I’m sorry. I tried watching “Everything, Everywhere” and thought it was horrible. But there was a big Hollywood buzz about it. So I tried watching it again. Thought it was even worse the second time around. After last night I suppose I should attempt a third screening but I have a feeling the emperor has no clothes.
At the same time, I remain gobsmacked by the performances of Austin Butler in “Elvis” and Cate Blanchett in “Tar.” Maybe it’s just me.
What’s the point in making a movie nobody wants to watch? What’s the point in holding an awards ceremony that is losing its audience? We’re in a period of heavy change. Sometimes, as with “Everything,” the emperor is running around naked while the Academy hands him another Oscar. And so the Academy becomes increasingly irrelevant.
What happened to “The Woman King?” Wasn’t that supposed to do something? Good grief, the audience on Tomatoes gives it a rating of 100% fresh. Or was that last year? Must have been. Surely the Academy wouldn’t have overlooked it?
Not sure what’s happening to the movie biz, but I’m pretty sure I’m not alone. It’s happening to music, too. Rap, which is not even music, is poisoning the Grammys. Bad movies are being touted as examples of excellent film making at the Oscars. It’s all more than a little worrisome, what with art being a reflection of reality and all.
It’s being reported that California Governor Gavin Newsom, has ordered for water to be diverted into groundwater basins to help replenish groundwater levels. Good for the Gov. But first, a little history-
The state doesn’t have enough reservoirs. As a consequence it has suffered through repeated, prolonged periods of drought. Orchards have been ploughed under, farmers have yelled at city dwellers and city dwellers yelled back at the farmers, while water has been rationed.
My former colleague at KTLA-TV, the late Hal Fishman put out the call repeatedly in his commentaries. “The State of California” he would say, “needs to build more reservoirs.” Or he might have been calling for Los Angeles County to build more reservoirs, I can’t remember and it doesn’t really matter. The point it, he was right. He would very logically and intelligently point out that every time it rained, there were millions of gallons of fresh water flowing out into the ocean. But nobody listened, at least not to the best of my knowledge. At least not in Southern California.
Thing is, I lived there for 33 years, and watched the cycle continue. The first part of the cycle, was for state and local officials to carp on about the extended drought for years on end. And then, Viola!, it would rain! And not just a little bit. The place would damn near float away, causing everybody to forget about the drought. And so it continued. Every time it looked as though life as we knew it was over, Charlton Heston, would shake his staff at the sky and summon up the rain gods and all of us would be taking our kayaks out of storage to get to the market to stock up on bread, cheese and chardonnay. It’s just the way things were. It was the California cycle of near death by dehydration and then re-birth through some magical gift from the gods. We knew how bad things were, but we knew not to worry. The rain would come to save us. It always did. In a State where everyone is waiting for the inevitable 8.0 earthquake, the “Big One” to come and knock everything down, expecting a little help from the rain gods now and then is no big stretch.
So, here we now are, watching it all happen again, but this time, with the amount of snow in the mountains and rain in the valleys, in proportions that remind you of Zeus calling forth the Kraken, or Moses parting the Red Sea. This is almost biblical.
On the other hand, if it worked in the Bible and then in the movies, why not in the San Fernando Valley?
Not long ago, I saw a photo of what appeared to be water backing up in the Sepulveda Flood Basin. Like all the traffic on the 405 being funneled down into a single lane, all that lovely fresh water that had drained down from the mountains was backing up into the flood basin. There was just too much of it for the single concrete channel, colloquially known as the L.A. River to handle.
But never mind all that. Before long, perhaps within weeks, hydrologists will be advising Californians that the drought is by no means over. There are still too many people using a limited supply of fresh water and there just isn’t enough of it. Los Angeles residents, still won’t be able to water their lawns at will, wash their cars in their driveways or hose down their property. They’ll still have to request water in the City’s restaurants. The words of former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan, continue to resonate, ‘If it’s yellow, let it mellow…..If it’s brown, flush it down!”
Even with a near-record snowpack in the Sierra above, and neighborhoods flooding out below, the drought will likely continue. It has to, you see, because groundwater levels have dropped so low for so many years, that the state has been nearly sucked dry. Making matters worse, the Colorado River is turning into a creek, and to date, no one that I know of has found any kind of permanent solution. Like building more reservoirs. Or a monster pipeline coming in from the east. More reservoirs might not be a total fix but they might be a place to start. They might even name one after Hal Fishman, may he rest in peace.
Until then, take heart, California. Governor Newsom, has ordered water to be diverted into the existing groundwater basins. He’s following in the steps of his predecessors, finding a temporary partial fix to a long-term existential problem.
Chris Rock, was rough, raw and at times even nasty. Also, some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever seen. This is adults only comedy folks, in the tradition of Richard Pryor and Lenny Bruce. While he may make you cringe, Chris Rock’s message is a comedic gut check America needs.
He wields the truth more like a crusader with a broad sword than a surgeon with a scalpel. His style will offend the sensibilities of a whole lot of people. He’s gonna get a lot of blowback on this one, which could be precisely what he wants.
Joe Biden did a great job with the State of the Union. I’m still in shock. He was on fire. That said, the speech, generally speaking, is about as memorable as whether the groundhog sees its shadow. A day or two later, and it’s forgotten. One of the pundits said Thomas Jefferson’s idea was to simply put the speech on paper and deliver it to the Congress. Might be a good move.
Got up today and wanted an analysis of Biden’s speech. Other than my own. I went to CNN. Same old, same old, except that they’ve brought Bill Maher on board. I then tried MSNBC. Again, it was the same old, same old but with Rachel Maddow as an occasional guest host. So, I went to Keith Olbermann’s podcast. Biting, intelligent and most refreshing. Somebody needs to put Keith back on the air.
I took a selfie today, because it’s what people are doing, and who wants to be left out? It was horrible. Hi-def photography, is not our friend. At least it’s not for those of us of a certain age.
I’m generally burned out on memes, but one arrived today that really hit me. It’s a photo of a guy pouring hot sauce in his eyes. The caption, is, “Things I’d rather do than watch the Grammys.” After trying to watch this year’s awards, I tend to agree. Metaphorically, of course.
Finally, if a small sub-set of Republican House members insist upon acting like idiot fans at a wrestling match, then the Congress needs to draw up a set of rules for all those attending The State of the Union Address. Those who cannot abide by standards of general adult decorum, can watch the address from a separate room with a big screen tv where they can act out to their heart’s content, without feeling the need to act like angry spoiled children to impress their donors while embarrassing both their party and the nation.
If you feel like you can’t get what you need from commercial television via a nightly newscast or the 7-24 news channels anymore, there’s a good possibility that you aren’t alone. According to more than one source, the ratings of CNN and MSNBC combined don’t equal the ratings of FOX.
It’s not like they aren’t trying. The guy who is now running CNN, brought in Bill Maher, to try and bump up their numbers with some comic relief. Which is what it’s all about. Better ratings bringing in higher paying commercials. That’s why it’s called “commercial television.” That’s why American tv switched in a comparative blink of an eye from “family tv” shows to shows targeting young women and mothers and then finally teens as their prime demographic. More profitable commercials. Plenty of disposable income and superstores loaded with lots of crap to spend it on.
Point is, a whole lot of us are not in anybody’s target demographic or “demo” as the sales guys like to call it. At least that’s what they called it when I was still in the biz.
All of it has left some of us behind, grateful that the BBC, France24, Sky News and Al Jazeera are out there on streaming video, providing us with some variety of actual world and national news and not just the latest on Trans M&M’s, which politician inadvertently left classified documents stashed away in the bathroom at his beach house or how many murders there were in the inner-city over the weekend.
The networks keep hammering away on the same two or three stories again and again, day after day, and they wonder why their ratings are dropping? What we used to refer to as giving our viewers a “balanced diet” of news and information has been transformed into turning the news into whatever some executive thinks might get a better number. Meaning, friends and neighbors, we are now just inches away from Sybil the Soothsayer as portrayed in the prophetic movie “Network.”
In desperation, and thanks in no small part to Los Angeles radio personality, Ken Minyard, I found some relief. The place to go, is to that magic podcast button on your smartphone or streaming video device.
I follow Minyard on Facebook, so I knew he and his son, Rick, had started a podcast, but I had never listened to it because I just never got into listening to podcasts all that much. I grew up with Sky King, Mr. Greenjeans and Edward R. Murrow and old habits, like turning on the 6 o”clock news and expecting the news to be there, are hard to break. Then, the other day, Ken Minyard mentioned something about Keith Olbermann’s podcast on Facebook.
Olbermann’s departure, left a giant hole in the MSNBC lineup – one that has not been adequately filled – and so, I found his “Countdown with Keith Olbermann” podcast refreshing. It’s not like he’s back on MSNBC, which is where he should be and would be if the people running the place had the courage to overcome whatever political nonsense led to his departure, but at least he’s there in cyberspace with a podcast, providing a voice, a point of view, that’s badly needed.
I’m also now a listener of the “Minyard & Minyard Do a Podcast.” Again, they provide a point of view that is needed and is no longer being provided by our commercial media, because, apparently, they no longer have the courage and (or) common sense to provide it. Apparently they’re afraid those on the right will yell about big media giving a megaphone to those on the left, and, as we all know, those on the right feel they’re the only political entity deserving of any voice at all. Bringing us to our current situation – a general condemnation of anyone with the courage and intellect to search for the truth and then report it out. Even if that means infuriating those on the right, many of whom can’t handle the truth and would rather hear about space lasers and Hunter Biden’s laptop and any other claptrap Fox News happens to be promoting because it gets them a big number.
Is denying the truth because some on one side or another find it to be objectionable a valid reason to avoid it altogether? Or is pursuing the truth and reporting it out – “telling it like it is” as we used to say – still a worthy goal regardless of whatever impact it might have on an outlet’s profits?
If money matters more than the truth, then the truth will go begging, leaving us all ignorant and at the mercy of a relative handful of wealthy tyrants who care only about growing their wealth.
If you’re disappointed in what used to be called television, if you feel defeated in your search for the truth, feeling MSNBC and CNN which has just brought a professional comedian on board, are coming up short on what you need, then you might try podcasts. There are plenty of them out there, and some, like Minyard & Minyard, don’t have any commercial announcements, so they don’t have to worry about losing advertisers should they offend someone’s delicate sensibilities. Others, like Keith Olbermann, will give you what he sees as the best available version of the truth regardless of what any advertiser might think, which could be why he is no longer on the air at MSNBC. Or maybe someone who is still there is afraid he’d be too popular? Either way, they need to put Keith, back on the air. Until then, he has a podcast. But you’ll have to look for it.
I’m now afraid to go down in the basement. Not sure what might be down there, except for a lot of boxes filled with documents I collected as a reporter over the years. Worried there might be something that could get me in trouble. I know I have John Glenn’s home address down there, but he and his wife are both dead, so I don’t think that really matters.
RIP and God bless you, John and Annie Glenn.
The second thing, is the Abrams Tanks issue. The U.S. Government, or Joe Biden, if you will, has given the green light to send a number of Abrams Tanks over to the Ukrainians. Apparently, this is what the Germans were waiting for, meaning they too, will now send a number of their high end “Leopard Tanks” to Ukraine.
This is serious stuff, folks. We’re already sending short-range missiles and anti-tank weapons to Ukraine, but the tanks are where Vladimir Putin, drew a line in the sand, implying that once we started sending tanks, he’d consider taking things to the next level.
Putin’s playing international chess, so who knows what he means. Which is what he wants us to think. If we send in the tanks, will he nuke somebody? That would be insane of course, but who’s saying that Putin hasn’t lost at least some of his marbles? At best he’s a sociopath, who murders or imprisons his political opponents, and at worst, who knows? Thing is, here we are, standing at the doorway to what could be World War III, and much of the media it appears, really doesn’t get it. At all. They’re more concerned with what are probably meaningless documents intellectually overloaded politicians inadvertently took home. Or were sent to their homes by someone else.
The classified documents, are turning into a big joke. The truth, probably, is that there are classified docs scattered all over the place, and it’s really no huge deal, except for MSNBC and CNN, who are continuously carping about how terrible this missing documents situation is. Is it really all that serious, or is it just something that’s easy for you to cover? And carp about. Continuously?
The tanks, and the potential for what’s happening in Ukraine to lead to a world war, are far more unpleasant to deal with, but it’s probably time to give these issues a little more air play. That way, if Putin does nuke somebody, your viewers will understand why.
Oh, and there were just three mass shootings in California in as many days. Is there some way to keep this problem of slaughter in our streets alive other than waiting for the next mass shooting to talk about it again? Also in California, the new Mayor of Los Angeles, Karen Bass, is trying to deliver on her promise of getting thousands of homeless people off the streets. One report says she wants to find housing for 15,000 homeless in her first year. As part of that, she’s started a count of homeless persons in Los Angeles.
They think there are about 40,000 in the city, with another 30,000 or so, if you include L.A. County. That’s 70,000 homeless people in Los Angeles County. Maybe more. The count is underway. Here in America. A wealthy country. Do you suppose this might be worthy of discussion as opposed to acting like the world is threatened by a few misplaced papers in the home of a former VP?
And so David Crosby is dead at the age of 81. And it feels like a personal loss, going back to the 60’s, and the Byrds, and then Crosby, Stills and Nash, with Neil Young eventually joining in with traces of Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell on the periphery.
I interviewed David Crosby just once, about his struggles with drugs and alcohol. He wanted others to know how dangerous it could be, but that they could find a path out of the darkness and back into the light. He needed a liver transplant to keep going. I also heard three remaining members of the Byrds at what I think was their last performance together at the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium at a fundraiser billed as “A Gathering of the Clan – 2000.” Eveybody knew Chris Hillman, Roger McGuinn and David Crosby were all there, but I don’t think anybody knew they were going to play together – until Crosby stepped up to a mic and said, “Ladies and gentlemen, The Byrds.” With that McGuinn and Hillman joined him onstage, one last time, playing “Mr. Tambourine Man.” It was the Byrds first hit in 1965. I was a senior in high school.
Things like that just happen sometimes. If you happen to live in L.A., and just happen to be at the right place at the right time.
I never expected to see the Byrds during my lifetime. Didn’t think they’d ever play together again, but there they were. Playing the music that marked our lives. Which is what Crosby did. He was part of so much of the music that marked our lives, from the protests in Chicago in 68, to “Four dead in Ohio,” to Woodstock, to a world we were going to change for the better. Well, some of us tried.
The words of Graham Nash echo: “You, who are on the road, must have a code that you can live by….and so, become yourself, because the past, is just a goodbye….”
Goodbye, David, and thanks for everything. This one, feels personal.
The Guardian reports that after millions of years, time may be running out for the Japanese Giant Salamander. Kinda begs the question of whether maybe its time is up? Also, does the world really need the Japanese Giant Salamander? They are apparently highly reclusive, so it’s doubtful they’ll be missed.
All these classified documents that keep popping up, first at Mara Lago and now in Joe’s garage, or in a space nearby, will, I predict, turn out to be irrelevant. “A mere bag of shells,” as Oliver Hardy, might have put it. At first I had questions about whether DJT might not be selling stuff out of his back door, but now, seeing how Joe Biden is having the same problem, it appears reasonable to assume high government officials have probably been ferreting stuff away at home for years with nobody raising a fuss. Frankly, we should probably be more concerned with information on the JFK assassination the government has locked away.
We will probably get the truth about who killed JFK at the same time they decide to admit to us that lizard people from Beta 4 in the Zenon Quadrant, gave us technology for the transistor and suggested the possible use of vaccines to stop worldwide polio epidemics.
As nutso as that sounds, there are a few folks out there who will think it’s for real. You know, the Jewish space laser, Pizzagate nutballs. The same folks who gave us the real world zombie apocalypse on January 6th of 21, many, or maybe most of them, because they really believed it was the right thing to do.
All of it is beginning to look like one gigantic out-of-control joke on all of us, particularly those of us who would like to retain our government and all that goes with it, including law and order, the military and a tax system that makes our civilization possible. Trouble is though, increasingly, it feels as though we’ll have nothing to say about whether we can hang onto what we’ve got, or whether, with so many nutjobs out there, and a truckload of them now in the Congress, the whole damn thing might not just slip away into the night and we’ll wake up one morning to face the devil, all by our lonesome selves. Won’t that be a corker?
More than ever, we need Hunter S. Thompson. Chances are, he might now, finally, believe that things had gotten weird enough, even for him.
Drove down into Baltimore yesterday. Per usual, saw not one cop until we got to Johns Hopkins University, and there, to my shock and surprise, was a Hopkins University patrol car. Is this new, something I missed because I rarely watch local tv news?
It’s a step in the direction of bringing the City back from the brink, in my opinion. Can’t understand the pushback coming from some sectors of the community.
Hopefully, Hopkins police supporting the Baltimore PD, new laws banning “squeegee workers from some City streets and a new State’s Attorney, will help turn things around. At the same time, the State, with its huge surplus, might think about hiring road crews to clean up the litter that keeps getting worse along state routes through and around the City. What an unacceptable mess. Put some people to work with decent paying jobs and clean it up.
How are people supposed to feel good about where they live, when the place looks like a dump?
Of course more will be needed, like funneling more money into City schools and after-school programs to keep kids off the streets, more funding for the State’s Attorney’s office and many other parts of an equation that aims to solve problems that have been building for years.
What the City and the State have done or failed to do, clearly, has not worked. In the short term, somebody had to get things started, and Hopkins, it appears, has taken the lead.
The headline on MSNBC this morning was “CHAOS AT THE CAPITOL.” No, that’s not correct. A correct headline would read, “REPUBLICAN CHAOS AT THE CAPITOL.”
Also, reporters for both MSNBC and CNN, need to stop referring to the 20 or so Republicans on the far, far right of the party who are refusing to vote for McCarthy, as “conservatives.” They are not even close to being conservative. Calling them the party’s “Lunatic Fringe” would be more appropriate. Even some Republicans are referring to them as “the tail wagging the dog.”
Word inside the media, is that the push is on at CNN to attract more viewers from the right. Hopefully that won’t mean straying from telling the objective truth. Hopefully, MSNBC, wanting all those same viewers, won’t follow suit.
Journalism for profit works about as well as providing the best healthcare to those that can pay the most. Two white elephants in the Captiol rotunda that have never been adequately addressed.
Please, tell it like it is. The American public will be better informed and you’ll feel better about yourself.
On August 16, 1984, a jury in Los Angeles found John DeLorean not guilty of trafficking in cocaine to try and save his failing car company. The jury found DeLorean to be a victim of entrapment by the federal government.
Following the verdict, John Z. DeLorean would give out one first exclusive interview. I was the reporter who got it, and it was all because of Barbara Walters.
Barbara and I both worked for ABC at the time. DeLorean had promised that first interview to Barbara, who was in New York. There was no way she would be able to get to the West Coast in time. For some reason, maybe because I was the only reporter available, or possibly for some other reason never revealed, KABC sent me over to do the interview with DeLorean.
And so we headed over to the home of Cristina Ferrare’s parents in L.A. Cristina, John Z’s wife, was co-hosting our morning show “AM Los Angeles,” so it wasn’t merely coincidental that the couple had headed for the Ferrare’s house after the acquittal. Probably, because they thought they might be able to dodge the media. They didn’t.
Everybody in town was there, in a long line on the sidewalk at curbside. It was a real ego trip, walking past that line and up to the front door to be met by Cristina.
John DeLorean, was seated at their kitchen table. He was clearly exhausted. And that’s pretty much all I remember about the interview. Except that I was astonished to be there at all.
I’ll never know why I was chosen. I really don’t care. I’ll just take it and say one last thank you and goodbye, to Barbara Walters. On August the 16th of 1984, she really made my day.
Sometime between 1976 and 1979, a few of the Pittsburgh Steelers got together and opened a nightclub in one of the suburbs just outside of town. I heard about it and sold it to KDKA as a good live-shot on the 11 o’clock news with Bill Burns. They agreed, and so, there we were, me and my cameraman, in the club when several of the Steelers showed up for the grand opening. One of them was Franco Harris. There were others, but Franco, is the one I remember, probably because he was so much larger than life.
Franco Harris, was, and still is, famous for his skills on the field, highlighted by him snagging a catch deflected off another player that has come to be called the “Immaculate Reception.” It was a catch that shouldn’t and couldn’t have happened. But it did, and Franco Harris, did it.
I made him a part of my live presentation, and he couldn’t have been nicer. Just a regular soft-spoken guy. He was in no way full of himself, as he could have been. For years, Franco has been noteworthy for supporting the City of Pittsburgh and the Steelers organization. I just recently learned that he was a Pennsylvania delegate to the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
There are any number of good things about spending your life in the media. One, is that you get to meet people who turn out to be legendary. Franco, is one of the legends I was privileged to meet and I admit to being just a little bummed out about his passing. I won’t say he’s “gone,” because for those of us who were there in those days of the “Steel Curtain,” Franco, Terry, Lynn, Rocky, Jack, Mean Joe Greene, Iron Mike and a few others will live on in our hearts and minds. Such is the stuff legends are made of.
I didn’t realize I was part of the so-called “Steeler Nation” until long after I had left Pittsburgh. It’s not the kind of thing you can walk away from. Anyway, for a guy, if you’re gonna be sloppy and sentimental about something, it might as well be football?
Franco Harris, was 72. He is survived by his wife and one son. A second son, died of a heart attack in 2006.
In the summer of 1975, I was working as a gen. assignment reporter at WBNS in Columbus. I recall a sudden buzz running through the newsroom over some new music group. Totally focused on the job, a cub reporter with no time for anything else, I mostly ignored what some were saying was the best new group to come along in years. A few years later, I bought one of their albums and actually listened to it. I was hooked, and have been a fan of Fleetwood Mac ever since. I especially like the vocals of the two women in the group, Stevie Nicks and Christine McVie. Also a big fan of McVie’s songwriting skills. Today it’s being reported that she died at the age of 79 following a short hospital stay. She’s gone but her work carries on, as music marks our lives. RIP
Well gang, here we go. Arguably, the most important American election in 160 years is underway. The results, will depend in no small way upon how many of us continue to deny the validity of the just past election of 2020. Many of those same folks also refuse to recognize the attempted coup d’etat of January 6th, 2021, when a former preisdent sent his supporters down Pennsylvania Avenue, for the sole purpose of stopping the count of electoral ballots so that he could remain in office as an authoritarian, a tyrant, with the democratic process set aside. Maybe permanently.
That actually happened, but millions, apparently, continue to deny reality, favoring the misinformation and disinformation promoted by Fox and the house of Murdoch. We can only hope they lied when asked by pollsters who they were going to vote for. We can only hope they turned off the right-wing echo chamber long enough to clear their heads and think for themselves just long enough to see what tyranny and greed are doing to us.
So many have given up on traditional media, which continues to try and report out the truth, despite terrible pressures from corporate sales and promotion departments that answer to CEO’s and their Boards, and not to the American people. Fact is, despite corporate greed, there are still thousands of real journalists out there doing the best they can. Not just for their employers, but for their readers and viewers as well. Many of them, struggling to survive on low pay as their papers continue to be threatened by closure. They are unsung heroes. They deserve our support.
Too seldom are we reminded that a free press is the cornerstone of our Democracy. Not Twitter, not Facebook, not the Communist Chinese owned Tic Tok, but our traditional newspapers and broadcasters, who have earned our trust by continuing to seek out and report what Carl Bernstein likes to call “the best available version of the truth.” I think it was Ben Bradlee who called it “a first rough draft of history.”
Don’t be fooled. The issue of this election is not the economy. It is not the price of gas or unisex restrooms or abortion rights. It’s the survival of American Democracy, self-determination derived from honest and open elections and the rule of law. It’s a question of how many Americans have been fooled into believing the tyranny of autocracy and despotism will be preferable to the freedom provided by our democratic process. Something, perhaps that far too many have come to take for granted.
Anybody else watch Bill Maher last night? He left me with the feeling that we are on death watch, waiting to usher in the the death of American Democracy. First, he urged everyone to vote, and then proceeded to explain why it won’t matter all that much because the Republican machine has the election all tied up in their favor, going right up to 2024, when, Maher thinks, Donald Trump and his goon squad will be waiting at the door, regardless of the outcome at the polls.
On the flip side, Michael Moore, more often than not a purveyor of doom, is apparently of the opinion that we are about to see a Democratic victory, with women coast to coast refusing the support the party that killed Roe. If that’s the case, then the polls will have been off, not by a little, but by a lot. It shocked me how abruptly they switched from favoring the Dems to favoring Republicans. Can’t recall polling numbers being upended that abruptly before. I do think Oprah, may have just tilted the race for the Senate in PA in Fetterman’s favor.