Thursday, January 31, 2008

Media Whirl

Tuesday night I was live on KRON in San Francisco for a six minute debate on Props. 94 to 97.

Beforehand the producer offered to take my picture at the anchor desk. So I gave it my best Lou-Dobbs-lean-on-one-arm pose.
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On Wednesday I was on the air on KGO- AM in San Francisco for a one-hour debate on the Ronn Owens show. At the end of the first hour Ronn asked the two of us if we could stay for a few minutes into the second hour. We ended up going for the entire second hour. So I guess Ronn thought it was interesting. And he said the station was getting lots of calls.

Afterwards Ronn said he couldn't remember the last time he'd done two full hours on the same topic. So that felt good.
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Tuesday afternoon I was in-studio at KPCC-FM, the NPR station located at Pasadena Community College, for a 20 minute debate on Pat Morrison's show. And, yes, Morrison wears a fanciful hat even when doing radio.
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Today I taped a 10 minute debate for Fox Channel 11 in Los Angeles that will be part of their You Decide 2008 -- Propositions Special. It's going to air Friday night, February 1, at 10:30 p.m. and two other times over the weekend.

I was impressed by how beautiful the set was.

And the make-up job they gave me was very thorough. As I said to the make-up artist as he was finishing up his work, "I guess when they're putting make-up on the BACK of your head there's little doubt over whether you're bald or not."
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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Another Magical Week

Last week was another crazy week of running around.

Monday -- Los Angeles to San Francisco.

Tuesday -- San Francisco to Los Angeles.

Wednesday -- Los Angeles to Sacramento to San Diego.

Thursday -- San Diego to Los Angeles.

The photo above is a rainy day in San Francisco on Tuesday.

It didn't help things that I got sick near the end of the week and lost my voice on Thursday and Friday.

But after some rest this weekend I'm feeling great and rarin' to go for the last week before the election.
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Regardless of how busy I've been, I was thrilled to be invited to Lily Fanali's ninth birthday party on Saturday, featuring the magical illusions of Jersey Jim.

In this photo, Jersey Jim levitates Lily.

It takes a special confidence to be a magician at a party for nine-year-olds. And Jersey Jim's got it. He's got his magician's patter down much to the delight of the kids AND the adults in attendance.
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Safely back on the ground.
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A pretty cake. Tasty too.
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Time to blow out the candles.
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I'm still scratching my head after seeing "Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson" at the Kirk Douglas Theater last night.

I admit I didn't know much about our nation's 8th President -- his decision to drive Native Americans west from their homelands or his efforts to make Florida part of the United States.

But I couldn't get past the artistic decision to present this story as an emo rock concert. Somehow an anthem like "Populism, Yea, Yea" just seemed odd to me.

And I couldn't get past characters from the 1820s talking like Valley Girls from the 1980s.

I know this was supposed to be a wry indictment of the current Bush Administration. But unlike "Spring Awakening" (which I loved) the modern staging of this show really bugged me. But it also fascinated me. Like I said, I'm still scratching my head.

But here's one interesting tidbit on Old Hickory from the program - Jackson's pet parrot attended his funeral, but, unfortunately, had to be removed from the service due to his non-stop swearing.
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With the Academy Awards nominations out I decided to go see "The Golden Compass" today. It's nominated for two Academy Awards.

It's basically a children's adventure movie about a place where people's souls (known as demons) appear as animals that accompany them wherever they go.

Nicole Kidman stars as a sinister woman whose demon is a golden monkey. I kept thinking how much seeing her with her little golden monkey reminded me of when she was married to Tom Cruise. Do you think that was the intention?

I also rented and watched "Surf's Up" which is nominated for an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. I thought it was pretty boring but at least it only lasted for 80 minutes.
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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Where Was I?

Sorry for the hiatus from this blog. It was quite an intense little week on the old campaign trail.

Flew up to San Francisco.
Driving north pulled off the road in Marin County to phone a Bakersfield radio station for a debate.
Drove on to Santa Rosa to participate in an evening debate organized by the Sonoma County League of Women Voters.
After the debate was over at 8:30 p.m., high-tailed it back to SFO to catch the last flight of the night to San Diego

Debated in front of the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce at 8 in the morning
Phoned into KPCC-FM for a 30 minute debate
Participated in a campaign meeting
Flew to Los Angeles
Debated in front of the New Frontier Democratic Club in the evening
Caught the last flight to SFO from LAX

Went to KQED-FM for an hour long debate
Flew to Los Angeles
Had a 7:30 meeting in the evening
Drove to San Diego

Taped a debate for KNSD (photo above)
Flew to Sacramento
Had a campaign meeting
Flew back to San Diego
Drove to San Bernardino

Phoned in for a one-hour debate on KQMS-AM in Redding at 8 a.m.
Drove to Riverside to debate in front of the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce
Drove to my office in Los Angeles and phoned into KTLK-AM for another debate

So that's why I didn't have time to blog.
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Saturday night I went to the Pasadena Playhouse to see the crackling new play "Orson's Shadow." An Off-Broadway smash a couple of seasons ago, it tells the story of Orson Welles directing Sir Laurence Olivier and Joan Plowright in Ionesco's "Theater of the Absurd" play "Rhinoceros" in 1960.

Vivien Leigh (who Olivier dumped for Plowright) shows up as well.

This theatrical clash of ego titans makes for a very entertaining show.

The lighting design, and generous use of shadows (an homage to "Citizen Kane"), is worth noting as well.
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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Improved My Tally

I correctly predicted 10 out of 14 Golden Globe awards for movies -- 71% correct.

In 2007 I got 9 out of 14 right (64%). In 2006 I got 9 out of 13 right (69%).

Since the awards were announced in a news conference tonight it took all of 30 minutes to announce the winners. Here are the winners I did not predict:

Best Performance by an Actress -- Drama: Julie Christie/Away from Her

Best Performance by an Actress -- Musical or Comedy: Marion Cotillard/La Vie En Rose

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Cate Blanchett/I'm Not There

Best Animated Feature Film: Ratatouille

My apologies to the ladies and the cartoon rats.

A Dim Crystal Ball

With the Golden Globe winners set to be announced tonight at a news conference (rather than the traditional boozy party) it's time for me to predict the winners of the 14 movie awards.

I saw all of the nominees accept five which are no longer in the theater and aren't available on DVD. The five I did not see are:

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Brave One
Elizabeth: The Golden Age
Grace is Gone
Love in the Time of Cholera

So here are my predictions of who will win (this is not who I think SHOULD win, but simply who I think WILL win):

Best Motion Picture -- Drama: Atonement

Best Performance by an Actress -- Drama: Angelina Jolie/A Mighty Heart

Best Performance by an Actor -- Drama: Daniel Day-Lewis/There Will Be Blood

Best Motion Picture -- Musical or Comedy: Sweeney Todd

Best Performance by an Actress -- Musical or Comedy: Helena Bonham Carter/Sweeney Todd

Best Performance by an Actor -- Musical or Comedy: Johnny Depp/Sweeney Todd

Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Amy Ryan/Gone Baby Gone

Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Javier Bardem/No Country for Old Men

Best Animated Feature: The Simpsons Movie

Best Foreign Language Film: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Director: Julian Schnabel/The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

Best Screenplay: No Country for Old Men

Best Original Score: Atonement

Best Original Song: Guaranteed/Into the Wild

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back on the Small Screen

Taped a very quick six minute debate this afternoon that will air this Sunday as part of the KNBC News Conference show. Folks in the Los Angeles media market can watch it on Channel 4 at 9 a.m.

After that it'll be available on-line at -- scroll down to "What's on KNBC?" and click on "newsconference."
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I'm getting to the end of the list of Golden Globe nominees -- just in time for Sunday's Golden Globe "News Conference." Tonight I saw the fifth film nominated for Best Foreign Language Film, "Persepolis," from France.

It's about a girl who grows up in Tehran and charts the changes in government from the Shah of Iran to the religious extremists in control now.

Interestingly, the movie is animated and based on an autobiographical graphic novel.
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Thursday, January 10, 2008

Which Came First?

Made my way up to San Jose for a meeting of the Santa Clara County Democratic Central Committee. (They voted overwhelmingly to oppose Props. 94 to 97.)

Afterwards I had dinner at Original Joe's in downtown San Jose. I don't know which opened first: the Original Joe's in San Francisco or the Original Joe's in San Jose. (They each make it clear they aren't affiliated with the other.) But one is certainly a rip off of the other.

Personally, I think the cooking at the San Francisco eatery is better. But since they were closed by a kitchen fire I'm happy to dine at Original Joe's in San Jose.
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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Back Where It All Began

I'm spending tonight in Long Beach for a meeting tomorrow morning.

Almost 45 years ago something very important in my life happened in Long Beach. I was born.
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Monday, January 07, 2008

Pass the Kleenex

Had a chance tonight to watch "The Kite Runner," a must-see, emotionally grueling movie nominated for Golden Globes for Best Foreign Language Film and Best Original Score.

It follows a life of an Afghan boy (who becomes a man) over a period where Afghanistan is ruled by democrats, invaded by the Soviets and then dominated by the Taliban.

Highly charged and so moving.

Take your hanky.
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Sunday, January 06, 2008

Heading North

"Into the Wild," tells the true story of a young man from a dysfunctional family who "escapes" into the wild to live on his own, off the land, in Alaska.

Written and directed by Sean Penn, it's a very, very moving film. And gorgeous to look at.

Though I could have gone without the shots of critters cooking over a campfire. But I guess if you're going to live on your own in Alaska there's bound to be moose blood.

Two more ticks on my Golden Globe list, with one week to go. That is, if the Golden Globes actually happen next Sunday. Seems like the show has to go on, I've nearly completed their list.
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Don't Tase Me, Bro

I think what's so funny about this video is the way Senator John Kerry tries to drone on with his speech while this incident is unfurling.

What's the Word?

"Horrid" is the word that comes to mind to describe "Atlanta," the new musical at the Geffen Playhouse.

Get this premise for a musical: a Union soldier caught behind Confederate lines impersonates the soldier he killed in order to survive. He lands in the camp of a Shakespeare-loving Confederate General who forces him to perform works of the Bard in order to avoid being hung. He writes the widow of the soldier he killed and ultimately they fall in love.

Add in a terrible book, uninteresting music and lame lyrics and you have one of the worst musicals ever staged.

In other words, I did not like it.
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Folks fleeing the Geffen Playhouse during intermission in order to avoid the second half of "Atlanta."
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Friday night I saw a dreary French film nominated for a Golden Globe for Best Foreign Language Film -- "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly."

Have you ever heard of "shut-in syndrome?" It's a brain injury where the body is paralyzed but the mind continues to function. You're basically trapped inside a non-moving body.

The movie is based on a true story about a guy who can only move one eyelid and dictates a book by blinking whenever the right letter is called out to spell words.

It's horrifying to think about and inspirational to think that someone was able to overcome such circumstances -- but an enjoyable movie it does not make.
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Had a tough time getting home from Sacramento yesterday because of the storm clobbering Northern California. It took about 90 minutes to drive the 5 miles between downtown Sacramento and the airport. Of course there were major flight delays at the airport. But I finally caught a flight out about 3 hours after I was supposed to leave. It was raining so hard the airport's roof was leaking.
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Friday, January 04, 2008

Day Trippin'

Made my way to Lakeport, the Lake County County Seat for a meeting tonight of the Lake County Democratic Central Committee. They met in the County Board of Supervisors meeting room and voted unanimously to oppose Propositions 94 to 97.
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A pretty building in downtown Lakeport. As you can see, it was raining fairly hard tonight.
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