Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dancing With The Stars And Jen Friel #Love - A Connection

Dealing with loss makes one think...

While Dancing With The Stars and Jen Friel #Love appear to have no connection, they do. First, Dancing With The Stars had its second week of great dancing and energy, with the most expressive and fun-to-watch couples getting the top scores. For example, Ralph Macchio of the Karate Kid movie and his partner Karina Smirnoff were always poised, smiling, and expressive. Ralph really seems to be having fun out there.

Thus, I wasn't surprised to see radio talk show guy Mike Catherwood get the boot, because it seemed like his dances with super-hot pro dancer Lacey Schwimmer were stiffed, and perhaps their last one was sexual to mask all of that lack of chemistry. It was like Mike wasn't having so much fun because he didn't think he was, or could be, good.

Of maybe Catherwood just wasn't into dancing - more like grinding than dancing. It just seemed like Lacey had more real chemistry with Kyle Massey, her last DWTS partner. And it showed in higher scores.

By contrast, Romeo and Chelsie Hightower are fun to watch, and really seem to be working together and into each other. The main thing is their dances are expressive.

Expression is one thing that DWTS winners have with Jen Friel, the star blogger of the blog Talk Nerdy To Me Lover (soon to be a television show).

Which she talks about in brief here:


Responding to a sea of emotions welled up after a test of dating on the site OK Cupid - 99 times - Friel wrote a really long and expressive blog post that caught this blogger, her friend, by surprise. She wrote about being drawn to emotionally unavailable men (sure as hell not me), and in the process made me realize something we talked about (and I will not reveal here) had changed, completely and dramatically. Plus, I can't help but wonder if 99 dates equals 99 times at sex, but after reading the blog, I figured it was just four times. Still...

Here's an excerpt:

In conducting my OKCupid social experiment for the last 8 months, I have found that out of 98 dates, there were only 4 of which I actually felt that "spark" with. All of the 4 have come from different backgrounds, have entirely different personalities, and look completely different; I've isolated as many of the variables as I could (with what little I knew about each one) and discovered that the only trait they all shared was emotional unavailability. I don't believe in soulmates or this notion of there ever being a "one." I think we are attracted to someone because of there being a lack within ourselves that resonates within this other person - and vice versa. In fact, I'm pretty black and white on that. So, I am attracted to emotionally unavailable men which results in me continuously having my heartbroken. I am so not kosher for that passover. I have to get over my emotional unavailability. What's my next doable action in that? Addressing the cause of said emotional unavailability. I present to you ... my best attempt ...
And that's just the first paragraph. The rest is a total roller-coaster, and now I'm behind. I've got to read it; in it's actually more entertaining than Dancing With The Stars!

Richard Winnie, Long Time Friend, Alameda County Council, Passes

This really hurts. Discovering the passing of this blogger's long time friend Richard Winnie via social media leaves a mix of emotions. Richard, Mr. Winnie to some, boss, to others, Alameda County Council to more, and godfather and friend to many, was and always will be my friend.

Richard represents a good 20 years of my 48 years life, and most of that talking about the politics of Oakland. But that was a subset. A side event.

Richard spontaneously remembered my birthday, and about a few weeks before August 4th, made sure to call, or have his secretary call, me to set his schedule so we could meet.

And we did, and always at 7:30 AM. For anyone who knows how much that time of morning is a pain in the butt to deal with for me, it was a pleasure knowing I was going to meet Richard.

Richard Winnie was one of the few people who actually bothered to take me aside and be a mentor. I didn't have to ask him or approach him, or drop a name. It was just the way he was.   See, unknown to me at the time in 1991, Richard wanted me to run a then-new organization called "Oakland - Sharing The Vision."(Or as my friend Phil Tagami called it, "Oakland - Sharing The Ham Sandwich.)

That didn't come to pass, but it was a very small episode in our relationship.  I was flattered that, in a city where it seemed I always had to yell to get my point across, someone - Richard - was actually listening.

 There are those people who are your friends - you don't have to ask, they just are. That was - is - Richard Winnie.

But beyond this little corner of the World, Richard was a giant in Oakland; someone many of the younger Oakland bloggers don't know, but should know about.

That strong mayor system we have in place, the one that many point to Jerry Brown for installing and called Measure X, had its roots in a push to change from the weak-mayor system we had, one that was spearheaded, for the most part, by two men and one woman: Richsrd Winnie, who was then partner at Wendel Rosen Black, and Dean, and then-Oakland Councilmember Dick Spees, and a then-little-known labor lawyer named Jane Brunner, who's now Oakland's District 2 Councilmember.

The reason I recall this so well is I was recording the doings of what was called The Oakland Charter Review Commitee when I was a Columnist for The Montclarion, and that was between 1993 and 1995. What became of that effort, Measure F, would, if passed in 1996, had given then-Oakland Mayor Elihu Harris the strong mayor power he wanted for so long. But it failed at the ballot box.

But the basic structure of that Measure, one that Richard Winnie played a key role in crafting, found its way into Measure X, Jerry Brown's version of the same system, that really should be called Jerry Brown's version of a plan created to a large degree by Mr. Winnie.

Why? Because Richard just plain cared about Oakland. He was a constant critic of The Port Of Oakland, and in particular the enormous power it held over waterfront land development decisions. But Richard, a keen intellect, was never a rabble-rousing critic; he always expressed his view with sound logic, and activated a good list of political and business contacts to express his view.

Richard, for much of the 21st Century, battled cancer, and for a time it seemed cancer would never return.  It's hard to think of an Oakland, or my life the same way, without my friend.

2011 NFL Draft: ESPN3 Has UW / Jake Locker Pro Day Wednesday

Got a Twitter tweet from the good folks at ESPN3.com, that the University of Washington will hold its pro day tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11 PM PST / 2 PM, EST, on ESPN3.com.

As you know if you're following the NFL Draft, Locker's stock has risen from a potential 4th round pick to a potential 1st round pick within the past month. The first 2011 NFL Mock Draft in this space had Locker going to The Seattle Seahawks. If Locker performs well at UW Pro Day, that possibility will become even more real.

Husky Haul Blog, which covers the Washington Huskies, reports that UW Pro Day will also be a showcase for other players like Linebacker Mason Foster and Safety Nate Williams.

But all eyes will be trained on Locker. If he does very well, he could leapfrog both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert, or at least muddle a competition that's already showing signs that it's going into a state of flux.

Tune in online. Remember, it's online here: http://espn.go.com/espn3/index?id=164585

Apple iPad 2 Can Mount On Wall, Car, Tile With RingO System

This is RingO for the iPad, made by Vogel's, which bills itself as the European market leader in Audio/Video and TV mounting solutions. RingO is Vogel's series of products first introduced exclusively at Mac World Expo this year for the iPad above, is now, this month, available for wide distribution in America.

Vogel's VP Of Innovations, Albert Zeeman, explains that "RingO's key feature is its simplicity - its modular design lets users quickly snap the RingO Cover onto a tablet, which then can be clicked securely onto a variety of RingO mounts: Wall Mount, Car Mount, Flexible Mount and others. Just quickly squeeze the mount clips to release the iPad from the mount, click quickly onto the next Mount, and your tablet is ready to use wherever it’s needed."

RingO For A Wide Range Of Products

RingO's a cool tool that makes the iPad more of a design appliance than a consumer tablet.  With it, the iPad can become art on the wall, or a car entertainment system, mounted on the seat back.

This is a start of what will be a wide range of products by Vogel's. For more information, visit http://www.ipadonthewall.com/usa

Obama Address On Libya and Qaddafi: What Did You Think?

Monday night, March 28th, 2011, President Obama gave a speech outlining the major reasons why America is in Libya fighting a humanitarian war. Now, the last time this blogger remembers America being involved in an effort labeled "humanitarian," we went into Somalia and it turned out that American Soldiers were being anything but "humanitarian."

But that was 1993 and the conditions for that action were vastly different. The take on Obama's speech here, is that Libyan Leader Muammar Qaddafi has been working to stop an uprising by his own citizens, calling for him to step down. Because Qaddafi didn't do so, and ignored President Obama's call for him to do so, and started killing his own people, Obama organized a coalition of allies to go in and act as a militaristic bodyguard helping Libyans being attacked by Qaddafi's military.

Obama's concern was that, if he went to Congress for approval in the "normal" way, the request could be tied up and become a political football.

Obama is correct.

If Congress were asked to make a decision on the kind of involvement Obama wanted, the first thing it would do it tip off Libya that help for its citizens was coming. That would certainly lead to television conversations and networks giving time for pro-Qaddafi spokespersons to say all manner of things that would give some American congresspeople pause. Some Democrats would sign on, others, understandably war-weary, would object. And the GOP would attempt to hijack Obama's efforts as their own, as we move toward the 2012 Election Season.

In all, it would be one big mess, showing America can't get its act together, while Qaddafi continues his devilish work.

Obama was correct.

Some have claimed the attack had to do with Libya being an oil producer, and that was the only reason. One friend said to me "We should be in Yemen, but they don't produce oil."

Actually, Yemen is an oil producer, and to the tune of some where around 400,000 barrels annually. Yet, no, America's not in Yemen, so that eliminates the oil argument.

No, Obama's actively trying to push the tide of reform in The Middle East. In fact, in his speech, he said so.

Libya sits directly between Tunisia and Egypt -– two nations that inspired the world when their people rose up to take control of their own destiny. For more than four decades, the Libyan people have been ruled by a tyrant -– Muammar Qaddafi. He has denied his people freedom, exploited their wealth, murdered opponents at home and abroad, and terrorized innocent people around the world –- including Americans who were killed by Libyan agents....- because while our military mission is narrowly focused on saving lives, we continue to pursue the broader goal of a Libya that belongs not to a dictator, but to its people...Born, as we are, out of a revolution by those who longed to be free, we welcome the fact that history is on the move in the Middle East and North Africa, and that young people are leading the way. Because wherever people long to be free, they will find a friend in the United States.

As well that should be: get it, do it, get out.

What do you think? Take the Zennie62 Poll:

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2011 NFL Draft: Dan Reeves: Cam Newton, Not Blaine Gabbert, Should Be #1

Not buying into the incredible hype machine that's driving Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert's assent, former Denver Broncos and Atlanta Falcons Head Coach, Dan Reeves, thinks the Carolina Panthers should draft Cam Newton (in photo by Getty Images and CBS), making him the fist pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.

Reeves, who's place in the NFL's history is the stuff of legend, going all the way back to the 1967 Ice Bowl, told the Charlotte Observer "If I'm them, I'm taking Cam Newton. I think that guy is going to be a great player.

Reeves compares Newton to Michael Vick, but with a better arm. The coach says that Newton's spread offense experience isn't an issue for him because "I can teach a guy to get up under center," Reeves said. "But I can't teach a guy to throw. He has a tremendous arm, and I think he's going to be really effective no matter what he was doing in college. I mean, how many times do you see Peyton Manning or Tom Brady in the shotgun? A lot."

Coach Reeves reminds us all that, when all of the NFL Draft talk is said and done, coaches still have to coach. A number of NFL Draft observers, including one publication that got into a disagreement with this blogger on Twitter, claim that Gabbert has a "higher ceiling" than Newton, but can't explain their views when pressed.

Reading Reeves comments, it's the other way around and because of Newton's legendary mobility and strength. Coach Reeves said that South Carolina players "looked like gnats" trying to bring Cam down last year.

Why Do The Panthers Need A Quarterback?

All of this talk about the Carolina Panthers needing to draft a quarterback number one is illogical.  The best signal callers don't have to be drafted so high.  Joe Montana was the 49ers 3rd Round pick.  Tom Brady was the Patriots 6th round pick.  And if you look at it, a number of high pick quarterbacks haven't worked out well, from Matt Leinart to Alex Smith, and Jamarcus Russell, who was number 1 in 2007.

Plus, with the NFL's need to get rookie salaries under control, why keep feeding the gravy train by picking a quarterback number one?  In our talk about this at the 2006 NFL Draft, Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman said that the pay scale starts with the number one pick and goes down.  Thus, if a defender is picked number one, that person's not likely to get a $50 million bonus; a quarterback, like Sam Bradford, will.    Here's Zimmerman:

In this NFL Draft we started with defenders ranking much higher than offensive players. Now, it seems the boards are being reversed, and for reasons that just aren't logical. If the best athletes are defenders, take the defenders first.

Stay tuned.

WonderCon SF Comic Book Convention: Why You Should Be There

WonderCon SF, the Comic Book Convention coming this Friday and running through Sunday at The Moscone Convention Center South, is going to be amazing. In brief, here's why you should be there for the 25th anniversary of this event!

- First, all of the major comic book publishers of note, and some not of note, will be there. From DC and Marvel Comics, to Dark Horse, Aspen, IDW, BOOM! (who's partnered with Stan Lee), SLG, and many more.

- Second, special guests, like Joe Field, who started the Will Eisner Spirit of Comics Award (and lives in Concord), one of the first alternative comics publishers Mike Friedrich, and former WonderCon program director Bryan Uhlenbrock.

- Third, STARS, like Ryan Reynolds for The Green Lantern, the next Superman, Henry Cavill and the entire cast of Immortals, and legends like Jim Kelly, who this blogger interviewed last year:

And of course, geek and nerd culture, which is another way of saying tech, games, fun, and frivolity.

Visit the WonderCon site for more info. And follow Zennie62 on Twitter.

Crisis in Libya: Al Franken Gets It

Did you watch the President's speech on Monday night? Reviews are mixed, naturally, depending on the agenda of the reviewer. Here's a quick sampling before moving beyond the pundits to talk about Senator Franken's pragmatic action.
The Nation

Obama tries, without success, to explain an undeclared war. By John Nichols. http://bit.ly/fxeZq0
From the other end of the spectrum:

Pres. Obama accomplished three main goals to three distinct audiences at his speech on #Libya http://ow.ly/4oHYO
Even people who felt Gadhafi was presiding over a beastly, cruel, and violent repression of Libyan citizens are rightly concerned about the cost, particularly given how the two major U.S. military operations in the last decade added to the deficit. Senator Al Franken (D-MN) is set to introduce a bill to assure that military operations, such as the undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, don’t get a free pass to float a check - that military spending won't add to our national debt.

Senator Franken has expressed concerns about the potential cost of military operations in Libya, saying, "You know, so far the administration said we can pay for it in the regular military budget but at a certain point, that may not be the case." Franken continues to be a forceful presence in the Senate, focusing on productive work rather than simply posturing for the press.

The debate will continue about what we should have done about the slaughter of civilians, and what the role of the U.S. government and diplomacy should be outside our borders. With so much of our budget already dedicated to the military I'm glad somebody has the courage to face reality and confront the hard choices we face instead of passing the cost-burden along. Thank you, Senator Franken.
Thomas Hayes is a New Media Advisor, Political Consultant, Journalist, Entrepreneur, and former Congressional Campaign Manager; he believes in "follow the money" when following politics, and continues his 12-step recovery from the years spent as a Programmer/Database Administrator by carrying his camera nearly everywhere and writing on topics ranging from economics and politics to culture and community.
You can follow Tom as @kabiu on twitter.

2011 NFL Draft: Did Blaine Gabbert Twitter Tweet Stutterer Was An Idiot?

Missouri Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (pictured with a bass posted at plixi.com), who's stock has risen amazingly high since he smartly chose CAA and Tom Condon to represent him, now has the spotlight bright on him, and has to be really careful, particularly with social media.

But first, this CAA aside.

This blogger is suspicious that CAA's Condon's choices seem to get on a media hype train. Yes, Tom Condon has represented seven of the past eight overall NFL Draft number one picks, but that doesn't happen without a whole train of people working in concert to make that happen, including the media: in January, Sports Illustrated's Andrew Perloff (also of The Dan Patrick Show), and who's a friend of this blogger, made a point of referring to CAA and Tom Condon (who also represents the Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning) as a "powerful agency."

Why Andrew? Powerful how?

My Spider-Sense tells me that, on top of hiring former NFL coaches like Terry Shea to help Gabbert, CAA Football works the press. To have so many writers refer to one person as "powerful" - producing 57,100 results in a Google search when one controls for "tom condon" - is down right scary and interesting.

Does the media fear upsetting Condon? I guess we'll see. The former head of IMG Football has a ton of great relationships, and he is personable, from experience, but that doesn't mean one can't question why one of his clients is rising so fast, in this case, Blaine Gabbert.

Whatever the reason, social media provides a small window into who Blaine Gabbert is.

Blaine Gabbert On Twitter

From his Twitter page @BlaineGabbert, we will learn that Gabbert likes to fish. A lot, it appears. Moreover, the Mizzou signal-caller who was one bad call away from an Insight Bowl win seems pretty good at it.

But when it comes to referring to one "Stuttering Stanley," on Twitter, out in the open Gabbert shows poor judgement, that is if he cares about what NFL owners are going to think about him.

In a tweet exchange with Missouri Basketball Guard Kim English, Gabbert appeared to be referring to a classmate called "Stuttering Stanley" as an, in caps, IDIOT. This is how it went down:

Englishscope24 Kim English
Its going smooth as the 08 #CottonBowl RT @Hogtrough Hey @englishscope24 how is the speech impediment coming along? Stuttering Stanley!
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

One of the people who retweeted that statement was Gabbert:

Englishscope24 Kim English
by BlaineGabbert
Its going smooth as the 08 #CottonBowl RT @Hogtrough Hey @englishscope24 how is the speech impediment coming along? Stuttering Stanley!
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

And then he tweeted...

BlaineGabbert Blaine Gabbert
@Englishscope24 that dude is an IDIOT
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply

And English tweeted back..
Englishscope24 Kim English
@BlaineGabbert lol. Yea. "Stuttering Stanley" was a big hit in 3rd grade.
10 hours ago Favorite Retweet Reply
Now to the common reader is looks like Gabbert's referring to someone who stutters as an idiot. Presumably because that person has a speech impediment. In a time when many are hyper-sensitive to such comments and tweets, for Gabbert to allow himself to look like someone who would do such a thing shows that the CAA hype machine has a weakness when it comes to social media.

Mr. Condon's got to sit down with his client.

Now, peering deeper into the tweets, it looks like Gabbert was referring to another person on Twitter, and involving issues surrounding the departure of Missouri Basketball Coach Mike Anderson to Arkansas. But it's not clear, and English's tweet about "Stuttering Stanley" being "a hit" in the 3rd grade points away from the possibility.

And even if Gabbert was actually making fun of English, the choice of words in that situation was terrible considering what's on the line: the difference between being the number one pick in the NFL Draft and a $50 million bonus, versus a lower level, say, number 22, and a $10 million bonus.

Or even less.

The message is clear: Mr. Blaine Gabbert, you're in the public spotlight now. A public figure. People are watching what you tweet on Twitter. Be careful.

One wrong tweet could cost you millions.