Monday, November 02, 2009

World Series Game 5 features Chase Utley's record home run performance

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Just went the New York Yankees were ready to call it a championship and the New York Post was calling Kate Hudson A-Rod's lucky charm, the defending World Series Champion Philadelphia Phillies reminded everyone why they are defending champs as Chase Utley slammed a record-tying first inning blast of a home run to give them the lead and they outlasted the NYYs, 8 to 6 to bring the game back to New York on Wednesday.

The series now stands 3 games to two, so Wednesday's contest will either see the Yankees clinch it, or the Phillies tie it.

Michael Jackson 'This Is It' Movie focus of Oscar Buzz; Sony needs to do work

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Michael Jackson's This is It movie sang up $101 million at the movie box office, but equally large is the sudden Oscar Buzz generated for the picture about Michael Jackson's practice for his ill-fated concert tour called "This Is It."

The film's out too late for documentary consideration, but could land a best picture nomination. But that written, there are a lot of steps that have to be taken now if the film's executive producer, Sony, wants to have the film be in contention for Oscar nomination.

Aside from the run time requirements of having to screen the film in Los Angeles County for over a seven day period (which will be met), all of the application paperwork needs to get in to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences by December 1st, 2009, according to information provide by the AMPAS Communications Department today.

A visit to the "rules" section of the Academy website ( answers many of these questions. The specfic document due December 1st is called the "Official Screen Credits" form, which must contain the name of the theaters in LA the movie played, and the dates of the Los Angeles run.

But after that deadline's met, the movie's Oscar process is not done as it goes into the "campaigning" period and there are strict rules there, too.

Here's an example from the Oscar rules website:

Receptions, lunches, dinners or other events to which Academy members are invited that are specifically designed to promote a film or achievement for Academy Awards consideration are expressly forbidden.


Third-Party Distribution.

Film companies are prohibited from doing indirectly or through a third party anything that these regulations prohibit them from doing directly. They are prohibited from using subscriber-based publications to distribute promotional materials to an Academy member unless the member is a subscriber to those publications. The Academy defines “subscriber” as a member who has taken the intentional step of requesting that a publication be sent to him or her on a regular basis. The member does not necessarily have to pay for that subscription. Any Academy member who has not made such a request, however, will not be considered a subscriber, and any company that uses a publication to send the promotional materials anticipated by this regulation to such a member will be in violation of the regulation.

And once all of that is done, the film has to be nominated. The question is, did Sony place a segment for "Oscar Marketing" in the budget for This Is it?

Black Friday Deals 2009 - bad economy pushes "Black Friday" up

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Traditionally "Black Friday" was the day after Thanksgiving - man, I can taste the Turkey now - and the first sales day of the Christmas season.

But with the longest recession in American history now just ending and the economy having contracted so much that we have double-digit unemployment as the norm, Black Friday sales pushes have been moved up to this week in what some are calling "Christmas Creep".

But how deep will the deal discounts be?

Well if you want to shop online, has already listed their Black Friday deals and feature women's shoes at over half off. So Black Friday, with the help of the Internet, has extended beyond Friday, November 27th to today, Monday, November 2nd.

Offline, or in the terra firma World, Sears started offering Black Friday deals last week Friday before Halloween. If you want to take advantage of "Sears Black Friday" in the San Francisco Bay Area, there's a Sears store in Oakland at Telegraph and 20th Street, right off 19th Street BART Station.

Somali Pirates demand $7 milllion in ransom for British couple

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If you thought Somali Pirates were out of the news focus and the World was safe from them, you're wrong.

A British couple named Paul and Rachel Chandler were the latest victims of Somali gun gangs who were kidnapped on October 23rd.

The Somali Robin Hoods wanted $7 million or about £4 million (4 million pounds) for the couple, but, informed they were not at all wealthy, the Somali Pirates dropped their "ask" to £100,000 (100,000 pounds).

If you remember the first American brush with the Somali Pirate problem led to a killing of the thugs who kidnapped Americans that was ordered by U.S. President Barack Obama in one of the boldest decisions of his young presidency.

I still say that such events point to the need for more Somali aid:

Bay Bridge open today - BART 24-hour service a success

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The Bay Bridge has reopened this morning and in phases since 9 AM. I frankly hold out hope the repairs hold and this wasn't a rush to place a band-aid on an already damaged structure.

And CalTrans calls the eyebar repairs "enhanced" - let's hope that's not a cute trick at using the right marketing term and it really is stronger than before. One thing is for certain: BART's 24-hour train service was a success and proves that BART can extend train service with the right level of funding.

Remember in my second blog post on this subject, BART's Linton Johnson said that economic and maintenance factors combined to make 24-hour service an impossibility unless CalTrans provided the money for it.

Well that happened and the 24-hour service, provided Friday night and Saturday night, worked like a charm.

In fact, it worked so well I think BART and CalTrans should do this every weekend. Moreover, funding for this should come not just from CalTrans but the Federal Government in some fashion under the rationale of keeping drunk drivers off the road and money out of the pockets of lawyers like Former Speaker and San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, who once hilariously said to party goers including California Assembly Speaker Karen Bass, "Drink. Drink. And drive, so I can represent you!

(Love ya Willie!)

BART's a fun, social vehicle to use in getting too and fro, especially at night after a play or a party. Why create an environment where people who have been out even having a "little drink" can't see an alternative to driving from San Francisco to Oakland?

Yes, AC Transit has great 24 hour service but it's not enough to handle the volume of people who need it on the weekend. I've heard the argument before that there's not enough ridership at night, but that's only because people are conditioned not to use the service as much because it's not available.

BART's trains were packed during the weekend, yes, because of Halloween, but I contend 24-hour service, if it were standard on the weekends, would alter the economy of San Francisco and Oakland. More establishments would stay open longer past the 2 AM bar close deadline and because more people are out and about, its safer to be out and about.

World-class cities have such service. It's about time we got serious and acted like a World-class region; make 24-hour service permanent on the weekends.

Stay tuned.

BCS Standings - Cal Golden Bears at 20, TCU over Boise State, USC at 12

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BCS Standings for this week has this: after Saturday's amazing 47 to 20 blowout by the Oregon Ducks, the USC Trojans have fallen from number 5 in the BCS race to number 12, while Oregon moves to number 8.

(That USC is number 12, and the only team with two losses ranked so high is questionable. More on this later.)

As I said that game would shake up the BCS and it did but not in the way Boise State fans wanted. After all their anticipation of overtaking TCU because of Oregon's win, they find themselves literally on that tush of the Horned Frogs, rated sixth and seventh respectively.

Florida remains at number one, while Texas moves ahead of Alabama (which did not play this week) for the number two spot.

The Cal Golden Bears move up to 20 from 24 after beating Arizona State while Notre Dame goes to 22 after clobbering Washington State.

Here's the Top 25 BCS list for week three:







Boise State



Georgia Tech

Penn State





Ohio State

Miami (FL)


Oklahoma State



Notre Dame

Virginia Tech


South Florida

NY Yankees one game from World Series champion - Kate Hudson A-Rod's lucky charm

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Kate Hudson

After a 7 to 4 World Series game victory  against the Philadelphia Phillies in that city Sunday night, the New York Yankees are one win away from a World Series Championship, and the NY Post has called actress Kate Hudson A-Rod's lucky charm after he hit the go-ahead run in the ninth inning. Which I guess makes Kate Hudson the Yankees' lucky charm.

To me, the Yankees are still proof that payroll money buys wins in baseball. Moneyball's dead. At least for now.

Hamid Karzai declared Afghanistan president; we can't trust him

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Hamid Karzai was declared Afghanistan president, according to a CNN email new release. And I have to admit I'm disappointed because I don't think we have a totally honest elected official we're dealing with in Karzai, but we have no choice as his rival Abdullah Abdullah withdrew from the presidential election.

President Hamid Karzai

Abdullah Abdullah put up a good fight against amazing odds; few believed he could win an election against Karzai.

But the reason quit was because he believed he would not win a runoff because of he same fraud issues that plagued the country's election to start with.

The basic question is what does he know about the location of Osama Bin Ladin and is he also working with terrorists at the same time he's work with the United States? Morever, Karzai's own people don't take his presidency seriously and he asked for our military presence, so it's as if we're propping him up.

We can't do that.

Rather than committing more troops, we should use more drones in this case. Fight the war from space and really go after specific targets. This deal's a real mess and I can't see a conventional path to success.

Stay tuned.