Saturday, September 13, 2008
Although, he stood under bright overhead lighting at the confection booth, you probably would not have recognized the talented young actor.
He sported a frizzy little beard tinged with red, for starters.
And, a cap yanked down tight, hid a wide smile and mischievous eyes the movie-going crowd would have normally recognized from the big screen.
Even still, everyone in the lobby of the theatre was hip to who he was.
The unlikely star has landed a few plum roles in recent years - and in the process - has seen his career sky-rocket - in spite of the fact gainful employment in the acting arena can run hot and cold depending on the kindness of strangers.
Tonight, the likeable screen persona is holding court at the New Beverly Cinema.
Yes, the theatre-owner invited Mr. Green to screen a few of his favorite films, in sequence over a span of a handful of celebrity-filled nights.
It's sort of a tradition at the Hollywood theatre; generally - high-profile directors like wacky Quentin Tarantino and discerning Edgar Wright - tend to be at the helm for these sort-of mini-festivals, though.
On a hot date night, Seth has offered up two olden-golden-goodies.
First up, the well-produced "Beverly Hills Cop", starring Eddie Murphy.
With - "Running Scared" - to follow on the twin bill.
In the intro, Green notes that Beverly Hills Cop was originally a vehicle for Sylvester Stallone.
But, the burly stud was forced to bow out, allowing for Murphy to trot in from the wings.
Can you imagine anyone but the charismatic comedian in the role?
Seth - like Murphy before him - is a little charmer, as well.
At times, he comes across like a stand-up comic, on the prowl.
At ease, and quick on the uptake, Green comfortably wins over the crowd.
When the impish character actor noted he first saw "Running Scared" about twenty years ago, the tidbit threw me for a second.
Say, just how old is this kid, anyway?
The buddy film which stars two of my least favorite actors - funny-man Billy Crystal and versatile actor Gregory Hines - prompted Green to ponder whether he had the machismo to play a cop on screen.
"Naw. I'm usually the dude in the band," he guffawed.
Actually - to his credit - the humble actor has inhabited a handful of juicy roles in features like Radio Days, Big Business, Idle Hands, Rat Race, to name a few.
Something tells me there are a couple of exciting multi-faceted roles in his future.
Maybe there will be a hand at directing, too?
Mr. Green will be presenting a couple of more features over the next few days at the Art Film House - so take one of 'em in - if you're in the mood for an upbeat theatre in-the-round experience.
After all - events at the New Beverly Cinema are always a hoot - and are often attended by surprise celebrity guests who usually add a jolt of adrenalin into the eclectic mix!
Friday, September 12, 2008
Well now, turn-about is fair play, I guess!
In Sarah Palin's case - it calls for a celebration - 'fer sure!
It appears that the VP hopeful has changed her stance on "global warming" after upteen bloggers (myself included) criticized the Gov's outrageous assertions, for instance, that humans were not responsible for the green house gases which have caused huge chunks of glacier to crash into the sea - and in their destructive wake - strand polar bears on ice flows as far as the eye can see.
In her interview with Charlie Gibson last night on ABC News, Palin ate a little crow - just as tasty as Moose Meat, some say - and 'fessed up.
Yup, she'd ventured off the environmental track, a todd - um - tad!
Did John McCain pull her aside and give her a good lipstick lashing?
Or, did Sarah goodie-two-shoes manage to fathom the reality of global warming all by her lonesome?
Looks like Sarah will be trading in those mukluks for - you got it - flip flops.
Welcome to the Washington Club, Sarah!
Sarah, I told 'ya so...
At about six o'clock in the morning last week, I was flipping through the airwaves on the radio in my SUV, when I stumbled on an interview with former Y & R Soap Stud, David Hasselhoff.
The sloppy overweight hunk is either a very convincing actor - or, just maybe - he was stinko drunk!
The disc jockey dialed up Hasselhoff to get an inside scoop on the on-going screwball dialogue which the second tier celebrity has jokingly been perpetuating on network shows in recent days.
Yeah, whenever David engages in any conversation, he is inclined to tag on "Hoff" in the most inane or bizarre places.
Sometimes, with hilarious results.
On other occasions, not.
When he plucked up his telephone, the first one he rasped on air, hit the funny bone.
If you can't translate "Hoffese" - it basically means - "What's up?"
But, the joke pretty much rolled downhill from there onto the floor where the hoff-meister was obviously sprawled out in a hoff-daze.
Can't imagine why the disc jockeys devoted so much of their precious hoff-time to that convoluted mass of hoff-the-wall jelly flesh.
After all, it was evident from the get-go, that the faded star had hoffed-down a couple of bottles of hard liquor the night before.
Judging by his slurred words, mixed up hoff processes, and oddball antics anyway!
Where is he taking all of this?
To rehab, no doubt!
I switched to another channel in a "Hoff".
I "Hoff" to get it just right...
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Years ago, when West Hollywood first incorporated as a city, a big ta-do was made about the fact most of the City Council members were openly gay, a large number of the local businesses were owned or operated by their rainbow entrepreneurs, and the neighborhood was populated primarily with "out" fags.
Understandably, West Hollywood became a bit of a gay mecca.
Over the years, events like the annual Gay Pride Parade, grew in momentum and evolved into well-organized, highly-publicized (and accepted) gargantuan pride celebrations.
Today, hundreds of thousands of revellers, usually attend the festivities in June.
Meanwhile, the Carnaval on Halloween, has not only endured as a highlight each fall for the gays - but for the straights, too - who turn out in full force each spooky October 31st.
In fact, the high-energy entertainment extravaganza has become so popular over the years that - E Entertainment, ABC TV, and MTV - usually descend on the high-spirited occasion to capture coverage they'll broadcast on the airwaves all over the U.S.A.
A reporter once referred to West Hollywood as the "hippest" two-square miles on the planet.
Well, as Bob Dylan would warble, the times they are-a-changing.
Where young sexy men once sun-bathed at a local park just a hop-and-a-skip from the Design Center, a dozen or so young families now wile away the mornings with tots in tow.
And - in the early evening - you'll probably encounter more straight couples out shopping at the local grocery than muscled studs on their merry way to "Happy Hour" at trendy watering holes.
Yup, the whole "make-up" (forgive the expression) of the community has changed.
Some say, it's due to the fact a number of old apartment buildings and quaint little cottages have been torn down, and handily replaced with tony apartments and design-forward condominiums.
Well, that's part of the scenario.
Few young gay men can afford the sky-high rents, even with a room-mate cuddling up on the designer couch, in the one-bedroom unit.
When I discussed the trend with a friend the other day, he was inclined to point an accusing finger.
"Gays gentrify an area, then the straights move in."
Well, I don't know that it's a calculated plot, but to some it appears that way.
Others, on the other hand, theorize that because gay rights are now in force - which weren't in place when WEHO was first established - that homosexuals don't need to "cluster" in a ghetto for protection any longer.
Confident, liberated fags fan out now and blend into the communities nearby.
Today, West Hollywood is a mix of gays, seniors, and young straight couples.
Frankly, I find the demographic appealing.
The streets are safe and clean, there are no wild parties late at night during the week to wrestle a light sleeper from deep slumber, and there doesn't appear to be any negative element threatening to upset the status quo.
Gee, I must be getting old!!!
Yesterday afternoon I received an e-mail from Skyward Events, inviting me to a Premier Party for the "much-anticipated" feature film - "The Doorman" - to rev up at 9 p.m. September 10th (last night) at Ummba Grill at the Westlake Shopping Center.
I was notified in the urgent communication that if I had not done so, I should RSVP right away, to ensure I'd be able to glide past the red velvet rope and mingle with the stars.
The festive invite noted that Paris Hilton and Tori Spelling would be making appearances at the event last night.
She is currently in Toronto attending the annual International Film Festival!
Obviously, Skyward was attempting to trade off of Hilton's celebrity, to rustle up some guests for their soiree.
Since Paris is out-of-town, I suspect they figured she'd never know, eh?
That's show biz. Sleazy!
Needless to say, Skyward events has been relegated to the spam box!
Meanwhile, up north and across the border, Paris made an unofficial appearance at the screening of the doc - "Paris, Not France" - at the Ryerson Theatre.
And with little fanfare.
Although she kissed the air from the sidelines at the close of the doc, she never took the stage or addressed the crowd, much to the disappointment of her fans in attendance.
Since Toronto is my "home town", I thought I would point out a few tourists sites Ms. Hilton may find pleasurable while she's traipsing about in fabulous "Hog Town".
At the top of the list?
It's a real-life Castle situated right downtown just off Spadina Road on a picturesque mount overlooking the city.
Sir Henry Pellatt was the dreamer behind Toronto's famous landmark.
His adventurous travels in Europe triggered a love for fine art and architecture which eventually spurred his vision for Casa Loma.
In fact, in 1911 - armed with a fortune of $17 million - Pellatt drew up the original plans to construct his dream castle with the skillful assistance of Canadian architect E. J. Lennox.
The Castle took three years and a staggering $3.5 million to build.
A lot of moolah in those heady days!
Once he took possession, Sir Henry filled his dream home with artwork from Canada and around the world.
In sum, it stood as a monument to its creator.
With its soaring battlements and secret passageways, it appeared to also pay homage to the castles and knights of days gone by.
Casa Loma's romantic borrowing from the past, tempered by necessary modern day conveniences, provided the perfect setting for entertaining Pellatt's business partners who were the captains of industry around the globe.
The Pellatt's hosted grand social events at the house and were involved in a number of philanthropic projects.
Sir Henry was a trustee and benefactor of Trinity College and a strong supporter of Grace Hospital.
Lady Pellatt, in spite of her frequent confinement to a wheelchair, played an active role in the promotion of Girl Guides in Canada. She was appointed the first Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada and in 1919 was honoured with the Girl Guides' highest award, the Silver Fish.
Unfortunately - in due time - Sir Henry's fortunes could not sustain the magic that was Casa Loma.
To finance expansion, Pellatt went further and further into debt.
One of the financial sources - income from the monopoly of electrical power - vanished when public ownership of electric companies turned the tide against him.
An attempt by Pellatt to fill the coffers by way of land speculation, failed too.
Faced with an extraordinary tax bill, Sir Henry had no choice but to auction off his prized possessions for a fraction of their worth and to abandon his dream of a residing in a noble castle.
Casa Loma is now owned by the City of Toronto and is a successful tourist attraction.
The roughly five square block area includes the completely unique, Chinatown, and its welcoming mystical culture.
There are quite a few one-of-a-kind boutique stores mixed in with cheese shops and inviting stands filled to the brim with intriguing curios.
At open stalls, tourists can snap up succulent fruit, fresh vegetables, and exotic seafood dishes - you name it.
Ms. Hilton would probably be in her element in Yorkville, too.
Chic boutiques line the streets chock full of the latest designer outfits and fashion flourishes sure to satisfy any savvy shopper.
Gosh, I'm homesick already!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
When it was announced months ago that Woody Allen was going to tackle a trio of Operas - "Il Trittico" - a few snobs probably shook their heads in disgust.
Even Woody was inclined to question what he was getting himself into.
"I have no idea what I'm doing," Allen said in a statement to the press, "but incompetence has never prevented me from plunging in with enthusiasm."
The quirky filmmaker - known for his cerebral film style and for being a consummate New Yorker - signed on to direct the ever-popular- "Gianni Schicchi" - which was unveiled this past week.
At the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, the production stars Lauren McNeese, Brian Leerhuber, Jill Grove, Saimir Pirgu, Rebekah Camm, Greg Fedderly, Steven Condy and Andrea Silvestrelli.
The morning after Woody's star turn in the Theatre, a blog reader by the name of "Black Tulip" was quick to post her comments about the production which she found disappointing.
"I saw it last night. It was badly done. Please see the NY Times article. The staging was a disgrace to Puccini and Florence. The ending was changed. The singing and the orchestra were excellent, though."
Before I had the opportunity to check the NY Times review, a second blogger posted an anonymous comment which conflicted with Tulip's!
"Just saw the article," he stated matter-of-fact.
"The NY Times is very enthusiastic about Allen's Opera."
"Did we read the same newspaper," he quizzed.
How was it that two individuals came away from the review with distinctly different impressions about the criticisms - and subsequently - the quality of the show?
I proceeded to surf over to the NY Times web site to take a gander at the review written by Opera Critic, Anthony Tommasini.
The caption for the review read:
"Puccini With a Sprinkling of Woody Allen Whimsy"
Not a bad start, eh?
Tommasini proceeded to engage in a little idle chit-chat about recent conversations with Allen in which the celebrated artist allegedly sought to lower his expectations with regard to his directorial debut in Opera by noting on occasion he was clueless about the work at hand.
Then, with little ado, Tommasini launched into his review.
"Far from being incompetent, his "Gianni Schicchi" is a cleverly updated and inventive staging of the popular comedy, marred only by a regrettable directorial liberty at the end."
"With sets and costumes by Mr. Allen’s longtime collaborator, Santo Loquasto, the production has the look and style of some old black-and-white film. Not one of those black-and-white Woody Allen films. Think "Big Deal on Madonna Street".
"With comic pacing and dialogue already determined by Puccini, Mr. Allen may have felt there was not enough for him to do. So he fills the show with sight gags and busyness, perhaps too much so. Still, the comic maneuvers of the cast are deftly choreographed, and he elicits feisty portrayals from the singers."
"But the only real miscue comes with Mr. Allen’s altered ending. After bamboozling the family of Donati, Puccini’s Schicchi points to the happy Lauretta and Rinuccio, who now have the money to marry, and asks the audience’s indulgence, since his scam has fostered young love. But Mr. Allen has the indomitable Zita (Jill Grove), Donati’s avenging cousin, burst in and stab Schicchi, who poses his question to the audience and then drops dead."
"You can understand why Mr. Allen could not resist giving an Italian vendetta twist to Puccini’s happy ending. But isn’t it more comically, cynically, triumphantly right for Schicchi to get away with everything?"
There it is, in a nutshell.
By the way - it should be noted that in an advertisement for the production in the Los Angeles Times this morning - critics hailed Woody's Gianni Schicchi as a "riot" and underscored that everyone in the production "is a hoot".
All in all, fairly positive reviews!
So, how is it that Black Tulip came to the conclusion, that the production was basically a dismal failure?
Granted, she acknowledged that the singers and the orchestra were excellent, but - in sum - was inclined to refer to Woody Allen's star turn in the Theatre as "badly done".
Just maybe, it was all the "busyness" (and the sight gags) - that Tommasini asserted may have been incorporated into the mix to give Allen more "to do" - that negatively impacted her aesthetic experience?
But - why the strident dismissal of Woody's "Gianni Schicchi" - as a disgrace to both Pucinni and Florence?
Was the reviewer off-base in his assessment? Don't think so!
Tommasini's views on the staging of the production were intelligent, thoughtful, and well-elucidated.
Ah, it was the ending, no doubt.
Even Tommasini was inclined to refer to that oddball twist as a possible miscue.
'Ya know, some die-hard Opera fans prefer that a classic not be tampered with.
Others, on the other hand, pine for an exciting novel twist in their theatre-going experience whenever humanly possible!
It may be wise to consider a Tristan Bernard quote at this juncture.
"In the theatre the audience wants to be surprised, but by things that they expect."
“Il Trittico” is being performed through Sept. 26 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in downtown Los Angeles at 135 North Grand Avenue.
The Martha Stewart Show is currently seeking "Super Moms" to be featured on an upcoming show, according to the March of Dimes.
Are you a "Super Mom" or do you know a "Super Mom"?
Has your mom gone above and beyond for you or her community?
Is she your hero?
Do you want to honor her?
If so, contact the Martha Stewart Show, and explain why.
Start by visiting the Martha Stewart web site and filling in a form.
Producers caution that potential candidates should only be submitted if they are willing to share their story on national television and feel comfortable discussing their personal life as a mother in front of a live studio audience.
Tapes, photos, and downloaded forms may be sent to:
The Martha Stewart Show
PO Box 1942
New York, NY 10116
Due to the volume of submissions, no materials can be returned.
Martha may use the tapes or photos submitted in any media.
All materials become the property of the Martha Stewart Show.
Only send a video you have taped yourself.
Get permission from individuals featured in the footage before submitting.
The other day when the news was announced that Charles Gibson was assigned the coveted task of interviewing VP hopeful, Sarah Palin, I penned a post tongue-in-check questioning whether the ABC newsie was capable of putting forth the hard-hitting questions necessary to pin down the former Ice Queen.
To spruce up the post a bit, I included a publicity still of Gibson interviewing actor, Keanu Reeves.
With a bit of wicked glee, I inputted a caption over the photo, which read:
"Charles Gibson probes Keanu Reeves on acting techniques"
Although I didn't make any negative comments about Keanu's acting ability per se - anyone familiar with the jibes of film critics over the years - would surely read between the lines.
Shortly after the post was fed to Technorati, fans were quick on the uptake!
One of the actor's die-hard supporters got to the point straight out.
"Say what you will (!) I am still going to see Keanu's new film."
The fan proceeded to post a clip of the actor's upcoming film scheduled for release in the near future.
Then, about twelve hundred bloggers jumped on the bandwagon, too.
Ah, such a sensitive cast of characters, eh?
You see, I am a Keanu Reeves fan, as well!
In spite of it, I never permit my fandom to affect my discerning eye, though.
Let's face it, Keanu has turned in a handful of solid performances in surefire box-office hits over the years.
On the downside, a few turkeys have gobbled up the silver screen, too!
Probably the sensual star's best characterization to date - was that of the raunchy street hustler in "My Own Private Idaho" - in which he starred opposite teen idol River Phoenix.
No doubt, it was Gus Van Sant's direction at the helm, that elicited such a bang-on performance out of the teenage heart throb.
Keanu's "cool" looks and aloof persona also suited the Matrix franchise to a "T".
I kind-of liked the dude he played in the movie about the run-away bus, too.
And, although Point Break was never a critical success, it was a piece of mindless fluff that entertained, nonetheless.
In that action adventure heist film, Keanu played an undercover law enforcement officer, out to nab a criminal (Patrick Swayze) he befriended against the breathtaking backdrop of the California surfing scene.
It was in this particular feature that Keanu uttered his stilted rendition of the infamous line - "I'm an FBI Agent" - which ultimately - turned the unwitting ham into a show biz legend!
Like him or not, it's hard to ignore the endurance of the Reeves phenomenon.
Pensive intensity macho turn-on to fans...
When I opened up the morning paper and spied a photograph of Sarah Palin supporters carrying placards displaying an image of the VP hopeful flexing her bicep, I laughed out loud.
Talk about synchronicity!
Just last night, I attended a lecture by Dr. Irving Biederman, the respected Harold W. Dornslife Professor of Neuroscience at USC.
The focus of the talk was on the neural basis for aesthetics.
During the course of the discussion, Dr. Beiderman displayed a handful of images on the screen which resulted in negative interpretable experiences for the subjects tested.
Curiously, a photograph that scored low on the test as a pleasurable experience, was the one that depicted a man flexing his bicep, and strikingly similar to the one Palin supporters are displaying on their placards!
Of course, the promotion is a take-off on "Rosie the Riveter".
Even still, I don't expect that the Palin camp is aware that the image they're touting is - undoubtedly, in view of the scientific research - turning off the voters they are trying to reach!
Again, it appears that John McCain and his handlers, failed to do their homework.
"Never underestimate the power of stupid people to do stupid things in large groups."
Not a lipstick pig by any stretch of the imagination!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
A big bruiser on the gridiron - with a tight butt and wide shoulders - knocked football stud Tom Brady down and he went boom.
The end result was a nasty knee injury requiring surgery - that will bench the pro athlete - for the rest of the high-profile season.
In a call to NBC earlier today, Brady was upbeat and optimistic, though.
"Everything is OK. It will be exciting to see what the team is made of."
Without you Tom?
A big fat ZERO!!!
Fans will be keenly observing from the sidelines, and praying for your sake, there'll be a team to huddle back to next season.
Meanwhile, a bit of tender love might get you over the - um - hump.
A word of advice, though.
The missionary position may not be a great idea just about now, what with your bum knee, and all.
Why not let her ride you from on top?
Just a suggestion, Tom!
Last week the hits dropped off a tad on Michael Phelps posts - but surprise! - come Sunday morning stats reflected a big blast into the blogosphere once again.
Ah, will the Phelpsmania continue at its fevered pitch, like it has been?
I expect the recent jolt at the blog site over the past three days is due in part to the Olympic stud's upcoming stint on Saturday Night Live which is scheduled for September 13th (NBC).
Undoubtedly - fans are frenetically surfing around the Internet for the latest up-to-the-minute news flash - or sexy still - to satiate their undying fascination with the Olympic Gold Medalist who dove gracefully into their hearts this past summer.
Without doubt - the blogosphere cries out for a totally awesome Michael Phelps site - where each delicious tidbit of news, trivia, and dating news (sigh!) - is quickly available at the twittering fingertips to satisfy all the ubiquitous flirts, die-hard fans, and the plain old curious.
A personal diary online, written in Michael's own distinctive script, would certainly light up a cloudy day for the most needy just about now.
And, of course, a scintillating web site - dedicated to a whole slew of heretofore never-before glimpsed scandily-clad images of the Olympic Gold Medalist stud in a far-reaching exotic range of racy speedos - would be welcomed at the drop of one slightly-used Michael Phelps' towel fresh from the Beijing Olympics!
Is he a boxer man, do 'ya think?
News at 11!
Power stroke and bedroom eyes a lethal combination...
Last night as I headed to the cash register at Gelson's, a middle-aged blond woman was in a tirade at the check-out stand.
"She's the Devil," she rasped to a thin fey man next to her in line.
I stopped and asked her dead-pan,
"Are you kibitzing about Sarah Palin?"
"Yes," she shouted gleefully in response.
"See, you didn't even have to reveal her name and I knew who you were talking about."
All the shoppers within earshot roared!
Although voters may be gushing over the VP hopeful in some republican quarters around the country- in this neck of the woods - Palin's pretty much a party joke.
Meanwhile, husband Tom is viewed somewhat tepidly.
Yeah, I know hubby's name is actually Todd.
In a post yesterday, I referred to him as Tom to subtly infer just how inconsequential he is, but the joke went over a few people's heads.
Voters just can't seem to remember what's-his-name.
Or, maybe they just can't be bothered making the effort?
However, Mr. Sarah did rankle a few jangled nerves, when it was learned that he often clicked open confidential e-mails meant for the salacious eyes of the Gov only.
Just stick to the Iron Man competition Tom - uh - Todd!
Or, whatever the strength endurance test is called up there in the great white north.
Most importantly, though, keep your hand out of the Government cookie jar.
Only one freeloader per household, got it?
Tipsy Todd toed Trooper's line...
Monday, September 8, 2008
So, you have to wonder on the heels of the announcement that Michael Phelps will host the season opener for Saturday Night Live, what kind of schtick the celebrated swimmer may get tangled up in under the wicked spell of producer, Lorne Michaels.
Phelps has only to stroll out in his skimpy speedo with the eight gold trinkets he won slung around his neck - to satisfy his fans - I expect.
How 'bout an off-beat skit poking fun at the Olympic Champion?
For starters, how 'bout Phelps cruising around Tinsel Town in one of those oversize stretch limos - with jacuzzi in back (bubbly, a must) - with a bevy of bodacious babes in tow who cater to his every every whim?
Yeah, Michael goes Hollywood!
Follow this up with a side-splitting skit featuring Aqua Man being shaken down by the paparazzi in front of The Villa or Koi - Lorne - and a merry chase through the tony streets of Beverly Hills with Phelps half-naked?
Or, how about a sly poke at the trappings of fame, when Phelps goes house-hunting for a ritzy Beverly Hills manse? And, a hilarious bit, haggling with contractors over the semantics of installing a replica of the "cube" in the backyard next to his futuristic digs on stilts overlooking the picturesque hills?
Ah, so many tantalizing ideas!
The show - whatever it unfolds under the guise of - will be broadcast on NBC on September 13th (this weekend).
The 23-year-old Gold Medalist will kick off SNL's 34th season!
Undoubtedly, the network is going full throttle, hoping to scoop up some of those sky-high ratings that followed Phelps around the Olympic lanes.
After all, an unprecedented millions tuned in to the boob tube to root for Phelps, when he competed at the landmark Beijing Olympics.
Of course, at those history-making games, Phelps demolished world records and left the competition in his wake.
The highlight of the races was undoubtedly the moment when Phelps won his 7th Gold Medal by beating a fierce competitor - Milorad Cavic - by the slimmest and most-dramatic margin imaginable.
Yeah, one-hundredth of a second!
But, Phelps went on to nab a perfect score of 8 gold medals out of a possible 8 - and, subsequently - broke Mark Spitz's single-Games record for most gold medals ever won.
Notwithstanding, the icing on the cake included an Olympic record, which garnered Phelps the title of most-decorated Olympian in history.
When the dust settled, he was left holding seven world records in the highly-competitive and exhausting swimming arena.
Water sports aside, the hunky Olympic hero is also known as a hip-hop artist fan, who racks up a roster of funky tunes on his iPod before the competitions begin.
So, for Phelps - sharing his SNL debut with hip-hop superstar co-host Lil Wayne - must be real sweet!
Let the SNL comedies begin!
This one's for you, Ma!
Not surprisingly, I.O.U.S.A. turned out to be a big downer!
When the lights went up, I scurried out of the movie theatre vowing to cut up all my credit cards, never spend a penny needlessly again, and think twice about who I vote for in the upcoming election.
In addition to shaking me into a reality zone - the well-produced documentary on National debt - educated me, too.
No wonder, I.O.U.S.A. has been dubbed the "inconvenient truth" of the economic sector.
The first shocker unfolds on the screen when former U.S. GAO head - David Walker - points out some disconcerting facts about the nest-egg called Social Security.
Until now, surplus funds being collected from wage-earners, have been used to pay off debt elsewhere on the negative fiscal landscape.
But, when baby-boomers start retiring and collecting their old age benefits, those trust funds will swiftly vanish.
The end result? A devastating financial crunch.
If that news wasn't disturbing enough - the dilemma regarding foreign trade - will surely smack you up one side of the wall and down the other!
As most historians know, this country's great fortunes were built on the sweat of the backs of American workers, who produced quality goods and services that were exported to foreign nations for top dollar.
But, in recent years, the contracts have been consistently farmed out.
Now - there appears to be an imbalance in the import/export trade - which is crippling the economy by the ba**s, daily.
But, figures outlining the staggering sums of greenbacks owed to an ever-increasing number of foreign nations, is the most distressing of all.
Like China, for example.
No wonder the President found it difficult to "boycott" the Olympics!
We're into those suckers for a few billion bucks!
In what amounted to - "fiscal wake-up tours" - Walker traipsed around the country to spread the word at cozy speaking engagements for the enlightened few just a scant few years back.
On those occasions, he made no bones about it.
He compared the U.S. to the final days of the "militarily overextended" and "fiscally irresponsible" days of ancient Rome.
Originally, Walker preached his message of financial doom-and-gloom to mostly half-empty rooms.
But, the interest picked up, when Walker was featured in a "60 Minutes" probe.
At this juncture, a handful of backers - a private-equity billionaire, Walker, and a Baltimore newsletter editor - came up with the idea to produce - I.O.U.S.A. - with the specific aim of convincing Americans the National debt was creating a looming economic crisis that must be acted now.
Did you know the National deficit now stands at about $9.6 trillion and that it is climbing by the minute?
If you include all the unfunded entitlement obligations — such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and so forth and so on - it's actually $53 trillion, Walker asserts stone-faced to crowds who sober at the thought.
And, it the debt will only get deeper as we get older, he alleges.
"The debt has increased our risk of being held hostage by foreign lenders."
On the heels of this frightening thought, he is inclined to joke, though.
"The financial condition of the U.S. is worse than advertised."
The nation's debt now accounts for 66 percent of the gross national product.
But unless things change, as the compelling film underscores, the cost of aging baby boomers will push that proportion to 244 percent by 2040 (twice what it was at the end of World War II at our highest level of national debt).
Consequently, Walker and his financial wizards recommend broad entitlement overhaul, tough budget controls, conservation of energy and - ultimately - urge that Americans not buy things they can't afford.
The debt is so troubling, investor Warren Buffett stiffly warned in the searing hour-and-a-half doc, that it may result in "political instability".
That's one reason why you should look very closely at the political candidate you intend to vote for this upcoming election!
Do Obama and McCain intend to address the issues?
More importantly, do they have any solutions to curb the out-of-control scenario?
Not everyone agrees that we're totally doomed to financial extinction, though.
Arthur Laffer, a developer of the famous Laffer Curve - argues that if taxes rise too high - people lose incentive to work. He surmises that as long as the debt level stays where it is, it can be financed down over time like a landowner with a mortgage.
Tell that to Americans on the verge of losing their homes!
For those keen on being primed about fiscal responsibility - I.O.U.S.A. is screening at the Regency Theatre (Fairfax District) - for a bargain afternoon matinee rate of $3.50.
Check it out, but take along some anti-depressants.
You'll need 'em!
I just got a dubious e-mail from an old friend this morning who contends that actor Bill Crosby is running as a write-in candidate for President!
His platform is a hoot!
Campaign issue No. 1
"Press 1 for English" is immediately banned. English is the official language; speak it or wait at the border until you can.
Campaign Issue No. 2
We will immediately go into a two-year isolationist posture to straighten out the country's attitude. No imports, no exports.
We will use the Wal-Mart policy: "If we ain't got it, you don't need it."
Campaign Issue No. 3
When imports are allowed, there will be a 100% import tax on it.
Campaign Issue No. 4
All retired military personnel will be required to man one of our many observation towers on the southern border (a six month tour).
They will be under strict orders not to fire on SOUTHBOUND aliens.
Campaign Issue No. 5
Social security will immediately return to its original state. If you didn't put nuttin' in, you ain't gettin nuttin' out.
Neither the president nor any other politician will be able to touch it.
Campaign Issue No. 6
Welfare checks will be handed out on Fridays at the end of the 40-hour school week and the successful completion of urinalysis test and a passing grade.
Campaign Issue No. 7
The FIRST time you check positive for professional athletes steroids, you're banned for life.
Campaign Issue No. 8
We will adopt the Turkish method when it come to crime. The first time you steal, you lose your right hand. There are no more life sentences. If convicted, you will be put to death by the same method you chose for your victim; gun, knife, strangulation, etc.
Campaign Issue No. 9
One export will be allowed. Wheat. The world needs to eat.
A bushel of wheat will be the exact price of a barrel of oil.
Campaign Issue No. 10
All foreign aid using American taxpayer money will immediately cease and the saved money will pay off the national debt and ultimately lower taxes. When disasters occur around the world, we'll ask the American people if they want to donate to a disaster fund, and each citizen can make the decision whether it's a worthy cause.
Campaign Issue No. 11
The Pledge of Allegiance will be said every day at school and every day in Congress.
Campaign Issue No. 12
The National Anthem will be played at all appropriate ceremonies, sporting events, outings, etc.
In his closing remarks, Cosby apologizes in advance with an upbeat comment:
"Sorry if I stepped on anyone's toes but a vote for me will get you better than what you have and better than what you're gonna get. Thanks for listening and remember to write in my name on the ballot in November."
God Bless America !!!!!!!!!!!
I could teach that Obama kid a thing or two...
The ongoing battle over contract negotiations for union actors is still at a fever pitch and continues.
In fact, the spirited talks have been so rancorous in Hollywood, that the top brass at the Screen Actors Guild are sending out a poll to fathom up how the membership feels about current negotiation efforts by union reps.
The polling cards are for paid-up members of the Guild, only.
Documentation inside the mailers alert members to the fact - "that the polling card is not a ballot or a ratification notice or referendum voting card" - to ensure there are no misunderstandings about its purpose.
Mindful that a rebellious few may attempt to fraudulently influence the polls - to gain the upper hand - the Guild devised a surefire method of thwarting any interference by any nefarious contingent out to upset the apple cart.
For instance, the response card bears a "unique bar code" to prevent fraudulent reproduction of the response cards.
And, to ensure there is no misunderstanding about who may participate, the sampler clearly states on its face:
"This postcard includes a unique bar code to ensure that only active members in good standing participate in this poll."
The bar code was devised to be unique to individual members for two reasons.
For starters, to ensure only one card would be returned and counted per individual member - and ultimately - to prevent anyone from skewering the results of the poll by reproducing the cards in large numbers and returning them filled in by persons unknown or unqualified to vote.
The unique bar code was also devised to elicit a demographic analysis that would be representative of the community.
For example, Guild organizers believe that if a response is statistically similar to the distribution of membership at any particular branch and/or division, it may be more reliable as an expression of overall membership sentiment.
The Guild asserts it will also be able to analyze the results to determine important earnings data.
This information may be helpful - in view of the fact that one faction of highly-paid union members - recently sought to eliminate actors in lower-earnings brackets from voting on contract issues because they had allegedly "less at stake".
Response cards returned to the Guild in a timely manner will be submitted to Integrity Voting Systems, and subsequently, scanned to determine their authenticity.
Once verified, Integrity Voting Systems will tabulate the results of the poll.
The information will be shared with the Negotiating Committee at the Screen Actors Guild.
A demographic analysis will be done in the aggregate, as well.
However, none of the reports generated will contain any information disclosing the identity of the individual member, nor will any of the options an individual member chose on the response card be disclosed to third parties.
The polling document is intended to be a sampling of membership views on the AMPTP proposals being set forth in the TV/Theatrical contract negotiations.
The Negotiating Committee will access the data with the specific aim of proceeding with contract negotiations with a better awareness of the wishes of Screen Actors Guild members at heart.
Disgruntled actors walk picket line at Studios...
Shortly after McCain announced his pick for VP, the sh** hit the fan!
In fact - there was quite a furor on the Internet over the next few days - as a couple of scandals were uncovered and rivals reared their ugly heads - spilling the ice flows on the Vice Presidential hopeful's tawdry past.
Consequently - in the wake of the brouhaha - Sarah was quickly scuttled away from the prying eyes of the media (interviews with Larry King and others were squelched) and a protective (impenetrable) shield was erected around the top-heavy controversial candidate.
To many, it appeared that Palin's big "coming out" speech was carefully ghost-written to conjure up the images of a wholesome "hockey" mom, totally blemish-free.
Yup, Sarah's just one of a handful of regular folks, out to steadfastly pursue her civic duty.
But, the fact that her handlers were reticent about unleashing her to the media - without advisers and political coaches in tow - signalled trouble in Camelot.
Could Sarah be trusted to open her fat yap without destroying the stellar construct the republicans were rehabilitating for her to inhabit?
We'll know soon enough when Charles Gibson - at ABC News - interviews the elusive State Trooper-hater in just about a nano second.
Is the aw-shucks good-guy newsie capable of crafting the kind of hard-hitting questions capable of wrestling the "goods" out of the effervescent gun-toting anti-abortionist charmer?
With that in mind, I've rustled up a handful of probing questions, sure to engender a quick reveal on the Palin mystique.
1. Are your ubiquitous specs for show or are you blind as a bat?
2. What does Caribou meat taste like in five native words or less?
3. Do you sleep in the buff?
4. What attracted you to Tom - personality, man tool, smarts?
5. Do you ever regret being uprooted to Icetown, USA?
6. Was son Tackle conceived on a fishing jaunt?
7. Your modus operandi in bed is self-control or out-of-control?
8. Where do you pack your pistol on the campaign trail?
I trust the answers will be forthcoming without need of a subpoena!
Is that a banana in your pocket, or are you happy to see me?