARRIED and ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE. In March, CBS is planning to send ACCIDENTALLY ON PURPOSE over to the Wednesday time slot held by GARY UNMARRIED, which isn't particularly good news for either show. It means that both shows are under-performers and in great cancellation danger.

CBS is such a successful network that it cannot afford under-performing shows that drag down it's overall ratings strength and ratings dominance. CBS is only likely to make moves to strengthen it's network share and a few tired shows are more than likely to get the ax.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Kevin Eubanks Jumping Ship From THE TONIGHT SHOW

Kevin Eubanks is the latest fallout from NBC's late night mess. Reportedly, Kevin Eubanks wanted to have a deal similar to that of Max Weinberg, who could takes leaves when he wanted to play with Bruce Springsteen And The E Street Band. However, it looks like leaving THE TONIGHT SHOW a few weeks after it debuts after the Winter Olympics is the course that Eubanks will take, while a replacement is found for him.

Eubanks often makes a great comic foil for the antics of Jay Leno, so someone able to have a comic presence might well be an important qualification. With Conan O'Brien, Max Weinberg had one of the best deadpan comics personas of anyone. And, Paul Shaffer from THE LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN had some great comic moments on the old SNL program some years back.

Kevin Eubanks is a serious musician who hasn't been able to record an album since 2006 because THE TONIGHT SHOW schedule was so demanding. Leaving the show will allow him to concentrate on other musical ambitions.

Conan O'Brien Goes For That Unemployed Look

Jobless former late night TV host, Conan O'Brien, was recently spotted with a beard not looking very much like a guy who just got a $40 million dollar retirement payoff deal from NBC. In fact, there's jobless guys on Food Stamps sporting the same look as well. But Conan O'Brien was also recently seen by TMZ taking his kids on a Hawaiian vacation, so perhaps he was looking to go undercover. However, for a very recognizable guy who's 6 foot 4, that's about as easy as Big Bird trying to go undercover.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Some Very Rare Singles By The Doors

Of course, The Doors once had some mega-hits such as "Light My Fire", "Hello, I Love You" and "Touch Me" as well as moderately big sellers such as "Riders On The Storm" and more. However, many discographies of The Doors, including the one on Wikipedia seem to miss a few rare singles by The Doors that sold very few copies and didn't even get top 100 sales status. One of the rarest is the single version of "Ships W/Sails" from the album OTHER VOICES, released after the death of former lead singer Jim Morrison. "Ships W/Sails" was an epic type tune somewhat similar to "Light My Fire" in it's ambition. The album version of the song, which was considerably longer than the edited single version even includes a lengthy instrumental section that is somewhat on the order of the long version of "Light My Fire". This single sold very poorly and is one of the most rare items by The Doors ever released. A picture sleeve version is especially rare. The single was backed with the B side, "In The Eye Of The Sun", which was the opening track form OTHER VOICES. If you can even find a copy of this rare single, then you are indeed a very lucky person.

Equally rare is "The Piano Bird" single backed with "Good Rockin" from the second and last album by The Doors without Jim Morrison. "The Piano Bird" was a decidedly jazzy sounding tune with Ray Manzarek on vocals. It was actually a very good song, but just real untop 40like in it's style. And the B side, "Good Rockin" was the old Roy Brown tune with Ray Manzarek channeling the boogie woogie hard rocking keyboard style of Jerry Lee Lewis as well as he could. It was a great song that just never caught on.

"The Mosquito", backed with the B side, "It Slipped My Mind", in the U.S., marked the only single by The Doors ever released with guitarist Robbie Krieger on vocals on both songs. Both songs were very good in their ways and somewhat comic and mirthful. However, the single version of "The Mosquito" features one of the most radical editing jobs ever done on a single ever. The tape of the song was incredibly chopped to pieces and spliced together. The edited version of the song is so radical that it is a must own item for collectors of rarity items by The Doors. In Spain, "The Mosquito" which is partially sung in Spanish, was released as "El Mosquito" but backed with the more common Doors single, "Get Up And Dance" which got a little bit of radio play on some FM stations as a single.

After two albums with only moderate sales, and very weak action for most singles except for "Get Up And Dance", The Doors called it quits as a band for a number of years while Ray Manzarek attempted two solo albums including THE GOLDEN SCARAB which was dark, mysterious and Doorslike in many ways, and THE WHOLE THING STARTED WITH ROCK AND ROLL. Guitarist Robbie Krieger and Drummer John Densmore went in another direction starting a new band, The Butts Band, and only issued two albums, THE BUTTS BAND and HEAR AND NOW. Interestingly, both albums have a whole different line-up of musicians supporting Krieger and Densmore. In later years, the surviving members of The Doors cooperated on many projects, until relations between John Densmore and Robbie Krieger and Ray Manzarek became strained by a lawsuit over the use of classic songs by The Doors in ads such Cadillac's interest in "Break On Through" and use of The Doors name by Krieger and Manzarek for a revival band effort with a new lead singer who acted Morrison-like.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Southwest Airlines Vs. Kevin Smith

It seems that when Southwest Airlines kicked filmmaker Kevin Smith, baggy shorts and all, off one of their airliners this weekend, they just didn't understand the power of his wrath. Kevin Smith spent yesterday in an hour and a half SModcast rant attacking the airline saying they should have wider seats, etc.

But, it had to be a humiliating experience for the talented filmmaker to be taken off one of the airline's planes. And this might just be an event that triggers a call for federal regulations to prevent weight-based discrimination against passengers on airlines.

The accomplished filmmaker's first film was CLERKS, which was filmed in the same convenience store that was employed in. He shot the low budget film for less than $26,000, yet it became a major cult favorite hit and really cemented his career as a major minor filmmaker. The film earned $3.1 million as well.

No doubt, Southwest Airlines will be hearing from more than few fans of Kevin Smith in the coming days, and be forced to be more accommodating.

Doug Fieger, Lead Singer of The Knack Dead At 57

Doug Fieger, the lead singer of the highly successful power pop and new wave group, The Knack, has passed away from lung and brain cancer at the age of 57. He had been battling the fatal disease for several years, first becoming disoriented and feeling ill during a 2006 concert performance. He has become the second member of the revolutionary sounding power pop band to pass away. In August 2006, Bruce Gary, the group's drummer died of lymphoma.

The band's biggest selling smash hit was "My Sharona", which sold three million copies and was #1 on the pop charts for three weeks. Strangely, the song was written about a teenage girl that Fieger had a sort of crush on when he was a young man. The song featured a unique stuttering style along with a heavy retro neosurf song sound. The strength of the single, along with the cover of the debut album, which had a Beatles-like appearance, all helped to propel the image of the band which reminded many of being like a new Beatles phenomenon.

"My Sharona" also featured a cool punchy "kick and snare" drum intro that was a great hook as well. Bruce Gary was a master drummer, having worked with the likes of Albert Collins, Jack Bruce. Mick Taylor and many others in his musical career.

At the time of the late 70's into the early 80's, The Knack were a powerful presence on the music scene. And a mostly disco weary public seemed willing to embrace something new, fresh, cool and fun like The Knack. This L.A. band was also packaged just like the early Beatles by Capitol Records, which only further helped to create their phenomenal rise as a major recording act. The Knack was one of the best marketed musical acts ever, where buyers wanted to be part of musical history so they bought their records in huge numbers. The ride continued for several years.

The 45rpm single, "My Sharona", was also packaged with a punky looking braless model in a t-shirt in a picture sleeve that set a decidedly new wave tone for the band on one hand, but the use of a picture sleeve also seemed like a blowback to 1960's Capitol Releases by The Beatles once again. It was more of the clever marketing of the band.

Interesting trivia: Fieger's brother is lawyer, Geoffrey Fieger, who was the lawyer for Dr. Jack Kevorkian.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The Strange Story Behind "Spirit In The Sky"

Between late 1969 into 1970, Norman Greenbaum's, "Spirit In The Sky" became a mega-hit selling over two million copies. It also became one of the best loved 1970's electric-hippie rock anthems ever. Inspired by a religious song once sung by Dolly Parton and Porter Wagoner on television, practicing Jewish singer-songwriter Greenbaum decided to write his own little"Jesus" song. The song not only appealed to the religious audience, but the heavy searing guitar sound and the cosmic "pinball game" effects done in the studio production, made this one of the coolest sounding hits on the charts in 1970 as well. Greenbaum's own "Jesus song" is considered to be one of the greatest rock songs of the 1970's by many music critics including myself.

The magic captured on "Spirit In The Sky" just never seemed to translate to other songs by Greenbaum, though. His follow-up single, "Canned Ham" fell just short of the top 40 charts. And, "California Earthquake", was another Norman Greenbaum failure to gain much chart traction as well. Surprisingly, Greenbaum once had some minor success with a novelty song, "The Eggplant That Ate Chicago", that he recorded under another the group name, Dr. West's Medicine Show And Junk Band. Well that never became a household word. But, "Spirit In The Sky" sure did.

Today, Greenbaum continues to live in Petaluma, California, promoting concerts and living off of song royalties. That's the quiet life compared to the massive "one hit wonder" fame that "Spirit In The Sky" once brought this very talented singer-songwriter.

THE E.N.D. Of The Cd? The Black Eyed Peas Say So

The Black Eyed Peas achieved an amazing feat on this week's BILLBOARD TOP 100 chart by coming in with two top ten songs. "Imma Be" charted at #2, while "I Gotta Feeling" charted at #9. Both songs are from their hit album, THE E.N.D.(Energy Never Dies). This week's #1 song is TIK TOK by Ke$ha. Country crossover artist Taylor Swift also achieved a lot of success with two songs in the top 30 as well. Taylor Swift's guest appearance on "Two Is Better Than One" with Boys Like Girls at #21, and Taylor Swift's second song, "You Belong To Me" at #27.

THE E.N.D. may also mark a revolutionary turn for The Black Eyed Peas. The group claims that it may be the last physical cd that they ever release. For now on, all of their releases may be digital only releases. And the group also envisions that within four years, that buying a music cd may be a mostly dead concept. That would be a crying shame, because the physical cd allows for great packaging material such as booklets or bonus features. However, a trend towards less use of plastic jewel cases and less packaging seems to be eliminating those elaborate information booklets that make the music cd such a treasure trove of information for music collectors. Let's hope The Black Eyed Peas are wrong, and the physical cd soldiers on.

Investigation Shuts Down Brittany Murphy Foundation Website

After the death of actress Brittany Murphy. her widower, Simon Monjack and her mother, Sharon Murphy, established what was supposed to be a charity organization set up in her honor to assist arts education for children. However, an investigation by TMZ found out that the claimed charity was not registered with either the IRS or with the state of California, yet had been accepting donations through a website since January.

Further investigating by TMZ failed to find any financial disclosure statement as required by law on the claimed charity website as well. TMZ also failed to get any reply from an email sent to Simon Monjack regarding the website. And after calls by TMZ to the state of California, and to the foundation, the website was taken down for "maintenance" an hour later. Now a statement posted on the website tells those who want to donate funds to "check back later".

Probably, the Brittany Murphy Foundation is a well intentioned organization. But, bravo to TMZ for keeping this organization honest and upfront by urging then to comply with the laws that any legitimate charity must comply with. However, the very sloppy handling of this matter only raises new questions about the husband of the late actress.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


After spending $14 million on production costs, Sony Pictures unfortunately decided to go straight to DVD for UNIVERSAL SOLDIER: REGENERATION, rather than take it to theaters. That's sad, because this is a pretty good B grade action/Sci Fi film that is pretty satisfying. While both Jean-Claude Van Damme and Dolph Lundgren look a little old here, both give some pretty good action performances. Dolph Lundren even seems to channel a little bit of the old Frankenstein's monster here as an out of control creation that kills his inventor/creator. And Jean-Claude Van Damme is quite an effective action star once again. But, the biggest find here is Russian heavyweight ultimate fighting champion, Andrei "The Pitbull" Arlovski, who looks positively intimidating and puts in some of the best fight scene performances of the film. Arlovski reminds viewers of the intimidating presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger in the TERMINATOR films in many ways. He's a great screen presence, and deserves to get many acting gigs.

The storyline of UNIVERSAL SOLDIER:REGENERATION is pretty good as well. Some terrorists, who represent a breakaway Russian Republic, kidnap the Russian Prime Minister's son and daughter, and take over the crippled Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant threatening to create a nuclear release cloud by detonating a bomb. One of the prime protectors of the terrorist's mission is a super-soldier unit UniSol NGU(Arlovski), who is a virtually unstoppable unit able to defeat entire army units all by himself. A former UniSol(Van Damme) must be reactivated by the military to stop the terrorists. However, another NGU unit(Lundgren) who is mentally unstable is also activated, but goes berserk reactivating the bomb after the terrorists and the Russian government reach an agreement, once again creating the danger of a giant radioactive cloud. It isn't a bad plot at all, and the movie is pretty good considering only a $14 million budget to work with.

Much of the film was shot in Bulgaria to save money, using a closed steel plant, which provides an extremely effective set for the film. The producers of the film likened this set to a "haunted house" for the UniSol NGU unit to roam around in and cause serious mayhem.

While not a great film by any means, this is a solid enough B grade film that really satisfies. It is certainly worth buying on DVD or Bluray or even renting.

The bottom line: ++1/2(two and a half stars out of four), or a pretty good B grade movie by all means.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Newly Expanded SUPERNATURAL By Santana Due Out Feb 16

Big news for fans of the ultra-hypnotic guitar stylings of Carlos Santana is the release of the newly expanded 2cd set version of his fantastic album SUPERNATURAL. The new set includes the original album on disc one. But disc two includes some way cool remixes of a few Santana favorites, plus a number of unreleased tracks including one with Eric Clapton as a guest musician. A second version of "Smooth", the smash hit single with Rob Thomas on vocals is also included on the bonus second disc as well.

Carlos Santana remains as one of the world's greatest guitar legends. This unique new version of this classic album of his with the 11 track bonus disc of unreleased songs and new remixes of some classics is sure to please any true fans as well as any music buyer looking for a great new cd to spin.

Cd Universe is offering preorders on this great new album right now for just $12.78 sale price. That's a pretty good deal.

New Version Of T.Rex Continues To Tour Europe

Years after the deaths of both superstar front-man singer/songwriter/guitarist Marc Bolan and bongo player/percussionist, Mickey Finn, A Celebration Of Marc & Mickey-T.Rex, continues to tour Europe with new show dates set in Germany and other countries. And while this band operates largely as a tribute band playing the music penned by Marc Bolan, the band still remains controversial with some fans of original unique Marc Bolan sound and band.

Tyrannosaurus Rex started in 1967 out as a hippie-era psychedelic acoustic duo with Marc Bolan and Steve Peregrin Took. Both were master musicians, with Bolan writing the songs and playing guitar, and Took providing complex bongo rhythms to the early days of the band and three albums. But a sharp personality clash between Bolan and Took eventually did in their relationship. The early works of this duo seemed heavily influenced by Greek and Persian mythology.

Marc Bolan replaced Took with percussionist bong player Mickey Finn(born Michael Norman Finn), but this was a controversial turn for Bolan's music because Finn was viewed as not being as good as a musician as Took by any means. Some sources even say that Bolan chose Finn because of his good looks and the fact that he liked his motorcycle more so than his real ability. But, as Bolan began to turn Tyrannosaurus Rex from an acoustic duo into a full blown electric act, Mickey Finn's bongo playing began to become obsolete for the growing group and evolving new electric sound of Bolan's music. And in 1974, Mickey Finn left Bolan's group.

In 1997, twenty years after the tragic 1977 car accident death of Marc Bolan, Mickey Finn used his association with Bolan and T.Rex to form a sort of tribute band act, Mickey Finn's T.Rex. However, years of hard drinking took their toll on Mickey Finn as he was diagnosed with alcohol related liver problems and died of liver cancer at the age of 55 in 2003. But the tribute act that he founded continues to live on.
For real fans of superstar musician songwriter, Marc Bolan, the new version of the band sure isn't quite the same. Yet, for a tribute band, the band isn't too bad and often pretty good, especially live. The new band had featured Mickey Finn on percussion, former T.Rex session drummer Paul Fenton, former T.Rex guitarist Jack Green, and Bolan sound-alike vocalist Rob Benson. The group has recorded at least 17 of the old T.Rex songs of Bolan's old band and has played in front of crowds as large as 30,000 fans in places like Germany. And although the drummer, Paul Fenton, is now the sole member remaining with any connection to Bolan's original T.Rex act, the band continues to soldier on with a schedule of upcoming shows.
While the vocal style of lifelong T.Rex fan, Rob Benson, are very much like Bolan, it is the guitar playing and musical style of the other band members than seems a little different than Bolan's own unique guitar style. Bolan was sometimes compared to both Jimi Hendrix and The Beatles for his guitar style. Ringo Starr was a good friend of Marc Bolan's as well, and Bolan played guitar on the album, RINGO, as well. Ringo Starr helped to produce the BORN TO BOOGIE movie and songs and viewed Bolan as "the new Beatle". Even Paul McCartney was very impressed with Bolan, viewing Bolan's T.Rex band as the great new successor to The Beatles. The Who even gave a little tribute to T.Rex in the song, "You Better You Bet", with the lyrics, "But I drunk myself blind to sound of old T.Rex, mmmmmm. To the sound of old T.Rex. Oh, and WHO'S NEXT". Some even feel that the hit, "Long Cool Woman In A Black Dress" by The Hollies, has the same guitar groove as T.Rex's "Bang-A-Gong(Get It On)". And even, "You Can't Win Em' All" by Ten Years After seems to have a little bit of that unique Marc Bolan guitar groove signature sound as well. Yet, as great as that unique Marc Bolan guitar signature was, it seems to be sadly lacking from the new band's music style. Yet, overall Mickey Finn's T.Rex is a pretty fair tribute band. But Marc Bolan is not really replaceable. He was a unique and great entertainer, with both a unique vocal and guitar style, as well as unique songwriting ability.
Marc Bolan was a once in a lifetime superstar. So it is a tall order for any tribute band to pay homage to one of the best UK rock acts of all time. Yet, Mickey Finn's T.Rex is often pretty good as far as tribute bands go. It would also be great to see a few new songs written in the style of T.Rex by the act. Some other T.Rex tribute bands have attempted that. Yet, for what's there, Mickey Finn's T.Rex is an enjoyable celebration of the T.Rex sound of the 70's.
Cd albums of the new version of T.Rex are available at Cd Universe and Amazon.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Seriously Ill Dennis Hopper At Odds With Estranged Wife

Seriously ill actor, Dennis Hopper, is at odds with estranged wife, Victoria, in a divorce court battle. The 73 year old actor is suffering from advanced stage prostate cancer, and problems in his marriage are only adding to his life and death struggle at this time. Today, a judge ruled that Victoria Hopper must stay at least 10 feet away from Dennis Hopper, and his son, Henry, and daughter, Marin, and his assistant.

In January, it was revealed that Dennis Hopper's cancer had spread to his bones, and that the actor may only have about a month to live. Apparently, a statement from his doctor seemed to support that the seriously ill actor needs as little stress right now as possible from his marriage problems. Unless, a miracle happens, these are probably the last sad days from this great actor.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Russian Chevrolet Diecast

A diecast toy dealer from Russia, , has a really cool line of Russian-made 1/43 scale diecast models including this model of a Russian-made Chevrolet model not produced in the U.S. The real Chevrolet Niva Vaz 2123 SUV models are produced by a joint venture of Chevrolet and VAZ motors of Russia.

The overall quality of the diecast looks comparable to other quality brands such as Corgi. The tires are even made from real rubber as well.

FOX's 24 May Come To The Big Screen

Big news for fans of FOX's 24 is that the popular action series may be brought to the big screen sometime in the future. Screenwriter Billy Ray has been hired to write the movie version. However, whether the movie deal proceeds might still depend on whether FOX decides to renew the series for season nine or not.

Ratings have been strong on the series, however rising production costs have helped to end some series, especially with companies like NBC Universal. So FOX will have to balance factors such as costs in any decision to renew the series or not.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Dr. Conrad Murray Becomes The Most Hated Man In America After Being Charged

Dr. Conrad Murray had to endure shouts of "murderer" from angry fans of Michael Jackson yesterday, as well as the saddened Jackson family members when he turned himself in for a court appearance. For this high profile Los Angeles medical doctor, it's been a terrible fall from grace to be charged in connection with the accidental death of the musical legend.

According to reports, Dr. Murray administered the drug Propoful only hours before Michael Jackson passed away. And damning toxicology reports eventually led to the charge of involuntary manslaughter for the well respected doctor. Now it will be the job of defense lawyers to keep the doctor from going to prison for up to four years.

Monday, February 08, 2010

David Letterman's Shocker Super Bowl Ad

David Letterman sometimes knows how to amaze people. Yesterday, he hit a home run by inviting his rival Jay Leno and Oprah Winfrey and Conan O'Brien to appear in a comic ad for his LATE SHOW WITH DAVID LETTERMAN. Surprisingly, Leno agreed, and so did Oprah. But Conan O'Brien claimed that he was too busy to appear in the funny ad.

According to INSIDE EDITION, Leno flew in to New York in disguise to keep the ad a secret. And both Leno and Letterman were very cordial and polite. It was an amazing and unlikely ad. It was great TV.
In other unlikely news, Hell just froze over!

Danica Patrick Will Make The Jump To Nascar

Huge news from the world of motorsports is that top Indy contender Danica Patrick will make the jump to Nascar racing with her debut at Daytona this Saturday. Patrick is also scheduled to star on the upcoming CSI:NY this Wednesday as a top racer who is killed by a bomb-rigged car this week. Patrick will also continue as an Indy circuit racer as well.

Danica Patrick got more exposure on Sunday with some funny appearances in those controversial GoDaddy ads during the Super Bowl.

Hey, not many race car drivers look this nice.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

The Who Set To Rock The Super Bowl

The legendary UK rock act will rock the Super Bowl today, doing a 12 minute medley of their greatest hits. The band seems like a good fit for CBS, which uses Who songs as theme songs for three of their popular CSI series shows. Who says a little self-promotion for CBS isn't bad.

"And you might remember this number from a little show called CSI MIAMI....."

Business: How Government Spending Saved Studebaker During WWII

As the United States attempts to pull itself out of the global recession, one popular chant among some critics of government spending to bolster the private business sector is they "don't believe that government can spend it's way to prosperity". The only problem is that regardless of what some might believe, governments have over and over again proven that they can dramatically boost the GDP output of the economy through massive spending. And individual businesses on the financial ropes have proven that they can be rescued for at least some time through government spending programs.

The most dramatic example was during WWII where both the Allied and Axis nations were able to more than double their nation's GDP output from 1940 through 1945 through massive military spending. For some ailing businesses, this massive financial shot in the arm allowed some companies to continue in business for many more years than many would of. Studebaker was one of the best examples of government spending keeping this financially sick business in business during the war.

With the Roosevelt Administration during WWII, Studebaker was a huge beneficiary of a war spending program called "Lend-Lease" that shipped massive amounts of war materials to allied nations like Britain, the Soviet Union, China and France. For example, two thirds of all of the Red Army military trucks to back up the Soviet built tank fleet were American made, such as the 2 1/2 ton US6 Studebaker trucks. Often these Studebaker trucks were outfitted with Katyusha rocket launchers, which became a fearsome new form of weaponry known as "battlefield class" weapons, where the intent of the weapon was to level the battlefield. Later weapons in this class would include the modern Scud type missiles with nuclear warheads. Studebaker sold 200,000 trucks during this government spending program era of 1940-45.

But during the 1950's, without the aid of government spending, Studebaker had problems standing on there own. Studebaker and Packard were hoping to become part of the giant corporate merger of Hudson and Nash. However, the sickly financial state of both Studebaker and Packard helped to ruin their chances to enter into this financial marriage. When Hudson and Nash merged, and became American Motors Corporation in 1954, it was the world's largest corporate merger ever. Packard acquired Studebaker in 1954, however by 1966 the company announced the end of the road for their automobile business.

So far only Studebaker Avanti has managed to live on by several attempts by small manufacturers. But strangely, a few Hummer-like SUVs called the Studebaker XUV have been produced in recent years as well. And there's a newer Studebaker Motor Company website offering an ambitious plan to offer new Studebaker scooters, motorcycles and a return of the Studebaker line of cars but with hybrid technology. However, so far only one prototype of a scooter that looks exactly like any other Chinese made clone of an Italian scooter exists. Unfortunately, for all of the ambition, the Studebaker company has yet to offer up any real prototypes or drawings.
One unfortunate fact seems to also emerge here though. Some sickly companies can survive for a time with the help of government, as Studebaker has proven. But the strongest companies always appear to be those who are able to manage for themselves using their own direction.

Saturday, February 06, 2010


Sadly, family legal problems between the Teutul family have probably resulted more than anything in the decision to end the very popular TLC motorcycle customizing reality series, AMERICAN CHOPPER. The last episode will air on February 11.

Back in December, legal problems between Paul Teutul, Sr. and Jr. resulted in a lawsuit by the father against the son for control of the Orange County Choppers business in New York state. With the two unable to repair their relations, and the continued conflict over control of the family business, it seemed nearly impossible for the very popular TV series to continue.

The show was so popular it spurred many products including a PlayStation 2 version of the show.

TLC issued a statement thanking the Teutul family for being such a great moment in the channel's history.

Cd Preview: THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN Expanded 2 Disc Edition Drops March 23

One of the greatest UK psychedelic era albums of all time, THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN, will be rereleased on an expanded 2 cd set on March 23. This excellent original 1968 album in beautifully remastered digital stereo will be included along with alternate mono versions of the songs, singles, and a 1968 BBC radio broadcast. This is an incredible must have package.

Originally released in 1968 0n Track Records with Pete Townshend of The WHO as the associate producer, Arthur Brown's outlandish album hit peaked at #7 on the Billboard albums chart, and the single, "Fire" peaked at #2 on the Billboard singles chart. His outlandish vocal style and macabre stage shows probably helped to influence later rockers such as Alice Cooper and others.

The original 1968 album was a dark and twisted, nightmarish vision indeed. Alternating between deep voiced dark and demonic vocal styles, and a ear-piercing high pitched screaming style , this psychedelic "Punch & Judy" issued one of the strangest and greatest and darkest masterpiece albums of the 1960's. Unfortunately, none of his later efforts seemed to really capture all of the magic of this original first effort. THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN captures this artist at his greatest moment.
His dark hit single, "Fire" opens with that famous shouted catch-phrase of his, "I am the god of hellfire", and a heavy use of flaming helmets and other fire use caused him to once be removed from a tour with Jimi Hendrix. Further, Arthur Brown was forced to put up bonds to perform in other venues because of the fire risk to theaters and stages. Sometimes, an occasional fire accident did occur causing the loss of a little hair. In 207, another little fire accident happened as well when Arthur Brown lost some hair and a musician of his also caught fire.
Musicians associated with Arthur Brown's original band such as organist Vincent Crane and Carl Palmer(who later formed Emerson, Lake & Palmer) eventually went on to form Atomic Rooster. And Arthur Brown had a later association with the out there UK act, Hawkwind.
But this original 1968 album has so many high points beyond the success of the single, "Fire". His cover version of the Screamin' Jay Hawkins song, "I Put A Spell On You", was another very macabre masterpiece, but became a less successful follow-up single to "Fire" for some odd reason. But it's a very memorable version of that song, and may well be the best version of that song ever recorded. "Nightmare", "Come And Buy", "Spontaneous Apple Creation" and other songs all stand very well on their own as well. "Nightmare" is really good, and another fantastic vocal performance by Brown as well.
While not really comparable to the same dark musical vision presented by The Doors, Arthur Brown's own very dark music, heavy macabre vocals and creepy keyboard based songs on THE CRAZY WORLD OF ARTHUR BROWN should really appeal to fans of The Doors nonetheless, for his own unique visions of very dark and disturbing concepts and stylings. If you like dark music, this album is for you.
All in all, this is one of the greatest rock era albums ever recorded. It is an absolute must in any well stocked collection of 1960's vintage psychedelic rock albums. By all means buy yourself a copy. Cd Universe is offering preorders on this classic album at just $20.99 right now. That isn't bad at all for such a fantastic album expanded with so many musical rarities and goodies.
The Bottom Line: ++++(four stars out of four, excellent)

Friday, February 05, 2010

New Jimi Hendrix VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE Unreleased Recordings Due Out March 9

Big news for Jimi Hendrix fans is the expected March 9 release of VALLEYS OF NEPTUNE, a 12 song collection of unreleased studio tracks that has been fully authorized by the Hendrix family. Surprisingly, Cd Universe is offering preorders on this new cd for a mere $9.58, which is a real bargain. A limited edition high quality vinyl record will also be available as well, but selling for around $20 or more depending on outlet. Each of the 5,000 only copies of the Lp will be numbered. They will be pressed by RTI from California.

Tracks on the new Hendrix release will include "Stone Free", Valleys Of Neptune", "Bleeding Heart", "Hear My Train A Coming'", "Mr. Bad Luck", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Lover Man", "Ships Passing Through The Night", "Fire", "Redhouse", "Lullaby For Summer" and "Crying Blue Rain". So far there is no word which versions of these songs these are, but it might be possible that some of these versions might have available only on bootlegs or other rare sources. These Hendrix family authorized songs should be good quality. On the family website a number of inferior quality concerts of Hendrix are offered for free listening.

Other big news is the rerelease of ARE YOU EXPERIENCED, AXIS: BOLD AS LOVE, ELECTRIC LADYLAND & FIRST RAYS OF THE NEW RISING SUN on 180 gram vinyl along with companion "making of" DVDs included for the cd releases. This sounds similar to what The Beatles did with their recent remastered rereleases.
Fans of Jimi Hendrix, myself included, should be really excited by all of this great news. The legendary guitar superman lives on.

Maybe That Creepy Burger King Mascot Isn't Such A Good Idea?

While beating earnings expectations at 37 cents a share, Burger King still noted a slight sales decrease of 2% worldwide, and 3.3% in the U.S. and Canada markets despite adding 321 new restaurants. Normally, with new outlets an overall sales increase should be noted. Part of the problem is that Burger King is just too similar to most other fast food outlets that serve hamburgers without enough uniqueness to set it aside from McDonalds and others.
The only real good news is that Burger King outlets have become slightly more profitable, while at the same time the new outlets have really fallen short of building additional sales.

And it might be that those creepy Burger King mascot ads are simply a missed opportunity. They might get the Burger King name out there, but they really fail to advertise any identifiable product to draw new customers. The ads might work to remind steady customers to return, but fail to give a new customer any real reason to stop in. By contrast the Jack In The Box ads are unusual, but often make special note of a new product, giving customers a reason to stop in.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Brittany Murphy's Life Could Have Been Saved

New reports by TMZ and other sources now claim that the ongoing investigation by the L.A. Coroner's office has concluded that actress Brittany Murphy's life could have been saved if only she have been brought to the hospital for help. Apparently the 32 year old actress was suffering from pneumonia, severe anemia and complications from prescription drug use, which formed a lethal brew of problems that weakened and killed the popular film actress.

The actress was apparently far sicker than those around her realized, and she needed immediate help. However, that help was apparently put off for too long.

Yesterday, the L.A. Coroner's office had more interviews with her husband and mother. Apparently, the investigation into the death is still an ongoing matter.

Jamaican Bobsled Team Fails To Qualify For Olympics

There will be no great sequel to COOL RUNNINGS this year, as the Jamaican bobsled team sadly failed to qualify as good enough to compete in the upcoming Vancouver, Canada hosted Winter Olympics. The saga of this team with a lot of heart was once captured in the funny 1993 comedy with popular actor John Candy.
And sadly, the real Jamaican bobsled team is going have to wait until at least 2014 for another try at Olympic gold.


If you enjoy really trashy slasher horror flicks, then LAID TO REST just might be for you. It's sure not a great film by any means, yet it has more than enough trashy slasher violence to satisfy many gore fans if only you can get past some of very stupid characters and insulting script. Former PLAYBOY, MAXIM, STUFF & FHM, men's magazine model, Bobby Sue Luther, actually helped to co-produce this outlandish film vehicle to further her acting career. Previously, she had starred in such film classics as DEUCE BIGELOW EUROPEAN GIGOLO, with the perennially awful Rob Schneider, which should give you some idea where her movie career was headed.

Bobby Sue Luther is actually a brainy beauty, whose academic career once mattered to her so much more than modeling at one time. But you sure can't that from this script, where she constantly refers to the casket she wakes up in at a funeral home taken over by a deranged metal faced serial killer as a "box". She even calls the killer, "Chrome Skull" as "Shiny Face". Her command of the English language is absolutely horrible here, if not down right juvenile and funny. And many of the town folk in the film represent some of the worst of small Southern town stereotypes of outright ignorance and stupidity. This film should be an absolute outrage to any Southerners. It couldn't have portrayed them as any worse than if it really tried.

Yet, enough decent slasher violence, as well as an interesting new psychopathic killer personality, with "Chrome Skull", make this movie acceptable enough horror movie fare here to marginally recommend.

It's a genuinely frightening enough premise that a young woman wakes up in funeral home in a casket run by twisted and disturbed serial killer who dismembers young women. And small time actress, Seri DeYoung, looks so cute in her panties that you just hate to see that killer grotesquely do her in. With a funeral home filled with half dismembered women, LAID TO REST is a pretty fair horror film on that level alone. But it's all that bad dialog and terrible hick town Southern stereotypes that you have to tolerate to get through this.

The Bottom Line: ++(two stars out of four, fair)

Bobby Sue Luther Trivia Time: Did you know that she's actually the famous face of the St. Pauli Girl on those beer products?