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Sunday, June 30, 2013

Keeping Critical Thinking Active

Critical Thinking Activity is good for all ages. If you feel that you’re missing out on a lot of things lately because of your memory, then perhaps what you need is to engage in a critical thinking activity. A critical thinking activity is an activity that can enrich, educate, and make one’s knowledge wider while making his or her comprehension skills, a little deeper.

To grasp the idea of critical thinking further, here is a definition of critical thinking and the activities that children and adults can do in order to enrich their critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking Definition
Critical Thinking is an area of knowledge where one uses a higher base of reason and understanding in order to analyze, organize, and conclude things. Critical thinking is a way to get facts into place so that you can arrive at a better conclusion each and every time. This applies to one’s personal, academe, and professional lives.

As a human being, you are inclined to be subjective to your own needs. But with critical thinking, you will enable yourself to get rid of your subjectivity so that you can always be reasonable and mature in your decisions. This is an important thing to remember, especially for people who have bigger responsibilities in life such as world leaders, philosophers, and even immediate authorities such as parents.

What can Critical Thinking Activity do?

To hone the skill of critical thinking, forms of critical thinking activity should be instilled to a person at a very young age. This way, they can always choose reason over emotions which will make them better and more reliable persons of the future. Adults are also encouraged to use a critical thinking activity to improve their overall persona, and their use of reason as a way to discern one thing from another.

Critical Thinking in Education
Critical thinking is a way to increase one’s overall mental skill. To do this, one must try a critical thinking activity which can help in their critical thinking skills, in one way or another. Here are a couple of critical thinking activity forms that are meant for kids, and critical thinking activity types that are meant for adults.

Critical Thinking Kids
For kids, an ideal critical thinking activity would involve some sort of game. Kids happen to have short attention spans, and letting them engage in an activity in critical thinking that would pique their interest can really do so much for honing their critical thinking skills.

An activity for children that involves some critical thinking can be some simple kits that can be bought from toy stores, such as small games that use logic. Small cubes and shapes that can be rearranged, or even a simple board game that a child an adult can play can do so much in improving their critical thinking skills.

Critical Thinking for Adults
Adults tend to have the need to express their individuality. This is why the activities for critical thinking that are meant for adults are basically the ones that would show some of their innermost desires. Thiscan be reading, writing, pursuing a hobby or playing a game.

A lot of heart and focus should be given for the sake of critical thinking. A critical thinking activity is just an avenue to get to the peak of one’s critical thinking skill, and it should help both children and adults make better and more informed decisions later in life.



Girls' Legos Are A Hit, But Why Do Girls Need Special Legos?

Olivia's House is part of the Lego Friends series.
Two years ago, in 2011, 90 percent of Lego's consumers were boys. A tough statistic to swallow for those of us who grew up playing with Lego's gender-neutral buckets of bricks.

But the statistic came straight from Lego, which was then focused on boys with franchised sets based on properties like Star Wars and The Avengers after weathering a disastrous period in the 1990s that left the company on the brink of collapse.

"Construction had never worked for girls, for whatever reason," says Garrick Johnson, a toy analyst for BMO Capitol Markets. "It took [Lego] four years of research to figure out how to address the girls' market, how to attack it the right way."

Lego Friends turned out to be one of the biggest successes in Lego's history. They're five adorable little dolls with distinctive names and storylines and sets that encourage girls to build karate studios, beauty parlors and veterinary offices.

The line doubled sales expectations in 2012, the year it launched. Sales to girls tripled in just that year.

Johnson says the company carefully studied differences between how girls and boys play. "When boys build a construction set, they'll build a castle, let's say, and they'll play with the finished product on the outside. When girls build construction sets, they tend to play on the inside."

And research showed that girls loved little details, says Lego brand relations manager Amanda Santoro. "When we were testing this, we asked girls what would you like to see in a Lego school?" she said, as she showed off the line at Toy Fair, the massive industry event held each year in New York City. "Of course, they said an art studio. So we see a lot of detail here with the different paint canisters and the canvas here [a Friend] is creating."

David Pickett blogs about Legos at , where he's criticized the Lego Friends' gender implications. "Their legs can't move independently, so they move as one big block," he points out.

That's not the case with "minifigs" — the classic Lego minifigures with stocky little torsos, snap-off heads, and feet designed to click onto Lego blocks. Additionally, Lego Friends cannot turn their wrists.

"That sort of sends a message about what we expect women being able to do physically," Pickett notes.

Lego Friends triggered the ire of Joy Pochatila, a scientist and mother of two small girls. Her first reaction to the line was dismissive. "Why can't they just play with regular Legos? Why does it have to be girl-driven?" she wondered.

But Pochatila also was dismayed by how many of the regular sets revolve around male superheroes. "You don't see a Wonder Woman set," she points out.

Her husband, Davis Evans, is a staunch Lego defender. When presented with the minifigs' skewed gender numbers, he argued that the androgynous figures could be read as female.

Pochatila said she'd prefer a few more specifically female figures, ones that reflect a real-life ratio. And it's hard, she admitted, to argue with Lego Friends' appeal, the complexity of their sets and their overall message of empowerment.

The success of the girl-centric Lego Friends has led to little girl dolls popping up in construction sets all over the place, including pink ones from Mega Blocks and Mattel's Barbie. That's great, say fans, for developing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills for girls. But critics wonder, would it be so hard for Lego to develop — even market — toys for girls and boys to enjoy together?

Additional images and the full audio of the story by clicking here:

Taj Mahal: Still Cooking Up 'Heirloom Music' His Own Way

Taj Mahal is credited with helping popularize American blues over the course of his five-decade career.

Jay Blakesberg/Courtesy of the artist
Taj Mahal is credited with helping popularize American blues over the course of his five-decade career, has a degree in animal husbandry and agronomy, and planned to be a farmer. Music was just something he did.

"No matter what went down, music was always going to be a part of my life," the guitarist and singer says. "What ultimately happened is that, over a period of time, I just kind of looked around and when like, 'Wow! I'm actually making a living doing this.'"

Mahal started making that living in Massachusetts, where he grew up and went to college. He also created a stage name for himself. He was born Henry St. Clair Fredericks, Jr., but he admired Gandhi and Indian philosophy.

"In looking out into the world, it didn't look all that nice out there," Mahal says. "And who were the nice people? Certainly Mahatma Gandhi was."

So, he became Taj Mahal? In 1964, with his new name, Mahal headed for Los Angeles, where he joined up with a group of musicians that included . They called themselves the Rising Sons and played a mix of blues, rock and country.

The Rising Sons were not a commercial success; Columbia didn't even release their first album at the time. But Mahal stayed with the label and began his solo career. He traveled with his band up to the San Francisco Bay Area, where he finally settled in 1971 — when it was still a fervent center of the anti-war movement and the counterculture. As we drive through Berkeley, he recalls why he moved here.

"The weather, the mix of people. The university was in the middle, the ideas were there, the sound of music were coming out of everywhere," he says. The places he used to play are legendary: the Winterland Ballroom, the original Fillmore, the Carousel Ballroom. Most of them are gone today.

But Mahal is still here: After a stint living in Hawaii, he came back, still in love with the diversity of the area, especially its food culture. Mahal is a devoted cook, and we make a stop at his favorite spice shop in Oakland, Specialty Foods Inc. Pointing out a particular spice, he swears, "Put this on a fish and you'll have to come back."

Both Mahal's parents were musicians. His grandmother was from St. Kitts in the West Indies.
"My grandmother had many children. She lost most. So when we came along, we were really special. I was the first grandchild that could see her spirit moving to a new generation," he says.

At home he was exposed to traditional Caribbean music and jazz. One of his neighbors, Lyn Perry, was the nephew of famous bluesman — Arthur "Big Boy: Crudup. Perry taught Mahal blues.

"He was playing grown man music at 13, 14 — so when he found out I had a guitar and I found out he could play there was no stopping it," Mahal explains. "You know, I spent all my time hanging out with him. He would just play, and I would learn how to play what he was playing."

Fat Dawg — that's his legal name — runs Subway Guitars, down the street from Mahal's house; the store has been there since Mahal first came to the Bay Area.

Mahal comes here most days to try out guitars and sometimes ukeleles — or just to hang out incognito.

"We call him The Maestro," Fat Dawg says, "because there's a lot of baggage with the other name."

Some don't call him the maestro. With fame came critics who didn't like the way he reinterpreted traditional blues and mixed it with rock and unusual instruments. But that is exactly what makes Taj Mahal special, says . He was playing guitar with Jefferson Airplane when Mahal moved to the Bay Area, and he recalls seeing Mahal play at the Fillmore.

"And in that band it was Taj and an army of tubas," Kaukonen says. "I mean, in an era where the guitar was sort of approaching ascendancy, to come to a rock 'n' roll venue and have a tuba band — I mean, what more could you say, really?"

Over the years, Taj Mahal has faded in and out of the pop music world. But, he says, there are food fads too.

"It's just like heirloom tomatoes; this is heirloom music," Mahal says. "We used to have all kinds of diversity in our poultry, in our vegetables, in our fruits, and slowly but surely the monoculture beast comes in. I'm saying that's not a good idea. And if it means that I gotta do it on my own, then I do it on my own."

At 71 years old, Mahal still tours 160 days a year. And where ever he goes, he says, he likes to find a kitchen and cook.

In 1869, the year the Lone Ranger is set, railroad technology was progressing at a breakneck pace. It was also the year that the final link in the transcontinental railroad was put into place. See the movie opening July 3rd.

James Dean and Natalie Wood, just being kids on a movie set!

Behind the scenes: James Dean and Natalie Wood in Nicholas Ray's 1955 classic "Rebel Without a Cause"

RIP James Gandolfini. Public Enemy. Dating Ap from the Bachelor. Will 'World War Z' rise? Superticket to the Movies! CNN Defector to FOX.

RIP James Gandolfini. Will 'World War Z' rise?

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano (HBO)

After the coffee. Before remembering how fleeting life can be. 

The Skinny: Very sad about James Gandolfini. I only met him once, and it wasn't on duty. I used to hang out in a little bar in Chelsea that "Sopranos" costar Michael Imperioli owned, and Gandolfini came in. He was nice, and I seem to recall a brief conversation about music. Thursday's headlines include appreciations of Gandolfini and a look at the hard road "World War Z" traveled to get to the big screen. If you are interested in receiving an email alert when the Morning Fix is live, please send me a note.

Fade to black. James Gandolfini, who brought conflicted mobster Tony Soprano to life in the HBO series "The Sopranos" died suddenly while vacationing in Italy at the age of 51. Gandolfini, who won three Emmys for his portrayal of the Jersey mob boss, was also an established character and stage actor, and a producer as well. "Sopranos" creator David Chase said Gandolfini was "one of the greatest actors of this or any time." Appreciations of Gandolfini from the Los Angeles Times, the New York TimesUSA TodayVariety, the Hollywood ReporterBuzzFeed and Vulture.

Forgotten credits. Earlier this year, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences hired Vicangelo Bulluck as its managing director of outreach and strategic initiatives. But according to Deadline Hollywood, AMPAS left off some of Bulluck's resume, which includes producing soft-core pornography primarily for Playboy, in its bio of him. 

Daily Dose: The lawyer behind a class-action suit against Time Warner Cable over how the distributor sells its local sports channels is no stranger to the industry. Maxwell Blecher of the Los Angeles law firm Blecher & Collins has been trying for years to get the pay-television industry's practice of bundling channels together tossed in court. However, he has not been too successful yet. Last year, a panel of judges for the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco sided with a dozen media giants including News Corp., Time Warner, DirecTV and Comcast in a class-action suit Blecher filed that sought to end the practice of bundling.

"World War Z"
Mireille Enos, left, and Brad Pitt star in "World War Z." The film tells the story of former U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (Pitt), a husband and father who, like much of the world’s population, goes on the run after a zombie outbreak causes mass panic and a global health crisis. (Jaap Buitendijk / Paramount Pictures)
Rise up! Though it's not quite "Waterworld," the zombie movie "World War Z" starring Brad Pitthas had its share of production drama. But now it is looking like the movie may manage to overcome all the behind-the-scenes drama and turn out to be a decent performer at the box office. The Los Angeles Times on the long journey of "World War Z."

Making history. Thanks to "Duck Dynasty," "Ice Road Truckers," "Hatfields and McCoys" and other hits, A&E and History have become two of the hottest channels around. Nancy Dubuc, the executive behind much of that success, has also risen up the executive ranks and now runs A&E Networks, which is co-owned by Disney and Hearst Corp. Business Week weighs in with a profile of Dubuc.

'Pacific Rim' movies
Warner Bros.' upcoming science fiction film "Pacific Rim&" is among the titles expected to be included when Cineplex rolls out its SuperTicket package. (Kerry Hayes / Warner Bros.)

Get ready for a "SuperTicket" to the movies.

'SuperTicket' for seeing movie at theater and home.

Major studios and theater chains are experimenting with a 'SuperTicket' package in which they sell digital copies of films to moviegoers.

After years of bickering over how soon after theatrical release a movie can be piped into the home, major studios and theater owners are experimenting with a new way to promote home entertainment sales — by selling ticket packages that enable patrons to order early digital downloads of movies that they see in the theater.
In the first multi-studio deal of its kind, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures Canada, Sony Pictures and Universal Pictures are partnering with Canadian theater chain Cineplex to offer a SuperTicket package that combines an admission ticket with a pre-order of a digital copy of the film.
Under the deal, the digital version of the movie will be available before the DVD and Blu-ray release and will include added features, such as bonus scenes, special footage from the movie, cast interviews and discounts on related films. Customers will access the movie via Ultraviolet, through which consumers can watch the film on any device they wish.
"We feel at the end of the day this really changes the whole business from the perspective of movie evolution and how people watch movies," said Ellis Jacob, president and chief executive of Toronto-based Cineplex, which has 136 theaters with 1,454 screens."This will be the future of owning movies after seeing movies."
If successful, the experiment could portend a new business model for movie distribution in Hollywood and encourage U.S. theater chains to follow suit.
For theaters, the model provides a new source of revenue at a time when theatrical attendance has flattened in North America. Studios would benefit by tapping into the exhibitors' large customer base to spur home entertainment sales at a time when DVD sales have declined.
"This is a very big step forward in bringing exhibition into an ancillary business where they've never been before," said Dan Fellman, Warner Bros.' president of domestic distribution. "This is an innovative and interesting way to expand the DVD business. You're reaching a consumer that you know is a moviegoer. It's like one-stop shopping for the same consumer."
Although SuperTicket is only available to Canadian moviegoers, other theaters in North America are launching similar experiments.
Last week Paramount Pictures and Regal Cinemas said they would offer a $50 "Mega Ticket" that included a ticket to see an advance screening of the Brad Pitt movie "World War Z" on Wednesday, two days before its worldwide release. The package included one HD digital copy of the movie when it becomes available, a pair of custom RealD 3-D glasses, a limited-edition full-size movie poster — and a small popcorn.
"The interest and anticipation for Brad Pitt's latest thriller is at a fever pitch and this 'World War Z Mega Ticket' offers a unique experience for our patrons," Ken Thewes, chief marketing officer forRegal Entertainment Group, said last week.
Unlike the Cineplex deal, however, Regal's package was limited to five theaters in Houston, Philadelphia, San Diego, Atlanta and at the Edwards Irvine Spectrum 21. It was not tied to a single movie or studio.
Cineplex will roll out its SuperTicket package this summer for several upcoming movies. Among the titles that are expected to be included is Warner Bros.' upcoming science-fiction film "Pacific Rim."
When customers purchase a ticket they will receive two vouchers — one for their theater admission and another containing a unique access code, which they can redeem for the digital version.
When the movie is available in the home, they log into a website where a copy of the movie has already been stored in their Ultraviolet locker and can be accessed on their computer, mobile device or Internet-connected TV.
How much will SuperTicket cost? Cineplex said prices will vary depending on the movie and features included in the package. Sources not authorized to speak on the record said the download packages would cost $20 more than the movie ticket price.
"This is really a convenience for the guests," Jacob said. "It's saying, 'When you watch a movie in the theater, now you have the ability to store it in your [digital] locker and watch it on multiple devices.'"
The budding alliances between studios and theater owners are surprising given the level of tension that existed only two years ago, when the sides clashed publicly over when movies should be available in the home.
Theater owners were incensed over plans by some studios to offer the early release of movies into the home, which they said would hurt their business by encouraging consumers to wait for the movie to come out on home video instead of seeing it in theaters.


Netflix has said it wasn't seeking special treatment from broadband firms. Pictured, Netflix's California offices.
Toll fee. As the Internet gets clogged with more and more content, some Web companies are paying broadband providers in return for better connections. This is opening up a debate about who should foot the bill for making sure traffic runs smoothly online. The Wall Street Journal looks at the complex issue and who's on board -- Google and Microsoft -- and who's not -- Netflix.
A dating app from "Bachelor" veterans
"The Bachelor" host Chris Harrison and creator Mike Fleiss worked with Silicon Valley notables to develop the dating app At First Sight, shown on an iPhone. (Perceptual Networks)

'The Bachelor' host Chris Harrison on launching a dating app.

“The Bachelor” doesn’t have a great track record when it comes to forming lasting relationships. But show creator Mike Fleiss and host Chris Harrison are hoping that their new venture will inspire more meaningful love connections.

“The Bachelor” veterans on Wednesday unveiled At First Sight, a dating app aimed at helping singles connect through video profiles. The app, available for free on iOS and Android, was developed by Perceptual Networks, a tech start-up whose investors include Silicon Valley notables such asPayPal founder Max Levchin and YouTube co-founder Steve Chen.

Users of the app are asked to post an introductory video and then add follow-up clips answering more specific queries, such as, "What is the scariest thing you’ve ever been through?" or "What is the most fun thing you’ve done lately?"

Harrison, 41, who recently divorced his wife of 18 years, said At First Sight stemmed from both his personal experience and his work helping to cast people for “The Bachelor” franchise.
We spoke to the host about his new project, the world of online dating and -- yes, his own At First Sight profile.

Why create a dating app when there are already so many online dating sites out there?

Mike and I have been talking about this for about 10 years. For a while, we thought about getting involved with an existing site, but the more we looked into them, we realized how antiquated they were. The way we cast “The Bachelor” has really been a study in human behavior. And we’d never cast someone based off of an old, Photoshopped picture from 18 years ago, a bio and a psych evaluation.

The backers of this app look like they’re some pretty serious tech titans. How did you team up?

Through Mike, we met these guys who are just ridiculous big wigs in Silicon Valley. We know the love game, and they know the tech game. Working with these brainiacs has been so cool to watch, and so out of my comfort zone from where I usually do business.

Did you and Mike put up your own money to help make the app a reality?

We are fully vested in this.

The app is free right now. How are you going to make your money back?

I don’t know if we will eventually charge. We’re in a beta phase right now. If millions of people are downloading this eventually, there’s obviously ad space, so there will be revenue and cash flowing from other areas. Like, if Ryan Gosling is on here, and every woman wants to get to him -- there may be a way to pay to send him a virtual bouquet or something to make you stick out.

You recently got divorced. How has the dating world been for you?

You know, a lot of this was inspired by where I am right now -- trying to get back out there and realizing that most of my good friends are married with kids. I’m having to meet new people and get back out there. So I kind of put my own pain and misery into the thought process, like, how do I connect with people?

But would you really make a profile on At First Sight? You’re a public figure.

A lot of times, celebrities -- or fascinating, beautiful men or women who have a lot to offer -- say they get inundated with 50,000 messages on dating sites and they run off. So we’ve put safety measures into the app which only allow you to receive a certain number of hits per day.

OK, so you do have a profile?

Yes. I’m in New York with my daughter right now, so I haven’t filled out all of my stuff yet. But I don’t see why not. I meet people all the time from different walks of life. I feel completely secure. If I sat there and saw your video and it intrigued me, after watching four or five more videos I would totally be interested in messaging you.

Do you think rejects from past “Bachelor” seasons will sign up?

Totally. Sarah Herron from Sean’s season just tweeted me asking if they need a spokesmodel! Maybe we’ll even be able to cast the show from the app in the future, if there are people who really blow us away.

Public Enemy
Public Enemy is using BitTorrent to let fans remix a new track. (BitTorrent Inc. June 19, 2013)
It takes a nation of millions … to make Public Enemy’s next remix.
The political hip-hop group, best known for such songs as "Bring the Noise" and "Fight the Power," is letting fans remix its new single, “Get Up Stand Up,” featuring Brother Ali, for a contest.
Peer-to-peer file-sharing service BitTorrent Inc. is providing the raw materials through a “bundle” for fans to download for free. The Public Enemy package gives fans access to the 37-stem multi-track for the song, allowing them to make their own remixes and submit their work.
The bundle also includes outtakes and a music video. 
Members of Public Enemy will listen to the resulting tracks and vote to determine their favorite, which they’ll release digitally.
BitTorrent has been testing its Bundle service, which lets musicians, filmmakers and other content creators distribute their work online.
File-distribution companies have not often been seen as friends of musicians, but BitTorrent is trying to change that by giving artists new ways to interact directly with fans.
The BitTorrent Bundle program, which will have its official launch by the end of this year, lets artists distribute to the site’s 170 million active monthly users. Artists including Death Grips and Kumare have used it, as has Berklee College of Music.
“We’re really trying to use the Bundle not only as a distribution and consumption space, but also as a collaboration space,” said Matt Mason, vice president of marketing at BitTorrent, in an interview.
For the Public Enemy contest, the first-prize winner will have the winning mix distributed by the group and will get recording equipment and Public Enemy gear. Additional prizes will go to eight runners-up. 
Though Public Enemy is making its download available in exchange for an email address, Mason said the Bundle service will let artists make money by requesting donations.
“The idea of the bundle is, you can publish anything and distribute to millions of people,” Mason said. “We wanted to give the artists the option for how they want to monetize their content.”
Though Public Enemy continues to record and tour with rappers Chuck D and Flavor Flav sharing mic duties, Flavor Flav is perhaps best known currently as a reality-TV mainstay, most notably as the star of VH1's "Flavor of Love." 
Howard Kurtz
Howard Kurtz (Associated Press)
Howard Kurtz is taking his critical lens on the media from CNN to Fox News.
The media critic and longtime host of CNN's "Reliable Sources" will anchor a similar weekend show for Fox News starting in July.
In making the announcement, Fox News executive vice president Michael Clemente said Kurtz is a "master of social media trends, information good and bad, and a veteran political reporter. Altogether, he will add even greater depth to a very accomplished team of reporters and anchors."
A former reporter for the Washington Post and the Daily Beast, Kurtz has helmed "Reliable Sources" since 1998. He will host for the next two weeks and then CNN will search for replacement, the network said.
Kurtz has at times been criticized for covering the media while having a cozy relationship with CNN. More recently, he took heat for an article on the Daily Beast about NBA player Jason Collins announcing his homosexuality. Kurtz criticized the article Collins wrote for Sports Illustrated because Kurtz claimed that Collins didn't acknowledge he had once been engaged to a woman.
The problem was that Collins had mentioned his engagement in his article. Kurtz also made a video about Collins' article for a website called Daily Download that made fun of the player. Kurtz left the Daily Beast soon after the article, while CNN stood by him.
Kurtz will also write a column on the media for Fox News' website.

Kelsey Grammer
Kelsey Grammer is starring in a new FX sitcom with Martin Lawrence. (Jay L. Clendenin/Los Angeles Times / June 19, 2013)

Inside the Los Angeles Times: Soon you may be able to buy a ticket to watch a movie in your home. FX has struck a deal for a new sitcom starring Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence. 



Life and life choices are wonders to conceive. If you do this, then that might not happen. If you do that, you could end up with another thing. Yet, to look back is fruitless, because the blessings you have come from who you are and who you are with, who you have helped and what you have accomplished. If potential is unmet, there is a reason, and perhaps the potential lay in what you have done and who are are today. - Art Lynch

First Openly Gay president of a major motion picture union. RIP. Gary David Goldberg. 'Mad Men' and 'Under the Dome'. 'Monsters U.' and 'World War Z' score! Big Changes at Major Studios. Hollywood's VOD experiment.

RIP. Gary David Goldberg, whose producing credits included "Family Ties," "Brooklyn Bridge" and "Spin City," died Sunday of brain cancer. Before creating "Family Ties" Goldberg cut his teeth writing on such CBS classics as "The Bob Newhart Show" and "Lou Grant." An appreciation from Variety.

"Monsters University"
"Monsters University" made it no contest at the box office. (Disney-Pixar)

After the coffee. Before over analyzing the "Mad Men" season finale. 

The Skinny: Actually, I don't over-analyze "Mad Men." Nor do I read anyone else's critiques since most make "Moby Dick" look like a short story. It was a good episode that made me tear up at the end. There's my take. Monday's headlines include the box office recap and Hollywood's experiment with early video-on-demand in South Korea.

Julie Henderson
Julie Henderson was named chief communications officer for 21st Century Fox.(News Corp. / 21st Century Fox)

21st Century Fox senior team to include Julie Henderson

Public relations executive Julie Henderson will wear a new hat as chief communications officer for the soon-to-be entertainment company 21st Century Fox.
The split of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. into two publicly traded companies later this week has prompted new titles -- and, in some cases, new allegiances -- for many existing News Corp. executives.
Henderson, who stepped into the role of News Corp.'s communications point person last year, will be part of the senior management team for the renamed television and film company.  
Her new title will be executive vice president and chief communications officer, the company said Monday.  Henderson is a close ally of News Corp. Chief Operating Officer Chase Carey, who also will move over to 21st Century Fox.
"Ms. Henderson will continue to serve as the chief spokesperson for the company, leading all global communications initiatives, specifically in support of corporate financial matters, mergers and acquisitions, regulatory issues and litigation," the company said in a statement.
Before being elevated to the top role, Henderson was a senior vice president for communications and corporate strategy. Before joining News Corp., Henderson ran the digital division at MPRM Public Relations in Los Angeles.
News Corp. communications will be managed by Ashley Huston, former spokeswoman for the Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones. Robert Thomson, former Wall Street Journal managing editor, will become chief executive.
The publishing company, which will spin off from News Corp. and take its parent's name, will include the Wall Street Journal, New York Post, Times of London, the Australian, HarperCollins book publishing and a nascent educational materials division called Amplify. 
Murdoch will serve as chairman of both News Corp. and 21st Century Fox. The 82-year-old mogul also claimed the job of chief executive of 21st Century Fox.

Big Drama at One of Hollywood's Most Successful Studios. The destabilization of the most successful studio in the history of the industry is underway. Warner Brothers has lost it's top execs over both television and the movie studio. Both were very successful at what they did and made big bucks for the studio. The stewards over Dark Knight, Argo, Harry Potter and major films, plus the boss who green light "Big Bang Theatre" are gone. Also out is the home entertainment boss, who oversaw the DVD, OnDemand and VOD growth despite a decline among other studios. Unanswered questions include the future of "Legendary" films and other partners or production divisions. More from KCRW's The Business and the LA Times.

Kevin Tsujihara
Warner Bros. CEO Kevin Tsujihara is doing away with management layers. (Bloomberg)

Warner Bros.' CEO Kevin Tsujihara does away with movie, TV fiefdoms

New Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara is wasting no time overhauling the movie and television studio and doing away with executive layers.
"Flatter and faster," is how one Warner Bros. senior executive described Tsujihara's structure.
Whereas previous Warner Bros. chief executive Barry Meyer preferred to have a few direct reports that were given wide latitude to run their units, Tsujihara's structure is more decentralized and will provide him with a ground floor view of the entire operation.
It will also mean Tsujihara will have a lot more direct reports than his predecessor.
For example, when Jeff Robinov was president of Warner Bros. Motion Pictures Group, distribution, marketing and production reported to him and he reported to Meyer.
With Robinov leaving, Tsujihara has put four movie executives on equal footing and all will report to him.
It is similar to the approach Tsujihara took with television after Bruce Rosenblum resigned from the presidency of the Warner Bros. TV Group. Rosenblum oversaw all aspects of the studio's TV business. Now, there are three executives holding the title of president and each reports to Tsujihara.
The challenge for Tsujihara's approach will be whether the people he has named president can coexist. If not, Tsujihara could end up spending much of his time playing referee instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
On the other hand, the exits of Robinov and Rosenblum was inevitable. Both had battled Tsujihara, who had previously run the studio's home entertainment unit, to succeed Meyer and there were hard feelings that probably weren't going away any time soon. The last thing a new CEO needs is to be second-guessed by the people he beat out for the job.
The drama of the bake-off at Warner Bros. and the aftermath that has led to two well-respected executives to leave is the opposite of the smooth change of leadership that took place over the last few years at HBO, another Time Warner unit.
There, three executives -- Richard Plepler, Eric Kessler and Michael Lombardo -- all had the title of president under chairman and chief executive Bill Nelson. When Nelson retired last year, Plepler was named his successor but Kessler and Lombardo remained in senior positions.

From (L-R): Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman and Toby Emmerich
From left, Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman and Toby Emmerich are rising at Warner Bros. in the wake of Jeff Robinov's departure. (Kroll, Getty Images; Silverman, Warner Bros.; Emmerich, New Line.)

Jeff Robinov out at Warner Bros.; studio taps new film leadership

Warner Bros. unveiled new leadership for its movie division, promoting executives Sue Kroll, Greg Silverman and Toby Emmerich and confirming that studio chief Jeff Robinov is leaving.
The trio will lead Hollywood's largest film studio, a unit of Time Warner Inc.
Kroll, president of worldwide marketing, adds international distribution to her duties.  Silverman, president of production, will also become president of creative development and worldwide production at Warner Bros. Pictures. New Line Cinema President and Chief Operating Officer Emmerich will continue to oversee that production company and assume responsibility for Warner Bros. Theater Ventures., which is its live theater division.
The Burbank company also said it has extended the contract of Dan Fellman, president of domestic distribution. The leadership trio and Fellman will report to Warner Bros. Chief Executive Kevin Tsujihara.
Robinov, president of Warner Bros. Pictures Group since 2007, was not mentioned in the Warner Bros. announcement. The Los Angeles Times reported last week that the executive was making arrangements to depart the studio after a falling out with management. 
For more than two years, the studio has been gripped by tension and turmoil as three executives — Robinov, Tsujihara and former TV president Bruce Rosenblum — all jockeyed to succeed Barry Meyer, who is retiring as chairman at the end of the year. 
Tsujihara won the bake-off and was named chief executive in January. He will assume Meyer's chairmanship at the end of the year.
Robinov's departure comes about a month after the resignation of Rosenblum, chief of Warner Bros. Television Group.
Tsujihara's decision to appoint a trio of executives to run Warner Bros.' movie group is similar to the approach he took to restructuring the television unit in the aftermath of Rosenblum's exit.
“Warner Bros. is the world’s preeminent motion picture studio with one of the most talented executive benches in the industry,” said Tsujihara in a statement.  “Collectively, this team has more than 100 years at the company and broad experience across the film business, which will ensure that Warner Bros. Pictures continues as a respected leader in production, marketing and global distribution."
Kroll became president of worldwide marketing at Warner Bros. Pictures in January 2008. Silverman has been president of production at Warner Bros. Pictures since April 2011.
Emmerich has headed New Line Cinema since March 2008. The production company, a unit of Warner Bros., made recent movies "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey," "Jack the Giant Slayer"and "The Incredible Burt Wonderstone."
Warner Bros. also announced that Veronika Kwan Vandenberg will continue as president of international distribution, and will eventually take over worldwide distribution responsibilities upon the planned retirement of Fellman.

Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men."
Don Draper (Jon Hamm) in "Mad Men." (Jaimie Trueblood/AMC / June 23, 2013)

Matthew Weiner explains the Hershey bar

(Spoiler alert) Despite being set amid national turning points for race relations, the major political parties, and the Vietnam War, the season finale of “Mad Men” was always moving toward a pivotal moment with a chocolate bar.
Let this serve as an official spoiler alert for those that have not yet seen Sunday night’s season finale of the Emmy Award-winning drama, which placed much of its action in the turbulent year of 1968. In an interview last week from his offices at Los Angeles Center Studios, the show’s creator, Matthew Weiner, spoke about his choices in the closing episode "In Care Of."
“I’ve never wanted the history to take over the show,” said Weiner, who directed Sunday's episode. “But it seemed clear that all of the bubbling issues that we’d talked about, even those tangentially in the news since the show started, were completely in people’s lives in 1968.”
“The Hershey pitch is where we were working toward the entire season,” he continued. “And then the one-two punch of Don coming clean and this image of him standing in front of the house with his children.”
While the show’s central character, Don Draper, has certainly had his problems with clients this season, the resident creative genius at Sterling Cooper & Partners suffered a genuine crisis at the most unlikely time -- during a business meeting.
At first, Don dazzles visiting Hershey executives with a heartwarming pitch that linked his own loving childhood to a Hershey’s chocolate bar. Of course, it’s a lie -- and the home audience immediately knows it. Then, Don makes sure the Hershey executives know it.
“I loved that Don would give this phony baloney story and he would tell it really well,” said Weiner. “Then we see him confess to inappropriate people where it really mattered because it was Hershey, because of Ted, because he was so ashamed, and because he knew he couldn’t take it anymore.”
“And there was that crucial line ‘Weren’t you a lucky little boy,’ ” he added
Weiner chose to build the scene around the product because Don is from Pennsylvania, where the chocolate empire is based. Also, Weiner has had a longtime interest in business titans such as Milton Hershey, Conrad Hilton and H.J. Heinz, among others.
“There are certain American businessmen that are completely eccentric but have this kind of strange moral quality,” said Weiner. “As moral as you can be and be a ruthless business person.”
In one of the season’s most poignant moments, Don brings his children -- most notably his estranged oldest daughter Sally -- before the decaying carcass of the home of his youth. (In a recent episode, Sally caught her father sleeping with a neighbor's wife.)
“You’d like it to be the beginning of something,” said Weiner. “I’m not sure whether it is or not, because I don’t even know.”
“But the gesture itself is huge,” he added. “It’s a tough thing for him to do it. He does it in a Dad-like way and as someone I work with commented a lot of us never have that moment with our Dad or Mom.”

Matthew Weiner on AMC, Twitter and the End of 'Mad Men' (click here).

Daily Dose: All eyes will be on the ratings tomorrow to see how CBS' summer series "Under the Dome," based on a Stephen King book, will perform. While cable networks have long used summer to launch new dramas, the broadcast networks have primarily stuck to reality. But that luxury no longer exists and broadcast networks can no longer ignore summer.

Under the Dome
Deputy Linda (Natalie Martinez) and her fiance, Rusty (Josh Carter), find themselves separated by a massive transparent dome that's suddenly fallen on the town of Chester's Mill on "Under the Dome." (CBS / April 26, 2013)

'Under the Dome' seems in a rush to tell a good story

The CBS adaptation of Stephen King's tale of a small town mysteriously trapped looks promising, if only it would slow down.

You'd think it would be easy to adapt Stephen King to film or television, but history has proven otherwise. King's work is as much about mood as it is monsters, and that's a tough combo. For every masterpiece ("The Shining," "Carrie," "Misery"), there's a mess ("Christine," "Children of the Corn," "Bag of Bones").
Still, my own deep and abiding love for King began with television; my friends and I watched the 1979 miniseries "Salem's Lot" literally on the edge of our seats, pillows in hand for the moments when we Could Not Bear to watch.
So there are worries and expectations for "Under the Dome," which premieres Monday night on CBS. And not just regarding King — concerning the nature of adaptation as well.
Although "Under the Dome" is based on the 1,100-page book of the same name, it is a full-fledged, open-ended dramatic series. Graphic novelist Brian K. Vaughan, brought on as executive producer and writer, was given King's blessing to take the story of a small Pennsylvania town suddenly trapped by a mysterious barrier wherever he felt it needed to go.
Which is under that wacky dome as quickly as possible. For a story of such wide and possibly allegorical ambitions, the pilot seems in an unnecessary rush to get the party started.
Opening with a shot that manages to make the hatching of a baby bird seem ominous, we get right down to evil-doings. One man burying another in the middle of the woods, a young couple whose summer fling clearly cloaks something darker. A local drunk calls the sheriff to complain about some commotion, and a surprisingly lucid American hoarder tips off the comely local newspaper editor to a mysterious stockpiling of propane.
Then boom, down comes the dome, deadly and dramatic. After a cellphone call to his employer reveals he probably killed the guy he was burying in self-defense, Dale "Barbie" Barbara (Mike Vogel) runs his car into a field to avoid hitting some cows. Good thing too: As the earth trembles and the birds take off, an invisible barrier slices down right where his car would have been, cutting a cow in half.
As he is joined by young Joe McAlister (Colin Ford), whose family owns the field and the bifurcated cow, a private airplane smashes against the same invisible force, showering wreckage and body parts.
Right down the road, Sheriff Duke Perkins (Jeff Fahey), whose pacemaker suddenly goes dodgy, realizes that electricity and phones are out all over town. Showing up at the scene of the plane crash, Perkins immediately concludes that the whole town is trapped (it's like he read the Wiki page). He is quickly joined by Big Jim Rennie (Dean Norris), an Al Haig-like car dealer, and that titian-haired investigative editor, Julia Shumway (Rachelle Lefevre).
All of whom seem to instantly understand that Chester's Mill, Penn., is completely cut off from the rest of the world, probably for quite some time.
Many other things are established with equal rapidity and all-cap importance: Carolyn (Aisha Hinds) and Alice (Samantha Mathis) are passing through town when their troubled teenaged daughter Norrie (Mackenzie LIntz) has a fit that will no doubt Prove Significant (she mutters something about stars falling in straight lines). Big Jim commandeers the hip 'n' groovy radio station in a Most Fascist Way (although he does show life-saving foresight) and quickly asks to be deputized. The trysting couple seen earlier is revealed to be Rennie's Obviously Psycho son, Junior (Alexander Koch), and young Joe's Sweet but Feisty sister, Angie (Britt Robertson); their mother is on the other side of the dome so they are perilously On Their Own. Meanwhile, Sparks Fly between Julia and Barbie, although Julia is married to the town doctor, who is Inexplicably Missing.
Every pilot is burdened with establishing character, jump-starting the narrative and hooking the audience, but "Under the Dome" unnecessarily force-feeds us its first hour to its own detriment. What made King the master of his genre was patience and attention to detail — here is a town just like yours, here are people similar to the ones you know; they're drinking coffee, they're eating pie and chatting — except, whoops, a vampire has just moved into the house on the hill.
Perhaps Vaughan and his colleagues were afraid a quieter, more suspenseful opening would seem too trite, or maybe CBS figured the point is what happens under the dome so let's get that dome in placetout suite.
This was, perhaps, King's most overtly political novel, illustrating how quickly the social order we take for granted can erode when people are isolated and afraid — "Lord of the Flies" with grown-ups. Even so, order begins unraveling here at such a break-neck pace that it's swiftly predictable.
Which isn't to say "Under the Dome" won't wind up being fun to watch. All of the performances seem promising — and what's not to love about "Twilight's" Lefevre proving that print journalism is alive and well and drop-dead gorgeous? It's summer, it's Stephen King, it's small-town Pennsylvania, and it's a great concept; I'm in.
I just hope the creators take a breath between Episodes 1 and 2 and remember that when you're telling a scary story, it's best to tell it slow.

'The Good Wife'
CBS series "The Good Wife" is now available to Lovefilm Instant's U.K. and German users, as are "Blue Bloods," "Nurse Jackie" and "Californication." (CBS Broadcasting Inc.)

Amazon's Lovefilm gets 'The Good Wife,' 'Star Trek' in CBS deal

Lovefilm Instant, Inc.'s European streaming video on-demand service, has landed a licensing deal for content from CBS Studios International.
With the agreement announced Monday, Lovefilm's U.K. and German users can now stream CBS shows "The Good Wife" and "Blue Bloods," along with "Nurse Jackie," "Californication" and"Dexter," from the CBS-owned cable channel Showtime shows.
Subscribers can also stream the original 1960s "Star Trek" series and "Star Trek: Voyager." 
In addition to the U.K. and Germany, Lovefilm Instant is available in Sweden, Denmark and Norway, which were not included in the multi-year licensing deal with CBS. Financial terms were not disclosed. 
"This is another example of the growing licensing opportunities available for CBS’ world-class content in a dynamic global marketplace,” said Armando Nuñez, chief executive of CBS Global Distribution Group.
The deal comes as competitor Netflix Inc. is boosting its own European presence. The company said last week that it will launch in the Netherlands later this year.  
Online retail giant Amazon acquired Lovefilm in 2011 as it was preparing to launch its U.S. streaming service Amazon Prime Instant. 

Monster performance. "Monsters University" graduated with honors in its opening weekend, taking in $82 million and finishing first at the box office. Also delivering was the zombie thriller"World War Z," which made $66 million in its debut weekend. While "Monsters U." was expected to be huge, there were a lot of questions about Brad Pitt's "World War Z" because of all the problems the movie endured during production. However, the behind-the-scenes drama wasn't enough to scare off folks hungry for big-budget summer movies. Box office recaps from the Los Angeles Times and Movie City News.

A couple of big Hollywood studios plan to let South Koreans rent movies via video on demand while they are still playing in theaters. The WSJ’s Jeyup S. Kwaak tells Yun-Hee Kim why Disney and Sony Pictures picked South Korea to test this model, which has failed in the U.S.
The parking is probably better too. Want to watch new movies at home? All you have to do is move to South Korea, where Walt Disney Co. and Sony Corp.. are experimenting with releasing movies on video-on-demand just a few weeks after their theatrical debut. Movie studios are eager to see if it is possible to release movies on VOD earlier here but movie theater owners are resistant, fearing it will keep moviegoers at home. The Wall Street Journal on the South Korea experiment.

Locked and loaded. There is no shortage of gun imagery in the posters for this summer's big movies. Although there was a lot of talk about whether Hollywood would tone down romanticizing guns and violence in the wake of last years massive shooting at a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," so far it appears to be business as usual. The New York Times on what it calls Hollywood's gun passion.

Paris Barclay has been elected president of the Directors Guild of America. (DGA)

A bigger show to run. The DGA will have the first African American and first openly gay president of a major motion picture union. Paris Barclay, a veteran television director currently working on "Sons of Anarchy," was voted president of the Directors Guild of America. Barclay has won two Emmy awards for his work on "NYPD Blue." More on Barclay and the DGA from the Los Angeles Times.
WGA, East announces board candidates for election.

WGA, East President Michael Winship to run unopposed for 4th term

Michael Winship, president of the Writers Guild of America, East, will run unopposed for his fourth term as president of the 4,000-member union.
Winship, a TV documentary writer who currently works onBill MoyersPBS show, was first elected in 2007. Secretary-Treasurer Bob Schneider also is running for reelection unopposed, seeking his third two-year term. Vice President Jeremy Pikser will run for reelection against Jeff Christman.
The WGA, East annual membership meeting and election is scheduled for Sept. 19.
Aside from the officer positions, the guild announced a dozen candidates were nominated for nine open seats on its council.
The nine candidates are incumbents Bonnie Datt, Henry Bean, Bernardo Ruiz, Susan Kim and Courtney Simon, as well as challengers Zhubin Parang, David Atkins, Robert Levi, Michael Lannan, Amy Sohn, Norman Steinberg and George Strayton.
In addition, five candidates will compete for three open staff seats, those that are available to guild members in good standing who work in news shops under guild negotiated contracts. They are Duane Tollison, Jeff Christman, Phil Pilato, Matt Nelko and Sue Brown McCann.

WGA, East, which is based in New York, jointly bargains with its larger sister union, WGA, West, which is based in Los Angeles. The unions have separate boards, staffing and elections.
Winship's counterpart -- WGA, West President Chris Keyser -- also will run unopposed in fall elections.

Honey Boo Boo
Alana (Honey Boo Boo) reads a book to her baby doll in "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo." (TLC)
Inside the Los Angeles Times: Discovery Founder John Hendricks' new autobiography "A Curious Discovery" tells the story of how he built a cable empire.

Follow me on Twitter and we'll see where we can take this thing. @JBFlint.