‘Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen’ Now 10th Biggest Hit of All Time

“Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen” is now the tenth-biggest hit of all time.

It made another $8 million over the weekend, for a total of $379 million so far. That pushes “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” into eleventh place.

Transformers is only about $1 million behind the number-nine movie, “Revenge of the Sith.”

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)


That’s Life

I recently listened to Frank Sinatra’s ‘That’s Life’ and was inspired to write my little own song-

That’s life. So what……get up, stand up, start over.

Create your own history.

Guide the stars. Deny the critics.

Never far behind but miles above the pack.

Preserving all, erasing the nameless

That’s life.

Spot in the universe, dominant as a planet, yet small enough to disappear.

Ancient word no more, new languages born every moment

A continuous life centuries old, but infantile in nature.

That’s life. 

*** I have no idea if you can sing it. I just wrote what I felt.

Taco Bell Ad Star Gidget the Chihuahua Dies at 15

Taco Bell Chihuahua Dies

Handlers say Gidget the Chihuahua, whose Taco Bell commercials made her a star, has died. She was 15.

The owner of Studio Animal Services in Castaic says Gidget suffered a massive stroke late Tuesday at her trainer’s home in Santa Clarita and had to be euthanized.

Gidget was the sassy mascot in Taco Bell commercials from 1997 to 2000. While other dogs had bit parts, it was her bug-eyed, big-eared face that is seen pronouncing, in a dubbed male voice, “Yo quiero Taco Bell,” Spanish for “I want Taco Bell.”

The ads made the Taco Bell mascot wildly popular, although they provoked some criticism from activists who felt they used Mexican stereotypes.

Gidget also had a role in the movie “Legally Blonde 2.”

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Why Walter Cronkite is Important

For anyone under 45 years old, the stature, power and influence that Walter Cronkite had in the 1960s and 1970s is likely hard to understand.

The best way I can explain it is to tell you a little about my family.

My dad was born in 1911, five years before Cronkite was born. My dad was a young man of 18 when the depression hit. As with many people from that era, the depression had a lasting impact upon my dad. For the remainder of his life he believed that cash was king, and that debt—and credit—were to be avoided at all costs.

My dad had just turned 30 when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, and he volunteered for, and became an officer in, the Army Air Corps, which was the predecessor to the Air Force.

To say that my dad was conservative, both fiscally and politically, is almost an understatement.

After the war my parents got married, and had two sons. My older brother and I became part of the Baby Boomer generation.

Though of the generation that fell in love with the movies, our dad was never seduced. His entertainment of choice was reading, primarily history.

He never watched a lot of TV. One program that did become a staple in our house was “The 20th Century.” It ran on CBS on Sunday nights at 6 pm (later at 6:30pm) for most of my formative years. The program featured stories of the events and the people that shaped the 20th century. Cronkite was the narrator.

The other program my dad watched with regularity was Cronkite’s evening newscast. Though we had the Los Angeles Herald Express (later the Examiner) delivered in the late afternoon, the Cronkite newscast became a must in our household.

In those days, information was neither instantaneous nor ubiquitous. Millions and millions of Americans depended upon the evening newscast to catch up on the day’s events.

Like my dad, Cronkite was a veteran of World War II. My dad clearly respected the newscaster. Back in those days people on TV and in movies had great voices, and Cronkite’s timbre was authoritative yet not overbearing.

The big split in our household centered around the Vietnam War. My dad was a proponent and my brother was demonstrably against it. The arguments they had would often ratchet up to yelling and screaming between them, usually concluding with my brother storming out of the house.

Until, one fateful night, when Walter Cronkite turned against the war. In what I recall was almost shockingly uncharacteristic for Cronkite, he broke out of his familiar “news reader” mode to editorialize that the war could not be won.

I could tell that my dad was visibly surprised by this pronouncement. My dad was a thoughtful man, and not a knee-jerk conservative. But on the issue of the Vietnam War he had not budged. The arguments between my brother and my dad about the war had produced a serious rift between them. By this point they were barely speaking to one another.

And then, suddenly, my brother had an ally in a man who had a lot of influence in our father’s mind: Walter Cronkite. Cronkite, I’m sure my dad would have said, was smart, sensible, and cautious. And, my dad would have noted, Cronkite was both a contemporary of his and, like my dad, a veteran of the second world war.

If Cronkite had decided the war couldn’t be won, that meant something.

In fact, in thousands of households like ours, it meant a lot. Walter Cronkite, this calm, polished, learned man who was so good at explaining the news to us—news we didn’t know about until he told us about it every day—had actually come out against the war.

Unlike the current war in Iraq, fought with all-volunteer servicemen and servicewomen, there was a draft during the Vietnam War. So one way or another, every home that had young men in it was very much directly affected by the war.

Cronkite’s coming out against the Vietnam war was the beginning of our dad changing his mind about the conflict. Our dad finally decided it was not a war we should be fighting. He and my brother reconciled.

President Johnson reportedly said after the CBS newscast that night that since Cronkite had come out against the war that the country would also turn against it. Cronkite’s pronouncement was clearly a factor in Johnson not seeking re-election.

Today, with the fragmentation of media and the fact that we now get our news instantaneously on the Internet or from the all-news cable outlets, there’s no newsperson who has the singular voice—literally and figuratively—that Cronkite had.

A short eight months after Cronkite’s last broadcast at age 65, my dad passed away, far too young, at age 70.

Six years ago Cronkite told Time magazine that he thought he had stepped down from his news anchor chair too early.

But I think my dad, and millions of others of us, would demur with Cronkite’s re-evaluation. Time has not been kind to the traditional news business, both on the distribution and content fronts. 

Reporting about stains on a blue dress and stars found dead in closets in Thailand after masturbating are not events those of us who grew up watching Cronkite picture him reporting.#

TV Week

Police: Jeffrey Donovan Arrested, Suspected of DUI

Miami Beach police say they arrested “Burn Notice” star Jeffrey Donovan on suspicion of drunken driving.

The arrest report says an officer pulled Donovan over on July 12 after noticing that he swerved his car to avoid hitting the police car from behind. When the officer approached Donovan, he reported that the actor’s eyes appeared bloodshot and watery.

The actor of the popular USA Network series was arrested after failing a field sobriety test. The arrest report says Donovan refused to take a breathalyzer test.

The 41-year-old actor, who worked alongside actress Angelina Jolie in the 2008 film, “Changeling,” was released several hours later on $1,000 bail.

Phone messages left for his publicist and for a spokeswoman for USA Network were not immediately returned.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Jeffrey Donovan Burned by Florida Cops for DUI | Jeffrey Donovan

NYC Group Offers Literal Way to Follow the Stars

Tourists like to spot celebrities in New York City. Now they can hang out with them.

A volunteer tour organization called Big Apple Greeters is offering free personalized tours led by celebrities. Former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber and “Sopranos” star Dominic Chianese were at City Hall on Wednesday to advertise their services.

Barber says he recently showed a Colorado couple around town and had lunch with them at one of his favorite spots.

Chianese says he loves New York and wants to show visitors a good time.

Organizers say celebrity hosts can’t be requested and will be randomly assigned. The tours are free.

Big Apple Greeter: http://bigapplegreeter.org

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)

Who Knew He’s 10 (And Educational!)

Time swims by when you’re having fun in a pineapple at the bottom of the sea.

“Spongebob Squarepants” is celebrating its 10th year.

Here’s some flotsam and jetsam about the series. It’s dubbed into about 25 languages. At least two world leaders watch it: President Obama and British Prime Minister Brown. They say they see it with their kids.

“Spongebob Squarepants” was created by Stephen Hillenburg who’s an artist and a scientist. He says the inspiration for many of the characters came from a comic he wrote called “The Intertidal Zone,” designed to teach his students at the Ocean Institute in Orange County, Calif., about tidal pools.

VH1 is airing a documentary about “Spongebob Squarepants” tonight. Then, over the weekend, Nickelodeon will show 11 new episodes and do a countdown of fan favorites.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)