Archive for July 27, 2006
Email… we get email… this is from Ken Levin, comic book consigliere:
From: Ken F. Levin
Subject: (unless you have ever received an email before) THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT EMAIL YOU COULD EVER GET IN THE HISTORY OF EMAILS!
A number of you have asked me to let you know if you can access something I’m working on. (Some of you have instead asked to make sure you are specifically NOT told about things I’m working on, but unfortunately I’ve lost THAT list, so you’re getting this email too). So… here is a head’s up on THE AMAZING SCREW-ON HEAD, which has an interactive component and pilot viewing you could help me on if you are so inclined.
A brief bit of background: My friend Mike Mignola, one of the great comic creators, created this and we took it into animation. As I explained to various tv execs, it’s that old chestnut about the head that screws itself into the appropriate body for his Secret Service job at hand, such as saving Abraham Lincoln from the Nazis. OK, I know it’s been done before but Mike has a special take on it. Most execs looked at me like I must be high (I know that look from some of you, actually), but Mark Stern jumped on it. My friend and producing partner Jason Netter and his Kickstart Productions company did an incredible job with it, including getting David Hyde Pierce and Paul Giametti for the lead voices — you may have seen Paul talking about it on CONAN or THE VIEW Friday, or seen it in the WALL STREET JOURNAL Saturday (I know, I know, THE WALL STREET JOURNAL??). The reviews, like from AIN’T IT COOL NEWS, have been embarrassingly over the top (ummm, I’m not really THAT embarrassed); NBCU (which owns SciFi Channel) asked us if they could use it as the first show they are allowing people to see in full on the internet before its pilot airing. The pilot is TOMORROW on SciFi Channel at 10:30pm, or 9:30pm, or 4am after the Farm Report, wherever your local broadcaster has slotted it. You can watch it in full by going to WWW.SCIFI.COM/PULSE (but only if you’ll vote afterwards; “vote” means saying “OH MY GOD! It’s the greatest thing that’s ever been on tv in the history of tv, dude!” in case there’s confusion about voting).* Voting, but especially watching the pilot, would be of great help, in case there’s any confusion there, too; alerting all your friends and acquaintances would also be much appreciated. And if you do, I promise that Paul Giametti or David Hyde Pierce will come to your house and thank you personally. We’re just having a little problem with the scheduling.
Thanks as always
*You can tell by how he treats voting that Ken’s from Chicago.
Most people know to be careful driving at the end of the month because cops have quotas to fill. Well, as it turns out, so do the airplane cops, and what they can do to you is much worse than a speeding ticket:
DENVER — You could be on a secret government database or watch list for simply taking a picture on an airplane. Some federal air marshals say they’re reporting your actions to meet a quota, even though some top officials deny it.
The air marshals, whose identities are being concealed, told 7NEWS that they’re required to submit at least one report a month. If they don’t, there’s no raise, no bonus, no awards and no special assignments.
“Innocent passengers are being entered into an international intelligence database as suspicious persons, acting in a suspicious manner on an aircraft … and they did nothing wrong,” said one federal air marshal.
These unknowing passengers who are doing nothing wrong are landing in a secret government document called a Surveillance Detection Report, or SDR. Air marshals told 7NEWS that managers in Las Vegas created and continue to maintain this potentially dangerous quota system.
“Do these reports have real life impacts on the people who are identified as potential terrorists?” 7NEWS Investigator Tony Kovaleski asked.
“Absolutely,” a federal air marshal replied.
7NEWS obtained an internal Homeland Security document defining an SDR as a report designed to identify terrorist surveillance activity.
“When you see a decision like this, for these reports, who loses here?” Kovaleski asked.
“The people we’re supposed to protect — the American public,” an air marshal said.
What kind of impact would it have for a flying individual to be named in an SDR?
“That could have serious impact … They could be placed on a watch list. They could wind up on databases that identify them as potential terrorists or a threat to an aircraft. It could be very serious,” said Don Strange, a former agent in charge of air marshals in Atlanta. He lost his job attempting to change policies inside the agency.
That’s why several air marshals object to a July 2004 memo from top management in the Las Vegas office, a memo that reminded air marshals of the SDR requirement.
The body of the memo said, “Each federal air marshal is now expected to generate at least one SDR per month.”
“Does that memo read to you that Federal Air Marshal headquarters has set a quota on these reports?” Kovaleski asked.
“Absolutely, no doubt,” an air marshal replied.
A second management memo, also dated July 2004, said, “There may come an occasion when you just don’t see anything out of the ordinary for a month at a time, but I’m sure that if you are looking for it, you’ll see something.” (Emphasis mine.)
The PBS Kids Sprout network has fired the host of “The Good Night Show” after learning she had appeared in videos called “Technical Virgin.”
The host, Melanie Martinez, had alerted network officials about one of the videos late last week and she was immediately taken off the air.
“PBS Kids Sprout has determined that the dialogue in this video is inappropriate for her role as a preschool program host and may undermine her character’s credibility with our audience,” said Sandy Wax, network president.
Airing for three hours each evening, “The Good Night Show” airs soothing stories and cartoons designed to get an audience of 2-to-5-year-olds ready for bed. Each night, Martinez guides a puppet character into dreamland. Martinez is a stage actress and mother of a toddler.
In the two “Technical Virgin” videos — made before she landed the children’s show job — she spoofs PSAs about how young women can keep their virginity.
PBS Kids Sprout airs children’s programming 24 hours a day and is seen in about 20 million of the nation’s 110 million television homes. “The Good Night Show” has been temporarily replaced by cartoons while a search is conducted for a new host.
Okay. Here’s the deal.
She did the videos for a website called technicalvirgin.com. The videos were done in 1999 or so in my house and neighborhood, have been off the web for a few years at this point, and the site itself has gone vanilla over the last few days, lest the server load keep Astoria without power for another week.
However, a few people decided to keep a copy and when sites like YouTube and Google Video came to be, they got re-posted. At least one radio station decided to claim it as their own– yes, you, Rock103, you thieving Clear Channel bastards.
So she got canned.
Big deal, right? She should have known better? Except PBS never gave any such grief to George Carlin, world famous for his list of Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television, when he played Mr. Conductor on “Shining Time Station” on PBS. Heck, the man gets hired by Disney.
And speaking of Disney, let’s talk about Robin Williams, the Genie. Or Eddie Murphy, the donkey. Or Chris Rock in Madagascar and Everybody Hates Chris. Or Bob Saget. Or Ewan MacGregor (how many films has he done in the nude? We can’t let kids watch Star Wars!)
PBS, give Melanie her job back. Before she goes off and becomes this generation’s Morgan Freeman.
UPDATE: Here’s a petition to help her get her job back. Go.
Seen on Yahoo Entertainment news:
David Craig Gets Second Film as 007 AP – Fri Jul 21, 3:43 PM ET
Just a way of keeping you in your place. You’re lucky we didn’t make you 008, Danny Boy.
From Arthur Silber on The Impossibility of Discussing Anything at All:
For now, I will leave you with one very simple idea, one I often express to friends these days. Even though I write long essays about current events, history and other subjects, as I contemplate the growing devastation around the world, I have one thought above all others. I simply want to say to everyone: Look, we can talk about anything you want. We’ll talk for as long as it takes. We’ll work it out, even if takes years. But, please, for God’s sake:
STOP KILLING PEOPLE.
That’s all. That’s everything.
(And if you aren’t reading Once Upon a Time… yet, start. There are precious few bloggers I’ve donated cash to, he’s one.)
Says former Bush I speechwriter [Andrew] Ferguson:
Despite their lack of knowledge, “Daily Show” viewers “reported increased confidence in their ability to understand the complicated world of politics.” Stewart is raising their self-esteem at the same time he makes them dumber.
Now, this is a familiar phenomenon in the contemporary U.S. — rising ignorance accompanied by rising self-regard. We can’t blame Stewart for it all by himself, much as I might like to. But the study does raise the question: Who’s hurting the country now?
Ah, so it’s not the people running the country who control the government that are hurting the country, it’s the people criticizing them.
Stewart (who’s never, say, outed a CIA agent for partisan reasons) is doing just fine. Compare and contrast to the number of people who are being made dumber by watching Fox News. In fact, studies show that TDS viewers are much better informed than Fox News viewers. Follow the links for all the studies and (shock of shocks) make up your own mind.
15 July 2006
LONDON: A British fan of the cult TV show Star Trek has boldly gone where no man has gone before and created a giant maize maze dedicated to the programme.
Trekkie Tom Pearcy used satellite technology to help him cut the maze in the corn field at his farm near York, northern England, to celebrate 40 years since the show’s first episode.
The maze, whose design includes images of character Mr Spock and the USS Enterprise spaceship, used 1.5 million maize plants and claims to be the biggest of its kind in the world.
And while we’re on modifying behavior, everybody’s linking to this one.
Rock Ridge, Rock Ridge…
MSNBC%u2019s Star Carves Anti-Fox Niche – New York Times: Note the Stewie Griffin doll and the Family Guy calendar. Really, how anti-Fox can Olbermann be?
1. Stuff you know, that actually is true
Investors are historians not futurists. We’re overloaded. Even with the best data available, like our fund profiles, you’re dealing with 10,000 funds, each with 100 bits of data that’s actually old news, usually at least 3-6 months old. So you oscillate between a false sense of being well-informed, and insecurity about the truth.
2. Stuff you think you know, but is wrong
Economists, securities analysts and cable’s talking heads know our brains prefer positive upbeat news. Eternal optimists, they speak the good news. You know you don’t know the future, so you turn to the media and press for hints, thinking maybe if you just listen to CNBC long enough, or read one more newspaper, or research one more fund, you’ll figure out tomorrow. The blind are leading the blind. Your mind is rationalizing a bad idea.
3. Stuff you know you don’t know, but obsess about
Every day the media talks endlessly with hundreds of market gurus, economists, CEOs. You get all the contradictions, oxymorons, dilemmas, paradoxes, a daily torrent of conflicting data about tomorrow’s unknowns and unpredictables. So you obsess anxiously, trying to figure out what you can never really know until after the fact.
4. Stuff you know to be true, but deny
Our minds are masters at denying the truth, even when it’s staring us in the face. In hindsight any damn fool could have predicted the dot-com collapse. But greed drove us and we denied P/E ratios mattered. You’re fortunate if 25% of what you know is true. But the fact is, even when you feel you’re right, you might still be dead wrong, unable to let go of even a bad idea.
5. All the stuff you don’t know that you don’t know
Stuff you don’t see until after the fact, when it’s too late! Unknowns that unpredictably crash markets: Natural disasters, deficit collapses, homeland terrorist attacks, nuclear war.
In response to the old question, “What do I put in my Portfolio?”: Read it, since there’s a decent chance I’ll be looking at your portfolio someday.
Real quick, more stuff as we have it, but here’s the press release:
GRIMJACK GOES 3D WITH REELART STUDIOS
ReelArt Studios has licensed with The Nightsky GrimJack Rights and Production Vehicle LLC to create resin statues and busts featuring the characters from the Grimjack comic book series and other intellectual property holdings of the company.
The first product will be a 1/8th scale statue featuring John Gaunt, a.k.a. GrimJack, the brooding sword for hire in the city of Cynosure based on the artwork of Timothy Truman. The statue is scheduled to be sculpted by the talented Jason “Spyda” Adams and is planned for an early 2007 release date.
GrimJack is the creation of John Ostrander and Timothy Truman and was originally published in 1983 by First Comics, Inc. as a back-up story in Mike Grell’s long running hit series STARSLAYER. A true overnight sensation, First Comics promptly moved GrimJack into its own stand-alone monthly title. GrimJack was published in more than 80 original comic book issues, an original graphic novel, and three spin-off series. More recently, the series made its return in KILLER INSTINCT, a new graphic novel distributed by IDW Publishing, who is also reprinting the complete First Comics run of GrimJack. A new GrimJack graphic novel by Ostrander and Truman is presently in the works and will begin serialization later this fall, with trade paperback distribution set for spring of 2007.
GrimJack’s creators are long-standing stars of the comic book field. An internationally-produced playwright (Stuart Gordon’s “Bloody Bess”), Mr. Ostrander’s comic book writing credits include “Batman,” “Star Wars,” “X-Men,” and “Superman.” Mr. Truman’s comic book art credits include “The Justice League of America,” “Scout,” “The Lone Ranger, “Star Wars,” and currently “Conan” with Dark Horse Comics. Mr. Truman, an accomplished musician, is also known worldwide for his ongoing artistic work with Grateful Dead Productions.
ReelArt Studios President Michael Hudson said, “Working with Timothy, John and all the guys at Team GrimJack is a dream come true. Grimjack is a truly great comic book character as are the other properties owned by the company. Our plans are to create some really cool, outstanding collectibles with the various characters represented. This is long overdue.”
“Personally speaking, I’ve wanted a high-quality GrimJack statue for more than two decades,” Nightsky GrimJack project director Mike Gold noted. “Our patience has been rewarded beyond my deepest fanboy dreams. The fact that ReelArt’s statue will be coming out just around the time of our next new graphic novel is wonderful serendipity. Timothy, John and all the folks at Team GrimJack can hardly wait!” Gold concluded.
ReelArt Studios is a producer of collectible statues and busts of movie, pulp and comic book characters. placing special emphasis on creator owned properties. The company has licensed a number of pop culture properties to be turned into collectibles. ReelArt has partnered with such companies as King Features, C3 Entertainment, The Frazetta Art Gallery, Continuity Studios and Brown and Bigelow to produce products based on a wide variety of properties. ReelArt Studios is headquartered in St. Petersburg, FL. For more information, visit http://www.reelartstudios.com
Nightsky GrimJack Rights and Production Vehicle LLC is a Chicago-based company with editorial offices in Connecticut. For more information, please visit http://www.grimjack.com
Hey, what was that about a new GrimJack graphic novel…? We are…? John? Tim? Mike? How come nobody tells me these things? Oh boy, back to work…