Woody Allen And His Other Hobby

If you are a fan of Woody Allen films, you are accustomed to the Dixie-style jazz that accompanies many of the soundtracks. And you are also aware that the great film talent has another very serious pursuit--playing clarinet with a group that gets together on a regular basis (you may remember he didn't accept his Best Direct Oscar because he was playing with the band that night in N.Y.).

After years of curiosity, I finally got to hear Woody Allen and His New Orleans Jazz Band as they performed tonight at Royce Hall at UCLA in Los Angeles to a sell-out crowd.

This was a polished, first-rate Dixieland jazz band which happens to have a very famous film actor-director-writer playing the clarinet parts. It was like listening to a live score being prepared for one of his movies.

It was delightful, comprehensive and highly professional.

Other than thanking the audience for coming at the beginning and introducing the
band members at the end, Woody focuses solely on being a member of the band made
up of piano, drums, banjo, trombone, trumpet and his clarinet.

Can he really play that thing? If he hadn't become a filmmaker,
he could be making a living as a top-rate clarinet player who
can handle some pretty dynamic solos.

Should you ever get a chance (I'd been waiting 40 years), you'll want to
see the musical side of Woody Allen.

Kim Jong Il is Not Ill Any More

It's easy to make fun of Kim Jung Il, the newly dead
dictatorial leader of North Korea. And that's what most
media is doing in the last few days since the announcement
of his death.

It's harder to think about the 25 million people that have
been enslaved in this Orwellian nightmare of a country.
Most can say nothing out of fear and many have been

When the TV and radio's only programming 24 hours a day
tells you how wonderful the great leader is; when anybody who
even criticized him or his father were thrown into re-education
camps where they were tortured and abused; when millions have
starved to death while he rewards himself with millions of dollars
of imported caviar and cognac every year; when people's lives
are watched by the minute by big brother in a police state with
absolutely no freedom...

it's easier to just ridicule the little dictator and not pressure
your own government into taking action to try and make
changes in that backwards society.

The new leader, his young son, will either be a psychotic maniac
just like his dad, or maybe he will want to make some long overdue
positive changes in this little piece of hell on earth.

What Baby Boomers Didn't See - Little Rascals

What Baby Boomers Didn't See - Little Rascals

A whole generation of baby boomer kids grew up watching "The Little Rascals"
on TV beginning in 1955 and continuing through the mid-60's.

They watched over and over, a syndicated package of 80 comedy shorts
produced by Hal Roach that were originally produced for movie theaters
and shown in-between movies during 1929 and 1939.

The shows that Baby Boomers saw on TV sent out an important message that
molded the character of that new generation.
White kids play with black kids and everybody is treated equally.

I watched the shows daily on WGN-TV Channel 9 in Chicago as kids
all over America did on their local station.

But apparently, our parents and their parents who were sitting in the
movie theaters in the 1930's saw "The Little Rascals" very differently.

For the first time, all 80 of the shorts have been recently been made
available on DVD in their original and unedited versions.

I have just watched one a night for 80 nights.

Some of them are quite shocking. Many of them have scenes that are
outright racist to the limit.

"I don't remember seeing that scene," I said to myself upon viewing these
for the first time since the early 1960's.

A little research explained everything.

Out of the 80 shorts that were syndicated to TV,
23 of them were heavily edited to remove racist content.
6 of them were so racist that they were removed from the
package in their entirety and never seen by a whole
generation of kids. One was never seen because it dealt with
the subject of divorce.

This means that almost one half of the original versions
were heavily edited or removed completely for racist content.

Before you say, "who cared enough in 1955 to remove racist content?,"
somebody at the syndication company was sensitive and smart enough
to do it. They made a conscious decision that a whole generation of
kids seeing these for the very first time were not going to see this
racist material.

However, the obvious is clear.

The parents of the baby boomers saw the originals in the movie theaters
and it served to reinforce bigoted and prejudice attitudes in that generation.

They probably did not realize that was happening, but it was.

A majority of the edited parts are quite shocking.

And it makes you wonder.

The original intentions were quite noble.

The Little Rascals was popular and still is to this day because it
shows kids just acting as kids.

It showed both white and black kids playing together, scheming together,
having old fashioned fun together and everybody treats each other equally.

At least that's what baby boomers saw.

Why they had to ruin it for the kids of the 30's with such racist material
left in is something to ponder. In that time and place, the studios must
have thought they were being funny and nobody said anything otherwise.

Otherwise, seeing the clothing, houses, cars and related styles of the 1930's
is just wonderful. And so is the fact that kids can play on the streets of a
big city without parents worrying about anything, kids not using profanity
non-stop, and all the rest.

The edited "Little Rascals" is still charming after 80 years.

Users Of The New iphone 4s Have Unknowingly Committed To Allowing Fox News/News Corp. To Hack Into Their Phones

AP News - Cupertino, CA
Users Of The New iphone 4s Have Unknowingly
Committed To Allowing Fox News/News Corp.
To Hack Into Their Phones At Anytime

By Michael Y. Park

In a recent much publicized meeting between
late Apple founder Steve Jobs and
Fox News/News Corp. CEO
Rupert Murdoch, an agreement was reached
that will allow Fox News and News Corp. to
hack into the phones of anybody that signed up
for the newest version of the popular device.

However, the details were contained in such

tiny print that consumers have failed to even read
or notice the insertion in the newest contract.

AP has obtained a copy of the seven page
contract which consumers sign when purchasing
the newest model of the phone and subsequent cell
service. The paragraph is hidden among other
standard cell phone terms.

"Signee of this agreement will allow both
Fox News/News Corp. to hack into their phone
at anytime, anyplace and anywhere during the
term of this contract. Signee agrees that audio
conversations recorded may be used for any
purpose by any affiliate of Fox News/News Corp."

Upon contacting Rupert Murdoch, AP was
given the following statement.
"I guess you guys found it. You know that phone
hacking scandal that cost us pending business deals and required me to act like I really cared about the
murdered teenage girl whose phone we hacked into,
well that cost us $3.2 million to her family to pretend
we really were sorry, that's a lot of change we could
be using to spread our right-winged propaganda!
My sons and I figured that the only way to continue
to hack into people's phones was to do it legally--
but very quietly. So we worked out this deal and
we can now hack into the phones of millions of people
without them knowing anything about it!
This story won't be covered on Fox News or any
of our other sleazy media outlets, so we have nothing
to worry about."

AP employees were immediately instructed to
get rid of their new iphone 4s and purchase
Android phones instead.

Typecasting In Hollywood - It Does Ruin Movies

Many performers who had strong characters in hit TV shows find out that no producer will hire them for another TV show and especially not for a movie.

One of the greatest examples is Carroll O'Connor, who played the role of Archie Bunker on "All In the Family." Although he had appeared in dozens of movies and TV shows in character parts for 10 years previous to that show, he became forever associated as Archie Bunker.

No movie producer would hire him as you'd be watching the movie and suddenly you would be thrown out of the film's reality because Archie Bunker walked into the room.
I had this happen a few months ago when I watched for the first time a John Wayne movie from the 60's about Pearl Harbor titled "In Harm's Way." It was an excellent dramatic movie -- until in the middle of a serious discussion out on a navy ship at sea, Archie Bunker walked into the room.

Carroll O'Connor couldn't even get another TV show until he himself proposed to be the producer and head actor for a TV version of "In the Heat of the Night," which allowed him to be a character with some similarities to Archie Bunker.

George Reeves who played TV's "Superman" also had the same experience.
As have hundreds of others. Bob Denver couldn't get anything after "Gilligan."

I had the ultimate TV-character-ruins-movie experience the other night.

I finally obtained a copy of the 1964 light drama/comedy, "Dear Heart," starring Glenn Ford and Geraldine Page. The film has never been out on DVD and was only out for a few months on VHS a short time in the 90's. The VHS copies range from $35.--$300. on Ebay.
The film about two lonely middle-aged people looking for love was a modest hit back in 1964, but is rarely seen anywhere since. I don't know why. The movie about an uncomfortable adult love affair (they actually had those back in the 50's and 60's before "Love Story" set the trend that only young people fall in love) was captivating--until--

Mrs. Kravitz walked into the room.

You remember Mrs. Kravitz. She was the nosy neighbor on "Bewitched" who saw the unexplainable happenings at the Stevens' house and every time she called her husband to come to the window, nothing was happening. Mrs. Kravitz was a very over-the-top character.

In the movie, Geraldine Page's character is being pressured by a group of middle-aged women to join them as they have already have given up on love and do everything together instead.

When Page's character suddenly talks to Gladys Kravitz (actress Alice Pearce), the entire reality of the movie stops. You can't stop thinking "why is she talking to Gladys Kravitz?"

That made it difficult to get back into the movie. Then it got even worse.

Gladys Kravitz turns to a member of her women's gang.
I was stunned at that moment.
The woman she turns to is Gladys Kravitz #2!!!

You may remember that just like the role of Darrin Stevens changed in the
"Bewitched" series, the part of Gladys Kravitz also changed.
Actress Sandra Gould took over the part of Gladys Kravitz when
Alice Pearce suddenly died.

That really destroyed the momentum of the movie.

Gladys Kravitz#1 talking to Gladys Kravitz#2 in the same scene.
It was difficult in trying to focus again on the film.
Which is a great film and I need to watch it again.

That's why producers won't hire these strong TV characters later on.

Sarah, Won't You Reconsider?

I was so hoping that she would implement a campaign for President.
But she has destroyed the inspiration for millions of us by deciding not to
run for President.
We were all looking forward to hear her attempt to debate any of the others
from her own party who might just have more than a 4th grade knowledge
of politics, history, geography and economics.
America really needed some political amusement and entertainment,
the likes that only she could provide.
Maybe the final GOP candidate can repeat the brilliance of John McCain
and put her on the ticket as Vice President.
And then again, maybe she will finally go back to Alaska and catch some fish
instead of putting on a 4-year charade which has become a long running

1 Year Without TV - Rediscovery of VHS

1 year ago, I had cable TV disconnected. And rediscovered VHS.

On TV, there were hundreds of channels--and nothing to watch. Except for Turner Classic Movies, American Movie Channel, History channel and the Discovery Channel.

Then I made an interesting discovery.

VHS movies which from 1978--1990 cost between 30 dollars and 130 dollars were now being sold in thrift shops in Los Angeles between $.50 and $2.00--most averaging $1.00 each.
And the selections were incredible. As people dumped their VHS movies and replaced them with DVDs or Blue Ray, they provided a smorgasbord of Hollywood history.

Every night for a year has been a virtual history of motion pictures.

All those films that I always wanted to see but did not feel like putting out
the original VHS price or the more recent ten to thirty dollars for a DVD copy
that would probably be watched one time were now available on VHS.
And many of them printed since the 90's have been done so digitally.
Absolutely bearable to watch even for a VHS.
Some films have never even made it to DVD or Blue Ray.

It's been quite an extensive further film education:

At least a dozen John Wayne films--"The Shootist" is incredible;
Where are the Judy Garlands now? They don't exist;
Where are all the James Cagneys now? They don't exist;
MGM Musicals--How did I ever not see "Kiss Me Kate" ???;
Marlon Brando--all the classic films;
Paul Newman--all the classic films;
I had seen every Elvis film but missed "A Change of Habit" thinking it
was probably lame--it turned out to be his best ever in a unique role;
Had heard about 1937 "Topper" with Cary Grant--it is extraordinary with special effects
20 years ahead of its time;
There is something magical about films from 1955-1960--big sweeping
dramas in Cinemascope with tantalizing Technicolor;
Somehow had missed Frank Sinatra in "Pal Joey" and "The Man With the Golden Arm"--this guy could really act;
I always preferred Charlie Chaplin but Buster Keaton has been much overlooked;
When you see all the stars of 60's TV series popping up in films from the 30's on,
you see a deep acting side of them you never knew existed;

I had already seen 10,000 films easily since as a child, I have now added hundreds more.

Will TV return? Possibly, but most likely for those four channels previously mentioned.

If you think that the best movies only come from the last 5 years, you really have
a lot to become familiar with.

I had one of the very first VHS machines in the late 1970's.
And there was basically nothing available to play on it.

Goodwill and Salvation Army are now extensive libraries of VHS gems.
And they even sell the machines as well.

The Worldwide Symbol For Oppression Is 50 Years Old Today

50 years ago today, citizens of communist East Berlin in East Germany woke up to find a wall was going up around their city which would prevent them from going over to West Berlin, a haven of Democracy and Capitalism.

They of course were told differently. The Soviet puppet East German government told their citizens that the West was trying to corrupt the East Germans with their decadent lifestyles and corrupt system of government and economics. They were doing all this to help the East Germans.

The truth was that so many East Berliners were simply walking over the border to stay in West Berlin, the city would soon be desolate.

Thus began an almost 30-year experiment with one of the most oppressive regimes in communist history--similar to North Korea today.

As oppression grows around the world today from Syria to the United States, there could not be a greater reminder for those who continue to struggle against governments that systematically are taking away all of their freedoms, of what their fight is all about then the evil monolith that began construction 50 years ago today.

What Would John Wayne Say?

"Cowboys and Aliens" is an old fashioned Western.
It has all the elements. Good guys. Bad guys. A saloon. Indians.

And an additional one--the town is attacked by really creepy aliens.

The writing is sophisticated enough for ages 10-100
and because of its overall appeal, it should become the
big film of the summer.

It's amazing that nobody thought about this concept when
either Western films or Alien films were popular.

It's like crossing Steven Spielberg (who is involved)
with Sam Peckinpah.

The sound effects were at a new extreme.
They might have to offer a filter on home systems for this one.

The film is too intense for under 9 years old. You've been warned.

You'll feel your money was well spent on this when it opens this weekend.



We Are Sorry That We Got Caught.

The News Of The World, like the rest of my news organizations including Fox News are in the
business of offering the sleaziest, distorted and
twisted versions of reality that we can possibly create.

We are not at all sorry for the serious wrongdoing
that occurred.
We are not at all deeply sorry for the hurt suffered by
the individuals affected.

We regret not acting faster to sort things out by having all
of our controlled right-winged media zombies
run spins on everything to further cover up everything we have done.

Since we got caught red-handed, I realize that simply apologizing

is not enough. I am personally going to have Sean Hannity
lick all of your shoes while groveling in a fetal position.

Our business was founded on the idea that we can distort and twist
the news enough to spread my right-winged brainwashing agenda
throughout the world. We need to live up to this.

In the coming days, as we take further concrete steps to
distract and cover up these issues and find scapegoats
to blame everything on, you will hear more from us.
Where's Charlie Sheen when you really need him?

MonkeeMania Lives!

A sold out house of Baby Boomers at the Greek Theater were all smiles on Saturday night as the Monkees--Davy Jones, Mickey Dolenz and Peter Tork reunited for a 45th anniversary performance in Los Angeles.

There's not too many groups who were basically around for only 2 years in the late 1960's that can pull this off. And while still missing the other prominent member, Michael Nesmith.

But those two years of TV shows and hit songs have a lifelong impact on the post-war rebellious teens who went wild worldwide for this manufactured version of The Beatles.

Still making Justin Bieber look like the non-talent that he is, the distinctive voices of Davy Jones and Mickey Dolenz delighted the crowd with "I'm A Believer," "Last Train To Clarksville" and "Daydream Believer" which had all of us standing and singing along. Peter Tork's multi-musical ability had quite a showcase of its own. Davy can still dance like a vaudeville showman and did it simultaneously to that offbeat number in tux and tails from their one movie "Head."

The comedy element which endeared a whole generation to these four performers was present, clear and outstanding. Considering they are all now 65-70, their antics were as delightful as when they were kids themselves.

You'll recall that despite the worldwide phenomenon, the word leaked early on that they did not play the instruments on the first two albums, but only sang. They then went out on a successful concert tour to prove that they really could play as well as sing. Despite that, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is refusing to induct to them to this day.

Commenting on this, Peter made the most ironic statement:

"We were the first "cover band" to exist. Except we were covering our own band!"



HEADLINE WORLDWIDE TODAY: "FBI Probing Allegation That News Corp. Sought to Hack Into Phones of 9/11 Victims"


Glen Campbell

Unless you are from a certain generation, you probably don't know who Glen Campbell is.

He is one of two 1960's performers that successfully made country music a crossover with pop music. The other was Michael Nesmith.

His first major hit, "Gentle On My Mind," was a thought-provoking and poetic look at a relationship. It was followed with even bigger chart toppers, "Wichita Lineman" and "Rhinestone Cowboy."

Many rock bands have discovered the heart-wrenching elegance of "Wichita Lineman" and have re-recorded it.

Glen Campbell played studio guitar on almost every major Top 40 song recorded in Hollywood between 1959--1967, before he hit it big and became a solo act.

He did an excellent job co-starring with John Wayne in the 1969 "True Grit" in addition to singing the theme song.

I had the most appreciative opportunity to interview Glen Campbell for an hour a few years back.

This week Glen Campbell announced that he has Alzheimer's and will go on a final tour in the fall.

With a soaring range, the seventh son of a seventh son has never needed autotune or pitch correction--he simply picks up a guitar and can mesmerize any audience.

Hopefully his disease will be very slow in coming in his remaining lifetime.

You Aren't Crazy. The System Around You Has Become Wacko.

It doesn't matter who runs for the Presidency in 2012 for either party.

At this point they are all interchangeable.

It is simply going to come down to one thing.

You vote Democrat. Or you vote Republican.

The Republicans would like to take away your Social Security and your Medicare.

The Democrats would like to increase Social spending.

Both parties want to take away your Freedom of Speech, Freedom of the Press, your Freedom of Religion, your Right To Assemble and your Right to Question Your Government.

In the Fall of 1968, my father suddenly blurted out that the Presidential choice was between Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum (Nixon vs. Humphrey). I had never heard him say one thing about politics before that or after that.

Everyday, America is looking more and more like Wonderland, and you are Alice--in the middle of the insanity trying to figure out what to do next.

What Is The Difference Between The Bible And Thor?

Q: What Is The Difference Between The Bible, And Thor, the movie I saw the other day?

A: Not Much

They are both filled with fantasy stories, highly exaggerated versions of what really happened, mythology, poetry, spirituality, noble characters, evil characters, good intentions, bad intentions, aspirations and inspiration CREATED AND INTERPRETED BY HUMAN BEINGS.

Human beings are extremely creative and spiritual creatures. They also have been given common sense. But prefer to use their creativity and spirituality over their reason.

When one preacher decided that the world would end this weekend, the media made sure that every person on earth was aware of this fact.

It came from the interpretation by one preacher. There are over 300,000 preachers in America alone. But the creative interpretation of one of them becomes the focal point of everybody's energy for one week in America.

Belief in a higher being, inspiration and spirituality is one thing. But having to listen to the individualized creative interpretation of religious zealots and fanatics who believe they have the only answer (and they can be anybody in your lives) is an unfortunate part of this society.



Rush Limbaugh Is A Brainwashed Idiot

The average American continued to be caught up in the pride and
emotion of the moment the day after Osama Bin Laden was
captured by America's military. That even extended to Rush Limbaugh
who spent an hour praising President Obama. We knew it
couldn't last long. Limbaugh must have listened to himself the
day earlier because he spent the next day tearing the President
apart and giving all of the credit for the operation to
George W. Bush. He then spent the next two weeks disparaging
the President--every day, every hour. Limbaugh's sudden turn was
vicious and disgraceful, going so far as to calling the people in the
situation room watching the event "clowns."
Limbaugh realized that as a controlled right-wing maniac,
it was his obligation to parrot the party line and his praise
of Obama and his staff was a moment of weakness--simply
not allowed. Limbaugh is just disgusting and evil.

The "Parent Trap" Turns 50. Haley Mills Turns 65.

I am a twin. When the "Parent Trap" came out in 1961, my mom took us to see it seven times in one year (movies were .25 cents back then). It got better every time. I saw it another 10 times on network TV from 1965-1978.
Since VHS and DVD came out, I have seen it another 33 times.

This weekend I got to see it for the 51st time, and in the manner it was intended--on a big screen with an audience.

For it's 50th Anniversary and Haley Mills' 65th birthday, a special presentation took place in Hollywood with Haley Mills hosting at the Egyptian Theater.

The packed house of people between 40-70 years of age were also delighted to see the film on the big screen for the first time since the early 1960's. (there was a brief re-release in the late 1960's I didn't go to). I hadn't heard the laughter that accompanied the film in 50 years. It made the giant theater screen viewing so much more meaningful.

"The Parent Trap" was a brilliant piece of writing, directing, music and acting.
Children saw it through their perspective. Adults saw a whole different set of dynamics taking place throughout the film.

The competition between Maureen O'Hara and Brian Keith's fiance is a wonderful scathing part of the film. The response of Haley Mills to the fiance when she attempts to have a woman-to-woman talk with her was daring for its time and just as powerful today.

The scene which had the biggest response, loudest nervous laughter and gasps from the audience is when grandpa tries to subtlely convince his daughter Maureen O'Hara that she might want to modernize her look before she sees her ex-husband again. As a child you perceive it as a direct suggestion. As an adult you experience the scene as an endearing offensive-but-necessary part of the plot. The audience reaction was lengthy and penetrating.

Thunderous applause every time one of the major characters was first introduced on-screen, a standing ovation for Haley Mills when she spoke before the film and other enthusiastic responses made this the most delightful viewing since I saw it in 1961.

Corporations Given Full Control Over Consumers By Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court has now made it basically impossible for Americans to receive justice as a group for a company's shoddy products and services.

In a 5-4 decision, the right wing justices which are puppets of the major corporations have ruled that arbitration clauses in agreements take precedence over any class action suits.

In other words, when you sign a cell-phone contract with AT&T, and you and hundreds of others receive shabby service, you can no longer put together a class action suit to sue AT&T.
If you have a problem, you as an individual must implement single arbitration action (which will cost you up to $500.) to meet with representatives of the company to try and work things out.

When they don't show up at the arbitration hearing (which is what will happen) you will get no relief and have no other further recourse.

When you signed the contract, you agreed to deal with any problems through an arbitration hearing. That contract now nullifies any attempt for you and others to file a large class action lawsuit against the company.

The champagne bottles are coming out all over America at corporation headquarters.

It wasn't enough that the Supreme Court recently ruled that corporations can make unlimited amounts of contributions to political campaigns, they have just taken away any power consumers have.

Paul Simon Not So Crazy After All These Years

Bob Dylan was the musical minstrel to a generation of baby boomers.

Paul Simon was the musical poet to them.

Almost 70 (and there are ironic lyrics about that in one of his songs)
and sounding as distinctive as he did almost 50 years ago,
Paul Simon played a show in a much smaller than normal venue in
Los Angeles tonight.

This was a Paul Simon show and not a Simon and Garfunkel show.

Other than "Sounds of Silence," it was a retrospective of many
different aspects of his career. All songs he wrote over almost
50 years with the exception of an Elvis rockabilly number and
George Harrison's "Here Comes the Sun."

He sounds wonderful. And with an 8-piece back-up band, he was able
to recreate the range of his exotic beats which extend from Gospel,
Blues, Cajun, African and now Spiritual.

Yes you heard right. Somebody told me that he has a new album
and its filled with some highly spiritual compositions, similar to
when Bob Zimmerman became a Christian (at least for a while).

They were right. It's new uncharted territory for Simon and one
can only imagine what he's going through personally in his life.

He's one of the most famous performers in the history of the world and
apparently he has decided to pay thanks to a higher power.

As usual, his poetic lyrics are penetrating and visual.

Just as long as he doesn't team up with Billy Graham.

You Can Thank A WWII Vet Anytime While You Still Have the Chance

I was in a store this weekend when I saw a man who I figured had to be in his late 80's or early 90's. I noticed he was wearing a WWII Veteran's hat with medals and other decorations.

I went up to talk to him. I asked him where he served.

He was delighted and said, "I was 18 years old in Okinawa with the Kamikazes coming down on me."

I told him that I couldn't even begin to comprehend what he went through and that my generation (and we're all near or over 60) have great appreciation for what he and his generation accomplished for us during World War 2.

If you don't know what a Kamikaze is--look it up. You'll be quite shocked.
Tens of thousands of Americans died and were injured because of them.
The photo above is seconds after a Kamikaze attack which also destroyed dozens
of U.S. vessels.

If I'm so against America's involvement in Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, how can I pay tribute to a WWII veteran? Iraq and Afghanistan are about oil, and access to gas and oil lines. We're in this situation because the oil companies made sure there has never been any successful alternatives to oil on the market place. Vietnam was for the enrichment of major corporations that supply military hardware. Vietnam was not winnable because of the constant flow of materials and support from Communist China--our delightful number one trading partner.

WWII was different. A psychopathic madman wanted to be King Of The World. Had the United States not entered the war, you would all now be Sig-Heiling every minute to pictures of the Great Leader.

Something I noticed about the fathers, grandfathers, uncles and others who went through WWII as I was growing up--was they never talked about it. They went, they served, and they came back to start their lives over again.

Gramps and Great Gramps won't be around much longer.
This is the time for you to stop watching "American Idol" and go talk to the people who should be the real idols in your life.

Geraldine Ferrarro - First Woman VP Candidate

Before John McCain ruined all of our lives by plucking that cartoon character out of obscurity, Geraldine Ferraro ran as the first woman VP candidate of a major party. In 1984, the Democrats decided to try something very visionary and they nominated a woman for the first time. And they selected somebody who had accomplished major things with civil rights legislation for women in addition to numerous other achievements.

One Geraldine Ferraro is worth 1,000 Sarah Palins.
There is no comparison.

Of course, we had just come out of four years of Jimmy Carter who appeared weak in his foreign policy. The then vice-president who was running as the Democratic president nominee,
Walter Mondale, was not known well by the public and was overshadowed by the Carter antics (Willie Nelson smoking weed at the White House, Jimmy's embarrassing brother)
The Democrats had no chance with Ronald Reagan running.
Reagan appeared strong. It was a landslide with many Democrats making the switch as well.

Sometime in 1984, I was coming out of the once famous Magic Shop on Hollywood Blvd.
Which was on the South side of the street. I saw a small motorcade coming from the
west. I looked into the car and there was Geraldine Ferraro! It was a real surprise as I didn't know they were in town campaigning.

It was really cool because back then all you had was a few TV channels that dominated and newspapers. And Geraldine Ferraro was the main topic of the year.

The oldest living person in America is 119

The oldest living person in America is 119 and she is amazing.

With a fully functioning mind and still getting around with just a bit of help,
Rebecca Laniere of Cleveland was born in 1892 in Mississippi, her parents had been slaves and she currently lives with her 61 year old grandson, having outlived her own children.

Just thinking about what she has seen in her lifetime is incredulous:

She was 6 during the Spanish-American War and lived through 2 different
President Roosevelts.

She was 22 when World War I broke out. She was 49 when the U.S. entered World War II.

She was 64 when Elvis became the first real rock 'n' roll star and she was 72 when the Beatles came to America. She was 77 when man landed on the moon and 88 when computers first became a household item.

She saw the second modern day attack ever on American soil in 2001 at age 109 and lived through 22 Presidents.

Hopefully they are making video tapes of her talking about what she's seen.
And the wisdom she has experienced.


AT&T Should Just Buy Every Other Existing Company

I did everything I could to stay far away from AT&T.
For Internet and Cell I went with different companies.
AT&T soon bought the Internet and Cell company
I had and I once again was involuntarily a customer with AT&T.

The reasons to get away from them were justified. Just some examples.
When I changed locations, I clearly stated that AT&T should move my services
from location A to location B. I asked the representative to read back the order.
Everything was verified. A few days later, AT&T disconnected the services at
location A, however, proceeded to also disconnect neighboring folks near location B of their
services, and then proceeded to reinstall the services to location A.

How incompetent can you get? After it took weeks to undo all of that,
I finally had the Internet working at location B. A few days later the
Internet disappeared. I called AT&T. They informed me that I had never
been a customer of AT&T Internet. I assured them that I was.

This began a 3-hour series of telephone calls which connected me to
various Bell systems around the U.S. and to India.

I finally got a supervisor in Denver who informed me that I was not an Internet customer
of AT&T and there was nothing she could do. When I insisted that I was a customer
she said "I can't do anything else and I'm hanging up."

I got hold of a supervisor's supervisor in Los Angeles. I pleaded with the
reasonable man who listened very carefully that I had Internet the day before
and it had disappeared. Fortunately, he suspected the incompetency of AT&T,
put me on hold and came back with an incredible revelation. Apparently,
my order and another new customer's order had identical numbers except for
the last digit and they were switched. AT&T had taken down my Internet and given
it to somebody else. He started the process to regain my access.

That's just one story. I have at least 5 similar stories with equally incredible tales.
Did you ever try to get through AT&T's menus for customer assistance? You can
spend hours between going through the menus and being put on hold and then they
hang up on you and you have to start the process all over again.

The bigger AT&T gets, the more incompetent they become.
Showing up a week after they are scheduled to come out, giving you services
you never asked for, giving out inaccurate information and it goes on from there.

Every time they buy another company, they make more and more mistakes and
there is nothing you can do about it.

I recently again dumped AT&T services. In order to switch you need some kind of code
number to give to the new company. When I finally got through to AT&T and directly
said "I want the code number connected to my account," their reply was, "Usually when
somebody asks for that, they are planning to go to another service. What can we do
to have you remain a customer of AT&T?" "You can give me the code number right now."

You might remember that AT&T was broken up by the U.S. Justice Department
in the 1970's because they had become a monopoly. The nationwide phone system
was split up into different Bell systems across the country.

It was supposed to stay that way.

That was until AT&T spent millions to convince your Congressional representatives that
they should be allowed to buy other companies again. And they have never
stopped since.

The news today is that AT&T now wants to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion.

Here's what is going to happen. The FCC, FTC and the Justice Department will
put on a dog and pony show for up to a year demonstrating to all of us Americans
that this new merger may not be in the best interest of consumers. They will
hold pretend meetings and get the controlled media to report that they are
really looking out for us.

And the minute there is another Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan or Mel Gibson
extravaganza dominating the news, they will approve the merger.

All you T-Mobile customers that have been safe from the AT&T Blob,
welcome to your new home--you're going to become an involuntary
member of the AT&T family.

Why not have one company in America running the consumer
telecommunications business--just like we did up until the mid-1970's?
It would be so much easier having only one choice.

It's headed that way again.

My Shocking Perspective on Abraham Lincoln Turns Out To Be Verified By AP

2 months ago, I posted a shocking perspective on Abraham Lincoln in which I stated that he was more interested in saving the union then freeing the slaves AND that he clearly had what we would consider today racist attitudes which came out in his words and actions.

I based this on decades on my own research and studies with most people thinking that those ideas had to be insane--after all, you were taught that Abraham Lincoln was the Great Emancipator--end of story. I had said for years that Lincoln was a politician above everything and would go the way the wind was blowing--just like every other politician.

This weekend, the Associated Press has come out with an equally shocking story--the first ever of its kind--which says exactly the same thing.

Here is the link:


I will be discussing this in more detail over the next month.

Nutcracker Performer Quits Job In Hilarious Manner

This is one of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Apparently, the lion on the left in this scene from the "Nutcracker"

decided that he/she no longer wanted to be part of the production anymore.




On today's show, Rush Limbaugh was focusing on his belief that the Egyptian President
Mubarak was getting no support from the Obama Administration. He claimed that Obama's lack
of action was making the pressured Egyptian leader fail.

Then out came this gem:
"Isn't that the worst thing you can do? Hope a leader will fail?"

We only need to look a few years back on President Obama's first day
in office. Limbuagh stated the following that day: "I Hope Obama Fails!"

Too much Oxycontin still stored in Limbaugh's body baby fat is making him an outright HYPOCRITE!

Guitar Hero - A Testimony To Today's Mediocrity

Guitar Hero announced today that it is going to stop making Guitar Hero.

Apparently, everybody who already wanted it or its competitor, Rock Band, already has it and there is no market left.

The video game in which you hold a toy plastic electric guitar is a testimony to just how mediocre things have become.

You would think that the game would teach you how to play guitar. It doesn't.

While a familiar song is playing, color icons come racing by you on the screen and you have to push the corresponding colored buttons on the guitar. That's it. The faster you are, the more points you get.

It does not teach you how to play a guitar, form chords, play notes or anything musical.

Which is why I have been saying it is ridiculous for the last 5 years.

Having played guitar for almost 50 years, it's almost like comparing driving to riding a tricycle.

Even when The Beatles version came out with stunning graphics, all I could do is question how much closer anybody was to learning how to play one of their songs when they finished.

I had to do it the hard way. I had to pick up a guitar and try different chords until they matched the song.

Of course, that involved putting in some effort. That's apparently asking too much these days.

A Haunting Melody Returns From Childhood

I heard a classical piece the other day. And it was just as haunting as when I heard it the first time--as a child. I only caught part of the name announced on the radio,
"Masquerade" and a Russian sounding composer's name.

That was enough to track it down.

I discovered that the name of the piece is "Masquerade Suite (Waltz)"
which is one of the movements from the entire suite.

And that the composer's name is Aram Khachaturian, an Armenian Russian. He is a household name in Russia. Yet, you are probably hearing his name for the first time.

But I guarantee that you have heard something he has written. Many times in your life.

He is also the composer of "The Sabre Dance."
Without knowing the title or composer, you have heard it used dozens
of times in movies and cartoons--especially in scenes where comic mischief takes place.

Topping off this discovery came the real surprise.
I've seen "2001: A Space Odyssey" over 50 times.
The legendary film primarily features classical music from Strauss.

However, there has always been one piece that stands out, again
extremely haunting. The only thing I ever knew is that it was from
an Armenian composer and no other information.

Once again, it comes from this musical genius.
From his larger work, "Gayane: Adagio"

Once you play "Masquerade Suite (Waltz)" you will listen to it over and over again.

True Grit 1969 vs. True Grit 2010

The current release of "True Grit" to most people is a new experience. They were probably not aware of an obscure movie of the same name from 1969 starring John Wayne.

In the late 60's, the release of "True Grit" was the "B" movie, the second movie you got in addition to the one you were really coming to see. However, that extra attraction instantly became one of my all-time favorites. The story was compelling, the characters were fascinating--especially Kim Darby as the headstrong girl seeking justice.

John Wayne finally won for Best Actor in the film--but it was more of a lifetime achievement award than anything else.

When the VHS became available in the early 1980's and the DVD in the late 1990's, I have watched the film over 20 times.

I believe I am quite qualified to tell you that the original is quite superior to the new version.

Elements of the story are in greater depth, the characters are better defined and the performance of the original "Mattie Ross" will blow you away.

Now that westerns have become chic again thanks to the Coen brothers, do yourself a favor and pick up the original "True Grit" and make your own decision.

The Coen brothers saw the magnificence of the original and this will fortunately encourage many of you to get hold of the original film.

The last 10 seconds of the original had people in the audience cheering.
I have never forgotten. It's worth it for the very, very ending alone.

Sarah Palin - Phony, Phony, Phony


Sarah Palin's Tuscon Tragedy Speech says more about her shortcomings than all of her publicity stunts put together.

Sarah Palin's speech the other day in which she talks about what happened in Tuscon tells you a great deal about her. It's bad enough that she was using a teleprompter when she was supposedly trying to appear heartfelt and spontaneous.

We've all heard her non-stop for the last three years and as a result, we are quite familiar with her lack of vocabulary, lack of knowledge of history and an inability to formulate an intellectual argument or concept.

From the moment she began talking, it was clear that these were not her words. They were written by somebody else, a professional speechwriter. The red flags were college level vocabulary words that she simply does not use, the sudden ability on-the-spot to quote a rather obscure statement from Ronald Reagan and the formulation of intellectual concepts beyond her grasp.

Now, everybody uses professional speechwriters including every President of the modern era.

But she has always tried to demonstrate a grass roots understanding of the common people.
And when she has used her normal shortcomings, the average people can relate to what she's saying.

If she had known what a "blood libel" even was, she probably would not have said anything about it.

But she decided to use somebody else's words to make her appear to be something she is not.

The greatest thing the Republican party can do for the Democrats is to nominate her for President.

Civil War and the Perception of Time

This year marks the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War.

When you are young, 5 years ago seems like a hundred years ago and
the Civil War seems like 1000 years ago.

In 1964, the British again invaded America--this time a musical invasion.
At the time, the Civil War seemed like 1000 years earlier.

But when you get into your 50's, the fact that The Beatles appeared only
100 years after the Civil War gets a bit frightening. 100 years earlier becomes
a very short period of time.

And now that the Beatles are almost 50 years old, it is even scarier.

The Civil War did not happen all that long ago.

And it still reverberates in the attitudes and perceptions of many Americans.

I just finished watching the 10-hour Ken Burns series on The Civil War.

It is very enlightening.

I've known many things about Abraham Lincoln for many years which are
covered up in most history books, especially textbooks. Some of the things are quite shocking.

He was a politician above everything else. And would go the way the wind was blowing.

Just before the Civil War broke out, a proposed 13th amendment to the Constitution would have made it illegal to create any subsequent amendment that interfered with slavery. The amendment essentially made slavery legal in the United States. This would have prevented a Civil War.

Before you start thinking, "I never heard of any such thing. You have to be making it up!," you need to do some research. It's called the Corwin Amendment.

Not only did both houses of Congress pass the amendment, it was ratified by two states.

The new politician President, Abraham Lincoln, publicly made it clear that he supported the Amendment.

The Civil War began, the amendment became irrelevant and forgotten about.

Strangely enough, it still is on the books and legally could be ratified. There have
been recent efforts to have it officially rescinded.

Hate to shock you with things like that, but there's more coming.