Tuesday, March 10, 2009
We're All In This Together
Good Morning Ladies & Gentlemen,
Haven't been sleeping too well since the Daylight Savings Time. Not too horribly…but just not the usual zonk out for eight hours kind of thing. I've been tossing and turning…and trying to do the whole deep-breathing meditation thing…and it works…but then I'm awake again in like an hour. Anyway, maybe it's just adjusting to the hour difference or something. It snowed last night. Not a whole lot, just enough to ice everything…but it snowed. Other than that, nothing much going on in my world. So here's the news...
Nollywood - Here's an interesting little tid-bit. Any guesses on where the third largest home video industry in the world is? America's number one (as always) and India is number two…but who's number three? France? Spain? Mexico? Canada? Japan? Australia? Not even close. It's actually Nigeria. Yeah, like Nigeria in Africa. In the time it takes for a lovingly crafted art house movie to emerge as winner of the top prize at Burkina Faso's pan-African FESPACO cinema festival, Nigeria's prolific producers will already have churned out another 50 films. They might be tales of cannibalism, sorcery and jealous girlfriends who shrink their errant boyfriends into bottles, but Nigeria's $450 million home video industry is the third biggest in the world, after America's Hollywood and India's Bollywood. By contrast, FESPACO's filmmakers (considered the best on the continent) rely on dwindling donations, and scrabble for private financing and poor distribution deals amid a spate of cinema closures. "Cinema is certainly dying," said Zimbabwean director Michael Raeburn, whose Johannesburg-set film "Triomf" is competing for Africa's equivalent of an Oscar. "South Africa is all about DVD and TV, no one makes any money from cinema." Nigeria shot its first film, "Palaver" (Trouble), in 1904, and its home movie industry has been creating it ever since. "It's not often talked of with respect," said Nigerian-born Chike Nwoffiah, whose first feature film "Sabar," set in California, is competing in the Diaspora category at FESPACO. "It's "microwave' filming: push the button, wait three seconds and the film is done. Some of the directors can go from script to print in two weeks. The speed with which they make these films implies something is being sacrificed." Even so, demand is rising. Last year "Nollywood" produced more than 2,000 films, up from 662 five years ago. Most films are produced in local languages -- Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo among them -- while English accounts for more than 40 percent. "However bad the quality, Nollywood shows there's definitely a demand for African storytelling," said South African director Zola Maseko, whose film "Drum" won the prized Etalon d'Or de Yennenga in 2005. "It shows you have a whole community of people who have a deep need to see and hear themselves -- Africa hasn't had that chance." Though it may be kind of basic movie making now, it could be something huge…especially with literally EVERYTHING financially being up in the air now. Having got to know a few people from Africa during my days at college, they all have interesting stories to tell…and are natural storytellers. It's just a matter of translating it to film now. Could be interesting. I especially liked this quote from Maseko, "It is creating a market for films. In South Africa people are already addicted, it's like crack cocaine (oh yeah, THAT big). Over the years audiences will become more discerning. Hollywood in the 1920s was no good; Bollywood in the 1960s was no good: Nollywood will have its day too." Stay tuned…
Message for God - Dutch artist Johan van der Dong (translating to "John from the Penis") has set up a local telephone number in the Netherlands, where he urges people to leave messages for God on his answering machine. Van der Dong said he set up the number to give people an opportunity to take pause and contemplate life. "Like praying, leaving a voicemail message is a way to organize your thoughts. It's a perfect combination for some contemplation." Though I may not agree with what you say at all, I'll defend your right to say it…even off American soil. Leaving a voicemail, in my opinion, is nothing like praying. If it were, then that would explain why God hasn't called back. "Ugh hi, God. This is $teve. Just seeing what you were up to. Wanted to ugh…apologize for not hanging out on Sunday. I know I really should have…especially after yelling at you and saying that you should damn a lot of things. It was a rough week…and I just wanted you to know that…it wasn't like…it was a command or anything, to damn those guys. Just more of a suggestion that…you know, if you thought it'd be fitting…that maybe you should damn them to eternal hellfire. That's all. Anyway ugh…gimme a call or something. It'd be really cool if you had those lotto numbers that I asked for. Suckiteasy. Again, not a command, just a suggestion. Bye. Oh yeah, in case you don't have the caller ID or whatever, my phone number is…(end of message)" Besides, God is everywhere. Why would he/she be screening his/her calls? God's cooler than that. I wonder if he/she Twitters. I hope not. That seems pointless to me. Anyway, if you're interested in hitting up the Almighty on your cellie, callers dialing 06-4424-4901 (or +316-4424-4901 if calling from outside the Netherlands) from March 7th will hear. "Hi, you are speaking to God. I'm not in right now so leave a message after the beep" but it's in Dutch, so try not to laugh…or ask him if the reason that he/she's away from the phone is because they have their fingers in a dyke…because that's just not cool. Funny, sexy even, but not cool. I wonder what kind of plan God has. Unlimited minutes? Maybe one of those circles where he/she can only call like five people…and that's like the Pope, the Dalai Lama, and a few other cats like that? Wow, it appears Mr. Van der Dong is an artist afterall…for he has opened up my mind about the Powers That Be and has me asking some intriguing and powerful questions. Either that, or I'm just really bored and have nothing better to ponder.
Eagles Update - It's getting to the point of utter ridiculousnessity. I don't care if it's not a real word, I just made it up. A Facebook post criticizing his employer, the Philadelphia Eagles, cost a stadium operations worker his job, according to a story in Monday's Philadelphia Inquirer. Dan Leone, who the Inquirer said worked as a west gate chief, was unhappy the team let Brian Dawkins sign with the Denver Broncos in free agency (seriously, everybody was unhappy except for the Denver Broncos). According to the newspaper, Leone posted the following on his Facebook page: "Dan is f**king devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver ... Dam Eagles R Retarted!!" (I'm assuming ironic illiteracy) Despite deleting the comment, Leone told the Inquirer the Eagles fired him by phone days later. "I shouldn't have put it up there. I was ticked off, and I let my emotions go, but I didn't offend any one person or target a specific individual. I was just upset that we lost such a great guy. Dawkins was one of my favorite players. I made a mistake." Leone said he was shocked to lose his job of six years. "I apologized for it. I apologized 20 million times. I never bad-mouthed the organization before. I made one mistake and they terminate me? And they couldn't even bring me into the office to talk to me? They had to do it over the phone? At least look me in the eye. To get done dirty like this, I can't believe it. I'm devastated." The Eagles confirmed that Leone was a part-time staff member, but didn't comment further.
Mr Leone, I feel for ya…and I know that Bone Junior feels for ya too. On behalf of the entire Eagles community, we all feel for ya…and think that letting go of Brian Dawkins…and you…are horrible mistakes. Allow me to criticize on your behalf. DEM EAGLES IZ F**KING RETARTED!!! Now they've gone too far. Cutting Mr Leone isn't going to clear up any cap space for a free agent signing. You're one of the few organizations in the NFL making money. Why would you do that? Why would you punish him for YOU f**king up? Because he called you on it? We all called you on it!!! Are you gonna fire us from being fans? This guy has a family to feed (I assume). That's f**ked up!!! Also, I don't care if the reason that you're letting people like Dawkins or Tra Thomas and everybody else get away is because you're saving cap space to go after Anquan Boldin or make some moves with your draft picks or whatever (God, I hope you guys are planning to do something good), that doesn't mean that you fire a guy for criticizing you. Freedom of speech. Besides, it's not like he held a press conference and criticized everything about your organization while doing sit-ups and having his jerkass lawyer fielding questions like other people over the years. The only people that knew about it before…were his friends on Facebook. Now everybody that follows sports knows. It's been on ESPN. Mike & Mike talked about it. If there was other wrongdoing on his behalf, I suggest that you comment on it soon…but if not, shame on you. I'm almost ashamed to look at this T-shirt…almost…
Cheers Bartender Fired - In other economic news (like there's anything but nowadays), Eddie Doyle was the guy who really did know everybody's name…but after tending bar for 35 years at the Boston tavern that inspired the television show "Cheers," Doyle has been laid off. The bar's owner says the economy is to blame. Doyle was a fixture at the pub known as the Bull & Finch long before his TV counterpart, Sam Malone, entered the mainstream. After the NBC show hit the airwaves in 1982, he started serving 5,000 people a day. Doyle used the bar's fame to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for charity. Friend Tommy Leonard tells the Boston Herald that Doyle is "the most giving person" he's met. The 66-year-old Doyle tells The Boston Globe he's not bitter and may write a book about his experiences. I hope it's a top seller…because he'll probably give half away to charity in retire on the rest. It's a shame when good dudes like this get the shaft because their company simply can't afford them. At least he has something to fall back on…being the inspiration for a popular TV character…much like the Kramer guy…or Tim Allen or something.
Sorry for the somewhat depressing nature of this news…you know it's not my thing...but it's just messed up. I guess I just wanted to show that it's not just you that may be scared about your job, it's all of us. From Donald Trump to the guy picking up your trash, we're all feeling the pinch from this economy leveling out (trust me, that's really what it is) and we're all scared about what the future holds. That's why we just have to be there for each other. Share reassuring news. Have hope for the future…but be willing to work hard to see it through. Yeah, pinching some pennies here and there may not be a bad idea. Maybe check out the local Goodwill for that new dining set instead of some designer showroom…but don't forget, the designer showrooms have employees too. I guess the message is to live within your means…and always be there to help somebody in need…because the best things in life truly are free. Anyway, that's just my opinion.
That should do it for today. I think I've bored you enough with my ramblings. Just to give you an idea of the ecclectic array of movies that I watch, last night was "Casino Royale" for the first time since it first came out. I'd almost forgotten how awesome that movie is on multiple levels. Then, the movies arriving through Netflix are "Role Models", "The Seven Year Itch" (classic with Marilyn) and the French film "Amelie" which I have never seen. Should make for an interesting weekend in film. Anyway, tomorrow night's bowling…and don't think that I'm not excited about that. Have a great day everybody!!!