Sunday, December 30, 2007


Another year comes to an end tomorrow night. And most in this business are looking toward the future with trepidation. The bad guys aren't letting up. There's no stability. Everything feels like it's constantly shifting beneath your feet and what lies ahead seems more uncertain than ever.

All you can do is ride it out. So suck it up and do just that -- because perfect storms give rise to perfect waves and that ride can be spectaular.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007


Last evening, a Tiger named Tatiana escaped her compound at the San Francisco Zoo and mauled three visitors, killing one before being killed by Police. In reporting that news this morning, CBC radio included the following caveat..."the Tiger had a history of violence."

Well, not exactly...

To quote comedian Chris Rock commenting on the Tiger attack on Las Vegas magician Roy Horn of Siegfried & Roy, "That Tiger didn't go crazy, that Tiger went Tiger!"

I've had the pleasure of working with Tigers on several occassions, including one set where a big cat mauled two crew members. And, while I don't know the whole story about what happened at the SF Zoo, in the end, I think we'll discover there's a lot more to the story. Most of all, I wanted to assert that there's no such thing as a Tiger with a "history of violence".

The first time I worked with a Tiger was the first episode I wrote of the CBS series "Adderly" which concerned the terrorist takeover of a foreign embassy and included a Tiger (a symbol of the fictitious nation's royalty) getting loose and adding to the dangers as our hero tried to rescue the terrorists' hostages.

Working with wild animals occurs frequently in film and television, and the process is approached with all the care and attention possible -- because first and foremost, no matter how well-trained an animal might be, it's still an animal, not bound to any human rules of behavior and therefore completely unpredictable.

Adderly's producers and I met with the trainers of the Tiger we would be using, learning exactly what the animal would and would not do, how many takes it could be relied on for each piece of business and most importantly, what actors and crew could and could not do in its presence.

Based on those discussions, the script was refined and went into production.

During prep, the trainers met with each production department, making sure props and costumes didn't include animal products or scents that might attract the cat's attention, what the procedure was if a light arc'd, a sound cable fed back or a gel began smoking. Actors were carefully schooled on what movements were and were not allowed, highlighting anything that might make the animal believe his co-worker had suddenly evolved into some category of enemy or prey.

You see, wild animals view the world differently than we do. Unimportant details to us trigger primal instincts we'll never understand in them.

While filming the kids' movie "Lions for Breakfast", the other actors and I had to play a scene in which the bus we're riding breaks down in the middle of one of those drive-through wildlife parks. We decide to sack out until morning and wake up to find the vehicle surrounded by a pride of hungry Lions.

It was a terrific sequence, shot with two cameras, one in the bus with us, the other in a glass doored camera truck nearby. We shot our dialogue through the night and as dawn approached, were locked into our respective vehicles as the Park Rangers herded about a dozen Lions into our enclosure.

What no one had taken into account was that we'd driven in through the muddy Zebra pasture and both the bus and camera truck had been liberally spattered with Zebra shit. The Lions arrived, sniffed the air and promptly tore the tires off the vehicles as well as completely dismantling the empty horse trailer we were towing. They smelled prey and they went for it. The attack was both awesome to witness and terrifying to be in the middle of.

On our Tiger's first day on "Adderly", cast and crew were gathered on set and given final instructions before the animal was finally introduced. With one trainer at the ready with a holstered Magnum, the other entered with our Guest Star on a chain.

He was magnificently beautiful and far bigger in person than he'd appeared in his cage. His eyes swept the unfamiliar faces in the room as his nostrils puffed and flared, expelling all air to take in as many new scents as possible. Then he turned -- and pissed all over us.

If you've ever smelled a catbox, multiply that by a thousand and similarly expand one of those clumped puddles for the gallons that shot over us, the walls and everything else. He was marking this new territory and that included the humans who wanted to be near him.

Sodden and stunned, we watched as the cat turned, seemed to smile and took his place for the first scene. We were told to wear our now smelly clothes for the balance of the Tiger's stay on set. He never gave us another moment of trouble. Although, I swear he smirked everytime he saw me in that stained shirt.

Animal trainers have told me that they prefer working with Lions to Tigers. Lions, apparently, will beat you up pretty good if they get annoyed with you, but seldom try to finish you off. A Tiger's first instinct, on the other hand, is to kill and it finishes the job as quickly as it can -- usually in under 30 seconds.

On "Beastmaster", we had fifteen Tigers on staff. Our lead Tiger, "Sasha" had lived with her trainer since birth and loved him with more affection than I'd seen from a devoted dog. Yet, he assured me, he knew that if he were to turn his back on her for even a second at the wrong time, she'd kill him. It's what Tigers do and they do it very well.

The "Beastmaster" Tigers came from "Dreamworld", a theme park down the road from our Queensland, Australia studios. And although part of the park exhibits, they were also trained and supervised by a scientific team not only studying Tiger behavior, but working to expand the genetic pool that might eventually save the big cats from extinction.

Through them, I was introduced to aspects of the animals that most people never get to see. The series crew were given an extensive grounding in not only how to behave around Tigers, but the nuances in their behavior that might forshadow an incident. We also learned the verbal expressions and body language that would assure them we were friendly, not really worth sampling for lunch nor in need of being peed upon.

On set, a Marksman always stood by with a high-powered rifle, no matter how docile or reliable the animals appeared to be. And it was easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. You were around these creatures every day. Some got excited to see you, came over to get a good whiff of you, occassionally even rubbed up against you like a happy kitten.

But you always had to keep one thing top of mind. At any moment, they could be above you in the food chain.

One of my favorites was "Sultan". He was a dominant male, huge and extremely intelligent. I watched him learn to hit a series of complicated camera marks in less than an hour one afternoon, a skill some actors fail to master over a lifetime.

The other cats seemed to take their cues from Sultan. If he was in a good mood, they were too. If something was bothering him, the others were equally surly or wary.

Day's end was signalled to our Tigers when a rail fence was erected from their on-set enclosure to their trailer, indicating it was time to return to Dreamworld and dinner. One evening, I arrived on set as the crew went for the window shot (the last shot of the day). The fences were up and Sultan and his brothers were squashed against the gate, eager for wrap.

But as often happens when you're fighting the light and trying to get one last take, things started to go wrong. A light burned out, sound had a problem, something wasn't right with a costume. The two minutes the cats usually had to wait quickly turned to 20. I glanced at an unhappy Sultan. He met my look, stuck out his tongue and blew a Bronx cheer. A couple of other cats joined him. Pretty soon the whole gang was making fart sounds to let us know how unfair it was to keep them waiting.

A few days later, while filming with our 2nd Unit, Sultan turned on two trainers costumed as episode characters and in less than five seconds inflicted serious puncture wounds. It was over before the Marksman had time to take aim and all that saved Sultan's life was that one of the wounded trainers convinced our shooter the attack was over.

Both injured men were med-evac'd out as news choppers converged on the scene and our "Tiger Attack" made headlines across Australia and I'm sure much of the rest of the world. Within a few hours, we were in meetings with the "Dreamworld" scientists, Queensland Wildlife Inspectors and Government officials to figure out what had gone wrong.

But our production operating procedures were far more strict than even the government's own rules and as much as we tried to find the flaw, it seemed that no one had done anything they shouldn't have.

Oh, we had theories. The smoke from nearby wildfires had spooked Sultan. He'd taken the synthetic animal skin one of the trainers was wearing as the real thing, or thought another animal was attacking one of his friends.

Or -- our Tiger had simply gone Tiger.

To paraphrase another of Chris Rock's lines, "If you praise fire for cooking your food, you can't damn it for burning your fingers." We all knew that there were unpredictable dangers inherent in working with animals, so if we wanted that in our lives, we had to except what inevitably might also happen.

In the end, no one, especially the men who'd been attacked, felt Sultan should be destroyed. Truth be told, his survival meant far more to the survival of his species than any of what we did meant to the history of entertainment. In addition, we all knew that if he had wanted to kill somebody he would have, no matter how many rules we all tried to live by.

But, we retired him for the season and added some new regulations to the many pages of them we already had to make us feel better and went back to work.

Did we do the right thing? I think so. The truth is that you don't change a Leopard's spots or a Tiger's stripes. They are what they are. And if we want creatures like Tigers to share our world and enhance our experience of life, we have to understand that sometimes they'll be what they were born to be.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


It's hard not to have a soft spot for a television series that quite literally saved your life, even if its reincarnation carries the virus that will further weaken if not kill television as we know it.

On January 6th, NBC will launch its new version of "American Gladiators" a series which graced the network from 1989 - 1996, featuring a cast of pumped up, spandex clad "athletes" (the Gladiators) who excelled at such sports as ducking tennis balls, defending a pyramid of giant foam mats and fighting with oversized Q-tips.

They were the Gold's Gym version of the Mouseketeers.

With big hair and package hugging outfits, the Gladiators went by names such as Nitro, Laser, Ice, Dopey, Doc, Cubby and Annette.

Competing in their "athletic events" on a giant neon and laser lit set that was a cross between Studio 54 and the playroom at Chuck E. Cheese, they set a tone and style that was soon mimicked by virtually every porn film shot in Southern California and continues to this day in the ambient cultures of $30/month gyms and Club Bouncers.

This mass assault of Disco/Spandex/Glamrock Cheese was given a patina of respectability by the network in being hosted by legit NBC sportscasters and real athletes like NFL Quarterback Joe Theismann, author of my favorite football quote: “Nobody in football should be called a genius. A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”

But -- they did save my life.

I was peripherally aware of the show but had never seen it. Around the 3rd season, I came down with what I thought was a bad case of the flu. My doctor wanted to shoot me up with some kind of wonder drug. But, convinced I could lick a simple bug on my own, and promising to call if my temperature got higher or I began hallucinating, I went home to a comfy bed and a big TV.

My wife came in to check and found me watching "American Gladiators". She asked how I was doing and I assured her I was feeling better, but "This is the worst football game I've ever seen". An ambulance ride and some wonder drugs later I pulled through.

So Blaze, Malibu and Lace, thanks for that. But I fear what you helped unleash on the world is about to destroy television as we know it.

And let me say, I don't blame any of that prognosis on the gym-rats, failed athletes and "I wanna be on Reality TV" narcissists who will be drawn to be part of or watch the new version of the show. If all you got's a hammer, everything's a nail and our society doesn't offer many alternatives for those with good pecs, a nice tan and not much else going for them. And what's wrong with being good at a made-up sport when you're just not good enough to play in a real one, anyway.

No, what bothers me about the new version of "American Gladiators" is how jaundiced and concocted it looks and how it so clearly represents an almost palpable disdain for the audience by the executives at NBC who revived it.

Faced with no scripted dramas because of the WGA strike, Jeff Zucker and his fellow suits only real alternative is reality programming. But why this reality? What does programming a new version of "American Gladiators" really say about the state of television and the people who decide what goes on the air?

First, it comes from Reveille, the company previously owned by NBC Entertainment/Universal Media Studios co-chairman Ben Silverman, who also developed the project. Proving that while the big media owners may not technically be guilty of self-dealing or colluding, they sure do like to air shows that come from their own inner circle.

That proves that the gene pool from which Television draws its newborn is shrinking and like all shrinking gene pools will soon birth only defective and mutant offspring.

"We've been circling around this property for a long time now," said Craig Plestis, exec VP of alternative programming, development and specials at NBC Entertainment.

I love that quote from Variety on so many levels. "Circling" like sharks, and circling what sharks most often feed on, the sick and damaged or simple carrion. But the image also implies intellectual caution and uncertainty, as in “Are we gonna have to do this?”, “Are we really this desperate?”…

I’ve always believed that television executives want to program good television, but now many seem aware that they swim in a corporate culture that demands profit no matter the aesthetic, ethical or social cost that might be incurred.

In going for the lowest common denominator of 1989 and pushing it even lower, NBC reveals not only how bereft of creativity they have become, but how little they care about the industry that used to be their license to print money and more importantly the audience that was the source of that wealth.

Even the patina of respectability and nuance of "sports entertainment" have been dropped. Everything about the show says, "We know it's shit and we're happily eating it, so you should be too."

I start wondering why Jeff Zucker's desperation needs to become one of my entertainment alternatives and I also start asking questions like:

1. Did they hire Hulk Hogan to host this show because...

a) He was a part of the WWF programming that killed the first version, so maybe he knows how to make it better?
b) He had a failed reality show and is going through a costly and messy divorce so he's desperate for cash and will be on TMZ like all the time?
c) He taught his son to street race and now the kid's put a buddy in a coma and is up on charges, so we know he's 'edgy and irresponsibly quirky' so he'll be on TMZ like all the time?

2. Are the fighting Q-tips so much bigger in this version of the show because...

a) The new Gladiators aren't as tough as the old Gladiators?
b) We now have insurance companies influencing our creative decisions and those guys are gonna kill our budgets if anybody gets like -- really hurt?
c) This will continue to send the message that violence doesn't really hurt anybody, like those soldiers we won't show you coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan?

3. NBC Sports has been wringing its hands about steroids in baseball for months, any chance the Hulkster will discuss his own steroid use or any of the Gladiators will be tested?

But, we already know the answers to any questions we might have, because this appears to be the clear goal of Big Media – “Buy the crap we sell you, even if it’s poisoning the culture or deluding your kids and not even providing the people who make it with a reliable income. It’s good for us and we're all that matters!”

No wonder these guys hired the former tobacco industry shills to be their public face! It’s the same profit at any cost philosophy -- and maybe sending the same signal that the gravy train has derailed and it's time to move on to something else.

Overall, the new cast of “American Gladiators” radiates a quality I would describe as "skank".

This is an ensemble most people would go out of your way to avoid at the mall, let alone invite into their homes. As someone opined, “Grape smugglers and women who look like men. ‘Hellga’ and ‘Mayhem’ already seem to have swapped sexes.”

Look, I’m not saying that you have to be pretty to be on television. (Hellga)

But it sure looks like NBC went out of its way to find people unlikely to ever acquire a SAG card and therefore potentially be in a strike position against the network. (Mayhem)

One of the cast “Toa” (formerly The Rock’s stand-in) is described as “Drawing on the power of his ancestors, Toa has the strength of a thousand warriors flowing through his veins, and he will never, ever show mercy.” – illustrating that neither “Toa” nor his showrunners or publicists have the first inkling of any warrior culture they insist they are replicating.

Meanwhile, fellow cast member “Militia” has already been outed as a performer in gay porn films, counting among his significant roles, “Naked Pizza Boy” and “Curious Guy at Gym”. After viewing Mr. Militia’s porn resume, I have to say it’s unfortunate his most striking asset will be hidden from NBC viewers, although I’m sure it helped Mssrs. Zucker, Silverman and Plestis thoroughly enjoy the casting session as well as the private meetings which have surely followed.

I wonder if Sodomy will eventually round out the competition events if ratings sink low enough? Maybe NBC can even find a way to begin offing the cast like real Gladiators (or drama series regulars who got too pricey) as a way of increasing the numbers.

Or maybe they’ll just use “American Gladiators” as a way of cross promoting “Heroes” or “Bionic Woman” (Save the Cheerleader from -- Venom! Tonight, Crush on a very special Bionic Woman!) as those dramatic franchises are sacrificed for the good of television’s future – a place where actors are replaced by porn stars, writers by manufactured reality and programming that inspires thought by that which numbs any desire to resist.

Or, maybe they’ll just do us all a favor and pit the entire Gladiator cast against the winners of “Clash of the Choirs” -- Michael Bolton meet Militia. Please bend over.

In closing, here’s a sample of what’s in store…

Um – NBC -- there's still time. Couldn't you just hire some writers and do something you can be proud of? I mean, before you ruin it for all of us?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007


I hit my teens at the same time that The Beatles arrived and have watched endless marketing efforts since, trying to create the next big thing in music. Gosh, from the very first weeks of Beatlemania, the press wanted us to believe they would soon be surpassed by "The Dave Clark Five".

But in all musical incarnations from "The Bay City Rollers" to "Darkness", the pretenders to the next big thing have all lacked one essential element that permeated The Beatles debut -- an infectious sense of fun and excitement.

Today's Globe & Mail has an article about an emerging band who just might have that asset in spades. Playing Ska will make anybody sound fun and exciting, but add the rest of what constitutes Oreskaband and they just might be the wave of the future.

Monday, December 17, 2007


The long awaited Mitchell Report on the use of performance enhancing drugs in Major League baseball was released this week, and appears to be an even bigger bucket of whitewash than most fans were expecting.

And although this is a blog primarily devoted to writing and showbiz, what's going on in baseball needs to be seen as the kind of naked bid to hold onto power that permeates our business as well.

Under pressure from the US Congress to clean up its act, a cleansing that might help it hang onto its exemption from Anti-Trust regulations, Commissioner Bud Selig and MLB owners conscripted former Senator George Mitchell to investigate just how wide-spread the use of steroids, Human Growth Hormone and other performance enhancing drugs might be.

That was a bit disingenuous to begin with, since the Commissioner and Owners already knew full well their game was enormously juiced and had either tacitly encouraged or simply turned a blind eye to the practice for 20 years.

But that Anti-trust exemption and convincing Middle America that it's squeaky clean is what makes Baseball owners tons of money. So the decision was apparently made to smear as many players as possible (thus shifting any media focus from management), announce that retribution would be counterproductive (thus avoiding defending its evidence in court), insist the Players Union obstructed them (thus seeking the help of Congress in breaking a troublesome union) and suggesting fans accept past indiscretions (Barry Bonds aside) and just "Play Ball"!

So 86 players were "outed" as users of performance enhancing drugs, MLB's version of sewing a big red "A" to their uniforms, despite the fact that some are barely circumstantially guilty and others took these drugs as part of club or medically supervised treatment for injuries.

Such niceties as "due process" were also ignored by Mitchell as he lumped these guys in with proven or admitted cheaters, so that enough blame could be spread around that none of it would fall on the true enablers of the process, the Owners and the Commissioner.

Now, I've been a victim of gossip and innuendo and I'm here to tell you that it's almost impossible to fight. There are few alternatives when you're faced with a concerted effort to either destroy your reputation or save somebody else's by making you the villain. In my case, things got so bad that when somebody said, "I've heard of you." my response was, "I sure hope it's as juicy as some of the things I've heard."

Perhaps, the lawyer for one of MLB's superstars can best explain what these players now face...

I can't count the number of team owners I heard interviewed over the weekend who went out of their way to describe Senator Mitchell as "respected" or "above reproach", as if saying those things enough times would make them true.

In their stampede to support his report, the owners ignored the fact that their investigator might have used his prerogative to make sure the Boston Red Sox, a team of which he's a sitting Board member, came off as the one least tainted by the scandal.

Sports radio also trotted out Dick Pound, former Olympic drug Czar, current head of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the only guy with a better Porn Star name than Tom Cruise, to further drive home the point that athletes cheat and we should all deal with them harshly for their frailties.

I don't have a lot of respect for Dick Pound. First, he spent a good portion of his professional life serving as the respectable face for a horribly corrupt International Olympic Committee, an organization which also certifies dancing around with a ribbon on a stick as a sport.

Dick's also the dick who publicly stated 1 in 3 NHL hockey players were on steroids without a single shred of supporting evidence -- a statement that might have had something to do with the fact that the NHL hadn't awarded WADA its lucrative drug testing contract.

Anyway, the message of the Mitchell Report was clear -- Players bad -- the rest of baseball -- uh, just sitting in the getaway car counting some money.

So now Players like Roger Clemens have to defend themselves against former batboys and trainers who might be saying anything to avoid lengthy jail terms for drug dealing.

Andy Pettitte holds a press conference to say yes he took HGH for 2 days to heal an elbow injury a full three years before Baseball banned the substance, admitting "guilt" while making anyone with a brain ask how 2 doses of still legal HGH could enhance the performance of a guy who wasn't even playing at the time or make someone deserve a public shaming.

Former Boston pitcher Brendan Donnelly, conveniently dumped from the team Mitchell advises 24 hours before the report's release, must defend his reputation not against any tangible proof he took steroids, but against emails between team trainers stating suspicions that he "might be" juicing.

Meanwhile, a player for the Arizona Diamondbacks is named simply because a package addressed to him and containing steroids was sent to the Diamondbacks training facility, with no return address and while he was playing winterball in Venezuela.

I mean, if you were depending on steroids for your onfield performance, wouldn't you have them sent where you are and not the one place that might notice you're ingesting something illegal? And if this is all it takes to prove somebody a miscreant, I've got some shit I can mail Bud Selig that'll permanently sully his ass.

But the personal tragedies set in motion by the report almost pale against some of its absurdities. Jose Canseco, an admitted juicer vilified by the baseball establishment when he published "Juiced" in 2005, is repeatedly footnoted by Mitchell as a now "reliable" source. Even Jose thinks that's a laugh, questioning why Mitchell hasn't named players he accused of doping in his book with far more tangible evidence.

Could it be that Mitchell didn't name Alex Rodriguez because he's the highest paid and current draw for the sport? Did he conveniently forget Mark MacGuire and Sammy Sosa because there are too many pictures of them with Commissioner Bud while their homerun derby was saving baseball and drawing fans by the tens of thousands?

Much easier to repeatedly make the point that all of the named players "refused" to be interviewed by Mitchell, thus implying their obvious guilt. You know what, Sparky, if I knew you were setting out to job me, I wouldn't talk to you either!

I've shared my opinions of steroids in baseball before and they're basically this. Everybody (including the media) knew what was going on and played along when it helped the game and the bottom line. Now that the jig is up, no one has any right to toss scapegoats to the wolves to save their own hides.

What's going to be interesting is where the reaction to the report will go from here. Lawsuits from many players seem to be in the offing.

Fielder Mike Greenwell has stepped forward to ask if he'll get the MVP honors Baseball awarded Jose Conseco in 1988 while Greenwell came in second. Overall, virtually 75% of baseball's trophies and records are held by players known or suspected of juicing.

As an aside, 1988 was the first time steroids raised their ugly head in the sport, prompting Selig to conduct a closed door meeting with owners that resulted in -- a gag order preventing baseball executives from discussing the matter.

As one Baltimore sportswriter observed -- Can you imagine what would happen to any other business that had earned this much money for so long by perpetrating a fraud?

You also have to wonder if players who fell short on financial bonuses for home runs or RBI's are considering suing anyone because they played against juiced pitchers. What about the pitchers who saw careers cut short by long balls clubbed by juicers?

What about all those minor leaguers who never made it to the show because some Juicer was holding the only available position for a team that owned their lives lock, stock and barrel? Can you imagine trying to prove in court that they were treated fairly by baseball?

And what about the fans? I was in Skydome (now the Rog-Mahal) at the playoff game where Jose Canseco canceled our world series bid with a massive jolt to left field that's still a distance record. Can I ask baseball for some money back because that game wasn't played fairly -- and they probably knew it?

No wonder Senator Mitchell recommended everybody just forget the past and move on "Like they did in Northern Ireland". The problem is -- we can't. Because his report, in seeking to ensure that the foxes remain in control of the henhouse, made forgetting the past impossible for those he named and the rest of us who believe things are supposed to be fair.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


Dream of Led Zeppelin tours, more Spice Girls reunions or winning tickets to Hannah Montana if you must. But in the last year we lost two whose like may never come again and seemed far apart in life -- but weren't...

Sunday, December 09, 2007


I spent years of my acting career on the road, endless weeks in unfamiliar cities and hotel rooms that all looked alike. I don't know who chooses the pictures that hang in hotel rooms, but their intent seems to be to deliver a setting as devoid of time, place and personality as possible.

So, at some point, I bought myself a really nice set of oils and brushes, along with a framer's tool kit. During my stay in one of these sterile boxes, I'd take a few hours, remove a painting from its frame -- and add a small touch that would go unnoticed by all but those who, perhaps feeling as bored or displaced as me, might search the picture for some idea of what the assemby line painter was trying to say.

I left little suicidal men hanging from ropes in lush forests, arsonists torching the barn on an idyllic farm, naked lovers going at it on the marble steps of an impressive edifice. My version of tagging, but done with the subtle sophistication and charm that are my trademark. For all I know, Banksy owes me his career.

Nowadays, the internet offers endless opportunities for remade art. Entire re-edited (and better) versions of "Star Wars" are out there. And sometimes you find something as simple as someone taking a cinematic touchstone like "Bande A Part" and merely changing the song. In the process adding something unique and personal, while not harming the original intent of the work.

Who says corporate conglomerates have to control the distribution of art or entertainment. You now have the tools to make your own.

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Maybe winter's already getting to me. Maybe it's spending two solid days doing the endless edit tweaks (lose 4 frames here, add a little blue to that close-up there) but I ended up reading deeper into the newspaper than normal this morning.

That's a symptom of Final Cut Pro avoidance.

Can somebody who works with or invented this editing software please explain why everything it does needs to be re-thought, re-rendered and reconfigured all day long!?!

Sure, it's only a couple of minutes here and 7-10 there, but it completely savages your creative train of thought. I spend my day trying not to scream, "I CAN'T THINK THIS SLOW".

And no wonder the CBC is shifting over to it. Those guys need ways to fill their days.

Anyway, I found BIG NEWS in the back pages of the paper and felt the urge to pass it on immediately.


German research published in New England Journal of Medicine indicates that men staring at women's breasts prolong their lives by several years. "Just 10 minutes of staring at the charms of a well-endowed female is equivalent to a 30-minute aerobics work-out," said author Dr. Karen Weatherby, a gerontologist.

The team led by Weatherby was made up of researchers at three hospitals in Frankfurt, Germany, and for 5 years, monitored the health of 200 male subjects, half of whom were asked to look at busty females daily, while the other half had to abstain from doing so.

For five years, the boob oglers (Is that a medical term?) presented lower blood pressure, slower resting pulse rates and decreased risk of coronary artery disease.

"There's no question: Gazing at large breasts makes men healthier. Our study indicates that engaging in this activity a few minutes daily cuts the risk of stroke and heart attack in half." said Weatherby, who recommended that men over 40 should spend at least 10 minutes daily admiring breasts sized "D-cup" or larger.

So, there you have it! We can now be assured that Uninflected Images Juxtaposed will still be posting long after the rest of us are dead and gone.

Meanwhile, in a section the dog mauled and I can't seem to find online, there's another study which indicates the current WGA strike might be a good thing.

The Harvard Medical School has just completed research which indicates erectile dysfunction increases by up to 30% in men who watch television more than 30 hours a week.

The prescription for a healthy life for us males seems clear.

Forget the Big Media conglomerates and only create material for the internet. Make sure your television is only on for hockey, Victoria's Secret Christmas Specials and repeats of the Pam Anderson Roast.

And -- while you're working on those internet shows, always keep a tab open for Maxim and FHM.

Just trying to help.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


First, we get the ice storm that leaves a six inch thick floe on my roof. Somebody let David Suzuki know I personally have room for a couple of Al Gore's drowning Polar Bears.

Then we get the foot of snow completely burying the skating rink normally known as -- outside.

So, before I take my life in my hands venturing out for the day, I thought I'd better update you on a couple of items recently covered here.

First, the petition to win deceased Constable Chris Garrett his Medal of Valour has grown from the 10,000 (when I signed on) to over 28,000 as of this morning. Much of that credit goes to comedy scribes Mark Farrell and Mark Critch of "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" who literally doubled the number of signatories overnight by a reference on their show.

That forced the Prime Minister to take over the file from our bumbling Governor General one day later.

Insert your own, "The Pen is mightier than..." quote here.

I'm not saying saner heads will now prevail, but let's not forget that the PM adores Hockey God Don Cherry, who picked up the gauntlet yesterday.

Listening to Don's inspired radio rant about heartless Ottawa bureaucrats got me thinking the powers that be might want this settled before he mounts the big pulpit on Saturday night.

I'm also thinking he should be our next regal consort. Governor General Grapes -- it's got a ring to it -- and just imagine the impact on the fashion industry!

But the deal is not yet done, so please add your name to doing what's right here. Let's see if we can't deliver something special to Chris Garrett's family in time for Christmas.

And in the spirit of continuing to do what's right, the Ryerson students who promised the unemployed crew of "The Office" a Christmas Party are already halfway to their $10,000 goal.

Even if the AMPTP delivers an offer we can readily accept later today, few in Hollywood will be back to work before Christmas, so help for people adversely affected by our strike is still needed. You can make a contribution here.

The "Office Party Christmas Fund" has also inspired fan groups from other shows to do likewise. The lists and projects are sprinkled through the United Hollywood site. Please find one that appeals to you and help in any way you can.

So, if the weather, the strike or anything else has you stuck in front of the computer this morning with nothing to do, you can still be a contributing member of society. And if you live in front of your computer day trading. Sell your media holdings! It's for the good of society and a slap in the face to Satan.

Sunday, December 02, 2007


Another Sunday hybrid offering of cool things you only find on the Net and keeping awareness of the WGA Strike at the forefront.

This week's Day of Solidarity in Toronto ended with a bunch of us "occupying" a coffee shop to warm up. At my table, we got talking about the human differences between ourselves and the conglomerates and their producing class.

I mean, we're all people -- what part of their DNA has been altered to bring out that streak of greed and entitlement; a trait brazenly exhibited a day later by the AMPTP's "groundbreaking" offer of an 88% rollback to our earnings.

A writer friend hit it exactly. "They think they're the predators and we're the Gazelles." Now describing any of the writers at that table as Gazelles requires the kind of imaginative power that creates great movies and television, but it got me thinking...

How do you deal with predators?

Three things struck me about this video. First, never take classic archetypes for granted. Second, there is real strength in sticking together. And third -- well, just listen to the people watching this event...

Hang in there, everybody. Be strong. Stay together. The Audience is on our side.

We can win this thing.