Thursday, March 11, 2010

Merlin Olsen died of cancer at 69 - NFL and NBC star

Merlin Olsen died of cancer at 69 today after a battle with cancer that in a 2009 lawsuit Olsen claimed was caused by Asbestos exposure.

Olsen sued NBC Studios, NBC Universal, 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Sherwin Williams, Lennox Industries and other companies, according to

Merlin Olsen is the model for success in the transition from football to regular life. He became a great actor, starring on Little House on The Prairie and Father Murphy. And of course, he was a terrific NBC football analyst.

When this blogger thinks of Merlin Olsen, the word "smooth" comes to mind. In his speech and movement. A quite giant who I met after the 1993 Cal and Stanford Big Game, when his son Nate Olson played for Bill Walsh at Stanford.

Merlin Olsen played defensive end as part of the Los Angeles Rams "Fearsome Foursome" of Rosey Greier, Deacon Jones, and Lamar Lundy in their 4-3 defense.

Jason Ritter and Marianna Palka talk about Good Dick The Film

Jason Ritter and Marianna Palka, the co-creators of Morning Knight, Inc., were at the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Party on Oscar Sunday. Jason Ritter, the son of John Ritter, opened the video talking about his role in an NBC pilot called The Event.

But Ritter and Palka were also interested in pushing attention toward their 2008 film called Good Dick. The website's synopsis of the movie is here:

Good Dick is a modern fairy tale about a troubled, reclusive young woman and the persistent video clerk who draws her out of her claustrophobic world by starting up a unique courtship with her. As they become closer, her sexual antipathy is met with his unflinching optimism, until finally her aggressive defenses overwhelm them both and the relationship bursts apart. Profoundly affected by his presence in her life, she finds that she has the courage to face her past.

Good Dick was a 2008 Sundance Film Festival Award Winner that is independently distributed as of this writing on DVD. The film's written and directed by Marianna Palka and from the looks of this trailer...

Is an entertaining film.

Because of the "assembly line" of celebrities, there wasn't enough time to get more in depth about the movie itself. But more on it later; visit the website Good Dick The Film.

Stay tuned.

Days of Our Lives David Leisure talks about fame - after The Oscars

At the Night of 100 Stars Oscar Gala last Sunday at The Beverly Hills Hotel, actor, comedian, and Days of Our Lives star David Leisure talked about fame. Or when he knew he was famous. It was connected with his iconic role as "Joe Isuzu" 25 years ago. Then, the snarky spokesperson for The Isuzu brand started to be recognized by "people he didn't know" and after a while it got "creepy". But he's used to it all now.

David Leisure played Charley Dietz in the series Empty Nest to 1995 and today he's "D.A. Woods" on the long-running soap opera Days of Our Lives. I later ran into him at the Beverly Hills Polo Lounge just before the whole Alec Baldwin episode unfolded.

Stay tuned.

Corey Haim had enlarged heart and water in his lungs

The LA County Corner's Office (who's had a very busy last three months with the deaths of Brittany Murphy, Casey Johnson, and now Corey Haim), reports that Actor Corey Haim had "pulmonary congestion, an enlarged heart and water in his lungs" as reported by

But with that, the LA County Corner's Office has not determined that was the cause of Corey Haim's death. Several prescription medications were found in Corey Haim's apartment, including Valium, Vicodin and Soma.

RadarOnline reports that Corey Haim's mother said Haim was helping her on her battle against breast cancer.

That battle's all too familiar to me. My Mom battled breast cancer and was declared cancer-free April 17th, 2005. She takes a drug called Femara that has really worked wonders.

Stay tuned.

Amanda Knox cleared by Mario Alessi confession - CBS News

According to CBS Online via YouTube, Amanda Knox, who's currently serving time in an Italian prison for the alleged murder of Meredith Kercher, did not kill Meredith Kercher.

Amanda Knox, the former University of Washington student and her boyfriend at the time, Raffaele Sollecito were said to have worked with Rudy Hermann Guede to kill Meredith Kercher in a sex-play gone wrong. But this video taped confession by Guede's prison-mate Mario Alessi clears Amanda Knox of any wrong-doing:

In the video, Alessi says that Guede told him that he and a friend of Guede's went to Meredith Kercher's house that night. They had met a few days earlier in a club; they went to Meredith Kercher's house but "it was not planned." She was surprised to see them, but invited them into the house.

Rudy himself had asked if she wanted to have a threesome, which she did not want to do. Rudy went to the bathroom for about 15 minutes, then came back and found a "completely different scenario." He found the girl with her back on the ground and the guy holding her in his arms. They then went into a kind of dry humping threesome that Alessi describes in detail in the video.

The guy, unnamed, took out a pocket knife and basically killed her with it, according to Alessi. It started as an accidental stabbing that Rudy wanted to heel, but "the guy" wanted to "finish the prostitute off" according to the video. He did so and then left. Rudy stayed behind, but eventually exited the house as well.

Rudy Guede wrote a letter saying that Mario Alessi's claims were not true. But since Alessi's claims would work against him and Alessi was his prison mate, Alessi's claims ring true.

Amanda Knox was nowhere to be seen when Meredith Kercher was murdered.

Stay tuned.

Chevron Ecuador issue: Chevron wins court victory against Ecuador

In the ongoing court battle between Chevron and the Country of Ecuador, Chevron won a court victory against Ecuador today. According to Reuters, A U.S. District Court Judge in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, granted Chevron the right to pursue an order to have via Ecuador to complete environmental cleanup work it and the state-run Petroecuador Oil Company were to have done when it took over oil production from Chevron-Texaco in 1992. Chevron will seek to have this done under the "U.S. - Ecuador Bilateral Investment Treaty."

In a statement sent to this blogger, Chevron said...

Chevron is pleased that the Bilateral Investment Treaty arbitration can proceed. Chevron is seeking to hold Ecuador and its government owned oil company, PetroEcuador, to the promise they made to complete the environmental cleanup of the Amazon. Texaco Petroleum did its share of the cleanup as promised, and PetroEcuador now needs to own up to its promises and address the environmental problems wrongly being blamed on Chevron. Only the international arbitration panel can bring Ecuador to the table and compel PetroEcuador to do the right thing and clean up its oil fields. With today's decision, we are one step closer to making that a reality

The court ruling has huge implications for Ecuador's oil production strategy. First, Ecuador has pursued a course of oil nationalization since 1990, but during that time has failed to make timely improvements in oil production facilities or adequately clean up oil spills. There have been over 100 oil spills in the Amazon Delta region since 1992.

Ecuador has embarked on a systemic removal of American oil companies. The most recent major example being Occidental Petroleum in 2007, where Ecuador literally kicked out Occidental from its property siting a breach of contract. Ecuadorians then had fist fights over the left over luxury cars.

When Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa came to power in January of 2007, he had pressures from two sides. First, Ecuador's environmental activists wanted more attention to cleanup of the Amazon, but state officials wanted to continue the nationalization of petroleum production. Correa crafted the perfect head-fake strategy: ask for money from oil companies to clean up the impacted areas of Ecuador, but continue and expand state oil production. Causing Chevron to pay billions for a cleanup project it was only partially responsible for was part of the strategy. The U.S. Court's decision has wrecked that approach.

Much of the opposition to Correa from activists has been muted by Ecuador's horrible treatment of the press. Teleamazonas, a TV station that reported that a natural gas exploitation on Puna Island could cause the suspension of fishing for up to six months, was shut down in December of 2009 for three days, according to The Committee to Protect Journalists. In 2008, a local journalist working to point to corruption in the judicial system was jailed for 10-months.

Ecuador has worked to keep quiet its mishandling of oil production and the resultant environmental damage, while encouraging the media and using the courts to force American and foreign oil companies to pay for the oil-related mess Ecuador caused, and fooling American activists groups into helping Ecuador's government nationalize its oil production. Today's ruling will have a major impact in altering that course of behavior.

Stay tuned.

Conan O'Brien tour: American Express is the sponsor?

Conan O'Brien is back with a tour sponsored by American Express: Atlanta, San Francisco, Spokane on the list. The tour Conan O'Brien "The Legally Prohibited from Being Funny on Television Tour" will cover 30 cities in all, starting with Eugene, Oregon on April 12th and ending in Atlanta on June 14th at The Fox Theater. On Twitter, Conan tweeted:

Hey Internet: I'm headed to your town on a half-assed comedy & music tour. Go to for tix. I repeat: It's half-assed.

What's interesting to this blogger is American Express, which has financially squeezed its credit card customers (like this blogger) and caused them to give up their Gold Cards because of their practices, and has taken Federal Government bailout money and improved its fiscal position, is the sponsor.  Is this supposed to make me reconsider American Express?

Apparently, American Express is healthy enough to get back in the event sponsorship game. Hopefully, it's treating its customers much better than in 2008. If I were Conan O'Brien, I'd have pursued another sponsor. Why not an airline like United Airlines?

At any rate, here's the full list of Conan O'Brien tour dates according to the Kansas City Star:

4/12/10 Eugene, OR Hult Center for the Performing Arts
4/13/10 Vancouver, BC, Canada Orpheum Theatre
4/16/10 Spokane, WA INB Performing Arts Center
4/17/10 Enoch, AB, Canada River Cree Resort & Casino
4/18/10 Seattle, WA Seattle Center – Marion Oliver McCaw Hall
4/22/10 San Francisco, CA Nob Hill Masonic Center
4/24/10 Universal City, CA Gibson Amphitheater
4/29/10 San Diego, CA San Diego Civic Theatre
4/30/10 Phoenix, AZ Dodge Theatre
5/1/10 Las Vegas, NV The Pearl Concert Theatre @ The Palms
5/4/10 Reno, NV Grand Sierra Resort & Casino
5/5/10 San Jose, Ca San Jose State University Events Center
5/6/10 Sacramento, CA Sacramento Memorial Auditorium
5/9/10 Boulder, CO Mackey Auditorium
5/10/10 Denver, CO Ellie Caulkins Opera House
5/13/10 Dallas, TX McFarlin Memorial Auditorium- SMU Campus
5/14/10 Austin, TX Austin Music Hall
5/15/10 Tulsa, OK Brady Theater
5/16/10 Kansas City, MO Midland Theatre
5/18/10 Minneapolis, MN Orpheum Theatre
5/19/10 Chicago, IL Chicago Theatre
5/22/10 Toronto, ON, Canada Massey Hall
5/30/10 Atlantic City, NJ Borgata Spa & Resort – Event Center
6/1/10 New York, NY Radio City Music Hall
6/4/10 Boston, MA Wang Theater
6/6/10 Uncasville, CT Mohegan Sun Arena
6/7/10 Upper Darby, PA Tower Theatre
6/8/10 Washington, DC Constitution Hall
6/11/10 Manchester, TN Bonnaroo Music Festival
6/14/10 Atlanta, GA Fox Theatre

Stay tuned.

The Richest person in the world: Carlos Slim Helu

The richest person in the world is Carlos Slim Helu, but who Carlos Slim Helu? The Richest Man In The World reportedly makes $30 million a month. Carlos Slim Helu, who tops The Forbes billionaire list, is the Lifetime Honorary Chairman of Telefonos de Mexico.

Mr. Helu, whom the Christian Science Monitor weirdly described as "the portly cigar-smoker", is the first man from a developing country to become Richest Man In The World. That's another way of saying Carlos Slim Helu is the first person of color to top the Forbes billionaire list.

How Carlos Slim Helu got there is by purchasing a controlling interest in Telmex in 1990, along with a group of investors, and used that to leverage the buying of as many telecom companies in Mexico and Latin America as possible. Now, his family owns 90 percent of Mexico's telephone lines and 80 percent of its cellphone. He's used that to finance his business operations around the World.

Carlos Slim Helu owns almost 7 percent of The New York Times and in 2009 gave the Times Company a $250 million loan. He's reportedly happy with his stake in the company and has no plans to increase it.

Stay tuned for updates.

Seattle P.I. has Zennie Abraham, but formatting not his fault

On March 18th The Seattle P.I., the website that was once connected to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, turns one year old.

This month of March, and to the total surprise of this blogger, his work turned up on the "City Brights section" of Seattle P.I.

It's great to at the Seattle P.I. (as it gives me a reason to focus on a city I love, Seattle) and at , and at, and at, and the 100 blog network we have there, and on ,, and five other video sites, and about 30 social networks and bookmarking sites and on CoLoursTV.

The one problem is the Seattle P.I. appears to be using the Zennie62 RSS feed but not formatting the result. Thus, the blog posts come out without paragraph breaks, leaving one long "go" of words all mushed together. The damage is done when it reads "posted by Zennie Abraham" - it wasn't posted by Zennie Abraham.

He's me, as you know.

Thanks, Seattle P.I.; please fix my blog posts!

Stay tuned.

Gabourey Sidibe lands movie role, proves Howard Stern wrong

Gabourey Sidibe in Yelling To The Sky
Actress Gabourey Sidibe, who was the focus of shock jock radio host Howard Stern's racist rant on Monday, has landed a movie role and proved Howard Stern wrong at the same time.

Gabourey Sidibe is in a movie called Yelling To The Sky.

Written and directed by Victoria Mahoney, the description of Yelling To The Sky is this: "In a depraved New York neighborhood, the youngest of three mixed-race sisters named Sweetness O’Hara, spends the better part of being seventeen navigating an identity between the known: a violent life of crime, and the unknown: a life of purpose and meaning."

You can become a fan of the movie at Facebook here: Yelling to The Sky.

To recap, on The Howard Stern Show, Howard Stern ranted that Actress Gabourey Sidibe, who played the lead role in the award-winning movie Precious, and was a Best Actress Nominee for an Oscar at the 2010 Academy Awards, would never get another movie role. Howard Stern referred to Gabourey Sidibe as a "fat black chick" causing this blogger to ask what he skin color has to do with anything?

Again, to make sure the message is sent, Howard Stern was being racist. Period. End of story. Racism is a mental illness. It is the putting down - the rejecting - of a person because of the color of their skin. Howard Stern talked as if being black was something that made Gabourey Sidibe unattractive in his eyes. That's John Mayer-level racism. Racists are not known for thinking; if Howard Stern were thinking he would have never made the statement he did on his show.

Instead, Stern stuck his foot in his mouth.

Now Howard may say, "Oh, c'mom. That's a small independent film." So was Precious.

Stay tuned.

Forbes Rich List has Bill Gates at #2 and Mexican mogul Carlos Slim #1

The 2010 Forbes Rich List is out and for the first time in 15 years, an American is not in the top spot of the top 10. Microsoft co-founder and former-Chairman Bill Gates (or William Gates III) is not number one and neither is Warren Buffett. This year, Bill Gates, the 2009 leader, was replaced by Mexican telecommunications mogul Carlos Slim.

On ABC's Nightline Wednesday, much was made of the fact that fewer Americans were in the top-10; in 2005 five of the ten on the list were American. But this should come as no surprise considering the last 30-years of American assistance in the development of the multinational economy. Three decades of "outsourcing" of jobs - sending American jobs to countries like Mexico and India - has created the wealth base in those countries that allows the purchase of goods and services produced by the people who runs the businesses that caused them to reach the Forbes Rich List.

Over the last three decades, America has lost over $976 billion in job-generated wealth; over $400 billion of that in just the last eight years. The reason is America never installed a really coordinated industrial policy to improve and maintain key export industries.

In the case of telecommunications, which is Carlos Slim's area, America was the call center for the World in the 1980s; today call centers are primarily in India, Mexico, Canada, and Asia and over the years those countries have subsidized the growth of the telecom industry.

In the case of France's Bernard Arnault, who's number 7 on the list, French government subsidies helped him acquire a textile company Boussac, which owns Christian Dior. Arnault sold off all assets, save for the luxury Christian Dior brand and the Le Bon Marché department store. The Arnault family only used $15 million of its own money according to Wikipedia.

And the Forbes Rich List Top 10 may one day have no Americans on it; right now there are only three: Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Warren Buffett.

Stay tuned.

Top 10 Social Networking Things to Do by Zennie Abraham

This Top 10 Social Networking Things to Do blog post is an update of an older post from 2009. It contains some refinements in an approach that's worked very well for this blogger.

My friends come to me for advice in this area all the time, so I created this "Top 10" list of actions to take in using social networks to get yourself noticed online. (I'm going to add to this later, with more detail but watch the video for more background.)

The objective here is not just to get yourself noticed, but to also protect your identity.  By being everywhere, and with the same name and photo, you create your "look" such that it's harder for anyone else to not only pretend to be you, but to alter your online persona.   In other words,  by having your name already online, it guards against and overwhelms any other view of you that's posted online.   To do this, you have to be on as many platforms as possible.

Top 10 Social Networking Things to Do

1.Figure out your name. (I’m Zennie Abraham, Zenophon Abraham and Zennie62)
2.What do you want to get out of this? (Business? pleasure? Information?

If you’re in the business of pleasure that’s another story.)
3.Figure out your title: CEO? Producer? Party Animal?
4.Develop an email list. Remember, email is still a form of social networking.
5.Find a photo you’re proud of and nothing with you wearing a gorilla suit. (It does work for some but I don’t recommend it.)

a.Join Linkedin
b.Join Ryze (Great small business membership base in the Bay Area.)
c.Join Plaxo
d.Join Facebook and turn off the relationship notifications. (We don't need

know that you're dating Sven Nordgarden.
e. Join H5
f. Join
g. Join

a.Join MySpace
b.Join Facebook
c.Join FriendFeed
d. Join
e. Join
f. Join

a.Join FriendFeed
b.Join Facebook
c.Join Technorati (I recommend creating a blog and then posting it as your website of choice in their system.)
d. If sports-related, join 
e. Join
f. Join
g. Join

Now some of you may find the inclusion of YouTube confusing, but it's a social network, not just a video distribution site. Moreover, it's a powerful identify-protection tool for this purpose, so long as you use your name and don't call yourself "Ardvark".

9.Set up a blog – put your resume in it without your phone number. That’s your free website. I prefer It’s free. Make the blog title your name. Why? To mark your place with your name on cyberspace. Link to it from your social network profile. The point is to begin to protect your name and identity by having something out there you made about you, not someone else.

10.Use your email signature as the place for your links to your Linkedin Page and Blog page. (Now you have two places pointing at your blog page, which helps with SEO and to have others see your resume.)

A word on Twitter.

Twitter is not a social network, it's a communications system and you need to have something to say to use it. It's volume-based; the more you post the more valued your account because people will follow you looking for interesting posts, or what are called "tweets". I think of Twitter as an accessory to a social network not a replacement for one.

Twitter is very misunderstood by people in business. To continue my current favorite organization to pick on, just because it needs to improve, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) does not have a Twitter account.  How could a Twitter account - and a blog - benefit AMPAS?  I'll demonstrated via this scenario:

The Academy makes a mistake and leaves out Farrah Fawcett from its Memorial Tribute portion of the 2010 Oscars.  To deal with the negative press it does the following:

1) Issues an apology on the AMPAS blog, which because it's connected to the AMPAS Twitter account, also goes out to AMPAS Twitter followers, and because the AMPAS Twitter account is connected to AMPAS on Facebook, it's posted to Facebook too.

2) AMPAS issues a press release based on the blog contents.

3) AMPAS asks its Twitter followers (hopefully over 1 million) to retweet the initial message.

4) AMPAS then makes a video-embeded blog post that's a "Tribute to Farrah Fawcett" and then does one blog post for each of the other actors that were missing.  That too goes out via Twitter, one for each performer, and it goes to Facebook.

What will happen is each AMPAS blog post link is heightened by the click rates that will happen from being part of a tweet.  That will raise the blog post pages in a search for "Farrah Fawcett and Academy" and thus more people will see the AMPAS apology and the online tribute.

End result: message is efficiently sent and the online tracks are seeded with tributes so that as the issue dies down, a track record that the Academy did something is in place.