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by DJ on September 1st, 2012 at 3:05pm

One reason I am happily apolitical — all the venom from people who align themselves with this side or that. I understand the comfort that comes with “belonging” — there is a camaraderie amongst people who share one’s beliefs, and even a pleasure that comes from slinging arrows at those who seem to oppose them. Also, when one aligns oneself with a group, it’s admittedly easier, because one is carried along by the “righteousness” of the cause. For some (who have become susceptible to the enticement of group-think), that means parroting whatever the majority (or the leaders) of the group are saying. Others do manage to exert their individuality while still associating with a certain collective. But it’s the seemingly inherent vitriol that, frankly, turns my stomach.

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The Booth At The End

by DJ on August 29th, 2012 at 12:29am

Just came across this excellent sci-fi series, which is currently airing new episodes of its second season exclusively on Hulu (for free). (You can also catch up on all five episodes of the 1st season at the link below.) But it’s as good as anything you’ll find on pay cable or the networks.

The subject matter can get pretty dark, but there’s no violence depicted, nor foul language to speak of… in fact, unlike most typical science fiction fare, you also won’t find any aliens, spaceships, fight scenes, explosions, or special f/x. It all takes place within a diner — specifically, in a booth at the end. The thing it shares with great sci-fi is great writing and intriguing stories.

I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to get past the fact that the setting never changes, if I’d feel stifled by the production — but it hasn’t been an issue at all. Wonderful directing and great acting (from some people you may recognize) also contribute to make this a must-see for fans of the genre.

http://www.hulu.com/the-booth-at-the-end

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Good Luck, Mr. Gorsky!

by DJ on August 25th, 2012 at 5:00pm

Saluting Neil Armstrong today — he transcends the title of American Hero… he is truly a hero of all the Earth. Even if we put a man on Mars, it won’t be as big a leap for mankind as when he became the first person to set foot on the moon; that act dramatically changed how we viewed the entire universe — not as something “out there” and “ever unreachable”, but as a whole new frontier to be explored.

There’s an anecdote about Neil’s moon landing that has been floating around for some years, which has since been proven false — but it’s a great story, nonetheless, and I think many people sort of wanted it to be true. Read the details below on Snopes.com.

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/mrgorsky.asp

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Duck Dunn

by DJ on May 13th, 2012 at 3:26am

This is one case where it’s not hyperbole to call this man “legendary”. 

Donald ‘Duck’ Dunn, who passed away Sunday at the age of 70, was more than just “one of the guys in the Blues Brothers band”, and more than just a member of Booker T. and the MG’s or the Mar-Keys. He was one of the key players in the house band for the Stax record label. If you’ve heard Otis Redding, you’ve probably heard Duck’s bass playing. If you’ve listened to albums or songs by Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes, Mitch Ryder, Albert King, Freddie King, Herbie Mann, Duane Allman, John Prine, Leon Russell, Rod Stewart, Richie Havens, Tom Petty, Stevie Nicks, Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Jerry Lee Lewis, Sam & Dave, Levon Helm, John Fogerty, Boz Scaggs, CSNY, Neil Young, Bill Withers, Joan Baez, Manhattan Transfer, Jimmy Buffett, Diana Ross, Elvis Presley, Delaney & Bonnie, Eric Clapton, or Bob Dylan, chances are you’ve heard Duck Dunn, one of the most respected session musicians of all time.

I shared this link on Twitter, but it’s worthwhile adding here, as well, for those people who aren’t familiar with his legacy — this of course is only a short list (as is the list above) of who he worked with:

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Great Oscar Speeches, Pt. III

by DJ on February 25th, 2012 at 11:07pm

Ah, but the ultimate of Oscar reactions , the be-all and end-all, the alpha & the omega, the “one to top”, has to be Roberto Benigni’s win for Best Foreign Film for Life Is Beautiful. What surely made it even more sweet for him was that the presenter happened to be another Italian, perhaps one of the most famous of all time, Sophia Loren.

Benigni won again later that night, for Best Actor, and in his memorable second speech, said he wished he was Jupiter on the firmament and could just make love to everybody. Who doesn’t love a speech like that? Heck, I think somebody could get elected President with a speech like that! 

That’s the kind of genuine emotion that makes the Academy Awards show great. We don’t want to hear you reading a laundry list thanking your agents, managers, hairdressers, personal assistants, producers, etc. — surely they deserve a thanks, but why not take out a full-page ad in Variety and print all their names there for the world to see? Save the good stuff for your actual speech. Something real. Something that touches you. That’s what we’ll remember, and that’s what we will love you for.

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Great Oscar Speeches, Pt. II

by DJ on February 25th, 2012 at 10:51pm

Speaking of great Oscar reactions, were you watching the night that Cuba Gooding, Jr. won for Jerry Maguire? He’s obviously very excited from the get-go, but watch the real magic, which happens when he’s about to be played off by the orchestra — suddenly he is overcome by wanting to share his excitement with the world, and the crowd can feel it… they begin cheering like they’re extras in a Rocky movie, spurred on by the music and Cuba’s energy. An amazing moment.

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Great Oscar Speeches, Pt. I

by DJ on February 25th, 2012 at 10:45pm

It’s Oscar weekend! There have been some memorable moments when people have won an Academy Award and didn’t expect it. One of my favorites was from the then 11-year-old Anna Paquin, who won for her role in The Piano. Interestingly, she was competing against her co-star, Holly Hunter, who was nominated for a different film. Almost as much fun as Anna’s reaction, is Holly’s jubilation when she hears young Ms. Paquin’s name called. When she takes the stage, everyone watching has severe doubts that she’ll be able to get a word out — and then, suddenly, she’s as prepared and smooth as an actor should be. Aww… that little Kiwi is so adorable. (Wonder what ever became of her? 😉 )

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Celebrity Bullying: Not As Much Fun As You’d Think

by DJ on February 12th, 2012 at 11:30am

So, Kathy Griffin says she’s going to stop telling all those jokes in her act at Whitney Houston’s expense. Gee, Kathy — that’s awfully nice of you to do… now. Unfortunately that sentiment doesn’t do much good for Ms. Houston at this point, does it? 

This is indicative of a bigger issue. Truth is, I enjoy good-natured teasing and joking with someone — but I only do that when the other person is generally standing tall, and just has a one-time (not life-threatening) thing happen to them. Kicking somebody when they’re down is just — well, bullying. Good-natured teasing (as long as it’s not continual or relentless) can be a way of connecting with somebody, while bullying alienates that person, but it’s a fine line… and a lot of humor today (done not only in comedy clubs, but by regular folks just spouting off) crosses that line. 

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My Choices For This Year’s SAG Awards

by DJ on January 26th, 2012 at 10:15pm

Just finished voting in the SAG Awards. Nominated films (and, to a lesser degree, television shows) were really all over the map this year. At least one of the movies was just bad, bad, bad. Another was a very ugly piece of cinema that I hope never to see again. Some of the nominated performers phoned it in, while other performances were laughable (and not in a good way).

But there were a few gems. Here are the people who got my votes…

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