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Character Actor Herbert Lom (one of my favorites) dies at 95…

 

Anyone who has ever seen any of “The Pink Panther” films or “Spartacus” or “The Lady Killers” has seen the wonderful work of Herbert Lom. The Czech-born character actor died Thursday at his home in London at the age of 95. Lom is perhaps best known for his appearances in Blake Edwards’ “Pink Panther” series as the perennially agitated boss of Peter Sellers’ bumbling Inspector Clouseau. But he moved between dramaand comedy with ease.

Lom appeared in more than 100 films, playing a wide variety of roles that covered horror, historical dramas and comedies. He appeared with Sellers in 1955’s “The Ladykillers” ahead of their work together on the “Pink Panther” films. He also did Television character parts in shows like Hawaii Five-0, The Man From U.N.C.L.E. and The Detectives, among others.

Lom also wrote two novels, “Enter a Spy:  The Double Life of Christopher Marlowe” and “Dr. Guillotin: The Eccentric Exploits of an Early Scientist.”

 

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Best part of the Olympics Opening Ceremony: James Bond Escorts The Queen…

It was a pre-recorded skit — directed, of course, by Danny Boyle (the celebrated filmmaker helming the entire ceremony) — Daniel  Craig in character as James Bond arrives Buckingham Palace, where he is taken to the Queen… the actual Queen Elizabeth… and her corgis.  Private rooms within the residence were shown, a testament to the nation’s commitment to making the evening a special one (Boyle pulled off aan awful lot of amazing things in the overall event.)

Take a look at the video and see how Bond gets the Queen to the Olympic stadium:

Great, no?

So how is the British press reacting to Mitt?

 

Take your pick… some in London prefer Palin

Romney is certainly giving the English Press a lot to talk about on center spreads, while Olympic coverage takes the front pages. Their reaction to Mitt has gone from openness, to skepticism, to mocking, to concluding that Mitt Romney is worse than Sarah Palin.

Take Daily Mail Political Editor James Chapman, whose cen6ter spread was topped with a two page headline: Romney is a Party Pooper. He has been providing the world a play by play of Romney’s British implosion via his Twitter account, starting off by criticizing London’s preparedness for the Olympics, then forgotname of British Labour Leader Ed Miliband, and then he admitted that he had been given a secret briefing by MI6. This led the British to ask aloud if they have another George W. Bush on their hands:

“Romney blunders again by revealing he’s had (supposedly) top secret briefing by John Sawers, MI6 boss. Do we have a new Dubya on our hands?”

After his visit to Whitehall, Chapman offered two of the kinder reviews of Mitt Romney:

“Serious dismay in Whitehall at Romney debut. ‘Worse than Sarah Palin.’ ‘Total car crash’. Two of the kinder verdicts. Another verdict from one Romney meeting: ‘Apparently devoid of charm, warmth, humour or sincerity’”

 
Getting compared to Sarah Palin is one thing, but being called worse than Palin is an indication of the mistake Romney has made by being in London in the first place.


The Telegraph
is reporting that London Mayor Boris Johnson mocked Romney’s readiness comment:

“Quite a moment from the Mayor of London Boris Johnson. Shortly after Rix had lit the flame he really went for it in Hyde Park. He referenced Mitt Romney’s ‘London isn’t ready’ quip and shot back in style. “Are we ready?” he called and the crowd went wild. There may even have been a hint of the Obama-friendly “Yes we can!” in there – he may have jumped into a winning scenario but I’ve not heard a politician get that reaction before.”

… and this in front of a crowd of over 200,000 Londoners.

 

 

Is Romney Ready for Foreign Policy?

If you’ve been watching the news concerning Willard’s visit to London, you may have heard that he has made a number of gaffes – enough so that the Mayor of London has compared him to Sarah Palin, and thought Palin was the more accomplished candidate.

You can review all the gaffes so far HERE, including videos and statements. It makes you a little ashamed to be an American since the Brits are now looking at Romney as an example of us all.
Here’s one of the gaffes that hit on Mitt’s preparedness for the whole thing:

BBC News quoted Romney:

To look out of the back side of 10 Downing Street and see a venue having been constructed, knowing that athletes will be carrying out their activities almost in the back yard of the prime minister is really quite an accomplishment.”

So what’s wrong with that, you say. Well… The Guardian responds:

Firstly, in Britain, “backside” means “ass”. As in the part of the body. Secondly, “10 Downing Street” is often used in political reporting as a synonym for a press spokesman for the prime minister, in the same way as “the White House” can say things or have opinions.

Imagine what he’s going to do (or say) in Poland and Israel.

The TED Talk they tried to keep off the Net…

Young multi-millionaire Nick Hanauer gave a TED Talk that the TED folks originally refused to put up (not like them). Hanauer persisted and it is now up. If you want to hear a rich guy’s view of where jobs come from in this economy, then I URGE you to watch this one… and pass it on:

So when Romney says not to tax the wealthy because they create jobs, ask him where the jobs are.

Here’s your chance to get a world famous artwork… got $80,000,000?

Notice from Sotheby’s NY:

Sotheby’s is honoured to announce that Edvard Munch’s masterpiece The Scream will lead its Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale in New York on 2 May 2012. The iconic work is one of the most instantly recognizable images in both art history and popular culture, perhaps second only to the Mona Lisa.

The present version of The Scream dates from 1895, and is one of four versions of the composition, and the only version still in private hands. It will be on view in London for the first time ever, with the exhibition at Sotheby’s opening on 13 April. In New York, and also for the first time ever, it will be on exhibition at Sotheby’s in advance of the sale beginning 27 April. The work is owned by Norwegian businessman Petter Olsen, whose father Thomas was a friend, neighbour and patron of Munch.

The estimate of value is $80 Million bucks for this pastel version of Munch’s famous piece. The question is, will this remain in private hands or be purchased by a major museum, making it accessible to the public?

Of the four versions of the work, the present Scream is distinguished in several remarkable ways: it is the most colorful and vibrant of the four; the only version whose original frame was hand-painted by the artist to include his poem detailing the work’s inspiration; and the only version in which one of the two figures in the background turns to look outward onto the cityscape.  This version has never before been on public view in either the UK or US, except briefly in the National Gallery in Washington D.C. decades ago.

I just checked my bank account and I can’t afford to bid on it. Can you?

Why the Rich are Different from You and Me…

From The Smirking Chimp:

Benjamin Franklin, who used his many talents to become a wealthy man, famously said that the only things certain in life are death and taxes. But if you’re a corporate CEO in America today, even they can be put on the back burner – death held at bay by the best medical care money can buy and the latest in surgical and life extension techniques, taxes conveniently shunted aside courtesy of loopholes, overseas investment and governments that conveniently look the other way.

– Bill Moyers

Read the whole article HERE

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Do you think The Monkees should be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

Personally, I don’t have anything against it. They may have been an “assembled” group, but they performed pretty well together.

Mike Nesmith made a long comment on this subject in Facebook:

“Should The Monkees be included in The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?”, you ask.

I’ll try to keep this short — may not work.

When The Beatles were recording Sgt. Peppers, Phyllis and I spent a few days with John and Cynthia at their home, and one in the studio with “the boys” .That’s where those pictures of John and I come from – the “Day in the Life” session.

The minute I had the wherewithal –cachet and money – I raced to London and looked up John.

During the ‘60s it seemed to me London was the center of the World and The Beatles were the center of London and the Sgt Pepper session was the center of The Beatles.
It was an extraordinary time, I thought, and I wanted to get as close as I could to the heart of it.

But like a hurricane the center was not stormy or tumultuous. It was exciting, but it was calm, and to an extent peaceful. The confidence of the art permeated the atmosphere. Serene – and really, really fun.

Then I discovered the reason for this.

During that time in one of our longer, more reflective, talks I realized that John was not aware of who The Beatles were. Of course he could not be. He was clueless in this regard. He had never seen or experienced them. In the strange paradox of fame, none of The Beatles ever saw The Beatles the way we did. Certainly not the way I did. I loved them beyond my ability to express it.

As the years passed and I met more and more exceptional people sitting in the center of their own hurricane I saw they all shared this same sensibility. None of them could actually know the force of their own work.

With no intention of comparison of work, I am in something of the same position with The Monkees. It was one of my private hurricanes – long gone and calm now, leaving me with great memories and artifacts – but with a critical element hidden to me in a most profound way.

Indeed. I don’t even know what the element is.

Weird, I know. But there you have it.

With this latest group of inductees into the RARHOF, once again I see this campaign to induct The Monkees. I hear a lot of anger and sense a feeling of injustice among the Monkees’s (Monkeeses?) fans about The Monkees being “overlooked” or worse, somehow snubbed.

This all may be true. In this I am afraid I am the last person qualified to judge – or even opine.

I can see the HOF is a private enterprise. It seems to operate as a business, and the inductees are there by some action of the owners of the Enterprise. The inductees appear to be chosen at the owner’s pleasure.

This seems proper to me.

It is their business in any case. It does not seem to me that the HOF carries a public mandate, nor should it be compelled to conform to one.

And that may be the rub.

The main argument afoot is that popularity and the history and the work should somehow provide the HOF not only a mandate but also validation that should compel and convince them/it, and also be enforceable.

That doesn’t seem like a good argument, but as I say – I don’t know. I rode out the hurricane in the mobile home that is all that is left standing while all about it are vacant concrete pads and stubbs of power lines.

It would be nice if the Monkees were inducted – but frankly a bit odd. I would try to go to the show if I was invited, but I might not.

I am not for it or against it. I find myself somewhere between Axl Rose and Woody Allen – but very likely not for the same reasons. I imagine there are three very different drummers here.

The whole Monkees/ HOF question could use some good critical thought. But I have no inclination to do it. (Go over to The New Inquiry if you want to see how critical thinking is done. It’s hard.)

I have moved out and on from the pristine, intact mobile home left after the hurricane, to my own endeavors. I have met with great good fortune in the meantime and am happily free from these quandaries.

I have my Little Shop of Wonders –Videoranch www.videoranch.com — and I have happy horizons in every direction of thought.

Rays, everywhere, Rays. http://www.videoranch3d.com/mm5/merchant.mvc?Screen=CTGY&Category_Code=1000-IT

Except this one.

So please, dear friends, don’t ask me about The Monkees and HOF.

I don’t have a clue.

TED Talk: Peter Saul on Dying in the 21st Century:

Here’s a TED Talk from T.E.D. Newcastle. A view of natural death.

 

http://youtu.be/03h0dNZoxr8

Peter Saul is Senior Intensivist in the adult and paediatric ICU at John Hunter Hospital, and Director of Intensive Care at Newcastle Private Hospital. Having trained in Cambridge, London, Sydney and Harvard, he came to Newcastle to help start up the new ICU at John Hunter, and never left. He has been accused of being an “ethicist”, which he tries to deny, but does admit to having been Head of Discipline for Medical Ethics at Newcastle University in the past, and now provides ethical advice to the State and Federal health departments. Having been deeply involved in the dying process of over 4000 patients in the past 35 years, Peter has taken an interest in how we die, and how this has changed beyond all recognition in a single generation.

Planet Under Pressure Conference in London – We’re getting close to irreversible climate changes…

While politicians argue with scientists, the climate actually goes on changing.. and not to our advantage. Reuters has been commenting on this conference that runs through tomorrow:

Global warming close to becoming irreversible-scientists

The world is close to reaching tipping points that will make it irreversibly hotter, making this decade critical in efforts to contain global warming, scientists warned on Monday.

Scientific estimates differ but the world’s temperature looks set to rise by six degrees Celsius by 2100 if greenhouse gas emissions are allowed to rise uncontrollably.

As emissions grow, scientists say the world is close to reaching thresholds beyond which the effects on the global climate will be irreversible, such as the melting of polar ice sheets and loss of rainforests.

“This is the critical decade. If we don’t get the curves turned around this decade we will cross those lines,” said Will Steffen, executive director of the Australian National University‘s climate change institute, speaking at a conference in London.

It’s amazing how many of the best scientific minds see the problem, yet they are faced with huge negative concepts by the politicians who would have to vote in the bucks to make changes.

As we argue this out for the rest of the decade, we can watch the polar ice caps melt and the tropical rain forests dry up and many species that we rely on disappear.

It is up to us as individuals to push our representatives into dealing with the truth. Right?

Pioneering Magnum Photographer Eve Arnold has Died

Eve Arnold dies at 99; pioneering photojournalist

The Philadelphia native was one of the first women to join the macho world of Magnum Photography Agency. She was known for the naturalness of her images and for her photos of Marilyn Monroe.

Here are some samples of this great artist’s work that you may recognize:

Malcolm X

 

Jaqueline Kennedy

Marilyn Monroe

Gracie Slick interviews Frank Zappa…

… sometime in the early 80’s.

– and –

Frank Zappa on London’s Newsnight in 1983

… and for today’s Zappadan music, here’s Frank on lead guitar with full orchestra in 1988 doing Watermelon In Easter Hay

In the London Cold: Human “bed-warmers” at Holiday Inn

clipped from news.yahoo.com
International hotel chain Holiday Inn is offering a trial human bed-warming service at three hotels in Britain this month.

If requested, a willing staff-member at two of the chain’s London hotels and one in the northern English city of Manchester will dress in an all-in-one fleece sleeper suit before slipping between the sheets.

“The new Holiday Inn bed warmers service is a bit like having a giant hot water bottle in your bed,” Holiday Inn spokeswoman Jane Bednall said in an emailed statement to Reuters.

Holiday Inn said the warmer would be fully dressed and leave the bed before the guest occupied it. They could not confirm if the warmer would shower first, but said hair would be covered.
Holiday Inn are promoting the service with the help of sleep-expert Chris Idzikowski, director of the Edinburgh Sleep Center, who said the idea could help people sleep.
“A warm bed – approximately 20 to 24 Celsius – is a good way to start this process whereas a cold bed would inhibit sleep.”
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I have to admit I found this sort of gross. However, the article also said:
Florence Eavis, Holiday Inn spokeswoman told Reuters that the “innovative” bed-warming method was a response to Britain’s recent cold weather and marked the launch of 3,200 new Holiday Inns worldwide.

She could not explain why the beds were not being warmed by hot water bottles or electric-blankets, but admitted the human method was quirky.