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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The falsehoods and lies are real,

Why are Trumps ratings so low, the lowest at this point in a presidency?

Why do Trump supporters (estimated at 33% of the electorate, on the high end) so sure he is right and speaks the truth?

The falsehoods and lies are real, checked not just by factcheck services that have come into existence since most media cut its one fact checkers for the payroll, but by historians, member of the supreme court, fellow Republicans, most all university researchers, and most reporters doing any digging at all. Trump lies. It's that simple.

There is no past president in trackable US History who has lied or spoke falsehoods more time than President Trump. He has 25 times as many falsehoods as any previous president (Nixon held the Record up until Trump).

Unlike previous presidents, who passed on falsehoods in the name of National Security and later provided the facts supporting why they did, Trump speaks out on things that have no reason for release and still looks back and reuses the statements from his campaign that no longer have any effect on governing.

During the campaign Trump was caught in lies and major distortions ten times at Politifact's Pants on Fire extreme level.
Does the "media" tell the truth.

First of all media is the way you receive the information, not a single journalist or source publication or broadcast.

Second, much of the "media" are talking head "experts" paid to say things that get response from an audience that sells papers, keeps people watching on the Internet, or keeps them in six minute increments on television and radio. Others are commentators, whose job it is to have an opinion, one that will elicit response (not main stream there). 
That is not journalism, although journalistic content may be presented.

Journalism and reporters are trained to get both sides of the story, to ask solid questions, and put information together in a way that reports on what is happening. They are also the Fourth Estate, meaning they have a constitutional duty to keep watch on and report on the actions of all three branches of our government and its members / players.

Not all information has the same value. Not all is accurate to the same degree. Not all information is fact.

Russia did fund and even produce Internet an
d video video products without revealing they were behind the deliberate falsehoods, repeated as fact on the Internet, by believers who want to believe the information and Trump himself. The Clintons ordering people killed, Hillarys various illnesses, an inflated presentation of both North Korea and Iran's current nuclear potential have all been traced to Russian operatives with no facts uncovered.

Mainstream media may report it as fact. That does not mean journalist are vouching for it, since these "facts" are often spoken (on FOX News and other "legitimate media outlets) by pundits an experts paid to support the information.

Journalist need to do their job.

Call a lie a lie, a mistake a mistake, a falsehood a falsehood, fabricated news "fake".

It is their job.

And find the truth behind why actions are taken and when, what happened, who reported it, their credentials or position in the story and on the relation of that information to larger issues and stories.

That does not mean revealing the names of all your sources. But that is a different commentary...

Art Lynch702-682-0469

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Ted V. Mikels

Written  April 23, 2014.

Ted has since passed away and is missed....

When I arrived in town Ted Mikels befriended my wife and myself, threw the best eccentric movie world parties at his "castle" and taught or worked with a wide range of crew on projects including "Mission Killfast" and "Chad".

A giant heart and generous soul, he shares with those who will listen about the craft of filmmaking, the way it has been done for a century, and the techniques of the .future

While he is not a union film maker, so I never appeared on film in his projects. He is prolific and a pioneer in many areas. I was taught film making in ways I never learned during similar classes I took back in college. Being around Ted led to hands on editing of film based sound, 16 and 35 mm film and as a Script Supervisor on two projects.

I am sorry I missed (and was not invited to) a screening of his latest Grind House film last Thursday.

Ted, and the people around him, have a passion for life and find joy in ways most of us never fully understand. I enjoyed and embraced my time with Ted, and the teams of talent he attracts.

In the years since the early and mid 1980's, my life took a different path, as a solid union activist and educator.  I have fond memories of the world of Ted V. Mikels, his friends and followers. My heart warms when I do see him at an event or a friend's home. I am very glad to see Ted is still active and making "cult" movies. 

For more information on Ted V. Mikels, visit
First Published 8/30/2012

Dramaturge, Continuity, there is more to me than meets the eye.

Revealing a few things about my background not generally known...

I am a Dramaturge, trained by the dramaturgist who did "Angels in America."

I am trained and have some experience as a Script Supervisor or Continuity, trained by Ted V. Mikels.

I have theater, film, television experience on camera, and as a voice artist.

A younger me played romantic leads in many musicals, comedies and dramas.

I am an experienced writer, journalist, broadcaster, marketing professional and advertising director.

I have started theater companies, been artistic director, produced, directed and done the tech work running lights, moving sets and lots of painting.

I have an MA in Communication, was all but thesis from an MA in Theatre, and am all but dissertation from a PhD in Education. 

I am accomplished public speaker.

I am basically shy, and prefer not to puff up and promote myself (but in this business you can't escape doing it from time to time...darn it!)

I am passionate about my students and both coaching and teaching. It is about them not me or my ego.    

I have done classical theater.
I was a member of the SEG and SAG.

I am a member of SAG-AFTRA.

I have given 17 years of national board service for actors.

I am looking for representation and a mentor.

-July 29, 2012


Ted Mikels' Mark of the Astrozombies

(click title above to link to film and comments)
The opening three minutes of the cult classic, MARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES, music and sound effects by BENTMEN. MARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES stars the immortal Tura Satana (FASTER PUSSYCAT! KILL! KILL!), Brinke Stevens (HAUNTING FEAR, SLAVE GIRLS FROM BEYOND INFINITY) and Liz Renay (John Waters's DESPERATE LIVING, BLACKENSTEIN) as well as the disembodied head of John Carradine (you won't believe it)! The movie is written, produced, directed, photographed and edited by Ted V. Mikels. For the uninitiated, Ted is the living legend behind such drive-in classics as THE CORPSE GRINDERS, BLOOD ORGY OF THE SHE-DEVILS, THE DOLL SQUAD, the original ASTRO-ZOMBIES and GIRL IN GOLD BOOTS (as seen on Mystery Science Theater 3000). The BENTMEN wrote over five hours of music for the film without seeing a single frame of footage -- just going by Ted's synopsis, a few stills on his site and our own imaginations. Ted’s primary direction to us was that we leave no dead spots in the movie -- fill it with as much music as possible -- and to treat it as "serious camp," in other words, nothing jokey about the tone. In fact, the only intentional joke we put in was using the sound of a modem as part of the titular Mark administered by Zekith and the Bad Aliens. Judging from the copious amount of duct tape and styrofoam in their spaceship, we felt it likely these guys were using a dial-up connection! Cheap, bargain-basement technology, pressed into the service of something greater, both primitive and futuristic at the same time, is a key BENTMEN signature, and a major contributing reason as to why we feel such an affinity for films like MARK OF THE ASTRO-ZOMBIES. BENTMEN: Des - Vocals, Hammered Dulcimer, Keyboards, Percussion, Sound Effects and Treatments Katherine Desomnd - Keyboards, Guitar, Guitar Synth Crazy Eddie Nowik - Lead Guitar Dark Mark White - Acoustic and Electric Basses Geoff Chase - Acoustic and Found Drums Frank Coleman - Electronic Drums, Keyboards, Treatments, Post-Processing (Editing and Loops) Ross Kennedy - Human Prop
Length: 3:07

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Is a Computer Gunning for Your Job?

Computer voices are doing commercials and around the world...
As a vo actor, I'm not concerned. 
1) Computers cannot act. If one day they do get that ability, I doubt that will be in my lifetime. 
2) Even if this is in my lifetime, we already have protections in place at the union for such technology. If my voice is sampled/lifted/used elsewhere, I am compensated. If my voice is sampled/lifted/used in a national commercial, feature film, or series, I am compensated quite well due to our residual formula. So I give all filmmakers my blessing to sample/lift/use away!!
And Larry Vigus nailed it. The biggest threat is to celebs/politicians. This technology can "adjust" statements to say anything the program user wants to make the celeb/politician say.
In this day and age of political correctness, where entire careers/lives are irreversibly damaged due to comments that go viral, this I feel is the most frightening aspect of this technology.
-Bob Bergen

In the 1980's a PhD published paper titled "Casting Call at Forest Lawn" was distributed to the SAG Board. It told of using long dead artist with enough voice and/or movement footage for commercials and even entirely news films, once the processing power was high enough to pull it off realistically.
That said I add my voice to Bob Bergan. Even the best actors of the past had specific acting styles that fit the time and the project, listened to the other actors, the set, the plot and so on as true professionals. Can a computer do that, even with a famous "synthespian" to draw on?

Art Lynch
Lynch Coaching

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Why kids bend morality...Because schools teach them to!

Why Our Children Don’t Think There Are Moral Facts

The Stone
The Stone is a forum for contemporary philosophers and other thinkers on issues both timely and timeless.

George Washington, depicted here taking the oath of office in 1789, was the first president of the United States. Fact, opinion or both?Credit via Associated Press

What would you say if you found out that our public schools were teaching children that it is not true that it’s wrong to kill people for fun or cheat on tests? Would you be surprised?

I was. As a philosopher, I already knew that many college-aged students don’t believe in moral facts. While there are no national surveys quantifying this phenomenon, philosophy professors with whom I have spoken suggest that the overwhelming majority of college freshmen in their classrooms view moral claims as mere opinions that are not true or are true only relative to a culture.
A misleading distinction between fact and opinion is embedded in the Common Core.

What I didn’t know was where this attitude came from. Given the presence of moral relativism in some academic circles, some people might naturally assume that philosophers themselves are to blame. But they aren’t. There are historical examples of philosophers who endorse a kind of moral relativism, dating back at least to Protagoras who declared that “man is the measure of all things,” and several who deny that there are any moral facts whatsoever. But such creatures are rare. Besides, if students are already showing up to college with this view of morality, it’s very unlikely that it’s the result of what professional philosophers are teaching. So where is the view coming from?

A few weeks ago, I learned that students are exposed to this sort of thinking well before crossing the threshold of higher education. 

When I went to visit my son’s second grade open house, I found a troubling pair of signs hanging over the bulletin board. They read:

Fact: Something that is true about a subject and can be tested or proven.

Opinion: What someone thinks, feels, or believes.

Hoping that this set of definitions was a one-off mistake, I went home and Googled “fact vs. opinion.” The definitions I found online were substantially the same as the one in my son’s classroom. 

As it turns out, the Common Core standards used by a majority of K-12 programs in the country require that students be able to “distinguish among fact, opinion, and reasoned judgment in a text.” And the Common Core institute provides a helpful page full of links to definitions, lesson plans and quizzes to ensure that students can tell the difference between facts and opinions.

So what’s wrong with this distinction and how does it undermine the view that there are objective moral facts?

First, the definition of a fact waffles between truth and proof — two obviously different features. 

Things can be true even if no one can prove them. For example, it could be true that there is life elsewhere in the universe even though no one can prove it. Conversely, many of the things we once “proved” turned out to be false. For example, many people once thought that the earth was flat. It’s a mistake to confuse truth (a feature of the world) with proof (a feature of our mental lives). Furthermore, if proof is required for facts, then facts become person-relative. 

Something might be a fact for me if I can prove it but not a fact for you if you can’t. In that case, E=MC2 is a fact for a physicist but not for me.

But second, and worse, students are taught that claims are either facts or opinions. They are given quizzes in which they must sort claims into one camp or the other but not both. 

But if a fact is something that is true and an opinion is something that is believed, then many claims will obviously be both. For example, I asked my son about this distinction after his open house. He confidently explained that facts were things that were true whereas opinions are things that are believed. 

We then had this conversation:

Me: “I believe that George Washington was the first president. Is that a fact or an opinion?”

Him: “It’s a fact.”

Me: “But I believe it, and you said that what someone believes is an opinion.”

Him: “Yeah, but it’s true.”

Me: “So it’s both a fact and an opinion?”

The blank stare on his face said it all.


How does the dichotomy between fact and opinion relate to morality? I learned the answer to this question only after I investigated my son’s homework (and other examples of assignments online). Kids are asked to sort facts from opinions and, without fail, every value claim is labeled as an opinion. Here’s a little test devised from questions available on fact vs. opinion worksheets online: are the following facts or opinions?

— Copying homework assignments is wrong.

— Cursing in school is inappropriate behavior.
— All men are created equal.
— It is worth sacrificing some personal liberties to protect our country from terrorism.
— It is wrong for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol.
— Vegetarians are healthier than people who eat meat.

— Drug dealers belong in prison.

The answer? In each case, the worksheets categorize these claims as opinions. The explanation on offer is that each of these claims is a value claim and value claims are not facts. This is repeated ad nauseum: any claim with good, right, wrong, etc. is not a fact.

In summary, our public schools teach students that all claims are either facts or opinions and that all value and moral claims fall into the latter camp. The punchline: there are no moral facts. And if there are no moral facts, then there are no moral truths.

The inconsistency in this curriculum is obvious. 
For example, at the outset of the school year, my son brought home a list of student rights and responsibilities. Had he already read the lesson on fact vs. opinion, he might have noted that the supposed rights of other students were based on no more than opinions. 
According to the school’s curriculum, it certainly wasn’t true that his classmates deserved to be treated a particular way — that would make it a fact. Similarly, it wasn’t really true that he had any responsibilities — that would be to make a value claim a truth. It should not be a surprise that there is rampant cheating on college campuses: If we’ve taught our students for 12 years that there is no fact of the matter as to whether cheating is wrong, we can’t very well blame them for doing so later on.

Indeed, in the world beyond grade school, where adults must exercise their moral knowledge and reasoning to conduct themselves in the society, the stakes are greater. 
There, consistency demands that we acknowledge the existence of moral facts. If it’s not true that it’s wrong to murder a cartoonist with whom one disagrees, then how can we be outraged? If there are no truths about what is good or valuable or right, how can we prosecute people for crimes against humanity? If it’s not true that all humans are created equal, then why vote for any political system that doesn’t benefit you over others?

Our schools do amazing things with our children. And they are, in a way, teaching moral standards when they ask students to treat one another humanely and to do their schoolwork with academic integrity. But at the same time, the curriculum sets our children up for doublethink. They are told that there are no moral facts in one breath even as the next tells them how they ought to behave.

We can do better. Our children deserve a consistent intellectual foundation. 
Facts are things that are true. 
Opinions are things we believe. 
Some of our beliefs are true. Others are not. Some of our beliefs are backed by evidence. Others are not. 
Value claims are like any other claims: either true or false, evidenced or not. The hard work lies not in recognizing that at least some moral claims are true but in carefully thinking through our evidence for which of the many competing moral claims is correct. 
That’s a hard thing to do. But we can’t sidestep the responsibilities that come with being human just because it’s hard.
That would be wrong.

Justin P. McBrayer is an associate professor of philosophy at Fort Lewis College in Durango, Colo. He works in ethics and philosophy of religion.

Maslow's Needs and more fom NPR's TED Radio Hour

Maslow's Human Needs  Humans need food, sleep, safety, love, purpose. Psychologist Abraham Maslow ordered our needs into a hierarchy. This week, TED speakers explore that spectrum of need, from primal to profound.

i Bigstock

Maslow's Human Needs

Humans need food, sleep, safety, love, purpose. Psychologist Abraham Maslow ordered our needs into a hierarchy. This week, TED speakers explore that spectrum of need, from primal to profound.