Thursday, January 12, 2012
When Robert Pattinson (sporting a buzz cut) trotted up onto the stage last night to accept the People's Choice Award for the best film - "Water For Elephants" - he gave the audience a sheepish grin.
"I don't know why I was asked to accept this award on behalf of the filmmakers," he uttered up in so many words.
Of course, that was a difficult statement to swallow from where I sat.
I'd have to hazard a guess that the main reason the flick won was because fans of the young heartthrob (a main character in the Twilight saga series) voted in abundance that way!
The flick was a shoe-in!
This was the "People's Choice Awards", after all, where winning is most-assuredly based on popularity, sex appeal, coolness, and - least of all - talent.
One has only to take a gander at the list of trophy-getters to fathom that one out.
The People's Choice for best reality star?
Best book adaption for the screen?
Best comedy feature?
Essentially, the "People's Choice Awards" is middle-of-the-road and pretty white bread.
Cuba Gooding Jr. hit the nail on the head with his knee-jerk reaction when he spied the list of candidates for best TV sitcom.
"Not one black show on the list," he uttered up in disgust.
The production - by Mark Burnett - was awfully pedestrian, too.
At times, the set designs appeared to lifted right from the studios at "Jeopardy".
Prim. Proper. Rife with the sort-of mundane jazziness that works well on game shows.
But, there were highlights.
Faith Hill turned in a solid heartfelt performance of one of her hits, for example.
And, a sketch at the top of the show - which featured Neil Patrick Harris - was hilarious.
But - OMG - after Adam Sandler snatched up a trophy for Best Comic Actor, he managed to turn in one of the worst performances of his long illustrious film career.
There were some encouraging moments, however.
When two "out" gay personalities snatched up coveted prizes (Ellen DeGeneres for best daytime talk-show host and Neil Patrick Harris for best TV comic actor) it was a sure sign that mainstream America was warming up to the idea (could care less?) of same-sex relationships.
To their disadvantage, though, the producers elected to populate the show with a posse of lesser-known TV actors and an odd assortment of B-list personalities to carry out the festivities.
Subsequently, the "People's" night in the spotlight fell flat and failed to deliver (in the high-energy glitz and glamour department, for starters).
In contrast, Ewan McGregor was a stand-out a presenter with star quality, who elevated the prestige of the show when he presented a special award to Morgan Freeman for Movie Icon of the year.
But, I tell 'ya, the host left a lot to be desired!
No personality! No charisma! No nothing.
The phallic-shaped "People's Choice Award" was pretty, though.
Frankly, I believe the "People" deserved better!
'Til next year!
Wednesday, January 11, 2012
You have to wonder who is calling the kettle black when it comes to all that is fair and just in the medical profession at local hospitals and in-take facilities.
In recent days, Nurses have cried foul in respect to low wages and insufficient medical insurance, go figure.
But, when a patient seeks "due compensation", ungrateful selfish medical staff turn a deaf ear.
For example, when patients try to assert their rights - after suffering a loss of personal possessions (such as eyeglasses or dentures due to nurse negligence) - instead of fessing up and making a good-faith effort to reimburse the aggrieved parties they shirk their responsibilities (ethically, morally, and financially).
Patients at Seton Medical Center have complained that because of the careless sloppy conduct of Nurses on duty, their eye wear - and dentures, in a couple of instant cases - were tossed into the trash (or, now-and-then, just up and disappeared) while they were laid up in their hospital beds sedated.
After the fact, when they asked for replacements, medical staff gave them the run-around, and basically looked the other way.
Complaints to the Director of Administration also were ignored.
Patients were not even given the courtesy of a reply from anyone at the Daly City Medical facility.
I say, shame!
If nurses - and the medical profession are suffering today - it is obviously karmic payback in my estimation.
Though Mitt Romney roared ahead of the pack last night in the New Hampshire primary - with Ron Paul trailing behind in his political shadow - the White House hopeful may be on the verge of stumbling big-time when the votes are counted on January 21st in South Carolina.
For good reason!
Evangelicals - a mighty voting block - have already stated in no uncertain terms that they are bent on rustling up a candidate that shares their spiritual values!
The fact that Romney is a devout Mormon doesn't bode well for the upstart at all!
As for Ron Paul, well, at times he's perceived as a kindly old "goat" to some (a crackpot with controversial over-the-top libertarian views to a posse of others).
But, the race is getting mighty interesting, eh?
May the best two-faced liar win.
Documentary filmmakers - at the low end of the production spectrum struggling for recognition - suffered a major setback this weekend.
In a bold-faced effort to curtail an avalanche of documentaries from being submitted for Oscar consideration each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences is in the throes of imposing a new set of criteria for eligility requirements.
According to the proposed new rules, documentaries must be reviewed by a professional film critic at one of two of the major daily newspapers around the country - the New York Times or the Los Angeles Times - before they'll be able to take a shot at the coveted trophy.
Without doubt, the change will hurt the prospects for promising fledgling filmmakers who have qualified previously by paying a small fee to organizations such as DocuWeeks (IDA) to have their projects screened in vital Los Angeles and New York venues in time for consideration by the Academy.
Some theorize that the Academy's shift in gears is based on an underlying desire to focus the spotlight on documentaries that have gone the route of a more traditional (formal) theatrical release.
The specifics of reviews - length, legitimacy, professional requirements - have yet to be hammered out by the Board of Governors.
According to Michael Moore (who supports implementation) the rules are to take effect in the 2013 season.
Documentaries without commercial distribution may be hardest hit by the changes.
On the heels of the surprise announcement, one filmmaker was quick to denounce the move by the Academy.
"The change is contrary to the very nature of documentaries with their inclination toward difficult causes and subjects which are not commercially appealing," one up-and-coming auteur lamented.
Stay posted for updates as the controversy rages on!
In recent weeks quite a few eyebrows were raised when t was announced that law enforcement had reopened the investigation into the death of Hollywood actress Natalie Wood.
To most, it was a "cold case", a simple matter of an accidental death.
Notwithstanding, amidst a swirl of controversy, officials were inclined to take a second look at the intriguing circumstances around Ms. Wood's untimely demise.
I vividly recall that in the wake of the tragedy, there was a lot of gossip and innuendo floating around Tinseltown.
For example, it was whispered that Robert Wagner, Christopher Walken, and Natalie Wood were involved in a sordid love triangle.
Some theorized that Ms. Wood felt "left out" that fateful night on the yacht - and subsequently - stumbled off in a jealous rage leaving the men in each other's arms.
At this point, Wood - who was obviously emotionally distraught - tripped and fell overboard into the chilly inky dark waters below.
When Natalie called out for help, the two men - hot 'n heavy inside between-the-sheets - mistakenly interpreted her muffled cries for demands that Wagner step outside for a "heart-to-heart".
"She'll calm down," Wagner may have soothed his pal in so many words.
So, they both ignored her pleas.
Later, when the truth about what really happened was revealed, both men were devastated and filled with remorse.
I expect that the recent probe determined if the rumors were true - and, likewise - whether anyone individuals should be held accountable for her death.
If not, the decision to close the case late yesterday, may never put the matter to rest.
Tuesday, January 10, 2012
The spffiest sexiest Volleyball players at the summer Olympics in London later this year are bound to be a posse of studly athletes who hail from the U.S. (and the heady climbs of the West Coast, in particular).
After all, the high-profile sports competitors - who bump and thrust in one of the most dynamic and exciting sports game ever to be included in the summer Olympics line-up - will be sporting a smattering of spritely-colored shorts (and mix-and-match outerwear ensembles) designed by a handful of eclectic fashion-forward wizards at LOUDMOUTH (a Sonoma-based clothes-maker).
Once the boys have turned heads, and they have snatched up a trophy or two, there may be a rush for California "gold" all over again (on both sides of the big pond).
Play ball, boys!
Posted by Julian Ayrs at 3:58 PM
If you've had the great misfortune to deal with Sovereign Bank, then you probably applaud the Occupy Wall Street protests against Financial Institutions in recent months.
This rinky-dink Bank engages in unethical and dishonest business practices and its employees willingly and knowingly lie to potential account-holders daily.
For instance, disgruntled applicants have reported that after applying for a checking or savings account online at Sovereign's web site, they received an e-mail communication informing them that their account had been approved.
However, when they follow up with a telephone call (as requested) employees - such as Linda Sheehan - give them the run-around in a deceitful ploy to - not only extract confidential personal information - but ferret up data they are not legally entitled to (in violation of their rights).
According to my sources, Linda Sheehan, is the worst offender!
When Ms. Sheehan makes first contact, she engages in a senseless round of phone tag (she hides behind company voice mail for days) in a shameless effort to demean, wear-down, and humiliate potential account-holders.
Then, when she makes direct connection, she proceeds to engage in a lot of silly game-playing to gain the upper hand (which, at times, also borders on the unsound and ludicrous).
In spite of the fact she is keenly aware that the credit screening process is flawed at Sovereign, she persists -usually to the dismay and disadvantage - of the consumer.
For example, when Sheehan pulls up a credit account from the customer's credit profile - a car loan or mortgage document - on many occasions the item will be listed under the "parent" company; subsequently, because the consumer had no "direct dealings" with that entity, they will undoubtedly answer the question incorrectly.
In the final analysis?
Sheehan will summarily deny the application (the customer was previously told was approved) in spite of the fact the correct information is at their fingertips (and they are the individual they purport to be!).
In one bizarre twist, Ms. Sheehan actually denied an account, because the individual could not provide her with the name of the sign of the Zodiac he was born under.
I know of no Banking Law in the U.S. that requires a citizen or resident be familiar with the arcane arts.
I suppose if a Chinese applicant applied applied, they'd be turned down - too - because Sovereign was unfamiliar with the Asian culture (and/or mythical Chinese creatures)!
Theatre of the absurd?
Then, once the individual has jumped through hoops - and been forced to participate in a shoddy horse & pony show - they are informed for the first time that Sovereign doesn't even have a bank branch in their state!
"Direct deposit only," Sheehan snipes in a snotty tone of voice.
The information should have been disclosed and divulged fully at the offset of the interview pursuant to applicable U.S. banking laws.
What happens to the personal information collected illegally during the course of the interview?
Does Sovereign promise to destroy the data collected after-the-fact?
Of course not!
Avoid these disreputable bankers like the plague!
And, spread the warning to your friends, family, and business associates.
Sources informed me that when guests at the premiere for "War Horse" queued up to meet-and-greet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (Kate & William) in London over the weekend at a chi chi red carpet soiree, they were handed "mints" to - um - "suck on" to ensure the young Royals were not confronted with any nasty cases of bad breath!
What a delightful idea!
In fact, I think they should implement it at the Main Library in downtown San Francisco, where the ghastly problem is ripe and running rampant daily.
Come to think of it, maybe the Librarians should also spritz a little jolt of cologne on each patron as they stroll through the security gates, too, to hide the overwhelming smell of urine and stale booze on their tattered clothing as well.
Maybe then, a visit to the local library will become an enlightening experience once again (instead of the dreaded nightmare it is today).
National Society of Film Critics...names "Melancholia" top flick! Nods to Brad Pitt & Kirsten Dunst!
The prestigious National Society of Film Critics met over the weekend at a chi chi watering hole in New York - Sardi's - and announced their top picks for 2011.
Kirsten Dunst and Brad Pitt were singled out as Best Actress and Best Actor for their roles in "Melancholia" and "Moneyball" respectively.
"Melancholia" was also given the nod for best pic by the film society which is comprised of 58 prominent critics from around the U.S.
Terrence Malick won Best Director for "The Tree of Life".
Fans of Werner Herzog will be delighted to hear that he snapped up the trophy for nonfiction film (Cave of Forgotten Dreams; a favorite at film festivals last year).
Supporting actors - Albert Brooks ("Drive") and Jessica Chastain ("The Tree of Life') - were also given the nod.
Unlike the Golden Globe Awards, selections by the National Society of Film Critics, rarely hint at potential Oscar-winners, but the award is considered an honor in the industry nonetheless.
Though there's been a bit of a brouhaha over a recent "stint" at a New York University - and a controversy over allegations levelled at actor James Franco by at least one disgruntled professor - the brewing scandal hasn't managed to tarnish the popularity of the sexy heartthrob (to die-hard fans, at least).
Well, they appear to be scrambling for a sure thing, you betcha.
For example, it was just announced that Amazon Publishing (New York) has just scooped up -"Palo Alto" - a book of short stories that was released in 2010.
Indeed, the suits at Amazon appear to be having a "love affair" with the young aspiring author.
"It has been a hugely ambitious wild ride," gushed Ed Park, a Senior editor who was responsible for the coup at the publishing house.
"Like James himself, this novel transcends categories," he added as an afterthought.
For Franco, it was just a matter of jumping ships!
Fans may recall that the actor was previously signed with Scribner (and imprint of Simon & Schuster) before he was courted by Amazon.
Let's hope they can read and - that they will subsequently purchase the novelty publication - and at least crack open a page!)
Monday, January 9, 2012
Locals politely waited to be patted down by security, a posse of high-profile luminaries were gracefully escorted to their seats with little ado, and one Major - well, she was literally - booed!
And, in spite of Mayor Ed Lee's promises that the inaugural ceremony would be a low-key affair, handlers made sure His Honor did not descend down the grand staircase in the rotunda at City Hall, 'til he was heralded by six trumpeters!
The guest list was - literally - a "Who's Who" of political smoothies, too, which included the likes of Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom (the former San Francisco Mayor was spotted later in a news clip on the nightly news with crossed leg, flapping hands, and appearing for all-the-world as gay as a goose!), Diane Feinstein sporting a somber pant suit with an unflattering baggy-rear (who was there to administer the Oath of Office), glad-handing Mayor of Los Angeles (beaming in the 1st row alongside speaker of-the-house Nancy Pelosi?), the Honorable Frank Jordan, Mayor Quon (who got booed by upstarts at the back of the room in the back), former Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr. (emcee), to name a few.
But, all eyes were on Mayor Ed Lee, without doubt.
In fact, as he approached the podium to speak, all the guests in attendance - not only roared their approval in the standing-room-only packed house - but jumped up spontaneously at one point to give the diminutive politician a standing ovation (if I am not mistaken, he blushed!).
Willie Brown, Jr. was well-received, too.
Trim, beaming, and dapper - as Master of Ceremonies - he seized the golden opportunity to inject a little levity on an occasion that was often prone to - yawn - become a tedious civic task.
Jokes about Mc Hammer - and a schmaltzy reference to his favorite tune (America the Beautiful) - triggered giggles and ripples of applause in the tony climbs of the architecturally-exquisite City Hall.
At one point, Brown slipped up though, and attempted to usher in the Girl's Choir before the "Presentation of the Colors" and the "Pledge of Allegiance" had been carried out - but, no one appeared to notice (or mind) - the snafu.
Such a smoothie, that Willie Brown!
The proceedings continued with a lot of pomp and circumstance.
At one point, when the Military Guard marched by on the landing above with the sunlight majestically streaming down, I half-expected a 21-gun salute!
Of course, the paparazzi went wild, alongside amateur photographers who continually snapped pics throughout the high-energy event.
At one point, a delicate hand actually appeared through an opening in the wall on the balcony where I was perched, with the lens aimed forward of me in a random hit-and-miss position.
Any image of the day for the scrapbook will do - the out-of-sight guest - appeared to be saying!
There was quite a bit of joyous music for the ears, too!
The acoustics in the foyer - for instance - lent themselves well to a performance of "The National Anthem" which was beautifully sung by the Girl's Choir (unfortunately, in contrast, a Hawaiian band got wiped out by the ghostly echoes that swirled all around them as they played on clueless).
As to the precious little songbirds, well, it was as if a chorus of Angels had descended from above to to shower all the guests with a host of heavenly sounds from the Almighty!
The rendition of "America the Beautiful" by the Boy's Choir was the best I've heard yet, too!
Once he had taken his Oath of Office, Mayor Ed Lee strode to the podium and proceeded to note for the record - that he was going to make a daily pledge that any decisions he made would be based on the needs of the residents of San Francisco.
Part 'n Parcel with that promise, the Mayor also vowed to bring about a new "civility" at City Hall, to ensure that his office did not get bogged down in "acrimony".
And, according to Lee, he';s rolling up his sleeves and getting to work right away.
This week, the Mayor and his staff are laying the groundwork to end homelessness in the city (and bring about affordable housing for other residents in San Francisco, too).
Lee is drafting is a ballot measure - to be known as the "Permanent Housing Trust" - to be voted on in the next election in November.
And, "jobs" are a top priority, he stressed without mincing any words at the top of the speech, as he tweeted the message for Twitter followers to peruse.
On the heels of the sly move - the 1st for any San Francisco Mayor - young twitter hot-shots like Ashton Kutcher were quick to spread the news (with re tweets).
Lee's ambitious plans are not only focused on the unprivileged, but on local businesses, too.
"San Francisco is a city for the 100%," he beamed.
"We are in a unique position to capitalize and develop technological ventures," he asserted to everyone in attendance in so many words.
If former Mayor Gavin Newsom was known as the "Green Mayor", Mr. Lee is surely expected to become the "High-tech" one that followed in his footsteps.
"We are going to be the innovation Capitol of the world," he boasted!
When his speech ended, it was only fitting that in the grand finale - a trooper from the hit musical "Beach Blanket Babylon" (Tammy Nelson) - trotted out on stage in an outrageous costume consisting of a red-sequined ball gown and floating replica of the San Francisco skyline a-top her pretty little head.
It brought the house down.
Long live the Mayor (well, for four more years, at least!)
With a sly smile and welcoming arms, Matt Lauer (if you've paid attention) usually starts off his interviews slow and sure (innocently enough, eh?).
Today, shortly after a guest was settled into the comfy "hot seat" (lured there by a false sense of security?) - the once-charming snake-oil salesman proceeded to go for the jugular.
In a shameless effort to - unnerve the guest, stir up a little controversy, and muster up ratings - do 'ya think?
Just maybe, the normally-congenial easy-going talk-show host, had been given an ultimatum from the suits in the executive suite to overhaul his namby-pamby approach!
Or, has Matt turned into a pit bull - and a die-hard cynic - in one fell swoop?
After catching the segment on the morning show - which featured an interview with an author and her tell-all on "The Obamas" - I am inclined to speculate.
Is Matt going to be unceremoniously tossed out on his sorry ass just like Regis Philbin was in recent days?
He certainly appears to have lived out his usefulness.
One moment he was all ears - drawing out the juicy gossip from the earnest upstart - with glee; the next, Matt was splitting hairs about nuances in the writer's passages which he - gosh, darn it! - swore took "poetic license" too far.
What do you expect from a book on the Commander-in-Chief and the 1st Lady which is based on an upstairs-downstairs back-room-setting account-of-things where the elusive truth has never been researched properly, collaborated by reliable witnesses, or ever pinned-down?
A serious bio?
Gosh, Mr. Lauer, you wouldn't know a scoop if it jumped up and bit you on the nose!
In addition to guesting on the regular late show tonight on CBS alongside talk-show host David Letterman, CBS has excitedly announced there will be a "Live on Letterman" webcast concert to be broadcast earlier on in the evening at 8 p.m.
The Multi-platinum - Grammy-nominated (UK band) "Snow Patrol" - joins the growing list of top music artists on the "Live On Letterman" Internet series which recently received a Media Vanguard Award from Advertising Age.
The Glasgow-based, Irish-Scottish band will be performing songs from throughout their musical career, including songs from their forthcoming release "Fallen Empires."
Tune in, and catch it, eh?
Gosh, I can't dredge up one memory - or recall - how I spent my 30th "B" Day.
Was I that sloshed in the high-flying 80's???
In contrast, the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) will no doubt fondly remember that on the eve she shed-off the "twenty-somethings", she tripped-the-light-fantastic at a red carpet premiere for "War Horse" and rubbed shoulders with the likes of studio mega-mogul Steven Spielberg!
Though there was a light drizzle last night in old foggy London town, neither Kate or William, let it rain on their parade.
Once again, Kate wowed with a mega-watt smile, and a chic wardrobe ensemble that fashionistas were chomping-at-the-bit to copycat.
When it comes to actually celebrating the big 3-0, well - according to palace insiders - there are no heady plans to toss a glitzy soiree, kick up chic heels, or partay 'til the wee hours of dawn.
Of course, there will probably be a dozen precious roses (and yummy chocolates?) from her dotting significant other, to symbolize his unfailing love.
And, Royal handlers have also tittered that there may be a precious bauble or two coming Kate's way from QE2 (Elizabetth, silly!) to celebrate the landmark turning point in her young adult life.
From these quarters, she's expected to land on my 10 Best-Dressed List, due out later this week.
Happy Birthday, Kate.
By the way, Is there a baby bump on the way, too?
Stay posted for updates!
Sunday, January 8, 2012
If you've caught the commercials on the old boob tube plugging Viagra, then you've probably heard the disclaimer at the end of the pep talk for the sex booster.
It goes something like this:
"If you are taking Viagra, and experience an erection for more than four hours, call your doctor right away."
To order my refill for the prescription right away!
The Daily Planet
A Collection of Poems
For those who have frequented two popular cafes - Starbucks and Peet's - the obvious is quite noticeable.
A coffee drinker's personality often dictates where he or she may alight for a jolt of caffeine at the crack of dawn before they head off to work or perform a handful of chores.
Through some keen observance, I have noticed that regulars at Starbucks tend to be a bit uppity, overly-pampered, and status oriented.
At outlets around the city, for example, I have caught sight of fans of the Seattle-based coffee-maker standing solemnly in line (avoiding eye contact) as they obediently wait their turn.
Then, once drink is in hand, the die-hard Starbucks patron usually plunks themselves down at a a laptop (where they commence with "logging in") and proceed to ceremoniously block out the rest of the world (well, the patrons around 'em, for starters).
In the alternative?
On occasion, they haughtily dash out the door with a specialty latte, miniature pastry, and morning paper in hand.
Gosh, was the cafe on fire, or what?
In contrast, the clientele at Peet's usually saunter and slowly engage in a swirl of social activity (chat up total strangers even!) as they head for the barrista where they carefully select their treats for the day.
The dudes at Peet's usually swap newspapers, chit-chat and gossip, and even speculate about the weather (at the cafe on Market in the Castro in particular).
At some point - after the satiated patron has sipped on a piping-hot Earl Grey Tea (and probably devoured a scrumptious pastry) they lazily shift their gears and reckon how they'll fill the rest of their day.
Although I am versatile (in more ways than one!) - and manage to float between both engaging realms - I prefer the ambiance at Peets overall to Starbucks any rainy (or sunny) day!
Liza Minnelli said it best in the musical Cabaret in so many words:
"What good is it sitting at home alone in your room?"
Oh, by the way, for those on a budget there is always McDonalds McCafe!
A shot of fries with that, eh?
When it was announced this past week that Oakland was the No. 5 destination city in the world by the New York Times (uh-huh, staggering thought) jaws dropped around the country and disbelievers shook their heads.
"Was there that much interest in mingling with (and supporting) Occupy Oakland Protesters?" was the thought that crossed the minds of the many around the country.
Actually, the rating by the morning daily, was based on Oakland's other considerable assets - her fine cuisine and dazzling night life!
Gosh, and I always thought that Oakland was a dingy port town, to avoid like the plague (especially in the bewitching after-hours).
Guess I'll have to hop on Bart and check out the strip one Friday night.
At least now that the encampments have been shut down, I won't have to smell urine or trip over a posse of scruffy ne'er-do-wells in pup tents smoking dope!
Stay posted for updates, eh?