"The Interview"


"The Interview" is the closest thing you will find to an "Austin Powers" movie.

It is hilarious. I don't recall anything this funny in many years.

However, it is filled with non-stop profanities, vulgarities and crudeness.

"Austin Powers" movies were made so you could actually take any family member from 8 years old and up and a family could enjoy it together.

You do not want to be sitting next to anybody in your family under 25 either at the theater or in your living room. It would be very embarrassing.

 It does have a moment of seriousness which comments clearly on Kim Jong Un and his totalitarian 1984 state.

I have been talking about that family on here for 7 years. This film could be very educational for many people. 




The largest banks in America have just been handed the greatest Christmas gift from the American people. The most one-sided piece of legislation since the creation of the Federal Reserve was quietly attached to the major spending bill which will keep the U.S. Government running another year.

The White House and President Obama was pressured into signing it even after they protested the contents of this attachment. Obama knew it was detrimental to all Americans, but couldn't afford another government shutdown. 

The gift is a dream come true for all of America's "too big too fail" banks. It's another bailout courtesy of the American taxpayer.

A "derivative" is a bet that banks make on the future.They bet on oil, commodities, livestock, corn and stocks. Here is how it basically works:
A bank bets that soybeans currently valued at $100. a bushel, a year from now will be worth $150. a bushel. They invest millions on that future event. They don't have to put down the full amount now, only 10% on it. 

A year goes by. Demand for soybeans did go way up and they now have a marker, which they can sell in the open marketplace, which covers the other 90% they owed from the profits made and gives them a huge profit besides. That profit can be in the billions!

But wait. Weather conditions were extremely bad over that next year. People decided they can do with other foods instead. The price of soybeans went down to $50. a bushel.
The banks owe that 90% they didn't put down up front and they also lost billions when the price of soybeans dropped.

What will the "too big to fail" banks do? They lost billions by making a bad bet in the marketplace.

Not to worry.

When all of you were busy being amused by the antics of the North Koreans and Sony Pictures, your Congressmen and Senators created a last minute attachment dealing with big banks and derivatives.

They have now aligned trading and swapping derivatives for the big banks with the FDIC. This is the government agency which insures your bank savings and checking  accounts for up to $250,000.

As of now, if a big bank suddenly loses billions in a derivative deal gone bad, the amount lost will be fully covered by the FDIC and returned to the big bank. And where does the FDIC get its money from? From your savings and checking accounts.

You will now insure the big banks against any bad derivative deal they make. They cannot lose. If they make profits on a derivative deal -- they win! If they lose money on a derivative deal -- they win! Because you have insured their losses.

Can you imagine going to Las Vegas and playing Roulette and if your number comes up -- taking all the profits! And if your number doesn't come up -- the casino refunds back all the money you put down?

How did Congress come up with a piece of legislation like this? We cannot expect our representatives to work too hard. The attached piece of legislation was written by Citigroup, the owners of Citibank. Congress just changed a few words around. Banks had been trying for years to get this passed. Your representatives--the best money can buy--found just the right time to take care of it. America was so distracted by what movie executives were saying about major movie stars, they just slipped this one past us.

Derivative Santa has one message for the American people:




What if the following announcement was made in 1964 by Columbia Pictures?

What if the following announcement was made in 1964 by Columbia Pictures?

"Columbia Pictures has decided not to release the cold war comedy 'Dr. Strangelove' starring Peter Sellers because of the response from Soviet premiere Nikita Khruschev. The head of the Soviet Union has determined that the film makes his nation look bad and must not be exhibited in America or anywhere else. Khruschev says that failure to follow his demands will result in total non-cooperation and more desktop shoe banging at the United Nations."

Americans would never had stood for such an announcement. And they should not allow a rogue nation now to dictate our right to engage in social satire.

Columbia (Sony) needs to release "The Interview" for free online worldwide.

SONY HACK REVEALS HYPOCRISY -- No Different At Any Other Major Corporation


The inside business revelations revealed by the hacking of Sony Pictures computers says a great deal more than just about the movie company. It says something about American business in general.

As top executives at the Sony company sling insults at their biggest stars, directors, creative people and other industry personnel, the public cannot be more amused at learning what really goes on behind the scenes. And even how they try and cover things up with coordinated PR jobs, is revealed better than any textbook or Harvard business course.

The unethical hypocrisy demonstrated at the highest levels at Sony is no different than what goes on daily at every major American corporation. 

The exposure of any major company's email would show the same dishonesty, callousness, treachery, double-dealing and corruptness emanating from the top down.

Yet, young folks just recently out of college find out when they try and get a job at any of these companies that a double standard applies. Young folks are told their credit isn't good enough, they wrote about a party they went to on Facebook, they are given psychological tests designed to weed out anybody but the most perfected human beings--there is always some reason why they are not eligible for employment--which eventually goes to somebody's family member or relative anyway.

Companies that are fined hundreds of millions of dollars for some of the most illegal activities, then turn to young people who worked hard for an education, and tell them that they just aren't good enough to be employed at their corporation.

Americans are hypocrites. From politics to business to sports to education to media--especially media.


I think most people are aware that when World War II started, the government called on the entertainment industry to convince Americans to give full support to the war. America's favorite pastime, the movies, soon reflected that with non-stop propaganda films, newsreels, shorts and cartoons.
Superman, Popeye, Bugs Bunny, Donald Duck and other cartoon favorites stepped out of their normal innocent roles to attack both Germany and Japan. Those cartoons were put away after the war in the studio vaults, the baby boomers that were introduced to these characters on TV never saw these WWII versions and only recently they have been making the rounds.

I really thought I had seen them all.

Then I heard a rumor that Archie Andrews and his pal Jughead of innocent Riverdale also took their own turn against Hitler in a comic book.

That seemed impossible. Archie and his friends always were concerned with the malt shop, school and comical romance. 

I tried to research it but came up with nothing.

I could not believe what I finally found.

Take a look for yourself. Archie and Jughead against the Nazis! It appeared in a 1943 PEP comic book before Archie got his own comic series.



I keep some small pieces of cement on my wall in a frame where I can see them every single day. They are pieces of the Berlin Wall.
And these little chipped rocks remind me daily of the difference between having Freedom and Not Having Freedom.

Piece of Berlin Wall a piece of german history exclusive from Berlin Germany

It was 25 years ago today that the Berlin Wall came down.

The day that millions of people would regain their freedoms after having been enclosed in a communist "paradise" for almost 30 years.

When the wall went up in August of 1961, the East German puppets of the Soviet Union told their fellow comrades that the wall was not to keep them from losing their freedoms--it was being done on their behalf--to stop them from being influenced and corrupted by those horrible Western Capitalist Dogs of Democracy.

In 1961 I was 8 years old. My understanding of politics as most children of the time was virtually non-existent.

But I understood the Wall on a child's level.

I knew that the children there were forced to wear drab-looking military uniforms to school, they couldn't read Superman comic books, there were no visits from the Good Humor man, they couldn't listen to Elvis on a transistor radio under their pillow at night, there was no Three Stooges on TV after school, they couldn't play on their Schwinn bikes with their friends and they could not read Mad Magazine.

And these things made me very, very sad. Children over there were slaves as much as the adults were behind this evil monstrosity.

From time to time I would see news reports about people risking their lives to get over that wall to freedom in West Berlin. 

By 1963, it was amazing to watch our young and brave President JFK go over to West Berlin and speak on behalf of those people in East Berlin who no longer had a voice.

By early 1964, a worldwide phenomenon happened. And in East Berlin, whether you were a child or an adult, if you were caught listening to four young men over Radio Free Europe or Armed Forces Radio--John, Paul, George and Ringo--there were severe punishments.

It was illegal to own a smuggled-in Beatles record. They represented FREEDOM. And the East Germans would have none of that. Yet, they found it difficult to deal with the impact of the group on its younger citizens. For a while, the East Germans allowed the distribution of a sound alike band doing Beatles songs with German accents, political changes in the lyrics (isn't that scary?) but could not stop the demand for the real thing. By the 1970's, they actually started licensing some of the real music to be distributed--the secret was out about this band.

We have a new East Germany on the face of the planet. It is called North Korea.

I absolutely volunteer to straddle one giant nuclear missile and steer it right at Kim Jong Un's extravagant palace.


Making Sense Of America's Latest School Tragedy

The Media and the Average Person is trying to make some sense of the most recent school tragedy in America which took place a few days ago in Marysville, Washington--a place where these kinds of things just never used to happen in the U.S.

Of course, that was before the media and culture of big city America through cable TV, movies, radio, video games and the Internet influenced the entire nation--to now where it is all the same wherever you go.

There used to be areas of America that had older-time traditions, values, behavior and a different culture. Now it is all the same in every village, hamlet, backwoods, town, city and metropolis in America.

Wanting to try and get some understanding of why a very popular 14-year-old boy decided to kill his closest friends and relatives,
I figured I might be able to get some insight by looking at a Facebook page. 

By random and using keywords, I wound up on the page of a female close friend of the boy--Jaylen Ray Fryberg. Without me mentioning the name of the girl who posted this, this is what I read:

"My heart aches knowing I lost two of my closest friends last night. I wish I could've done something to help you. Or to even see or talk to both of you one last time. This is still unbelievable, You left us to early.. God has gained 2 wonderful, beautiful angels. Zoe, who's gonna go to NYC with me for Christmas when we turn 18 now?. JayRay, You were a brother to me! We always had each other's backs.. Both of you, This is not goodbye. This is see you later. I love both of you guys more then life itself. And will miss you guys allot."

And she has posted a picture of her with the dead girl and the boy who took his own life when they were younger.

I'm afraid that it just has made me more confused.



The Madison County School Board in Georgia unanimously voted this week to remove two Christian Bible verses from a monument donated to its high school football team. The "Red Raiders" would touch the monument on their way out to play football games.

Two religious freedom watchdog organizations threatened to sue the county if the verses were not removed. To the dismay of hundreds of protestors, who believe their religion should be the official religion of the public school, the board acted upon the advice of their own legal counsel.

This is a public high school. It is not a private religious school.
It is supported by taxpayers who are Christian, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, Atheists, Agnostic, Wiccan, Various Other Religions, and those who have No Interest In Religion at all.

A public school cannot endorse one religion over another.
A public school cannot make students believe in God or not.
That's what takes place in homes and religious houses of worship.

Public Schools are for Teaching -- Not For Preaching.

What if a monument was donated to the school which called for the endorsement of the Flying Spaghetti Monster and the worship of the Pastafarian religion?

Would that be okay? 

The United States Constitution makes it clear.

There is Freedom Of Religion and Freedom From Religion
in America.
The Government cannot endorse, sponsor or promote any one religion.
Nor can it criticize or condemn any one religion.

Almost 1 million Americans have given their lives so
everybody can have these freedoms.


Americans Over 30 Sick Of Hip Hop Crap - Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand and Leonard Cohen Top Charts

Americans Over 30 Sick Of Hip Hop Crap - 
Tony Bennett, Barbara Streisand and Leonard Cohen Top Charts

88-year-old Tony Bennett's duets with Lady Gaga,
"Cheek To Cheek" is the Number 1 album in America.
Included is "But Beautiful," a song I talked about
a few months ago as not having the exposure it deserves
to modern audiences.

Cheek To Cheek

72-year-old Barbra Streisand's duets with various
singers, "Partners," is the Number 3 album in America.
You just can't keep a nice Jewish girl out of the spotlight.

80-year-old poet and writer Leonard Cohen's "Popular Problems," is the Number 15 album in America.
Popular Problems

Americans over 30 have voted with their dollars that they are tired of this Hip-Hop crap and want to hear songs performed in the conventional style that existed for hundreds of years.

A Great Song From A Group That Never Made It During A Crazy Year

The Sugar Shoppe. A group that was a "sunshine pop" Canadian group from
1968. The kind of music made fun of throughout the film "Austin Powers."

A Sergio Mendes/Brazil 66-style light pop with 2 female and 2 male voices
which Capitol Records gave the big push to but for some reason couldn't
get any radio air play despite appearances on "The Tonight Show"
and "Ed Sullivan."

Hollywood's top session players were even brought together to do the music backgrounds.

Music that crossed over into blues and jazz with a little bit of psychedelia.

A great song from their one album is "Baby Baby"


You have to listen to the vocal work on the entire moody song.

They also did a great version of Donovan's "Skip-A-Long Sam."

Now this gets weird.

After failing in this venture and trying other musical efforts,
the man in green above turned to acting instead.

That is Victor Garber who played Thomas Andrews, the man who built the
Titanic, in the legendary motion picture "Titanic."



I had the most spectacular afternoon today. I spent it with a man named KOSH who
has designed some of the most famous record album covers including The Eagles'
Hotel California, Linda Ronstadt's Lush Life and the most famous album cover in
LP history, The Beatles' Abbey Road.

Questions I have had for 45 years were clearly answered.

Q: That blue sky was very prominent. Was that real?
A: No. It was a typical London grey day. The blue was added.

Q: Were the cars featured on the street intentionally positioned?
A: No. They were there sitting exactly like that on a random basis.

Q: Were the Beatles told what to wear for that photo session?
A: No. They showed up as they pleased that day.

Q: Why is Paul the only one barefoot?
A: The sandals he was wearing were too tight and he just flung them off.

Q: Was there anything planned for a "Paul Is Dead" hoax on that cover?
A: Absolutely not. People made it up and the word spread worldwide.
     The record company realizing it would sell more copies of the album,
     refused to confirm or deny the rumors.

Q: This was the first record album cover without the name The Beatles
     on the cover or album title. Whose idea was that?
A: It was mine. The record company went ballistic at first.
     I assured them that everybody in the world already knew who they were.

Q: Did you get the street closed down officially?
A: No. One of the Beatles key people actually stood in the street
     holding up traffic.

I asked him what he knew about the Let It Be album cover.
He knew everything, because he designed that as well.
He explained to me that the selection of the group members
in the squares was done purely on a "looks best" basis.

I learned a great deal more including what it was like standing on the rooftop
of the Apple building when the Beatles performed live. The ultimate Beatles afternoon!

He let me hold his actual hand-drawn art work for "Lush Life."


OLD ORCHARD Chicago's 1950's Giant Outdoor Mall

"Who wants to go to Old Orchard?" was an exciting proposition for boys and girls
in the 1950's growing up in Chicago.

Even though Downtown Chicago had it's exquisite 12-story flagship department
stores, there was something so enchanting about going to this new experience
in American shopping--a giant outdoor mall filled with your favorite stores!

Built in Skokie, in an area of old orchards just north of Chicago's city limits,
Old Orchard seemed so huge to a child.

 Based on the attraction of a multi-story Marshal Fields department store, and The Fair (later to become Montgomery Ward's), Old Orchard's opening in October of 1956 was the ultimate in modern shopping.

 There were plenty of stores for Mom and Dad, and an S.S.Kresge (a cheap general merchandise store like Woolworth's) for the kids!

The $20 Million project was packed all the time with families from throughout Chicagoland.

And with its own single movie theater, it was a dream come true.

Just imagine that parking lot filled with 1950's cars!

Through the years, it has been modernized, demolished, rebuilt and looks nothing like the piece of Americana it once was.

Any baby boomer from Chicago has some wonderful memory of Old Orchard.

Just Keep Focusing on TV characters and Movie Superheroes.

In the last 2 weeks, I have overheard conversations here and there on the street, in stores, and in other public places.
I am sad to report that the majority of conversations that I have heard center around two things: The Emmy Awards and Superheroes.
Folks...you country is falling apart. Economically, Politically and Socially.

Who won an award for a TV show is not going to affect you for the rest of your life.
Which superhero is next to get a movie is not going to have any bearing on what is happening around you.

Fantasy has its time and place. Too many people are becoming obsessed and controlled by it. You have to learn where fantasy stops and reality begins.

This used to be a great country.
If you want it to continue to turn into an Orwellian nightmare, just keep focusing on TV characters and Movie superheroes.

Robin WIlliams And I Got Our Start In The Same Movie!

As odd as this seems, both Robin Williams and I got our start in Hollywood
in the same movie!

In 1976, I moved to Hollywood and got a few small comedy parts here and
there mostly in TV for a few years before creating the world's first
Hollywood Internet online database/service for CompuServe and America Online
which lasted almost 20 years.

I was in one movie.
The low budget movie was a series of comedy vignettes called
"Can I Do It 'Till I Need Glasses" which made it to drive-ins nationwide.

I am in the cowboy scene at a table playing poker.

I can only be seen for a second, but in the TV commercials for the movie,
I was clearly shown.

I purchased a cowboy hat, shirt and boots from K-mart for the filming and
then returned them the next day.

When the scene started filming, the director yelled "cut," and told something
to an assistant. The assistant came over to me and said "Cowboys did not
wear wrist watches back then." I was hoping they wouldn't notice.
After all, it was a comedy film.

A newcomer (there were dozens) named Robin Williams was in one of the

My favorite Robin Williams performance was in "Aladdin."

A great deal of what the Genie says was unscripted and totally improvised.

They just let Williams go and recorded it all.

Robin Williams had the fastest working brain of any performer ever.

There is a fine line between Genius and Madness.


Can a 72-year old man put on an energetic, musically perfect 3-hour show with no breaks to a sold out baseball stadium?


Paul McCartney played Dodger Stadium tonight for the first time in almost 50 years when he was with the Beatles. And just like then, it was a sell-out crowd who were enchanted by what seemed no different from when he was a 22-year-old Beatle.

 A mixture of Beatles, Wings, newer songs and comedic stage antics kept the audience thrilled.

His voice was in top form as he reached high notes on classic Beatles songs.

Unlike, groups that need 20 extra musicians onstage, Paul has a lead guitar, rhythm guitar, synthesizer and drums. When you hear bass pounding throughout the stadium
(unless he is playing guitar or piano) it is Paul playing.

State of the art graphics, lighting and sound accentuated this dynamic show.

Despite being in a baseball stadium, everybody I spoke to agreed that Paul makes the show seem intimate as if you were in his living room.

For real Beatles folks -- if you have wondered what
"For the Benefit of Mr. Kite" would have sounded like with Paul singing lead instead of John--we got to hear that for the first time tonight.

Tributes to George and John had the place on its feet.

"Yesterday" performed on Paul's original Epiphone Texan backed by live synth strings was as touching as the first time you heard it in 1965.

A memorable event in the Beatles timeline.



I had a favorite TV western in the 1960's.
It was called "The Guns Of Will Sonnett."
It ran for two years only from 1967-1969 and
starred veteran movie and TV star Walter Brennan and
newcomer Dack Rambo. It was one of Aaron Spelling's
first shows ever, which he did in association with 
Danny Thomas.

It was never out on VHS, ever. I never saw it anywhere on
syndicated TV. I had not even thought about
it since the 60's until I ran into a new cheaply put together
DVD set of the show.

I have now watched all 50 episodes, including the last
one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62kzX-5v_LE
which wrapped it all up with a finale (very unusual for a
60's show to do). Somebody has just posted some episodes
on You tube, probably just got the same set.

The story of a young man who was raised by his grandfather
since birth and decides to go find his father is definitely
one of the best westerns ever on TV which most people
don't know about. It pretty much disappeared after 1970.

The show gives you a strong feeling for the traditional
Movie/TV "Old West" set in post-Civil War 1870's.
Storylines are intriguing, a bit too rushed for a 30 minute

show, acting is superb and it is amazing to see the then
unknown talent that popped up in the show.
Jack Nicholson, Charles Grodin, Kevin Hagen,
Ellen Corby,

Strother Martin, Dennis Hopper and others including Jesse Pearson who starred in "Bye Bye Birdie."

The DVD set is copied from some edited version put together from
some TV syndication version used somewhere. As a
result, the color is faded and there are clearly a few minutes
missing from each episode. At least 3 times, the editing
makes no sense and you know something was cut out.

The director must have had a friend, because the same
bartender pops up in different towns in different states
many times. 

Opening Card on Season 1
when ABC was promoting
TV shows now in Color.

 It was really enjoyable seeing this lost gem after
so many years. No Brag, Just Fact.

We searched for a man named Jim Sonnett.
And the legends folks tell may be true.
Most call him gunman and killer.
He’s my son, who I hardly knew.

I raised Jim’s boy from the cradle,
'Till the day he said to me,
 "I have to go find my father."
And I reckon that’s how it should be.
So we ride, Jim’s boy and me.

"Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an earthly paradise called America"

"Once upon a time, or maybe twice, there was an earthly paradise called America"

This is what America once was like.
Smiling happy citizens could choose from many jobs, corporations looked out for Americans' best interests, police "protected and served," the U.S. Dollar was strong, politicians and U.S. government represented the people's voice and there was a feeling of liberty and freedom in the air.

This is America now.


Unhappy sad citizens all look scared, dazed and confused, cannot find jobs because the jobs were sent overseas or they are being replaced by guest H-1B workers, corporations look out for their own interests completely, there is a police state, the U.S. Dollar is worth three cents, politicians and U.S. government only represent the voice of special interests and there is a feeling of fascism and totalitarianism in the air.


This weekend I did exactly the same thing I did 50 years ago--
I saw "A Hard Day's Night" on the big screen.

 Wilfred Brambell was a popular British TV star when he played Paul's grandfather. He was 52 at the time. Paul is now 72.

Patty Boyd, one of the schoolgirls in the first scene, married George Harrison. She later married Eric Clapton. He wrote a song about her called "Layla."

 We thought John was just fooling around. We didn't realize he was "snorting Coke."

Director Richard Lester brought a fast-paced craziness to the film on a very small budget.

Of course, in 1964 I was 11 and couldn't hear a word being said because 2,000 girls were screaming non-stop during the movie. Every time there was a closeup. Every time there was a funny reaction. During every song that was played.

I have seen the movie between 60-75 times. But only 5 times on the big screen.

The one scene with some character depth is when Ringo goes for a walk alone and talks with a 10-year-old boy playing hooky. Ringo says he was stoned out his mind when that scene was done.

When it premiered at the Granada theater, one of Chicago's elegant movie palaces in the summer of 1964, the movie had just been made three months earlier to capitalize on this Beatlemania thing, which the movie studio, United Artists, expected would be a one time fad and gone by the next year.

Only in America and nowhere else in the world, because movies are released as a complete "soundtrack," the instrumental Beatles song scores arranged and conducted by George Martin were part of the album in addition to the new Beatles songs. United Artists, primarily a movie company, had itself the number one album in America without making any effort. Capitol Records was prevented from releasing "A Hard Day's Night" on an album.