Thursday, September 30, 2010


My first impression of this great new release Cd was wow!, wow!, wow!. Carlos Santana is one of the world's greatest living guitar superman, and this new album comprised entirely of 12 of the greatest rock guitar anthems is generally pretty awesome with only few weak spots. With the help of a superstar line-up of other talent such as Rob Thomas, Ray Manzarek, Joe Cocker, Jonny Lang and others, Carlos Santana rocks through classics such as "Whole Lotta Love", "Can't You Hear Me Knocking", "Sunshine Of Your Love", "Riders On The Storm", "Bang-A-Gong" and more.

In some cases, the songs end up more rock and roll than the original, such as "Riders On The Storm" on which Ray Manzarek's unique signature keyboard style adds authenticity to Carlos Santana's interpretation. Other songs such as "Whole Lotta Love" are pretty fair new interpretations of this classic rock anthem.

But, it's T.Rex's "Bang-A-Gong" that's a little disappointing here. Carlos Santana just didn't capture the magic of either the original song or of many good remakes such as the Power Station version, Blondie's live version or even the rap version by the London Bus Stop. Marc Bolan's original "Bang-A-Gong" worked on several levels, by capturing a catchy phrase as a rock anthem, using punchy saxophone backup and adding his own unique signature "T.Rex groove" guitar style. It was pure recording studio magic. Carlos Santana just didn't manage to pull this song off here. This song really failed. But, so much more of this album are so good.

Overall, this is a great Santana album, although it has met with some recent mixed reviews from other music critics.

The Bottom Line: A great new album by Carlos Santana, a true living legend and "guitar superman". +++(Three Stars, very good by all means. Heck, this Carlos Santana here. He can do no wrong).

Legend Tony Curtis Dead At 85

Tony Curtis, one of the great leading man actors of all time has died at the age of 85. The actor died of cardiac arrest, in declined health since 2006 when he contracted pneumonia and nearly died, falling into a coma for several days. After this serious illness he could only walk very short distances and needed a wheelchair to endure longer outings. While never winning an Oscar, he has a star on Hollywood's Walk Of Fame and was considered to be one of Hollywood's great film legends.

Born Bernard Schwartz to a Hungarian Jewish immigrant family, Tony Curtis was known for his dashing good looks and was a very handsome man. He was a heart throb to so many young women, and was married six times. Curtis actually only spoke Hungarian until he was about six years old, but mastered the English language to become one of the greatest entertainment legends of all time. During WWII he served in the Navy.

Tony Curtis started his career with an uncredited role in 1949's CRISS CROSS, playing in perhaps a hundred major films. In 1968, Curtis starred in the very controversial BOSTON STRANGLER film, in which he played sexually deranged criminal Albert Desalvo. While critically praised, it forever changed the reputation of Curtis who could play dark characters as well as good guys.

Curtis also did voice-over work as well in a number films because he was such a recognizable figure. In addition to acting, Curtis was an acclaimed painter as well. His painting works have an average value of $25,000 or more these days. Curtis considered this to be his second career.

With the death of Tony Curtis, Hollywood loses another great legendary actor. It is the close of another episode in film history. Our best wishes and prayers go out to his family for this great loss. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis is his daughter, and is no doubt very sad about this tragic event.

Sony Responds To The Changing Cd Market With Low Priced "Playlist" Cd Line

Sony BMG Music is responding to declining Cd sales, the bad economy, illegal music downloading and other issues by marketing a new line of low priced Cds of classic music from the Sony catalog. Besides a low price often between $6-$8 retail at discount retailers, the "Playlist" series features great 14 song selections of greatest hits that often include the rarer single versions of songs, eco-friendly packaging, high quality remastered Cd sound quality unlike the poor sound quality of those compressed music downloads, plus bonus materials available Online.

The Daryl Hall & John Oates for example contains eight 45rpm single versions of their songs as well as one video mix version. These tracks are worth having because the normal album versions are different. The ELO 14 track "Playlist" Cd contains the single version of "Roll Over Beethoven" which is much shorter than the normal Cd album version. It's great to find this single version in Cd form. Other acts include Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Judas Priest, Cypress Hill, Cheap Trick, Heart and many other acts. For the low price, rarer single versions and other bonuses, the new Sony line of "Playlist" Cds are certainly worth owning. This is a great marketing and packaging angle from Sony.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


In the 1980's THE HITCHHIKER became HBO's first and most highly rated dramatic series. It was a huge success for the cable network channel, with strange and twisted morality tales somewhat like a modern version 0f the TWILIGHT ZONE. Often featuring many controversial adult themes, the series went some places that THE TWILIGHT ZONE wouldn't tread. Each story was introduced by a mysterious hitchhiker played by Canadian actor Paige Fletcher. Interestingly, there were many people who mistook Paige Fletcher for actor Rutger Hauer. And Fletcher went on to play Robocop in the ROBOCOP TV series years after this series ended.

THE HITCHHIKER attracted some top talent as guest stars such as Robert Vaughn, Peter Coyote, Kristie Alley, Paul Verhoeven, Klaus Kinski, Gary Busey, Elliot Gould, Virginia Madsen, Karen Black, Darren McGavin, Margot Kidder and many others.

THE HITCHHIKER lasted for ten seasons producing 85 episodes. This chilling series helped to bring big film type production values to a television series and really helped to revolutionize cable TV as a new alternative to network programming. If anything, THE HITCHHIKER helped to raise the bar for programming quality and should be viewed as a pioneering effort. On many levels, THE HITCHHIKER was a great success for HBO and one of the most important milestones in the cable channel's history.

Airport Scanners Abused In Nigeria

Maybe you should blame a lack of good porn in Nigeria, but a major Nigerian newspaper reports that many male airport workers are getting their sexual kicks by abusing those new fangled airport scanners. Reportedly, workers would look over the crowd and wait until their favorite female would walk through to get a little sexual thrill.

In Nigeria, local religious customs result in more intense modesty, so naturally many Nigerians are outraged at this story. However, the scanners do fuzz out the face. However, the pictures do act somewhat as x-ray vision removing the clothes.

Interestingly, some of the world's best security experts such as those at the Ben Gurion Airport agree that the full body scanners really don't work well to prevent contraband from entering planes, so other more effective security methods are used in Israel..

If anything this story from Nigeria only proves two things. 1. Men are dogs. 2. That despite many advances, men in Nigeria still go to bed horny.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

DVD Review: IRON MAN 2

The DVD of the second installment in the IRON MAN series debuts today. And while still a great film, it is just not as good as the first film from 2008 by any stretch of the imagination. But the film manages to advance along the story of Multi-billionaire Tony Stark who has now publicly acknowledged himself as being Iron Man. However, the bitter son of a former business associate from Russia, Ivan Vanko, plans revenge developing a whip-like weapon that uses electro-magnetic energy to slice objects. Mickey Rourke makes an effective villain here.

Certainly, the special effects in IRON MAN 2 are well work buying this on Blu Ray disc, along with the special features. This is still a top notch film to own, while not comparable to the first outing. But, heck any film made on about a $200 million dollar budget can't be all that bad. Make no mistake, this is a big film here and belongs in any good well stocked DVD or Blu Ray library. A must have.

The Bottom Line: Not great, but still quite good. But, this film has great sets and moments and will still be a favorite of yours. Well worth the price of admission. +++(Three stars, or good).

Monday, September 27, 2010

UK Segway Owner Killed In Segway Accident

Nothing is much worse product advertising than this. But, the UK owner of Segway was killed when a heavy duty version of the scooter transportation device rolled over cliff killing him. Jimi Heselden, 62, was a multimillionaire defense contractor who became wealthy as a result of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars selling a wire basket device better than sandbags at defending allied soldiers against mortar attacks and other explosive devices.

Heselden was a former miner who left school at age 15, but managed to accumulate a $260 million fortune through his military contracts. In December, Heselden acquired the U.S. company that owns the Segway devices. He had been testing a new cross-country version recently, and was using the heavy duty version to survey his large England estate.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Review: SNL Season Opener A Little Uneven

SNL's season premiere was a little uneven and shaky last night, although former SNL member Amy Poehler did her very best as host to rescue the show. Katy Perry was reasonable enough as a musical guest, but a little better when she she performed in a bit making fun of her Sesame Street breast uproar. Perry wore a skin tight Elmo T-shirt during the "Bronx Beat" segment was pretty obvious of a sight gag, but needed to be done.

But, it was the opening segment that probably tried way too hard to be funny. It was a spoof on wacky Delaware senate candidate Christine O'Donnell. The real O'Donnell seems funny enough, but no, SNL had to greatly embellish her wackiness with some jokes about masturbation that seemingly went on forever. Further, some gags about dog fighting were more embellishing of her actual conduct. But Kristen Wiig played this poorly written segment about as well as she could, and rode off on a witches' broom at the end of the segment. At least the close of this bit was good.

Some high points of the show were a really funny spoof on those Bosley hair replacement ads. This was a SNL classic. "The Ground Zero Mosque" ad was a real classic as well. Simply hilarious. But, "The Little Hat" bit, as well as the "Digital Short" of "Boogerman" weren't good at all. But, Amy Poehler sure did well to elevate "Weekend Update" to "A" grade status.

The season opener sure wasn't a classic by any means. But, there were some pretty good moments in the show. Just average in my view. Better luck next week, SNL.

Ice Bear Trike's 150cc Baby Brother

While the bigger two cylinder V-twin engined Ice Bear Road Warrior trike is their biggest and best motorcycle model, Ice Bear also has a smaller 150cc single cylinder trike also available. Interestingly, the smaller trike is comparable in size to many average two wheeled street bikes at 98inch, which is a good deal shorter than the larger 119 inch big brother trike model. But, it lacks the springer style front end of the larger trike. And the rear suspension is much more basic motorcycle as well with two shocks much like normal two wheeled bikes. The bigger model features a more advanced four shock setup. While no doubt a very good bike for the money, the smaller bike probably rides just as nicely like any normal good quality street bike. But, the larger bike has a better ride thanks to the advanced suspension system and a much longer wheelbase. You just won't feel the choppy street ride thanks to the better suspension on the bigger model.

The rear tires are real interesting. They are just about 15inch, on cast wheels and look much like any normal 15 inch steer automobile tires, so they might be easily interchangeable with other cool looking 15 inch tires. You might be able to mount some wider rubber on this bike if the fenders will allow it.

The smaller trike does offer some other features not available on the larger Harley styled trike. It features a tach and a voltmeter, which are both handy features. With the tach, it may help to judge which rpm range to shift gears by, although listening to the engine always seems far best. And a kick start feature is available as well on the small trike. The smaller trike should also be a little easier to park in smaller spaces. The big trike is big like an automobile and requires a larger area to park. But the bigger trike does offer a reverse gear feature not available on the smaller 150cc trike. Both are five speed manual transmission models. But the smaller trike does manage to offer a little bit of the rake angle to the front forks, and should be slightly easier to steer, although the long extended forks of the bigger model does steer surprisingly tighter than it looks.

Ice Bear offers amazing values on their motorcycles. A good Harley trike conversion may start at $45,000. And Ridley trikes start at $26,000. The biggest Ice Bear trike can be found for as little as $3,999 stateside, with the smaller 150 model less money yet. These are great motorcycle values. Ice Bear motorcycles are worth certainly worth considering for the value conscious buyer who'd like a good starter motorcycle trike to enjoy.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Lindsay Lohan Out On $300,000 Bail

After failing two drug tests, one for cocaine, the other for methamphetamines, the judge in the Lindsay Lohan case sent her to jail without bail to await her October 22 trial. However, lawyers for Lindsay Lohan were able to shop for a second judge who was willing to accept sky high bail for the actress with certain conditions of release attached. This allowed her to post the high $300,000 bail and to be free awaiting trial. It was highly unusual for Lohan to be held without bail for just a misdemeanor offense, but likely the high risk factor for Lohan led to the no bail ruling of the primary judge assigned to her.

AMC Gremlin Motorcycle Trike?

Hell just froze over. Strange but true, some clever fellow's brother over at SCALE AUTO Magazine's website contributed a trike built from an old AMC Gremlin. And the contributor even built a scale model of the Gremlin trike as well. Well, stranger things have happened. No, not really. This is about as strange as you can get. +++++(Five Stars for effort!)

Friday, September 24, 2010

Katy Perry: Who Wants To Be A Boob On SESAME STREET?

Katy Perry's cute little performance on SESAME STREET might just have more adult male fans than kids, and many parents weren't too amused when she taped a performance with a dress that showed a fair amount of cleavage with popular character Elmo. The performance will be cut from the program. But reportedly, Elmo would like singer Katy Perry to come back again.

Who could have seen this coming? I always thought that babies loved boobs.

Country Joe MacDonald: The "Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag" Story

One of the more outlandish performances that was so memorable from Woodstock was County Joe & The Fish doing their outrageous version of "The Fish Cheer/I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die-Rag" song. Instead of spelling out F-I-S-H, they went for the more outrageous vulgar "F" word instead. It was an outrageous 1960's antiwar protest song performance.

As popular as this moment was with the Woodstock crowd, it resulted in a concert promoter cutting their ties with MacDonald. Ed Sullivan canceled the band's appearance on the show, but allowed them to keep the paid advance money. And, in Massachusetts the band was cited for public obscenity during a show and fined $500 for using the vulgar "F" word version of the song. Yet, the the darkly funny protest song made a place in history for the band.

Interestingly, Country Joe was actually sued over the song in 2003 by a copyright holder, the daughter of songwriter Kid Ory, who claimed that the song was actually lifted from an old 1926 Jazz song, "Muskrat Ramble" her father had written. Strangely, Ory's daughter had sued based off a 1999 version of the song that Country Joe had recorded, when the song had actually existed since 1965 on an early Country Joe & The Fish Ep and later album. Ory's daughter sued for the 1999 version because the statue of limitations had expired on the 1965 version of the song. However, this was a fatal legal flaw because lawyers for Country Joe were able to successfully use a "laches" defense, or otherwise that Ory's daughter had slept on her rights for many too many years. Ory's daughter actually had to pay MacDonald $750,00 for legal fees when she lost this case. Further, she had to sell the rights to her father's songs to also pay for the settlement to MacDonald.

Controversy is nothing new for the outlandish 68 year old MacDonald. He was born to two parents who were American Communists who moved to the Berkley, California and were active in leftist politics. Joe's mom actually served as a city council member in Berkley for many years, winning election after election. Country Joe was interestingly named after Soviet dictator Josef Stalin by his parents, who were sharp critics of the American way of capitalism and politics, although young Joe enlisted in the Navy at the age of 17. However, despite growing involvement in Vietnam, the Navy discharged Joe MacDonald for several reasons according to him. His anger and left leaning background led him to write the "I-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Rag" song in about 30 minutes as a form of dark "GI humor" as MacDonald explained. Country Joe's critical views on the military were based largely on his being being a military veteran himself as well as opposing the draft. But Country Joe supports the concept of joining the military and being a volunteer soldier. Country Joe could best be viewed as a nationalist type of American.

Conservative TV host, Bill O'Reilly has been a critic of Country Joe MacDonald, even making a comparison between him and Cuban dictator Fidel Castro because of his support and protest involvement with leftist antiwar mom Cindy Sheehan. But, that's so typical for County Joe. He's still radical after all these years, influenced both by his leftist childhood as well as his former and unhappy involvement in the military as well as his stature as a main figure in the protest music scene. Country Joe was long associated with Vanguard records, a label featuring other 60's leftist protest singers such as Joan Baez for example.

Many years have passed, but County Joe is still radical after all these years it seems. Some things just never change.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

NBC'S Controversial Comedy, OUTSOURCED, Debuts Tonight

NBC's new and controversial comedy, OUTSOURCED, is set to debut tonight. But, audience reaction is likely to be mixed. As the American economy lags while the economies of nation like China and India make great advances at the expense of American jobs, not everyone may find OUTSOURCED all that funny. Others won't feel that the writing, jokes or even premise are all that funny either. But, still fans of THE OFFICE and other NBC comedies just might find OUTSOURCED to be delightful.

OUTSOURCED is actually based off a 2006 film that was critically praised. However, with recessionary pressures of recent years, will many people may not want to laugh. Could the new NBC show be viewed as tasteless for these times and bomb. Previews by critics have had mixed results including one who felt this to be one of the worst new shows of the year. A Facebook campaign is working to boycott the show as offensive.

Tune in tonight at 9:30 and decide for yourself.

A Real Documented Zombie Case

Amazing but true, a real and documented case of a zombie has been the subject of legend for many years in Haiti. It seems that in 1962 a Haitian man, Clairvius Narcisse took ill and was taken to a hospital in Haiti in a coma-like state where American-trained doctors pronounced the man dead and pulled a sheet over him. The next day he was buried. But soon grave robbers stole his body, and when his coma eased and he regained movement they beat him and drugged him and turned him into a sugar plantation slave for 16 years until he was finally able to escape.

More documented cases exist, including tourists who were drugged and turned into plantation slaves working for years in some some sort of drug induced stupor, unable to leave of their free will.

These cases may not be the same as your classic George Romero NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD zombie feature. Yet, they are strange and true.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Pizza Shop Owner Gets 10 Years For "Calzone Rage"

Only in Florida. Only in Florida. A Palm Coast Pizza shop owner was sentenced to 10 years after a rage incident in which he used a gun against some dissatisfied customers. It appears that 42 year old pizza joint owner Joesph Milano was actually former mob hit man, Joseph Calco.

Apparently, Milano/Calco pistol whipped two men who complained about a calzone order at the Goomba's Pizzeria that he operated. But, being a convicted felon he wasn't supposed to be in possession of any firearms.

A lesson here, don't mess with pizza owners who are former hit men.


Devo is back with their first album in 20 years! And, boy oh boy, they haven't lost anything over the years. The music is just as fresh and fun as ever. Warner Brothers even has them back on the old label as well.

SOMETHING FOR EVERYBODY is just as good as any previous Devo release, with a few tracks such as "What We Do" a modern Devo classic. On the new Cd cover, "Fresh" is promoted as the lead track, but a few tracks seem much better than this one. It's a pretty good album and certainly not disappointing.

During their past run at the charts, Devo was only able to capture #14 on the charts with "Whip It" as a single in 1980. But some of their albums sold well enough to capture gold despite getting no higher than 22 on the U.S. charts. Like many American new wave era acts, some did far better in the UK or Australia. This album will probably do about the same. It has hit #30 on the U.S. charts which is pretty good for this band. The Cd should sell pretty well, but their singles less so. "Don't Shoot(I'm A Man) and "Fresh" both failed to even chart, while the album has done nicely.

If anything, the message of Devo of society de-evolving seems to be just as funny of social commentary as in the past. Devo always captured a great sense of social satire in their music. And their stage shows and theatrics always captured great images of bizarre humor. They have always been fun capturing the best of new wave, punk and art deco styles of music. It's great to have them back again!

The Bottom Line: A truly great return of one of the best and most fun new wave period acts of all time. +++(Good. Three Stars. Buy This Cd!)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Remember Laura Winslow From FAMILY MATTERS

Many fans fondly remember how young actress Kellie Shanygne Williams as playing Laura Winslow had to constantly fight off the romantic advances of Steve Urkiel on FAMILY MATTERS. Today at 34, Williams is all grown up and a mother and still quite the babe.

BTW, Steve Urkiel used to warn Laura Winslow that "I'm wearing you down babe, I'm wearing you down" with his romantic advances. Well, in the series finale Laura finally agreed to marry Steve Urkiel and the two supposedly are living happy ever after in imaginary TV-land somewhere in a beautiful home with baby Lauras and Steves. A beautiful and warm way to wind up this wonderful TV series.

A special thanks to TMZ for pulling up this photo of Williams from her Facebook page.

AMERICA'S GOT TALENT Runner-up's Family In Desperate Financial Situation

THE NATIONAL ENQUIRER is reporting that the family of 10 year old Jackie Evancho is in desperate financial condition, forced to declare bankruptcy with $200,000 in debts to 44 creditors. Reportedly, her father Mike recently lost his job, helping to create the family's financial woes. Yet, the family has pulled together and continued to support their daughter's dreams of becoming a great singing sensation.

Hopefully, her awesome performance on AMERICA'S GOT TALENT will land her a recording contract and help the family get through this rough period. It would be difficult not to imagine that such a great talent as this will not be rewarded with some lucrative deal of some sort.

The Evancho family has our best wishes and prayers right now.

Monday, September 20, 2010

China And Moscow Kick Off Big Auto Shows

As the Chinese and Russian economy and automobile business booms, both countries kick off big trade shows advertising their new cars. While the largest Chinese trade show is in Beijing, two other large Chinese cities host major auto shows such as Chengdu and the Dalian Auto Show in Lianing Province also kick off. Featured are many domestic brands as well luxury and sports cars including exotic entires from Mercedes and many luxury brands from Japan and Korea.

The Dalian Auto Show is so big that an average of 35,000 cars are likely to be sold at the show this year. Chinese models such as Chery, Great Wall, Jianghaui and Xiali are very popular local favorite models. And brands like Geely and BYD are making huge efforts to produce green vehicles with cutting edge engineering and designs. One new engine built by Chery, their bold 2liter VVT engine is considered to be one of the world's best engine designs right now.

In Moscow, Chinese models from Chery and other brands are beginning to gain traction in their market as more and more Russians share in the country's new prosperity since the Second Russian Revolution that brought new leadership to power.

Chinese auto production was 13,790,994 in 2009, followed by Japan at 7,934,516. The U.S. is barely at third place at 5,711, 823 units. Germany is fourth at 5,209, 857. South Korea is fifth at 3,512,916 and Brazil sixth at 3,182, 617. For 2010, the U.S. could possibly slip behind Germany.

China's Booming Auto Sales Could Reduce Beijing To Deadlock

Because of the booming economy and auto industry in China, Beijing could have as many as 7 million cars within five years. The city is adding 1,900 cars a day to traffic each day. Gridlock has also slowed street speeds by an average 3.6% from just last year.

Chinese city planners hope to increase the number of persons using public transportation to ease these conditions. But as China grows wealthy, more and more Chinese are opting for owning their own car to drive.

The Chinese news agency Xinhua reported these statistics in their daily online publication.

Paris Hilton Pleads Guilty To Misdemeanor Charges

For now, Paris Hilton has appeared to avoid jail time with a guilty plea to a misdemeanor drug possession charge and a second charge of obstructing a police officer. This will mean paying a $2000 fine, completing an intensive substance abuse program of some sort, 200 hours of community service as well as one year of probation. This means that Hilton will have to behave herself for one whole year if she wants to avoid spending a year in jail. Can she do that?

The Nevada judge also warned the socialite that spending time in the Clark County Detention center is not the "Waldorf Astoria"........ Yeah, but can it be as bad as Motel 6. Last time I stayed there they gave me a choice of a rooms where the card door lock didn't work or a handicapped room where even the shower didn't work.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Talk Shows: Christine O'Donnell's Witchcraft Past

Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell's stunning statements about her past involvement with witchcraft left some Sunday talk shows with plenty to talk about. For one, Karl Rove appeared on FOX NEWS SUNDAY and had plenty to say about the how "church-going People" in Delaware won't like it. O'Donnell had also been featured on video on Bill Maher's show before stating that "I dabbled into witchcraft --I never joined a coven... One of my first dates with a witch was on a satanic altar, and I didn't know it". Bill Maher has pledged to run videos of O'Donnell's witchcraft statements until she agrees to come back on the show. O'Donnell was previously featured many times on the show because of funny statements she would make for comedy value.

Ed Rollins also brought up O'Donnell's problems in his FACE THE NATION appearance. Rove also challenged O'Donnell for "nutty things" that she's been saying recently that "don't add up" on SEAN HANNITY. O'Donnell canceled her appearance on Saturday with FACE THE NATION as well as other TV appearances, only leaving others to speculate about her.

O'Donnell was a surprise winner in the recent Delaware primary and has been a favorite of the claimed "Tea Party" movement. However, she is also known for being a social conservative involved in past issues like some sort of anti-masturbation crusade.

Never in American political history has a major candidate for public office ever revealed a past involvement with witchcraft, so it is unclear exactly how voters will deal with this issue. But for today, it made for some lively discussion on the Sunday talk shows.

Tiger Woods' Lawyers Squash Rachel Uchitel's PLAYBOY Offer

One of Tiger Woods' many mistresses, Rachel Uchitel, was offered around $300,000 to appear in PLAYBOY. However, lawyers from the Tiger must have "convinced" Uchitel that she stood to lose her $10 million settlement from the Tiger if she went ahead with her plans to bare it for the popular men's magazine.

Unlike most more explicit men's magazines, Uchitel's most private area would have remained private. But you could expect to see her breasts and bare backside if she would have gone ahead with the PLAYBOY deal. Now, all you little guys out there in PLAYBOYLAND will just have to use your imagination. Life is real tough sometimes, huh?

Actress Swoozie Kurtz Better Embrace For A Little Hate Mail

CBS's new comedy MIKE AND MOLLY looks like it may be a hit for the network's Monday night comedy lineup. Sandwiched just after TWO AND A HALF MEN and before the new version of HAWAII 5-0, MIKE AND MOLLY has a great opportunity to win fans and succeed. However actress Swoozie Kurtz better embrace for some hate mail because of her weekly fat jokes aimed at her daughter on the show.

Certainly fat jokes a low common denominator here. However, MIKE AND MOLLY is good enough that it can probably survive this sort of humor shtick. It may not be entirely politically correct in this present age of touchy feely feelings. But, the casting is great and the scripts funny enough that to bet that producer Chuck Lorre might have hit the nail on the head here.

While certainly not as good as either TWO AND HALF MEN or THE BIG BANG THEORY, MIKE AND MOLLY still has the potential to become endearing to many viewers. It's a comedy about two overweight people who meet at a support group meeting. The show debuts on Monday at 9:30

My best advice is to grab that extra helping of pie and just enjoy this show and get a few good laughs.

DVD Review: DEFIANCE(2008)

The great film DEFIANCE was actually from 2008, however a large number of retailers are now displaying it in counter area impulse DVD displays after the price has been lowered to under $10 by the manufacturer. And for less than $10 DEFIANCE is really a great film.

British actor Daniel Craig is actually much better than his James Bond role here playing Jewish brother Tuvia Bielski who with his brother, Zus Bielski(Liev Schreiber) form an anti-Nazi force of Bielski partisan fighters in Belarus during the war. The Bielski brothers manage to protect hundreds of Jewish civilians from the Nazis, who had just rounded up and killed as many as 50,000 in the area by the early part of the war. The Bielski partisans have an uneasy relationship with some Soviet partisan fighters whose soldiers dislike Jews. But since they have a common enemy in the Germans, the two groups manage an uneasy truce to combat the Germans. It's a very compelling story of survival of Jews during the war that deserves a place on the shelf with SCHINDLER'S LIST and other great films.

In Poland the film was however controversial, where critics of Bielski brothers claimed that they were little more than Communist bandits who robbed and terrorized some civilians during the war. However, with survival at stake, and hundreds of mouths to feed of civilian women and children, the Bielski partisans had to resort to extreme means for survival. After the war, the real Bielski brothers emigrated to the U.S. and started a successful trucking company.

DEFIANCE may take more than a few liberties with the real life story of the Bielski brothers and their partisan fighter force. But the fact of the matter is that thousands of descendants have been born because of their efforts to save pockets of Jews from extinction in their Belarus area of Eastern Europe.

Sadly this very good film cost $50 million to produce, but only brought in box revenues of $55.4 million. However, low priced DVD sales should help somewhat as wise film buyers will recognize this as a quality film to add to their library of films. Daniel Craig is also quite convincing here as the Belarus fighter leader. He is sometimes an imperfect leader, but is far more wise and less brutish than his brother. And he's good enough that he is able to rescue a large group of civilians from the sure death of the Nazis.

The Bottom Line: A very good, but not quite excellent film that is a proud addition to your WWII DVD film library. A very compelling film more than worth spending $10 on. +++(Good. Three stars out of four).

Saturday, September 18, 2010

DANCING WITH THE STARS Taping Brings Yet Another Embarrassing Palin Family Moment

Mother Sarah Palin attended the taping of DANCING WITH THE STARS to cheer on her daughter Bristol Palin. However, family value type voters may not be entirely happy with what they'll be seeing. DANCING WITH THE STARS debuts it's season premiere on Monday night on ABC.

Dancing to "Mama Told Me Not To Come" by Three Dog Night, which is about a bad experience in a drug house years before one of Three Dog Night's three lead singers actually ended up living in some broken down drug house is a great choice of songs to secure the family values audience. And 19 year old Bristol starts out in a conservative outfit that gets torn off during the performance into a more skimpy one. Although it's nowhere as bad as the Janet Jackson Super bowl performance by any means, this performance is sure to outrage a few family values types.

For a normal family this only sounds like more career suicide. However, the Palin family are like The Addams Family of American politics where no level of absurdity seems too great to completely dash any hopes of being taken as serious. Another outrageous celebrity moment here.

You can't make this stuff up!

Lindsay Lohan Fails Two Drug Tests

The latest drama for troubled actress Lindsay Lohan is that she failed two drug tests last week including one testing for cocaine. In a desperate effort to avoid more jail time or other legal sanctions, Lohan has now turned up in attendance at AA meetings. But whether her judge will buy it is a whole other question.

At some point if the troubled actress cannot really break the chains of drug and alcohol abuse the judge could sentence her to some more serious jail time. And at some breaking point, even the best lawyer can't help.

Lohan could consider leaving the country. But that would mean that she can't return without arrest. What she does now is a big question. But it looks like she's giving some level of compliance an 11th hour effort.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Can Conan O'Brien's OUTLAW Survive The Hokey Premiere Episode?

Despite Conan O'Brien's public feud with NBC, his production company is airing the new drama OUTLAW on the Peacock network. However, the show is stuck in that deadend Friday 10pm time-slot.

OUTLAW unfortunately aired with a real hokey preview premiere episode that was nearly laughable in spots. Jimmy Smits supposedly played a very conservative Supreme Court Justice who suddenly becomes a liberal crusading lawyer who acts like a rebel one man legal force to right wrongs. If later episodes can just get past this hokey setup episode, then maybe this show can be accepted as just another rebel lawyer show. Just going with the rebel lawyer premise would have been far easier in the first place. But given the hokey setup and the deadend Friday time slot my hunch is that this show doesn't survive the full season without cancellation.

Conan O'Brien is a funny guy. But his OUTLAW is unintentionally funny. And that's not too good.

UPS Government Bailout Plan Hidden In Legislation

UPS, the 100 year old merchandise and package delivery company with the trademark brown trucks has found itself in a $6 billion dollar hole and has lobbied members of Congress to add language to pending legislation to bail the company out with what might amount to as much as $5 billion or more bailout plan paid for by the taxpayers. FedEx is crying foul. However, there are important differences between the two companies. About 85% of UPS packages are shipped via truck, whereas FedEx is largely an aircraft shipping business with fast shipping. UPS is a union company, whereas FEDEX is largely nonunion.

FedEx is posting a website highly critical of their rival UPS attacking the proposed bailout plan. Few times do you see such "claw and nails" business competition as this.

For most folks, UPS and FedEx are just all about getting their Ebay item delivered. (Unfortunately, getting your Ebay package just isn't as sexy as this funny image might suggest . Check out their funny images there!)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Lady Gaga Factor & Harry Reid?

Lady Gaga could strangely boost the political fortunes of embattled Senate Leader Harry Reid. Her Twitter campaign to urge Harry Reid to schedule a vote to end "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" could energize some young and Gay voters who made up part of the 2008 base for Obama's victory in Nevada to rescue Reid from likely political doom. Reid is currently tied in polls at 48% each with Republican and Tea Party voter favorite Sharron Angle, however with such a sharp anti-incumbent mood, Reid could likely lose.

Lady Gaga could also boost some donations to Reid among some wealthy social liberals who fear an increased presence of social conservatives in Washington creating a new chilling effect over free expression and other creative areas. Last minute donations could help Reid buy new political ads.

But, Reid probably has several difficult problems to deal with. At 71 years of age, many voters just might want a younger presence in Washington, where experience doesn't really count. Further, voter fatigue and anger at Washington is harmful to many establishment political figures this year. But Lady Gaga is a very popular cult figure. However, Nevada is actually a deceptively conservative Mormon state despite legal gambling and prostitution. Even Reid himself is a LDS church member ans something of a social moderate on issues such as abortion. So can an outrageous figure like Lady Gaga really help or not?

Nevada is legendary for close elections. It's a nearly evenly divided state much of the time. But this year, Lady Gaga has the opportunity to test the power of celebrity and possibly play king-maker here. The queen of outrageous has a real test of her celebrity power here.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Camaro Tops Mustang In August Sports Car Sales

Camaro and Mustang have battled since the 60's for top sales rank. And that rivalry continues into this decade as well. August Camaro sales were 6,321, which isn't too bad for a car that could cost as much as $34,295 in full street warrior battle dress such as the 426hp 6.2liter V8 SS version. Mustang sales were a healthy 5,570 units, with a fresh 402hp of the 5.0liter V8 going into the 2011 models. Top of the high performance Mustangs can come in at $37,845, with other models starting at just $22,145.

#3 in the high performance sales roundup for August is the Dodge Challenger with 3,282 units sold. With the optional 6.1liter hemi V8 and full performance options, a top of the line Challenger can cost up to $41,230.

At #4, is the latest version of the James Bond car, the BMW Z4 with 1,201 units sold and a price tag as high as $61,050. The car is the best selling import name brand 2 seat roadster sold in the states. And performance is always excellent in this fine bit of machinery.

Corvette, America's original two seater sports car sold a healthy 1,135 units, which isn't too bad considering that models range from $48,950 to $109,800. Despite the steep price, the Corvette still ranks as one of the best high performance car bargains out there for the sheer quality for the price.

New technology has allowed new high performance cars to actually get relatively good mileage despite raw brutal horsepower. That's sure better than those older cars with 7-10mpg ratings.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


In show business they often say, "Break a leg". But, that's not so good for popular 24 year old actress Kaley Cuoco who stars in the runaway smash hit CBS comedy, THE BIG BANG THEORY. It seems the beautiful actress who plays nerd love interest on the show broke her leg in a horse riding accident on Saturday. She is recovering in a Los Angeles hospital.

Cuoco will be written out of the current script which is set to be filmed. And some plans will have to be made for future script revisions until the actress can return to work.

Several years ago, Cuoco faced another serious TV show crisis during the show EIGHT SIMPLE RULES(FOR DATING MY TEENAGE DAUGHTER) when lead star John Ritter died of a heart attack on the set during a filming, creating a scramble to rewrite the show and add new characters such as James Garner and David Spade to the cast.

We all wish Cuoco a speedy recovery. THE BIG BANG THEORY just won't be the same until she's back. She has our best wishes and prayers.

Russian Military Model Company Celebrates WWII Soviet Antitank Dogs

Russian military model company Zvezda has a unique model kit about a little known but very important piece of military history. The Soviet army was able to eventually defeat the German tank force with the use antitank weapon dogs. During the war, the Red Army had suffered huge losses of antitank weapons to the huge German forces. A special program to train 60,000 dogs to use as suicide antitank weapons helped to win the war by destroying the massive German tank onslaught.

Dogs were equipped with suicide bomb vests and packs and a metal sensing antennae that would trigger the bomb once the dog would run under a tank or armored vehicle. During the battle for Stalingrad, one dog soldiers unit was able to completely destroy one German tank brigade of 63 tanks and two armored vehicles. With their heavy armor left in flames, the German army eventually lost their offensive effort against Russia and lost the war as well.

Russia's soldier dogs were an excellent weapon because of their small size and quickness, which allowed them to run for a short distance under the tank before most German tank machine guns could stop them. These Soviet dog soldiers were one of the important factors in the allied forces winning the war. With their tank force gone, the 600,000 man German offensive was gradually ground down to just foot soldiers who eventually surrendered, allowing the Russians to close in towards Berlin from the East while the Americans and British came in from the West.

Early efforts to train dogs to leave the bomb under a tank, and loosen the bomb pack with their teeth often resulted in failure, so the suicide bomb packs were soon designed to explode upon impact with the metal sensing antennae. Another problem is that the antitank dogs had to be trained to sense gasoline and not diesel like the Russians were using in their own armor. The U.S. Army also trained a force of antitank dogs, but animal rights concerns among the officers canceled their use in a combat role. But dog soldiers assisted the WWII U.S. military in other important ways.

Russian model company Zvezda has captured a unique story in military history of the Soviet antitank dogs. Modern animal rights persons would be horrified by a story such as this. But this brave force of animal soldiers turned the tide of the war. Every dog that lost their lives saved the lives of many of the allies and their civilian populations. That's the highest tribute a dog can do. To save a life.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Actor Kevin McCarthy, who turned in a very memorable performance as the frantic doctor in the 1956 horror science fiction film, INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, has died at the age of 96. McCarthy's sheer skill as an actor helped to elevate this film to the top tier of great 1950's science fiction and horror movies. One of McCarthy's frantic outbursts of "You're next!" was permanently cemented in audience minds as one one the greatest horror/Sci Fi film catch phrases of all time. It was a great film, just shy of being excellent. It was Kevin McCarthy's great acting that made this film a classic.

McCarthy had actually started acting in 1938, however by 1944 he was featured in films such as 1944's WINGED VICTORY. In 1951, McCarthy was nominated for an Academy Award for best supporting actor for an excellent performance in DEATH OF A SALESMAN. In a 1978 remake of INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS, McCarthy made a cameo appearance. But his reputation from his outstanding performance in the 1956 film helped to land him roles in THE HOWLING(1981) and TWILIGHT ZONE:THE MOVIE in 1983. Weird Al invited him to do a little role in his UHF as well.

McCarthy's frantic acting in INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS might have even become something of 1950's shlock for some in later years. But , the title even inspired soul artists P Funk's INVASION OF THE BOOTY SNATCHERS title for their second album. INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS is part of the American cultural landscape.
McCarthy's original 1956 performance was by a great and very serious actor. A great actor in a great film.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


NEIGHBOR is a confusing and grotesque little horror film. While wallowing in terrible images of torture extreme violence, the dizzy array of dream sequences seems to complicate the plot to the point that the viewer loses track of what's real and what's just fantasy.

A strange new girl moves into town, and some guys at a bar find some interest in her. But one doesn't seem to get up the courage to ask her out. That's one storyline here. The other is that she enters the same guy's home and tortures and kills his friends as they arrive at his home using horrible and painful methods. Which is the real story here. I couldn't figure it out.

Robert Angelo Masciantonio's film might have aimed for some lofty heights here, but instead it landed hard on the ground as just another slasher horror experience. There is an unrated version with four more minutes of awful torture content if you want to bother to hunt it up, but the R rated version is more than awful enough to satisfy most gore fans.

It's hard to recommend this film. It's just not great by any means. America Olivo played a pretty sick character in the film, who seemed to enjoy her twisted role maybe a little too much. And cult figure Mink Stole makes a little appearance as well. But overall there's just not a lot of great original content to recommend here.

The Bottom Line: Not really awful, but just not great horror fun here. The makeup work is good. But the film is pretty unfulfilling. ++(Only two stars out of four)

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Chinese Military Toys Represent Evolving View Of Their Own Military

People's Liberation Army military toys made in China seem to reflect an evolving view of their military among the Chinese public. One highly detailed brand of Chinese action figures, Soldier Story, features a 1962 People's Liberation Army soldier from the 1962 war with India. This soldier was viewed as a border defense troop and features a more traditional Chinese army appearance. However, some newer PLA figures such as the super detailed figure from DID view the modern Chinese military as brave heroes that rescued many citizens from the terrible 2008 Sichuan earthquake.

Most of the action figures made in the world come from China, with most foreign soldiers viewed as fighting men holding guns who engage in combat. But, the evolving view among the Chinese of their own military isn't one of an army that fights wars, but a sort of homeland force that looks out for the goodwill of their citizens, regardless of the danger.

Another Chinese brand, Puzzle Animation, which makes some smaller 1/18 scale figures does still depict Chinese soldiers with some sort of Jeeps, ATVs or other military vehicles and guns. But they appear to be largely a homeland defense rather than an offensive warfare military.

Up until the Nixon-era, the U.S. largely viewed China's military as an expansionist force. The U.S. and Britain supported India, even though it was India that actually established new military outposts along a disputed area associated with 1959 Tibet Uprising. The Soviet Union was preoccupied at the time with 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, and didn't offer China the foreign policy or military aid it might normally had. The U.S. and Russia were very close to major war in 1962 over Cuba, so perhaps that prevented the war with India and China from becoming a larger proxy war for U.S. and Soviet interests.

Friday, September 10, 2010

40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN Actor Claims He Accidentally Stabbed Girlfriend 23 Times

At his trial for attempted murder among other very serious charges, Shelley Malil, the actor who played a funny electronics store clerk in THE 40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, testified that he "accidentally" stabbed his girlfriend 23 times. Malil also claims that he thought that she was someone else.

Malil arrived at his girlfriend's home one night, where a fight broke out with a male visitor and the extreme violence ensued leading to the actor's arrest.

The actor also claims not to remember the details of that evening. But regardless, he's facing up to life in prison because of the violent attack that his girlfriend was able to survive.

Tiger Woods' Mistress Not Up To Par As A Hooker

One of Tiger Woods' mistresses won't be able to put down hooker on her job resume (because she'll get a bad job reference). It seems that Devon James got herself a gig working as a hooker at Nevada's famous Bunny Ranch according to a TMZ report , but got herself fired after talking about Tiger Woods, breaking the brothel's code of silence and confidentiality rules.

James would reportedly charge up to thousands for sex acts with her.

Hey, a guy may not be Tiger Woods, but he could play the same hole.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Sure Looks Like The Can-Am Spyder, But Sure Costs A Lot Less

Leave it up to the Chinese to create this cool three wheeled motorcycle that sure looks like the much higher priced Can-Am Spyder, but for a lot less bread lay out. While the real Can-Am Spyder costs as much as nearly $25,000 in top of the line trim, this Chinese-made lookalike sure is much lower priced. While borrowing the same ATV and snowmobile-like styling cues from the real Cam-Am Spyder, the Chinese built Kandi 250cc Spyder costs only about 1/3 of the cheapest Can-Am at just $4698.22 at Killer Motorsports, an Online motorcycle and scooter dealer. And unlike the semiautomatic version offered by Cam-Am, the Chinese Kandi Spyder features a fully automatic CVT type transmission, making city commute use just as easy as any car. Both the Can-Am and Kandi feature a reverse gear function as well.

Jay Leno actually purchased the very first Can-Am Spyder, serial #001, ever built, so you know that it's a cool toy. And for the much lower asking price of the Kandi, you can have the very same look. In a couple of states, California and Delaware, the Can-Am three wheeler can be driven with just a regular drivers license, no motorcycle endorsement needed. So maybe the same applies to the Kandi version.

With the styling so much like an ATV or snowmobile, either three wheeled cruiser sure has a unique look for any street legal vehicle. Heck, just about $4700 isn't too bad at all to have a little guy fun. You only live once you know.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

CD Review: TEN YEARS AFTER: THINK ABOUT THE TIMES, The Chrysalis Years 1969-1972

Chrysalis Records of England has recently released this excellent new 3 cd box set of the five post-Woodstock albums issued by the great UK rock blues act Ten Years After. And for the low asking price of around $40 you get all of the original tracks from SSSSH, CRICKLEWOOD GREEN, WATT, A SPACE IN TIME & ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC TO THE WORLD digitally remastered along with rarer single versions and B-sides of singles. All told, there are 48 tracks in this great box set.

Although the name Ten Years After was meant to mean "Ten Years After Elvis" the group quickly gained a post-Woodstock reputation for their awesome live shows fronted by guitar superman Alvin Lee and bass player Leo Lyons. Some albums such as ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC TO THE WORLD have been a little harder to find on cd in the U.S. in recent years, however both the quality of the music as well as the production value on all five albums really warrant this excellent repackage of these five great albums. Previously, their earlier albums had all been reissued with remastered sound and bonus tracks such as single versions of songs as well as B-sides, so this box really takes care of some of their great later albums.

Some albums such as A SPACE IN TIME and ROCK AND ROLL MUSIC TO THE WORLD are great classic albums and really deserved this remastered version as well as the bonuses. Both albums featured incredible production work in addition to some awesome musicianship, songwriting and just pure classic rock excitement.

Interestingly, Ten Years After really released very few singles over the years, with "I'd Love To Change The World" their biggest U.S. hit by far. Ten Years After was really an album oriented band with a reputation for incredible live performances. In fact, it was really Woodstock that propelled the band to stardom and forced the band to raise the bar with each and every new album release. All five albums really stand out for their quality songs with plenty of classic tracks and few songs that could really be termed as filler songs. TYA was always a top flight act, although not always a chart topping one. But their fans knew how good they were. Usually just one live show was enough to hook new fans.

If any causal fan would like a taste of what this band is all about, then this is a great introduction to the band. There's so much great stuff here.

The bottom line: An excellent box set of one of the finest UK rock acts of all time. Alvin Lee is one of the greatest living guitar legends. Buy this album. You won't regret it for a moment. ++++ Four stars(Excellent)

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Preliminary Figures From 2010 Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon Down For Second Straight Year

So far the preliminary income figures for the 2010 JERRY LEWIS MDA TELETHON were down for the second straight year from the 2008 year high of $65,031,393 to just $58,919,838. That was down 9.40% from the $60,481,231 figure which was actually down 7.52% from the 2008 year high water mark.

The lingering recession and uneven recovery has no doubt somewhat dried up some donations, although some large donors such as Safeway will add in customer donations later, raising the final figures. And many more donations should trickle in over the next few days as well. But, overall the trend appears to be a tightening of donations.

The news was probably a little disappointing to Jerry Lewis, but probably taken in stride considering the present economic state.

Some retailers report that even their wealthy and big spender customers have tightened their buying habits because of economic uncertainty, although they certainly have the means to spend more. And unfortunately many charity organizations are feeling the pinch right now as well, as wallets tighten up. This really puts a responsibility in the hands of those doing better in these times to give much more to make up for those who cannot afford to give. And nothing warms the heart as much as being a cheerful giver. Whether you believe in God or just good karma, you know in your heart that giving to others is the right thing to do.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Unions And Businesses Celebrate Labor Day With Big Contributions To Annual Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon

Labor and businesses have found common ground on Labor Day, supporting the annual Jerry Lewis MDA telethon with millions of dollars in donations. Some companies like Safeway made it easy for customers to donate by either rounding off or adding extra cash on their receipts. Since 1966, Jerry Lewis has helped to raise over $2.45 billion dollars to help to find a cure to this crippling disease.

Harley Davidson Motorcycles for example donated $3.3 million. And some labor unions associated with the AFL-CIO have raised large $1 million or more donations as well. The Postal Workers Union continues to impress each year with their large donations.

Despite suffering from some serious chronic pain and health issues in more recent years, Jerry Lewis has continued to raise massive donations each year to help others. However, with last year's serious recession problems, telethon donations actually declined by nearly $4.5 million dollars down to a little over $60 million from a previous $65 million record amount. So far it's difficult to determine where this year will fall in. But many big labor and business donations might help make up for a shortfall among many in the public whose contributions might be slower this year. So far, with a few hours to go, the MDA telethon has raised about $44 million.

White House Crasher Michaele Salahi Doing PLAYBOY Shoot

Reportedly, White House door crasher, Michaelle Salahi, 44, is doing a full frontal PLAYBOY shoot that should appear very soon in an upcoming issue. The Salahis managed to ring more than a few security bells by crashing an event at the Obama White House a few months ago, triggering a debate on how secure the White House really is.

No doubt about it Michaele Salahi is still a major league babe at 44. But, on the other hand doing PLAYBOY looks to be more publicity seeking for the Salahis, both of which are also major league media whore types who strive to be self-important. But with problems such as a past lawsuit for unpaid fees related to a charity polo event, the star of THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C. might just need some extra jingle in the pocket. PLAYBOY no doubt pays well despite a troubled downward spiral in circulation. Many guys are too cheap these days to pay for adult stuff and usually surf it for free on the Web. But, regardless, PLAYBOY feels that it should sell a copy or two by featuring celebs like Michaele Salahi in the buff in the mag.

One celebrity website raised an ominous question though about whether PLAYBOY is just asking for it here. Whether Michaele Salahi might at some point sue PLAYBOY for some claimed sexual assault or something. Interesting question here.

Sunday, September 05, 2010


One of the strangest casting trivia twists of HOGAN'S HEROES was the role played by comic actor John Banner who played German Master Sergeant Hans Georg Schultz. Banner was born in Vienna Austria Hungary to Jewish parents, but emigrated to the U.S. soon after Hitler annexed Austria to Germany in 1938. Strangely, Banner made a career out of playing German soldiers in war films despite being Jewish. But HOGAN'S HEROES gave the actor a chance to play the role comically and quickly became a fan favorite on the show.

Banner actually wasn't too happy as being typecast as a Nazi soldier because the truth was that many of his close relatives actually died in the concentration camps during the war. But probably the role of Schultz afforded Banner some sense of satisfaction by being able to make some comic digs at the Nazi era.

Banner also guest starred in many other TV shows including MISTER ED, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, PERRY MASON, THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E. and many more shows. But he seemed almost forever typecast as playing a comic heavy in many shows. He also was in at least 40 other films, often playing so,me sort of German officer or soldier including a Gestapo officer in CHETNIKS! THE FIGHTING GUERRILLAS back in 1943. In reality, Banner actually served in the U.S. Army Air Force in real life during the war.

Strange, but true, this popular Jewish actor made a lifelong career out of playing Nazi agents. But his role as Schultz in HOGAN'S HEROES was probably his most beloved role. Banner's last role was in a 1972 PARTRIDGE FAMILY episode, then he decided to retire back to his native Vienna. But sadly the actor died less than one year later on his 63rd birthday of a serious internal bleeding condition.

On his grave marker in Vienna, a reference is made to his playing Master Sergeant Hans Georg Schultz in "A CAGE FULL OF HEROES", which seems like a strange German translation of the English version for HOGAN'S HEROES.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Great Comic Robert Schimmel Dies From Auto Accident Injuries

Robert Schimmel, 60, the great comic whose parents were both Jewish survivors of the Holocaust has died the injuries he received from a serious auto accident in Arizona last week. Schimmel's 19 year old daughter was driving the car and swerved to avoid a sudden freeway accident and lost control and the car rolled multiple times. The car landed on it's side. Schimmel was a passenger along with his 11 year old son. The son was released from the hospital last Thursday with no serious injuries present.

Schimmel, who came from the Bronx, served in the Air Force during the Vietnam War. He survived a number of very serious health issues starting in 1998 including a heart attack and cancer in 2000. In a 2010 appearance on the Howard Stern Show, Schimmel disclosed that he contracted Hepatitis C from an old transfusion during his military service days. He eventually developed liver disease and was on a waiting list for a liver transplant. Schimmel divorced in 2009 from his wife after a major incident that resulted in his arrest.

Schimmel was popular comic who was a fan of Lenny Bruce. On Conan O'Brien's show and HOLLYWOOD SQUARES he made some inappropriate humor that wasn't well received by the producers of the show. But Schimmel was always funny. His sometimes half angry nearly ranting style of joke telling was pretty hilarious. He was a very great comic, a real legend.

Schimmel will be greatly missed. His unique style and his brand of humor made him a true successor to the old new wave comedy style invented by Lenny Bruce. Schimmel successfully crafted humor about the pain and suffering in his own life in a routine where you felt empathy for him and a type of kinship with his jokes. In his own way, you could see a warm human being under this hard exterior. He was so darn good. A great entertainer.

Craigslist Closes "Adult Services" Section After Threats From 17 State Attorney Generals

Although attorney generals from 17 states probably lacked any real legal grounds for serious action against Craigslist, the company shut down it's "Adult Services" section today because of complaints that the listings may have allowed for illegal activity such as prostitution or human trafficking. In one case, two young women complained about being compelled into prostitution acts 10 times a day by a pimp manager who advertised in the wildly popular classified service.

Other personal ads for consenting adult conduct appear to be still running on the sites run by Craigslist, however just the commercial services where pay is involved appear to be involved in the decision.

Many local underground or alternative press papers still carry some sort of "Adult Services" ads.

The "Adult Services" section was a huge moneymaker for the largely free listing web advertising service, bringing in 30% of their estimated $36.6 million in annual revenue according to one media rating study. Whether Craigslist intends to swallow this huge revenue loss or else begin charging more fees is not yet known.

No doubt some illegal activity will still find some way to lurk around some dark corners of the Internet on one hand. But on the other hand, civil libertarians should be very concerned that some forms of consenting adult activity are so tightly regulated by government interests in what is supposed to be a free society as well government interference in free enterprise. No doubt some activity termed illegal is awful activity, but another part of some activity is little more than just free enterprise, although it may be very controversial in nature. Certainly not all businesses who advertised on Craigslist were involved in illegal activity, however in an effort to quiet critics, Craigslist really had little choice but to close the advertising of these services.

Friday, September 03, 2010

CSI MIAMI To Open With Season Premiere Shocker!

CSI MIAMI hopes to lure more viewers to it's new Sunday night time slot with a shocking season premiere. One of the familiar cast members is murdered. So far word is mum who gets it. But the event is sure to shock fans of the long running and wildly popular CBS series.

What a way to open a new season!