Wednesday, February 28, 2007

The Illusionist

Just a quick posting on how much my wife and I enjoyed this movie, great actors, great acting, wonderful lighting and an intelligent story. This is a great movie. I'm honestly compelled to post something about it and highly recommend the movie. I have always been a fan of Edward Norton. He's one of those actors that embodies his character. While Deniro and Nicholson play versions of themselves Edward Norton has the ability much like Robert Duvall to personify the character completely. Since Sideways Paul Giamatti has been able to get out there so to speak and take more leading rolls. He also posses a deftness of emotion and acting that is just plain fun to watch. I do not know much about Jessica Biel but I do believe she has been cast beautifully in this role. The characters played by Rufus Sewell and Eddie Marsan are both portrayed beautifully. The acting is up to snuff and beyond so what about the story? It's awesome because it taps into something that is real for all of us and between what we know and what we don't know. Great things are happening in this movie it does not drag and it is intriguing. Suspend belief and enjoy. Okay, great acting, wonderful story, what about the staging, pacing, scenery, costums and lighting? Across the board this has been directed and shot beautifully. The lighting for every single shot in this movie is exquisit!

Take the time if you can and do yourself a favor this is a very good movie - all ages appropriate!

Well done, well done...bravo!

Monday, February 26, 2007

Guitar Shorty (Double Holy Smokes)

I just happened to check our local blues club and stopped in to see Guitar Shorty over the weekend.

Holy smokes!!! Either I was ready to cut loose or this was the best freakin’ show I’ve seen or heard in a long, long time – holy smokes – we completely lost track of time
. A little research on the links provided reveal a true road warrior and living legend. Guitar Shorty (David Kearney) is a lights out awesome, righteous guitar player. What a show!

I love being surprised when checking out acts for the first time. I had no idea what to expect and truth be told I was pretty played out by the end of the week. We could have used the night off. But we rallied late and got there just before show time. I know I'm in for a good show when just walking into the venue I almost knock over the headliner. He was on his way out to change before the show. Well I'm happy to say we had a complete blast as David Guitar Shorty strutted his stuff and worked the audience. We were laughing and crackin’ with him all night. It was a real event and the place was packed! By the end of the night he had us dancing in the aisles. I woke up the next morning with a slight twisted knee from playing air guitar all night looooonngggg!!!!! (LOL)! Here's a section lifted from his web site(s) to give you an idea of his pedigree:

"Right out of high school at the age of 16 Shorty joined Ray Charles and his band for a year. At the age of 17 he recorded a single under the direction of Willie Dixon on the Cobra label. When Shorty was lured away to play with Guitar Slim he moved to New Orleans. He gigged steadily through the late 1950s and 1960s, working with Little Milton, B.B. King, Lowell Fulson, Sam Cooke, Otis Rush, Johnny Copeland and T-Bone Walker. Shorty lived and worked in both Los Angeles and Canada until in 1961 he met his wife, Marcia, in Seattle. When Shorty married Marcia he also got Jimi Hendrix, Marcia’s (step)brother for a younger brother-in-law. The young Jimi Hendrix came to see Shorty play often..."

Okay, enough said the man's the real deal! Here's a great interview from two years ago "Guitar Shorty Interview " that tells a great story. It's a quick read. After all this time Shorty is finally reaping the benefits of his decades long pursuit of music and hard work.

One other thing the man is a class act. He spent all night with his fans until the last one straggled out the door. His band was rock solid and it was just a great fun night for all. Do not miss this American Treasure when he comes to your town. Here's his current schedule.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

9/11 and the Noble Conspiracy Theorists

I just finished watching "9/11 Mysteries" and reading “Debunking the 9/11 Myths”- Mar. 2005 Cover Story - Popular Mechanics examines the evidence and consults the experts to refute the most persistent conspiracy theories of September 11 published in the March 2005 issue. These links represent both sides of the same coin. 9/11 Mysteries is an hour long documentary and the Debunking article is 9 pages long. Both are excellent.

Here’s the problem – when our government cries wolf (WMD’s) when oil companies write the national energy policy – when our representatives hide conflicts of interest and information from us – when politicians lie – you breed suspicion – period. Why should anybody be surprised by people who do not believe the official government story when the whole system is fraught with brinkmanship from the tax laws to the election results? Common sense screams one person and one bullet did not blow JFK’s head to bits – they clean and repaired the car before anyone could see it. Why are the records sealed? If Oswald acted alone and that’s the story then what in those records is deemed worthy of sealing? Once you start down the road of secret deeds, secret records, organizations, CIA, NSA, KGB, etc. well the results are paranoid people who know they have been lied to – all their lives - by scheming and lying politicians and those seeking and holding power. They may not know exactly when and where or the exact truth, and their theories may go far and wide of the mark, but the inherent quest for truth in the face of habitual and persistent lying across generations and across the spectrum of governments (both home and abroad) is not a bad thing. In fact it’s noble. The passion of the “conspiracy theorists” is in equal proportion to the secrecy of our governments and the sometimes dubious decisions they make on behalf of national security. There’s an old saying “honesty is the best policy” until our governments comes clean about their sweetheart deals, their personal quest for power, level the playing fields between the haves and the have nots and operate in a dignified and diplomatic fashion domestically and internationally – they are all breeding dissent. Kooky conspiracy nuts are the least of their worries, and are in fact a symptom of the governments’ (both home and abroad) collective dishonest actions.

Honesty is not some naive virtue. It's the foundation of civilized society, dishonesty is the foundation of chaos. It’s time to stop lying people across the board about yourselves, about each other and about everything and anything. It’s turning Eden into Hell.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Walter Wolfman Washington

I went to see Walter a few weeks ago and got funked up! It was awesome. I needed to post something up about this unsung Cresent City hero and quick! I had the opportunity to play his music on my radio show a few years back. What I get most out of Walter is that good Philly soul sound mixed with the blues and funk and seared with New Orleans everything. Earth Wind and Fire meets the DelFonics and Chris Cain and I'm not even getting close to explaining the great house party music he and the roadmasters pump out. Walter is a pure entertainer and has been in the business a very long time. He's the real deal and has 50 years of playing and listening, touring and entertaining under his belt. Rip open his repertoire and you'll find a gumbo stew of influences all of them cool. He had fans whipping out their cell phones telling their friends to get their asses down to the club now! I was knocked out that he was in my little hometown. I can recommend three of his disc's On the Prowl, Funk in the House, and Get on Up: Charly Blues Masterworks, Vol. 9

Visit his website and buy direct - this is a New Orleans musician and he cautioned all of us - our donations to the hurricane relief go through several layers before getting down to the people. So if you really want to help New Orleans - get yourself down there and deliver your cash to the locals first hand whether you are eating Etoufee or funkin' it up with Walter at Bank Street!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The Electric Car (Who Killed It)

Whoa, holy smokes - what the - I remember reading about the law suit. This got swept under the rug pretty fast. I finally got around to watching the movie Who Killed The Electric Car rent it and weep. We are fighting an unnecessary war in the Middle East we could walk away from that region. Osama Bin Laden claims he wants the US off of his native soil and out of his country (Saudi Arabia). Let's leave. We don't need their oil and we don't need to sacrifice our service men for corporate mega profits. We don't have to be in this situation. What's gotta happen for the US to wise up and get away from the dirty fuel problems? Does Exxon/Mobil really want more terrorist attacks on our soil or anywhere around the world? Saudi Arabia (the government) invited the US military presence to defend the flow of oil out and the flow of cash into their country. The zealots want us off their turf. That's not that hard to understand. How would we feel if there were Russian bases in North America? Not too happy I suppose. What about the environment? Isn't it time we called the oil companies on the carpet and got these electric cars into mass production?

Turn up the volume people find out what independents are converting cars and go get it done. I was on the bubble about the hybrid's before but I'll be buying one next just to make a point. Although I would rather have an EV1. Put me on the waiting list I understand the batteries can get up to 300 miles before recharging. I'll sign a petition to congress and GM for these cars. This is a matter of National Security, the Environment and Integrity in the (alleged) fair market system that conservatives ballyhoo and proclaim so loudly. Where's Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to bring their weight to the discussion. I have a new issue for you!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Everson v. Board of Education

This is a repost from: Americans United for Separation of Church and State

I added the links to the case.


Get out your party hats, put on your dancing shoes, and buy a cake! It's time to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the most important church-state case you never heard of. That's right, Saturday, February 10th, marks the 60th anniversary of Everson v. Board of Education, the seminal Supreme Court decision where justices unanimously agreed there is and should be a high wall of separation between church and state.

That wasn't a typo, you read it right ... In 1947 every justice on the Supreme Court supported the principle of church-state separation. Wouldn't it be nice if that were the case today? Since it isn't, the job of defending religious liberty falls to us. You can help advance the cause and celebrate the Everson anniversary by getting 6 for 60, encourage 6 more people to sign the First Freedom First petition.

Everson v. Board of Education was about government subsidies for buses to take children to parochial schools. Though the subsidies were upheld by a slim majority of justices, the decision was a huge loss for opponents of church-state separation. The justices may have disagreed about exactly how high the wall of separation should be, but they were unanimous in support of having a strong one. In this ruling, Justice Hugo Black wrote that the wall "… must be kept high and impregnable."

The Everson decision made it clear that government cannot establish a religion in any way. It cannot, "pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another." Nor can it try to influence or coerce people in matters of religion. Specifically, "No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance." Likewise, no one can be forced to pay taxes to support religious activities or institutions. The Everson decision's ringing endorsement of religious liberty for all made it the most important and influential church-state ruling of the 20th century.

Unfortunately today, with two Supreme Court justices who are openly hostile to the Everson decision and two new justices on the bench, we cannot count on the judiciary to uphold our constitutional rights. Instead, we have to band together to safeguard separation of church and state with others who share our commitment.

This is what First Freedom First is all about. Help celebrate the 60th anniversary of Everson by working to ensure the principle it articulated lives on. So get out your party hats, put on your dancing shoes and make a commitment today to get 6 for 60! Encourage 6 new people to sign the First Freedom First petition!

PS If you'd like to learn more about the Everson decision and the Religious Right's attempts to undermine it, check out the article here.

Sincerely, The First Freedom First Team

Beth Corbin and Bethany Moore of Americans United for Separation of Church and State
Donna Red Wing and Eric Shutt of The Interfaith Alliance Foundation

"What makes us special and different from other countries is that our right to decide whether and how to worship is a private matter protected by the Constitution."

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Puppy Bowl vs Super Bowl and Random Thoughts

First of all last weeks game was fun for the fans - fumbles and interceptions - goal line stands and missed extra points and field goals. It was mayhem in the driving tropical rains of Southern Florida. Chicago fans get off Grossman's back - in his first year he got you to the super bowl - chances are he has enough skill to improve his game.

Okay - if you haven't heard of the Puppy Bowl this is a must see and a great flip back to what is often a boring game year in and year out. So if your team is getting trounced and you don't care about the commercials or halftime show - scroll through your guide to Animal Planet and have a good laugh. I especially loved the tailgate crew in the parking lot. It will renew your perspective on what's important and what's not in a big hurry. If you bet a bunch of money on the game - oh well aren't you a sucker.

Discovered this quote the other day courtesy of Mother Jones magazine:

"News is what someone, somewhere, doesn't want you to know. Everything else is just advertising." - British Newspaper Pioneer Lord Northcliffe.

Words to remember when watching the boob tube ABC, Fox or reading the newspaper.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Brick - Movie Review

Okay, so I'm a little behind the times but this is another movie that I thought was sincerely worth mentioning. This is a young but seasoned cast that really delivers. I've seen reviews that knock the high school setting but the high school is merely a back drop and adds a wonderful juxtaposition to the adult dialog. Don't be fooled this type of nonsense goes on every day in our schools but not with nearly the amount of panache as these young actors.

Let's give them a nod - first off Joseph Gorden Levitt, Lukas Haas, Nora Zehetner and Noah Fleiss all bring credibility to their well written roles. Secondly this movie is shot very well. There isn't an abundance of gore or blood shed but it's loaded with intrigue. Film noir is reborn. So if you liked Garden State or Clerks you will be fine with this film. But listen up there is a ton of dialog that reminded me of Man-of -the Century ( a much more light-hearted fare) but with it's own language (the language of the twenties). Now go take an ankle excursion, go on blow and don't worry about the reviews posted on Net Flix. This is a good one and deserves the praise. The music score, acting and (let's not forget the writers) did I mention the dialog all work tremendously with a well shot and directed movie. 4 stars!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Global Warming Protest Tonight February 1st !!! Turn Off Your Lights for 5 Minutes 7:55pm

A global warming protest the night before a UN report on Global Warming is Issued is to take place in France at at 7:55pm their time tonight. While it will still be light in the States I think we should show our solidarity of citizenship and turn off the lights in our collective neighborhoods at 7:55pm. I intend to do just that - please join me and our global neighbors (citizens).

Source article below -

L’Alliance pour la Planète, is a large collective made up of NGOs, associations in France related to helping the environment and trade unions, consumer groups, farmers, etc. working to fight against the planet’s environmental problems.They are calling on all residents of France to mobilize and take part in a protest against global warming.

On February 1, they are asking citizens to please turn off all of your lights from 7:55pm to 8pm. This means all of your lights including unplugging surge protectors and night lights, as well as turning off or simply unplugging televisions completely. (Many televisions in France have a red light on even when the television is turned off.)

This small gesture is meant to attract the eyes of the media, and decision-makers - to get them to focus on wastefulness among other things, and how it is harmful to the environment. It is to also to show the French presidental candidates that global warming / climate change is an immediate danger and must be included in the political debate.

Why February 1st? A new report will be submitted in Paris the next day by le groupe d’experts intergouvernemental sur l’évolution du Climat (GIEC) / the intergovernmental group of experts on climate change for the United Nations. This will let them know that the people of France take the subject of global warming very seriously. The alliance wants decision-makers to work for the improved progress of the environment because it is an urgent subject that needs to be addressed right now.

For more information contact:
L’Alliance pour la Planète
Cyrielle, Les Amis de la Terre : 01 48 51 18 95

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