Thursday, February 26, 2015

"And now your moment of Zen."

“It is just an illusion here on Earth that one moment follows another one, like beads on a string, and that once a moment is gone, it is gone forever.” Kurt Vonnegut, Slaughterhouse-Five


      Currently, fans of late night television have encountered  more changes than a pubescent Peter Brady. David Letterman proclaims his retirement, Craig Ferguson bids farewell, the departure of beloved Stephen Colbert of The Colbert Report and then Daily Show host Jon Stewart announces he's leaving soon. Yes, we adore Larry Wilmore. We've absolutely fallen for Jimmy Fallon. Conan is the coolest. But those of us who have matured nurtured by and admiring  Stewart's uncompromising wit and cerebral satirical style will feel an acute emptiness.("The Daily Show with Jon Stewart: where more Americans get their news than probably should.") Jon Stewart created an entertainment empire at Comedy Central and has introduced us to an amazing cast of incredibly talented comedians and performers including Aasif Mandvi, Rob Corddry, Samantha Bee, Jason Jones, John Oliver, Steve Carell, Ed Helms, Kristen Schaal, John Hodgman and Jessica Williams to name a few. Even though we know change is an inevitable part of life, our attachment to a four nights a week fake news guru is a powerful force. Sadly, in the end, like all things, we must let go.

Jon Stewart's words of wisdom.

Insomnia is my greatest inspiration.” 

"Why is it that if you take advantage of a corporate tax break you're a smart businessman, but if you take advantage of something so you don't go hungry, you're a moocher?"

"Fatherhood is great because you can ruin someone from scratch."

"I like not to be good at anything, so I keep hopping around."

"I’m not going to censor myself to comfort your ignorance” 

 “By the way, when you finish the bottle of Crown Royal, you can still use the pouch to hold your broken dreams.” 

“If everything is amplified, we hear nothing.”

“The internet is just a world passing notes around a classroom.”

“The Westboro Baptist Church is no more a church than Church's Fried Chicken is a church.”

  "You know what they say: If at first you don't succeed, f**k it.” ―  The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction

Monday, February 23, 2015

The wild places are where we began. When they end, so do we."

For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”
― Jacques-Yves Cousteau

         What is an endangered species? Why should all of us be active and more concerned with this issue? Its a fact, the destruction of a single habitat affects many species of animals, plants, insects, and other organisms. The biodiversity of adjacent habitats will remain altered forever. An animal species that is endangered is at serious risk of extinction throughout most or a significant portion of its range. A species is considered " threatened" if it is likely to become endangered in the foreseeable future. Right now, around the world, the destruction, modification, or restriction of habitat resulting from human activity such as urban development, deforestation, mining, and pollution are the greatest threats to our wildlife. In addition human exploitation of an animal species for recreational, commercial, educational, scientific or other purposes results in diminished populations. Disease,  displacement from invasive species and competition among animals for resources are also driving numbers down.

       Why should we care? Due to a global increase in air and water pollution, forest clearing, loss of wetlands, and other man-made environmental changes, extinctions are now occurring at a rate that far exceeds the speciation rate. Every extinction diminishes the complex diversity of life on earth. The loss of  one single species may result in few environmental changes. Where we are failing miserably and selfishly is the realization that all life on earth is interconnected. When our species or living  connections are destroyed, whole ecosystems fail,. Thrown off balance, our own survival will be jeopardized. The diversity of animal and plant life provides us with food and many of our life-saving medicines. When a species is destroyed, the benefits it may have provided will be gone forever.

    What can you do? Get involved. Join an organization which truly fights for the survival of all animal species such as the World Wildlife Fund  or  The National Wildlife Federation . Educating ourselves and our children is free and its something we can all do. 80% of Americans strongly support ending all commercial trade in elephant ivory in the US. Sadly, the US is one of the largest importers of ivory. The beautiful elephants we see slaughtered by illegal poachers in documentaries and news stories continue to be killed because US citizens and those in other countries consume ivory products. Make sure our government officials are passing and enforcing laws to stop the trade. Protecting elephants, tigers and rhino's from extinction is our collective responsibility. These magnificent creatures have the right to be here and the right to live. If we continue to stand by and do nothing but watch their destruction we are only destroying ourselves.

"The wild places are where we began. When they end, so do we.”
― David Brower

Thursday, February 19, 2015

"From the East Coast to the West Coast."

Tradition is a guide and not a jailer.”
― W. Somerset Maugham

      Sunday, February 22nd, 2015 from the East Coast to the West Coast of the US there will be action packed excitement and the moving presence of pageantry and tradition. Start your engines at 1 PM  EST for the 57th annual DAYTONA 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on FOX  from Daytona International  Speedway- Daytona, Florida. Actor, Vince Vaughn, star of 20th Century Fox’s and New Regency’s soon to be released comedy “Unfinished Business,” ( in theaters March 6th ) will serve as Grand Marshal. Recording artist Kid Rock will perform. Be sure to catch the spectacular opening ceremonies as for the fifth straight year, the world-renowned U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds will provide a breath taking flyover during the finale of the National Anthem. The Thunderbirds feature six F-16 Fighting Falcons. The squadron is composed of 12 officers and more than 100 enlisted Airmen serving in about 30 Air Force career specialties.
          With over 43 drivers The Daytona 500 was the first 500-mile (800 km) auto race to be televised live green flag-to-checkered flag on network television when CBS aired it over thirty years ago in 1979.

     On the West Coast live from Hollywood at 7 PM EST ,  The OSCARS keep us entrhralled and entertained with a long tradition of honoring the finest in film making.   The 87th Academy Awards ceremony will be hosted by popular stage, screen and television actor Neil Patrick Harris. The very first Academy Awards ceremony was held in private and the winners were already revealed three months prior, far different from the glamorous highly anticipated public spectacle it is today. In fact the first gala was staged at the Blossom Room banquet hall of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Approximately 270 people attended the May 16, 1929 event as guest tickets could be purchased for a mere $5. Fast forward to 2015, now actors, directors and producers are courted with expensive cuisine, over flowing gift baskets worth thousands of dollars and the "ordinary folk" can follow the ceremony with a simple smartphone app. , the OSCARS online companion website actually took home an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Creative Achievement in Interactive Media". Check out all the nominees  Even events close to our hearts, deeply rooted in years of rituals and convention change. From female stock car drivers to interactive OSCAR after parties some traditions follow a natural flow of evolution.

Monday, February 16, 2015

"The shadows will fall behind you."

"Turn your face toward the sun and the shadows will fall behind you.”
― Maori proverb

       -Wu Men (Wumen Huikai) poet

Ten thousand flowers in spring,
the moon in autumn,
a cool breeze in summer,
snow in winter.

If your mind isn't clouded
by unnecessary things,
this is the best season of your life.

Friday, February 13, 2015

"In the longrun we get no more than we have been willing to risk giving."

"In the longrun we get no more than we have been willing to risk giving."-Sheldon Kopp, author, psychologist.

                           If you love movies more than you love Valentine's Day then you've chosen an acceptable week to attend the theater. Opening this Friday, February 13th:

Kingsman: The Secret Service  reveals an ultra-secret spy organization who recruits an unrefined street thug to train for a super high powered program fighting global threats and sinister masterminds. The film has been denounced by some critics as a gratuitous violent graphic novel come to life featuring the ultimate Bond-esque British gentleman, Colin Firth. The film was directed by Matthew Vaugh (X-Men, KickAss, Layer Cake) and stars Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine, Mark Strong, Taron Egerton and Mark "Luke Skywalker" Hamill. But if fast-paced thrill-a-minute,smash, smack slap, jab, jaws to the floor action and suspense is too much, how about a saucy S&M love story slightly less rough and tumble?

Fifty Shades of Grey opens on Saturday, February 14th.  Based on the 2011 best-selling E.L James novel, the movie introduces newcomers Dakota Johnson and Jaime Dornan. The screenplay was written by talented British writer, Kelly Marcel (Saving Mr. Banks, Terra Nova) and directed by Sam-Taylor-Johnson. Many critics have railed against the lack of female pleasure visible on screen and seem to believe the movie is oriented more towards the thrill of male dominance. Unfortunately, many women who were intrigued by the eroticism of the book may be disillusioned with the performances. So if you're planning on seeing the movie for a first date be prepared to squirm uncomfortably in your seat like a Catholic nun at a Magic Mike review or take mental notes for some spicy experimental recreation later.  However, "disappointed" is not the sexiest "safe" word.  

If you  truly want to play it safe wait a week and see the inspiring Disney family film,  Mc Farland USA which premieres on Friday, February 20th.  Directed by Niki Caro, the film portrays Kevin Costner as a cross country coach for a small California town.  Based on a true story, a passionately persistent teacher transforms a team of athletes into championship contenders. (Trailer featured above.)
Also in theaters soon.
 The Last Five Years with Anna Kendrick,
 What We Do in the Shadows  -February 13th

February 20th

Hot Tub Time Machine 2 -starring Adam Scott, Thomas Lennon
Focus  with Will Smith
Maps to the Stars with Juliann Moore, Robert Pattinson, John Cusack
Little Boy
The Duff
Everly starring Salma Hayek
The Lazarus Effect

Monday, February 9, 2015

"And the songs of every poet past and forever."

"Lovers don’t finally meet somewhere. They’re in each other all along." ~Rumi

          As Valentine's Day approaches many of us think about who, what and why we love. We may reflect on what it means to "fall in love", be "head over heels" or "love struck". Is it lust or love? Is it an infatuation or a crush? Is true love holding on forever or letting someone go?  Each one of us has or will have a "first love". Some of us have married our first loves. Some of us will never speak to our first loves again and others may be quietly pining away in hopes of one day reuniting. If you have a heart it has been broken, it will likely be broken again, it will bleed and it will beat wildly at the sight of your affections. We may have a soft heart or a hard heart but all hearts keep us breathing and alive, and as long as we are alive we are capable of loving again and again or always.

    The poem below was penned many years ago for my "first love". Even if your heart has been broken, the experience of  loving and being in love is profound. When our relationships end we swear will never love someone again, but we do. This is the power of love.  Despite the many infatuations, crushes and heartaches to come, he was the first. Like photographs in our mind, each person we have loved is part of our story and leaves a beautiful imprint on our hearts.

Radiation Man 

by Lisa More

To my curious artist, who contemplates
angles with a discriminating eye
Brushing the canvas, he colors rainbows
ashen and black
Drowning in azure blue, I know the
angelic pout of a sensitive soul.
"What?" " When?" "Why?", he asks.
Looking up from the Gita, softly
I whisper "Namaste", smile and continue to read.
How can I explain the unknown?
Spiraling around our hearts
the universe.
Yin and Yang melt in embrace.
Each blink of an eye photographs a memory
captured in the mind.
Weaving his pictures
they are dark and obscure like Lynch
He is sand lured by the waves of the sea
and what he sees is illusion.


A special Happy Birthday to my nephew, Jared. Love you.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

"Guess what? I've got a fever and the only prescription is.."

"To me, clowns aren't funny. In fact, they're kinda scary. I've wondered where this started and I think it goes back to the time I went to the circus and a clown killed my dad."

- Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey

          40 years ago, technology pioneers Bill Gates and Paul Allen developed a BASIC program for the Altair 8800 computer, NASA launched the Viking 1 planetary probe toward Mars, Bruce Springsteen released his third album, "Born To Run",  director Steven Spielberg's thriller "Jaws" was number one at the box office and Saturday Night Live debuted on NBC. Turning "40" never looked so "marvelous".   
        Most of us have grown up along side the celebrity cast changes, the memorable catchphrases, the personal tragedies and the comic triumphs as each week SNL capped off  a purely entertaining week in review for the  American public. Many of us have our favorite sketches, characters and spin-off movies as we may enjoy the present shows and  bask in the nostalgia of years past.
      If you think about the sheer amount of  raw talent SNL has developed it's impossible to deny its been a real laugh factory, churning out star after star. From Gilda Radner to Chevy Chase and Tina Fey to Jimmy Fallon, the list of writers, comedians, actors, musicians and entertainers who launched careers on the SNL stage is note worthy and truly amazing.

   Executive producer and creator, Lorne Michaels told The Hollywood Reporter when asked about the 40th anniversary special:
     "The rules we used were these: Every host was invited. Every musical guest was invited. Any cast member and writer who had been here longer than a year was invited. Not everybody is going to come. The other rule we used, which was just the simplest way to go, was if people sent back their RSVP, they were in the mix of people we could write for. On the 25th anniversary — which turned out remarkably well and was the first time I thought, "I could stop now and be good" — we did mostly live moments with tape and clips. This time, we have some of that, but we're doing more performances."
     The  40th Anniversary celebration begins at 8PM EST, Sunday, February 15th. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

"Find another planet, make the same mistakes."

"Spend some time to float in outer space
 Find another planet, make the same mistakes
 Our mind's all shattered when we climb aboard
 Hoping for the scientist's to find another door." -
"Lampshades on Fire"- Isaac Brock, Modest Mouse

                     The Top Ten Alternative songs for the week of February 8th, 2015 include music from the illustrious Foo Fighter's, Imagine Dragons, Cage the Elephant and an eclectic crew of accomplished musicians who will release their first full length album in 8 years, Modest Mouse. Strangers to Ourselves will be available on March 3rd but the pre-released track "Lampshades on Fire" is already at number 8 on the Billboard charts. The albums delayed premiere may have been prompted by the departure of founding bassist Eric Judy and the frustration of clicking with the right collaborator's, including rumors of track production with former Nirvana bassist, Kris Novaselic  and Outkast's Andre "Big Boi" Patton.

     "Lampshades on Fire"  was first featured live during Modest Mouse concerts and provides us an eerie rhythmic metaphor for our future environmental self-destruction. Listen to the track above, the top ten list is below:

10. Figure it Out-  ROYAL BLOOD

 9. Rollercoaster- BLEACHERS

 8. Lampshades on Fire- MODEST MOUSE

 7. Take Me to Church- HOZIER

 6. Stolen Dance- MILKY  CHANCE

 5. Something  From Nothing- FOO FIGHTERS

 4. Shut Up and Dance- WALK THE MOON



 1. Cigarette Daydreams- CAGE THE ELEPHANT