Friday, June 27, 2008

Joe Crawford goes 58th

Kentucky's Joe Crawford was selected in the second round as the 58th pick by the Los Angeles Lakers. This makes me so sick. I'm okay with Crawford being drafted because he's an NBA player in my heart but the Los Angeles Lakers make me sick.


It's official. We've finally done. We've reached the Marvel age. There are now 11 confirmed species that are known as Wolverfrogs as they can puncture their own skin with bony claws.
At least 11 species of African frogs carry a built-in concealed weapon — they can sprout claws on demand to fight off attackers, U.S. researchers reported on Monday.

When threatened, the frogs can puncture their own skin with sharp bones in their toes that they then use to claw their attackers, David Blackburn and colleagues at Harvard University reported.

"It's surprising enough to find a frog with claws," Blackburn, a graduate student, said in a statement.

"The fact that those claws work by cutting through the skin of the frogs' feet is even more astonishing. These are the only vertebrate claws known to pierce their way to functionality."
James "Logan" Howlett, also known as Wolverine, could not be reached for comment on this discovery.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Anheuser-Busch rejects InBev

Thank G-d. The A-B board has rejected a hostile takeover bid:
The board of directors of Anheuser-Busch Cos. has rejected InBev’s $65-per-share takeover bid as “financially inadequate and not in the best interests of Anheuser-Busch shareholders.”

“InBev’s proposal significantly undervalues the unique assets and prospects of Anheuser-Busch,” said Patrick Stokes, chairman of the board for the company, in a statement. “The proposed price does not reflect the strength of Anheuser-Busch’s global, iconic brands Bud Light and Budweiser, the top two selling beer brands in the world, with Budweiser selling in more than 80 countries today.”

Stokes said the proposal “also undervalues the earnings growth actions that the company had already planned, which have significant potential for shareholder value creation; the company’s market position in the United States, the most-profitable beer market in the world; and the high value of its existing strategic investments.”

Oy gevalt

Des Moines Register:
The American Farm Bureau Federation on Thursday estimated $8 billion in flood damage to Midwestern agriculture. Half the loss was in Iowa.

Farm Bureau economist Terry Francl estimated that Iowa's corn yields will be down by 16 percent this year, causing a $4 billion shortfall. Illinois was next hardest hit, with losses of $1.3 billion.
To make matters worse, there are severe thunderstorms over Missouri and Iowa right now.

Millar talks Superman

Mark Millar talks Superman with The Daily Record.
While he is an executive producer on Wanted, he is a full producer on his next movie Kick-Ass. He claims there are some A-list names involved in the film about an ordinary boy who becomes a superhero.

But Mark's big dream is making a Superman movie.

He said: "Since I was a kid I've always wanted to reinvent Superman for the 21st century.

"I've been planning this my entire life. I've got my director and producer set up, and it'll be 2011. This is how far ahead you have to think.

"The Superman brand is toxic after that last movie lost 200 million, but in 2011 we're hoping to restart it.

"Sadly I can't say who the director is, but we may make it official by Christmas.

"But fingers crossed it could work out, that would be my lifetime's dream."
If you are over 17, go see the R-rated action film, Wanted, this weekend. It's based on the graphic novel by Mark Millar.

If you are joining us via, I did not personally speak to Mark Millar about this but read it via a link I found while surfing the forums of Millarworld. If given the opportunity to interview Mark Millar, believe me, I would!

Guru, schmuru

Ken Levine HATED The Love Guru. Seriously, I'd like to know what Mike Myers is smoking and make sure the FDA pulls it from the market.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thank you, Dane Cook

Thank you, Dane Cook. I can read George Carlin's last interview ever.

Jerry Seinfeld published a eulogy in the NY Times.

Kedar defends Jerusalem

Dr. Mordechai Kedar defends a United Jerusalem on Al-Jazeera.

Here's a post-script video:

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

SNL to re-air first episode hosted by George Carlin

George Carlin/ Billy Preston and Janis Ian (OAD 10/11/75) will be airing this weekend at 11:30 PM.

On The Avengers...

USA Today:
Iron Man director Jon Favreau, who is developing a sequel to be released in April 2010, says Marvel's plan is "to team up the heroes for The Avengers, which is made up of all of the Marvel heroes they have the rights to."

Favreau says the team's lineup has changed throughout the years, "but the ones Marvel is talking about now are Captain America, Hulk, Thor, Ant-Man and Iron Man. I would love to see that."

Bale on Justice League

Comic Book Resources:
Despite the great lengths you’ve gone to in order to create a realistic and believable world for Batman, would you be interested in appearing in a Justice League film, alongside Superman and other such fantastical characters?

Well, it’s like I say to Chris: I’ll probably be doing this in dinner theatre somewhere in my 50s, so I won’t knock it because who knows where I’ll end up? [laughs]

HBO changes schedule to pay tribute

HBO, the premium channel, has rearranged its schedule to pay tribute to the late comedic legend, George Carlin:
Carlin did 14 specials for HBO, the most of any standup comic. The premium cable network is devoting two nights of programming to Carlin (all times ET/PT). On Wednesday, HBO 2 will air On Location: George Carlin at USC (8 p.m.), George Carlin Again! (9:30 p.m.), Carlin at Carnegie (11:30 p.m.), Carlin on Campus (midnight), Playin' With Your Head (1 a.m.). On Thursday, HBO 2 will air What Am I Doing in New Jersey? (8 p.m.), Doin' It Again (9 p.m.) and Jammin' in New York (10 p.m.).

On Friday, HBO will air his last special, It's Bad for Ya (9 p.m.).

Monday, June 23, 2008

MPAA loves violence but scared of sex

I don't get this. Truly, I don't. Kevin Smith's upcoming film, Zack and Miri Make a Porno, is in trouble with the MPAA. It does not look good for even an R rating. They want to give it an NC-17 rating...meaning the movie will lose countless numbers of dollars to Seth Rogen fans sneaking into the film.

A blood and guts film gets an R rating while a sexual film gets an NC-17 rating?!? Where is the justice in that?!?

Seth Rogen spoke to MTV:
The MPAA is gunning for us, I think," sighed Rogen, discussing the current difficulties he and director Kevin Smith are encountering during the rating process of their highly anticipated October comedy "Zack and Miri Make a Porno." "It's a really filthy movie. I hear they are having some problems getting an R rating from an NC-17 rating, which is never good."

Sure, the title alone would seem to indicate a natural conflict with the Motion Picture Association of America. But the film, about two platonic friends whose monetary needs have them making a sex tape but eventually falling for each other, sounds like vintage romance-through-rudeness fare from writer/director Smith. And if he was able to give his fans all those fellatio jokes in "Clerks," the finger-cuffs references in "Chasing Amy" and the donkey-show performance in "Clerks 2," then what's the problem?

"They are really f---ing around with us," Rogen said, only half-joking. "Those di--s!

"A guy f---ing a donkey, they ain't got no problem with," he continued. "But a man and a woman having sex they seem to have real issues with, for some weird reason. It's insane. It's completely insane."[...]

"They [fight against] sex stuff. Isn't that weird? It's really crazy to me that 'Hostel' is fine, with people gouging their eyes out and sh-- like that," Rogen shrugged. "But you can't show two people having sex — that's too much."
Oh well. I guess I'll have to get the unrated version when it comes out...

RIP: George Carlin

Legendary comedian George Carlin has died of heart failure at 71.

On October 11, 1975, while loaded on cocaine all weekend long, Carlin hosted the first ever episode of Saturday Night Live.

One of his famous routines, Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television, led to a court case on obscenity in the 1970s.

Throughout his career, Carlin made 130 appearances on The Tonight Show. Carlin recorded 23 comedy albums, taped 14 HBO specials, and wrote three books. He made numerous television and movie appearances.

Carlin won four Grammy's in the category of best spoken comedy album and recieved five Emmy nominations.

The latest honor for Carlin came on Tuesday when it was announced that he would be this year's recipient of the 11th annual Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. The award is to be presented on November 10th and later broadcast on PBS.

In the movies, Carlin was last seen as Ben Affleck's father in Kevin Smith's 2004 film, Jersey Girl. His voice was last heard in the 2006 Disney-Pixar film, Cars, as Volkswagen bus Fillmore.

Here's his baseball vs. football comedy routine in which he compares the two sports.

Baseball vs. Football
Baseball is different from any other sport, very different. For instance, in most sports you score points or goals; in baseball you score runs. In most sports the ball, or object, is put in play by the offensive team; in baseball the defensive team puts the ball in play, and only the defense is allowed to touch the ball. In fact, in baseball if an offensive player touches the ball intentionally, he's out; sometimes unintentionally, he's out.

Also: in football,basketball, soccer, volleyball, and all sports played with a ball, you score with the ball and in baseball the ball prevents you from scoring.

In most sports the team is run by a coach; in baseball the team is run by a manager. And only in baseball does the manager or coach wear the same clothing the players do. If you'd ever seen John Madden in his Oakland Raiders uniform,you'd know the reason for this custom.

Now, I've mentioned football. Baseball & football are the two most popular spectator sports in this country. And as such, it seems they ought to be able to tell us something about ourselves and our values.

I enjoy comparing baseball and football:

Baseball is a nineteenth-century pastoral game.
Football is a twentieth-century technological struggle.

Baseball is played on a diamond, in a park.The baseball park!
Football is played on a gridiron, in a stadium, sometimes called Soldier Field or War Memorial Stadium.

Baseball begins in the spring, the season of new life.
Football begins in the fall, when everything's dying.

In football you wear a helmet.
In baseball you wear a cap.

Football is concerned with downs - what down is it?
Baseball is concerned with ups - who's up?

In football you receive a penalty.
In baseball you make an error.

In football the specialist comes in to kick.
In baseball the specialist comes in to relieve somebody.

Football has hitting, clipping, spearing, piling on, personal fouls, late hitting and unnecessary roughness.
Baseball has the sacrifice.

Football is played in any kind of weather: rain, snow, sleet, hail, fog...
In baseball, if it rains, we don't go out to play.

Baseball has the seventh inning stretch.
Football has the two minute warning.

Baseball has no time limit: we don't know when it's gonna end - might have extra innings.
Football is rigidly timed, and it will end even if we've got to go to sudden death.

In baseball, during the game, in the stands, there's kind of a picnic feeling; emotions may run high or low, but there's not too much unpleasantness.
In football, during the game in the stands, you can be sure that at least twenty-seven times you're capable of taking the life of a fellow human being.

And finally, the objectives of the two games are completely different:

In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy's defensive line.

In baseball the object is to go home! And to be safe! - I hope I'll be safe at home!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

NBC News names Tom Brokaw as interim host

Tom Brokaw was named today as the interim host of NBC's Sunday morning political talk show, Meet the Press.
Veteran news anchor Tom Brokaw has agreed to moderate NBC's 'Meet the Press' through the November election to fill the vacancy created by the death of Tim Russert.

Brokaw will start next week, the network announced Sunday. Anchor Brian Williams did the show this week and announced the decision at its end.

Brokaw first talked to NBC News President Steve Capus about what the network would do when the two men rode a train back to New York from Washington following Russert's funeral and memorial service on Wednesday. Brokaw told him Saturday that he would do it, Capus said.

"I'm just thrilled that Tom has agreed to do this," Capus told The Associated Press.

The decision gives NBC a well-known, authoritative presence at the helm of the broadcast in an election year. "Meet the Press" dominated the Sunday morning ratings under Russert, reportedly earning $60 million in revenue, and Brokaw's presence could blunt any effort by ABC's second-place "This Week" with George Stephanopoulos to cut into the edge.

Brokaw was the nation's most popular news anchor when he stepped down from 'Nightly News' following the 2004 election. He has continued to make documentaries for NBC News and was a frequent commentator on MSNBC during primary night coverage this year.

He said he volunteered for the job in part as a tribute to Russert, who died of a heart attack on June 13. The two men were close friends who spoke almost daily and Brokaw gave the opening speech at Russert's Kennedy Center memorial.

"Tim was the first to say that 'Meet the Press' was a national treasure and he was a temporary custodian," Brokaw said by phone from Montana. "We both understood the importance of it to the country and to NBC News and he took it to an entirely new level."

He intends to follow Russert's template of aggressive questioning based on research of a guest's public record. The show will continue to be Washington-based, with Betsy Fischer as executive producer.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Global Warming and the 2008 Mississippi Flood

If I interpret this article the way that I am reading it, life along the Mississippi River will never be the same again.
The chances for extreme weather in the U.S. such as the record rainfall and flooding in Iowa this month are increasing as worldwide temperatures rise, a government agency that researches climate change said.

North America may get more abnormally hot days and nights, heavier downpours and deadlier storms from global warming, today's report from the Bush administration's U.S. Climate Change Science Program said. Elevated temperatures in recent decades already have led to more intense rainstorms in the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, said Thomas Karl, co-chairman of the report.[...]

The Iowa disaster helped drive corn prices to a record high. Flood damage may exceed $2.7 billion, according to economics professors Mark Burton at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Michael Hicks at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.[...]

Eleven levees on the 96-mile stretch of the Mississippi River from Hannibal, Missouri, to St. Louis have overtopped and four more are in danger of failing from this week's flooding, the Army Corps of Engineers said.
The fact that so many levees are failing could be as a result of many being agricultural levees instead of a concrete floodwall. Cities like Memphis and Louisville have floodwalls to protect lower lying areas along the river...although some places are SOL when it comes to higher water.

Take a look at this one.
"There’s a big problem with the calculation of what is a 100- and 500-year flood plain: it’s based on the original shape of the Mississippi Basin," says Timothy Kusky, an earth scientist at St. Louis University. He believes that a triple whammy of factors is contributing to this year’s flooding. The first, he says, is increased rainfall due to global warming, but the second two reasons are based on relatively recent physical changes in the region.

Bottomlands that used to absorb floodwaters have been overdeveloped. What’s worse, the miles of new levees that were built to protect the malls, industrial parks and homes in those areas have hurt more than they’ve helped by constricting rivers into narrower channels. "Once we reduce capacity, things that used to be beyond the flood plains are at risk, because floods become higher and more frequent." Models from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predict 20 percent more rainfall in the region, which Kusky says could mean about 50 percent more water in the river systems.

Klusky can’t stop the rain, but his digital models of possible flood outcomes might just help prevent developers from building in the most vulnerable spots around the country’s biggest and most dangerous river. On a modest $250,000 budget, Kusky and his team at St. Louis University’s Center for Environmental Sciences (SLUCES) are employing a powerful open-source system called Geowall to create super-detailed, three-dimensional models of the Upper Mississippi Basin—its mountains, valleys and riverbeds, as well as its parking lots, levees, and office towers.
What we are looking at, with the addition of last night's rainfall, is possibly worse than the flood of 1993 along with the disaster that is Hurricane Katrina.

The effects, by all means, are devastating already. I can't even fathom Iowa being the first caucus in the nation in 2012 if the weather stays the course. Most of the state was under water and had to evacuate as a result. Eighty-three (93) of ninety-nine (99) counties in Iowa were declared state disaster areas.
While announcing welcome news that water levels on the Iowa and Cedar Rivers continued to drop Sunday, Iowa Gov. Chet Culver said he has declared 83 of Iowa's 99 counties to be disaster areas -- a stark reminder of how much damage the Flood of 2008 has caused across this state.

Nearly 36,000 Iowans have been forced to evacuate their homes this past week, with Cedar Rapids residents accounting for about 25,000 of them.
As of 17 hours ago, 55 counties were elgible for federal funding from FEMA.

More people are starting to link this year's flood to the effects caused by global warming.
Is there a possible link between global climate change and increased frequency of local flooding?

"I'm surprised more people aren't asking this question," said Jim Angel, state climatologist with the Illinois State Water Survey. "We had the floods in 1993, and here -- 15 years later -- we have another big flood."

Harry Hillaker, Iowa's state climatologist, said a possible climate change link "is one of those things where if you asked 100 climatologists that question, you would probably get 100 different answers.

"I think with any kind of weather event or seasonal event -- and this is really a seasonal event because it built up over time -- it is always next to impossible to determine a particular cause," Hillaker said. "You can say the weather pattern was like this and the jet stream was like that, but why is it like that? The short answer is 'who knows?'"

Dr. Vaughan Turekian, chief international officer for the American Association for the Advancement of Science that publishes the journal Science, said that although it is difficult to pin the blame for single events -- such as the tri-state area floods -- on climate change, "the flooding and large amounts of rain are consistent with what scientists believe will happen more often with global warming."
Take a look at this cover of the March 12, 2007 issue of Sports Illustrated:

Two articles from the same issue:
The Arena of The Future
The next generation of sports facilities will be powered by alternative energy, incorporate parks into the designs, rely on mass transit, conserve water and be built with reusable materials--but don't ask about ticket prices.
Going, Going Green
As global warming changes the planet, it is changing the sports world. To counter the looming environmental crisis, surprising and in novative ideas are already helping sports adapt.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

BREAKING NEWS: Tiger Woods' season over

Less than 28 hours after winning the 2008 U.S. Open, Tiger Woods announced that he will be having season-ending surgery.

Woods said on his Web site that Woods will have surgery on his anterior cruciate ligament. He also wrote that he needs time to rehabilitate a double stress fracture of his left tibia, which he said was discovered just before the Memorial Tournament in late May.

Woods skipped that event, but played 91 holes in winning the U.S. Open in a playoff over Rocco Mediate.

Woods said no date has been determed for the surgery.

"I know much was made of my knee throughout the last week, and it was important to me that I disclose my condition publicly at an appropriate time. I wanted to be very respectful of the USGA and their incredibly hard work, and make sure the focus was on the U.S. Open," said Woods on his Web site. "Now, it is clear that the right thing to do is to listen to my doctors, follow through with this surgery, and focus my attention on rehabilitating my knee."

Woods said on his Web site that he originally ruptured the ACL in 2007 while running at his home in Orlando after the British Open. He said he decided not to have surgery at that point, and he went on to win five of the next six events he entered (through his Target World Challenge in December).

"While I am obviously disappointed to have to miss the remainder of the season, I have to do the right thing for my long-term health and look forward to returning to competitive golf when my doctors agree that my knee is sufficiently healthy," Woods wrote on his Web site. "My doctors assure me with the proper rehabilitation and training, the knee will be strong and there will be no long-term effects."

Woods had arthroscopic surgery on his left knee on April 15, two days after he finished second in The Masters in April.

Woods had committed to playing in the Buick Invitational next week. He hosts the AT&T National the week after at Congressional Country Club in Washington, D.C. The report said he would fulfill his obligations to sponsors at those events.
Upcoming PGA tour events include two majors (British Open, PGA Championship) and the Ryder Cup, played this year at Valhalla here in Louisville.

Paper misreports gig

Contrary to what is being reported on the Rud's website and in Velocity Weekly, Jukebox the Ghost will not be in Louisville tonight. I have confirmed this with another friend of the Band.

Jukebox will actually be in Cleveland tonight.

Congrats, Rajon Rondo and the Celtics

Mazel tov to the Boston Celtics and former Kentucky Wildcat Rajon Rondo for winning the 2007-08 NBA championship.

The Celtics won the NBA finals last night in Game 6 with winning four games to the Los Angeles Lakers' 2 in the series.

Rondo had a huge night and we salute him.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Death of the Blogosphere?

This is huge and could have a disasterous effect on the blogosphere for an indefinite amount of time.

Lunsford in Mayfield

Sent by the campaign:
Lunsford “On the Job” at Mayfield gas station Wednesday
Democratic Senate nominee uses fourth stop on tour to spotlight failed Bush-McConnell economic policies

LOUISVILLE – Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate Bruce Lunsford continues his “On the Job” tour of Kentucky tomorrow morning in Mayfield. Lunsford will spend several hours working as a service attendant at Highway Oil located at 329 S 8th St. in Mayfield. Bruce Lunsford decided to continue his “On the Job” tour at the gas station because he wants to better understand the impact skyrocketing gas prices have on Western Kentucky families.

The trip to Mayfield comes on the heels of a similar “On the Job” last week in Richmond at the College Food Mart near Eastern Kentucky University. At the same time that McConnell was pushing the oil companies’ priorities in Washington, Lunsford met with Kentuckians face to face who told him how current gasoline prices affect their daily lives. One woman arrived in a van and put three dollars of gasoline in her tank because it was all she could afford. Bruce Lunsford believes it is time Washington put Kentucky families first, not the special interests.

This is the fourth stop on the tour Lunsford began as a Primary Election candidate. The “On the Job” tour gives Lunsford the opportunity to work side-by-side with Kentuckians across the Commonwealth, and listen to their concerns in order to better understand their needs.

Will Justice League ever see broad daylight?

It's a shame. A tragedy. What was supposed to have been released in the next few years, at this point, might be released in the next millenium the way things are going.

You know what I'm talking about.

The Justice League of America.

At one point, DC Comics was going to have one film released a year. Batman Begins came out in 2005 and it was a much needed reboot for the franchise. Superman returned to the big screen in the 2006 film, Superman Returns. Wonder Woman was supposed to have come out in 2007 but producers never found a script that they liked and Joss Whedon left the project.

Variety has the latest update on the quest to get Justice League: Mortal to the big screen.
Warner Bros. is working on a deal that would reteam Larry and Andy Wachowski and producer Joel Silver, but in different terms than the $180 million “Speed Racer,” which lost a fortune at the box office.

The trio will produce “Ninja Assassin,” a $50 million action pic directed by James McTeigue, but will collect a share of the gross when the film breaks even. And the studio is likely to revisit a gross deal it made a long time ago for director George Miller to direct “Justice League,” expected to go into production soon.

Several studio executives say conversations about summer tentpoles routinely start with demands that talent accept such break-even deals. And it’s not difficult for studios to make the case that what they are demanding is all that onerous.
Justice League will see daylight but at this point, it's all a matter of when.

Would it be nice if it were the same cast used as in the Batman and Superman films. It sure would. It would give the films a sort of continuity. This is where it works for Marvel Studios.

Marvel, now they they have an in-house studio, waited until they got their rights back for many of their characters, especially the Avengers. This summer alone, they released Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk. Last year saw Ghost Rider, Spider-Man 3, and Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer. The year before that, X-Men: The Last Stand.

Daredevil would have been a lot better in 2003 had they released the R-rated director's cut. Maybe we would have seen a sequel by now? I've read that Marvel's waiting to get their rights back to where they can make a darker film.

Even though things got messed up in the third film of the series, Spider-Man worked. Would it have been nice to see Empire State University mentioned in the other Marvel films? It would but Sony wouldn't have any of it despite it being a Marvel property.

In the next few years, Marvel or another studio with the license will release:
2009 - Wolverine
2010 - Iron Man 2, Thor
2011 - Captain America, The Avengers

In addition, all the following have been optioned by Marvel in recent years. Unless otherwise noted, they will be released by Marvel with Paramount distributing:
Ant-Man - Edgar Wright is attached as a director and plans to use both Hank Pym and Scott Lang as Ant-Man. I don't know yet as to which character is being used in The Avengers but I'm waiting to see. Scott Lang is the father of Cassie Lang, who is Stature in the Young Avengers series.
Black Panther - in development since 1992! The latest update on this is that John Singleton has been approached to direct but it is on Marvel's slate of 10 films that Paramount will be distributing.
Daredevil 2 - 20th Century Fox / Marvel Studios (more likely Marvel when they get the rights back)
Doctor Strange - development since the mid-80s. Latest update has Guillermo Del Toro directing the film.
Ghost Rider 2 - Columbia Pictures
The Hands of Shang-Chi - Marvel Studios
Luke Cage - John Singleton is attached as a director. Tyrese Gibson is not yet attached but is interested in the role. There really have not been any updates since 2006 though.
Magneto - 20th Century Fox. David Goyer is attached as a director.
Nick Fury - announced by Marvel in 2006 that it would make a Nick Fury film. My guess is that it will be an Ultimate version of Fury and with Samuel L. Jackson in the role.
Runaways - announced last month that Brian K. Vaughan is writing a script.
Namor: The Sub-Mariner - Marvel Studios. Could be Universal-helmed but I doubt that. Variety reported that Jonathan Mostow is directing and re-writing David Self's screenplay for this. This was announced in 2006 but so far there has been no news as far as casting or things of that nature.
Silver Surfer - 20th Century Fox. J. Michael Straczynski was hired to write the script. Update from last summer's Comic Con.
Venom: Lethal Protector - Columbia Pictures. Marvel is moving forward with a spin-off film. It's unknown if Topher will reprise the role.

You can't really make a Namor film without the Fantastic Four though.

Time will tell but it would be nice if DC would get with it. Here's what their slate is looking like.

Wonder Woman - As of April 2008, Joel Silver hired Matthew Jennison and Brent Strickland to write a film that doesn't depict Wonder Woman's origins but the history of Paradise Island.
Superman: Man of Steel - On schedule for release in 2010.
Green Lantern - As of early 2007, Greg Berlanti was signed on as a director and word has it that this would be the Hal Jordan version of the Green Lantern. It's scheduled for a 2010 release.
The Flash - in development. Ryan Reynolds would like to play Wally West. As of this past October, David Dobkin is signed on to direct for a 2008 release but I don't see this one being released in 2008.

Monday, June 16, 2008

RIP: Stan Winston

Stan Winston has died at the age of 62.
"Stan died peacefully at home surrounded by family," a spokeswoman said.

Winston won four visual effects Oscars and earned multiple nominations. His first Oscar was for James Cameron's Aliens (1986). Winston later won two Oscars for Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1992) (visual effects and makeup) and 1993's Jurassic Park.

Phil Tippett, who shared a visual effects Oscar with Winston on Jurassic Park, noted that Winston was one of the best in the business.

"Stan contributed to some of the greatest -- fantastic movie characters in motion picture history," Tippett said. "His loss is a great one and he will be missed."
Here's the release put out by Stan Winston Studios:
Academy Award-winning makeup, creature and visual effects artist Stan Winston died Sunday at his home in Malibu, California, after a prolonged illness. He was 62.

In a career that spanned four decades, Winston worked extensively in television and motion pictures, producing innovative work that was often honored for its artistic and technical achievement. In the early years of his career, during which he worked primarily in television, Winston earned five Emmy nominations from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, winning for Gargoyles and The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.

Winston won his first Academy Award nomination in 1981 for Heartbeeps, and received another ten nominations – in both makeup and visual effects categories – over the next 20 years. He won a total of four Oscars for Aliens, Terminator 2: Judgment Day and the groundbreaking Jurassic Park for which he created full-scale animatronic dinosaurs. Winston received his star on Hollywood ’s Walk of Fame in 2001.

Current releases from Stan Winston Studio include summer hits IRON MAN and INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL.

Upcoming projects include SHUTTER ISLAND, TERMINATOR 4, G.I. JOE, and James Cameron’s AVATAR. Winston was both collaborator and friend to giants in the film community.

[Winston Studio plans to later release quotes from Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steven Spielberg, James Cameron, Tim Burton, et cetera.]

Winston was born April 7, 1946 in Arlington, Virginia. As a child, he enjoyed drawing, puppetry and classic horror films. He continued to pursue his interest in art and performance as a student at the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, graduating from the institution’s Fine Arts and Drama programs in 1968. He headed West after graduation with dreams of becoming an actor, but found his true calling as a makeup artist and creator of characters – a career that enabled him to merge his sensibilities as an artist and performer.

After completing a three-year makeup apprenticeship program at Walt Disney Studios in 1972, Winston established Stan Winston Studio in the garage of the small house in Northridge he shared with his wife, Karen, and his young son, Matthew. The studio changed locations and grew in size, personnel and stature as his career advanced with work in high-profile films such as The Terminator, Predator, Edward Scissorhands, Interview with the Vampire, Lost World, Batman Returns, and A.I.: Artificial Intelligence.

Stan Winston Studio contributed characters and effects to more than 75 feature films, several music videos, and countless commercial spots. In 1988, Winston directed his first feature film, Pumpkinhead, a cult favorite. Winston also produced a series of horror films for HBO, as well as a number of genre feature films, and created a line of high-end toys based on some of his studio’s iconic characters.

Throughout his career, Winston was a tireless advocate for the makeup and creature effects community. He campaigned for the creation of a makeup effects category for the Academy Awards, and he is credited with securing greater recognition overall for makeup and creature effects artists.

At the time of his death, Winston was in the process of morphing his physical makeup and effects studio into the new “Winston Effects Group” with the team of senior effects supervisors heading up the new company. Managing the new company as partners and owners are veteran effects supervisors John Rosengrant, Shane Mahan, Alan Scott and Lindsay Macgowan.

In addition to his professional achievements, Winston was a gifted artist who particularly enjoyed sculpting fine art pieces; however, he rejected the notion that there was a significant difference between ‘fine’ art and the ‘commercial’ art for which his studio was famous.

“For Stan, the measure of his work was never in the techniques and technology employed and pioneered at his studio,” said Don Shay, publisher of Cinefex Magazine and a key chronicler of Winston’s career. “He was a ‘character creator,’ as he liked to be called, and artistry was his only benchmark. Stan Winston will always be remembered as the man who transformed Arnold Schwarzenegger into the Terminator and who built a full-size robotic T-rex for Jurassic Park. But he was more than the sum of his greatest achievements. He was a devoted family man, a beloved patriarch to his stable of artists, and a master artist and sculptor in his own right.”

Stan died peacefully at home surrounded by family Sunday evening. He was a beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother. He is survived by his wife, Karen, son Matt, daughter Debbie, daughter-in-law Amy, son-in-law Erich, 4 beautiful grandchildren Rowan, Wyatt, Georgia, and Pheona, and brother Ronnie Winston. In lieu of flowers the family is requesting that donations be made to the following charitable organizations:

Institute for Myeloma & Bone Cancer Research
9201 W. Sunset Blvd. Ste 300
West Hollywood, CA 90069

Free Arts for Abused Children
12095 W. Washington Blvd. #104
Los Angeles, CA 90066

United States Fund for UNICEF
333 East 38th Street
NY, NY 10016

From Comics to Big Screen: The Incredible Hulk

Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created the Hulk character in 1962 when Bruce Banner turned in to The Incredible Hulk in The Incredible Hulk #1 in May, 1962. Marvel rebooted the franchise in 2008, with Edward Norton taking the lead role of Bruce Banner. Along with Iron Man, The Incredible Hulk helps pave the way for the 2011 feature film, The Avengers.

From Comics to Big Screen: Iron Man

Iron Man, created by Stan Lee, came to the big screen this past May with Robert Downey, Jr. cast in the lead role of Tony Stark, who becomes Iron Man. The movie updates to origin story to the 2000s as opposed to the Vietnam war like the comic book origin. Iron Man made his first comic book appearance in Tales of Suspense #39, released in March 1963.

From Comics to Big Screen: Fantastic Four

In response to DC Comics' Justice League of America, Stan Lee and Jack Kirby created The Fantastic Four, a family of super heroes for Marvel Comics, in 1961. Featuring Reed Richards (Mr. Fantastic), Sue Storm (The Invisible Woman), Johnny Storm (The Human Torch), and Ben Grimm (The Thing), they are one of Marvel's oldest continuing comics. They made their way to the big screen in 2005 and 2007.

Ioan Gruffud as Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards)
Jessica Alba as Invisible Woman (Susan Storm)
Chris Evans as Human Torch (Johnny Storm)
Michael Chiklis as The Thing (Ben Grimm)

A U.S. Open Public Service Announcement

In case you live in a cave, and chances are that you don't or you would not be reading this, Rocco Mediate and Tiger Woods tied at the end of four rounds of play at Torrey Pines. The U.S. Open does not have a so-many-holes playoff as do other PGA tournaments. As such, here is the TV schedule for today's playoff round.

11:30 AM-Noon: The Golf Channel will be airing highlights from yesterday.
12 PM-2 PM: ESPN will air the first two hours of playoff round coverage.
2 PM: NBC will pick up the playoff until it finishes.
Post-conclusion: The Golf Channel for more coverage.

If you don't have a TV, you can point your browser to

Hulk a Smash hit at box office

First things first, go see The Incredible Hulk at the movie theaters as soon as you can. If you think that it's worse than the Ang Lee-directed one from 2003, you are far wrong. Everything is paving the way for The Avengers, due out in July 2011.

Steve Carell gets smart.
Carell may moonlight on movies, but he's kept his day job at "The Office," the NBC comedy.

Carell won a Golden Globe for his role as Michael Scott, the socially-inept office boss. But he's never actually worked in an office: "I've waited tables, I've worked for the U.S. Postal Service, I worked in the produce department of a supermarket, but I have never worked in an office."

In fact, Carell planned to be a lawyer, but his parents told him to follow his heart. So he moved to Chicago and joined the famed comedy troupe Second City.

"It was just so much fun," Carell said. "And you just felt you were fooling around and playing and getting paid for it. That was like a fantasy job."

At Second City, he met his future wife, Nancy, and another future comedy star, Stephen Colbert.

Colbert helped him land a job as a correspondent on "The Daily Show," covering the 2000 Election.

After several supporting film roles, Carell pitched his own movie idea to filmmaker Judd Apatow.

"I pitched it and he had this look on his face. And he said, 'I could sell that movie today. I could get on the phone and I could call someone and we could sell it.'"

He did, and together they co-wrote "The 40-Year-Old Virgin," with Apatow the director and Carell the title character who truly suffered for his art.

He said the chest-waxing "looked horrendously painful, it was really. The women who worked on the crew, they all told me, 'Maybe you should take some ibuprofen.'"
I don't know how he does it but more power to Donald Etra.

Adam Sandler has done it again. He's given Jewish audiences something to appreciate.
For the Jewish viewer, the film has a special appeal, with its iconic Jewish star tackling the subject of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Indeed, according to the senior vice president of media relations at the Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group, Steve Elzer, the grosses for “Zohan” were “particularly strong” in Los Angeles, New York and South Florida, regions with heavily concentrated Jewish populations.[...]

Sandler is certainly a drawing point for the young Jewish male demographic. The actor, who is known for his lowbrow humor, was rated in 2001 as the second most popular Jewish male celebrity, after Jerry Seinfeld, in a poll of Jewish graduate students. But another factor may explain why “Zohan” has been so appealing to the under-30 Jewish set: It represents the first time that an Israeli — and the attendant Israeli-Palestinian conflict — has been given a comic turn in Hollywood.
Yiddish can sometimes make for strange bedfellows such as NBC News anchor Brian Williams.
Among the boldface names slated to appear at the National Yiddish Theatre-Folksbiene’s June 17 annual gala at New York’s Town Hall, there is one that doesn’t immediately bring to mind thoughts of the Yiddish stage: “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams. But as devoted readers of The Shmooze will know, the newsman is not just a pretty face with a fancy job; he’s also something of a Yiddish buff, from whose tongue words like shpilkes and keynehoreh roll with the same ease as the day’s headlines.
It's time for Seth Rogen and Jay Baruchel to face the end of times in Jay and Seth vs. the Apocalypse.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Statements released to pay tribute to Tim Russert

CBS News:
CBS News Chief Washington Correspondent And Anchor Of "Face The Nation" Bob Schieffer: "Tim was the best of our profession. He asked the best questions and then he listened for the answer. We became very close friends over the years. He delighted in scooping me and I felt the same way when I scooped him. When you slipped one past ol' Russert, you felt as though you had hit a home run off the best pitcher in the league. I just loved Tim and I will miss him more than I can say, and my heart goes out to his son, Luke, and his wife, Maureen."

"CBS Evening News" Anchor and Managing Editor Katie Couric: "Tim Russert was so many different things. He was a big teddy bear of a guy. But he was also a pit bull of an interviewer. He always held people’s feet to the fire, often using their past words with great effect to reveal a flip-flop or hypocrisy. While he was incredibly tenacious, he always did it with great humanity and respect." (Click here to read Couric's full post in "Couric and Co.")

CBS News senior political correspondent Jeff Greenfield: "It was Tim's great gift to combine civility with tough-minded, relentless probing of a public figure's ideas and policies. He rarely if ever let the canned talking points go unchallenged. He invented the technique of putting the subject's words on the table, and insisting on pushing the guest into attempting to square the circle. He was as good as it gets."

CBS News "Early Show" Co-Anchor Harry Smith: "Man did Tim Russert love politics. He ate it, lived it and breathed it. His knowledge of it was organic, internal and genetic. It showed in his every broadcast, in his every debate appearance. He was not afraid, nor was he intimidated. And because he was so good at what he did, we were the beneficiaries. He was in that chair for us, and we were damned lucky he was."

ABC "World News" Anchor Charles Gibson: "Tim projected vitality -- always excited about the stories he covered and intrigued by the people he interviewed. That's what made him so good, and his passing so hard to absorb. His competitors -- just like his co-workers -- held Tim in the highest of regard."

ABC "This Week" Anchor George Stephanopolous: "Tim loved everything about politics and journalism -- because he believed in it. Every Sunday morning he brought that passion to his table and made all of us better. My thoughts and prayers are with his family -- especially Maureen, Luke and his father Russ."

President Bush: "Laura and I are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Tim Russert. Those of us who knew and worked with Tim, his many friends, and the millions of Americans who loyally followed his career on the air will all miss him. As the longest-serving host of the longest-running program in the history of television, he was an institution in both news and politics for more than two decades. Tim was a tough and hardworking newsman. He was always well-informed and thorough in his interviews. And he was as gregarious off the set as he was prepared on it. Most important, Tim was a proud son and father, and Laura and I offer our deepest sympathies to his wife Maureen, his son Luke, and the entire Russert family. We will keep them in our prayers."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: "I am very saddened by Tim Russert's sudden death. Cindy and I extend our thoughts and prayers to the Russert family as they cope with this shocking loss and remember the life and legacy of a loving father, husband and the preeminent political journalist of his generation. He was truly a great American who loved his family, his friends, his Buffalo Bills, and everything about politics and America. He was just a terrific guy. I was proud to call him a friend, and in the coming days, we will pay tribute to a life whose contributions to us all will long endure."

Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill.: "We all I think have heard the news about Tim Russert. I’ve known Tim Russert since I first spoke at the convention in 2004. He's somebody who overtime I came to consider not only a journalist but a friend. There wasn’t a better interviewer in TV, not a more thoughtful analyst of our politics and he was also one of the finest men I knew. Somebody who cared about America, cared about the issues, cared about family. I am grief stricken with the loss and my thoughts and prayers go out to his family. And I hope that even though Tim is irreplaceable that the standard that he set in his professional life and his family life are standards that we all carry with us in our own lives."

Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., and Former President Bill Clinton: "We were stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing today of Tim Russert. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Maureen, his son Luke, his father who we all have come to know as Big Russ, his extended family and all of his many friends and colleagues at NBC who have suffered a tremendous loss. Always true to his proud Buffalo roots, Tim had a love of public service and a dedication to journalism that rightfully earned him the respect and admiration of not only his colleagues but also those of us who had the privilege to go toe to toe with him. In seeking answers to tough questions, he helped inform the American people and make our democracy stronger. We join his friends, fans and loved ones in mourning his loss and celebrating his remarkable contribution to our nation."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.: "I was greatly saddened to learn of Tim Russert’s untimely death. Tim was a warm and gracious family man with a great zest for life and an unsurpassed passion for his work. His rise from working-class roots to become a well-respected leader in political journalism is an inspiration to many. Tim asked the tough questions the right way and was the best in the business at keeping his interview subjects honest. My thoughts are with his family."

Former GOP Presidential Candidate Mike Huckabee: "I join with other Americans in expressing both shock and grief with the news of Tim Russert’s untimely death. He was a significant figure in American politics, deeply respected, but also deeply feared by those who sat across his table on "Meet the Press." He was fair, but always relentless in his pursuit of truth and honesty from those who dared to lead the nation. His has been a commanding voice in public affairs and in many ways the E.F. Hutton of political talk. Our prayers go out to his family and we will all mourn the loss of his voice."

House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio: "Tim Russert was so much more than the longest-serving moderator in history of NBC's Meet the Press. He was a loyal and loving son. He was a devoted husband and father. He was one of the smartest, toughest television news journalists of all time. And he was an astute student of American politics. I can say from experience that joining Tim on Meet the Press was one of the greatest tests any public official could face. Regardless of party affiliation, he demanded that you be straight with him - and with the American people who were watching. Tim's 'white board' analysis of the Electoral College has become a fixture on election nights, and frankly, it is difficult to imagine what that night will be like without him this year."

Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn.: "Tim Russert was the embodiment of journalistic integrity and clarity who shed light on how our politics and our government work. Tim became an American institution and the Explainer in Chief of our political life. I have very fond memories of Tim both on and off the air. He will be truly missed by all Americans and my prayers are with his family that he loved so much."

Rep. Dave Obey, D-Wis.: "Tim Russert's death is not just a body blow for NBC News, it is a body blow for the nation and for anyone who cherishes newsmen and women who have remained devoted to reporting hard news in an era increasingly consumed by trivia. He was a great newsman and a great human being."

Friday, June 13, 2008

RIP: Tim Russert (1950-2008)

NBC News has lost an icon as Tim Russert died of a heart attack at the age of 58.
Tim Russert, NBC News’ Washington bureau chief and the moderator of “Meet the Press,” died Friday after being stricken at the bureau, NBC News said Friday. He was 58.

Russert was recording voiceovers for Sunday’s “Meet the Press” broadcast when he collapsed, the network said.

He had recently returned from Italy, where his family was celebrating the graduation of Russert’s son, Luke, from Boston College.

No further details were immediately available.

Russert was best known as host of “Meet the Press,” which he took over in December 1991. Now in its 60th year, “Meet the Press” is the longest-running program in the history of television.

But he was also a vice president of NBC News and head of its overall Washington operations, a nearly round-the-clock presence on NBC and MSNBC on election nights.

He was “one of the premier political journalists and analysts of his time,” Tom Brokaw, the former longtime anchor of “NBC Nightly News,” said in announcing Russert’s death. “This news division will not be the same without his strong, clear voice.”

In 2008, Time Magazine named Russert him one of the 100 most influential people in the world.

Timothy John Russert Jr. was born in Buffalo, N.Y., on May 7, 1950. He was a graduate of Canisius High School, John Carroll University and the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law. He was a member of the bar in New York and the District of Columbia.

Senate staffer before entering journalism
After graduating from law school, Russert went into politics as a staff operative. In 1976, he worked on the Senate campaign of Daniel Patrick Moynihan, D-N.Y., and in 1982, he worked on Mario Cuomo’s campaign for governor of New York.

Russert joined NBC News in 1984. In April 1985, he supervised the live broadcasts of NBC’s TODAY show from Rome, negotiating and arranging an appearance by Pope John Paul II, a first for American television. In 1986 and 1987, Russert led NBC News’ weeklong broadcasts from South America, Australia and China.

Of his background as a Democratic political operative, Russert said, “My views are not important.”

“Lawrence Spivak, who founded ‘Meet the Press,’ told me before he died that the job of the host is to learn as much as you can about your guest’s positions and take the other side,” he said in a 2007 interview with Time magazine. “And to do that in a persistent and civil way. And that’s what I try to do every Sunday.”

Cuomo, Russert’s onetime boss, wrote of Russert: “Most candidates are not eager to present themselves for Tim’s incisive scrutiny, which is fed by his prodigious study and preparation. But they have little choice: appearing on ‘Meet the Press’ is today as vital to a serious candidate as being properly registered to vote.”

Russert wrote two books — “Big Russ and Me” in 2004 and “Wisdom of Our Fathers” in 2006 — both of which were New York Times best-sellers.

Tom Brokaw:

David Gregory:

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Apatow names movie Funny People, gets more cast members

Variety has an update on the casting of Funny People
Judd Apatow has rounded out the cast and picked a title and start date for his next directing vehicle.

Eric Bana, Jason Schwartzman and Jonah Hill have joined the ensemble of Funny People, which will be co-financed by Universal Pictures and Columbia Pictures, with Universal distributing worldwide next summer.

Apatow set Adam Sandler, Seth Rogen and Leslie Mann in the comedy earlier this year (Daily Variety, March 10).

The filmmaker, who last wrote and directed Knocked Up, was deliberately vague about subject matter, allowing only that the movie takes place in the world of standup comedy and the focus is on a comedian who has a near-death experience.

Obama's birth certificate?

Seriously, do I really need to recieve twenty emails telling me to write Sen. Obama and have his campaign release his birth certificate? Well, there is good reason for him to do so...and while there is good reason, it could also be damaging to his campaign but not because of current law but United States law at the time of his birth.

Check out Campaign Spot:
Rumor one: Obama was born in Kenya. Rather unlikely, as it would require everyone in his family to lie about this in every interview and discussion with those outside the family since young Obama appeared on the scene. However, if it were true, it would probably raise a major question of “does he qualify as a natural-born citizen”? If Obama were born outside the United States, one could argue that he would not meet the legal definition of natural-born citizen under because U.S. law at the time of his birth required his natural-born parent (his mother) to have resided in the United States for “ten years, at least five of which had to be after the age of 16.”

Ann Dunham was 18 when Obama was born – so she wouldn’t have met the requirement of five years after the age of 16.

(Interestingly, apparently there isn’t much paperwork on Obama’s parents’ marriage. Obama: From Promise to Power, page. 27: “Obama later confessed that he never searched for the government documents on the marriage, although Madelyn (Obama’s maternal grandmother) insisted they were legally married.” Also note that Obama’s father apparently was not legally divorced from his first wife back in Kenya at the time, a point of contention that ultimately led to their separation.)
Here is their follow up to the previous comments mentioned. Religion is not mentioned on the birth certificate itself but it would clear up whether Obama is QUALIFIED to serve as president under UNITED STATES LAW.

Sen. Obama, please, for the sake of the internet rumors, release your birth certificate. I don't need forty more emails asking me to contact your campaign.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Presidential Endorsement 2008 Take 3

First, Bayh withdrew from the race. That led to waiting until September or October to endorse Clinton. Now that Clinton is out of the race, I've decided that I no longer have any candidate in this race that I can enthusiastically support like I could with Bayh and Clinton, so as such, I will not be blogging any further on Indecision 2008.

Interesting Marvel Action

As the world awaits The Incredible Hulk, director Louis Leterrier let it be known that he would love to direct another Hulk film. I'm hearing so much positive vibes about this new one and make sure to stay for the SCENE AFTER THE CREDITS.
"I'll do another 'Hulk' movie any day of the week. I love it! I love the character, I love the TV show. I love that he's an anti-hero," Leterrier told us exclusively.

"It starts with a great story and great cast. If you like movies, you'll like 'Hulk,'" he added.

When asked how this movie is different from Ang Lee's 2003 big screen version, he said, "It's very different, [but] not because it has to be different because I love Ang's movie. I think Ang's movie is a superb movie and I felt comfortable taking on the task. At first it was really daunting and I was really afraid because Ang is an amazing director. I wanted to do the compliment of what Ang has done so it's faster and more action."

In addition to wanting to direct another "Hulk" film, Leterrier would be up for The Avengers as well.

"I'll direct anything that Marvel puts out. I'm going to be camping out at the Marvel office to direct anything they want," he said.
Leterrier also spoke with G4 and brought up mention of another Marvel super-hero.

It's already obvious that Marvel is doing these as a mix between the 616 and the Ultimate universe. The origin story in this one looks more like it's taken from the Ultimate universe.
With most of the Marvel superhero movies, they're adapting elements from the more streamlined and modern Ultimate universe rather than the regular universe. Sam Jackson as Nick Fury was an indication of this (and even Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark in that movie was closer to the Ultimate version). In the upcoming The Incredible Hulk, they're borrowing the origin of the Ultimate Hulk.

One of the efforts to make the Ultimate universe more streamlined was the way they linked other heroes' origin to Captain America. Hulk was a result of Bruce Banner trying to recreate the long-lost Super-Soldier serum that made Steve Rogers Captain America. Norman Osborn also tried to recreate the serum, ending up with one that turns him into the Green Goblin, which is also the same serum that was injected into the spider that bit Peter Parker.

The new batch of Marvel's independently financed movies will see an attempt by them to closely connect all their movies, leading up to the Avengers movie in 2011. They're already planting seeds to lead up to the Captain America movie in both The Incredible Hulk and Iron Man. In Iron Man, Captain America's shield can be seen in Tony Stark's garage.
Expect another reference to Captain America in the new Hulk film!

Jukebox Holds it In debuts the video for "Hold it In," a song from Jukebox the Ghost. The video was directed by Matthew Thompson. The band's pianist, Ben Thornewill, is a graduate of Ballard High School. If I knew how to embed it here, I would.

Jukebox the Ghost "Hold It In" OFFICIAL from Guy Manly on Vimeo.

McCartney says see ya

Al Franken's bid to take a Senate seat became closer to reality over the past week as the Minnesota Democratic Party endorsed his candidacy.
Comedian Al Franken won the backing of Minnesota’s Democratic Party Saturday to challenge Republican Norm Coleman for his Senate seat in the fall.

Franken’s unanimous endorsement comes after weeks of bad press stemming from some of his sexually explicit satirical writings and sketches on “Saturday Night Live” as well as questions about his tax returns.
As if some of the things that politicians say these days don't fall under the category of comedy or satire? Show me a candidate whose under fire and I'll show you ten politicians that have betrayed their constituents with deceptive lies. Why do you think I took myself out of the field as a possible candidate someday? I'm bloody sick of the corruption that still exits whether you accept it or not. It's out there.

Once again, the BBC goes with propoganda over objective reporting.

Wearing a kippot 24/7 is no easy decision.

Making war movies these days can be very impossible given the low numbers at the box office but someone has to do it, right?

It cannot be, can it? Sir Paul McCartney is set to go into semi-retirement as far as touring the world goes?!? I'll be buying those tickets on ebay or stub-hub, or whereever I can get my hands on them. You cannot pass up the opportunity to see Paul McCartney, a member of THE BEATLES, in person for at least one time in your life.
Paul McCartney's next world tour will be his last - so he can spend more time wi th daughter Beatrice.

The former Beatle is about to announce plans for a colossal two-year tour. The huge string of dates, starting this autumn, will be one of the biggest rock tours of all time. Macca is expected to make £110million from the planned 100 gigs - more than £1m per show.

It will be his biggest tour since 1989-90 when he played 108 shows in Europe, the US, Japan and Brazil.

The tour will be in stages, taking in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia. The first dates will be announced in the next few weeks.

Beatrice, four, will join her dad - 66 this month - for sections of the tour.

Macca revealed his plan to close friends and family last weekend at his triumphant City Of Culture gig in his home town of Liverpool.

A source said: "Paul explained that this tour will be the last big one. He wants to settle down and enjoy Beatrice's childhood.

"The tour will be the last time he performs in many parts of the world. Beatrice and his family life are going to come first. He does not want to be away for months at a time."
Jason Segel talks about the new Muppets movie.

And go see You Don't Mess with the Zohan. Despite some negative reviews by critics, this movie was great. Adam Sandler, Rob Smigel, and Judd Apatow delivered yet another hit. I loved it. But then again, that would be a natural because well, you should know by now.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tobey Maguire to return as Spider-man?

J.K. Simmons spoke with IESB about returning to play J. Jonah Jameson in future installments of Spider-Man. He definitely sounds interested and what's more is that Tobey Maguire sounds interested.
IESB: So we know that James Vanderbilt just turned in a script for Spiderman 4 have they reached out to you yet or anything?
JK: We, sort of, check in once in a while, they say, y’know, we want JK to do it. We don’t know where. We don’t know when. We don’t know who. We don’t know anything, y’know? They signed all of us for the first three films. Sam, Tobey, all the way down the line to me and, we’ll see where it goes. I also, I mean, it's all conjecture and you guys probably know more than I do at this point. There was talk of doing four and five concurrently and I don’t know if they’re still considering that or not and, y’know, I spoke to Tobey in, I guess it was February…sort of awards season time and, y’know, he’s certainly amenable to doing some more and hopefully we’ll be able to get everybody back and make another good one.

IESB: Or a couple of them?
JK: Couple, three, four, five! Whatever, you know, I could buy a bigger house.

IESB: What if Sam decides not to come back as a director but stays as a producer, would you guys still be-
JK: Well-

IESB: Would you and the rest of the gang still come back.
JK: Well, I can only speak for myself, but, if Sam were not the director but was, still had a hand in it then I would certainly have a reasonable amount of faith in it. You know? Obviously if he’s the director I’m there a 100%. If he’s not involved at all, which I think is VERY unlikely, then it would be a situation that I would have to think about. But if he’s involved, hopefully directing or at least as a producer then I’m pretty confident that it would be something that I want to do. Plus they pay money.
In a related note, Sam Raimi updates us on the films.
"James Vanderbilt is writing the script and I'm excited to read it. I think it's going to be done in a few months," Raimi told us, adding, "I'm hoping it's as great as our discussions were about it and I'm hoping it feels right for me because I love Spider-Man. I'm hoping I'm well rested enough to embrace it and I'm hoping Sony wants me to do it. If all of those things come together, I would love to do it. There are a lot of unknowns about the future."

Jon Favreau talks about Iron Man 2 and some of the other Marvel films.
IESB: Are you still working on [Iron Man] DVD stuff?
JF: Yeah, we are going to do a commentary. I just got delivered a whole bunch of extras that look really, really good. We had cameras on the set all the time. They put together something for ‘Iron Man’ that spans from the first story meetings, to designing the suit, all the way through mixing it up at Skywalker Ranch, through the premiere. There are hours and hours of great stuff that will be available eventually. We have to look over all of that stuff so there is still a lot of work to be done. Then there is trying to figure out where the hell we are now and what we are doing.

IESB: Would you launch into another two year movie after this?
JF: Yeah, I would do it. Hopefully we’ll figure out how to get ‘Iron Man 2’ going and I’ll be involved with that. You have got to out do what you did before. So, if the last one took two years, we would need at least that to do what we are talking about, or at least thinking about. Nobody knew about ‘Iron Man’, and that was a disadvantage in some ways, but nobody expected anything. I think people were pleased based on the fact that they had no preconceptions about the project. Now, we have a movie that people seem to like and you can’t give them less. You have to give them more. There are challenges that come with that as well as the benefit of people already understanding who he is and the character. We told the origin story so where do you go from here? There are plenty of story lines to explore from the 40 years of history from that character.

IESB: Have you chosen anything?
JF: No, we haven’t. I haven’t been hired to do it yet. I know that Robert and I have talked a lot about what types of things we would like to do, and how to play into the strengths of what we discovered last time around. I look forward to rolling up my sleeves. Hopefully that won’t be too long in coming.

IESB: Kevin Feige said that he was pretty confident that you guys would get something going pretty quickly. Peter Billingsley said the same thing as well.
JF: Yeah, Kevin is just a gem of a guy. He really walked the line very well of being the guy who is in charge of movies, and the studio, as well as being my producer and somebody who oversaw the way that the source material was being dealt with. That is a lot of hats for a guy to wear. It was a fairly new position for him. I don’t think that he has ever had the responsibility he had on ‘Iron Man’ before. I know that he has worked on ‘The Hulk’ since then, but its great to have a mix of somebody who respects the source material and doesn’t just treat it like something you can use or discard as you see fit, and was very supportive in getting us what we needed to make a good movie. The casting of Robert, the visual effects budget, working with the right vendors, but he had a very high standard of quality control in the film. He was also very helpful in helping me understand the genre, and what people expect from it, while still giving Robert and I the room to have a very different take on the material. We broke a lot of the rules that the genre normally has. We have all been rewarded for taking the chances that we did.[...]

IESB: I know that Samuel L. Jackson talked about expanding Nick Fury’s role for a second film.
JF: Oh, good.

IESB: So, it’s news to you?
JF: I’m not in the loop on that unfortunately. I think that Marvel has their hands full right now. They have another big movie coming out right now, with ‘The Incredible Hulk’, and that’s coming out in a couple of weeks. I know from when I was in that position on ‘Iron Man’ a lot of the heavy lifting for the studio comes in at this stage in the game. They are partnering up with Universal trying to figure out how to roll out the marketing campaign for that, so a lot is riding on that film. I know that they are done creatively working on it, but that is only have the game, so I think right now it’s a small studio. There are not a lot of people and I’m sure they have their hands full on that one. Hopefully when the dust settles everybody will be ready to get their head in the game and try to make some more movies.

IESB: It’s obvious that in the Hulk there is the super soldier serum and Captain America’s shield in your film. So, is there a story there already with Captain America that you guys will put in?
JF: Yeah, truth be told it’s more like instinctively we are gravitating towards combining certain properties, but you don’t really discover how that happens until you roll your sleeves up and get into the story telling. You do casting. There are a lot of ideas floating around. We will have conversations as we all gather and paw the ground in the parking lots. We’ll kick rocks around and start having conversations where we let our imaginations go wild. It’s not like we’ve sat down with a dry erase board and wrote through the whole line of stories. For me I’m pretty confident about who Iron Man is, what that character is, and what the rules of that world are. Maybe Marvel knows, but I have no idea how you relate that reality to the reality of Thor, which seems like a very different set of rules to that universe. Captain America I get, I understand how that would relate, or The Hulk. Especially if you are working towards the idea of doing ‘The Avengers’ how do you make those worlds all feel consistent with one another in the look of the film, the casting of the film, and then the look of the visual effect.

IESB: I guess you will just have to direct all of them.
JF: [laughs] I would love to. Clearly I have stated that ‘The Avengers’ would be fun. But I look at their release schedule and they have announced ‘Iron Man 2’ for 2010 and then ‘Avengers’ for 2011. I know from experience there is no way I could. I don’t know what they have in mind, but there is no way that ‘The Avengers’ could be done in a year. Either they are thinking about somebody else doing it or they have something up their sleeve that I don’t know. I know these movies take time to get right. I know that you have to have a good script. You have to understand where you are headed when you go into it, otherwise you are relying on blind luck and hard work. It’s good to have a game plan, especially at this stage in the game, it’s important to understand where all of this is going. All of these properties are working together and I know Kevin has been very diligent about trying to keep a consistency. I will look forward to having these conversations with the guys at Marvel, to laying out all the puzzle pieces and seeing how they fit together.

IESB: 2010 is pretty soon if you think about it. Is it just an understanding with Robert, you, and everyone just knows it will be a five year thing and you launch into it?
JF: I don’t know how that works. I’ve never worked in that world before. I have never done a sequel to a film, nor have I in the past worked on anything where a sequel felt organic. I think it’s the nature of ‘Iron Man’ because it comes from a serialized piece of source material, that it does lend itself to having sequels. It’s all new ground for me, it’s new ground for Marvel, although they have been partnered up and done sequels with other studios. There are a lot of different approaches you could take. Hopefully we end up going for a sequel that is going to be bigger and better than the first one. That’s not always the case with sequels. Sometimes you end up trying to do just rush, and hit a release date. Hopefully this sequel will be driven by the material and driven by good ideas. I think that is what got Marvel the success that they have had as an independent studio. I have no doubt that they are going to continue with that philosophy of letting the source material, and the quality of the story, dictate all the other decisions. They are not shackled down by what a normal studio, with a release schedule, has to contend with.

IESB: But the team is pretty much the same?
JF: I know that all the actors are definitely in active negotiations. All of that has been agreed to, which is really encouraging, because I think the cast was a big part of the success of that as much if not more than ‘Iron Man’ the character. I think that as long as you got all those people together, and you have a solid take on the material, then I expect great things.

IESB: ‘Demon in a Bottle’?
JF: Yeah, I mean that one is definitely brought up a lot. How do you handle ‘Demon in a Bottle’ and when does it come in? I think it happened in the 80’s, which was 20 years after the first ‘Tales of Suspense’ so when do you play that card? When do you play the ‘Demon in a Bottle’ card? We sort of tip our hat to it, and certainly there is a lot to be mined there, but it’s all a puzzle. How does it fit in? ‘Demon in a Bottle’ also relates to ‘War Machine’ and James Rhodes’s arc. What villains are you dealing with and how much effort do you put into revealing a whole set of characters. We really spent most of the time dealing with Tony in this one, explaining who he is, and why he is the way that he is so that now ‘Iron Man’ comes to life. You then have to reveal, I think, some heavy duty, heavy weight bad guys that you could then counter balance this incredibly powerful super hero.

IESB: You introduce ‘The Ten Rings’...
JF: We have ‘The Ten Rings’ in there, but the Mandarin is still there. I’m glad that we didn’t try to attack the Mandarin the first time around. There is a lot that is very relevant about that character, in the pool of the landscape that we find ourselves in, but there is something off putting and distasteful about the way that the Mandarin had been presented back in the 60’s. I don’t think that is relevant anymore. How do you maintain the core spirit of what makes that villain so formidable without having something that either seemed out of our reality, as far as what his abilities are, or the way he is depicted.

IESB: In ‘Demon in a Bottle’ there weren’t really a lot of villains. It was when Tony realized he wants to be Iron Man again James was like ‘I don’t think so.’
JF: So you have to create. I also want to see what other movies are doing. It seems that ‘Hancock’ is dealing with a lot of those issues too. The comic book fans might see ‘Demon in a Bottle’ as a fresh story line but I haven’t seen ‘Hancock’ yet. From what I’ve seen it seems there is a lot of imagery that seems to be shared. Him flying through billboards and things. The idea of the hero whose biggest enemy is himself, and him fighting through his demons, you want to come at the audience with something fresh. You don’t want to feel like you are echoing something that somebody else is doing. I think you have to look at the comics, look at what else Marvel is doing, but then you have to look at the landscape of super hero films. There are so many out there. I think that part of the reason that ‘Iron Man’ was so successful was that we really chose to break new ground in a new area tonally, cast wise, the way we depict the hero, what his abilities are. It felt fresh in a genre that is beginning to feel stale if it’s not done with the proper amount of inspiration and a strong voice or tone. I think as the summer roles out, and I’m really curious about ‘The Dark Knight’ to be honest with you. That was this looming presence that we knew was going to be a great film. I have no doubt that it’s going to be phenomenal. I think our big saving grace was the fact that we had a couple of months between that film and us and there was room for both of us. We weren’t fighting for shelf space. Even though we weren’t going head to head, it was very clear that we could not take this character that on paper could seem very similar to Batman, and I have no doubt that just the inception of ‘Iron Man’ was a reaction to the DC. It was definitely borrowed a lot from DC because here you have the billionaire bachelor guy, who was struggling with inner conflict, and he has no super powers. He invents his own suit and his abilities come from himself. He’s a self-made hero. We had to really steer clear of everything that ‘The Dark Knight’ was doing. I have tremendous respect for their cast, for [Christopher] Nolan, and so I want to see what they do. I definitely don’t want to fight for the same territory as them. There is plenty of room to tell these stories. As a fan I’m really looking forward to it and I have a lot of respect for the way they approach the material too. He has no second unit on his films. He does all the directing himself. If they are going to do some IMAX work then they shoot it in IMAX. He put together a cast in a way that broke ground for me to be able to use the cast that I did. They made sure the script was perfect before they started shooting it and that’s not typical for all super hero films. A lot of times they just throw them together and try to do them as inexpensively as they can. They try to chase the poster and chase the date. They put a lot of care into that film. I’m looking forward to see how it pays off. From everything I’ve seen so far my hat is off to them. I look forward to checking that film out. I have something to talk about, so that’s pretty kick ass.
Speaking of other Marvel films, Lou Ferrigno talks about the new Hulk film due out next Friday.
IESB: Are you excited about “The Incredible Hulk?
Lou Ferrigno: I am very excited about the premier this coming Sunday. I was very happy to do the voice, because this particular movie will be leaning more towards the TV series. I am very happy to be involved with Edward Norton, and my favorite great director Louis Leterrier. People might think it’s cool. I think it could be a huge hit.

IESB: After all these years doing the “Hulk”, do you have a preference on how the Hulk is being depicted?
Lou Ferrigno: Well, I haven’t seen the movie. But I think it’s nice that the Hulk is nine feet tall instead of forty feet tall. I think Ang Lee did a great job, and that was more like the comic book. But this new one is more like the TV series. You have the cat and mouse chase. And I think the Hulk is more sympathetic. I was glad to be doing the voice, because the character will now be more believable.
And in movie title news, Michael Bay's Transformers' sequel will be named Transformers 2: Revenge of the Fallen.

St. Louis Draft Action - Day 1

Day one of the MLB Draft is complete and here's who my beloved St. Louis Cardinals selected in the first six rounds.
13. Brett Wallace, 3B, Arizona State University (JR)
Drawing rave reviews for his work in the box, he's one of the best hitters in college and perhaps in the entire Draft class. His unbelievable plate discipline will undoubtedly be attractive to some teams, though it's unlikely he'll play anything but first as a pro. He could be the kind of Major Leaguer who hits .300 with 25 homers and a high OBP annually.
39. Michael Lynn, RHP, University of Mississippi (JR)
Lacking great pure stuff, Lynn is a level behind the elite college arms in this Draft class. But he makes the most out of his average offerings with excellent command, a knowledge of how to pitch and a real competitive streak on the mound. He's done a good job of maintaining his weight this year and will have to continue to do so as a pro. He won't wow you, but he's the type who could be a solid innings-eater who presumably won't take long to be big-league ready.
59. Shane Peterson, OF, Cal State - Long Beach (JR)
A fairly good athlete, Peterson has shown the ability to hit for average in college, but it's unclear whether his approach will work at the pro level. There have been glimpses of power in BP, but not in games, lending some to wonder if he's got enough pop to play first or a corner outfield spot as a pro. Defensively, he's fine at either position with enough arm for right. How much power people think he'll develop later on could determine how quickly he gets taken.
91. Ernest Vasquez, SS, Durango HS (NV)
Vasquez played in his first game of the season at the end of March because he was academically ineligible. When he's on the field, he shows a bat that could translate into a .270 hitter with 20-25 home run pop down the line. He has well below-average speed, which turns some off when considering him as a shortstop, but he's got the arm and the actions to stay there for now. If he fills out, he could handle a move to third, both with the glove and what's expected from that position offensively, in the future.
125. Scott Gorgen, RHP, UC Irvine (JR)
Gorgen's combination of stuff, command and makeup in a different package would be flying up Draft charts everywhere. But as a stocky "undersized righty," he'll have to fight an uphill battle to get the recognition he probably deserves. There are always teams who look outside that certain box, and his ability to throw three pitches -- fastball, curve, changeup -- for strikes to go along with a terrific work ethic should entice one of them to take him.
155. Jermaine Curtis, 3B, UCLA (JR)
After an All-Star campaign in the Cape League last summer, there were some high expectations for Curtis. He hasn't lived up to them, struggling at the plate to hit the ball with the same authority he has in the past. He doesn't have the arm to stay at third and would profile better at second at the next level. He'll have to get out of his funk in order to go as highly as anticipated when the season began.
185. Eric Fornataro, RHP, Miami Dade CC South

Wildcat Draft Action

The University of Kentucky Wildcats baseball program had a school record set for players drafted in the first five rounds of the draft.
Pitcher Scott Green and outfielders Sawyer Carroll and Collin Cowgill became the first three Kentucky players drafted in the top five rounds in program history, with Carroll and Green marking the highest drafted UK duo since 1992.

The Detroit Tigers nabbed Green with the 99th pick in the third round, Carroll was picked by the San Diego Padres in the supplemental third round with the 111th pick, and Cowgill with the 168th pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth round.[...]

Green becomes the third Wildcat to be selected by the Detroit Tigers in the last three years, joining Strieby and 2006 senior leader, Michael Bertram. Green, a 6-foot-8, 245-pound righty, appeared in 20 games with eight starts in 2008, earning a 6-4 record and a 4.76 ERA, striking out 64 in 56.2 innings, adding two saves. Green helped lead the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League to the league title in the summer, going 3-1 with a 1.56 ERA in nine games and eight starts.

Green was picked for the first time in his career in 2007 by the Red Sox in the 15th round.

Carroll, a first-team All-America selection, led the Southeastern Conference with a .419 average, belting 19 home runs and driving in a school-record 83 RBI. Finishing his two-year career as Kentucky’s career record holder for batting average (.386), Carroll added 22 doubles and a club-high three triples in 2008, swiping 12-of-12 bases. Carroll, a native of Henryetta, Okla., drew 44 walks and struck out just 33 times in 2008. In 2007, Carroll led the SEC with 23 doubles, adding three homers and 56 RBI, functioning as UK’s everyday first baseman.

Carroll, a 6-foot-4, 215-pounder, was an 18th round selection of the Washington Nationals in 2007.

Cowgill had a monster season after redshirting in 2007 due to injury. A second-team All-American and first-team All-SEC selection, Cowgill hit .361 with 15 doubles, two triples and 19 home runs, driving in 60 RBI and swiping 23-of-27 bases. A five-tool player, Cowgill added seven outfield assists, five coming throwing runners out at the plate. Cowgill set a new UK season record, scoring 80 runs in 2008.

Before earning All-Star honors in the Cape Cod League during the summer, Cowgill was a 29th round MLB Draft pick of the Oakland Athletics in 2007.
UK also saw three of it's signees drafted in the first six rounds.
Three UK signees were also picked up early in the draft, pitchers Seth Lintz and lefty Lexington native Robbie Ross and infielder Corban Joseph. Lintz was picked No. 53 in the second round by the Milwaukee Brewers and Ross was selected No. 57 by the Texas Rangers later in the second round. Joseph, a middle infielder from Tennessee was selected by the New York Yankees in the fourth round with the 140th pick.
The draft will resume today at 11:30 AM.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

RIP: Bo Diddley (1928-2008)

This comes from the November 20, 1955 episode of The Ed Sullivan Show, where Bo Diddley, against Ed's wishes, performed "Bo Diddley" and got him banned from the show.

Bo was one of the founders of early rock and roll with the transition of blues to rock and roll. Bo was seen as a member of the Louisana Gator Boys in Blues Brothers 2000.

May Bo rest in peace.