Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ted Kennedy roundup

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) made a song in tribute to the late senator, Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy.

Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell joined in offering a tribute.
“It is with great sadness that Elaine and I note the passing of Senator Ted Kennedy, one of the giants of American political life, a longtime Senate colleague, and a friend.

“No one could have known the man without admiring the passion and vigor he poured into a truly momentous life. We send our deepest expressions of sympathy to Vicki, his children, and the entire Kennedy family.”
Jim Bunning:
"I am saddened by the death of Senator Ted Kennedy. America has lost one of its great public servants. Senator Kennedy was a political icon who served with great distinction and passion for nearly a half century in the United States Senate and whether I agreed with him or not, I always admired the way he fought for the issues he believed in. He will be greatly missed. Mary and I give our heartfelt condolences to Vicki and the entire Kennedy family."
Neither John Yarmuth or Ben Chandler have any sort of statements on their congressional websites.

President Barack Obama:
Michelle and I were heartbroken to learn this morning of the death of our dear friend, Senator Ted Kennedy.

For five decades, virtually every major piece of legislation to advance the civil rights, health and economic well being of the American people bore his name and resulted from his efforts.

I valued his wise counsel in the Senate, where, regardless of the swirl of events, he always had time for a new colleague. I cherished his confidence and momentous support in my race for the Presidency. And even as he waged a valiant struggle with a mortal illness, I've profited as President from his encouragement and wisdom.

An important chapter in our history has come to an end. Our country has lost a great leader, who picked up the torch of his fallen brothers and became the greatest United States Senator of our time.

And the Kennedy family has lost their patriarch, a tower of strength and support through good times and bad.

Our hearts and prayers go out to them today--to his wonderful wife, Vicki, his children Ted Jr., Patrick and Kara, his grandchildren and his extended family.
Joe Biden (though the date shows August 23rd as the day of the statement):
Well, Mr. Secretary, thank you and your staff for the privilege of being with you today on what, as I prepared last night, was to be a joyous occasion, announcing another step in the direction of energy independence. And you said the President made a wise choice. The wisest choice the President made was asking you to be -- I mean that sincerely -- to be the Secretary to the Department of Energy. You've assembled a first-rate staff, and you've taken on a role that is going to be a -- is going to, in large part, determine the success of these next three-and-a-half years, whether or not we make a genuine dent, genuine progress in moving toward an energy policy that can help America lead the world in the 21st century as it did in the 20th century.

Some suggest we're trying to do too much. But my response is, is there any possibility of America leading the world in the 21st century without a radically altered energy policy? It is not possible. And that charge has been given to one of the most remarkable men to serve in a President's Cabinet, a Nobel laureate who is as articulate as he is obviously bright, and a man who has assembled a staff that can corral the bureaucracy -- and we're all -- deal with bureaucracy, we're all part of it -- in a way that I haven't seen in awhile.

And I had planned on speaking to the Clean Cities Program as one of the several initiatives we have to begin to reshape our energy policy. But as if Teddy were here, as we would say in the Senate, if you'd excuse a point of personal privilege, I quite frankly think it's -- would be inappropriate for me to dwell too much on the initiative that we're announcing today and not speak to my friend.

My wife Jill, and my sons Beau and Hunter, and my daughter Ashley -- and I don't say that lightly, because they all knew Teddy, he did something personal and special for each one of them in their lives -- truly, truly are distressed by his passing. And our hearts go out to Teddy Jr., and Patrick and Kara, and Vicki, with whom I spoke this morning, and the whole Kennedy family.

Teddy spent a lifetime working for a fair and more just America. And for 36 years, I had the privilege of going to work every day and literally, not figuratively sitting next to him, and being witness to history. Every single day the Senate was in session, I sat with him on the Senate floor in the same aisle. I sat with him on the Judiciary Committee next -- physically next to him. And I sat with him in the caucuses. And it was in that process, every day I was with him -- and this is going to sound strange -- but he restored my sense of idealism and my faith in the possibilities of what this country could do.

He and I were talking after his diagnosis. And I said, I think you're the only other person I've met, who like me, is more optimistic, more enthusiastic, more idealistic, sees greater possibilities after 36 years than when we were elected. He was 30 years-old when he was elected; I was 29 years-old. And you'd think that would be the peak of our idealism. But I genuinely feel more optimistic about the prospect for my country today than I did -- I have been any time in my life.

And it was infectious when you were with him. You could see it, those of you who knew him and those of you who didn't know him. You could just see it in the nature of his debate, in the nature of his embrace, in the nature of how he every single day attacked these problems. And, you know, he was never defeatist. He never was petty -- never was petty. He was never small. And in the process of his doing, he made everybody he worked with bigger -- both his adversaries as well as his allies.

Don't you find it remarkable that one of the most partisan, liberal men in the last century serving in the Senate had so many of his -- so many of his foes embracing him, because they know he made them bigger, he made them more graceful by the way in which he conducted himself.

You know, he changed the circumstances of tens of millions of Americans -- in the literal sense, literally -- literally changed the circumstances. He changed also another aspect of it as I observed about him -- he changed not only the physical circumstance, he changed how they looked at themselves and how they looked at one another. That's a remarkable, remarkable contribution for any man or woman to make. And for the hundreds, if not thousands, of us who got to know him personally, he actually -- how can I say it -- he altered our lives as well.

Through the grace of God and accident of history I was privileged to be one of those people and every important event in my adult life -- as I look back this morning and talking to Vicki -- every single one, he was there. He was there to encourage, to counsel, to be empathetic, to lift up. In 1972 I was a 29 year old kid with three weeks left to go in a campaign, him showing up at the Delaware Armory in the middle of what we called Little Italy -- who had never voted nationally by a Democrat -- I won by 3,100 votes and got 85 percent of the vote in that district, or something to that effect. I literally would not be standing here were it not for Teddy Kennedy -- not figuratively, this is not hyperbole -- literally.

He was there -- he stood with me when my wife and daughter were killed in an accident. He was on the phone with me literally every day in the hospital, my two children were attempting, and, God willing, thankfully survived very serious injuries. I'd turn around and there would be some specialist from Massachusetts, a doc I never even asked for, literally sitting in the room with me.

You know, it's not just me that he affected like that -- it's hundreds upon hundreds of people. I was talking to Vicki this morning and she said -- she said, "He was ready to go, Joe, but we were not ready to let him go."

He's left a great void in our public life and a hole in the hearts of millions of Americans and hundreds of us who were affected by his personal touch throughout our lives. People like me, who came to rely on him. He was kind of like an anchor. And unlike many important people in my 38 years I've had the privilege of knowing, the unique thing about Teddy was it was never about him. It was always about you. It was never about him. It was people I admire, great women and men, at the end of the day gets down to being about them. With Teddy it was never about him.

Well, today we lost a truly remarkable man. To paraphrase Shakespeare: I don't think we shall ever see his like again. I think the legacy he left is not just in the landmark legislation he passed, but in how he helped people look at themselves and look at one another.

I apologize for us not being able to go into more detail about the energy bill, but I just think for me, at least, it was inappropriate today. And I'm sure there will be much more that will be said about my friend and your friend, but -- he changed the political landscape for almost half a century. I just hope -- we say blithely, you know, we'll remember what we did. I just hope we'll remember how he treated other people and how he made other people look at themselves and look at one another. That will be the truly fundamental, unifying legacy of Teddy Kennedy's life if that happens -- and it will for a while, at least in the Senate.

Mr. Secretary, you and your staff are doing an incredible job. I look forward to coming back at a happier moment when you are announcing even more consequential progress toward putting us back in a position where once again can control our own economic destiny.

Thank you all very, very much.

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy dead at 77

"For all those whose cares have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die."--Ted Kennedy, August 11, 1980.

Teddy may no longer be with us but his legacy lives on with the Kennedy family, the work he did in the Senate, and all those whose lives he had an impact on. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and constituents. May he rest in peace

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Pat O'Brien hired by SNL

In SNL news, they've made some hirings for their writing staff. One of the additions is Pat O'Brien, who was most recently seen at Second City appearing in the revue, America: All Better! O'Brien's final show was last Wednesday night.

Michael Patrick O’Brien, is now starring in the Second City production, ‘America All Better!,’ in the windy city, but will be heading to New York in the fall to write for NBC’s 35th season of SNL.

O’Brien performed with the Second City touring company and the iO team the Reckoning before joining the show’s cast. According to the Chicago Sun Times, O’Brien teamed with Peter Grosz, a writer with the famed ‘Colbert Report’ in a widely praised iO sketch group entitled Misled.
Charna broke the rules when Lorne Michaels was here to audition Chicago improvisers. For SNL's sake, I'm glad she did. See here.
Any time "Saturday Night Live" head man Lorne Michaels visits Chicago on a talent-scouting trip, he has one rule with iO founder Charna Halpern: Don't showcase an actor Michaels has already flown out to audition.

Halpern broke that rule when the "SNL" crew visited several weeks ago. She put up Michael Patrick O'Brien, an actor who performs with The Reckoning at iO and on Second City's Main Stage, in the showcase's opening slot.

"I thought long and hard about it and decided that if Lorne didn't hire [O'Brien] before, it was because he didn't get to see enough," Halpern said. "Lorne and Seth [Meyers] said they were glad I broke the rule."

O'Brien now has two weeks to pack for New York City, where he'll join "Saturday Night Live" as a writer.

"It's one of the reasons we all sign up for that first improv class," O'Brien said, "to be on that show one day."[...]

After the iO talent showcase in late July, O'Brien was flown out to audition at 30 Rockefeller Plaza. O'Brien stood on the same monologue stage as Will Ferrell, Bill Murray and Gilda Radner, and performed his "5 minutes" -- the standard set of characters and impersonations sketch comedians prepare.
Tim Baltz has since been promoted to Mainstage.

Pat can be found in Pratkour:

Monday, August 24, 2009

B.J. Novak speaks on Jewish comedy

A.V. Club:
AVC: Have you always wanted to be a comedy writer?

BJN: I always wanted to be a writer. I took for granted that I was funny, because I was in a funny family. I didn’t think being funny was a great skill. I thought I would rather be cool, I would rather be great at baseball or something. I thought being funny was just like your eye color or how tall you were. When I looked more strategically at how I would become a writer, I thought comedy would be my way in, and then I’d gravitate toward whatever I really wanted to write, in the end. The more I did it, the more special it felt, and the more bored I felt writing things that didn’t have comedy. And also, I think people underrate comedy’s relation to the rest of writing. Star Trek was a movie this summer where the secret ingredient was wit. And you don’t necessarily have to be writing a comedy to benefit from good comedy writing. The Office is less a comedy than so many other “comedies” that have been on the air. It’s really about the balance between what is real and what is comic. Now I’m going on a tangent, but I started out thinking comedy would be my path to writing, and then as I got into that, I realized, “Well, either this is my calling or it’s all comedy,” or something like that.[...]

AVC: Your father literally wrote the book on Jewish comedy. Growing up, did you have a sense of the distinction between Jewish comedy and non-Jewish comedy?

BJN: I maybe thought I did. [Laughs.] But I don’t think so. I would read his book, The Big Book Of Jewish Humor, and I gravitated toward certain things that I think I could academically explain why I think they’re more Jewish humor than other things. But what I really took out of the book is, it had a lot of my favorite jokes in it.

AVC: One of the jokes from your stand-up act—“I was a double major: psychology and reverse psychology”—particularly sounds like a Woody Allen line.

BJN: I’m not an expert in other forms of comedy, so I don’t really know, but I do think something classic Jewish humor has as a thread is logic at the center. And what I was saying before about what I love about Michael in particular—and I don’t think the character’s being written with this in mind, it might just be something pre-existing about the character that I gravitate toward—is that there is such an elegance to the logic of a character like that, who sees the world that makes perfect sense from one angle, and is utterly absurd from another.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

That's an interesting way to go green...

This comes via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:
The spots urge citizens there to save water — by urinating in the shower.

The group, SOS Mata Atlantica, estimates that each household in Brazil could conserve 1,157 gallons of water annually by avoiding one flush a day.

The humorous spots, which are narrated by children, feature cartoon drawings of people from all walks of life — a basketball player, trapeze artist and even an alien — urinating in the shower.

The ads wrap with: "Pee in the shower! Save the Atlantic rainforest!"

No word yet on whether the flush-reducing movement is heading north to the United States.

But if it does, and if you see someone "going green" in the shower at your local gym, here's a fact worth knowing.

While peeing in the shower may sound sickening, experts maintain that from a health and safety standpoint, it's not.

"It's fine because urine is sterile. We have no bacteria or viruses in our urine, which is why if patients aren't feeling well, we can culture it," says Donna Duberg, assistant professor of clinical laboratory science at St. Louis University. "Plus, water from the shower and toilet end up in the same sewer line."

For years, people have used urine in unusual ways. Holistic experts swear that urinating on the feet will cure athlete's foot — a fungal infection. And Duberg points out that if urine is safe to drink — which a number of websites recommend for healthfulness — it's certainly safe to have squirting near your legs while the water is running in a shower.
I wonder if this will catch on in the states...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Contrary to the poor marketing for the movie, Bandslam, it's actually rather good. It's a music-driven comedy with an indie feel to it. I enjoyed it.

DHD has more on the mishap of the marketing department at Walden Media/Summit Entertainment. Here's an excerpt from a Bandslam insider that was on DHD:
Isn't there a story here? Death by marketing? A movie that gets 80% positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes -- 90% from top critics -- won't see the light of day because Summit consistently made some of the worst choices, and their core audience summarily dismissed the movie without seeing it based on their sale.

Start off with the fact that they chose BANDSLAM for a title instead of WILL. They thought WILL was too indie. But that’s what made this movie special. It was an indie voice wrapped up in a high concept. So, instead of selling it quirky and cool (a la Juno) they sold it on the Disney channel's Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Milchaka. Instead of selling the concept, band of outcasts like The Commitments, they Disneyfied this movie with glitter paint. So what is an ironic, smart script with a killer soundtrack was sold like High School Musical meets Phil Of The Future. Instead of embracing it for its quirky-ness, for its unique voice (Will, the lead, calls high school “Guantanamo Bay with a lunch period”) they flattened it out so it looked like everything else. There have been literally dozens and dozens of calls today and e-mails from heads of marketing at different studios saying this may be singly the worst job they've ever seen on a movie whose unique voice deserved to be heard through positioning, title, marketing tie-ins, and knowing your audience. But Rob Freidman and Summit infantalized their audience. They presumed that since HSM was a hit, and the same star was in their movie singing, they should just sell it the same way.
The movie did so poorly this weekend at the box office but it recieved great reviews. Over at Rotten Tomatoes, the movie has a rating of 81% on the tomatometer. Top critics combined for 89% with 16 fresh reviews. T-Meter critics had 81% with 66 fresh reviews.

The consensus:
Bandslam is an intelligent teen film that avoids teen film cliches, in an entertaining package of music and coming-of-age drama.
Do yourself a favor and go see this movie. You won't regret it.

Memoir title leaked....

Sarah Palin's memoir will be titled 500 Days of Winter, or How I Learned to Embrace the Polar Bear.

Wish me luck...

After six long years, the day has finally come. I will be auditioning for the conservatory program at SC next month. Wish me luck!

During the summer of 2003 when Bob Hope died, I checked out his book "Don't Shoot, It's Only Me!" from Louisville Free Public Library(an abbreviation I don't find myself saying all too much if any). After reading it, I gave thought to pursuing a career in stand-up, so I jotted some jokes down in a notebook and typed them up thereafter.

During the end of October, during Parents' Weekend at Bradley, my brother was scrolling through the student activities list on the Bradley website. I glanced over and saw there was an improv troupe. Being a big fan of SNL, and I have seen Whose Line many times, I decided to that I would start rehearsing with the troupe. I asked around to see if anyone knew anything about it. Just my luck, my RA was one of the founders.

The rest as they say is history...well, Ronald Reagan's death got me sidetracked but that led to getting in touch with then State Treasurer Jonathan Miller. So all through the fall of 2004, I was busy with helping out with the elections in Northern Kentucky.

Spring 2005 comes and it's an off year so I started a late night comedy talk show on campus in the style of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. That show lasted six episodes and sadly, all the footage is lost to this day. It sucks, too, because I scooped every one on Trey Grayson's decision to run for re-election for Secretary of State.

The year, 2005, was an off year in Kentucky politics for the most part.

Jack Black hosted SNL in December with musical guest Neil Young. That episode featured the digital short that changed the world: Lazy Sunday. I got the urge to start performing improv again. Then I find out that Mark Feuerstein and some friends made the west coast response, Lazy Monday. You guessed it, I started writing the lyrics to Lazy Tuesday.

So January 2006, I go into preproduction and start writing the lyrics.

On February 27, 2006, the world was forever changed as Lazy Tuesday entered the world wide web.

Over a year agao, I moved to Chicago to start taking classes at Second City. True, the economy has not been as cooperative as I would have preferred but when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. I guess that's what one would do.

I started improv classes this year and I will finally be auditioning for the Conservatory next month.

Here's a nice quote from Dan Aykroyd from Live from New York: "Oh listen, I’m a big fan of the show today. I look at Second City as being the B.A. program in comedy and improv and writing, and I look at Saturday Night Live as the masters program. And then after that point in life, you get your Ph.D. in whatever you go into. So I would say I probably have enough knowledge to teach a graduate-level course in film production now."

Were you expecting a big political news story?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Bayh on Climate Change

Evan Bayh is showing Barack Obama the problem that he has.
“Most senators aren't sheep.”

That may go down as Sen. Evan Bayh's most famous quotation.

It certainly encapsulates President Barack Obama's dilemma in trying to get a climate-change bill through Congress: He doesn't have all the Democrats firmly on board.

Bayh made his much-quoted observation in the context of whether he would block a filibuster if the underlying bill were something he disagreed with. His point was that he would take the matter on a case-by-case basis.

But the Hoosier's warning about independence applies to climate-change legislation and is now underscored by a recent letter he and nine other Democratic senators sent to the White House.

Bayh is seen as a critical, and by no means sure, vote on energy and climate-change legislation.

“As Congress considers energy and climate legislation, it is important that such a bill include provisions to maintain a level playing field for American manufacturing,” the senators wrote. “We must not engage in a self-defeating effort that displaces greenhouse gas emissions rather than reducing them and displaces U.S. jobs rather than bolstering them. Domestic manufacturers and the workers they employ can and must play a vital role in our nation's clean energy future.”

Twice considered as a possible Democratic vice presidential running mate and nearly a candidate for president last time, Bayh is navigating tricky political terrain as he approaches seeking re-election to a third term next year.

Indiana depends on coal for electricity. And, while many people may not realize it, the state has coal mines, too.

Coal, of course, is a leading cause of carbon emissions, which are targeted in the climate legislation passed by the House.

Bayh recently told Politico that he is concerned that Americans not be asked to make sacrifices that other major industrial (and polluting) nations such as China and India will not make.

“To ask the people of my state and our country to go through a lot of changes without meeting the goal we're trying to accomplish is not a place where we want to end up,” Bayh said.

He and the nine other senators wrote Obama that “any climate change legislation must prevent the export of jobs and related greenhouse gas emissions to countries that fail to take actions to combat the threat of global warming comparable to those taken by the United States.”

Look for Bayh to continue to play a central role in the climate-change debate when the Senate takes up the issue this fall.
Listen, I want the climate change crisis solved as much as anyone else does. At the same time, we can't force more Americans out of business during a slumping economy when there are more people that are unemployed than there are jobs available. The last thing we need right now is to send more Americans overseas.

I trust that Evan Bayh is doing the right thing.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Revised SEC media credential policy

Here's the section on blogging:
No Bearer may produce or disseminate in any form a “real-time” description or transmission of the Event in any manner that constitutes, or is intended to provide or is promoted or marketed as, a substitute for television or video coverage of such Event. Periodic updates of scores, statistics or other brief descriptions of the competition throughout the Event are acceptable provided that the Bearer conforms to the blogging policies separately published by the SEC, as such policies may be revised from time to time. Bearer agrees that the determination of whether a blog is a real-time description or transmission shall be made by the SEC in its sole discretion. If the SEC deems that a Bearer is producing a real-time description of the Event, the SEC reserves the right to pursue all available remedies against the Bearer including but not limited to the revocation of this Credential.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Major News on Monday

Stay tuned...

Quote of the Day

"UPS and FedEx are doing just fine. It's the Post Office that's always having problems."
--President Barack Obama, New Hampshire Town Hall Meeting, August 11, 2009


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Ramsey, Jurich issue statements

No comments on the moral clause in the employment contract though.

Prepared statements from U of President James Ramsey and Athletic Director Tom Jurich were distributed at the press conference.

“Regardless of the truth or falsehood of specific actions that have been attributed to the coach, he's clearly made errors in judgment that have come under intense public scrutiny. We can't ignore these errors in judgment, and the have saddened and disappointed me. As we try to teach our students, when you make a mistake, you admit it and right it as best you can.

“Coach has done that today,” Ramsey said in the statement. “We hope this closes this chapter; we're all ready to move on.”

Jurich's statement said: “I'm a million percent behind him … I expect Coach Pitino to be the head coach at the University of Louisville for a long time.

Jonathan Miller endorses Jack Conway for United States Senate

I just saw this on the facebook newsfeed under Jonathan's fan page.

Why I Am Supporting Jack Conway for the US Senate
By Jonathan Miller

Today, I am proud to announce that I am officially endorsing Attorney General Jack Conway in the 2010 race for the United States Senate in Kentucky.

We’ve decided to use an unusual approach to announce this endorsement. No formal stand-up press conference or paper releases. Instead, we are using a combination of Twitter, Facebook, the blogosphere, and email blasts to get the word out.

There is a message to this method.

This election is about who will lead the next generation of Kentuckians. This is a generation proficient in the new technologies of our Internet age. It is a generation committed to the timeless instruction to “love your neighbor as yourself.” And it is also a generation that is deeply committed to the future of our country: a return to a robust economy, access to affordable health care, respect for the great diversity of all Americans, and a commitment to our stewardship role to the planet.

I believe that Jack Conway is the right person to lead this next generation.

I am endorsing Jack Conway for the United States Senate because I believe he is the most qualified person to represent Kentucky in Washington. Jack’s record of protecting Kentucky children from cybercrimes, Kentucky seniors from elder abuse, and Kentucky’s consumers from fraud demonstrates his ability to tackle 21st century problems with traditional Kentucky values. That is why we need Jack Conway in the United States Senate, and why I am dedicated to helping him win.

I am very fortunate to be personal friends with all three major candidates in this race. I have been pleased to work with Lt. Governor Daniel Mongiardo in the Beshear Administration and proud that my endorsement in the 2007 race played a role in helping him secure that position. I know that he is a man who sincerely and passionately wants to make our home state an even better place for our children. I have known Secretary of State Trey Grayson since I served as his teaching assistant nearly two decades ago when he was an undergraduate at Harvard. He is a man of character and integrity who, like me, married way “up”—his wife Nancy is simply a wonderful human being.

But this race is not about personality and friendship. It is about vision and values. And I believe that Jack Conway has the best vision and the right values to lead Kentucky as a United States Senator. And significantly, Jack Conway will best represent the future of Kentucky – the next generation, Lisa and my two daughters, and his and Elizabeth’s new baby girl, Eva – through the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century.

Rick Pitino, Please Resign

Any respect that I gained back for Coach Rick Pitino following the public memorial service for the late Bill Keightley is gone following the news that broke last night.

What he did was wrong and he should resign.

Here's an excerpt from his employment contract.
6.1.2 Disparaging media publicity of a material nature that damages the good name and reputation of Employer or University, if such publicity is caused by Employee’s willful misconduct that could objectively be anticipated to bring Employee into public disrepute or scandal, or which tends to greatly offend the public, or any class thereof on the basis of invidious distinction.[...]

6.1.4 Employee's dishonesty with Employer or University; or acts of moral depravity; or conviction of a felony or employment or drug-related misdemeanor; or intoxication or being under the influence of a psychoactive substance when performing duties under this contract, when student athletes are present, when attending scheduled public events or appearances, or during media contacts.
These are grounds for firing. But will they fire him? I doubt it.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

RIP: Eunice Kennedy Shriver

My thoughts and prayers are with the Kennedy and Shriver families on the passing of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. May she rest in peace.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Board Games and Toys mean Money for Hollywood

With Hasbro, we've now seen the release of Transformers, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, and most recently, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.

With the board games and other card games, we've seen Clue: The Movie. Upcoming projects include Battleship (2011), Monopoly (in development), Candy Land, and Ouija to name a few.

But this one, I don't get, the View-Master.
It was recently announced that Transformers and Star Trek writers Alex Kurtzman and Robert Orci will be producing a film for DreamWorks based on the View-Master, the decades-old Fisher-Price/Mattel toy.[...]

"It's funny," Kurtzman says. "When we signed on to do Transformers, there was this incredibly cynical reaction to the idea that, 'Oh, it's just a toy line.' And I would hope that by now, people would know we would never walk into something if we didn't actually have a real story behind it. Without giving away any details about the story, certain toys should never be movies -- and certain toys should be. And I think we spent a lot of time talking about the difference between those."

"And it wasn't born in sin," Orci adds. "What happened was we had a friend who wrote on Fringe, Brad Caleb Kane, who had a pitch that he wanted to do this movie. He wasn't even thinking of View-Master. And then our company got a look at it and thought, 'We could actually connect this with View-Master,' who we know happens to be looking [for a movie idea]. So it wasn't like, 'Let's come up with a View-Master movie!' There was a great idea … there and it was perfect to marry with View-Master."

As for the fact that unlike G.I. Joe or the Transformers, the View-Master is not a character… well, the producers aren't too stressed about that.

"It depends on how you define character," Kurtzman says. "Because some characters are obviously human. Other characters are… The Enterprise is a character in Star Trek. But the Enterprise never speaks."

Friday, August 07, 2009


This week took a major hit with the tragic loss of John Hughes. Hughes was a filmmaker that defined a generation. Just look at his resume.

In other entertainment news, Judd Apatow spoke to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Q: What was the best advice you got?

A: That it would take seven years to become a good stand-up comedian. I think that was from Jerry Seinfeld. ... I was writing jokes for comedians to pay my rent, because I wasn't making any money doing stand-up. So I started selling jokes, and that turned into longer-term gigs writing people's acts with them. I wrote Roseanne's act for a year.[...]

Q: Most directors have six or seven projects on deck in their page. Yours is pretty much blank.

A: I've made an effort to slow down. We're shooting a movie called "Get Him to the Greek," which Nick Stoller wrote and directed and stars Jonah Hill and Russell Brand and P Diddy, Colm Meaney, Elisabeth Moss and Rose Byrne. That's shooting until the end of the summer, and then I don't have anything lined up.

Q: Your kids are in "Funny People." Are they allowed to see "Funny People"?

A: Actually, I am. I asked the editor to cut out everything bad in the movie that my 11-year-old can't see. So I have to look at it and see if it's OK.
Tim Meadows will forever be the Ladies' Man.
Tina Fey, doyenne of "30 Rock," also wrote and played your love interest in "Mean Girls." Are you still in touch?

Occasionally. I have talked to Tina, but through other people. Like, she'll send a message to me but through somebody else. ... You work with people for a long time and, you know, when you're away from them, you forget how well you guys got along, and then when you see them again, it's like no time has passed at all. Working on "Grown Ups" has been great because I've been friends with Adam and Chris Rock and Spade and Schneider and Colin Quinn for a long time, but yet I hadn't seen them all in years or months or whatever. I've been here for a week and it's totally back to the way it used to be.
Meet Aubrey Plaza.
"I went literally from doing nothing to getting all three in the same week," Plaza said. "It's kind of a crazy story, how all this stuff happened to me."[...]

Even before landing her role in "Funny People," Plaza, 25, was already working her way up the comedy food chain. A self-described "comedy nerd," she left her native Delaware for New York University in part to be near the Upright Citizens Brigade theater, a popular breeding group for young performers. She was an intern at "Saturday Night Live" before moving on to being an actual NBC page. She appeared in a series of online videos, including the popular faux-soccer-mom talk show "The Jeannie Tate Show." She can also be seen in the independent film "Mystery Team," which will be released in the fall.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Library damages

From the CJ:
The Main Library that was heavily damaged by Tuesday's flooding will remain closed until at least Labor Day.

And even then, the best hope is to get one floor open and have limited operations, using emergency mechanical systems, said Craig Buthod, Louisville Free Public Library director.

The Main Library at Third and York streets remained dark Thursday, after a fire Wednesday morning knocked out power throughout the entire facility. Buthod said library officials hoped to have power restored by Friday morning.

Buthod stood by his estimate of damage at the Main Library of $5 million, including about 50,000 books, dozens of computers, four elevators, three bookmobiles, extensive furniture and finishings, and all or most of the building's boilers, chillers, air handlers and other mechanical systems. Library computers system-wide remained out of commission.

Most of the 4 feet of water that flooded the basement had been pumped out by Thursday afternoon. Buthod said water Tuesday morning poured in from at least four places — down a ramp and into a garage, down elevator shafts from roof drains, through window wells and from backed up sewers. He said alarms sounded again and again but the rainwater “simply came in too quick.”

“I saw water go from 4 inches to 36 inches in less than 15 minutes,” Buthod said of the flooding.

John Hughes dead at 59

The movie director, John Hughes, died of a heart attack at the age of 59.

Hughes wrote the first three Home Alone movies, the first 5 Beethoven movies, National Lampoon's Vacation, National Lampoon's European Vacation, National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Pretty in Pink, Uncle Buck, and most recently, the story for Drillbit Taylor, to name a few.

He directed the following:
Curly Sue (1991), Uncle Buck (1989), She's Having a Baby (1988), Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987), Ferris Bueller's Day Off(1986), Weird Science (1985), The Breakfast Club (1985), and Sixteen Candles (1984).

John Hughes was to the 1980s what Judd Apatow is to this decade.


Please Vote!

Please vote for my cousin! You can vote once a day!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Release the List

Home Run King Hank Aaron wants the list released.
Hank Aaron wants the list of players who tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003 to be released.

In a wide-ranging interview Tuesday night with The Associated Press, the Hall of Famer said releasing the list would help Major League Baseball get past the so-called "Steroid Era." The list was supposed to remain anonymous and is now under court seal, but big names have continued to leak out.

"I wish for once and forever that we could come out and say we have 100 and some names, name them all and get it over and let baseball go on," the former home run king said. "I don't know how they keep leaking out. I just wish that they would name them all and get it over with."

Aaron also wanted to make a few other things clear.

No, he has not spoken with commissioner Bud Selig about banned Pete Rose being reinstated in baseball. But he does think it's time Rose, the career hits leader, be reinstated and voted into the Hall of Fame.

Rose agreed to a lifetime ban from baseball in 1989 after an investigation concluded he bet on the Cincinnati Reds to win while he was manager of the team.

"How long does a person have to die?" Aaron said. "I think the thing that bothers me is that he is missing out on a lot of things. He made a mistake. I don't know what else can be done, or what else can be said. I just think at some point he needs to start enjoying being a Hall of Famer."

Mother Nature likes Louisville in the water

What is it with Louisville that Mother Nature hates so much?!?

Three times in one year. Wind Storm. Ice Storm. Flash Flood.

A record amount of rainfall was dumped on Louisville on Tuesday.
A massive storm that forecasters had predicted would largely bypass Louisville instead dumped a record 6.5 inches of rain Tuesday morning, spawning flash flooding that filled streets, stranded motorists and knocked out electricity to thousands.

No deaths or serious injuries were reported, but emergency workers rescued nearly 200 people from the tops of cars and houses as water rose too fast for them to escape.

A second storm Tuesday afternoon dropped another inch of rain, causing more flooding.
“We just had entirely too much rain in too short a time,” said Bud Schardein, executive director of Louisville's Metropolitan Sewer District. “The system has just been overwhelmed.”

Floodwaters poured into homes and basements and engulfed Louisville's main public library, several area hospitals, horse barns at Churchill Downs and the University of Louisville campus, where some workers had to be rescued by boat.

And the problems may not be over, with more rain in the forecast.

“Any additional rain that's going to fall will add to the flash flooding,” Schardein said.[...]

About 20,000 LG&E customers lost power. Extra crews were brought in to deal with the outages, but officials said they might not get all power restored until Wednesday.

Thousands of books were destroyed by flooding at the Main Library downtown at Third and York streets, with preliminary damage estimated at $1million, Abramson said.

Ten kittens and a dog at the Metro Animal Services shelter on Manslick Road drowned when the building flooded. Officials evacuated 500 animals to the Kentucky Exposition Center.

A Northwest Airlink flight to Detroit from Knoxville, Tenn., had to land at Louisville International Airport about 6 p.m. Tuesday after a flight attendant and one passenger were injured by turbulence from a lingering storm system.

Abramson said that emergency officials responded quickly, and he took weather forecasters to task for indicating the storm would be less severe than it was.
“We've had the worst rainstorm ever in this community in a one-hour period,” Abramson said.

He added that the city probably will ask the state to seek federal disaster designation — which would make the city eligible for federal aid, including low-interest loans for homeowners to repair storm damage.

“I think you're going to see a lot of basements flooded,” Schardein said.

Gov. Steve Beshear pledged to provide “any and all assistance requested” to Louisville.

More rain is expected Wednesday but “hopefully, nothing like we went through,” said Mike Callahan with the National Weather Service in Louisville.[...]
It could have been much worse had MSD not made the upgrades that it did make after the flood of 1997.

The Derby Museum took a beating after it underwent a renovation.
Wendy Treinen, the director of communications, said the museum will be closed until at least Sunday, although tours of Churchill Downs and the backside will continue out of the track's Gate 1. She said there is no way yet to tell the extent of the damage to its historical collections, including books and research papers.

"We have a major mess on our hands," she said. "The sewer problem on the main floor through all the exhibit space, it's going to be a real problem for us and it's going to take some time."

Museum executive director Lynn Ashton and chief operating officer Sherry Crose said 30 people stood in water well over their ankles to form a human chain to get the historical collections to a higher floor or onto tables or higher shelves. The work was made harder after the elevator went out as the building lost power. Work continued until the light from the back-up generator ran out of power, they said.
Ashton said the basement had just undergone a $200,000 renovation and new shelving. She said boxes of merchandise for the gift shop were damaged, but the emphasis was on saving the irreplaceable.

"Everything on the floor level we were able to save," Ashton said late Tuesday afternoon as she waded through the basement with a flashlight to show the damage. "We just had a chain going. We'd go in one area and it was 'take it down, take it down, take it down'…. We were on a mission to save everything.'"

She said she didn't think they had lost anything of historical value but that some items sustained water damage and there is the worry of mold and mildew.