Saturday, March 31, 2012

George Zimmerman: History Of Arrests And Workplace Violence

By Saturday, investigative reporting has turned up some more new unflattering information about George Zimmerman, the 28 year old neighborhood watchman who shot an unarmed 17 African-American boy which has captured the public headline news the last few days. According to his former co-workers, Zimmerman was fired from a security job providing security for house parties after he grabbed an intoxicated young woman and threw her. According to at least one of these co-workers, Zimmerman also had a "Jekyll and Hyde" personality, where he could be entirely decent one moment, but prone to violence the next.

Even more damning was the report that Zimmerman actually had three separate prior arrests, but these arrests were sealed by the courts. It also turns out that Zimmerman's father, Frank Zimmerman, was a retired Orange County magistrate judge, which brings up the question whether he used his influence somehow to get these arrest records sealed. If these arrest records weren't sealed, then it might have kept Zimmerman from acquiring a gun by passing a background check.

Further damning evidence against Zimmerman was a videotape acquired by CBS of Zimmerman at a police station in handcuffs after the shooting where he showed no evidence of being assaulted by Trayvon Martin. There didn't appear to be any injury to the back of the head, cut lip or broken nose that Zimmerman and his defenders had claimed. Further, a mortician didn't find any evidence that Trayvon Martin had been in a fight when he was preparing his body, only the fatal bullet wound to his chest. All of this strongly suggests that Zimmerman has lied about his account of the events.

Former co-workers of Zimmerman before he was fired from his security job claimed that Zimmerman liked power over people and enjoyed ordering people around. He like to play cop was the bottom line. But, his history of unacceptable violent incidents got him fired from that security job.

More and more the image of some screwball who liked guns and wanted to play a cop is emerging. But, it appears that Zimmerman lacked both the self control and possibly even the mental health to be in possession of a gun. Zimmerman was told not to follow Trayvon Martin by a 911 operator, and certainly not to leave his SUV and pursue someone he only thought was potentially suspicious. Apparently, Zimmerman had no reason to believe that Martin had committed any crime, but instead didn't recognize him as a neighborhood youth.

Even former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, the brother of the former president, George W. Bush, has publicly claimed that when he signed Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law, meant just that. To "stand your ground", and not to "pursue" and shoot someone.

Smart money would suggest that Zimmerman probably gets charged by a prosecutor at some point after an investigation. Further, it was highly unusual for Zimmerman to hire a lawyer right after the incident if he was a crime victim who was assaulted by Martin. Zimmerman also quickly lined up family and friends of his to publicly claim that his account of the incident was the true story. But, physical and circumstantial evidence is quickly calling into question Zimmerman's account of the fatal shooting incident.

Voice experts now confirm that without question it was Trayvon Martin crying for help on the 911 call, and not Zimmerman moments before he was shot to death. Trayvon Martin may also have been suspended from school for having a trace of marijuana in an empty baggie, but otherwise he had no public history of arrests or violence to suggest that he was the aggressor in this incident.

Some civil rights leaders sought to make this incident into a racial incident, however George Zimmerman is the mother of a Hispanic woman, and has at least one African-American close friend who rushed to publicly defend him, strongly suggesting that this incident had little to do with race, but rather was the unfortunate act of someone who lacked good judgement and was unfit to own a gun.

Filmmaker Spike Lee had to apologize for giving out the home address of George Zimmerman in a Tweet as he seemed to be attempting to set Zimmerman up for violence. And some Websites have run pictures of Zimmerman with a gun target painted over him. The Black Panthers offered some sort of bounty to bring him to justice. But, none of this nonsense was very helpful, and only helped to complicate the effort to search for the truth in this case. Legal incidents need to addressed through the legal system, and not through the court of public opinion or emotion.

Ford Mustang 2015

For 2015(actually available sometime in 2014) Ford is planning the biggest changes ever to the Ford Mustang, making it into a high tech sports model that will no longer look like a retro version of the first Mustangs. Also to meet tougher CAFE, or fleet economy standards, the new Mustangs will likely feature some sort of high tech version of their Eco-boost V8 design. By 2025, the Obama Administration designed legislation for CAFE will force automakers to boost fuel economy up to 56.2mpg, which means more hybrids or small econoboxes in the future. Expect to see plenty of plug-in hybrids in this future as well. These new Obama Administration influenced rules are forcing auto companies into a technology race nearly as challenging as the effort to design a craft to land a man on the Moon that the Kennedy Administration proposed before the end of the 1960's. Designing comfortable and acceptable cars with a fleet average fuel economy of 56.2mpg is no easy task. This is a huge burden being placed on designers and techs. But, it will also allow companies like Ford to sell more exports of their American cars around the world where gas prices are much higher than the U.S. In the UK for example, gas is around $8.37 a gallon. This makes many U.S. cars unattractive as exports.

You can pretty well expect that Ford intends to get a long life from the next generation Mustang. Probably, a good 10 model year run is likely planned for the new car with largely only cosmetic facelifts intended during that run. Ford needs to realize their tooling costs on one hand, but is also planning this new car with the best of technology for a long run until a whole new high tech Mustang replaces it in the future.

It actually takes the better part of about three years to do all the tooling and to get a new car ready for sale. and for now Ford is mostly only allowing a few sketches of the new car to whet our appetites. But, we like what we see so far.

Ford might just have some prototype models of some sort right now. But, they're still under wraps. Closer to 2014 we should see some nice glimpses of the new car before it's official release.


Comic great Rowan Atkinson is back with his greatly improved satire on the James Bond genre spy films, which plays clever homage to so many cliché moments in the Bond series, that you'll howl with laughter at his outrageous send-up moments. Rowan Atkinson seems to be channeling the current James Bond, Daniel Craig, in an absurdist fashion that's simply a laugh. And the comic scene in the casino where English is supposed to make contact with another agent seems like a perfect parody of some moments from CASINO ROYALE as well Bond films.

While fans of MR. BEAN might miss the higher level of physical comedy from that series, Rowan Atkinson still manages to draw just the right balance between outrageous physical comedy and creating a skillful parody of a James Bond type spy thriller. The result is hilarious.

The music soundtrack even seems to suggest a James Bond film at moments, and offers a decent accompaniment to the comic send-up action on the screen.

Gillian Anderson from the X FILES plays Johnny English's boss, and the absurd scene with the cat in the office is real howl. This is a great little movie here.

The Bottom Line: What an enjoyable little homage to James Bond series this film is. My own father just loved both the James Bond series as well as MR. BEAN. He would have just loved this movie. ***(Three stars, good. Buy or rent this new DVD release today. The whole family will enjoy this movie, and like the James Bond films, you'll want to view this film again and again every so often).

Friday, March 30, 2012

Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Controversial Teacher-Student Sex Law

Earlier this week, we reported about an angry California mother, Tammie Powers, who sought to make adult teacher-student sex a felony. Well, in Arkansas such a law against adult teacher-student sex was just ruled to be unconstitutional because it violates the rights of two consenting adults over the age of 18.

In Arkansas, 38 year old teacher, David Pascal, who developed a five month sexual relationship with a 18 year old student was convicted of violating the state's ban on teacher-student sex, and was sentenced to 30 years in prison. He now will be freed from prison after appealing his conviction to the Arkansas high court, where the law was struck down as unconstitutional.

The Arkansas high court read this law the right way. Teacher-student relationships may be highly unethical and outrageous, but they're not criminal if done between consenting adults over the age of 18. The Arkansas law as well the proposed California law simply go way too far in attempting to criminalize private sex of consenting adults simply because teacher-student relationships seem so unethical and inappropriate.

Jaleel White Dismisses Abuse Claims

"Did I do that?". As Steve Urkel, Jaleel White, was a real comedy legend, creating perhaps the funniest character since The Three Stooges themselves. And it seemed like a great idea to bring back this legendary actor for DANCING WITH THE STARS. But, then it seems that it also brought out former abuse claims from his former wife as well. This week, his ex, Bridget Hardy, claimed that White once punched her in a breast implant she had and then smashed her body into a toilet, breaking the toilet. It was a horrible story. Yet, if such a story was true, then why didn't she call police at the time?

Jaleel White blames his recent success, if you can actually call it that, by appearing on DANCING WITH THE STARS for bringing out his ex-wife's statements. White claims that some judge's order won't actually allow him to comment on the abuse allegations. His explanation may be a little bit questionable here, as it's usually lawyers with a pending case that advise their clients not to speak. No doubt we'll be hearing more about this dark cloud over all the happy memories that Steve Urkel gave us.

In the series finale of FAMILY MATTERS run over on CBS during one Summer, Steve Urkel finally convinced Laura Winslow to marry him after unsuccessfully pursuing her for years, and telling her, "I'm wearing you down, baby. I'm wearing you down" after every rejection. All good fans of the show prefer to believe that Steve Urkel and Laura Winslow are living happily ever after somewhere, and issues like domestic violence never ever surface.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

FOX Renews Hit Crime Series BONES

For the past seven seasons, BONES, has been something like FOX's answer to CSI. The series will debut with a new season on April 2, with all new darkly funny crime procedural stories. Starring Emily Deschanel, the older sister of Zooey Deschanel, BONES was a little delayed this year because of the birth of her first child to the confirmed vegan mother. But, the chemistry between Deschanel and her costar, David Boreanaz, has been greatly missed and highly anticipated by viewers who love the sexual chemistry between the two, one a scientist and the other a crime investigator for the FBI.

The talented cast of BONES along with the snappy patter, all help to make this one of the most enjoyable crime procedural shows of all time, and a real audience pleaser.

Will "Pink Slime" Be A 2012 Campaign Issue?

Strange campaign issues seem to come out of nowhere every election cycle. In 1988, the presidential campaign by Vice President George H.W. Bush successfully used the story of some obscure criminal, Willie Horton, to derail Massachusetts Governor Michal Dukakis. In 2004, some controversial PAC ads involving the Vietnam-era Swift Boat duty of John Kerry became a factor in his relatively narrow loss to incumbent President George W. Bush. This year, "Pink Slime", an ingredient included in some beef has all the same potential to become a 2012 campaign issue.

Beef Products,Inc. has been forced to suspend production at several plants across the United States for their ammonia treated beef products that have become a major subject of controversy in the last few days. "Pink Slime" turns out to be low grade beef parts such as intestines, rectal parts, and other less desirable beef parts treated with ammonia gas to kill off E coli and other dangerous and potentially dangerous bacteria that was added to beef products at major resellers such as McDonald's, Burger King and Taco Bell up until only recently.

The founder of Beef Products, Inc., Eldon Roth and his wife, Regina, have also contributed at least $190,000 to Romney Campaign PACs according to public campaign disclosure records. And, further, Mitt Romney himself praised Eldon Roth in his book, "No Apology" as some sort of American success story who has been able to buy "a very large jet" due to his wealth from his "Pink Slime" producing company. Yet, some traces of e coli and salmonella have been found in some samples of "Pink Slime", which has made the beef additive highly controversial recently. And Romney also has another close tie to at least one other major beef industry figure, John Miller. Miler was the former CEO of National Beef Packing Company, who has since become of Romney's national finance co-chairs. It seems that Romney and Miller both own property in La Jolia, California that is right next to each other. Further, Roth was an investor in Miller's company as well. These three, Romney, Roth and Miller are a close knit group it seems.

This year because of the huge undue influence of SuperPACS which are allowed unlimited campaign donations, the official Romney Campaign should not only receive beef industry figure support both through the official campaign as well as through the SuperPACS. But, likely some SuperPACs opposing Romney will also make issue of his close ties to this beef industry and "Pink Slime" connection as well.

Although the instances of potentially dangerous bacteria in "Pink Slime" supply have been relatively rare considering the amount of output of the beef product made from the disagreeable beef parts, the public mindset against the product runs high enough right now that the mere mention of the "Pink Slime" connection to Romney could potentially hurt. That's the problem with these little side issues like Willie Horton, Swift Boats, or "Pink Slime". These side issues really don't have a great deal of substance, yet appear to be especially damaging to some campaign compared to the really important issues which should count for much more.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Big Time Sissyass Stuff: An Angry California Mom's Crusade Against Her Daughter's Romance

Some moms just don't want to let go of their kids it seems, even after they're already all grown up. Angry California mom Tammie Powers has found a willing member of the California legislature willing to propose a law making it a felony for teachers and students to form a romance, even if the student is an adult over the age of 18. Certainly, it understandable if an adult teacher is forming a romantic relationship with a child. But, over the age of 18, adults can make up their own minds. They're old enough to vote or to die in war, so what's wrong with an 18 year old making their own decisions of who to date. And what about college students, does Tammie Powers want to rule over their lives until they're 21 or older as well? 26 states may actually have some sort of law regulating teacher-student relationships, although it's not immediately clear how many of these laws also regulate a relationship between two consenting adults. Is regulating relationships among consenting adults even legal or constitutional? At some point isn't an adult an adult?

The fact of the matter is 18 that year old student Jordan Powers is probably wise enough to choose her own boyfriends without mom's interference, thankyou.

Even though both 18 year Jordan Powers and her lover and former teacher, James Hooker, 41, are of legal age, police have investigated the couple, but apparently never found anything illegal between the two adults. You know that mom had to be behind that. It seems that Tammie Powers is absolutely convinced that her daughter is under the spell of some Svengali or something. Well, maybe it's just love, Tammie.

Hooker even left his wife and kids to be with his 18 year old lover, proving that for some odd reason that some older guy who's not particularly wealthy can attract a young girlfriend. While his 18 year old lover looks up to her former teacher as being wise. Sure, it's an odd relationship. But, if it works for them and is among legal adults, then what's the harm. But, none of that satisfies mom Tammie who has taken her one woman crusade to DR. PHIL among other shows. And everyone knows what an important medium DR. PHIL is to decide law, don't they?

If angry mom Tammie Powers were looking to protect kids in school, that would certainly be commendable. But, hasn't she crossed the line by attempting to regulate the adult relationships of persons over 18 as well? What if a teacher and student were much closer in age, would that make any difference to Tammie? I had teachers who were 23 in high school. If a 23 year old dated a 18 year old, would that seem more right to Tammie?

In my grandfather's day, he was around 29 when he married my grandmother, who was just 16 at the time. That was those days. That would be taboo these days. But, what's wrong with two folks over 18 hooking up? Funny, you don't hear anything about a Mr. Powers, so is Tammie just some clingy mom not ready to give up her daughter to a man. You wonder. I personally like my women a little older. I'm nearly 57, and my girlfriend just turned 29. And we're both happy with things. But, if James Hooker likes his women young, as long as they're legal, what's the harm?

Another big problem for the Tammie Powers crusade is that law cannot retroactively be applied to someone. Tammie Powers can't lobby Sacramental legislators to write some new law to get revenge on the older guy who got away with her daughter. So what's the point here. Sure the relationship is strange. But it's legal, so why bother Tammie, why?

What do readers out there think about this strange relationship or angry mom Tammie? Let's hear some comments.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Major League WTF?: Texas Lawyers Go To Court To Argue Over The Term "Passenger" After Model Injured Walking Into Aircraft Propeller Exiting The Plane

Lawyers for injured model and fashion blogger, Lauren Scruggs, are playing a curious little game over the term "passenger" in their lawsuit seeking damages for the injured model after she lost an eye and a hand after she walked into a moving propeller exiting a small plane back in December after viewing some Christmas lights by air. Lawyers for the badly injured model claim that she wasn't technically a "passenger" at the time of the accident, claiming that fact entitles their plaintiff to additional lawsuit funds. Gez.

From the wording of the lawsuit comes this legal absurdity: "Ms. Scruggs, in contrast takes the literal and logical view of the term "getting out of the aircraft", and contends that she was no longer a "passenger" because she had completed her exit prior to the time of incident and was physically located on the tarmac when the incident happened. Until struck by the propeller, she was not in physical contact with the aircraft after her accident. It'll be up to the court to define "passenger". Holy Christ! Lawyers go to school to learn how to write legal briefs like this?

They say that some models can't walk and chew gum at the same time. And, apparently some models can't stay away from moving aircraft propellers either. Indeed, this was a terrible accident here. And we certainly feel deeply sorry for this model. And, indeed why for the love of everything holy, did the pilot leave the propeller running when passengers are either entering or exiting the plane. That seems like some aviation protocol rules violation right there. There sure appears to be some big time negligence on the part of the pilot for not ensuring a safer entry and exit from the plane of "passengers". That alone should be grounds for a substantial damage award to the injured model who apparently neither noticed the loud operating engine noise or big whirling dangerous propeller right in front of her. Most people seem more observant that this of seriously dangerous stuff. But, then again we're talking about a model here.

Somewhere, some good God fearing Texas lawyers, probably charging their clients up to hundreds an hour for legal services, will spend a good part of a day in court arguing about the term "passenger". Oh, thank God for this legal system that we wrought upon ourselves.

Oh, Nuts! Miss Universe Canada Finalist Disqualified For Being A Transsexual

What can you say about a story like this? But, 23 year Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova has been disqualified because she once had a set of nuts. Somehow, being born a male who has been surgically enhanced into a female violates pageant rules.

At the age of 19, Jenna Talackova had sexual reassignment surgery, after years of taking female hormone therapy.

Although it was reported that the head of the Canadian pageant had sympathy for Talackova, the rules of the pageant claimed that all contestants had to be a "natural born" female. Well, that had to take balls for the pageant to tell contestant Talackova that she was out in the cold after becoming a finalist.

All of this only proves that no matter how hard you work for something, sometimes you just c'unt get ahead.

Monday, March 26, 2012

THE HUNGER GAMES Becomes The Third Largest Box Office Open Ever

All of the hype for the much anticipated movie, THE HUNGER GAMES, has certainly worked. The movie became the third largest box office open ever, grossing a little over $155 in it's U.S. and Canadian North American opening, as well as over $214 million worldwide. And both critics and audiences gave the film rave reviews as well. According to the Rotten Tomatoes survey of critics, 85% of critics liked the film as well as 88% of audiences. That's some high numbers, tying with the 85% critical approval for the movie version of 21 Jump Street, where the two films are now viewed as far and away the two best films running in theaters, giving the Spring Break vacationers two very good films to choose from.

Well directed and superbly acted, THE HUNGER GAMES has managed to please most viewers as well as continues great publicity coverage on entertainment TV shows such as ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT. All of this good buzz has helped to make this film a huge hit.

THE HUNGER GAMES did set a new record for the biggest opening for any non-sequel ever. Normally, a big film like a TWILIGHT, HARRY POTTER or STAR WARS sequel would pull in the big numbers. So for a first shot at converting an young adult book series into a film, THE HUNGER GAMES has more than succeeded. You can expect other books in this series to make it to theaters based on the success of this first book. Just when HARRY POTTER has sung it's swan-song, a new series of books for young people will fill the void.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Romney Family Legacy In American Business & Politics

A 1959 TIME Magazine honored the great George Romney, the father of current presidential candidate Mitt Romney. The elder Romney had a very fascinating life story. He was the grandson of a some polygamous grandparents who faced persecution in the United States, so a large group of American Mormons were living in Mexico. But, these Mormons often faced violence from marauders and were at the mercy of political turmoil in Mexican politics as well. Romney's family later moved to the United States when he was a boy.

George Romney was viewed as one of the greatest CEO's in corporate America back during the 1950's and into the early 60's. The elder Romney was the first American automobile executive to sense that imports, chiefly Volkswagen at that time, were eventually going to make a big chip into American auto sales, even though gas prices were as low as .22-.35 cents back in those days. Under Romney's helm, the American Motors Corporation was the first major American automobile manufacturer to get into the production and sales of smaller cars, phasing down larger car bodies.

The formation of American Motors Corporation back in 1954 was the largest corporate merger at the time, when Hudson, Nash, Studebaker and Packard all held talks to form a giant new company to compete with GM, Ford and Chrysler. Unfortunately, the financial health of Studebaker and Packard as well as some other problems made these other two companies appear too sickly to be part of this large merger, so Hudson and Nash proceeded on their own to form AMC.

Hudson had been known for building high quality large automobiles with extremely durable engines, while the Nash cars were often boxy looking, but functional designs. The end result was that Rambler cars were often not the most beautiful on the road, but were extremely long lasting with very durable engine designs that often offered close to 20mpg with thrifty 6 cylinder engine designs, sometimes for a little less than $1900. George Romney once was quoted as the "only race" that he wanted AMC "cars to win was the human race".

Under George Romney's leadership, AMC flourished as a company, but Romney decided to leave the company in 1962 and to run for Governor of Michigan where he gained a reputation as a moderate in the state with big Democratic voter majorities in cities such as Detroit. Romney ran for president twice in 1964 and 1968, but both campaigns faltered when Romney wasn't viewed as a stronger campaigner. President Nixon appointed Romney the Secretary of HUD where he proposed progressive housing legislation to put low income persons into homes, often opposed by Nixon, so Romney quit at the beginning of the second Nixon term.

The elder Romney gained quite a reputation in business as well being America's leading moderate Republican for a number of years. Being devoutly religious as well as growing up in depression era poverty, helped to shape a compassionate approach to politics as well as a sense of social responsibility where as much as Romney believed in automobiles, he condemned the other Detroit brands as producing "gas guzzling dinosaurs".

Certainly, the son of George Romney has to stand on his own. But, George Romney was a great American business leader, politician and religious figure. This puts a lot of pressure on Mitt Romney to respect his father's legacy and to always bring honor to the family history.

Robert H. Schuller Reported To Be Suffering From Dementia

Robert A. Schuller, 57, the son of the Crystal Cathedral founder, Robert H. Schuller, 85, has reported that his father has been suffering from both memory loss as well as dementia for about 10 years, which might have explained his reason for stepping down as head pastor of the church some years back. In 1991, the elder Robert Schuller suffered a life threatening head injury after he bumped his head on a car door in Europe on a speaking tour. The elder Schuller required emergency surgery to remove blood on the brain. It is not immediately known whether this old head injury is now playing a role in the claimed brain problems of the senior Robert Schuller or not.

Also, according to the younger Robert Schuller, "sibling rivalry" played the major role in the decline and fall of the Crystal Cathedral, where his sisters and brothers-in-law, didn't want to be "accountable" to him and seized power in their own self interest for their own job security, only creating financial management problems for the church that once boasted a TV audience of about 25 million worldwide. Now, no member of the Schuller family is in control of the church board and the church itself has been sold the Catholic Church in Orange California after the ministry went through bankruptcy.

The elder Robert Schuller always had a very kind expression for his son, claiming that rather than him being just a "chip off the old block", he was a "chunk". But, other reports claim that the elder Schuller was unhappy at the more Evangelistic views of his son, while the elder Schuller sought to keep the church's message much more secular and psychology based. but, religious community critics of the church long condemned the church for being a "rich man's church" and preaching a "Prosperity Gospel".

Planned Parenthood Executive Arrested For Indecent Exposure At Baseball Park

Tony Thornton, 56, who is the CEO and President of Planned Parenthood in Lubbock, Texas was arrested after he reportedly exposed his genitals with the intent to arouse the sexual desire of another person". The arrest was certainly bad publicity for the controversial organization that has been the subject of scorn by both pro-life organizations as well as some conservative politicians.

Planned Parenthood immediately went into damage control mode to terminate Thornton. And for his part, Thornton seemed to take some responsibility for something he called "errors". But his arrest comes at a bad time in Texas politics as some Republican state legislators are working to remove any state public funding for the organization which provides health care and family planning for about 130,00 lower income women in the state.

JERSEY SHORE Producers Intend To Phase Out Snooki & The Situation

An industry leak claims that two popular characters from JERSEY SHORE will be phased out over the upcoming season in favor of new characters in order to keep the show with some edge. With Snooki's reported pregnancy, it seems that the producers worry that she won't be as interesting to viewers, so her role in the upcoming season will shrink. Further, Mike "The Situation" has entered rebab for alcohol abuse, taking part of the edge off his character as well. With some of the characters on the show beginning to grow up in various ways, MTV and the producers of the show want to keep the show interesting and are just worrying that some of the characters might be slowing the show down.

Friday, March 23, 2012

PETA Denies Responsibility For Flour Bomb Attack On Kim Kardashian

A supposed anti-fur extremist was arrested after throwing a bag of flour on Kim Kardashian and shouting, "Fur hag!". PETA denied responsibility for the attack, but seemed to offer praise and support for the illegal assault on the celebrity. Kim Kardashian had planned a grand red carpet event to launch her new perfume line.

But, at least one entertainment Website is questioning the entire flour assault event, claiming that the arrested woman appeared to speak little English, and was likely paid by Kim Kardashian to stage the whole event for added publicity. So far, Kim Kardashian has declined to press charges against the woman, only furthering the speculation of that entertainment Website about whether the event was really a fake or not.

More on this story as it develops.

Rotten Cinema: THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS(1961)

It only seemed natural that former Swedish wrestler, Tor Johnson, would continue his career in bad cinema that he started in the 1950's after he befriended classic bad filmmaker Ed Wood. And after 1959's Ed Wood production, PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE, which is considered to be something of the CITIZEN KANE of bad movies, Tor Johnson decided to star in Antony Cardoza's $34,000 Z grade Sci Fi horror film, THE BEAST FROM YUCCA FLATS, as a defecting Soviet scientist with a briefcase of secrets including how the Soviets were able to plant a flag on the moon. But, while attempting to escape some KGB agents during a gunfight, Tor Johnson's character has the misfortune of stepping onto a U.S. military nuclear testing site which converts him into a radiation burned criminally disturbed monster who has a real penchant for sexually inappropriate conduct with dead or near dead women. By 1961 standards, the level of sexual suggestiveness as well as implied nudity is shocking in this 1954 trash-o-rama production.

Much like a bad Ed Wood production that heavily relies on bad narration by someone like the psychic Criswell, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS is heavily narrated to carry along the story. And like the bad narration in Ed Wood films, the narration is often pointless, and also often done without complete sentences or thoughts put together.

As much as THE BEAST FROM YUCCA FLATS wanted to be a mainstream Sci Fi horror film, director Francis Coleman's love for scenes of nudity or implied sexuality seemed to slip in some outlandish moments for such an old film that wasn't considered to be early soft-core nudie porn.

But, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS is considered to be the first really bad film of the 1960's and certainly the worst since Ed Wood's PLAN 9 FROM OUTER SPACE. And if you love Ed Wood's terrible films, you'll certainly love this awful Tor Johnson film from 1961 as well. And like Ed Wood's productions that are plagued with continuity errors, THE BEAST OF YUCCA FLATS has some absurd moments where some characters that looked to be mortally wounded by gunfire were later seen in film perfectly recovered.

The Bottom Line: An enjoyable bit of trash cinema that's nearly as laughable as any Ed Wood production. You'll howl with laughter at some moments of this film which is much like finding a long lost Ed Wood gem. **(Two stars, fair. For unintentional comedy value, this film delivers more than a few good laughs just like you'd expect from any Ed Wood film. The producer and director of this film did a fine job creating a rotten cinema classic here. One of the worst films of all time, is actually enjoyable for all the wrong reasons).

L.A. Coroner's Death Report On Whitney Houston Update

Whitney Houston, remember her? She was a huge story only days ago when she was found dead face down in a bathtub. At first a preliminary coroner's report during an autopsy claimed that there was way too little water in her lungs to cause drowning, and likely some other cause of death, including heart failure was likely the cause of her death. Well, according to TMZ, the L.A. Coroner's office official report now claims that her cause of death was accidental drowning, contradicting the earlier report, although it was also reported that Houston had heart problems and had used cocaine prior to her death. TMZ also claims that someone in the Houston household might have removed all signs of cocaine from the premise before emergency help came. However, it is possible that Houston could also used cocaine elsewhere than home before her death as well. Regardless, it was a sad and undignified death to one of the greatest voices of our generation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

CBS Renews 18 Shows, Leaving Several Shows On The Bubble

The big news over at CBS is the early renewal of 18 shows including freshman entries like TWO BROKE GIRLS and PERSON OF INTEREST. But, the bad news is that several shows were not immediately renewed, meaning that cancellation may be highly likely for CSI:NY, CSI:MIAMI, UNFORGETTABLE, ROB and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT. UNFORGETTABLE looks to be almost certain to be lost. And likely, one or both CSI spin-off shows will be canceled as the CSI franchise starts to ebb away into history. The Friday evening slot for CSI:NY didn't do the show any favors, and the Sunday night slot for CSI:MIAMI runs against some reasonable competition by a variety of networks, including some cable TV favorites, lowering the overall audience for the show which used to draw big numbers with the strong lead-in from the very popular CBS Monday night comedies like TWO AND A HALF MEN when it was a Monday favorite.

The real shame about both CSI shows is that they are excellent shows with great lead actors. Drawing an actor of the quality of Gary Sinese to doing a network TV show was a major coup for CBS. And David Caruso played his role over at CSI:MIAMI much like some tough Western gunslinger. It would be a real shame to lose either show.

And CBS has a little comedy dilemma on their hands. They have both ROB and RULES OF ENGAGEMENT which they could continue if they wish, interchanging them every so often on the the Thursday night schedule. But, CBS also has a number of pretty good comedy pilots to choose from as well right now. ROB at first performed well, but it's rating numbers quickly softened, where a repeat episode of THE BIG BANG THEORY ran after a new episode last week outperformed ROB's numbers significantly. CBS needs some comedy that holds up numbers between the big hits, THE BIG BANG THEORY and PERSON OF INTEREST. RULES OF ENGAGEMENT is being given another shot at that tonight, while CBS execs look at what numbers it pulls in.

TWO AND A HALF MEN is in an interesting position. It is probably likely to be renewed based solely on the strong numbers it continues to pull in. Audiences have grown to accept Ashton Kutcher, who became a hasty replacement for the troubled Charlie Sheen. But, negotiations are only in the early stages, and if cast members don't want to return, or want some new salary contracts, or other sudden thorny issues should develop, this show could face an early end. But likely Chuck Lorre's great creation continues. TWO AND A HALF MEN has been considered to be the biggest hit comedy of the last decade, and still seems to have plenty of life left in it.

Normally, the networks renew their shows near the end of May Sweeps. But, CBS is doing so well as the top dog network that renewing so many shows early is a big sign that CBS only wants to gently tweak their network and not make any disastrous changes such as NBC did which reduced that network's numbers down to bargain basement numbers. At one time, NBC had monster Thursday ratings numbers with huge hits like SEINFELD, FRAZER and ER. Today such shows are only a distant memory, with the lowly numbers for the current NBC Thursday crop of shows. CBS has proven that it only wants to make changes for the better, not worse like NBC has repeatedly done.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Jay Leno Losses Bet To Jimmy Fallon, Wears Mustache During Monologue

Jay Leno wore a mustache during his monologue last night, which no doubt had audiences puzzled. But, it turned out to not be real. It seems that Jay Leno lost a bet with Jimmy Fallon last night, and was forced to wear the real looking fake mustache during his monologue and not say anything about it until after Leno completed his weekly "Headlines" segment.

It seems that Leno lost a St. Paddy's Day themed bowling game to Fallon. Where the two rolled balls of cabbage at leprechauns, and Leno was forced into wearing the fake mustache as payment for the lost bet. Thank God. The mustache just didn't look right.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Rick Santorum's Wife Had 6 Year Affair With Abortion Doctor

Rick Santorum's wife claims the family campaign is "God's will". And on the stump, the wife of Rick Santorum, Karen Garver Santorum, portrays herself as a devoutly Catholic mother strongly approving the claimed pro-family and pro-life political views of her husband. But, as London's MAIL ONLINE has discovered, it's all a bunch of nonsense. Since her early twenties, Karen Garver, has had a penchant for sleeping with men of power, hoping to sleep her way to the top of power. When she was just 22, Garver had a six year affair with an abortion doctor more than 40 years her elder. Trading sex and companionship was just her way of satisfying her personal lust for power.

Garver's affair with abortion doctor, Dr. Thomas Allen, began when she was just 22, and he was 63. For six years, Karen Garver lived with this millionaire abortion pioneer, loving the free spending playboy's liberal views and worldly style. Garver's next opportunity to sleep her way up to the top came when she met Rick Santorum, a U.S. Senator from Pennsylvania. Garver might claim that she left Allen because she wanted to have children. But, perhaps the fact that Santorum was worth an estimated $4.2 million dollars might have had some big influence as well as his political ambitions, considering Graver's penchant for seeking out men of wealth and power.

The story seems remarkably similar to that of Monica Lewinsky, who would hang around some Oregon businesses hoping to lure a business owner into an affair with her, but then later sleeping with a married Lewis & Clark college professor, and finally having a scandalous relationship with President Bill Clinton.

The news about the moral hypocrisy over the abortion issue within Rick Santorum's household seems to drive a stake in the heart of the claims about what a holy household they supposedly run. Upon closer examination, more and more revelations about Rick Santorum's family's claimed strong faith in God appears to be more and more suspect and phony. Instead of running a more normal campaign for president, Santorum more than any other presidential candidate in recent memory has made his claimed strong faith in God one of his main campaign issues. This has also only invited journalists to look at his family, uncovering serious contradictions between what the candidate claims he believes and how the candidate's family actually lives. It is about the same sort of trap that Gary Hart set up for himself when he only encouraged reporters to find evidence of his infidelity.

Another serious problem for Rick Santorum is that he had a role in a sex scandal of his own. According to a news report by THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR back on May 14, 2011, during the Sen. John Ensign sex scandal, Ensign received unethical and perhaps even illegal help from two former senators to cover up or make Ensign's sex scandal problems go away. Santorum had lost re-election in Pennsylvania by more than 700,000 votes in 2006 because of the very poor job he did to stop job losses in the state and other serious issues, but sent a Email to Ensign in an attempt to prevent the sex scandal from becoming news as Ensign's head of staff, Doug Hamilton was going to break the news to FOX that Ensign had an affair with his wife, Cynthia. Santorum attempted to refute his role in this scandal to Politico and other news outlets, and only in more recent times acknowledged that he did indeed send Ensign a Email when the Senate Ethic's Committee asked for the truth from Santorum about his role in the scandal. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma went even farther than Santorum, when he attempted to negotiate some sort of financial settlement to the Hamilton's to quiet down the brewing scandal.

Just this weekend, Santorum was part of a political event at a fundamentalist church in Louisiana, where Pastor Dennis Terry called for a theocratic form of government in the United States, and warned liberals, Muslims and Buddhists to leave the country. It is just this sort of social radicalism that is so alarming to social liberals and more moderate voters, deeply concerned about the fanatical views of Rick Santorum, who's election as president could enter in a dark age for the entertainment industry as Santorum could use the Justice Department and other government agencies to impose his own extremist views of religion and social and cultural conservatism on the entire nation.

While Santorum probably isn't the Christian version of Hitler, he is no doubt beginning to frighten many social liberals. Some leading personalities in the adult entertainment industry are so fearful of what Santorum means for their industry and the county that they are rapidly mobilizing up to thwart him as a huge threat to business and artistic freedom. And other segments of the entertainment industry will no doubt rise up to oppose Santorum as well if it appears that he has any chance at all of his long-shot bid for the presidency succeeding. His much more moderate opponent, Mitt Romney, hasn't succeeded in putting away Santorum yet, although he holds a large delegate lead. But, Santorum scares many voters in more socially liberal parts of the country.

Those Wild MUNSTER Cars & The Unaired Color Pilot

Fans of the B&W 1960's monster sitcom, THE MUNSTERS, may not realize that a rare color unaired short 15 minute pilot exists. And one of the most notable casting differences was that actress Joan Marshall was cast as Phoebe Munster, the wife of Herman Munster, in this rare pilot. Marshall was later cast in STAR TREK as well, as a crew member.

Perhaps the basis for THE MUNSTERS was originally conceived by cartoonist legend, Bob Clampett, who was also responsible for Porky Pig and Tweety Bird among other acclaimed characters for Warner Bros. Clampett also was responsible for the BEANIE & CECIL series as well for ABC TV. Clamett wanted to see some sort of comical monster series dating back to the 1940's, but the rough concept just kept getting pushed to the back-burner by networks, studios and producers. The idea appeared to be dead in the water until the producers of THE ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE SHOW at Universal wanted to do something with the concept and looked for some writers to work on a script for a TV series. Eventually, with the production set over at MCA Universal, someone got the idea that the series would look far better shot in B&W like the old Universal monster films of the 1930's. But, that was also part of the failure of the series as well, because while the ratings were moderately good in season one, the ratings fell significantly during season two when BATMAN aired over at ABC in color. B&W film also worked well with the monster makeup on the characters as the greenish makeup on Herman Munster and the others had an incredible cheap look in color. In B&W, THE MUNSTERS looked so much like a classic 1930's Universal monster film. It was great.

But, the unaired color pilot of THE MUNSTERS also had a few other significant differences with the actual B&W series as well. Nate "Happy" Derman played Eddie as a nasty kid who caused a lot of trouble, compared to Butch Patrick's portrayal of Eddie, who played the character as a sweet, but strange, boy. The nasty Eddie played by Derman just didn't make network executives all that happy. And even THE MUNSTERS theme for the actual series was changed from a dopey song from a Doris Day movie, to the hip sounding surf theme styled music as Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys were popular acts at the time.

Actor Fred Gwynne and Al Lewis were both actors in another comedy series. CAR 54, WHERE ARE YOU?, was an outrageous police comedy involving the two as wacky police offices. But, the two really shined as Herman Munster and Grandpa in THE MUNSTERS.

Al Lewis was always a strange personality. He was an old time political radical with a very offbeat personality, which he managed to skillfully use under the Grandpa makeup to create one of TV's most memorable comic characters of all time. And by character, I do mean, character.

For the series, THE MUNSTERS also had a couple of very cool automobiles including The Munster Koach, a wild creation built by custom car designer, George Barris, that was powered by a souped up Ford Cobra or Falcon 289, which was bored out to 425 cid, outfitted 10 custom chrome plated Stromberg carbs, an Isky cam, and custom headers as well. It was the ultimate TV show hot rod. George Barris was given just 21 days by the show's producers to build the custom Munster's Koach. Barris not only completed this cool hot rod, based on 1800's hearse styling, but actually built a second copy of car as well. Sometimes, the second car was seen in parades or on tour around the country.

A second wild custom car was also created for THE MUNSTERS and only used in just one aired episode. Grandpa's Dragula, was an outrageous coffin based dragster. Herman works at a mortuary, and claims that he brought home a "a box" from work so Grandpa could build a soapbox derby type race car, which instead is a wild dragstrip vehicle. The car became such a legend that there are now four copies of it in existence, including as late as 1998 when another copy was built by fans of the outrageous dragster.

After it was canceled after just two seasons, THE MUNSTERS, actually gained a huge cult following, becoming a cult favorite among the after-school set of kids and others. And the show left us was with a very cool legacy. Herman was cool. Grandpa was way cool. And the cars were cool. What great TV this show was.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

More Soap Opera Drama At The Crystal Cathedral

Unfortunately, this weekend only brings a fresh round of soap opera drama news about Garden Grove California's famed Crystal Cathedral. This weekend THE HOUR OF POWER is airing an old rerun of a church service conducted by the younger Robert A. Schuller, who was actually pressured to resign from the head pastor role of the church in November 2008 because his religious style was much closer to Christian evangelism than the more secular psychology based "Prosperity Gospel" style of his father, Robert H. Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral. The Crystal Cathedral congregation could actually use their church for up to three years before the Roman Catholic Church in Orange takes over the building to make a Catholic Church out of the building, instead the eldest daughter of Robert H. Schuller, is actually conducting a church service in a rented movie theater. The Crystal Cathedral was sold last month due to bankruptcy for slightly more than $57 million to the Roman Catholic Church of Orange.

Sheila Schuller Coleman left the Crystal Cathedral Church last week in a major shakeup that also saw her father, Robert H. Schuller, leave the troubled church as well. This weekend, Coleman helped to found some new church at a $845 rented movie theater location, of which the rent money was donated to her. She reportedly offered her father the opportunity to speak at the church, but he declined the offer, instead choosing to file a lawsuit against the Crystal Cathedral Church for more than $3 million dollars claiming it is money they owe him for his intellectual property used by the church in his absence there.

Especially pathetic was that the first church service at the movie theater by Coleman drew only about 100 people, and popcorn cups were passed around to collect donation for the Hope Center Of Christ Church which will also use a hotel for church services next month, as the movie theater possibly has more important business to conduct such as running a movie.

All of this is sad and pathetic news for the once number one televised church service, THE HOUR OF POWER, which once boasted 25 million viewers worldwide as late at 2008 when the young Robert Schuller was ousted from the head pastor role by his father over their dispute over the spiritual content of the church. This family dispute over scripture and spiritual content has torn this church apart, only creating one of the most absurd religious soap operas in recent memory. Somewhere, some adult needed to step up and prevent this entire mess from developing back in 2008, but didn't. The problems for the once huge mega-church now threaten to put it in a sorry pathetic mess much like the fall of Evangelist Jimmy Swaggart. Where Swaggart's giant ministry was once a huge active congregation that has been reduced down to TV church services in an empty church solely for the greatly reduced TV audience after he was caught in a weird sex scandal of paying a prostitute to pose nude for him and later caught with another prostitute in his car in a second scandal and members of Swaggart's church left in droves, sharply reducing his church and TV viewers both. Today, the tiny church looks pointless and silly to continue.

What was once the best mainline Protestant church service on television, hosted by two of the greatest pastor speakers, Robert H. Schuller, and his son, Robert A. Schuller, now looks pretty much reduced down to a pile of rubble. It's a real heartbreak from what grew from it's drive-in movie theater roots to becoming a TV church service in 1970, to claiming a huge 25 million TV audience each week, to now hitting free-fall.

Why U.S. Oil Conservation Won't Really Lower Prices

Like a broken record the Obama Administration is nearly daily marketing some myth that increased U.S. oil conservation will somehow lower oil prices. And simply a myth is what this is. The truth is that for it's 300+ million person population, the U.S. actually uses far less oil per capita than many smaller nations such as Saudi Arabia, with only around 30 million persons, which domestically uses around 3.2 million barrels a day of oil, which is a little bit less than half of it's average of 8.8 million barrel a day production. Gas also costs only around 45cents in this nation, and electricity prices are very low as well. By contrast, Americans are paying very high gas prices and electricity prices both. In fact, domestic oil consumption is very high per capita in every major world oil producer including Canada, Russia and Brazil. In many cases this high domestic production only encourages these nations to use more domestic oil, often burning oil to create electricity when other options such as nuclear power would preserve domestic oil reserves. But, worldwide some oil producers such as Venezuela also offer gas as low as .19 a gallon to help to buy political support among the people.

Many Americas are now opting for bicycles as an alternate form of transportation, and certainly millions of these bicycles have reduced U.S. oil demand somewhat as have the more fuel efficient fleet of U.S. automobiles sold each year. However, this steady drive toward U.S. oil conservation has done little to nothing to reduce U.S. oil prices very much at all. We wouldn't be facing $4 a gallon gas right now if this sort of conservation really worked would we.? So why should we believe the claims of the Obama Administration that reducing oil consumption now would really bring prices down. Conservation hasn't worked before, and it won't work now. All conservation does is make oil prices cheaper for the individual consumer, not cheaper overall. This argument by the Obama Administration is all smoke and mirrors.

The U.S. also is powerless to curb the rising oil demand of growing economic global powers such as China and India, as the growth in the number of automobiles and factories grows in both nations each year and at some point in the future both nations, especially China will far surpass the U.S. in the amount of oil required per capita per day. Any U.S. efforts to conserve oil will do little if the U.S. continues to buy huge amounts of plastic goods or other consumer goods from Chinese factories each day. Right now, China's factories in 500 of their largest cities are producing so fast, that the air pollution quality is so bad for children in those cities, that it's like a baby smoking a whole pack of cigarettes a day. A reduced U.S. demand for oil will do little good when U.S. consumer demand for Chinese produced consumer goods pushes production that increases their oil consumption or their domestic pollution levels. Further, would a cutback in U.S. demand for Chinese made goods really be a good thing? Chinese citizens overall are better off than ever because of this new wealth due to world demand for their products, and it has further allowed the Communist government to become more moderate in many areas. The same thing holds true for Vietnam. More trade with the U.S. has made Vietnamese better off than ever as well as moderated their Communist government somewhat. Trade has taken two former military rivals of the U.S., and made them friends of the U.S. That's both remarkable and good. And, even North Korea seems to want to take some baby steps toward attracting more investment in the nation. The official North Korean government Website now touts the fact that North Korea has the lowest taxes in in all of Asia as well as a willing and able workforce ready to manufacture goods for world consumption.

While the Obama Administration wrongly claims that oil conservation will reduce oil prices, the Republican presidential opponents also promote some myth that increased oil drilling will somehow lower prices. This also appears to be very wrong as well because U.S. oil producers are deliberately not producing as much oil these days as they were in the peak oil production year, 1985. In 1985, U.S. producers produced 8,791.00 million barrels compared to only 5,511.93 million barrels in 2010. Several factors are at play here. Gas was only an average of $1.20 a gallon back then compared to close to $4 a gallon today. Where is there any incentive to major U.S. oil producers to put more oil on the market which only reduce their price per gallon? Why work harder or spend more money to produce less income per gallon. Further, in many cases importing oil seems cheaper than the costs involved either exploring for more oil or attempting to raise oil levels with wells that have become largely depleted. Saudi Arabia can use million of gallons of sea water to raise low oil levels of partially depleted wells each day, but here in the U.S. such a process would only create giant oil slicks at sea unless the source water is in an enclosed area. And injection of gas to raise recoverable oil levels like they do in Russia isn't always cost effective either. The bottom line is that increased oil drilling isn't really something that U.S. oil producers have as much incentive to do compared to importing or opting for cheaper projects like drawing oil from Canadian oil sands by pipeline, which is something that the Obama Administration put on the back burner for 2012. And, unfortunately neither the Obama Administration nor his Republican opponents are offering up serious proposals to reduce oil prices. Neither the conservation argument or the more drilling argument are realistic approaches to a problem where there is little incentive for oil producers to pump more oil when they can charge more for less product, or many oil wells have become depleted with time, or oil speculators on the commodity market like to make money by seeing oil prices rise, or nations like Iran cause international mischief by threatening to cutoff oil shipping through the Strait Of Hormuz.

Unfortunately a presidential election year is one of the worst years to have a serious issue discussion. This is especially so when we have to endure this nonsense oil debate between the Obama Administration or the Republican opponents who want his job, who have both oversimplified their arguments down to the point of both offering wrong answers to a serious question that is hurting American consumers and the economy both.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Military Service Of The Stars: Russell Johnson

Although Russell Johnson was best known for playing the Professor on GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, his military service to this country has to be a great source of pride to him. Russell Johnson almost didn't survive the war when the B-25 bomber he was a navigator in was shot down by flak fire during a low flying accurate bombing mission against Japanese army targets in the Philippines. Johnson's plane and two other B-25s were lost on that mission. Johnson broke both ankles in the plane's crash landing and the crew member serving next to him was killed in the wreckage of the plane. It was a very close call for Johnson who previously was a member of 44 other successful bombing missions meant to win the Pacific theater war.

Certainly Johnson was decorated with a Purple Heart medal for his heroic service to this country. Johnson was awarded many other medals and awards for his military service as well. And after his honorable discharge from the service, Johnson reenlisted in the Army Reserves.

Johnson also was a close friend of highly decorated war hero and actor/singer, Audie Murphy. The two had appeared in a few films together, Johnson was mostly a star in Westerns in the early 50's, but then a number of roles in Sci Fi began to follow, including two time travel stories on THE TWILIGHT ZONE for Johnson. In one memorable one, Johnson attempts to rescue Lincoln from assassination. Other Sci Fi and Western roles also following including THE OUTER LIMITS, but no role has become more famous for Johnson than his role as The Professor, on GILLIGAN"S ISLAND.

BTW, it seems that The Professor's name was only brought up once on GILLIGAN"S ISLAND. A pilot for show was shot using a school teacher character instead of Johnson's character, and two other female costars. Strangely, after the show was recast, the actor playing the school teacher was still seen knocked unconscious in the wreck of the S.S. Minnow during the opening scene of the first actual episode of GILLIGAN'S ISLAND, although Johnson's character was actually used in the three years of the actual series. Look for this major faux pas next time the first episode of the series airs in syndication somewhere or buy the DVD of season one.

Russell Johnson is now 87 and lives up in Washington state, but has continued to remain active, still acting as a volunteer for AIDS after his son was diagnosed and later died from the disease.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

NY Knicks Oust Coach Mike D'Antoni; Jerry Sloan Likely Replacement

As exciting as the "Linsanity" craze was only days ago, it still fell far short to save the career of embattled coach Mike D'Antoni who was asked to leave as part of a "mutual" agreement by the NY Knicks management. Assistant coach Mike Woodson takes over until a new head coach is found. D'Antoni actually replaced former Detroit Pistons great Isiah Thomas as coach, but neither have been able to bring the big city team back to the glory days of old, although the "Linsanity" over surprise player Jeremy Lin has been very good for the team's image.

Two retired coaches are being approached for the job, including Phil Jackson and Jerry Sloan, but sources say that Sloan may be the only one of the two really interested in the job. This means that Jerry Sloan appears to be the best bet to accept the job. Sloan led the Utah Jazz as head coach from 1988 until his 2011 retirement. Sloan started his career as a player with Baltimore Bullets in 1965, later becoming a Chicago Bull from 1966-1976. Sloan then moved to coaching, where he coached the Chicago Bulls from 1979-82, then returned to coach the Utah Jazz as legend for his long stint there.

You know that it's a bad sign for any team when D'antoni's coaching instructions sometimes looked more like the "sign of the beast" than anything. That's a sure sign of your team being caught in game losing hell if ever there was one.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Major League WTF?: Poilice And Retailers Ponder How To Deter Detergent Crime

Believe it or not, the shoplifting theft of tide detergent from grocery retailers is the latest wave of crime. Selling at around $15 a bottle at many discount retailers, some shoplifters also involved in the drug trade are either selling black market bottles of Tide for $5 a bottle or even trading the popular orange bottled liquid laundry detergent for drugs in other cases. It's a baffling new wave of crime that has both police as well as grocery retailers wringing out their hands rather than their laundry.

Some retailers are having problems with thieves who load up shopping carts with the detergent, and then make a rush out the door and make a clean getaway. The huge upswing in Tide detergents thefts is only the latest grime wave to sweep the nation, where crooks have found a new way to play dirty and not come clean. But, all jokes aside, some retailers are considering some sorts of locks or security devices to deter the detergent crime wave.

Monday, March 12, 2012

ABC's GCB Swells Viewership Into #1 in 10PM Sunday Slot

While the debut of ABC's GCB(Good Christian Bitches, some say) wasn't spectacular, this past Sunday the viewership swelled upward, making the controversial new program #1 in it's time slot. This new firepower also presents a real danger to CSI:MIAMI over at CBS, which is seen as on the bubble whether it will be renewed for the Fall 2012 season or not. As DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES gets ready to sing it's swan song this May, GCB gives ABC a new show with a similar market appeal. And by running these two shows together, it gives ABC a powerful following of female viewers for these two shows.

ABC has to be pretty happy that viewership actually increased for GCB in it's second week. Often a show starts out strong, but loses rather than builds an audience. So a second week audience growth is certainly welcome news to those execs over at ABC.

It was also heartening to see viewership better for any show this past Sunday, because the switch to daylight saving time cost most of the Sunday programs about 10% or better of their viewers. So even in a smaller viewership market, GCB was able to swim uphill.

TV Ad Wars: Romney Near Broke? Obama With $96 Million To Spend To Carpet Bomb The Airwaves.

TV networks are expected to reap a huge financial harvest from 2012 campaign spending ads. And these ad wars will decide the 2012 election. And a few important advertising spending dominoes are starting to fall into place right now. Mitt Romney is slowly limping to a narrow Republican nomination in the bruising GOP primary grueling road, while the Obama 2012 Campaign dramatically increased their On-line ad spending during January to $4.26 million, which is nearly as much as all of the 2011 $5.07 million total campaign spending. One advertising agency, Bully Pulpit Interactive appears to be the clearinghouse for most of the ads right now. It was founded by some members of the successful 2008 Obama campaign. A lot of the On-line advertising is for the Obama 2012 Campaign to raise up a giant warchest, now rumored to be around $96 million, to carpet bomb Mitt Romney's campaign with Fall TV season ads promoting the president and citing the shortcomings of Romney. And this is especially bad news for Romney right now.

It is now rumored that the Romney campaign is short on cash, having spent massive amounts of money in a failed attempted to ward off his pesky challengers, chiefly Santorum and Gingrich. On Tuesday, Gingrich likely either wins or comes very close in both Alabama and Mississippi, which should only further stall the Romney drive for the Republican nomination. Further, the attacks by Gingrich have now raised Romney's negatives to higher levels than his positives, making him seem less likely to be elected president. The GOP's last candidate with higher negatives than positives was former Republican Senate leader Robert Dole, who fared poorly against the successful 1996 Bill Clinton re-election effort.

Although his record as president is certainly less than stellar, Obama still holds some huge advantages here. A nearly broke Romney Campaign will limp to the nomination and will likely be crushed in the general election by a massive advertising onslaught by the Obama 2012 Campaign, where even narrow wins in some key swing states such as Ohio or Florida will result in a large electoral college majority for the president, far in excess of the 270 electoral votes required to win.

Money will be the key to winning the White House in 2012. And Romney has spent way too much money way too soon. In some small states such as Iowa, Romney might have spent as much as $200 per vote just to lose the state by just 34 votes to a poorly financed Santorum Campaign, , and far worse, Romney is nearly certain to lose this state to Obama in the general election as well. The Romney Campaign hoped for a quick knock out blow to his opponents so that he could concentrate on the general election, instead opponents like Santorum and Gingrich are probably costing Romney the general election by draining his campaign of cash and raising new doubts about Romney, when neither Santorum or Gingrich have any clear path to win either the GOP nomination, let alone the general election.

If you don't like political ads on TV, then this won't be a very pleasant new Fall season coming up. Expect to see more political ads than ever as both the official and unofficial campaigns spend massive amounts of money on TV political ads like never before, just to have the same likely political outcome as we already have, President Obama.

But, Mitt Romney may hold a few aces of his own. If gas prices only continue to rise, and President Obama cannot offer a satisfactory explanation to Americans or relief at the pump by election day, Romney might be able to craft this key issue to his benefit. Further, while foreign policy has likely been President Obama's strongest area of policy, the mission in Afghanistan has been going badly in the last few days due to the accidental burning of a Koran as well as the civilian massacre incident, both of which seriously threaten to undermine the mission in that country to weaken the Taliban or prevent al Qaeda from establishing strength to promote worldwide terrorism.

Pink Floyd Releases 7 Disc Expanded Version of THE WALL

Two of Pink Floyd's greatest releases include THE DARK SIDE OF THE MOON and THE WALL. Now Pink Floyd is launching a hugely expanded and remastered edition of THE WALL that reportedly includes 7 discs, 6 audio cds and one DVD, plus a beautiful booklet as well. This special "Immersion" edition of THE WALL is available at Cd Universe for a discount price of $131.95, and includes tons of rare demo material from both Roger Walters, David Gilmour and the entire band. If you're really into this great album, then this appears to be the definitive boxed set.

But, all of this sure doesn't mean that this box set isn't very disappointing to some fans of the album and Pink Floyd. Some fans were miffed that a lossless Bluray disc of the audio wasn't included in this package after it was rumored to be added to the set before the official release was made. The included DVD only includes some excerpts from THE WALL, when a wonderful 5.1 dolby surround sound Bluray audio of the album would have been so much better. And what's up with the cheaply made scarf included as a bonus? What's the deal with that? it looks much like some cheap dollar store item.

EMI was also in a real hurry to rush this box set out to stores as a moneymaker for the company. That simply meant that some wonderful quad mixes of the album were neglected because they would have required a lot of cleanup time to add this album. That's not to say that the remastered stereo sound isn't an improvement over previous versions of THE WALL. It is. But, when better audio quality was available, EMI apparently didn't want to invest the effort or time here.

So essentially you have discs 1 and 2, a newly remastered version of the previously released THE WALL album. Discs 3 & 4 are rare demo tracks, and disc 5 is a remastered version of IS THERE ANYBODY OUT THERE? and disc six THE WALL LIVE.

So you have to decide if shelling out $130 or more dollars for this latest high priced box set is really what you what to do. It's pretty worthwhile on some levels, but pretty much a letdown in many other ways. Probably, this isn't the final re-release of THE WALL. No, not by a long-shot. The album no doubt has a few more high priced re-releases in it. And maybe those might be a little bit better than this. But, for now this box set isn't particularly bad or anything. Just a little disappointing.

to paraphrase Bob Dylan here, "I shall be re-released".

Sunday, March 11, 2012

DVD Review: THE SKIN I LIVE IN(2011 Spain)

LA PIEL QUE HABITO(THE SKIN I LIVE IN) is a highly unusual arthouse medical thriller staring Antonio Banderas as a brilliant plastic surgeon who was so frustrated that he could not save his beloved wife from horrific burns caused in an automobile accident that he keeps a new lover under lock and key in his own home as he slowly replaces all of her skin with a new synthetic skin that won't burn or injure based on unethical illegal human/animal genetic research. This is a very macabre and strange tale, that involves some very strange images and characters as well as a very bizarre storyline. It's not for everyone, but it's nonetheless one of the better arthouse films I've seen recently.

The movie takes yet another macabre twist when an accused rapist is tortured and becomes the subject of forced sexual reassignment surgery, only making the story even more bizarre.

If you enjoy deeply bizarre arthpouse films, LA PIEL QUE HABITO is a whole new adventure. Done entirely in Spanish, this film is subtitled for English speakers.

The Bottom Line: A high unusual movie experience worth a look. This film got 80% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics, and slightly higher positive reviews from audiences. **1/2(Two and a half stars, or better than fair. A worthy foreign film that's nearly a gem. Find it if you can. It's worthwhile).

Robert Schuller Resigns From Crystal Cathedral Board After Sale To Catholic Church

Rev. Robert Schuller, the founder of the Crystal Cathedral and also the iconic minister who was the leader of THE HOUR OF POWER religious program for decades has resigned from the board of the church after it was sold to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange last month due to the bankruptcy of the church. Robert Schuller is unclear about what future he will have with the once powerful mega-church, which often was accused of detractors of preaching a "Prosperity Gospel" of financial success. Many top business leaders such as Herman Cain, the founder of Godfathers Pizza, as well South Korean business tycoons once presented testimony at this church about their faith in God and success in business. Today, it seems as if Joel Osteen from Houston has become the top "Prosperity Gospel" television preacher. Joel Osteen was a former cameraman and producer for his father, John Osteen, who suffered a sudden heart attack and died. The younger Osteen had only preached on camera once before, but he was suddenly thrust into the lead pastor role of his father's church. Joel Osteen quickly became a success far greater than his father. His boyish looks, kindly and friendly, nonconfrontive nature, gave him a broad appeal and widespread positive reception, even among those with no faith at all.

But, the latest news for Robert Schuller's church isn't near as rosy. Robert Schuller was for years one of the greatest religious speakers on television, offering a top notch religious program, with big name entertainers and guests, making it almost like a religious variety show of sorts. For many Christians, attending services at the Crystal Cathedral, which is right near Disneyland, was an important vacation event. And unlike many of the TV preachers who are some form of a fundamentalist, Robert Schuller was a ordained preacher in the Dutch Reformed Church, making him one of only a few mainline Protestant ministers to preach on television that had a large audience. As a whole, mainline Protestants as well as Catholics have largely ignored the importance of using TV to convey their religious message, only allowing the huge growth of Christian fundamentalism in American Christianity. This has also resulted in widespread social and political consequences for the nation as well.

For now, THE HOUR OF POWER program continues to air in syndication across the nation and the world on satellite, led by Robert Schuller's daughter. Sheila Schuller Coleman, but she unfortunately lacks the real charisma of either the elder Robert Schuller, or his son, which became the lead pastor of the church for a few years until he was forced to step aside, really leaving the church without any strong charismatic figurehead.

The decline of THE HOUR OF POWER really came about in 2008, when the younger Robert Schuller was removed from the TV program and later resigned from the church. The elder Robert Schuller's messages were largely based in psychology and much more secular messages, while the younger Schuller's religious views were much more in-line with the popular Evangelism movement popular in Christianity, and far more scripturally based. The son managed to keep THE HOUR OF POWER as the #1 religious program in the world with 25 million viewers, but a lack of a shared vision of the two Schullers really helped to create a serious split in the church despite the widespread success of the ministry. It was a sad case of a family working against each other, only creating a failure for everyone.

All of the sermons and books dealing with the importance of a positive attitude, just didn't seemed to help a family with serious strains and differences of opinion, tearing at itself, only to create this failure. What a great treasure THE HOUR OF POWER was once was as a religious program. It seemed perfect under the leadership of either Robert Schuller, but that wasn't enough to heal differences in this family. Now, the church property has been sold under bankruptcy. All of this only illustrating the very high cost of not getting along with your family.

My own father knew that I was a real fan of this TV show, watching it each and every week for a good 20 years. My father was very impressed what a good speaker Robert Schuller was and even found himself occasionally watching at least the sermon portion of this once very popular TV religious program.

Friday, March 09, 2012

GM Suspends Chevrolet Volt Production For Five Weeks

The reality of $4 or $5 a gallon gas doesn't seem to be helping the sales of GM's $39, 145 plug-in hybrid electric cars very much. GM only sold a meager 1,626 of the high mileage, high tech automobiles so far during the first months of 2012 compared to the 45,000 hoped for 2012 sales target. So GM is shutting down Volt production for five weeks, putting 1300 Detroit-area workers on a layoff schedule.

There has been a lot of speculation that GM was pushed toward dropping some car brands and concentrating on building new high mileage vehicles such as the Volt by the federal government when GM sought their auto bailout loan. However, the huge sales disaster of the Volt also shows what can happen when Washington bureaucrats who don't normally work in the automobile business attempt to manage an industry that they don't know or understand. To some Washington bureaucrat, these plug-in hybrids look to them to be the solution to high gas prices, fuel conservation as well producing greener vehicles. But, the cold reality is that the Chevy Volt just doesn't sell very good at all. And GM has invested a huge amount of money into this product, only to be shocked by the extremely poor sales figure. Other automobiles such as the Edsel were dropped by Ford when they only sold less than 30,00 units. The dismal Volt sales are much worse than almost any car brand that has been dropped by any major company. Other dismal market failures such as the AMC Pacer actually sold a lot better than the Volt.

Some companies such as Fred Meyer and now even Walgreens have installed electric charging areas. However, it could be years before many electric cars such as the plug-in hybrids really exist in decent numbers. Today, these cars are a real rarity.

During the early 1900's one highly successful all electric automobile was the Baker. The electric portion of the Baker automobiles worked just fine, but the suspension systems tended to break parts on the rough, often cobblestone streets, compared to much stronger Ford model T cars, which could withstand the rough roads of the early 1900's. So the technology for viable electric automobiles has existed for nearly 100 years, however modern buyers tend to fear the new technology, even fearful of fire danger and other, often irrational concerns.

Death Of A Guitar Superman: Ronnie Montrose Dies Of Cancer

Ronnie Montrose was a bona fide guitar superman. The 64 year old rock guitar legend had been battling cancer in recent times, and after a valiant battle finally died on March 3, 2012. But, he leaves behind a wealth of recordings for his fans to treasure for a lifetime. Not only did Ronnie Montrose release nine solo albums, but, he released another six albums with his hard rock act, Montrose, as well. With Gamma he added another five albums. And he did volumes of amazing session work including with Van Morrison on the classic album TUPELO HONEY, as well as with Boz Scaggs, Gary Wright, The Beau Brummels, Dan Hartman, Edgar Winter, Nicolette Larson, Lauren Wood and a scad of other top name acts.

When you're a top name act, and you wanted guitar done right, Ronnie Montrose was your man.

Ronnie Montrose is the third of three big name music entertainers to die in recent days, joining Whitney Houston and Davy Jones. I tell you, Heaven's got one hell of a great band up there.

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

CD Review: Katy Perry TEENAGE DREAM

Katy Perry's third studio album firmly cemented her as a true pop music superstar act. It's a very listenable collection of 12 listed tracks, plus two more hidden tracks, including an alternate version of TEENAGE DREAM. Snoop Dogg guest stars on CALIFORNIA GURLS. And although the album has been on the charts for some time, the album continues to provide hit singles for the top artist. This album is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Although released in 2010, the album has so far provided six top selling singles with only her latest single coming from her next upcoming album.

Katy Perry's career originally got something of a false start with the quick failure of her first album, KATY HUDSON, released back in 2001 that didn't get much traction all. The album of all Gospel music failed to even chart. But, by 2008 a new attempt under her new showbiz name, doing popular music, made Katy Perry a big success with ONE OF THE BOYS.

Getting away from any stogy conservative Gospel music look, the wild and unconventional dress of Katy Perry has also become one of her most recognizable showbiz traits. Her songs have also become decidedly more sexual in tone as well, compared to her far more spiritual music of old. It's a fascinating worldly transformation of Gospel performer into a bona fide pop superstar.

TEENAGE DREAM is such a fine listenable album, that even just a casual fan of Katy Perry can't help but be impressed. It's a a very fine album if you just want to buy something fresh to listen to in the car or at home.

The Bottom Line: At times Katy Perry seems like she's channeling Alanis Morrisette and a few other top acts, but don't worry about that. This is a really good cd here. ***(Three Stars, Good. More than worthwhile to buy and love to death).

Pat Robertson Calls For Decriminalization Of Marijuana

Pat Robertson, that lovable religious huckster, has made news once again for a few of his controversial comments. On one hand, the 81 year old religious broadcaster, has called for the decriminalization of the possession of marijuana, opposing using the nation's prisons to lock up young people who simply use the illegal drug, on the other hand he made controversy by blaming tornadoes on a lack of prayer in the U.S.

Controversy is nothing new for the elderly religious tycoon. Experts who are skeptics and mediums have debated Pat Robertson using an old parlor game trick known as "cold readings" on LARRY KING TONIGHT before, which Robertson reportedly uses to make it seem as though he is healing sick persons via the TV screen. This TV screen healing is especially amazing because some of the apostles that were the most close to Jesus himself were unable to heal themselves of various conditions such as bad eyesight or were unable to defend themselves from imprisonment, beatings or even executions. Yet, some millionaire TV preacher claims to harness powers far greater than these apostles. One part sideshow antics, one part show biz, Pat Robertson has been a top notch religious entertainment act whose 700 CLUB program manages to reach millions each day.

Although highly profitable for Robertson, the 700 CLUB and the Christian Broadcast Network does help to provides funding for a wide variety of worldwide missions to relieve hunger and lack of medicine, so the antics of Robertson have also resulted in a wealth of good works as well.

Some television preachers such as Pat Robertson have carried TV religion to whole new level of innovation by redefining religious TV. His 700 CLUB is one part entertainment, one part news, one part conservative politics, one part religion. It's like a religious variety show. And Pat Robertson himself is always great entertainment to watch. He might be easy to lampoon for his absurd pronouncements or ratlike personality qualities, but he remains infinitely more likable than some leading conservative personalities such as Rush Limbaugh. On one hand, you know Pat Robertson is a huckster, but still you like the guy. He remains always entertaining, and sometimes seems almost reasonable and moderate, especially when he calls for a more common sense approach to the nation's problems with illegal drugs.

Although Pat Robertson's organizations will no doubt offer up to millions of dollars of help to the tornado victims, these victims probably don't appreciate his unhelpful statements about their lack of prayer somehow causing their dire situation. But, that's the mixed bag of Pat Robertson. One part real good, another part simply awful.