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Sunday, February 7, 2010

SAG President meets local SAG members March 21st


Conversations and membership Meeting with SAG President Ken Howard

It’s your chance to have a conversation with the well-established Emmy Award Winning actor who we elected to be SAG’s National President, Ken Howard. Doors open at noon on Sunday March 21st at the Tropicana Hotel, with a Screen Actors Guild Foundation Conversations beginning at 12:30. Following the Conversations will be a short mixer and our Nevada Branch Membership Meeting from 2 to 4.

Mr. Howard will discuss the industry, careers, the union and his vision of the future with members of the Nevada Branch of the Screen Actors Guild. SAG Foundation and Nevada Branch membership meetings are open only to members of the Nevada Branch Screen Actors Guild in good standing. Bring your current membership card and photo ID.

Posted 2-1-10, updated 2-7-10

From former COM 101 student and filmmaker

Fat Knight kick off party

Johnny Cantrock (

Ladies and gentlemen, Fat Knight, the movie, is proud to announce the "Fat Knight Launch Party!" Saturday, February 27th at the Stage Door Theater in Town Square!
We're kickin' off production of the film, "Fat Knight" by holding a live Q&A with the people behind the one of a kind documentary film. It is a night we get to hear from the crew who used a time machine to venture into 15th century Wales to document life in a time long forgotten. A special treat is in store when we meet several of the subject for the documentary including the squires, Lady Morgan, and Sir William Morgan (The Fat Knight, himself!)!
So come down to the Stage Door Theater on Saturday, February 27th at 1pm for a fun look into the minds of the crew and cast of Fat Knight!!!

(Fat Knight is a mocumentary short film in which documentarians from the year 2085 travel to the past and document their experiences in 15th century Wales.)
URL: Fat Knight

Mr. Lynch,

My name is John E. Carson I don't know if you remember me, I was a student of your communications class last spring.

I am in charge of this event and am also acting in and directing the short film it is based off of.

To give you a bit of insight, it's a mix between a Christopher Guest film (Best in Show.) and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. It's all improvised and will be filmed here, in the Las Vegas valley.

The short film is about documentarians from the future who go to the past to document life during the times, to get what life was like from people of that time, instead of from historians who can, and have gotten it all wrong.

We follow the life of Sir William Morgan who is a knight that is a master of weaponry and has never been defeated in battle nor duel. We learn of his heroic deeds, we meet his wife, Lady Morgan, who likes her man big, and his squires, one of whom insists that the documentary crew are witches and will go to great lengths to prove it. Hilarity continues when the villainous Gabriel Comte De Montgomery of France shows up on the land of Sir Morgan to challenge the Fat Knight's title, and demolish his undefeated record of wins.

The show I am promoting is a Q&A with the filmmakers from the future as well as the Fat Knight himself, along with his lady and squires. After the show, there is also going to be a raffle for a cameo in the short film itself!

If you think this is something that would be interesting,

Thank you for your time.

John E. Carson

First posted 2-2-10

Sunday Morning News and Views

A man in Riverton, Wyoming who stole cough drops and a bottle of schnapps was arrested after be in chased by police and ducking into a nearby building. That building was the Riverton Police station.

96 years ago today The Little Tramp, played by Charlie Chaplin, launched Chaplin into the first superstar of the movies. In 1936, long after sound had invaded films, “Modern Times” became the last silent film to earn real money at the Box Office. Sadly in 1952 Charlie Chaplin was banned form the US due to what Senator Joseph McCarthy called anti-American activities. He returned in 1972 to accept an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar from the Academy. His son reports that at Chaplin retrospectives there was one man laughing so loud that the audience told him to “shut up”. That man was Charlie Chaplin, who was his own biggest fan.

More than two feet of snow blanketed Philadelphia, wit 29 inches of snow and a winter snowfall of 54 inches. Transportation is at a standstill, with power outages and emergency services taxed. Washington DC had its second heaviest snow in history, with most of the east under freezing and therefore hazardous conditions. The snowfall for Boston is a new record.

Thousands of pelicans are in danger after a mild winter and plenty of food disappeared overnight and they were left cold and without food. Shelters have been set up, restaurants are putting their discards out for the birds and citizens are feeding them. This could be dangerous for future public safety and health, as Pelicans may not be sanitary and are a danger to air traffic.

Superbowl, Corporate Profits, NFL Players and Sports Violence 
It’s Superbowl Sunday, which means a lead on all media, including the BBC American Service, of football.

Payton Manning, born and raised in New Orleans, is going against his city’s Cinderella team on behalf of Indianapolis. He come in 4 time Most Valuable Players in a Superbowl.

Face the Nation was sucked into the CBS Superbowl Hype this morning, with the focus on the Big Game (what you have to call it in Las Vegas, as the NFL stopped casino’s and businesses from using the word “Superbowl.”).

NFL Commissioner Roger Godell faces the March contract renewal between owners and players, with the potential of the salary caps ending in sunset at the end of this month. The commissioner’s goal is a “high quality product.” The players association says that on a scale of one to ten the chance of the owners locking out the players is a “14.”

Players get 54% of revenue, owners 46%. Godell says that essentially players get 51% and as high as 76% of all actual revenue, so owners are losing on their investment, except for the larger teams.

“We are asking players to recognize the incredible costs to grow revenue..Stadiums and marketing…their salaries have doubled over the last decade.”

“We need to recognize the tremendous investments required in order to grow the game.”

On concussions, “we have been on this since the mid 90’s…we need to make sure the players wear the best possible equipment…Medical science is still trying to determine what the long term conditions are of such injuries.”

Remember the commissioner administers the business of the game on behalf of the owners, not the players or the fans.

He is the first commissioner of any professional sport who started out as an intern in the commissioner’s office. He build his career from his passion for the NFL.

CBS Sports commentator Shannon Sharpe says football has to rough. The guys have gotten bigger and faster, and fans are coming to see big guys run, pass, tackle and hit each other. Football is based on the promise of imposing your will on someone, and that’s how your win football games.

Phil Sims of CBS Sports says that there are great rule changes that will mitigate the danger and violence. The biggest thing is that the equipment is going to get better, with the helmet being revolutionized in the next few years. What has changed is the passing offense, which allows guys to build up speed and increase impacts when they happen.

CBS reporter Jim Nantz says the media has a role, with “the hit of the week” and replays encouraging collisions.

A judge in New Orleans has cleared his calendar for tomorrow, delaying a major trial due to the Super Bowl. It seems that lawyers, but not the judge, will be at the game. He is inviting 40 close friends over to his house for a Superbowl party.

In Indianapolis, most employers have delayed the start time for work tomorrow, with the bus lines on a holiday schedule until ten AM.

Super Advertising

Pepsi is, for the first time in 27 years, not buying ads for their products on the Superbowl. They are gambling on the Internet and the reality that younger viewers are more interested in the interactive experience. On the other side of this argument is that a YouTube hit may get 5 or ten million “views”, while the Superbowl hits 100 million viewers at one shot, or double that in “views” if you run two ads in the game. Television offers what has attracted mankind since the days of cavemen and campfires, story telling and imagination. Supporters say it is not as “passive” as Pepsi describes it in their rationale for not buying TV ads on the “big game.”

Great campaigns launched on Superbowls past: “the Pepsi Generation”, “Where’s the Beef”, “Apple Computer”, Budweiser frogs, and the list goes on. These are the stories that hold generations together, and in the case of Apple, the ad ran only once and is still remembered and studied by advertising students.

The advertising still has value. This year thirty seconds of national advertising will cost between 2.5 and 3 million dollars.

A few Superbowl facts. 103,000 fans will be in the stands. Over the years  3,347,608 people have been in the stands at the games, not counting today or those who were “comped” to the game. While superbowl parties at businesses are common, 90% of Americans view the game at home. During the game 173 million dollars will be consumed in the form of potatoes chips, and 17 million cases of beer consumed. Each wining player will earn $83,000, while the loser earn a paltry $42,000. And what about the half time show? Historically songs played during the Superbowl have jumped 555% in sales in the week following the game (between five and six times their average week over the three previous months).

Dangers of Sports
This Superbowl Sunday the BBC focused on the danger of sports and on how fans not only crave it, but also use the amount of money professional players make as an excuse for demanding it. The fans ignore the large number of very low paid professionals, amateur and school leagues and hobbyist who emulate the pros and thus risk serious injury. We are losing our empathy as a society and instead seeking increased thrills and using money as an excuse. The parallel on how the Roman games grew from battle training sport to people being eaten by lions and gladiators battling to the death.

Sports as we know it has grew from games designed to keep citizens ready and fit for war. Baseball is tactical, rewarding speed, accuracy and response time. America Football comes from the hand-to-hand combat of two forces rushing into each other, as was the case for thousands of years of warfare. The bloodlust of fans comes from the desire to see the best warriors win, and thus to be able to defend you when an enemy threatens.

Football became more violent when they restricted the grandstanding rules that entertained crowds in the 1920’s. To keep fans the league opened up a more aggressive ground game. It became worse when the GI’s returned from World War II. Players came with combat skills and fans were more accustomed to violence and aggression then fans prior to 1942.

While the NFL may talk about safety equipment, experts on the BBC disagree. No helmet or padding can protect against the g-force of two heads colliding at the speed and force possible with large NFL athletes. Concussions are the unknown killer, or at least debilitated of our society as we traditionally shrug off injuries we can walk away from. Players have played games not knowing the damage to their skulls and brain until well after the game.

With American football the helmets and padding only increase violence, resulting in major damage from concussions, repeat trauma, repeat injuries. Again, with the pros people seem to say, “they are paid well for it”, but what about those who are paid little or no money and emulate the pros. The rate of permanent serious injury in football is increasing, particularly at the very unpaid high school level.

Rugby injuries have increased with artificial turf, increased physical tackling and interaction, and the actions fans expect. These have occurred increasingly since Rugby went from a private club and armature game to hard core professional.

The issue of post traumatic stress syndrome applies not only to people at war, but those who play sports and, of course, those who suffer any kind of accident or trauma. Sports puts the stakes so high on winning that countless potential athletes end p with life long self perceptions based on not making that three point shot, having to remain on the bench, not making the team or not being seen as equal or as almost sub human for a lack of athletic skills or training. That is what our modern society is doing to us, as an extension of the ancient warrior training mentality, back when everyone faced potential combat.

“We need to begin seeking divine intervention again in this country.” –Sarah Palin.

If she read or did her research she would find out that church attendance is at an all time high and that America remains a religious nation. Of course she was paid to tell Tea Party enthusiast what they wanted to hear at a celebrity pep-rally event.

“We need a Commander in Chief, not a Law Professor, sitting in the White House” – Sarah Palin at the National Tea Party Convention, for which she was paid $100,000 to speak.

Is the President the chief executive officer of the nation, a football to be kicked and blamed, a figure hear, a military commander, a representative of the people?

The last one first. The president was selected by the governor's of the states, then later by men appointed by the governor's, then later men appointed by political parties and only recently based on caucus and direct vote primaries mandating delegate counts in the Electoral College. They are not, nor did the founding fathers want them to be elected directly by the people. They were intended to be removed from the views and daily demands of the people so that presidents could make the tough decisions without fear of the next election or its impact on their parties.

So what is the job of the president?

Is it warrior or civilian leader, executive or administrator, inspirational leader or nuts and bolts doer?

The answer is all, but from the view of the founding fathers Commander in Chief was in wartime only and put in only because the first president was George Washington, who led the Continental Army. The idea of a standing army was foreign to the Founding Fathers; in fact they opposed it because they felt it would lead to this country acting like the empire we broke off from. Small militia to guard against “Indians” and occasional “foreign incursions” were what was expected, under the leadership of the governors of the states. The Commander in Chief was for time of declared war only. The truth is that the Second World War was the last time the US was legally at war, since that was the last actual declaration of war by the Congress, a Congressional and not presidential power.

Wall Street Journal Report view of the economy.

Unemployment percentages are down, yet actual numbers of people without work are up. This is an odd conflict in how numbers are collected and interprited. For example Clark Country gained 7,000 jobs yet unemployment here went up.

Harvard professor Martin Feldstein of the National Bureau of Economic Research was Maria’s first Guest on The Wall Street Journal Report this weekend

Jobs are down substantially since November, with the number of unemployed now one in ten on unemployment insurance, more than one in three out of work and an estimated half of all Americans under-employed. The Wall Street Journal admitted things are getting worse, but that it is hard to tell if the tend will last or if it is a result of post-holiday seasonal adjustments to already bad numbers.

Feldstein feels that large fiscal debts are drowning major economies, in the US, Spain and other key countries. They are not avoidable, no matter how Palin and others may politicize it. Infrastructures were hit hard by the recession, decrease in property values, decreases in travel and spending, loss of jobs. There was no way for modern capitalist societies to not have seen huge deficits and deficit spending since the start of this recession.
President Bill Clinton joined Maria to talk about “what next for Haiti” where thousands are still hospitalized and millions homeless. Food, medicine, water, shelter and the lower two levels of Maslow’s Hierarchy remain the priority for most of the citizens of Haiti. There are too few sites to distribute food and it is difficult to keep the strong from dominating over the weak in grabbing supplies. There is an opportunity to reverse the ignored, abused and patronized history of Haiti. Clinton says, “These are smart, innovative people who have survived in a day to day society that many of us could not live in.”

Business News

37,000 people die each year on US highways. Only 19 have died as a result of Toyota  break or acceleration problems over a ten-year period. Four of the deaths were in one crash last August. Any death is bad, tragic and needs attention, but in perspective the problem is other driver, bad driving habits, driving under the influence and the reality that we drive large, heavy equipment and treat it as an extension of ourselves instead of the dangerous machine automobiles really are.

China is getting tough on America, sanctioning American companies that do business with Taiwan (The Republic of China). China perceives the US as a nation in debt to them, financially and in terms of the world economy. Industry fled the US during the early part of the new millennium, building state of the art plants in China with US dollars. At the same time the US manufacturing lead shifted to Germany and now China followed by Germany.

China is in favor or Iran, seeking patience, while the US calls for sanctions due t this week’s clear restart of the refining of nuclear materials in Iran. China is friendly with countries that support Muslim terrorism, yet cracks down on their own dissidents, violates civil rights and forces families to move to where they are told to regardless of roots in a given town or region.

Google is finalizing arrangements with the National Security Agency to investigate practices in China, in terms of trade and national security. Global Internet terrorism and corporate espionage seems to be centralized in China, with either government involvement or the government there turning a blind eye to the problem. It came to a head with Google but has been a problem with just about every major US Corporation and many foreign governments for over a decade.

Intellectual property rights, or the still weak definition and enforcement in China remain a problem for every industry from pharmaceuticals to Hollywood, engineering to rocket science.

With more than 800 billion in US Treasury holdings, China is our largest investor.

No need to panic or start flying a red flag. Historically the US is in a strong position, as we always rebound and we tend to lead in the direction the rest of the world ends up following.  We have slipped in position more than any time since the 1860’s, but on paper and in reality we remain very strong on an international level, with the ability to remain a leader and retake whatever we choose to in terms of world position. We have ample resources, despite foreign ownership and false numbers due to the international nature of the markets. We have great universities despite the rise of equal quality institutions overseas. We have a higher standard of living than all but a few very small-industrialized nations. Our poor are “wealthy by international standards. And when disaster strikes, we are the first to be there and put in the most money and manpower to help those in need. We are the richest and most generous nation on earth.

Which is another reason to doubt Sarah Palin’s painting of this as a nation on the road to immorality and socialism without a tea party revolution, is off center. And for those who agree, if you look at actual legislation, policies and practiced of Barrack Obama, really look, you will find much in common with the Republican Congressional stand in the mid 1990s and the presidential stands of Reagan, Bush Sr. and, oh yes, two Republicans named Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt.

Funny how in our attack society, no one looks at the actual words, records or history of any event, policy or philosophy. It is easier, like Sarah, to not do your homework and simply attack blindly.

Meanwhile, this morning Sarah Palin began her paying gig as a commentator on FOX news by saying Obama must become nation security focused and a strong military leader if he hopes for even a change of reelection in 2012. She referred to Obama as trying to do “hopey, changey stuff…how’s that working out for ya?”

A reason to vote for Harry Reid

Harry Reid is closing in on the final gong for Yucca Mountain, a project he has opposed on behalf of his state and one he used his leadership position and relationships with presidents Clinton and Obama to cripple and kill.

He fought, often alone and without political support from others, against Nevada, and the Las Vegas area, becoming the final resting place for all of the nuclear garbage left over from the generation of power across the nation. He managed to win despite the substantial dollars of the power industry, of special interests in plant construction, of   much higher populated states with larger congressional delegations and of several US Presidents. He helped turn presidents Bill Clinton and Barrack Obama against the site. Reid kept us from being next door to and subject to water aquifer and other pollution from the nuclear waste of the nation.