Monday, July 12, 2010

Journalism 101 with Zennie62's Nikky Raney & Josh Grattan

This video is about the difference between blogging and being a journalist:

Oakland News: ZZA's Enoteca closed; Grand Avenue Monday ghost town

ZZA's Enoteca in Oakland 
This installment of Oakland News, or news about what's going on in Oakland, California from very reliable sources, is a sad one.

ZZA's Enoteca at 550 Grand Avenue in Oakland's Adams Point District and next to Lake Merritt, the popular food and wine bar next to ZZA's Restaurant on Grand Avenue, was closed down by the Oakland, California representative of the State of California Alcohol and Beverage Control (ABC).

The reason that this blogger was given was that it "had something to do with a change or 'unraveling' of ownership" according to a very good, but unnamed source. ZZA's Enoteca has been closed since last Friday.

ZZA's Enoteca was a welcome addition to not just the ZZA's space, but the growing Grand Avenue restaurant scene. It offered something rare: an ability to work online on your computer over a glass of wine. The free WiFi aspect of ZZA's Enoteca made it a must-be-at for this blogger, but the wine offerings at reasonable prices were a plus.

Moreover, the owners and managers of ZZA's Enoteca took great pains to make sure patrons followed the rules regarding wine outdoors, and it has a nice, enclosed area just beyond the door for eating and drinking while enjoying the nice weather of late.

But now that ZZA's Enoteca is closed, and Sidebar is closed on Mondays, that stretch of Grand Avenue from just past Gold's Gym to Euclid Avenue looks like part of a dark ghost town. Let's hope ZZA's Enoteca gets its license back and soon.

What's bothersome is the ABC doesn't care that people need work and were providing a welcome establishment. I know there had to be an alternative; the ABC just didn't want to do it.

Stay tuned.

YouTube Partner Support changes not communicated to YouTubers

It's one thing to know the rules, but quite another when it seems the rules are changed without your knowledge.

In this case, the entire YouTube Partner Support staff has been changed without notice to this YouTuber or any online news.

Erik Brown, who this blogger came to see as a benevolent enforcer, has been replaced by...someone. And this happened without a word or email or blog. Nothing at all.

Brown paid an instrumental role in making sure my case was understood as I was negotiating with for the right to use their Miley Cyrus video. Erik Brown was a steady, reasoned, yet firm hand.

But now, for reasons not known, Brown is gone. Indeed, it seems that many of the YouTube Partner Support Team that existed and I met are gone.

If YouTube does not want video-bloggers and is favoring people who do "shows," it should just say so. It's an abrupt change to see YouTube "just do" without explanation.

I'm now beginning to understand why some YouTubers like Renetto don't do YouTube any more. Something's wrong. Something's missing. And they're not talking about it.

But I am.

Plus, I get the impression someone at YouTube didn't like the fact that Erik Brown was helpful.  I hope I'm wrong; I was a fan of the old YouTube, but this new one's not feeling so good at all.  

YouTube and News Organizations

The impression here is YouTube is not as focused on really building news organization partners, nor does YouTube Partner Support understand the unique DMCA rules afforded to news organizations.  More news blogger should be YouTube Partners, but does YouTube even want that?

I'm not convinced this is the case, anymore.

Stay tuned.

Harvey Pekar and David Letterman had classic moments

Harvey Pekar, the famous writer of American Splendor who died Monday at the age of 70, was not just famous for his writing, but for his at times incendiary television relationship with talk show host David Letterman.

In fact, Harvey Pekar so annoyed David Letterman on August 31, 1988 that he was banned from the show for life, even though he returned for two more appearances since that time.

Here are the videos of Pekar's totally funny and at times cringe-producing exchanges with David Letterman:

Harvey Pekar on David Letterman: July 31, 1987:

Harvey Pekar on David Letterman 1987 for "Live at Five":

Harvey Pekar on David Letterman, August 31, 1988:

Harvey Pekar was a true American Legend who will be missed by many. As this is written, Harvey Pekar is the number one Twitter Trend. Here are a few of the tweets:

enigmagg - From the outrageous Harvey Pekar to the insightful Harvey and everything he was in-between will be missed.
less than 10 seconds ago via web

ruhlman - very sad to hear the news of Harvey Pekar's death. An American Original.
about 5 hours ago via TweetDeck

EDouglasWW - True story: One of the first events I covered for ComingSoon was a reading/QnA with Harvey Pekar for American Splendour, the movie.
half a minute ago via web

Harvey Pekar, R.I.P

Does the FEC have any teeth?

Attorney Burton Odelson, a veteran at helping political candidates get their paperwork in order, said it's significant that Republican Joe Walsh failed to file the required personal financial disclosure report with the FEC before the Illinois primary.  Traditionally it's filed almost immediately, but candidates can file up to 30 days after the first quarter in which they have $5,000 of fund-raising activity, or at least 30 days before an election (including primaries.)

Now others within the Republican party are calling for him to get out because he's broken election law, because in a district that's in play (the Illinois 8th) they've got a guy running who even staunch Republicans don't want to vote for.

You'd expect Democrats to be using this, to draw attention to disorganization at a minimum, and call into question where the money came from in cases such as this one where a candidate loans substantial amounts to the campaign despite having outstanding financial judgments going unmet.

Check this out:
"It's the document that creates a transparency as to the Congressman or the nominee's holdings to let the public know who he is, what he has, and do you want to vote for him. If he's voting on things in Congress that he has a conflict with.”
~Burton S. Odleson

Despite Walsh’s apology, Fox was reporting that calls for his resignation were growing more intense in some corners even before more staffers quit. Let's face it, staff quits in almost every election, it's a stressful job, but these latest two sound like pretty solid GOP supporters engaged in more than ordinary angst.

According to Jeff Goldblatt of Fox Chicago, Mark Cramer, a Precinct Captain with Schaumburg Township Republicans, repeated his call for Walsh to get out of the race.

“The law is there for a purpose. This is the second time he’s run for Congress, and to not know it, it’s unconscionable"

“Do we want somebody in Congress who is going to forget to file official paperwork? He broke the law. He can make any excuse in the world, but fact of matter is, he knew he should do it, but he didn’t do it.”
~Mark Cramer
Can you imagine if Obama had failed to file this fundamental a piece of documentation? Never mind the whole birth certificate uproar, this is the chance for voters and the media to examine the finances and look for conflicts of interest before casting their ballots. It's our chance to see the assets, debt, and recent income of people we send off to vote on how to manage and spend vast sums of tax-payer money, but Walsh wants to quietly pay the late fee, plus whatever civil fine (a maximum of $50,000) the Attorney General's pursues in a civil case - and tell voters it's all OK, no big deal?

Was Walsh even eligible to run and/or hold the office having failed to comply FEC regulations? If this had emerged after the election itself would it result in just a slap on the wrist, or would his eligibility to serve in the U.S. Congress be nullified?

Only in Illinois

What is the point of FEC regulations if they don't apply to every candidate? I realize this is Illinois, and that means the focus is on Rod Blagojevich, and people just accept a certain amount in politics, but -- who enforces this stuff?

Voters have a right to expect our elections are conducted fairly. How does a guy who hadn't met the FEC filing deadline even make it on the ballot?

Thomas Hayes
is an entrepreneur, journalist, Democratic political staffer, and photographer who contributes regularly to a host of web sites on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.

Bohemian Grove fund-raiser to feature Grammy Award-winning acts

The Bohemian Grove is hosting its 99th Annual Monte Rio Variety Show (website: ) to benefit local charities on July 29th. Here's the press release:

Monte Rio, Calif. – The Bohemian Club will hold its 99th annual “Monte Rio Variety Show” on Thursday, July 29, offering an evening of music, comedy and theater to celebrate the friendship and connection with the Monte Rio and Russian River communities and to raise funds for local charities.

Last year’s show raised more than $30,000 for local charities. In recent years the event has featured Bohemians such as country music star Clint Black, rock legend Steve Miller and Grateful Dead icon Bob Weir.

This year’s Monte Rio Variety Show will begin at 7 p.m. at the Monte Rio Amphitheater. A pre-show barbeque, hosted by the Monte Rio Volunteer Firefighter’s Association, begins at 4:30 p.m.

Anyone attending the show is encouraged to bring lawn chairs, folding chairs or a blanket. These items can be placed in advance at the amphitheater after 7 a.m. on the day of the show.

The entrance to the show is behind The Pink Elephant on Main Street in Monte Rio. Admission is payable the day of the event, by reservation or by purchasing tickets at several local outlets.

As is the tradition, this year’s Variety Show will feature special guests, Grammy Award winning musicians, hot rock bands, jazz, and special acts that are guaranteed to delight spectators of all ages.

Tickets purchased in advance are $20.00 for adults and $5 for children ages 13 to 17. Adult tickets purchased the day of the event are $25.00. Children 12 and under are free with paid adult admission. There is an additional fee for the Firefighter’s pre-show barbecue.

Ticket reservations can be made by sending a check to Monte Rio Variety Show, c/o P.O. Box 218, Monte Rio, CA 95462. For any questions, call 707-865-2234.

All proceeds will benefit St. Catherine’s Church, the Monte Rio School Foundation, and the Monte Rio Volunteer Firefighter’s Association.

The Bohemian Grove, the club’s rustic retreat near Monte Rio, provides 600 jobs for adults, college and high school students each summer. The Club also participates in charitable causes that benefit local schools and athletic programs, food banks and has partnered with the Sequoia Trust, which helps fund many programs that serve the Monte Rio and Russian River communities.

Harvey Pekar dead, writer of American Splendor comics

Paul Giamatti and Harvey Pekar
Harvey Pekar is dead. The writer of American Splendor comics has passed away at the age of 70.

Pekar, most linked to his friend, the famous artist (and for a time San Franciscan) R. Crumb, was a cancer survivor who was found by his wife Joyce Brabner Monday morning at his home in a Cleveland Heights, Ohio.

Harvey Pekar wrote his first comic book strip in 1972. Illustrated by his friend Crumb, it featured his life as a file clerk.

Pekar was also known as a frequent guest of David Letterman on his show. Pekar's reparte with Letterman is good television, although it's hard to tell if they're kidding or serious. Here's one of Pekar's appearances, where David Letterman calls him a "dork" and says "I'd like to apologize to Cleveland," on August 31, 1988:

Later in life, Pekar was played by actor Paul Giamatti in the critically acclaimed film American Splendor. In this scene from that movie, Toby (played by Judah Friedlander) talks to Harvey about White Castle burgers and the movie Revenge of the Nerds:

Harvey Pekar lived from 1939 to 2010 and struggled with lymphoma during his later years. That battle resulted in Our Cancer Year, graphic novel autobiography. Pekar's survived by his wife Joyce Brabner and their foster daughter Danielle.

Zennie62's Youtube Fan Page on Facebook! by Nikky Raney

The Facebook Fan Page for's Youtube page has been created! This page will feature the videos on the Zennie62 Youtube page. This page is still under construction, but it will be worked on throughout this week. This page will enable the Youtube page to reach out to a larger audience, and the Youtube page will in turn gain more subscribers from the Facebook fan page. Let's all promote the fan page as well as the Youtube page.

Roman Polanski extradition rejection top Twitter trend; Polanski free

Roman Polanski 
Roman Polanski's still such a hot topic that when the news that his extradition to the United States was denied by the Swiss today, Monday, it was a top Twitter trend and a "hot topic" on Google Trends at the same time.

A rare development; the reason for the Roman Polanski extradition rejection is not just that Polanski goes free after being charged with unlawful sex with a 13-year-old girl in a case 33 years old, but that he was freed on a technicality.

According to The New York Times, Switzerland Justice Minister Eveline Widmer-Schlumpf told a news conference that 76-year-old Polanski was set free because of a possible technicality: American law enforcement rejected Justice Widmer-Schlumpf's request for the records of Roger Gunson, a prosecutor in the case.

Those records were to show if Gunson did claim that Polanski's stay in a psychiatric unit counted as jail time. So because America rejected Justice Widmer-Schlumpf's request, she rejected America's extradition request.

Basically, the U.S. Justice Department screwed up on this one. Polanski is free from house arrest and can go home to France.

Roman Polanski Twitter reactions negative toward Swiss

On Twitter, when the tweets were not just reporting to retweeting the basic news, they were hostile toward the Swiss action:

markthomasinfo - Extraditing Roman Polanski not in Swiss national interests -which are tax dodging, nazi gold and rapist harboring apparently.
29 minutes ago via web

Duwli - Alarming! where's d unified voice on sexual abuse? RT @Ispookhorses: RT @Movieline Roman Polanski Free After Swiss Reject Extradition http
half a minute ago via Twee in reply to Ispookhorses

owillis - Switzerland Loves Child Rapists, Releases Roman Polanski
about 1 hour ago via Facebook

Unusual in this Twitter development is that the subject "Roman Polanski" is on top of "Hannah Montana Forever," leading to this tweet from Gary Busey:

GaryJBusey - I love how Roman Polanski is on top of Hannah Montana Forever in the trending topics, because that's how it's written in his Trapper Keeper.
about 1 hour ago via web

But lost in all of this reaction is that fact that if Roger Gunson had made a deal with Polanski, and the court looked at Polanski's stay in a psychiatric unit as jail time, then Polanski ran the risk of being jailed twice. Of course, Polanski's fleeing the United States prevented that mistake from happening.

Made The Ghost Writer

Being under house arrest did not stop Roman Polanski from working. Even though he could not step beyond the property line of his three-story chalet reportedly called "The Milky Way," he could receive visitors. That's how he was able to complete and release the movie The Ghost Writer.

What will the U.S. do? Stay tuned.

Oakland News: Lake Chalet loses chef; strip clubs in Oakland?

Lake Chalet Patio in Oakland
An Oakland news roundup of things told to this blogger by a number of reliable sources. First, Lake Chalet, the favored eatery of this space in Oakland, has reportedly elected to part with its executive chef Jarod Gallagher. This word comes from people who worked at The Lake Chalet, but now are with other new restaurants in Oakland.

While I personally liked Jarod Gallagher and his food offerings, the one issue that has plagued The Lake Chalet is how the food was regarded considering its price points. Jarod did work to change the menu a few months ago, so one can't say he wasn't trying. But the word is that The Lake Chalet's going in a different direction.

Business has reportedly been good and the establishment survived the Oscar Grant verdict, so full steam ahead for Lake Chalet.

Strip Clubs in Oakland?

There's talk by some that if Oakland had more strip clubs it would get more convention business. And the people saying this are in the right places to make something happen.

But this space says that their logic is butt-backward. Oakland needs hotels before it can hope to have more restaurants or shops, let alone strip clubs. Plus, there's a heavy lobby against strip clubs that would come out full force in Oakland.

Much of Oakland's problem is San Francisco: that is many people feel they have to go to San Francisco for such sexual fun. Thus, the drive to have strip clubs of a high quality in Oakland has been all but non-existent.

Will that change? Yes. But along with it will come a big push against strip clubs in Oakland.

Oakland Mayor's Race: one about to drop out

There's word that at least one of the current candidates in the Oakland Mayor's Race is set to drop out of it, perhaps within two weeks.

Stay tuned.

San Francisco event Monday night: Young Frankenstein and Wicked cast at Club Fugazi, 7:30 PM

San Francisco's Club Fugazi, which hosts Beach Blanket Babylon, has an exciting event tonight, Monday night only at 7:30 PM featuring Young Frankenstein and Wicked cast members!

It is the Richmond Ermet AIDS Foundation (REAF) presentation of "Wicked fun with Young Frankenstein."

REAF's "One Night Only" benefit cabaret series are always great fun featuring cast members from hit Broadway shows in original cabaret performances in intimate theaters. Each show takes on it's own character based on the the make up of the touring cast for each show.

The cast of "Wicked" has participated in three of REAF's "One Night Only" benefit cabarets over the past year and they always put together fun and exciting numbers for these benefits.

Add cast members from the hit show, "Young Frankenstein," which is opening this week at the Golden Gate Theatre, plus special guest MC, comic Bruce Vilanch, and you've got a recipe for a wild and crazy evening of theatre.

Tickets start at $25 and are available by calling the Beach Blanket Babylon Box Office - 78 Green Street, San Francisco, CA 91433 - at 415-421-4222. Click here for more information.

World Cup 2010: Yahoo! beats ESPN, wins World Cup web traffic prize

Koman's draws a crowd 
While watching the World Cup Soccer Final pitting Spain v. The Netherlands at The Republic in San Francisco, Yahoo!'s Cara Varni said that Yahoo! generated more World Cup Soccer online traffic than any other site,including ESPN, AOL, and the FIFA World Cup site itself.

That's true. Yahoo!, who's gotten more web pages for its CEO, Carol Bartz' use of profanity than on its website performance, scored the largest traffic volume from World Cup Soccer interest that's caused websites all over to set there own traffic records.

ComScore via ClickZ reports that Yahoo! racked up 22.7 million unique visitors between June 7th and June 13th, with 7.9 million visitors directly to the World Cup Soccer site at Yahoo! Meanwhile, ESPN reported 16.5 million unique visitors total, with a guesstimate of over 3 million for the World Cup. (CBS Sports) came in third with 7.4 million unique visitors.

Why did Yahoo! beat ESPN, even though ESPN had a television tie in via its cable programs and match coverage? The speculation here is that Yahoo did a great job of leading its user base to its World Cup pages.

As this is written the Yahoo! main page is dominated by World Cup Soccer news. The difference between ESPN and Yahoo is that ESPN's website is not a web service provider with an email system. Thus, it does not have that set of users who are on Yahoo! for something else, who then discover World Cup Soccer news.

What would Yahoo!'s Carol Bartz say to this news? Probably, "That's f-in great!"

World Cup 2010: Spain v. Netherlands at The Republic, San Francisco

The World Cup 2010 is history. Spain has beaten the Netherlands. And all we have are memories. What's cool about online video and video-blogging is the ability to capture special moments from the point of view of the vlogger.

The Republic, San Francisco
In this case, those videos from this space were created just walking down the street in Oakland's Adams Point District, at Era Art and Design Bar for the USA's dramatic win against Algeria, and for the sad loss to Ghana, and today at The Republic Bar and Grill at Scott and Lombard in San Francisco's Marina District.

The Republic visit happened because my friend Brian Zahn's a bartender there (as well as at Kel's Irish Bar, also in San Francisco), and also a Facebook friend. He sent a message extending an invitation to watch the Spain v. Netherlands World Cup Final match there.

The temptation to get up and go from Oakland to San Francisco and not via car (since a bar was the destination) was countered by the desire to either go to church or sleep. But when a friend sends a note, it's a good idea to respond in kind: The Republic was the destination.

The Republic was surprisingly crowded, meaning I totally misread just how popular 2010 World Cup Soccer matches still were even as the USA was eliminated by Ghana. The Republic was literally overflowing with patrons, spilling outside to the sidewalk - it was standing-room-only full of people expecting a great match. What they got was boring. So much so, that the conversation turned to such things as the flowers on a woman's flip-flops, and the style of cupcakes someone purchased.

If Soccer is to have any chance of being truly competitive with pro football for the American sports fans ticket-buying dollar, it can't have matches like the one between Spain and The Netherlands. The main problem is that it's just plain slow and then, suddenly, it's over. And it seems that the crowd is teased with almost goals after almost goals.

All of this is just fine for World Cup Soccer, but for a regular league game with far less television exposure and cultural impact, it's a guarantee of failure. Americans want to be rewarded with scoring and endings. For whatever reason, that's the way the USA is.

The most logical scenario is World Cup Soccer itself gets bigger and bigger, but fails to carry American soccer up with it. Meanwhile, the NFL's hold on American Culture remains for at least another three decades. The wild card is international expansion for the NFL: how far can it extend pro football around the World is anyone's guess.

Meanwhile, what we had was an incredible surge in popularity of soccer in the USA. The fact the World is competing on stage where there's a final winner and in the age of ESPN, YouTube Twitter, and Yahoo, (the most trafficked site for World Cup Soccer according to Yahoo!'s Cara Varni, who I watched the match with) melded the World like no cultural event has before. The energy at The Republic in San Francisco was tremendous today. The only way it would have been better is if the USA were in and won the final.

I'm ready for World Cup 2014 already!