Sunday, May 31, 2009

The Tonight Show says farewell to Jay Leno!

In the late 1980's I took a trip to Las Vegas. While I was there I had the chance to enjoy the city and take in some shows. One of the highlights for me was attending Jay Leno's performance at Caesar's Palace. He was just a young and upcoming comedian at the time but clearly quite talented. I had a dinner date one evening which we followed up with the show. We walked in dressed nicely - and must have been mistaken for people of importance - because the ushers led us down to the very front row. That's when I learned that you never want to be up front and in view when a comedian is performing. As you can guess, we were the focus of most of his jokes for the night. I must say though, I thought they were in very good taste and were quite amusing. I developed an appreciation for this performer who I previously knew very little about.

Who would have thought that years later I'd be living in the same town as Jay and would see him quite frequently driving down the street in any one of his many classic automobiles.

It's common knowledge that Jay is a car nut. Many weekends he can be seen driving through Burbank or the Hollywood Hills in one of his vintage machines. People wave and he gladly waves back.. Sometimes he has to put his stogie away to wave but he waves all the same. He's also been know to frequent a Friday night gathering at the Bob's Big Boy in Burbank where many other local car aficionados hang out.

Who would have thought that after 17 years, Jay Leno would be moving on. It just seemed like he would continue indefinitely. Johnny Carson cranked out 30 years so I figured Jay had at least another 10 good years to go. But the reality is- Jay Leno has said good night to the Tonight Show.

Here are some Highlights from his monologue:

"Welcome to the exciting season finale of The Tonight Show," said Jay. "I have to thank some people who made the show a success - Michael Jackson, Monica Lewinsky and Bill Clinton. ... When I started this show, my hair was black and the president was white. ... When we started the show, Jon and Kate were both 8. ... I'm cleaning out my office today and I find O.J's knife. I had it the whole time! ... People say what are you going to do? Relax? I'm going to be in a secluded spot where no one can find me - NBC primetime!"

Jay was know for his "Jaywalking" interviews. It was fitting that they did a recap of a few on his final show.

Please enjoy!

And finally, a few bloopers from the years past!

So long Jay, see you in primetime!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Sunset In La Jolla!

La Jolla, California - (Pronounced "La Hoya")

in Spanish means "The Jewel".

La Jolla is located 15 minutes from downtown San Diego and is known for it's wonderful beaches, fine restaurants, boutique shopping, art galleries, and beautiful natural scenery. In addition, La Jolla is home to the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the University of California, San Diego. It is also home to many Bio-Tech and software companies.
This past weekend, I found myself wondering around La Jolla and while I was there I decided to go on a quest to find a beautiful sunset. It was a bit cloudy and cool most of the weekend but cool is relative. La Jolla has an annual average temperature of 70.5 degrees F. Most of the weekend was in the upper 60's. Not exactly beach weather but certainly nothing to complain about. I spent most of my time outside and my reluctance to use any sunscreen resulted in a tad bit of a burn. The first, and hopefully the last of the year. Here's a question: Is it just me or is the sun getting stronger? The last 5 or so years I've noticed that I have a reduced tolerance of the sun. I'm guessing it's an age thing. I didn't seem to have this problem in my 20's. Anyway, moving on...... My second night in town I was able to find this view. The photo doesn't really do it justice but I thought it was quite remarkable the way the sun was shinning through the clouds and reflecting off of the water.

The third evening in La Jolla I had some better luck. Sandwiched between the 1904 Wisteria Cottage and the Contemporary Art Museum is a perfect place to watch the sun setting.

A gift to the La Jolla Historical Society by Ellen Clark Revelle July 25, 2008

Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego - La Jolla

Alas, I found it! A fitting close to a wonderful day! The sun setting on the water! There's a nice viewing area immediately to the right of the museum.

But wait a second..... No day is complete without a nice meal and a drink.

Right near the intersection of Prospect and Jenner is a BBQ joint
I was in shorts and dressed pretty casually so this looked like a good bet.

I decided to stop by Joey's place - That's Joey's Smokin' B.B.Q. I picked the mixed ribs plate with cornbread and sweet potato fries and a lemonade. The ribs were good and the cornbread was sweet and moist. I also had a taste of one of their baked "sweet potatoes/yams". It was very tasty. Overall, I'd rate the food about a 7-plus but the service was impressively good. Don't just take my word for it check out some of these other reviews and form your own opinion:

Joey's Smokin' B.B.Q.

If you're in the mood for BBQ in La Jolla, I think it's worth a try.

Joey's Smokin' B.B.Q.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Motivation to clean out your closets and drawers!

My dear Blog Buddy Jane Turley is funny! She's also witty and well-read! Some would argue that's she's a bit wayward and a touch wacky at times. But most of us would agree that she, in addition to being quite lovable, is like most normal people and HATES TO CLEAN AND IRON!

Well, I came across a story today that may get people (men, women, adults, and children) and Jane Turley cleaning out their drawers, desks, and closets.

Check This Out:

A West Australian university student in her 30s, cashed in a lotto ticket to claim her prize of about 10 million dollars US. The ticket was a gift from her father and had been collecting dust since July 22, 2008. According to the woman who asked to remain anonymous -

She helped Mum and Dad out in a major way. The tickets were set to expire 12 months after purchase and people had been wondering for months about the mystery winner. Some had given up and thought the money would go unclaimed. The mystery lady walked in with several unchecked lottery tickets. The first two tickets yielded about $16. Then Bamm! The big one hit!

The mystery woman said: "I always remember mum telling me that if I won Lotto, not to start jumping up and down in the shopping centre.'' The winning ticket was a $8.70 "slikpik", bought from the Beechboro Newsagency in Perth's eastern suburbs.

The odds she beat: 1 in 45 million.

It's time to clean out those drawers and cash in those old lottery tickets! Now the ironing, that's an entirely different subject!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

More Creative Commercials

Creatively Cute.

No, he didn't just call that guy a Shankapotomus did he? That kid is also cleverly cute. A nice advertising campaign by E-Trade!

"Skins Beat-Down! Read the Rules Shankapotomus!"

I like his style!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Peachtree City, Peachtree Lane, Peachtree Circle, Peachtree Street, Peachtree Boulevard, Peachtree Mall, Peachtree court, Peachtree Highway, Peachtree Avenue, Peachtree Motors, Peactree Plaza, Peachtree Hotel, Peachtree Station, Peachtree Elementary, Peachtree Place, Peachtree Inn, Peachtree Airport, Peachtree Center, Peachtree Tavern, Peachtree Road, Peachtree Club

Over the years, I've spent some time in Atlanta, Georgia. Last week, I took a brief trip down to the land of "Peachtrees." I'd forgotten many things about Atlanta. For example, I didn't remember that with a population of about 520,000 people, it is the 33rd largest city in the United States. That can be a bit deceiving though because if you include the surrounding 28 counties, the Atlanta Metropolitan area is the 8th largest region in the the United States. Additionally, Atlanta has the nation's third largest concentration of Fortune 500 companies and touts the busiest airport in the world - Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. So Atlanta really isn't that small after all.

I'd also forgotten how much they like to use the word "Peachtree" in that part of the country. Driving around and listening to the radio reminded me of the scene from the movie Forrest Gump when Bubba starts naming all the ways to prepare shrimp. For those of you who have not yet seen the movie or can't remember, here's a clip.......

" So That's about all the kinds of Peachtrees I know."

I must admit, folks in the South are truly friendly. So many people came up to me and wanted to chat. They all seemed to be sincerely interested in my well-being. Yessir, Southerners sure can be hospitable. Still another thing I had forgotten was how High Tech/Sci Fi-ish Atlanta can look at night.

I've always enjoyed the Atlanta skyline on a clear night.

Though some nights it can look like aliens have landed!

During the day, it looks equally cosmic!

But I really impressed myself with these shots. Trust me... It looked more mysterious in person.

And if those Inter-galactic photos didn't freak me out enough..... Let me tell you all about the skeleton on a motorcycle who followed me around for about 10 miles.

I thought it was my imagination!

I finally shook him in Buckhead!

All in all it was a pretty good trip!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Waterboarding - What is It?

You've heard about it - but what do you really know about it?

Waterboarding has been in the news quite a bit lately. I came across this video - It looks like it could be a Playboy production product. I found it quite informative

Here it is for your review:

Don't try this at home!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

H1 N1 - "Hogtied" in Japan!

Is it my imagination wondering off on a tangent again or did I just land in the middle of some 1960's weird Scifi movie scene?

It all started when we landed in Japan. We were advised that all people aboard the airplane must be examined by the Japanese Quarantine staff before we would be allowed to leave the airplane. The more frightening news that eventually seeped through was that if any person was found to be sick, all the people in close proximity of this person would be quarantined (hogtied) as well until they could determine the nature of the illness by testing each person individually. Additionally, rumor had it that this process could take about 1 1/2 hours to execute.

Egad! Don't these guys know I've got stuff to do? After all, I've got blogs to read and posts to write.

So there I sat watching these characters dressed in Hazmat suits query the passengers around me. I casually reached into my bag and pulled out my camera. "Snap!"

Wow! I actually got away with taking a picture. The thought crossed my mind that they might become irritated with me and haul me off on G.P.. But no, they really didn't seem to care.

Snap! Snap!

I think I figured out the system. First a team of examiners comes by and reads your health form. We were required to fill out a form describing our state of health just before landing. Then, another individual comes by with a device that looks like some sort of rejected prop from a Star Trek episode. It 's a large squarish item that looks like a camera on steroids. Apparently, it zapps a thermal ray off your forehead and instantly reads your temperature. Those that register a high temperature are immediately shackled and led off to the dungeon to await their fate.

Oh, it's my turn......

"Maa'm, I'd prefer the rectal thermometer please."

"Sorry, no understand English very well."


Oh well, lost in translation - Again! Not even a smile. Not that I could see it under the mask and goggles anyway! At least I'm not going to quarantine jail!

They issued me a piece of paper... "Medical Clearance paper." came the mumbled statement from behind the masked figure.

Awesome! My get out of jail free card! I'm rocking and rolling and outa here .......

Turns out this entire process only took about 30 minutes. Not too bad actually. But it did give me a few minutes to really ponder this whole swine flu/H1 N1 thing. Is this really a legitimate concern I wondered? Let me see, approximately 36,000 people died from the "regular" flu last winter. So far, according to the WHO -
In this same period, Mexico alone, has reported 1112 laboratory confirmed human cases of infection, including 42 deaths. The United States has reported 896 laboratory confirmed human cases, including two deaths.
Now I'm curious. These numbers don't seem to be adding up. My thinking is, the reported cases are the people that are really sick. So how many people have actually been exposed to this virus and not gotten sick? This must be a pretty large number. And there seems to be a disproportionate rate of death in Mexico. What gives?

So I did a little bit of reading around the WHO site particularly this paragraph on influenza pandemic:

A disease epidemic occurs when there are more cases of that disease than normal. A pandemic is a worldwide epidemic of a disease. An influenza pandemic may occur when a new influenza virus appears against which the human population has no immunity. With the increase in global transport, as well as urbanization and overcrowded conditions in some areas, epidemics due to a new influenza virus are likely to take hold around the world, and become a pandemic faster than before. WHO has defined the phases of a pandemic to provide a global framework to aid countries in pandemic preparedness and response planning. Pandemics can be either mild or severe in the illness and death they cause, and the severity of a pandemic can change over the course of that pandemic.

My eyes really opened when I read this paragraph:

In the past, influenza pandemics have resulted in increased death and disease and great social disruption. In the 20th century, the most severe influenza pandemic occurred in 1918-1919 and caused an estimated 40 to 50 million deaths world wide. Current epidemiological models project that a pandemic could result in two to 7.4 million deaths globally.
If an influenza pandemic were to occur today, we could expect the virus to spread rapidly due to the interconnected nature of the world and the high level of global travel.
If the pandemic evolved to become severe and widespread over time, we could also expect:
vaccines, antiviral agents and antibiotics to treat secondary infections to be in high demand, and potentially in short supply;
medical facilities to be strained with demands to care for both influenza and non-influenza patients;
potentially significant shortages of personnel to provide essential community services.
Effective pandemic preparedness around the world is essential to mitigate the effects of a pandemic, particularly if it becomes severe.

Okay, now it's time to digest all of this information. My initial take is - Why are we investing all of these resources in what seems to be a relatively insignificant event? Naturally I'm sensitive to those family members of people who have died due to complications surrounding any flu. Certainly I don't suggest that it's an insignificant event in their lives. But why are all the governments around the world so mobilized with respect to this particular flu when thousands of deaths are occurring around the globe each day as a result many different causes? What about Wars, Hunger, Crime, AIDS/HIV, Drug addiction, Cancer, and Traffic accidents.......? Don't these issues merit some consideration? Why can't/haven't the governments of concerned nations come together to try to mitigate any of these causes? My gut feeling is- Maybe we're the swines. Fat, dumb, and happy. Perhaps we're the chickens of the "avian flu" all being led off to slaughter.

In a conspiracy theory, and more sinister sort of a way, maybe "They" know more than we do. Maybe this is all an "Operational Test" for something that's brewing underground. Think about it. What if a terrorist group acquired a means to manufacture a synthetic flu virus? Wouldn't the nations of the world be better prepared to deal with the treatment and containment of such a virus having gone through this exercise?

Yikes! Now I'm really scared! No more thinking today!

I'm off to get in a work-out, a Scotch, and dinner!

Make that a double Scotch!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Undercoverblackman - May the Funk be with you!

If This Picture Scares You - Read No Further! Cause it may get Funky in Here!

Bootsy Collins performing at the Los Angeles Funk Festival-June 1977

Is There Funk After Death? Is 7 -UP?

I'm not sure I really believe it but David Mills, who blogs
(should I now say blogged?)
as "Undercoverblackman," has posted his last post!

See his final post.... Stick a Fork in Me

He's retired from blogging!

Some of you are familiar with UBM - a blog buddy of mine who stops through from time to time. He has compiled an interesting archive of over 2000 posts. To me, that's a monumental number. I look at it this way- if I continue to post at my current rate, It will take me about 10 more years to reach that number! Get my drift? I'm not sure I have that kind of endurance.

His posts are compelling and engaging and his audience is as diverse as his subject matter. He always seemed to have some passionate discussion going on at his blog, or at least some "undercover" tunes kicking up dust. Knowing him as I do, I didn't expect anything less from him. He's a true intellect. His list of accomplishments is very long as well. To highlight a few - He was an executive producer and writer of the HBO miniseries The Corner, for which he won two Emmy Awards. He was the creator, executive producer, and writer of the NBC miniseries Kingpin. He has written several episodes of The Wire, and is currently working with David Simon on what will prove to be an awesome production - Treme. Check it out when it hits the screen and feel free to pick up Kingpin, The Corner, or The Wire on DVD. You won't be disappointed.

Still another one of his unique collaborations and one that is often overshadowed by his screenwriting is: For The Record - George Clinton and P-Funk - An Oral History which he co-wrote with Larry Alexander, Thomas Stanley, and Aris Wilson.

It is in that direction that I will aim my post:

George Clinton and P-Funk

UBM - May The Funk Be With You as you proceed on your journey!

Here's a bit of the new aged Funk!

An interesting piece I discovered a while back. I've been listening to Culbertson for a while but didn't know that he had dabbled in the Funk!

And Here's a bit of the original old school Uncut Funk! Or for you legitimate P-Funksters -The Bomb!

P-Funk (Wants To Get Funked Up) - Parliament

And speaking of Hollywood!

Hollywood Squares - Bootsy Collins

I don't know about the rest of you but "Make my Funk the P-Funk!" Gimmie a shout UBM, let's do the Good Earth when you can!

And get some rest, I got a feeling you'll be working your butt off pretty soon!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Under The Radar - Software That Copies DVDs

Welcome to Life in the Digital Age!

I'm not sure if you've noticed or not, but there's a big battle going on in a San Francisco courtroom this week which may have far-reaching consequences for the casual DVD watcher. It doesn't seem to be getting a lot of press and may slip under the radar for most people. In one corner is RealNetworks, which advocates that it's software program, RealDVD, will ultimately increase DVD sales by allowing users to save digital copies of Hollywood DVDs to their computers. In the other corner is the "Hollywood Studios" led by General Electric's Universal Pictures group. The studios, are seeking a ban on sales of this software package claiming that this type of software will stimulate piracy and undermine the budding market for digital downloads. Standing in the middle between these two sparring parties is the honorable Judge Marilyn Hall Patel of U.S. District Court in San Francisco. Some of you may remember her from her work in the A & M Records, Inc. v. Napster, Inc., case. Judge Patel ruled "that Napster was not an ISP in the definition specified by the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and was not entitled to protection under that law's safe harbor provision. The conclusion meant that Napster was responsible for policing its Internet file sharing network for materials that violate record companies' copyrights.

So what does this case really mean? As a consumer, I think it would be nice if I could archive and store back-up copies of my collection of DVD's digitally on an external hard drive. Additionally, as a frequent traveler, I would benefit from being able to transport several movies with me in digital format instead of lugging the actually DVD's and protective cases with me across the miles. You all know what a hassle it can be getting stuff through security these days. So the less I have to carry, the better off I am. Now would this software program make it easier for me to "Rent - Rip - Return" movies? Absolutely! (The rent-rip-return process is one where people rent DVD's from a store like Blockbuster Video, rip it to their computer and then return the the DVD without ever having "paid" for the lifetime rights to the product.) And would this capability make it easier for me to "share" DVD products with others? Once again the answer is Absolutely! I suspect these issues may be at the heart of the matter and if you're RealNetworks, I don't think it looks good. Given the circumstances, it looks to me like RealNetworks might be facing an uphill battle.

Apart from it's RealDVD software, RealNetworks was also developing DVD-saving software that it hoped to license to manufacturers of DVD players. That software, which the company refers to by its internal name, Facet, allows companies who sell DVD players to offer the capability of making digital copies of all discs, even movie DVDs that have anti copying software. The owners of those players could save copies of their DVDs directly onto the player. RealNetworks has built a prototype of a Facet device that runs on the Linux operating system. The device can hold about 70 movies, each takes up to 20 minutes to copy. Sounds to me like a "DVD equivalent of an Ipod/MP3 player! Could this be the continuation of the digital revolution. Is this the time when viewable media joins the ranks of audio media?

I'm not sure how this trial will turn out. File sharing software, copyrights, and peer-to-peer, programs are some of my favorite topics to discuss over a cold beverage. I don't have many of the answers but clearly there's a lot at stake for each side. Ultimately, there could be a lot at stake for the consumer. I'll leave you with this comment from Bill Way, the vice president and general counsel of RealNetworks:

"The company was only trying to make DVDs cool again. The movie industry wants people to buy DVDs and so do we. They have a real problem with piracy, and we are not that problem. I don’t think our product will make the problem one iota bigger. I think it gives people an opportunity to make digital copies of their movies in a legal way.”

Something to ponder.................