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Sunday, October 30, 2011

In the Spirit of Halloween.


Frankenstein's Monster comes to life in time for Halloween

Listen to a new Frankenstein Radio Drama, Sunday 3:30 Pacific and 6:30 Eastern

Next to last reminder! Frankenstein's Demon is close to being brought to life in stunning cranial technicolor. The radio play, almost 10 years in the making, airs tomorrow at 6:30 pm (Eastern) on 101.5 LITE FM. It can be heard - wherever you are - at litemiami.com and will be available afterward free, on demand at litemiami.com/demon. The LITE FM Players have outdone themselves!
 
Editors Note: Last Year's War of the Worlds was well worth the listen, even in far away Las Vegas. Dave Corey and his team are talented writer, audio masters and voice actors. Corey is also the National Board of Directors Representative from Florida and a friend. This version is based directly on the book, not movies or television, so expect a different sort of Frankenstein's Monster. 
PS: Even through it is radio, Corey, who is taller than my 6 foot four frame, does play the monster....
litemiami.com

Animated Films Score in the US and Europe: Tintin and Puss!

Company Town

The business behind the show

Spielberg's 'Tintin' off to a solid start at European box office

The Adventures of Tintin got off to a solid start overseas this weekend
 From the LA Times Company Town Blog...click here for the latest entertainment news

"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" doesn't open in U.S. theaters for nearly two months, but the Steven Spielberg-directed film already has the makings of a hit overseas.

This weekend, the animated 3-D film opened in 19 foreign markets and collected $55.8 million, according to an estimate from international distributors Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures.

The studios decided to launch the Peter Jackson-produced film so far ahead of its U.S. debut on Dec. 21 in part to boost ticket sales in Europe, where the 82-year-old Belgian comic book series is a beloved part of the cultural history. If the film is successful abroad, the studios are hopeful that it will fare well domestically, where the cartoon character is foreign to most moviegoers.

This weekend, the film about a young reporter seeking hidden treasure was No. 1 in 17 of the 19 markets in which it opened. The movie had the strongest debut in France, where it grossed $21.5 million, marking the second biggest debut of the year behind the eighth and final "Harry Potter" film.

It also did solid business in Britain, Spain and "Tintin's" native Belgium, where the movie grossed $2.1 million.

Despite its respectable start abroad, the movie still has a long way to go before it can be considered a success. The picture cost its financial backers between $150 million and $175 million after tax credits, according to people close to the production. The studios will also spend more than $100 million to market and release the movie worldwide, and about 30% of "Tintin" revenue will go directly to Spielberg and Jackson.

RELATED:
'Tintin': Steven Spielberg animates an Oscar debate
Spielberg's 'Tintin' will open in Europe two months before U.S.
Box Office: 'Puss in Boots' wins weekend by more than a whisker
-- Amy Kaufman
twitter.com/AmyKinLA
Photo: A scene from "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn." Credit: Paramount Pictures

Box Office: 'Puss in Boots' wins weekend by more than a whisker

Puss in Boots won the weekend at the box office
From the LA Times Company Town Blog...click here for the latest entertainment news

"Puss in Boots" pounced on the competition at the box office this weekend. But even though the 3-D film easily took first place, the family flick had the softest debut in five years for a movie from DreamWorks Animation.

The film grossed $34 million on its domestic opening weekend, according to an estimate from distributor Paramount Pictures. That was far more than either of the two other new films in wide release collected. "In Time," a sci-fi action movie starring Justin Timberlake started off with a so-so $12 million. And "The Rum Diary," featuring Johnny Depp and based on a Hunter S. Thompson novel, collected a weak $5 million.

In recent years, most DreamWorks Animation films have opened with at least $40 million in ticket sales. About a year ago, for example, the studio's "Megamind" had a $46-million debut.

This weekend's so-so performance by "Puss in Boots" was blamed in part on snowy weather on the East Coast, which a studio executive said probably cost at least $2 million in sales. Still, DreamWorks has not had this low of a debut since 2006's "Flushed Away."

The film's animated protagonist — a cat burglar voiced by Antonio Banderas — was first seen as a sidekick to the title-character ogre in the studio's hit franchise "Shrek." DreamWorks spent about $130 million to produce "Puss in Boots."

The good news for the movie's financial backers is that audiences seemed to like the film -- those who saw it gave it an average grade of A-, according to market research firm CinemaScore.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/entertainmentnewsbuzz/

Spielberg's 'Tintin' off to a solid start at European box office

The Adventures of Tintin got off to a solid start overseas this weekend
From the LA Times Company Town Blog, click here for the latest news.

"The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn" doesn't open in U.S. theaters for nearly two months, but the Steven Spielberg-directed film already has the makings of a hit overseas.

This weekend, the animated 3-D film opened in 19 foreign markets and collected $55.8 million, according to an estimate from international distributors Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures.
The studios decided to launch the Peter Jackson-produced film so far ahead of its U.S. debut on Dec. 21 in part to boost ticket sales in Europe, where the 82-year-old Belgian comic book series is a beloved part of the cultural history. If the film is successful abroad, the studios are hopeful that it will fare well domestically, where the cartoon character is foreign to most moviegoers.

This weekend, the film about a young reporter seeking hidden treasure was No. 1 in 17 of the 19 markets in which it opened. The movie had the strongest debut in France, where it grossed $21.5 million, marking the second biggest debut of the year behind the eighth and final "Harry Potter" film. It also did solid business in Britain, Spain and "Tintin's" native Belgium, where the movie grossed $2.1 million.

Despite its respectable start abroad, the movie still has a long way to go before it can be considered a success. The picture cost its financial backers between $150 million and $175 million after tax credits, according to people close to the production. The studios will also spend more than $100 million to market and release the movie worldwide, and about 30% of "Tintin" revenue will go directly to Spielberg and Jackson.

RELATED:
'Tintin': Steven Spielberg animates an Oscar debate
Spielberg's 'Tintin' will open in Europe two months before U.S.
Box Office: 'Puss in Boots' wins weekend by more than a whisker

-- Amy Kaufman

twitter.com/AmyKinLA
From the LA Times Company Town Blog, click here for the latest news. 

Photo: A scene from "The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn." Credit: Paramount Pictures

US Senate Race for Ensign's former seat a Dead Heat in Nevada

NEVADA:
(D) Shelley Berkley    45%
(R) Dean Heller         45%

+/- 3.5 %

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part 2

Thousands of people turned out Saturday to celebrate the 147th anniversary of Nevada's statehood at the
annual Nevada Day Parade in Carson City. Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong says sunny, mild weather drew
a crowd equal or better than last year's estimated crowd of 15,000. A group of Wall Street protesters wearing "99 Percent" shirts watched the parade outside the Capitol with other spectators. The parade is the highlight of annual festivities celebrating October 31st 1864 when President Abraham Lincoln signed Nevada's declaration of statehood. Against the will of traditional born and bread Nevadans, Statehood day was moved from October 31st through a referendum  ratified by a vote of the state legislature seven years ago. The vote changed the holiday from the actual day of October 31st to create a three day weekend in its place.  This year's parade drew more than 200 entries and featured Nevada Department of Wildlife spokesman Chris Healy as grand marshal. The parade's theme was "The Great Outdoors." Friday was state holiday, with all local and state governments closed.

Think Halloween, and not far behind pumpkins and ghosts, you may find yourself craving a very specific sweet. Candy Corn is a uniquely American candy, dating back to the 1880's, created by the Wonderlin Candy Company, which is now part of  Jelly Belly. In the 1880's the candy was hand made and required skilled crafters who poured the three layers. The name and popularity comes from  Corn, which goes through stages or comes in varieties of orange, yellow and white. Remember that in the 1880's our nation was primarily Agrarian and corn was a major product Americans could identity with. In fact, if you line up Candycorn between your fingers, top up, it looks more than a bit like corn on the cob.

He is the Willie Wonka of Covina, Calif., joyfully leading anyone who drops by on a tour of his tiny candy
company. It's here that David Klein produces mounds of chewy, crunchy, sugary confections with names like Sandy Candy, Zombie Heart and Gummy Bacon. But it's what he used to sell that once made him famous. In the 1970s, Klein was Mr. Jelly Belly. It was Klein who helped launch a gourmet candy craze by envisioning a smaller, tastier jelly bean. Then, in 1980, he sold his interest in Jelly Belly. The move, he says, was something that left him with a bitter, unfulfilled taste in his mouth.So he's back with a new bean, Dave's Signature Beyond Gourmet. And he's looking to reclaim his title as jelly bean genius.

Climate Change and Global Warming are Real! A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly. The study of the world's surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. Yet he found that the land is 1.6 degrees warmer than in the 1950s. His finding of a warming world is no different from what mainstream climate scientists have been saying for decades. What's different and why many are paying attention is that some research money came from the Charles Koch Foundation, whose founder is a big backer of skeptic groups and the tea party.

President Barack Obama's top political adviser is defending the administration's handling of the economy and
blaming Congress for not pushing through more sweeping changes. David Axelrod says Obama's strategy has been to do whatever he can to help the middle class, whereas Congress has been focused on "obstruction and delay." Axelrod suggests that Republicans are "willing to tear down the economy in order to tear down the president." Obama has pitched a $447 billion jobs plan that would be paid for with an added tax on people who make at least $1 million a year. Senate Republicans have blocked action on the bill because they oppose much of the increased spending and the tax increase. Axelrod spoke on CNN's "State of the Union."

Don't believe the campaign rhetoric and "facts" that keep being repeated in conversations and over the Internet. Here's one campaign outrageous tale. The federal government spends one out of every $10 in
transportation aid on wasteful projects such as refurbishing a giant roadside coffee pot and constructing turtle tunnels. That's what Republican lawmakers have said repeatedly in recent weeks in the Senate, in public appearances and in news releases. They want to eliminate a requirement that states use a portion
of their highway aid for "transportation enhancements" - 12 categories of projects ranging from bike and walking paths to scenic overlooks and landscaping. But the claims aren't exactly true. To make their case, lawmakers have exaggerated and misrepresented some projects that have received aid.

Key proposals from the Republican presidential candidates might make for good campaign fodder. But independent analyses raise serious questions about those plans and their ability to cure the nation's economic and housing woes. The candidates are pushing lower taxes and less regulation in the name of job creation. But employers say poor consumer demand is a far bigger obstacle to new hires. Mainstream economic theory says governments can spur demand, at least somewhat, through stimulus spending. But the 2012 contenders have labeled President Barack Obama's 2009 stimulus efforts a failure. Instead, most of the candidates
are calling for tax cuts that would primarily benefit high-income people, who are seen as the likeliest job creators.

A White House adviser say Mitt Romney has "moved all over the place" on issues from abortion to gay marriage over his career and might not have firm enough convictions to make the tough decisions as president. David PlouffePlouffe, who was Barack Obama's 2008 campaign manager, notes a new Iowa poll showing Herman Cain leading with 23 percent support, and Romney next at 22 percent. Plouffe tells NBC's "Meet the Press" that Cain "seems to have tapped into something." Plouffe says lots of voters still are
"looking somewhere else" beyond Romney and he wonders whether the early front-runner can turn that around.

Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry says he may not be the best debater, but he's confident he can draw clear distinctions with President Barack Obama onstage next year. The Texas governor is trying to reassure Republican primary voters in the wide-open nominating contest.  He says he may skip some debates with the other GOP hopefuls between now and the end of January. But he says he's "not worried a bit" about his ability to contrast his plans on the economy and foreign policy with the president's during scheduled debates in the 2012 elections.Perry's campaign has said he'll participate in at least five more debates against his GOP rivals, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. Perry tells "Fox News Sunday" that he prefers other types of campaigning.

GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry says President Barack Obama hasn't listened to his commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan, and that's cost him credibility as commander in chief. Obama has announced that U.S troops would leave Iraq by the end of the year, effectively ending the war that began under the administration of President George W. Bush. Perry tells "Fox News Sunday" that making those plans public endangers troops still in Iraq. The Texas governor says Obama has "lost his standing" as a commander in chief.  The president has said the death of Libya's Moammar Gadhafi and the end of the Iraq war are reminders of America's renewed leadership in the world.





A new ad showing Herman Cain's smoking campaign manager is the latest political video to become an overnight Internet sensation. The ad has had nearly a million clicks on Cain's website since its debut last week. It's also been aired repeatedly on cable news shows and has become the subject of countless parodies. Online viral videos have become a staple of American politics. Not long ago, pricey paid television ads were the only way for candidates to be noticed. But one expert whose company tracks political advertising says that while online videos have the power to influence a race, paid television advertising still carries more impact overall.



Emmy Award-winning television personality and Las  Vegas resident Montel Williams says Israel is at the forefront of providing patient access to medical marijuana.Williams was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. He has since been an outspoken advocate of medical marijuana to relieve pain caused by disease. The former host of the popular long-running talk show "The Montel Williams Show" is meeting legislators, scientists and physicians in Israel on a fact-finding mission. He believes the United States could
learn from Israel how to treat marijuana just "like any other medication that a doctor uses in their arsenal." Williams, who is 55, says he takes cannabis on a daily basis and that "for me, there is nothing else that can do what it does."



James Brown's charitable trust had just $14,000 in it and his estate was saddled with more than $20 million
in debt as it languished in a court battle three years after his death in 2006. But a complex settlement in 2009 took management of Brown's assets from its trustees and turned it over to a professional money
 manager. The professional cut deals that put the Godfather of Soul's music on national and international commercials, making enough money to wipe out the crushing debt and open the way to thousands of college scholarships for needy students. The settlement might be in jeopardy, though. The South Carolina Supreme Court hears arguments Tuesday from two former trustees, who want the whole thing thrown out.


Wildlife officials in the Northern Rockies want to sharpen their grizzly bear safety message after two hikers were fatally mauled over the summer in Yellowstone National Park.  The Yellowstone region's grizzly population has expanded in recent years to about 600 bears. Those animals are pushing into new areas of Montana, Wyoming and Idaho - forcing wildlife agencies to broaden the public safety side of their "bear awareness" message. Also growing is the size of the crowd that message needs to reach: Yellowstone National Park last year hosted a record 3.6 million visitors. Chief Ranger Tim Reid says the park has done well instructing ikersh who camp overnight about the dangers of traveling in bear country. He says the park has been less successful reaching day-hikers such as the two mauling victims.




    

Sunday Morning News and Views, Part 1


    

Nevada Governor. Brian Sandoval and First Lady Kathleen Sandoval are planning to open their mansion doors for trick-or-treaters on Halloween. The governor and his wife are welcoming families to the historic
property between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday. The Halloween festivities will also feature musical
entertainment. The Nevada Governor's Mansion is located at 606 Mountain Street,
in Carson City's historic district.



In Las Vegas former Lt. Governor and Neurosurgeon Dr. Lonnie Hamergrin will open his "homes" to visitors for the first time in three years, with tours available of the sizable and colorful Hammergrin collection. Everything from shrunken heads to an actual Apollo Training capsule, classic signs from historic Las Vegas hotels to a replica of the Thomas and Mac, war canoes to gondolas can be found on the must see tour from 1 to 5 this afternoon. Details and the location of his home off Sandhill between Flamingo and Harmon can be found elsewhere on this blog.


Bring Out Your Dead, or at least those whose loss is being investigated by the Clark County Cornor's Office, and a select few will have the cause of their demise investigated on television. A producer and Clark County have inked a deal to bring stories about life and death in the Sin City coroner's office to cable TV. Coroner Michael Murphy says the goal is to show how the choices people make when they're alive can affect when and how they die. Most deaths aren't violent. Murphy says diabetes, heart disease and prescription drug abuse top the list of cases his office sees. The Clark County Commission approved the deal with Discovery Studios LLC after a promise that the county will get $5,000 per episode. County officials will screen edits to avoid showing personally identifiable characteristics. A project executive calls the science, forensics and problem-solving the interesting part. The deal also lets Murphy feature one unidentified death case each episode.

Getting people to pay for news online isn't easy. But back in March, the New York Times gave it a shot. Their online subscription model lets readers access 20 articles a month, and then you have to pay fee to see more. The pay wall was seen as a risky move at the time, but the Gray Lady's third quarter profit reports are in ... and the results are better than expected. It seems that acceptance of paying for news among news consumers is declining. Two fears. First is that we will see a new class society in which most Americans will no longer be fully informed as they cast their votes or make major decisions. The other is the potential loss of print subscribers, and with it the entire print base advertising model newspapers and magazines rely on.

Unemployment remains at a level not sustained since the Great Depression, with a blue collar to white collar, professional to day laborer range, also not seen since the Great Depression. In a fast moving society, those who have been unemployed for long periods of time, regardless of skills or education, find themselves unemployable because of prolonged periods out of their professional workforce fields. Older Americans are hit hardest, followed by the very young, two extremes while the middle hangs on to the fantasy that all is well or that things are better than "the media" paints them to be. The callas attitude of many Americans toward their neighbors in need is concerning charities and politicians, and driving a "bootstrap" campaign mode for many Republicans and some Democrats that economist and many Americans say no longer exists. One percent of the population controls 99% of the nations wealth, a level not found in over 100 years, the same level that led to the birth of labor unions and a major shift toward progressives and eventually war, excess and the Great Depression. For the first time in the nation's history manufacturing and high paying jobs are leaving the country, with a brain drain to other nations and parts of the world. The nation is in denial, while individuals suffer.


Las Vegas leads the nation in underwater homes, quick sales and foreclosures. But we are not alone.  Month in and month out, Idahos foreclosure rate remains one of the highest in the nation. For many, losing a home is the definition of hitting bottom. But some former homeowners are finding themselves in an even tighter spot than they thought was possible. They've lost their homes and wrecked their credit ratings'. And even if you choose the only way many have to maintain their home when time get tight, bankruptcy chapter 13, creditors treat you as if you have the plague. So when you are the most down you keep getting kicked. Now high risk and therefore dangerous lending is entering the Idaho market, taking advantage of the at-risk status and those who are desperate to keep their lives together. Will we see another bank related usury crisis?


Do politicians know what our everyday lives are like? Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa says Mitt Romney's recent comments about the foreclosure crisis show he's out of touch with middle-class Americans. Romney told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's editorial board that he wants to allow home foreclosures to "hit the bottom" to help the housing industry recover. In a speech to Washoe County Democrats in Reno on Friday night, Villaraigosa said Romney's remarks show he does not want to help "responsible homeowners who have been scammed by lenders" or "middle-class families who - through no fault of their own - have hit hard times."

 We are not out of the woods on a potential world wide depression. Europe's plan to deal with its protracted debt crisis sparked an impressive market rally, but the deal's lack of specifics has many observers concerned. Some complain the approach hammered out in Brussels focuses on symptoms rather than the root causes of the crisis. The world economy cannot be floated by the relative boom in the far East, India and China, as those relatively newly booming economies have their own major crisis and potential stumbling block scenarios. Later this week, President Barack Obama will travel to France for an economic summit with world leaders. 

When the world's seven billionth person is born sometime tomorrow, there is a good chance that he or she will be born in India. That's because India adds 51 new births to its population every minute. World population growth has slowed but is still at what scientist and economist alike say is an unsustainable rate of growth. Famine, economic depression, war and disease are all in the future population as our population head toward six billion.
 


Herman Cain's 9-9-9 tax plan has helped boost him to the top of the Republican presidential field. But talking taxes in New Hampshire -- the nation's first primary state and one with no sales or income tax -- has long been considered a "no-no."For the most part merchants and customers alike are resisting a potential national sales tax, but those who have moved into the state or lived in other states do represent a significant number of Republican voters who are less resistant to the tax redistribution plan. One question asked, however, is that if this is a redistribution and none of us will suffer more than we already do, where is the gain in such a major overhaul,other than for the rich, who will see honest pre-loophole taxes go down?

Occupy Wall Street has off shoots nation wide. In Portland overnight Police arrested about 30 demonstrators early this morning with the Occupy Portland movement after they refused to leave a park in an affluent district after a midnight curfew. Police pulled vans up to a group of about 27-30 protesters
sitting in a circle at Jamison Square and began arresting the protesters one-by-one. Most of the protesters went limp and police carried or dragged them away. There was no violence during the 90-minute period of arrests. The protesters - all appearing to be in their 20s and 30s - were handcuffed before they were driven off. One continued to chant "we are the 99 percent." Dozens of other protesters remained on the edges of the park in a show of support, but the crowd thinned out around 3:30 a.m. as the last arrests were made. 



Anti-Wall Street protests in Los Angeles have spread north to the San Fernando Valley, but police say that unlike the ones downtown at City Hall, these demonstrators won't be setting up camp. About 20 protesters calling themselves Occupy San Fernando Valley were marching at Van Nuys Civic Center last night, chanting "They got bailed out, we got sold out," a refrain heard at similar protests in Manhattan and around the country

Tensions between Kenya and lawless neighboring Somalia are rising. Two weeks ago, Kenya sent forces across the border to chase down Al Shabaab militants blamed for a string of kidnappings as well as attacks on Kenyan soil. The rising hostilities comes as the region is dealing with a crippling drought and famine.  

 A memorial to Cold War Warriors was dedicated this weekend at a ground-breaking on the road to Lee Canyon and Mt Charleston. The head of a southern Nevada nonprofit group has released an architect's design for a black granite memorial to commemorate a Mount Charleston airplane crash that killed 14 during a Cold War-era flight to the secret Area 51 site in Nevada. Steve Ririe is chairman of Silent Heroes of the Cold War Corp. He told the Las Vegas Review-Journal the memorial on Mount Charleston will be erected by the U.S. Forest Service as part of a Silent Heroes of the Cold War National Memorial Ririe says he's raised about $45,000 in donations. That's about half the $90,000 cost. Plans call for a groundbreaking next summer for the memorial in the Kyle Canyon area about 40 miles northwest of Las Vegas.

Major changes could be in store for a tiny town on the road to the Grand Canyon's South Rim. The Tusayan Town Council is set to vote Wednesday on plans by an Italian developer to build high-end boutiques, a dude ranch, a spa resort and a high-density shopping area just off the main highway. Mayor Greg Bryan says it would set the character of Tusayan for years to come. Residents voted last year to incorporate the town, paving the way for local development decisions. Stilo Development Group USA has proposed hundreds of housing units and more than 3 million square feet of commercial space on three properties. Critics worry about a danger to the quality of life, the nature of the Grand Canyon experience, and say the plan lacks specifics, particularly on how developers would assure a water source.