Category Archives: news

The Fast Food Strike

Trail of Potato Chips Helps Nab Thief

Dark Knight Rises Prelude

Everyone knows basically what happened Thursday night in Aurora, Colorado. The tragedy that is being called by the news media, the ‘movie massacre,’ is now inextricably tied to the film The Dark Knight Rises.

I was up late Thursday night when I heard about it on the top of the hour news during Coast to Coast AM, and immediately clicked on the television news. Like 9/11 or Columbine (not all that far from Aurora) I was one of millions glued to my TV watching and waiting. I finally dozed off to images of the tragedy.

Later that afternoon, I kept plans to see The Dark Knight Rises despite everything. Things were a little different at the theatre. Bags were checked, we weren’t allowed in to the theatre until just before the show, and nobody was in costume. I think this may actually be the end of that. No more costumes, and maybe even no more midnight release showings.

Another difference was that there was no chatter before the movie. No one was talking. It was very disconcerting. Usually on opening day, everyone is excited, not this day. I suppose everyone was thinking about the shootings.

One specific preview, for Sean Penn’s new film Gangster Squad made children jump, women gasp, and grown men scream. It depicted men with guns shooting through a movie screen and then into the audience. I hope Warner Bros. has the sense to pull this preview for the time being. The audience was shocked and horrified.

I am left numb. I enjoyed TDKR but am unable to write about it yet. Maybe tomorrow or the next day. My thoughts and prayers go out to the victims of this tragedy and their families and friends.

Mike Wallace Dead at 93

Over the weekend one of television’s pioneers passed away. Multiple award-winning journalist, TV host, and media personality Mike Wallace is dead at the age of 93 from natural causes.

While best known as a correspondent on the long-running news program “60 Minutes,” Mike Wallace has worn numerous and varied other hats such as narrator on the “Green Hornet” and “Sky King” radio series, game show host, actor (under the name name Myron Wallace, although he played himself in one of my favorite films, A Face in the Crowd), and he also hosted several other news shows before landing “60 Minutes.”

Wallace had semi-retired in 2006, but appeared throughout 2008. He garnered at least twenty Emmy Awards, had written two autobiographies, and was perhaps the last of the real television journalists (just my opinion). We have lost one of the greats.

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Andy Rooney Dead at 92

Some folks are their work. I can’t help but think about that today as I write about the passing of journalist and writer Andy Rooney. He passed away Friday night from major complications of an undisclosed surgery, just weeks after signing off for the last time on his regular closing slot on the long running “60 Minutes.” Even in his final piece, an interview for the program, he said he wouldn’t stop writing – he couldn’t stop writing.

Rooney was a journalist since the Second World War and had closed the CBS new program with his commentaries for over forty years. He was the curmudgeon’s curmudgeon, always questioning the most mundane and puzzling of the day’s mysteries. His voice was grating and his attitude confrontational and often sarcastic, but he was always entertaining, and if you weren’t careful, informative.

Andy Rooney wrote for television and news for decades, He won four Emmys while on “60 Minutes,” and many other broadcasting and journalism awards during his long career. We have lost a true legend and an epic voice in our times. He will be missed.

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Battle Los Angeles

Battle Los Angeles ~ This wannabe summer blockbuster took a new spin on the old alien invasion story by telling much of it through modern day news coverage and also through the eyes of one group of young Marines as they hold the line in Los Angeles against nearly indestructible extraterrestrial assault.

It’s a creative war movie rather than a scifi flick, but it’s spoiled by some dumb plot elements and tired clichés early on. I found it hard to swallow that if the powers-that-be knew we were up against aliens, they would not beat around the bush with the combat forces going in to fight them, they would tell them outright, and not let them find out by watching TVs as they go into battle. I was wrecked by stupidity for the movie at that point before we even saw any real action. And this is sooo full of dumb, like the victims in a teenage slasher flick.

That’s not to say that the effects aren’t spectacular, especially on a good TV with HD Blu-Ray, but I was already frowning by the time they actually do show up. What’s not news coverage is done with shaky cam, obviously trying to copy the effects of Saving Private Ryan, but it’s a loftier target that it should have been trying to attain. It got tired real quick. With all its special effects, the two decades plus old Aliens is a better marines vs. aliens movie, and The Boys in Company C has less war clichés.

On the surface, Battle Los Angeles tries to mix the new knowledge we Americans have of ‘real’ war and combat footage with the concept of alien invasion. It works for the two-minute trailer, but not for the two-hour movie. Good cliché TV movie about the Iraq war (or Viet Nam) with cheap District 9 and Transformers aliens thrown in for good measure – wait for the free TV viewing, a bowl of hot popcorn, and possible a good nap or two.

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RIP Wizard Magazine

This week Wizard Magazine called it quits. In this, the internet age, it certainly is a case of internet killed the magazine star. In a world where you can get all the latest comics news in just a few seconds, and also seconds after it happens – magazine that specialize in such are as much dinosaurs as the newspapers are. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not ringing the death knell for the newspapers yet, but the comics audience is predominantly a computer savy audience. A monthly magazine ain’t gonna do it any more.

That said, Wizard had its time. There was a time when folks fought to get the first copies on the shelves. Everybody wanted to see the new interview, the new preview, the new poll, the latest who’d win, the photos from the latest film or even the letters column with the latest feud. Like I said, it had its time, but sadly those days are gone, lost to the much faster satisfaction of the immediate Twitter/Facebook world. Rest in peace, Wizard, you’ll be missed.

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Mom Beat by Son Over French Fries

McCain Introduces Masala Fries

Pop Culture Poser

Brad Benson, of Brad Benson Hyundai. This guy bugs me. His commercials appear far too frequently on News Jersey 101.5 FM. He does his own commercials, making pop culture references left and right, and trying to be funny, and one would hope (for his sake at least), selling cars.

The thing that bugs me, other than the frequency of the commercials, and his implied agreement with some of the station’s gay-unfriendly hosts (his ad about the pilots who missed their landing is horrendous and irresponsible, and don’t get me started on Dennis and Michele), is that he often gets his pop culture references wrong.

Now it’s one thing for KYW to pronounce Janeanne Garofolo’s name as “Jane-anne Garroh-folloh” or CNN to have commentators at the Michael Jackson memorial who don’t know who Berry Gordy is, but this falls into a whole ‘nother category.

On the surface, Brad Benson saying Susan Boyle was on the British “American Idol” instead of “Britain’s Got Talent,” for instance, may seem petty, but look at it this way… Have you ever bought a car? Remember the scary and unreasonable amount of detailed paperwork involved in buying a car? Yeah, that’s a lot of stuff, and a lot of stuff to make sure is absolutely right, T’s crossed and I’s dotted.

Do you want a guy who won’t even do a moment’s research on a commercial he’s paying for to handle details on a car you’re paying for? I don’t. I want someone very detail-oriented, someone who won’t make mistakes and just laugh it off. I guess I’m not buying a Hyundai from Brad Benson.

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