Happy Halloween!

Boo!

Love Sushi and Fleabait!

(Image from almightguru)

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Auctioning Off Presidential Candidates

Four one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids dolls crafted in the likeness of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Sarah Palin will be auctioned on the eBay.com Web site.

The dolls sport outfits inspired by their counterparts, with the Palin doll wearing the Republican candidate’s signature rimless eyeglasses, red suit and heels.

All proceeds from the auction, which begins Thursday, will benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

 

   

Random Thoughts for October 29th

Isn’t every month ‘Truck Month’ for U.S. automakers?

and ….

Who knew that just having a job would become a status symbol as of late?

Ode to Election Day

Only long one week left in the election to go,

When one presidential candidate will hopefully learn yes – the other no.

These few days will give us an intimate look into America’s democracy,

From early voting to differing news polls to last minute campaigning in Mississippi.

Nevada is once again considered a ‘battleground state,’

I just hope and pray we don’t screw the country a la Florida ballot-gate.

Who says Election Day has to be boring?

Not the poll workers who have to deal with the thousands of voters roaring.

Don’t think twice about it. It will be a long day for all Democrats and Republicans alike,

The only ones who come out ahead are the ones who can tell their opponents ‘psyche!’  

Studios Push Box Office Winners as Oscar Contenders

October 28, 2008

 

 

LOS ANGELES — Walt Disney is in. This week the studio will break new ground by starting a campaign that boldly offers its “Wall-E” as a contender for the best picture Oscar, an honor never yet won by an animated film.

Warner Brothers is in, too. That studio recently telegraphed plans for a multifront Oscar campaign for its Batman blockbuster “The Dark Knight” by sending awards voters a query about their preferred format for promotional DVDs.

Not to be outdone, Paramount may join the party. Along with Marvel Enterprises, it is weighing an Oscar push for “Iron Man” and its lead actor, Robert Downey Jr., even while promoting Mr. Downey as best supporting actor for his role in the DreamWorks comedy hit “Tropic Thunder.”

Welcome to the pop Oscars.

After years of giving plenty of running room to independent film companies or studio art house divisions that set the pace with critic-friendly but limited-audience films like last year’s “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood,” this year the major studios are pushing some of their biggest crowd-pleasers into the thick of the awards race.

Their approaching multimillion-dollar campaigns come at a time when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, whose 6,000-plus members award the Oscars, is planning to give its annual show a more commercially popular flavor. In part the academy’s producers will do that by including glimpses of the year’s box office favorites, whether or not they are nominated for prizes.

The shift is coming about partly because companies in the last year have either folded specialty divisions like Warner Independent Films, which in 2006 had a best picture nominee in “Good Night, and Good Luck,” or downsized them, as Paramount did with Paramount Vantage, which in 2007 had a nominee in “Babel.”

Shrinkage in the small-film business has left more room for big studios to play the Oscar game. Awaiting awards pushes are films like Universal’s “Frost/Nixon,” directed by Ron Howard; Paramount’s “Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” a David Fincher film starring Brad Pitt; and 20th Century Fox’s “Australia,” a Baz Luhrmann epic starring Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman.

(“Australia,” still unseen by critics, does not arrive until December but was screened in unfinished form for Oprah Winfrey, who is expected to feature it with star interviews on her show next week, kicking off the studio’s campaign.)

At the same time Hollywood’s blockbusters, rich in effects and increasingly complex in their themes, appear to have become more award-worthy of late.

“Wall-E,” from Disney’s Pixar unit, emerged as a darling of the critics for its adult sensibility, in addition to its heavily detailed computer animation. The film, the story of a lovesick robot, tackles a serious topic (environmentalism) while taking huge risks (for instance, a 45-minute stretch with nearly no dialogue).

As early as midsummer Joe Morgenstern, The Wall Street Journal’s film critic, was arguing that “Wall-E” should be considered for best picture. “The time to start the drumbeat is now,” he wrote in a July 12 essay, noting the extreme difficulty animated films, while hugely popular, have faced in vying for the most prestigious Oscar. Only one, Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast,” released in 1991, has ever been nominated for best picture.

From the New York Times

Keeping Up With All the Debt

The Times Square Debt Clock

 

A few weeks ago in midtown Manhattan, time stood still — literally. After the country’s debt surpassed $10 trillion, the marquee-sized debt clock in Times Square, which has kept a running tally of the U.S. national debt for nearly 20 years, ran out of digits. For a nation already struggling with a bleak economic reality, it was a less-than-reassuring display. Several news organizations quipped about such a literal “sign of the times,” while the satiricial newspaper The Onion offered its own brand of gallows humor: “If everyone just donated one dollar, we would have enough money to buy a new clock.”

Luckily, citizens won’t have to pitch in. New York real estate firm The Durst Organization, which owns and operates the clock, plans to install an updated model sometime next year that can display a quadrillion dollars. In the meantime, the company has hacked the current display to provide a temporary solution — replacing the dollar sign at the front of the number with an extra digit.

The late real-estate mogul Seymour Durst first erected the clock on Feb. 20, 1989 to call attention to the consequences of Reaganomics. At the time, the country had a national debt of $2.7 trillion. The original 25-foot-wide, 1,500-pound, 306-bulb sign cost more than $120,000 to create and install. (It now costs more than $500 a month to operate and maintain the light bulbs). Durst told reporters he had no plans to ever remove the clock. “It’ll be up as long as the debt or the city lasts,” he said, adding, “If it bothers people, then it’s working.”

A tireless and outspoken critic of government waste and intervention, Durst routinely purchased space on the front page of the New York Times to run what he liked to call “bottom lines” — rants that ran along the bottom of the page like stock tickers. His haiku-esque May 26, 1991 message: “Federal debt soaring, national economy shrinking, soon the twain shall meet.” In 1980, before technology could support a debt clock, he mailed handwritten holiday cards to dozens of congressmen that read: “Happy New Year. Your share of the national debt is $35,000.” When technology finally caught up with his vision of a fiscal odometer, Durst’s clock included a smaller counter that tracked each American family’s share, which in 1989 added up to $49,466. At last count, the figure stands at more than $86,000.

This is not the first time the clock has experienced technical difficulties. In 1991, Durst had to remove and revamp the clock so it could keep pace with the national debt’s $13,000-per-second increase. (“Interest payments on the national debt are becoming the largest federal expenditure,” he noted at the time). Before his death in 1995, the amount began accumulating so fast that the last seven digits became totally illegible. At one point, the surge actually crashed the computer that calculates the billboard’s numbers.

On September 7, 2000, Durst’s son, Douglas, who now serves as the company’s president, hung a red, white and blue curtain over the sign. The ceremony not only marked what would have been his father’s 87th birthday, but also an historic moment in U.S. history — the national debt was shrinking. Because the clock wasn’t built to count backwards, Durst pulled the plug. Just two years later, following the burst of the dot-com bubble and the economic fall-out of 9/11, he turned it back on. The billboard has ticked forward ever since.

Over the past 20 years the digital “alarm” clock has been moved four times to make way for bulldozers and wrecking crews. Today, it hangs near the entrance of the city’s IRS office. Said the younger Durst in an interview with TIME,”We thought it was a fitting location.”

From Time magazine

Does Size Really Matter?

As Election Day draws near (and not fast enough if you ask me!), I’m paying more attention to political signs — not necessarily what they say, but what they look like. 

For instance, I’ve noticed that city and county candidate signs are massive compared to say, the ones for our next president.

Yes, city and council elections affect voters the most, but don’t you think Obama’s or McCain’s ads would be bigger than the size of a Manilla envelope? With all the dough their campaigns are rolling in on a daily basis, couldn’t they afford more paper/cardboard stock?!

Just sayin’!