Category: Entertainment


During an action-filled scene in the new Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises, fans were fooled by loud gunshots which were actually an intruder killing them as they watched the movie. Some probably died with a smile on their faces.

Even though there has been multiple fatalities and many more injuries in this midnight shooting spree in Aurora, Colorado, I couldn’t help but think that was the sort of scene the traditional Batman movies would be set in with the Joker bursting in on innocent civilians with Batman coming to the rescue.

But this was no work of fiction. These movie goers were being killed in real life. A few survivors said they actually thought the incident was part of the whole movie experience!

However, the incident brings to the fore once more the fear that movies and the wider media do influence our minds to make the world of fiction our world of reality. There are people who of course enjoy the blood, guns, explosions, carnage and constant death or mayhem that Hollywood seems to have so easily mastered over the last decade or so.

Interestingly, the new batman movie is being allowed to continue its premiere showing across America but Warner Bros. has since announced that the highly publicized and anticipated premiere in Paris will no longer go ahead as planned.

This incident makes me wonder if movies—and Hollywood in particular—are going to be used as the Command Headquarters for potential celebrity criminals who would want their spot in the historical limelight of the western world’s archives.

People who are expecting to be entertained in a cinema most likely don’t think they are in any physical danger of the sort that would put their lives at risk of a violent, bloody and painful end. But weeks after “The Land of the Free” celebrated another fourth of July, one of their most embedded personalized pastimes has been violently uprooted by one of their own.

AS far as public information shows, the act was carried out by one individual—James Holmes, a 24 year old—working alone. So there was no Yemeni links as such. Americans must be devastated as they realize that this is an all American made death zone.

However, I fear that other nations are likely to experience similar incidents as people begin to tear down the thin line between the imaginary world of fiction where anything is possible, and the ominously perched world of reality where the unthinkable seems not only to be thinkable but also doable.

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Andy Griffith

 

I was watching The Andy Griffith Show on TV Land an hour or so ago when I saw headlines on my computer that “Actor Andy Griffith is Dead”.

That moment froze me in time. Moments before I was just enjoying the show and thinking of my childhood days when I first started watching this beloved idyllic sitcom. I also was thinking that “Deputy Barney Fife” played by Don Knots died a few years ago; sadly, too, the episode I was watching had “Goober” in it. Goober died just a month or so ago back in May of this year.

But maybe it is fate and destiny that I should learn of the death of one of my favourite television personalities while watching his show. It is the first time in my life I recall something like this happening.

But I am glad it happened this way.

I first started watching the Andy Griffith Show back in the 1980s. I was in primary school at the time. I can still vividly remember that it would be showed at 3:30 PM  each weekday afternoon. In those days my classmates and I would gather in the hour before the 3 o’ clock dismissal bell and we would rehearse with gravitational excitement all the plots of our TV shows the previous afternoon.

I can still hear the voice of my best friend telling me how he prefer to watch cartoons instead of real people, but nonetheless The Andy Griffith Show (T.A.G.S.) made an impact on our entertainment appetite.

TAGS has been one of the shows that has remained on television line up for broadcasting over the many years since  my golden childhood decade of the 1980s. I always enjoyed the simple lifestyle and powerful life lessons the characters would portray in the episodes. There didn’t have to be a lot of action or physical movement in place or time for the pleasurable entertainment value to be enjoyed by the audience.

This show was also one of the shows that my mother and I  often watched together, particularly when school was closed and I was at home on vacation. My mother’s favourite episode was the one when “Aunt Bea” bought an excessive amount of beef and was literally dragging her meat home through the streets of Mayberry and the town’s dogs were having a feast as she went along.

Andy, I hope you do say hello to my mother for me as you enter your eternal home in heaven.

I bet I can easily make this post my longest ever as a blogger: there is just so much to remember and to tell!

I have always felt a sense of comfort in that I knew Andy Griffith was still alive. It was like I had a particular handle on the 1960s, a time before my birth, when The Andy Griffith Show was being produced and aired for the first time.

I believe I speak for every single one of  TAGS fans when I say that the theme song—a beautifully whistled tune—is another simple reason the show has been immortalized in our minds and memories. At some point and time I am sure we all have whistled that tune.

The deaths of the majority of the cast members from The Andy Griffith Show indicates that a television era in wholesome entertainment has really ended. As far as I know these characters from the show are now all dead: Aunt Bea, Goober, Barney, Floyd, Clara, and now Andy Griffith.

I give thanks to the Lord for giving the world Andy Griffith and I thank Him for allowing Andy to have a long life—86 years—on the earth. I have learned from Andy’s life that it is important to enjoy your years, whether young or old. Andy brought his highly demanded show to an end in 1968 to follow his other dreams of life outside of the sitcom world.

It was not an easy road for him; he didn’t make the immediate hit with movie audiences as he did with TAGS, and he even lost his wife in the process; however, Andy Griffith kept persevering on.

His nine year run as Matlock made his name a household phrase again with a younger television audience in the 1990s.

Andy Griffith is finally dead after being here many decades. The great news is that he has left his life’s work in television and music for us to enjoy. Let us do so, celebrating Andy Griffith our forever television friend.

Make this moment the “one moment in time” when you choose to overcome your own personal struggles

The world is reeling from news that singer Whitney Houston is dead. the circumstances of her sudden death are all too familiar to other celebrities who have died over the years.

While there is probably a price to be paid for world fame, resorting to some form of drug addiction has become a fatal plague for movie stars, singers and other global icons.

Whitney, a lady unusually gifted with singing talent, struggled with cocaine addiction through the latter part of her life. So many people right now are mostly saddened by this: her career might be remembered only in light of her personal struggles.

But is it fair to magnify the personal struggles of celebrities as though they should not have any struggles at all?

I say no.

The death of celebrities is never welcomed news; people would wish celebrities could live on earth forever. But the death of Whitney Houston is a timely reminder that life on earth IS just a temporary journey.

I wish to point out that each and every human being will and have to face some form of personal struggle. It is part of the human life contract.

It is my belief that God, as Creator and owner of the earth and man, has empowered man at his birth to be an overcomer. God has confidence in each person alive that he or she can face and master whatever opposition is faced.

In order to help you put life into perspective let me share something interesting I just double checked as I weighed in on Whitney Houston’s death.

The last recorded messages from Jesus Christ to people on earth, in Revelation, shows that for each of the seven churches He addressed, He specifically ended with a challenge for His audience to overcome.

I think that is important because Jesus knows life on earth will not—cannot—last forever. But He also knows what will become of each person after death.

Since no corrupt thing can enter heaven, each person is responsible to use his or her days to get his or her soul cleaned up from the many pollutants, viruses or addictions on earth. These addictions and problems were around before you were born and they would be here after your death.

What makes life worthwhile from the human stand point is the ability to overcome one’s personal addictions, proclivities and areas of weaknesses.

A final point I wish to raise also comes from the Bible, this time Peter who asked his audience to “prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled”.

The advice to be self controlled is given multiple times by the Christian writers in the New Testament. I believe it is for a good reason. Nothing is achieved in any life without the person first making up his or her mind to do something about it.

I want to say to all persons reading my words that it is up to you to master and then conqueror your addictions, weaknesses or adversaries. It is the reason you wake up each morning. The thing is, like Whitney Houston and other celebrities, a morning comes when we will not even know it is our last morning on earth.

As you think of Whitney Houston being dead, and as you ponder on your own life, remember that you are a legend in your own way—the whole world need not know you by name or picture. you have what it takes to overcome your difficulties. But you have to take control of your mind first and foremost.

Here is something that you never knew Michael Jackson was good at doing. (The video is preceded by a thirty-second advertisement)

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Ashford is Dead

Death seems to have its seasons and this time is for writers of the classic songs of yesteryear. A few days ago one of two writers for Elvis Presley died. On the heels of that news comes the revelation that Nick Ashford from the dynamic husband and wife team–Ashford and Simpson–passed away after fighting throat cancer.I recall as a child I would watch Ashford and Simpson perform. Memories are made of this.

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In a time when we are crying out and complaining about male marginalization, the singing and entertainment industry is asking, “What male marginalization?”

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Justin Bieber                                                          

Until a couple years ago the words Justin Bieber only meant an identifiable expression to close friends and family of the then unassuming child. But many things in life are connected to the proverbial domino effect and so with the advent of the Internet and its cousins–the social networks–the circumstances were aligned for a little known Justin to upload some simple home videos for mutual family fun and bonding.

Since then the name Justin Bieber has become unanimous with teenage stardom and the all pursued get rich quick philosophy of the masses of “huslas” youths. Justin has had a sudden change of status and his whole living experience really, that most can only hope to come close to experience via the movies or a good book.

The  global following that he has received from his fellow teens have been largely due to his down to earth attributes as a person. talk with his childhood friends and those who first  sampled his music and you are sure to find out that it was Justin’s physical features, voice quality and humble personality that generated an ascent to the position of a teen idol.

The world probably needed someone to come on the scene at the time when Justin did. One of the world’s most recognizable face and voices had just been silenced. Michael Jackson, how for so many years had epitomized life itself by his extraordinary performances died in 2009. The world of pop music was therefore in some form of mourning and had a vacancy to fill.

A close look at the new multimillion dollar star will now reveal some rather grown up changes that may be an indication that the Justin Bieber that the virgin fans fell in love with has evolved into the superstar Justin Bieber. Fans will observe that his outfits are taking on a permanent on-stage look and the teen is also brandishing earing(s).  The hairstyle is no longer reflective of the simple down to earth child of a few years ago.

One of the biggest changes though, probably has to do with Justin’s emotional or love life. He has, after a few days of denial, jumped headlong into a relationship with Selena Gomez, another teen performer. While they both undoubtedly will have some things in common, one has to wonder to what extent Justin is in control of his personal and even professional life. The world has been privy to the couples rather intimately romantic adventures.  It is no accident that the word virgin was used earlier in this post; however, has stardom catapulted Justin from his own virginity or to embark on a journey of validating the “new cow” theory? Not too long ago the viral information was of a possible break-up of the teen couple over a simple text from Justin to another young lady.

Justin and his girlfriend

Justin’s parents in the earlies were doing what they could to ensure that their son still has a normal coming of age experience. Somehow I don’t think that the influx of monies from performances, product deals and royalties are compatible with that. A look at the  personal lives of stars will reveal that in over 90% of the cases, their relationships seem to last as long as the pair of shoe that they wear. Has Justin been prepared for the emotional seesaw of relationships, especially at such a tender years?

Being a globally recognized figure is always fun. Until it sets in that the media never, ever stops following your every move and action. While Justin has a competent team of advisors I can’t help but wonder if his young emotional needs and concerns are at the heart of the advice given to him. When your friends or advisors suddenly start seeing you as $$ signs and no longer as a human being first—things will never be the same.

The history of child stars as well shows that in too many cases, particularly after their careers have matured and reached a state of decline, they are unable to make a smooth adjustment to life as a regular guy again. Some years ago Jonathan Brandis was a handsomely popular television star. He hanged himself in his room after his career started sliding down a slippery rope. River Phoenix, backed by fame and fortune, sacrificed his existence to illicit drugs usage. Recently, Amy Winehouse died from complications it would seem stemming from alcohol use. (I was wondering the other day if it is a coincidence that someone  with the name Winehouse became an alcoholic).

The intent of this post is to act as a catalyst for a modestly objective but urgent intervention at rehabilitating Justin Bieber so that he can handle his new life. The information suggests that Justin is being considered as a “brat” by persons who are closest to him in his business ventures. He alledgedly made a lot of passengers on a recent flight very uncomfortable by his actions. He refused to give the pilot an autograph as well. Refusing autographs seems also to be a new habit of Justin’s. It seems to me that something is going to give soon where Justin’s stardom is concerned.

There are more negatively ending lives and careers of once-popular child stars that  are all around. Is Justin Bieber surrounded by genuine people who don’t put money-making above life-saving? Is Justin happy with himself? What plans are in place for life after the stage or the glitter of it all?

For those of us who grew up in the eighties it can really and truly be said that was the golden age of television. Even now one can just listen to the background music of a film, or watch a split second scene of action and recognize a production of the 1980s.

Immediately, I recall Knight Rider and the A-Team. Although they were not feature movies as such, the impact of these two series are phenomenal. I have always said that in order to create a great story thee must be something unusual placed in the usually mundane environment. Additionally, the actors who played the leading roles worked well together on-screen and kept the audience with them all the time.

Other series that I particularly enjoyed watching on Saturdays would have included Airwolf, Street Hawk and Charles in Charge, a sitcom presentation.

A few weeks ago I sat back and looked at Starz Encore Action as they showed The Jewel of the Nile. I was taken way back down memory lane. The youthfulness of Danny Devito and Michael Douglas was amazing to see; it was a vivid reminder that we all grow older and that life is to be enjoyed at all ages. The metaphoric use of jewel in this movie as well I thought was a good technique of holding the audience’s attention.

One of my all time favourite movie has to be Lethal Weapon 2. My gosh! Talk about building action. Talk about no retreat no surrender! (which is another 80s classic by the way). But Danny Glover and the energetic Mel Gibson gave the crooks  run for their money. What I particularly enjoy with lethal Weapon 2 is the fact that evil, as manifested by the bad guys from South Africa, is never able to get the upper hand by use of threat, intimidation or openly brutal force. Whatever action the crooks take the crime-fighting duo comes back with just as much or even more “reasonable force” to show who is really the boss. This is great, non-stop action and humour, along with calculated romance, from beginning to end.

I have also loved the movie “Batteries Not Included, a movie that combined sci-fi special effects with down to earth family love and friendship. This movie had introduced me to the now deceased Jessica Tandy. She outplayed herself in this role. The combination of the characters of the tenants in this dilapidated apartment building added to the unpredictability of the plot. Again, if you want an unforgettable story, put the extraordinary into the ordinary.

And who can forget Driving Miss Daisey and Lean on Me? Two of the classical works of actor Morgan Freeman. In Driving Miss Daisey by the way, Jessica Tandy played the leading female role. Dan Akroyd from the Ghostbusters hall of fame also completed the eclectic cast in this movie. I thought the humility and loveable traits of the characters, especially Morgan Freeman, were special indeed.

In a previous post I talked about  Stand By Me. This movie just hit me right there. In the emotions. I have always valued friendships and I was able to identify with the story line a lot. The words of the writer at the end I found so very real: “I have never had any friends like the ones I had when I was twelve. Jesus, does anyone?”  As any of us grows older we are able to appreciate coming of age films, especially when the characterization is something we can connect with.

Just yesterday I am learning of the death of “Bubba” Smith. He  was Officer Hightower in the 1980s Police Academy series. His size, strength and usual silence helped cement those films in the annals of entertainment history. I doubt there is anyone on the planet who can watch any of the Police Academy films and not have a good laugh.

For a while, after the decade of the 80s there were some great films. “What a damn night!” My line from American Ninja. The bumbling partnership of the actors of Kangaroo Jack cannot be easily matched for their humour, in my opinion. Few other movies have added humour and good happy laughter to the audience. I recall the first time i watched “Its’s a Guy Thing” that I almost had cardiac arrest from the apparently inexplicable events. The scenes when the police announce they have found and arrested a suspect bearing an identical match to the phony details provided by the main character and again when the pastor kept asking for anyone to come forward to object to the wedding both blew me away. Seriously!

Within the last few years I have to admit that my love for movies have dropped. I see Hollywood remaking a lot of earlier classics, and sometimes with terrible results. I felt sad that  Superman Returns could not have been produced with a better plot and simpler love story. The character of Superman was really never given the chance in the movie to “return”. It seems to me that Superman was the least super of all the characters.

Another path I see Hollywood taking is to make sequels to the prequels that often turn the audience off. Hollywood needs to learn that having a good prequel does not necessitate always making sequels. I really don’t think that the growing young generation today really knows what makes a great entertaining film.

A major ingredient of the films of yesteryear must be the wholesome family values and respect shown to people’s bodies. A movie does not have to contain gross curse words, bloody baths and terrorism-attack like scenes of horror or torture to be a good movie. When you get a chance you must compare a love scene shot in today’s movies to a love scene shot in the 1980s or that era. The differences will surprise. I end this post with a quote from the  CEO of Dreamsworks studio., producers of Madagascar, Jeffrey Katzenberg.

“The last seven or eight months of movies is the worst lineup of movies you’ve experienced in the last five years of your life. They suck. It’s unbelievable how bad movies have been.”

If the video is not playing in the post then you can click on the video player icon at the top of the page. It is a really informative video, suggested by a reader as well.

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Most of us only know violence or attacks on another human being from what we see on the television or other streaming videos. But what if you were to find yourself in the unlikely situation that a person or persons around you were actively trying to harm or kill you? Would you know what to do? I am sharing this video that I found very helpful; in fact, I am pretty sure it can save any of our lives in time to come. I hope you pay great attention to it: even if you need to replay it several times.

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