Friday, December 29, 2006
December 29, 2006, Washington, DC -- In another 360-degree about-face, the Bush Administration ("What do you mean we denied 'global warming'? We were always against it, and still are.") indirectly acknowledged the natural disaster it has spent 6 crucial years vigorously abetting when the Interior Department proposed Wednesday to designate polar bears as a threatened species, saying that the accelerating loss of the Arctic ice that is the bears’ hunting platform has led biologists to believe that bear populations will decline, perhaps sharply, in the coming decades.
staying at the paris hilton
"It was either swim with the polar bears, or my 'legacy' was going to be ‘swimming with the fishes’, heh-heh," the poll-plummeting Chief Executive explained today with his characteristic, inappropriate-nervous villain’s chuckle. "Karl said my reputation was about to be absolutely shredded. Like those itty-bitty pieces of fish they throw in the ocean to catch bigger ones with, you know, whadaya call it?"
"Chum!" one reporter shouted brightly.
"Hey!" the President snarled, "Just cause I'm chatting with you folks is no excuse to get over-familiar. In any case, this move is completely in keeping with my administration’s long-standing approach to disasters, both natural and man-made, and that is to first miss the boat, then sink it and then to pretend we were always on-board. Now if you've got any more questions, ask Tony. He's the High Commissioner of Snow around here."
In a conference call with reporters, Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne went on to say that although the decision to seek protection for polar bears acknowledged the melting ice, his department was not taking a position on why the ice was melting or what to do about it.
"Some folks have said when you've got melting ice make gin-and-tonics!" Kempthorne elaborated. "No one in this administration, of course. Or any longer in this administration."
Thursday, December 28, 2006
I don’t have to tell you, he had given me quite a list. This year alone had produced four notable ‘good’ films. Along with The Good Sheperd and The Good German, there had been A Good Year with Russell Crowe and a British PBS deal called A Good Murder; and that didn’t take into account The Good Life, a movie with Bill Paxton and Harry Dean Stanton and Zooey Deschanel that’s due out next year. Not to mention last year’s Good Night & Good Luck. My first thought was George ‘Do-Gooder’ Clooney was behind this, since he was a common thread, so I called him. Right off, he admitted it. He was only interested in making ‘good’ movies. But I said, "George, this looks media-wide to me."
"I don’t control the media," he opined. ("Opining" is a favorite smart alec Liberal way of replying according to Bill O’Reilly.) It was a denial which, you’ll agree, coming from the "Sexiest Man Alive," is as good as him tacitly saying he does control the media.
But what was the idea, was this a whitewash? Was Hollywood trying to wrap itself up in ‘goodness’ to get America to believe it was not a tool of the insurgents, or terrorists, or communists, or whomever it was who’d gotten us into so much trouble around the world lately? "I really couldn’t say," Mr. Clooney lied, and then said he had more urgent business to attend to, world hunger or some genocide to help stop. As Don Rumsfeld would say, "My goodness!"
Finally, I went to see these films, The Good Shepherd and The Good German, or The Good German Shepherd as some wags have put it. I was surprised, it was like watching movies from the good old days, when America was the bastion of all that was right and good. Both films harked back to WWII, the last really ‘good’ war, where ‘good’ and ‘evil’ were clear as night and day. (By the way, another film simply titled "Good" is due in 2008 with Viggo Mortensen. Again, about the rise of National Socialism).
Then it hit me. It was a classic case of misdirection. The abundance of ‘good’ movies all concealed the same thing – the absence of ‘great’ movies, the movies Hollywood was no longer making! Sure, The Good German was ‘good’, but it was no Casablanca, or The Third Man. And neither was The Good Shepherd.
Where had all the great movies gone, movies like The Great Escape or The Great McGinty, The Great Santini or The Great White Hope? Or even the not-so-great great movies like The Great Impostor or The Great Bikini Off-Road Adventure?
So America, this Holiday Season when you’re deciding which movies to take the family to see, take your time. Like the extended shopping in this era of ‘gift cards’, it pays to wait. And be patient with our president, who’s also weighing all his extremely limited alternatives. Maybe revisit a great old movie, like It’s A Wonderful Life, or White Christmas (with that great song, "I’m Dreaming Of A Way Forward"). And relax. Things will (eventually) get better. For example, they already have a great movie coming out in 2007, The Great Buck Howard with John Malkovich.
Peace & Happy New Year.
Big Jim "I Wished I’d Never Gotten Involved In That Recount" Baker
Monday, December 25, 2006
Try the above for an array of links to global film and tv festivals.
The site -- Eco/Enviro/Green -- is a rich resource of Film & TV contacts for Television - Festivals - Peer to Peer Organizations - Catalogs & Distributors - Hollywood Environmental Focus Groups - Environmental Fimmaking Tips
Santa Monica's own Laemmle 4-Plex Theater, at 1332 2nd street, played host to the 2nd Annual INSPIRATION FILM FESTIVAL last April. Dates for this year, 2007, are listed as April 27th -29th. But I would check. Particularly pending an announcement early January when submissions of films will again be accepted. In 2006 they offerred a $15,000 GAIA Feature Film award and two $5,000 GAIA Awards for Short and Documentary.
See Inspiration Film Fest
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
A Short History Of Soyled Shorts
Soy in clothing isn't new. Henry Ford first preached for the bean back in the 1940s and was photographed wearing the first known soy suit and tie (above, amid the haycocks). Soy fibers had largely disappeared though, until recent developments in China. They've created a new fiber made from the leftover dregs of soybean oil and tofu production. With the advantage of being a renewable resource and a by-product of food manufacturing, soy textiles have organic certification, but cost 30% more than organic cotton and hemp due to accessibility issues and material costs today. This means the new soy clothing is being marketed as a higher end fabric, with the hope its unique texture and patina will support the price-point.
Where can you get soy clothing? Right now only the leading eco-clothing stores carry it: Under the Canopy and Of The Earth. But others are getting involved. Mikka-clothing, a Danish-Chinese company, has set up shop in China. Soy, watch out!
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
The patrolman piled high cans of petroleum
siphoned from earth’s ancient mausoleum
on the oil company office's linoleum,
then lit a thin line of vasoline
that ignited the gasoline…
This, his refinery fire, an inferno felt in every
fiber of his being, in all its red, fiery finery
- all inessential elements eliminated -
refined his ire to very fine tire lines,
tiny, defined wiry treds to find,
that found, led to, first, a fine.
Then to being fired, tried,
freed, and, when retried,
nearly fried. Finally
free, he retired,
tired & died.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
More than 100 alternative fuel vehicles will be showcased at the expo, including hybrid, electric, hydrogen, compressed natural gas, plug-in hybrid, high MPG gasoline, ethanol and biodiesel. Other eco-friendly vehicles—such as Segways, electric skateboards, bicycles, mopeds and two- and three-wheeled scooters—will also be on display. You can find more info at http://www.altcarexpo.com/
We’ll be the judge of that.
Monday, November 27, 2006
In any case, what kind of control of radioactive by-products, let alone government apparatchiks, is exercised in the former Soviet states these days?
More less than savory eco-news in this next item… Garbage in, diesel out, was the idea… Green Power, a company funded by private investors, was set to build an $82 million plant in Fife, Washington to convert hundreds of tons of garbage each day into high-grade diesel fuel. But now the Securities Division of that state’s Department of Financial Institutions is investigating the company after an investor complaint, former employees say paychecks have bounced and the company is in a dispute with the garbage-to-diesel plant’s inventor over Green Power’s rights to the technology… Green Power CEO Michael Spitzauer is listed as a defendant in more than a dozen lawsuits in this country. Spitzauer and Christian Koch, the German inventor behind the technology, rolled into Fife last July with a small-scale, mobile garbage-to-diesel plant they used for a public demonstration. Workers fed shredded garbage mixed with motor oil into a shiny, silver machine. Minutes later golden diesel poured from a spigot. Spitzauer then took the bucket and poured the fuel into the tank of a black SUV… Spitzauer, however, it turns out was convicted of fraud in Austria in 1992 and served three years of a six-year sentence. The Austrian government later tried to extradite him from the United States on additional fraud charges.
Details can be found at http://www.thenewstribune.com/business/story/6227817p-5439397c.html
If this all sounds like an updated version of Music Man meets The Rainmaker the saddest part of this con is the likelihood the technology is bogus. Check Alphakat Gmbh’s website, the German company that claims ownership of the process and if you’re an engineer tell us what you think…
Meanwhile, the reactionary right, presumably afraid the spreading awareness of the overheating biosphere might hurt the bottom line of their corporate leash-holders, is attacking what?… Penguins?.. Disney’s animated feature Happy Feet, this Turkey Day weekend’s biggest box office hit, has gotten bitch-slapped by a dubious trio of "journalists" in the run up to its opening weekend.
Neal Cavuto: "My biggest thing was, you can make a political statement all you want in an adult movie and all. I just think it's a little tacky and big-time objectionable when you start foisting it on kids..."
Really, Neal? And who but the kids will inherit this global mess?
Sunday, November 19, 2006
The pairing unites one of the world's most popular and socially conscious rock groups with one of the nation's most effective environmental action groups… The online hub for the Move America Beyond Oil campaign is http://www.greendaynrdc.com/ where visitors can see exclusive video messages from the band and send personal messages directly to political leaders straight from the site. Visitors will also be able to send text messages directly from their cell phones to lawmakers and corporate leaders, a development the NRDC sees as ushering in a new age of ‘Cell Phone Activism’… Fine with me, as long as you’re not driving… The NRDC, long known for the work of its lawyers and scientists, has gained prominence by virtue of it collaborations with well known conservationists such as Robert Redford, James Taylor, Leonardo DiCaprio, Laurie David, Jack Black, Cameron Diaz and Ben Harper...
Readers will want to take a look at Elizabeth Kolbert’s most recent article, "The Darkening Ocean," in this week’s New Yorker. Following on her fabulous, three-parter last year on global climate change -- far more detailed and frightening than even the admirable An Inconvenient Truth -- this piece gives the particulars of a newly identified phenomenon known as "ocean acidification" which is nearly irreversible and the result of carbon emissions.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Among those mentioned as having been shot in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel that night, however, was one Ira Goldstein, then 19, or so it says, who caught a bullet in his left buttocks.
No one who lived those days of assassination from '63 to '68 ever quite puts it completely behind them. (Except perhaps maybe Ira.) But as one of those people, the reason I'm not a conspiracy buff, for all my 'paranoid' predispositions, I believe has to do with the real 'untold' story behind Ira, or of Ira's behind.
The Ira Goldstein story is elided in Ms. Banks retelling of events that night. It always has been in every L.A. Times version. (See? Catch a hint of my naturally conspiratorial bent?) In fact, Mr. Goldstein is characterized in Ms. Banks article today as living in welcome obscurity with no wish to relive those memories. But, given the age we live in, where security issues are all the rage, the 'real' story is something of a cautionary tale. A comic note in a tragic text. And may go some ways toward explaining why Ira isn't keen on dredging up the details.
That's because Ira Goldstein got shot in the ass in the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel, June 5th, 1968, playing sidekick to a valley high school kid playing boy reporter. A 17 year-old classmate of mine named Jeff... what was Jeff's name again, Kent, Kemp… Brent! (Speak, Memory!)
As I remember him, Jeff was a 'character', one of those socially-awkward late adolescents (no 'hippy', Jeff was more a London Fog raincoated Sinatra-manque) whose rebellion took the shape of a passion for premature acceptance as an 'adult'. He was hellbent to be taken seriously.
In love with ham radio, in 11th Grade he printed up business cards and, wielding them, a flashy tape recorder and a big professional-looking padded mike, he and Ira chased around town crashing their way into events. (In fact, Jeff might have even gone so far as to put a panel on his car's door identifying it, too, as part of his "news" operation. To not denigrate it, they did manage to feed some stories to the wire services and local radio.)
I'd love to learn what ever became of him. What I do know, however, is in the myriad official reports, the hundreds of deadly earnest articles on RFK's murder, amid speculations of additional gunmen, impossible bullet angles, police conspiracies, links to JFK's assassination, Ira is always identified, when they bother to do so, portentously, as "19, an employee of the Continental News Service." (See, e.g.,"DAY OF MOURNING" American Experience, PBS, primary sources: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/amex/rfk/filmmore/ps_mourning.html)
Never, ever have I seen it mentioned that Ira and Jeff were two underage valley kids who'd managed to weasel their way into the kitchen of the Ambassador with homemade credentials.
Sirhan Sirhan was not the only guy that night who had no business being there. But Jeff's bonafides were never susbsequently looked into and Ira, having been shot in the ass, has always, far as I am aware, been allowed to glide over the matter. But a paid employee of a legitimate news service? Give my jealous, 17 year-old ego a break.
So one should hardly carp over poetic license being taken with events in Mr. Estevez's 'Bobby'. Here's wishing him well with his new film. Among their many acts of good will toward the planet, he and his father, Martin Sheen, endorsed the Heritage Tree Preservation Act in 2002 which banned the cutting of Heritage trees, trees alive in the year California became a state (1850), on non-federally owned forestlands. Heritage trees can be over 16 feet in diameter, are resistant to forest fires because of their size, and provide crucial habitat for numerous endangered and threatened species. Unfortunately the act did NOT pass.
For the absolutely most inspiring read about California's ancient Sequoias, I recommend Richard Preston's "Climbing Redwoods" articles in the New Yorker which are to be found collected in The Wild Trees: A Story of Passion and Daring due out in April, 2007.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
"Fame… What you want is in the limo..."
Hello, Sports Fans! Which, in fact, was the column I set out to write today when, lo and behold, I discovered to my dismay that there simply aren’t a whole helluvalot of athletes, high profile American professionals, on the frontlines of environmental work.
"Fame… What is it good for?… Absolutely nothing!" --David Bowie, FAME
Wait, not so fast, David. And the NFL does have it’s NFL Environmental program which has been on-going since 1992. It works with host communities of the Superbowl and Probowl to mitigate their impact, attempting comprehensive solid waste management, recycling, collection and donation of extra ‘prepared food,’ and it has a "Carbon Neutral" initiative that "seeks to plant hundreds of seedling trees to offset the greenhouse gas emissions." It'll be there once again in South Florida on February 4th when Superbowl XLI is held.
So, is working to limit the adverse effects of humongous sporting events, but having few star athletes involved in green causes better than the reverse?
For example, yesterday a UCLA Institute of the Environment report claimed Hollywood production is responsible for 140,000 tons of particulate pollution a year in Los Angeles. Despite individual producers and studios attempts at minimizing that raging waste, the variety of sub-contractors, of tradespeople, gaffers, teamsters, caterers, all of whom are employed job to job make it next to impossible to impose uniform standards and therefore to control it.
But it’s Hollywood celebrities first and foremost who are out front, putting their names and faces, their time and their voices, to making the public aware of the precarious state of the planet’s health and of an increasing number of green alternatives.
Frankly, in the short and even medium run, I’d prefer that situation – that ‘double-standard’ if you will -- of burning a little extra gas getting people aware of our choice to what’s going on in the sports world. True, Athletes in this media-conscious age are giving of their time to their communities, to campaigns to help eradicate disease, to reach inner city kids, to a wide range of charitable endeavors. To suggest anything less would be churlish. And, after all, all these things are interconnected.
But there’s something troubling, and misplaced, maybe even a bit of deep denial at work when the heroes who earn their fame racing over broad swatches of mown grass, breathing deep lungfuls of fresh air, swatting little balls into stands of tall trees or over far distant fences, or arching larger balls up for the shell of a peach basket, have so little care, so little time for the causes that would preserve the sunlight and open spaces that gave birth to these games.
Tuesday, November 14, 2006
"I trust a good deal to common fame... If a man has good corn, or wood, or boards… If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon, or make a better mousetrap… you will find a broad hard-beaten road to his house, though it be in the woods."
Sunday, November 12, 2006
Friday, November 10, 2006
Last night, on a hilltop near Mulholland, the Oceana Awards http://www.oceana.org/ produced some inspiringly memorable moments. On hand to accept his Ocean Hero Award, recipient JAMES CAMERON gave the glamorous gathered Oceana fundraisers a glimpse into his aqueous soul. And, perhaps, the best explanation to date for all his rapturously liquid movies. He’s been a scuba diver from the age of sixteen. Introduced by the ever-effervescent JAMIE LEE CURTIS, who lovingly described her TRUE LIES director as 'a geek', Cameron ("Hey, Jamie, 'Geeks' are the guys who tear the heads off chickens?!") spoke from the heart, off-the-cuff and, not surprisingly, quite eloquently. What became as clear as the blue glass sculptures of wafting bubbles that framed the presenters and honorees was Mr. Cameron's abiding love for the sea and for Oceana’s work to restore its abundance. "The next ten years will decide the fate of the oceans," he predicted, going on to explain that at the very least we will be deciding whether it will contain anything like the rich diversity that first drew him to explore its vastness and that is, sadly, no longer there.
TED DANSON emceed with the effortless grace and charm he’s shown since his dancing Assistant D.A. debut in BODY HEAT. He deftly gave way at the podium for NICK CAGE to do the honors and, in his inimitable way, Mr. Cage, another devoted son of the sea, stirred us all with a gentle post-election call for "An Ocean Revolution". He presented an Oceana Partners Award to publicist ANNETT WOLF who’s been a tireless supporter of its work. SALMA HAYEK then stirred hearts and souls in presenting another of the three Oceana Partner Awards to ABC Prexy STEVE MCPHERSON. Holy Aqualung, the ravishing Ms. Hayek also revealed roots to the briny deep. Her love affair with the blue fathoms also began with scuba diving -- at the tender age of 12! If there were any lingering doubts about the sense and sensibility of this actress, they were scattered in the chill hilltop breezes which kept many from investigating the pool-decked plateau where Esquire House 360 http://www.esquirehouse360.com/ is stunningly sited. And Mr. McPherson disarmed and delighted all with his remarks, claiming that the extent of his ocean activism had to date been no more than to stop eating Chilean Sea Bass!
What was great – and there was a lot of gilded glitz and gaucherie to the Esquire Housed affair: wall screens in nearly every room, Luis Vuitton straps on the bookshelves in his "signature suite" – was this frank admission. This is the purpose of celebrity. You are called upon to be honored as a means of lending your name, your notoriety, your circle of friends (and your rolodex!) to a worthy cause. And it is a far, far better thing that you do, if it is no more than having not eaten an endangered species, that you give of your public estate, your good name, to saving the planet.
Doing this, and more, were the night’s two other Partner recipients, PIERCE BROSNAN and his wife, KEELY. Afterward, both a silent and not-so-silent auction was held as guests mingled and wandered through the many-roomed mansion.
Thursday, November 09, 2006
The event, which is also a benefit fundraiser for Oceana, an organization that campaigns to protect and restore the world's oceans, is honoring James Cameron, director/ creator of TERMINATOR, THE ABYSS and TITANIC. Mr. Cameron is set to receive the Ted Danson Ocean Hero Award; and honoring PIERCE BROSNAN and his wife KEELY BROSNAN with the Partners Award for their work on behalf of the ocean environment.
On hand as presenters, NICOLAS CAGE and FELICITY HUFFMAN
The star-studded event is hosted by Esquire at their just recently-christened bachelor palace, a 17,000 sq. foot designer pad, the Esquire 360 House. With views that span from the ocean to the mountains, it promises to generate almost as much attention to Oceana's environmental efforts as the planet-conscious celebrities lending their time and names to the cause.
Oceana is a fairly new environmental protection charity whose campaigns have brought pressure to bear on the cruise ship industry to stop them treating our seas as outhouses, and Oceana's teams of marine scientists, economists, lawyers and advocates have won specific, concrete policy changes to reduce pollution and to prevent the irreversible collapse of fish populations, marine mammals and other sea life.
Global in scope, Oceana has campaigners based in North America (Washington, DC; Juneau, AK; Los Angeles, CA), Europe (Madrid, Spain; Brussels, Belgium) and South America (Santiago, Chile).
For more about them go to http://www.oceana.org/
Announcing ~ THE WEEKLY GREEN PLANET ~ the first column devoted to celebrity aid to the global environment.
Modeled on Army Archerd's famous "Just For Variety," THE WEEKLY GREENPLANET will be fast-paced, three-dot journalism informing readers of therapidly expanding world of environmental news.
Fax, phone or email us your press items. We'll get your clients andtheir causes attention.
Phone or Fax: 310 828-9582
(Deadline for inclusion for the following week is noon Sunday)
THE WEEKLY GREEN kicks off November 11th, 2006 with a new installment appearing once a week here and at
Eco-Celebrity-News is a non-proprietary site promoting people and causesseeking an ecologically-sustainable future. Bringing internet eyeballsand awareness to that quest by trumpeting celebrity associations with"green" causes.
From electric cars to greenhouse gas-reducing technologies, from eco-friendly resorts to anti-climate change initiatives, don't hesitateto send us news of your clients "green" promotions: what won't work for the column we'll find a place for.
Enter this email address in your electronic rolodex. Fwd it to the proper press contact.
Let your office know of our existence. firstname.lastname@example.org
If it promotes an environmentally friendly project, we're interested.
(Deadline for inclusion for the following week is noon Sunday)