Wednesday, April 06, 2011

"Reality Rocks" Shaping Up To Be Huge Event

If someone told you there was one event where you could potentially meet or at least see every known reality TV show star that walked the industrialized Earth, you'd probably think they were crazy. But they're not.

Reality Rocks is that event.

It's set to be held this weekend, and will be there making video-blogs of the happenings at this first-of-its-kind expo to be held at the Los Angeles Convention Center April 9th and 10th.

Who will be there? The total list is here, but try Mark Cuban, Jenn Hoffman, Geoff from Meteorite Men, Nick Cannon, stars from shows like American Idol, Dancing With The Stars, The Amazing Race, and a lot more.

Even YouTube stars like Lisa Nova will be there. Here's one of her videos where she's "doing" P Diddy:

For more information visit the website at

And stay tuned here!

NFL Fans Remember The Past, Easier Than Thinking About The Future

By David Levy-Fan Experience Reporter-Football Reporters

With no talk about free agency, contract negotiations, or off season workouts, there is not much football talk going on. All people can do right now is discuss the draft in a few weeks and make their predictions. It reminds me of the book/movie "All Quiet On The Western Front".

Every football fan looks forward to going to the games. Not just to see their favorite team, but to be with friends and family. It is a time to relax, have fun, and have experiences that will turn into memories. I am sure a lot of people are reflecting on some now, hoping there will be a season this year. If not, they will reflect on seasons past and the fun they had. For many Jet s fans, the memories are all we have the past 40 years.

Many of us reflect on previous seasons. Games we attended with our father, brother, mother, sister, grandfather, uncle, or other family members who may not be with us anymore. It did not matter how bad the game was, one would always find something good to remember about the day. Even if it was a bad game, there was something about it that made it a positive experience. Many talk about how much they hated Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium. But they will always mention how much fun those times were in those bad situations.

If you are like me, you recall games you attended with someone who passed away. I always think about my dad when I think about the Jets. Every time I went to a game without him and sat in Section 226 Row 8, Seats 7 and 8 in Giants Stadium, I would think about him. Walking around the new stadium while filming, I would thin about him and wonder what he would think about the new structure built for the financially elite. Sometimes I would talk aloud to him, as if he was walking next to me.

A funny story my dad would always tell me was about the time he was headed to the AFL Championship game between the Jets and Oakland Raiders. He was speeding and was pulled over. He was sitting in a line of a dozen cars that were pulled over, dead last behind them all. He was running late and wanted to be there by kick off. He calls an officer over and explains he knows he was speeding and deserves the ticket. He then explains to the officer why he was speeding and shows him the tickets to the game. The officer tells him to hold on and be patient. Less than five minutes later, the officer returns with the ticket and tells my father to leave. He left before the other cars pulled over did.

He was the type that would have looked at the new stadium in amazement. Amazed at all the technology that was put into it and laugh when I would have to explain the reasons why. He was the type that just liked to watch the game, not much else. He would follow the changes in the game, but laugh and smile at the tech advances that are interwoven into it. He would have been 76 today. Still feels like yesterday. Every time the football season begins I think of all those games we went to. I know some others who feel the same as I do.

While filming in the parking lot at Giants Stadium in 2008, I came across Tommy Wilson. Such a dedicated Jets fan he owned the license plates "JETS" & "12 JETS". I later find out Jets owner Woody Johnson offered to buy the "JETS" plate from him. Always wearing his #12 Joe Namath jersey and always at the games, his personality and presence felt like my father's. I guess that is why his story touches me even more than others I met while filming.

Tommy was honored in 2002 by the NFL and Visa Pro Football Hall for Fans. He wrote the winning essay as to why he should be the fan to represent the Jets in the Hall of Fans. He held 10 season tickets for close to 40 years. His restaurants was named after the lot he tailgated in, Lot 12A. A true "Super" Fan in my book.

There is more I can say about Tommy but do not want to give away his entire story. I went back to get a follow up in September of 2009 and he pushed it to another game. When I emailed him about it in early November of 2009, his wife Mary Lou informed me he passed away in early October. I was deeply saddened to hear the news. He had purchased several PSL's too. Tommy lived and breathed the Jets, helped to pay for the new stadium, is in the Hall of Fans for the Jets, but yet was just another fan to the Jets organization.

I met up with his widow Mary Lou and her son Tommy Jr this past October. Mary Lou thought about giving up the seats after he passed but knew Tommy would not have wanted that. Last year was a hard season but this year was different. Once again, many people who used to tailgate with them at 13A were not there. Some did not get PSL’s, others did not have the right parking permits, while others feel it is not the same without Tommy. For the remainder of tailgating last year, it was very somber without Tommy. He was the nucleus that held that tailgate together. Tommy Jr. got a tattoo to remember his father, even though his father did not like tattoos.

Mary Lou and Tommy Jr. always reflect on their memories about Tommy. It makes them smile and feel good about being a Jet fan. Even with next season uncertain, they still reflect and always will. Tommy was one of those fans that made you feel good when he talked. I guess he holds a place in my heart because he reminded me of my own father. There is a strange connection to fans from a certain era in football. An era where it was about the game, not the politics.

Everyone knows the kind of fans I refer to. The ones where they smile when they talk about past seasons. When memories were about actions on the field, not battles in courts off the field. Older generations of fans seem to have this glow in their eyes. Where you do not mind listening to their stories. The kind where you can sit with a beer and listen for hours if you need a reason to smile.

Right now fans need a reason to smile. They need a reason to believe a season will happen this year. Many look forward to those home games, not just to tailgate, but to create memories with friends and family. 50% of ticket money was already due, PSL payment in several months. Do the Jets think the season will happen? But when a season looks like it may not happen, there is nothing to look forward to.

As it stands, all we can do is think ahead to a season that may or may not happen. We can reflect about the games we have all been to before. Many will talk about the past two seasons as they ended in trips to the AFC Championship game. Looking forward to a season where a Super Bowl could be in the Jets grasp for the first time n over 40 years. But all we can do is sit back and wait.

There may be no season. Then all we can do is reflect on the 2011 season that never was. How we all waited for players and owners to come to an agreement to end a lockout. Where the courts made the decision instead of the NFL. In 1987 at least there were some games played. Who knows what will happen this year. Ahh, the memories

(Eds. Note: I know exactly how David feels. I had the same relationship with my Dad regarding Football. I often wonder if he were still with us what he would think of the internet and what we were doing these days..B.C.)

Matt Lauer And Glenn Beck Leaving Today And Fox News

Two television news icons, one interesting, the other annoying, announced they're leaving this week: Matt Lauer from The Today Show and Glenn Beck from Fox News.

Matt Lauer's news would, if it holds, bring to an end an 20-year relationship going back to January 1992. That tenure saw Lauer's rise from newsreader to the face of The Today Show. It's a position Lauer's managed to hold with relatively little fanfare and not much scandal, other than hard exchanges with Tom Cruise and more recently Kanye West, and rumors - since denied - of a breakup with his wife Annette in 2010.

The question is where will Matt Lauer go? Mr. Lauer was born in 1957, which would put him currently at 54 years of age. One thinks Matt may want to take his life in a very different direction than it's gone over the past 25 years.

But Where?  Glenn Beck's Way?

Certainly not in Glenn Beck's direction, that's for sure. Beck, a hyper-conservative given to wild and hard-to-substantiate claims, and the occasionally crazy rant (to where the blog Gawker's called him an "unhinged crybaby"), has lost a slew of advertisers (like Geico and Proctor & Gamble), so it's no surprise that his daily TV show's coming to an end.

Glenn just plain does stupid things on his show and on Fox. From calling President Obama racist, then taking back the statement, to the consistent use of Nazi and Holocaust imagery, upsetting not just Jewish groups, but anyone who has at least half-a-brain to be aware of what's decent and acceptable to do on television.

Let's hope Matt Lauer doesn't turn Glenn Beck's way. This blogger's sure Lauer won't, but it's a good idea to make sure.

99er NEWS ALERT: HR 589 Meeting on Capitol Hill set for Thursday

99er NEWS ALERT: The long awaited meeting between House Democrats and Republican leadership on HR 589, will finally take place this Thursday.

Even though a recent meeting at the White House with CBC (Congressional Black Caucus) leader Representative Emmanuel Cleaver appeared to have sounded the death knell for HR 589 - seems GOP leadership and HR 589 co-authors will still stage a dog and pony show for appearances sake.

[For more on the meeting between Cleaver and Obama please read:

If recent history shows us anything, it would appear that there has been a long standing unwritten policy for members of Congress (both House and Senate) to merely “APPEAR” to attempt to try and help those suffering in America - when they save the real heroics (and tax payer dollars) to take action aiding overseas countries only.

According to the Washington Independent:

The meeting that House GOP leaders said they would have with the two legislators who are pushing for the establishment of a Tier 5 for unemployment insurance that would give an additional 14 weeks of benefits for the long-term jobless will happen on Thursday.

House GOP leaders will meet Thursday, April 7, in Washington DC with Reps. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) and Bobby Scott (D-Va.) to discuss proposed legislation to extend unemployment benefits by 14 weeks for the long-term jobless, via Tier 1 of the Federal UI Extensions.

Lee and Scott initially proposed the bill be passed as emergency spending and not subject to pay-go rules. However, Lee sent a letter to GOP leaders last month requesting the meeting to discuss ways to offset the $16 billion cost of the extension in the federal budget in an attempt to get the bill passed by any means necessary.
This blogger did confirm with the staff of both Reps. Scott and Lee that the meeting is indeed set for tomorrow, though neither staff would go on record as expecting a positive outcome for HR 589 to be included in the current budget when passed.

[If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]

CBC Leader Cleaver Abandons 99ers / H.R. 589

The leader of the Congressional Black Caucus Representative Emmanuel Cleaver appears to have abandoned the 99ers and H.R. 589.

In his article Is helping 99ers "cost prohibitive"? Jason Tabrys (Liberal Examiner for relays a White House conversation that seems to sound the death knell for HR 589 and with that, any hope the 99er Nation may have clung to for help from congress in order to survive. The article reads in part:

Representative Emmanuel Cleaver (D-MO) said that the cost of H.R. 589, the unemployment extension so many millions of 99ers are desperate for is “cost prohibitive”.
The blog provides a detailed description of Rep. Cleavers exchange with President Obama reportedly detailed by Representative Cleaver:

“It was what I expected because my staff had done a lot of research on it. And we found that the cost of that program would be between $14 and 20 billion dollars which is cost prohibitive. So there was no point in the President saying, ‘yeah I support it…’ when I laid it out I said to him, ‘Mr. President, I’m going to raise this, and this is one of our issues because this is one of our issues — it’s an issue among our members…’ I ended it by saying, however, I understand that the cost is enormous. He (President Obama) said (to Rob Nabors sitting on the sofa) ‘Rob how much is it?’ And Rob said, ‘between 14 and 20 billion’ and I said, let’s move on. Because there was no point — that’s not going to happen”

....with Representatives Bobby Scott and Barbara Lee set to meet with the Republican leadership in the coming days doesn’t Representative Cleavers lackluster advocacy for this bill throttle any chance of bi-partisan support or was this just another political game played at the expense of people running out of air?
99ers are exhausted, their energies overdrawn by the battle to merely survive. “Cost prohibitive” is a term that slashes at the soul of someone comprised of breath, blood, and bone who is withering away. Is their existence “cost prohibitive”?
So it is NOT too “cost prohibitive” to BOMB Libya - just too “cost prohibitive” save millions of Americans from hunger & Homelessness. Where are Obama’s Humanitarian principles when it comes to the suffering of Americans?

This President and most every current member of Congress has GOT TO GO! The 99er Nation should be committed to making that so unless they get the help they desperately need to survive. Don't tell me that 7 million people, plus the additional 4 million that will be 99ers by next year (plus all the friends and families they can influence) cannot vote OUT this terrible President and every "Do Nothing House & Senate member" with their skewed priorities! The 99er Nation surely out numbers the Tea Party. We can and we MUST. Then again that will depend in part what other choice we have come Election Day 2012. If the 99er Nation, the Unemployed and the Under Employed would just join together we would have an enormous and undeniable constituency no politician could ignore or defeat. But will we?

Either way, it looks bad for the once “last Hope of the UI exhaustees” (HR 589) and the 99ers - now without any UI Lifeline for well over a year and going hungry and homeless at an alarming rate. Alarming for real humanitarians, that is, but apparently since that suffering is on America’s shores - Washington could care less.

[If you like what I write please donate so I can keep on fighting for the 99ers! Thank You!]

Sergio Aragones - Interview With Mad Magazine's Legend At WonderCon SF

Sergio Aragones is a giant in the comic book World, and indeed, in American Culture, but in an oh, so subversive way. Or, as he puts it, because his work is in print, Sergio gets to lead a "normal" life at home. But when he attends WonderCon and ComicCon, all that changes, and he's "mobbed" with "all this adulation," as he says with his infectious laugh.

Sergio Aragones is, with Al Jaffee, one of MAD Magazine's longest running cartoonists, and is best known for the barbarian named "Groo." More recently Mr.Aragones was signed on as a cartoonist with The Simpsons franchise, and Bart Simpson Comics.

But how did Sergio come to work for MAD Magazine? "I had come to MAD from Mexico, and had a portfolio of magazines, and everyone thought that what I did was a little too crazy for them, so they said 'Go to MAD. Go to MAD,' so I did.

"The reason that MAD is what it is,"Aragones said, "is because, in the beginning, parents thought it was a subsersive magazine. So kids would read it against the will of the parent. The parent would say 'Oh you shouldn't read that,' without knowing why."

Sergio explains that it was something people weren't used to at the time, but because kids loved it so much, MAD grew in popularity. Today, people still read it, he says, because "It hasn't lost the touch." And more because MAD fits the culture of the time, the Zeitgeist. Aragones has to ask his daughter to help him understand who a certain rapper MAD may parody is, for example. He calls MAD a "primer in humor" for young people.

Is The Marriage of Comics and Film A Good Thing?

Is the use of comic books as platforms for movies helping or hurting the comic book industry? While movies like Spider-Man and the various versions of the Batman comics have done well at the box office, some comic book artists grumble about how Hollywood's arrogance has contaminated the industry. Overall Aragones observes that "it's a good thing."

"The only people who get hurt," he says, "is a lot of people don't get the credit they deserve. So the big companies are very oblivious of what should be done. They want their names on it, and they don't care about the creators. It's very good for them economically sometimes, but the big producers, they come to ComicCon, they get a comic book, they make it into a movie, and they don't care. The pay the publishers big money. The publishers keeps it; and the publishers doesn't share it.

While Sergio says that's the only downfall of Hollywood's involvement, he reports that younger artists are more "hip" to the ways of Hollywood. "Before," Sergio says, "we were very stupid. (we say) 'Uhhh...' (Over the excitement of a large check.) They don't let the publisher keep the moneys (from movie deals). So now, it's different.

Aragones says that a common comic book may see a circulation of 100,000, but a movie version of the same work is seen by millions of people. One example of this is the graphic novel called Scott Pilgrim, which had various volumes, including one called Scott Pilgrim Versus The World. It was little known outside a small cult following of devotees, but the production of the movie Scott Pilgrim Versus The World brought the story of Scott Pilgrim's battle to win the heart of a girl with too many evil ex-boyfriends to many, and even though it didn't break even, the movie boosted demand for the book series, and gave it Worldwide visibility.

Did MAD Draw Government Attention?

Did MAD ever go "too far?" So far that it drew the attention of the Federal Government? Aragones says no: "Satire," he says "was one of the things that guarantees that things won't be touched." If an alien came to Earth, Sergio would show the person "anything" because words aren't necessary. "Let him choose."