Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mike Leach was wrong regarding Adam James

Some brief thought late night on Texas Tech Head Coach Mike Leach

I did not want to jump into this via this blog because I did not have all of the facts. But when I heard that Mike Leach and his coaches displined Adam James for poor practice work, he lost me, Leach I mean.

See if a player is not doing well on the practice field then you do not play him. Right?


You do not punish him.

But that is reportedly what Leach did.

I would love to know what Michael Crabtree thinks. He played for Leach at Texas Tech.

Stay tuned.
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Berkeley Marina's Adventure Playground in budget trouble

Berkeley's Adventure Playground needs money to remain open.

As we watch the Golden State of California crumble under the collective weight of job loss, poor municipal credit, and high taxation and user fees, events like this one will become more commonplace.

This story comes from the blog Berkeleyside - I should say "new blog" because it takes over where InBerkeley left off. At any rate, the problem is the playground has been closed since December 21st and will be through New Year's Day. While it's supposed to reopen after the 1st of January, in this crazy economy that's not a sure thing.

Now, I've never been to Adventure Playground, but the observation that the 30-year-old venue is a park for kids is enough for me to want to save it. The trouble is, I don't know who to contact to make this happen; Tracey Taylor who blogged about this, didn't suggest a course of action.

Well, there's Tracey Taylor's next blog post!

Brittany Murphy death certificate; cause of death deferred

The death certificate of Actress Brittany Murphy was released this morning. A copy of it, obtained by TMZ.com, reportedly reveals Brittany Murphy's cause of death as "deferred." The manner of death is "pending investigation." Moreover, TMZ points out that while Brittany's father was interviewed, the death certificate lists a father as "unknown".

Brittany Murphy

E! Online interviewed 83-year old Angelo Bertolotti, who's Brittany Murphy's father. The media outlet reported that he did not attend his daughter's funeral.

Mr. Bertolotti said "I was very shocked by it. I can't believe it really. It happened so fast; I'm just trying to figure it all out right now. I'm very upset by it..."If I wanted to go, I would go, but I don't want to see her that way," he says. "She was flawless to me. She was a little bright child. I have only good memories about her. She's a memory to me now. To me she's off making a movie somewhere."

The LA County Coroner's Office is awaiting toxicology reports as of this writing.

TMZ.com also offers that the "informant" who has vital information is listed as "Tayebe Pajooh" who has a North Carolina mailing address. OK Magazine reports that the person's listed as "cousin."

In the leaked Coroner's Report, TMZ discovered that a number of prescription drugs were found in Murphy's bathroom and allegedly used by Brittany Murphy:

Topamax (anti-seizure meds also to prevent migraines), Methylprednisolone (anti-inflammatory), Fluoxetine (depression med), Klonopin (anxiety med), Carbamazepine (treats Diabetic symptoms and is also a bipolar med), Ativan (anxiety med), Vicoprofen (pain reliever), Propranolol (hypertension, used to prevent heart attacks), Biaxin (antibiotic), Hydrocodone (pain med) and miscellaneous vitamins.

The Coroner's Office was furious over the leak, and to this date it's not known how that information was allowed to see the view of the media.

Stay tuned.

Stay tuned.

Former Oakland Raiders lineman Gerald Perry shot by robber

Gerald Perry, who played offensive tackle for both the Oakland Raiders, LA Rams, and the Denver Broncos during his NFL career, was shot by a would-be-robber in Lithonia, DeKalb County, Georgia. The Atlanta Journal Constiution reports that Perry was sitting in his SUV when he was hurt. WSBT.TV Atlanta interviews revealed that the shooter asked Perry for money.

Carla Tillis, a witness and Perry's girlfriend, told WSBT.tv, "The only thing that really saved him was that he put his hand up and the bullet is still in his hand. When he turned, the bullet hit him in the back and went straight out."

Reportedly, a woman approached Perry and asked for money; when he refused, she went to her boyfriend, who came back with his gun and opened fire on Perry.

The gunman and his girlfriend are still at large as of this writing.

Perry is recovering; the bullet is reportedly lodged in his hand.

Megan Fox and Taylor Swift 2009's Internet stars of the Year

Ok, this is my award. Megan Fox and Taylor Swift are Zennie62's 2009's Internet stars of the Year. The reason is simple. Whenever I need some spark in traffic and talk, I can count on Megan Fox and Taylor Swift. It doesn't matter of it's a search for Megan Fox' sexy photos or Taylor Swift's long lyrics, they come through in a pinch.

Megan Fox 

But more than that, Megan Fox and Taylor Swift are just plain interesting. I love Megan Fox for her outspoken personality, and 21st Century feminist-hotty charm. Taylor Swift's the picture of the simple, girl-next-door made good. Even when she doesn't some really questionable things - ok, just one really questionable thing with that Swastika - Taylor Swift does it with the aplomb of of a queen.

But this is not to damn Taylor Swift for that, it's to genuinely praise her. Taylor Swift certainly has a massively great publicist and a production team that's out of this World, but look at the material they have to work with: her. For some odd-duck reason, people want to root for Taylor Swift. And no, it's not blonde-ambition or anything of the kind. It comes through as her soul. My only fear is that she will lose it.

Megan Fox got my attention, first, when she told the truth about the Transformers movie series being a special-effects vehicle and not an acting flick. I liked the way she stood her ground in the wake of Producer Michael Bay's counter-attacks. And finally, her Rolling Stones Magazine interview was the icing on the cake.

Plus, yes. Megan Fox is a lovely, sexy, woman. Tough as nails and great ones too!

Carrie Prejean beaten by Joe Francis for Gawkers' Douche of the Decade

Carrie Prejean, who missed joining Rachel Ray in the Top 100 Sexiest Women of 2009 for political reasons, now has a less honorable award (yes, less honorable award) she just missed: Gawker's Douche of the Decade'.

For this...

Now folks, I think to call anyone 'Douche of the Decade' or 'Douche of the Year' is wrongheaded. Moreover, it's terrible. In fact, it can get one sued, which is what Joe Francis is threatening to do. I also would not think of Carrie Prejean in that way.

First Joe Francis.

Dylan Stableford at The Wrap, reports that after the “Girls Gone Wild” founder Joe Francis learned he was named as Gawker's “Douche of the Decade" he hit the ceiling and called his lawyers, firing off this email:

From: Joe Francis
To: Nick Denton
Subject: Hey Nick, Your Fucked
Date: December 27, 2009 7:22:14 PM EST

Hey Nick,

I am suing you tomorrow personally. You messed with the wrong guy. No one make up lies about me and gets away with it. I lost a 10 million dollar deal as a direct result of you calling me “a rapist”. You will be paying me every dime of that back and more! Are you mentally retarded? Do your research first. I am coming after you harder then I have ever went after anyone. I am going to wipe you off the grid!!!! YOU ARE DONE! I will take everything you have. You, Nick Denton, are truly the “Douche of the Decade” Merry Xmas IDIOT!!! Joe Francis P.S. I sent you an updated picture of how I actually look now so you can masturbate to it because you seem to be quite sexually obsessed with me.

Okay. Joe.

Tila Tequila and Joe Francis

Anyway. According to The Wrap, Nick Denton's response was classic:

Okay, fine. After some consideration, we're sorry for calling you a "rapist" since you are more accurately "an alleged rapist." After all, we've never seen you doing the raping, only read about it.

Man, Gawker Founder Nick Denton takes chances that are...er, ill-advised. He's already got two active lawsuits against him from Eric Dane regarding the McSteamy sex tape (which he's winning), and former ESPN announcer and NFL player Sean Salisbury's suit regarding posted emails.

Now let's turn to Carrie Prejean, who The Wrap says just missed being in the final vote and that's confirmed by Gawker.

I don't think she fits into the category of being publicly mauled in this way. Yes, she took a political stance that was at best retrograde. Sure, she didn't behave well on CNN's Larry King Show. But to be listed as a possible candidate for 'Douche of the Decade' is downright hurtful. I really cry for her.

I'm serious. I do so because I think there's a level of respect that a woman should be accorded even in the 21st Century. Carrie Prejean is not the kind of person projected by Gawker as being what they say Joe Francis is.

I'm not going to go there. I don't know Joe Francis, and I don't know anyone who does. Nick Denton's out there on his own with this one. Good luck, Bro.

Terrorist incident sparks racial profiling talk, Right Wing Racism again

There are millions of people who travel of all shapes, creeds, and colors. But because a really stupid young man who happens to have the name Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab is found to be Muslim, Right Wingnuts like Republican Congressman Peter King call for racial profiling of Muslims.

Fear should never be used to restart any action that smacks of the internment of Japanese citizens during World War II. Yet, that's what Congressman King is trying to do. He says we're at war "with them" and so some action must be taken against "Muslim extremists."

What bothers me about situations like this is it's always some older white guy on Fox News who starts yammering this stuff, like Peter King. It may be cathartic for him to talk that way, but it's not helpful at all.  His hate speech can cause good people who happen to be Muslim to be harmed.  Is that what he wants?

We have to rise to a level of thought that eliminates the desire to place people in large racial groups all of the time. Plus, focusing on people that the Congressman Kings' of the World think are Muslim only opens the door for someone who doesn't fit the profile to walk into it.

We have to stop this before it starts and call for a more intelligent approach. Oh, and if's it's "politically correct", so what? Big deal. It's the right approach and an American one at that.

Stay tuned...I know you will.

Bianna Golodryga sparks online search after engagement news

Bianna Golodryga, the ABC News financial reporter who's getting married to Obama administration budget director Peter Orszag, has sparked an online search for her image that's taken on massive proportions. As of this writing at 11:19 AM PST - 2:19 PM EST, she's the number one Google Trend and ranked "Volcanic"!

And while hubby-to-be Orszag is the 14th-ranked Google Trend, he's merely "On Fire".   Undoubtedly because of Bianna Golodryga.    The only time Peter would see this level of search interest is after a Congressional grilling on the budget (which is to come) or the task of reducing the deficit, which is the focus of a Wall Street Journal online article today.

Bianna Golodryga

Meanwhile, why the search for Bianna Golodryga? Well, she's hot, that's why.  And because her engagement annoucement was on TV: Good Morning America this morning.  People watch television, see a nice-looking person, then search for them online.  Happens every day.

But looks aside, Bianna's an accomplished reporter on the economy and finance. She's able to speak clearly and concisely for a wide audience, which is why she's a star at ABC News.

Here's Bianna Golodryga talking about the "recession obsession" at 1:49 in this video:

But all of that aside, serious congratulations to a very deserving couple on their engagement. From what I remember during the Obama campaign - I've not yet met Orszag - he's a great guy and a nice person. Plus, she's already in the media business so Peter doesn't have to worry about all the buzz going to her head!

That happens.

Avatar heads record-setting weekend movie box-office

The amazing technical achievement that is James Cameron's Avatar heads a list of must-see movies that made up a record-setting 278 million dollars in weekend box office gross revenue.

Avatar, which stars Zoe Saldana and Sigourney Weaver, gained 75.6 million last weekend, and really lost no steam from its 77.4 million dollar opening weekend.

Here's the trailer for Avatar:

I've got to admit, I didn't think Avatar would outlast the economy in this way. It proves that even in a recession people will spend to see a good movie. Here's the overall weekend tally of the top five films for December 25-27, 2009, courtesy of BoxOfficeMojo, which Avatar certainly has:

Avatar $75,617,183
Sherlock Holmes $62,390,000
Alvin and the Chipmunks $48,875,415
It's Complicated $22,100,820
The Blind Side $11,470,000

Oakland Parking Enforcement Reform Initiative - a 2010 proposal

The Oakland Parking Enforcement Reform Initiative is gaining steam.  I've been asked to now make public our efforts, so this blog post is to get things rolling.

Which is a weird consideration because they've been rolling along already!

A group of concerned Oakland citizens have been meeting and communicating to fashion a comprehensive Oakland Parking Enforcement Reform Initiative for presentation to Oakland voters in 2010.

The diverse team consists of both Oakland business owners and residents and I'm really, frankly, surprised at how smooth and easy our meetings and communications have been. Oaklanders are used to disparate groups not being able to see eye-to-eye on even the smallest issues; not so here. Yes, there are disagreements, but they tend to come to a rapid end. It's really cool to be a part of.

Everyone involved has been energized to act - if even to just be kept 'in the loop' and provide informal feedback – because in some way large or small they've been harmed by the City of Oakland's aggressive parking enforcement process and outrageously high parking fees.

There are stories of cars booted and towed that were owned by working women with kids, while those persons were present.  But even more troubling is the rate of ticketing; many Oaklanders are being ticketed even between 2 AM and 5 AM!   If a person's car is just one-half-inch into the red zone at 4 AM, it gains a ticket.

Th result is a lot of Oaklanders that have more than five tickets, making them "tow" candidates.  The City of Oakland has spawned a level of political anger I've never seen before.

The general concern is the City of Oakland's balancing its budget on the backs of Oakland's poor in the middle of a bad economy with over 17 percent unemployed in Oakland. The group, to a person, has been determined to eliminate Oakland's ability to harm its poorest people in this way.

This is the structure of the initiative as it has been discussed to date. I stress that this is not singularly any one person's idea, and anyone who makes claims to the contrary is not informed of the truth. Moreover, the initiative is a work-in-progress, although we're rapidly approaching consensus. The objective has been to keep it simple.

Here it is as of this writing:

1.All parking meters will be taken out of service; time limits will be enforced by chalking tires.
2.Tickets for time violations will be capped at $20 and all late fees and penalties at $50.
3.The city will not tow vehicles for city parking enforcement rules other than in case of an emergency or blocking of access for emergency vehicles, or vehicle abandonment.
4.No vehicle will be ticketed or towed for blocking a driveway without the consent of the owner of the driveway.
5.Cars towed for DMV holds must have a city employee present to authorize the impoundments, and a good faith effort is required to have the owner of the vehicle present to get their personal property; personal property can't be removed by anyone other than the car's owner.
6.Towing and impoundment fees are capped at $300 per vehicle.
7.Proceeds from impounded vehicles that are sold at auction pay the DMV and City of Oakland fees first, the impound fees second, and remaining funds are kept by the owner of the vehicle.
8.After a vehicle has been impounded forfeited and sold, the original owner of the car has no more parking fine obligations to the City of Oakland.
9.The original owner of the car must be given the first option to buy back their car at the accepted minimum public auction price before the auction is held.
10.If any single provision of this initiative is found by the courts to be invalid for any reason, all other provisions are to remain in effect.

The next meeting of the Oakland Parking Initiative Group will be in January at a date to be determined. If you want to get involved drop me an email or Facebook or Twitter message (as this is also on Facebook and Twitter) and I'll put you on our mailing list.

JibJab on Tiger Woods, Jon and Kate, Obama - Never a Year Like '09

Venice, California based JibJab has carved-out a reputation for funny, catchy, memorable political animation videos on YouTube and their pace continues as we approach the end of 2009. In Never a Year Like '09, JibJab covers every subject and personality from David Letterman to Tiger Woods, Jon and Kate, President Bush, President Obama, Governor Mark Sanford, Carrie Prejean, and even Bill Clinton "getting chicks".

And more. Wow. Here's the video from JibJab:

The JibJab Decade

JibJab has been going strong in producing memorable digital entertainment since 2004. Evan and Gregg Spiridellis are the founders of this 35-person organization that also produces e-cards.

The firm started in 2000, always with the idea of using the computer to produce entertainment. But JibJab didn't hit its stride until 2004 when it made the now-famous "This Land" video featuring the Presidential Election between George Bush and John Kerry. That started a long string of politically-oriented humor videos that continues today.

It's fair to say that this has been the decade of JibJab. Check out the website at JibJab.com Rock on!