Category Archives: Celebrity and Entertainment

Kanye West Apologizes Again to Taylor Swift .. His Tweets on Twitter September 4 2010

frau mit zwei kindern sucht mann Kanye West Apologizes to Taylor Swift in Stream of Tweets on Twitter September 4, 2010

orange county singles dating service Kanye West at it Again Bashes Beck at Grammy Awards 2015

dating agency cyrano ep 4 cast Kanye West should try to remember lessons from his past instead of repeating them. Once again, at the citas online hospital monteprincipe Grammy Awards 2015, site de rencontre 30 ans Kanye rushed the stage, preparing to denounce award winner, statistique rencontre om - psg Beck, then chickening-out, but later proclaiming that http://www.lavozdeldesierto.com.ar/tymochka/2125 Beck should have given his award to http://blipsystems.com/mikluxa/2297 Beyonce. Wh-u-u-t?

beijing online dating site Kanye West proved he’s still a classless buffoon just as he was five years ago. How does a person become so full of themselves? How does a new family member become the most embarrassing of the browse around here Kardashians? How can that even be possible?

Recent Comments About Kanye West on Youtube

To watch, click this link: Kanye West is an ass!

Kanye West Prior Apology to Taylor Swift on Twitter

Kanye may need a reminder of what it means to have humility, even if it’s from himself. Here is the actual transcript taken directly from Twitter in 2010. The first tweet shown (10:37 AM, Saturday, September 4, 2010) is the last tweet in this stream below. The tweets that follow are in sequence going backward, starting from the bottom and reading up. The entire stream of feeble tweets was about two hours long:

“I’m sorry Taylor. 

It starts with this…

I want to win there hearts back so I can continue to bring my take on culture to the masses with a clean opinion.

I want to help starting with the music and ending with the smile.

I wish they could accept that I’ve grown and only want to do good for the world. I want to help as many people as I can.

I wish they all knew how much I really cared about music and pop culture and art and peoples feelings.

I wish I could talk to every hater face to face and change there a opinion of me one conversation at a time.

I’ve hurt, I’ve bled, I’ve learned. I only want to do good. I am passionate I am human I am real. I wish I could meet every hater

When I right songs like Heartless I always say “is this melody good enough to be a country song or a broadway song?”

TAYLOR LOVES RAP MUSIC… I LOVE COUNTRY MUSIC

Why was it made into such a race issue. Taylor loves rap music… I love country music.

There’s a layer of… Entertainment… we are entertainers and this is only TV… not the War

There’s a layer of… hey Kanye said what I was thinking .   A year later where do we stand?

WHO BENEFITED FOR REAL PEOPLE???!!!!!!!!

Walk with me people… let’s break this down for real now. I might get in trouble again lol?

MTV? JAY LENO? BEYONCE? ALL FORMS OF MEDIA? TAYLOR? KANYE WEST? Who gained? Who lost?

You’ve got the Media play… Who benefitted off of the moment?

You’ve got a layer of… What is reality? You really want this guy to die over an award show???!! wooooooow …..

You’ve got a layer of order… this is how things are spose to go this is how it’s always been etc.

You’ve got a layer of order… this is how things are spose to go this is how it’s always been etc.

If I speak in 3rd person it’s because I’m quoting people sometimes I forget to put the quotations you know my grammar.. #ITSAPROCESS

You’ve got the top layer… Kanye’s rude!

Why are there so many tweets? Well this isn’t a simple subject. There are layers to this beyond me running on stage.

Humanity and Empathy are 2 of the 4 principles at facebook. Those were the 2 principles I was missing on that evening

These tweets have no manager, no publicist , no grammar checking… this is raw

It feels like the movie Heat when you wanted Deniro to make it… You want the bad guy to make it.

These aren’t regular tweets… this is stream of consciousness … I want you guys to know and feel where my head is at…

Beyonce didn’t need that. MTV didn’t need that and Taylor and her family friends and fans definitely didn’t want or need that.

I am not a bad person. Even in that moment I was only trying to do good but people don’t always need my help.

When I woke up from the crazy nightmare I looked in the mirror and said GROW UP KANYE … I take the responsibility for my actions

Yes I was that guy. A 32 year old child.

It is distasteful to cut people off as a general rule. What’s the point of dressing tastefully if I’m going to act the complete opposite?

With new found humility … who am I to run on stage? I would never ever again in a million years do that. Sorry to let you down.

The Wicked witch of the west basically is so convicted to tell her’ truth when she does it she is outcasted by society and turned WICKED

Who’s seen the play Wicked? I’ve seen it 4 times! Other than loving the music acting and costumes… it’s my story!!!

I have given my awards to other groups multiple times on national TV… They never showed that this past year during the massacre of Kanye

It’s not about race America. No one in our position ever stands up and says anything anymore.

I would have ran on stage for Justin that night because Sexy Back (in my mind) was that important… that impactful to our culture

I watched Justin Timberlake at the Grammies loose every televised award including album of the year which the Dixie Chicks won

I am responsible for those who love and represent me and what they have to deal with on a day to day defending “The American Psycho”

There are people who have named there kids after me… can you imagine that next day in school. Even though I don’t have kids…

I know there are family members friends and fans that have literally fought for me.

I’m ready to get out of my own way. The ego is overdone… it’s like hoodies

We’re both artist and the media and managers are trying to get between us. Everyone wants to capitalize off this is some way

She deserves the apology more than anyone. Thank you Biz Stone and Evan Williams for creating a platform where we can communicate directly

She had nothing to do with my issues with award shows. She had no idea what hit her. She’s justa lil girl with dreams like the rest of us.

I wrote a song for Taylor Swift that’s so beautiful and I want her to have it. If she won’t take it then I’ll perform it for her
Reply Retweet .   I wear my scars… It’s almost like I have to where a suit to juxtapose my image and I won’t lie… IT WORKS!

People tweeted that they wish I was dead… No listen. They wanted me to die people. I carry that. I smile and take pictures through that

I’m the guy who at one point could perform the Justin Timberlake on stage and everyone would be sooo happy that I was there

…taking a 15 second blip the mdeia have successfully painted the image of the “ANGRY BLACK MAN’ The King Kong theory.

The media has successfully diminished the “receptive” audience of (3rd person)… KANYE WEST

I have a mission in life to bring truth and beauty through my music and the visuals that anchor around it

Some people say… Why worry about “the haters?” This is bigger that just the concept of haters.

If you google Asshole my face may very well pop up 2 pages into the search.

That’s when you realize perception is reality. I’ve been straying from this subject on twitter but I have to give it to you guys raw now.

I was chilling with this white girl having a conversation and she cut me off and said… Hold up… I thought you didn’t like us?!

There are people who don’t dislike me… they absolutely hate me!

Remember in Anchor Man when Ron Burgandy cursed on air and the entire city turned on him? But this wasn’t a joke. This was & is my real life

People booed when I would go to concerts and the performer mentioned my name.

Had to let employees go… for the first time I felt the impact of my brash actions … I felt the recession from an ownership side

How deep is the scar… I bled hard.. cancelled tour with the number one pop star in the world … closed the doors of my clothing office

With the help of strong will, a lack of impathy, a lil alcohol and extremely distasteful & bad timing … I became George Bush over night

Even though the NBC telethon was widely praised yall didn’t think they was just gone let me get away with that did yall???!!!

Some people’s truth is Kanye is racist… It’s not my truth but I do believe it’s my Karma…. walk with me…

When I say perception is reality I mean whatever you think is the truth… is your truth

I accept the idea (ideal) that perception is reality

Happy B day to sister B … I gotta dope ass gift for you.

Even now a lot of articles start there first 2 paragraphs about how much of an asshole I am

I feel like they were waiting for the opportunity to go in all the way on me and when it came they beat me to a pulp

They wanted yall to believe I was a monster in real life so you guys wouldn’t listen or buy my music anymore

Man I love Twitter… I’ve always been at the mercy of the press but no more… The media tried to demonize me…”

Kanye West (on Twitter)

Some things never change. A leopard doesn’t change its spots. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks. So much for apologies.

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty

The Great Beauty (2014) Starring: Toni Servillo, Carlo Verdone, Sabrina Ferilli, Carlo Buccirosso

Director: Paolo Sorrentino

Enjoy The Great Beauty for its rich cinematography. From interior lighting and camera angles to scenic outdoor panoramas, the filming and direction are superb. This is a reflective study that is best appreciated by a more mature, seasoned audience. Many of the characters are well beyond age 50.

A celebrated writer, aging Jep Gambardella (Toni Servillo), having written just one outstanding novel, drifts among his also aging society cronies in the monied enclaves of central Rome. We observe how they roll during a crossroads in many of their lives. The writing and dialogue are sophisticated, laced with pathos, and balanced with forgiving irony. A fascinating range of characters come to life through a solid cast of pros, drawing us straight into their world effortlessly. Slow, steady, rambling, and quite thought provoking. Visual gourmet.

Italian with English subtitles, heavy on dialogue.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween from Robert Reoch

This is the life...of the undead!

This is the life…of the undead!

Have a safe, fun Halloween!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

 

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts

Robert Reoch Rolling Thoughts is just me babbling when expressing myself won’t fit on Twitter. I’ll be adding to this same post over time.

October 22, 2014

Dear American Youth: Please read a self-help book on any topic. It will, at the very least teach you how to use your brain to accomplish something useful. Perhaps you might even avoid behaving badly like those fools that rioted in Keene, NH, during the annual Pumpkin Festival. What a bunch of douche bags. People with half a brain don’t pull this kind of shit—even if they get drunk. Only idiots riot out of boredom. Sad, stupid, no-common-sense morons. Like I said, please just read one self-help book on any topic. Try reading The Power of Positive Thinking, or Think and Grow Rich, or I’m Okay-You’re Okay.

Good luck. I hope you make it another year without injuring yourself, or someone else.

P.S. This is funny. I sound like a really old person. I’m getting there though. I’ve earned this. pht-t-t!

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch Waterfire Providence Rhode Island

Robert Reoch partakes of Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

Robert Reoch at Waterfire 2014 in Providence RI

It was a mystical night in Providence, Rhode Island for Waterfire 2014. Or maybe I should say, “mystifying” night—read baffling—in Providence… For more information about this unique event, visit: Waterfire.org.

Providence Rhode Island Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

Providence RI, Federal Hill Gateway Arch Pine Cone

The Federal Hill Gateway Arch has suspended from it a sculpture of a pine cone (not pineapple). It’s the Italian symbol (La Pigna) representing welcome, abundance, and quality.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Images for Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Writes “Mind Pastry”

Robert Reoch is Mind Pastry

Robert Reoch Bakes

Robert Reoch measures, beats, and sometimes whips ideas to death. Welcome to “Mind Pastry,” a bakery of thoughts from my mind to yours. 

Robert Reoch is the Name

My last name, Reoch, is pronounced, Rē’ŏck (rhymes with Reebok). That  image of a piece of cake floating among the palm trees in my page banner is a slice from a red velvet cake that I actually baked! Robert Reoch's Mind Pastry CakeThere’s more to Mind Pastry than just the analogy, though. I actually love pastry—and I bake it too!—but that’s another post.

Mind Pastry is Layered

I offer a dose of conscience to the Internet through many of my posts. I believe we have too many “reality TV” shows and deceptive news outlets in the media. Too often, issues are discussed from just one point of view in the news. Many pop “journalists” aren’t doing their homework. They aren’t getting out to the field to research their stories. Much of current reporting relies solely on popular social memes—mass hysteria, as I see it—rather than on verified facts and nuanced examination of the gray areas. Please, people, stop thinking only in black and white. Look for what’s in-between. Ask what is the back story you’re not getting from the media. I try to present layers and perspectives that encourage people to discover full truths. I live by three principles: Love, Truth, and Knowledge. I resent journalism that ignores these values in favor of ratings and profit. I hope you find something new and thought-provoking in Mind Pastry.

Robert Reoch Writes

I’ve written a couple of books of short stories under pen name, Robert George Reoch. I wrote my Travelers’ Shorts books with the traveler in mind, even though my stories not about travel. The idea was to provide short stories for the traveler who didn’t want to start a heavy novel. Short stories provide entertainment in manageable chunks for the person on the go. My short stories are written with taste and richness (just like pastry). These epic tales offer drama, adventure, and laugh-out-loud humor. You can order them here:

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

 

Travelers Shorts 2: Tethers by Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Please enjoy my books!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Donald Sterling Sues NBA

Donald Sterling Sues NBA for $Billions

Donald Sterling Fights Back

Donald Sterling is fighting back, which doesn’t surprise me (and also pleases me). It’s been in the news, including NBC. I anticipated this eventuality weeks ago. While I supported Donald Sterling, everyone else was jumping down his throat. Why? Am I and Donald Sterling the only people on the planet who are being intellectually honest in all of this? I’ve always believed Sterling was set up. I listened carefully to the audio recording of his conversation with V. Stiviano as she spoke—including her referring to her friends as, “my black friends.” I listened as Sterling responded to Stiviano’s goading—he using her very own words to mock her when he used the phrase, “your black friends.” He was irritated and made to feel jealous by Stiviano’s game. He was feeling defensive and mocking her in frustration.

Another angle used by the media to generate fury concerned when Sterling was speaking of Magic Johnson. Sterling was not speaking of the entire black community, as CNN fiercely and inaccurately characterized it. It was quite clear in Sterling’s audible remarks that he was solely referring to Magic Johnson when he made comments calling into question Mr. Johnson’s promiscuous character and behavior.

By observing closely what was actually said, and the intent in which the comments were made, it becomes quite clear—and very specifically so—that the media twisted the truth and distorted the bent of Sterling’s words. They channeled certain comments with a laser focus toward making Sterling appear to be a seething racist. The distortion was deliberate and damaging. Reasonable minds cannot conclude otherwise.

A man’s expressions of disapproval about a few individuals in his girlfriend’s circle of friends does not make him a racist, even if he used his girlfriend’s own words to describe said friends as being black. To call that being racist is a huge stretch and yet we observed a wave of mass hysteria, manufactured by the media, grow into a mountain of ill will and hate toward Donald Sterling. Every news station in the country followed this tack. How can so many people slurp up this slop so readily? Freedom of speech was never intended to be used as cover for fraud and malice. This country has acquired a taste for Reality TV that glorifies people behaving badly. Producers save money by not paying for quality programming, instead broadcasting shows with amateur idiots and hostile losers. People have been eating it up for years now. If they can act like that on TV, why can’t we be that way at school? Bullying has become sport for some, to the point that we now need national campaigns to combat bullying in our schools. That’s another topic entirely, although it parallels the Donald Sterling situation.

CNN and TMZ Could Be Sued Too

CNN and TMZ likely will have a field day with Donald Sterling again as this next legal saga unfolds. Perhaps they’ll back off for fear of being sued too. If Donald Sterling’s case against the NBA goes to court (even though Adam Silverman, NBA Commissioner, says it would amount to Sterling suing himself) I would expect a reasonable opinion to favor Donald Sterling. I hope he is vindicated. Perhaps if Sterling cannot legally sue the NBA, he’ll go after Adam Silverman in a civil suit for his venomous attacks in the media.

I have no affiliation with Donald Sterling personally, but even when it’s unpopular, I have great respect for truth and knowledge. I have no patience for the mob mentality, nor the dishonest media that trample individual rights, defying common decency. How did CNN become as undignified as TMZ? It’s all about ratings and money, naturally. It’s the same old story. It’s also unconstitutional.

I say, good luck, Mr. Sterling, with your case. I’ll be watching with interest. The media machine has no common sense these days—let alone common decency. I hope you gain back whatever of your reputation you can salvage. If it means suing and taking their money, more power to ya. That’s the best way to extract justice from an irresponsible media and their advertisers. Hit ’em in their wallets, where it hurts. Ironically, they’ve actually made you a whole lot richer after this forced sale of The Clippers. I guess we’ll see how this all comes out in the wash. I’m sure the media will continue to flaunt it like dirty laundry, the preferred grist of much of their audience.

I know this may sound snarky to those who are accustomed to relying on the media to do their thinking for them, This is how I see it though—looking at the facts with clear eyes and thinking with common sense and a measure of human understanding.

Donald Sterling Update June 10, 2014

I’m pleased to mention that as of this writing Donald Sterling is going forward with his lawsuit against the NBA. For further details, read this concise and accurate article on AOL. Comments posted after the article heavily favor Donald Sterling and support his decision to take action against the NBA for trampling his rights.

Robert George Reoch

Robert Reoch Cape Cod

Robert Reoch Welcomes You to Mind Pastry

Robert Reoch Welcomes You to Mind Pastry

Robert George Reoch Blog is Now “Mind Pastry”

Previously known as blog.robertgeorgereoch.com, I’m still reformatting some old posts that were moved to this new site. (GoDaddy eliminated their original blog platform and replaced it with this Word Press version.)

Robert Reoch is Robert George Reoch

I’m Robert Reoch, aka author Robert George Reoch. I’ve written and published two volumes of short stories under the title, Travelers’ Shorts.  If you enjoy variety, drama, and humor, you’ll enjoy my short stories, but keep coming here for stimulating blog entries too. The list of categories is to the right. I’ve got a mind to speak about nearly everything, although I don’t write every day. I rant, babble, and educate—and sometimes pontificate—when in the mood.  That’s how we do on blogs.

Mind Pastry Name

I love to cook and bake. My other hobbies include music, travel, and physical fitness. I’m also one of those genius folk who think a lot. I bake and I think; hence the title, “Mind Pastry.” Again, I don’t post on this blog frequently. My everyday life is ordinary (and busy) and I enjoy spending my time living rather than documenting every burp and fart here. If you want that, go to Facebook.

That’s what’s on my mind, for now. I think I’ll bake something.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Donald Sterling Could Sue NBA. Does He Have a Case?

Donald Sterling Could Sue. Does He Have a Case?

Was Donald Sterling Was Bullied by CNN?

Donald Sterling‘s private conversations, perhaps illegally recorded, didn’t convinced me he’s a racist. CNN hopes they did. Many people didn’t listen closely enough to the recording and subsequent interviews that revealed Sterling’s comments reflected a mode of conversation established by mistress, V. Stiviano, who liked to refer to her friends as “my black friends,” which Sterling merely repeated back to her, for the effect of mocking her, by saying “your black friends.” He only used that phrase to mirror how Stiviano herself refers to some of her friends who are black. Perhaps Stivano believed she was making Sterling jealous (and thereby keeping power over him) by throwing her “my black friends” in his face. She found she could make him look bad too (and probably make some money) with a recording of him repeating her phrase. It worked. Sterling was angry and jealous about her hanging out with much younger famous men and Stiviano recorded it, stringing him along to be sure he picked up on her phrasing. However, it wasn’t about her friends being black. It just so happens most of the NBA crowd are black, but we are talking about the friends Stiviano commonly referred to as her black friends.

Sterling’s Comments on Magic Johnson Portrayed as Racist by Anderson Cooper

Sterling’s comments about Magic Johnson did not insinuate Johnson was bad because he was black. In that part of the interview, Sterling was commenting on Johnson’s promiscuous (bad) behavior, saying that his behavior likely caused Magic Johnson to contract HIV. That’s not being racist. Sterling also commented (although it may have been inaccurate) that Magic Johnson didn’t do much for the African American community. He was specifically speaking about Magic Johnson only, at that point. Yet, Anderson Cooper then twisted Sterling’s words by responding, “So, you’re saying African Americans don’t do anything for the African American community?…” That was a glaring example of Cooper flat-out twisting the truth. The topic of conversation in that moment had been on Magic Johnson, yet Anderson Cooper made it sound as though Sterling was speaking derogatory of the entire African American community. It was low of Anderson Cooper to take advantage of elderly Sterling in that way in an interview seen on national television. Sterling was flummoxed and confused by what Anderson Cooper did. One could see in his face, how incredulous Sterling after Cooper misstated him. He was struggling to make sense of Cooper’s slanted comment about the African American Community when the topic had been Magic Johnson. Cooper had bullied and blindsided the old man in the midst of trying to explain himself. Then Cooper continued to bait Sterling into discussing Magic Johnson even further, even though Sterling had already said early on in the interview that he didn’t want to talk about Johnson.

CNN Seized the Opportunity to Demonize Sterling as a Big Bad Racist

CNN jumped at the opportunity to misconstrue Sterling’s recorded comments to paint him as a racist demon, all to increase viewership and cause a sensation. CNN took a bone and chewed it up for ratings. White guilt and an unwitting public did the rest. CNN relied on people not looking more closely at the entire story. They know that the noble masses love to be indignant and to hate  big bad racists. Trouble is, nobody knows what a racist is these days. They can’t even see when CNN is manufacturing one for their own benefit.  It’s just a stupidly overused word. Just because someone doesn’t like you, or feels threatened by you, doesn’t give you the right to call them racist and in this case cause a huge legal uproar. I’m glad Donald Sterling is fighting back. He actually tried to apologize for the way he was misunderstood, even when he really shouldn’t have had to. Anderson Cooper made an effort to sidetrack him into rambling about Magic Johnson to be sure that people only focused on the bad comments about Johnson. It’s dishonest, unfair, and certainly not balanced, CNN. Incidentally, CNN conveniently did not mention any of the legal problems some of Magic Johnson’s charities have gotten into. CNN, your epic fail is already causing a lot of people a lot of trouble for your having stirred up all this racism crap. The NBA commissioner, Adam Silver, even got into a monumental hissy fit over this, for nothing, and now he’s going to have to work this overtime too.

Pay Attention. Read between the lines when CNN hypes a story using Racism.

Beware if you see Sunny Hostin or Don Lemon on your television screen. There’s bound to be hysterics and venom about racism spewing from these moronic talking heads. They do more harm than good. It’s toxic. They perpetuate stereotypes and create undue sensitivities about racism that don’t belong. It’s all for position and ratings. Their target is always white people. It’s the pot calling the kettle black. I’m still scratching my head wondering how Anderson Cooper missed the mark on this story too…by a mile.

Robert George Reoch

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Michael Dunn a Victim of Audio Terrorism?

Michael Dunn a Victim of Audio Terrorism?

Did “Audio Terrorism” Cause Michael Dunn to Snap?

Yes,audio terrorism is a thing. In Tampa, Florida and in other communities, they want to make it illegal. Audio terrorism describes the impact on the public when excessively loud music emanates from a passenger vehicle using a highly amplified sound system. Some of the immediate effects on the surrounds are the obvious noise, as well as rattling of windows and mirrors in other drivers’ vehicles. Coupled with safety concerns are health risks. In addition to having their windows and mirrors rattled, those exposed to extraordinarily high decibels experience raised blood pressure and a temporary rush of adrenaline. Hearing is also impaired. These symptoms were claimed to have been experienced by Michael Dunn when he was confronted with a vehicle occupied by four teenagers whose blasting music had Dunn feeling a sense of being under attack. This is how it gets to be known as audio terrorism.

Unfortunately, Dunn’s request to the teenagers to turn down the music, and the response that followed, resulted in a confrontation and the death of Jordan Davis, who was one of the occupants of the vehicle emitting loud music. Some would say that Dunn should simply have moved his vehicle away from the noise. Others believe the public has a right to airwaves free of excessively loud music that causes physical and mental harm to those nearby. Few have been willing to discuss the actual physical and mental impact that occurs in the presence of sudden exposure to extreme sound decibel levels from a nearby vehicle. Instead, most people focus on the resulting confrontation and tragic death of Jordan Davis. It takes a more analytical mind to dissect the full of the situation. In a civilized society, we still need to define what civil behavior is. As technology and access to it create new areas where sensitivity is needed, we must continually redefine what is acceptable public behavior. This ongoing process is often neglected.

In the case of Jordan Davis’ having been shot, CNN television personalities Don Lemon and Sunny Hostin have cried for weeks that Michael Dunn pulled out his gun entirely out of dislike of loud music, and because of race (the teens were black). It seems it’s always about race with Sunny Hostin unless the perpetrator is black, in which case she has nothing to say. Don Lemon endlessly oversimplifies this case, on national television, to the insult of millions with an ounce of intelligence. CNN had hung Michael Dunn out to dry long before there was a trial. They had invested a lot in his guilt. This narrow focus is exactly what perpetuates animosity and bigotry in this country. It’s certainly not fair and balanced.

Another crucial reason for cracking down on “audio terrorism” in Florida is the threat it poses to public safety. If a vehicle’s driver blasts music at 125 decibels while an emergency vehicle is attempting to pass, neither that driver nor other drivers in the vicinity can hear clearly the siren of the emergency vehicle. The drowning sounds from an amplified audio system present a serious safety hazard for all concerned. Keep in mind; these factors impact the driver and passengers in his vehicle with far greater impact and impairment as well.

The Michael Dunn case is more complex than just loud music. Allegations exist of threats beyond the music, which led to gunfire. These factors are still being worked out in the courts. Michael Dunn was recently convicted of attempted manslaughter for shooting at the vehicle occupied by the teenagers. The goal of the anti audio terrorist measures is to expand existing laws pertaining to excessive noise and disturbing the peace. As a society, it seems we’ve reached an unfortunate point of actually needing to enforce being civil to one another, even when it comes to how loudly we play our music while in proximity to others. To me, it’s just common sense. I was taught to respect the space of others while out in public. Playgrounds are for children to scream and holler to their hearts’ content. The public streets should not be an adult battleground for the right to hear oneself think.

In Florida, they aim to quash audio terrorism. Any stereo that can be heard 50 feet, or more, from a vehicle has now been outlawed in Pinellas County and in Sarasota where fines can be imposed. A new Tampa ordinance was preliminarily passed in March 2013. Under the draft, first-time violators would get a $250 ticket, $400 for a second offense. The third offense could mean a $500 fine and/or 60 days in jail. The city council voted 6-1 in favor. The ordinance is  welcomed by fed-up citizens who say it’s been long overdue.

Yes, audio terrorism is a thing. It’s deadly serious too.

CNN Ignores Full Facts Including Audio Terrorism in Favor of Playing Race Card

Of course, a few pawns at CNN inject robust decibel levels of racism as being the main issue in the Michael Dunn case, while ignoring the full picture. Sunny Hostin and Don Lemon are always on the same sad note about “white privilege” versus black profiling rather than using complex reasoning. Jeffrey Toobin (another CNN sounding board) echoes Hostin and Lemon, backing their bigotry with ardent sincerity to boost ratings. On a recent panel show on CNN, in speaking of the Michael Dunn case, Jeffrey Toobin said, “This was a case about a kid killed because he was black.” This was quickly followed by Sunny Hostin chiming in, “Well said!” Those are direct quotes. How do you simplify it down to race so readily? Ratings.

So, that’s all CNN gets from this? I’ve never seen so-called journalists project such narrow views. They seem incapable of examining complex layers. Don Lemon is practically giddy with sophomoric angst about the plight of the victimized black man. Wake up and smell the coffee, Don. The Civil Rights Movement was actually a thing too. Affirmative Action has come and gone with decades spent deferring white persons’ “privileges” in preference of conferring favor to minorities, regardless of abilities. There’s still more work to do in the scheme of things. What did we get for all of those sacrifices? We’ve lost a lot of traction in education and productivity in this nation, but we have the first black president in history. Now, please recognize that this wailing and flailing arms about race does nothing but perpetuate a climate of racism. It has to stop. Younger folks won’t recall this, but during the 70s and 80s there actually was a period when racial harmony was coming together and this nation was less divided than it is right now.

How about a little balance, CNN? A good audio technician knows how to adjust the balance and tweak the equalizer. A true audiophile knows that playing music too loudly only distorts and ruins it. Shouting racism at every turn results in the same undesirable distortion and loss of harmony. It’s time to grow up and help fix the problems within our communities, not continuously cry racism while missing the rest of the notes. Try changing your tune and being part of the solution.

Television Journalists Need to Set an Excellent Example

We need a better example from the journalists at CNN. This recent shooting case was not just about loud music. Firing a gun while in an agitated state is just one layer of the Michael Dunn, Jordan Davis story. (Is this another strong argument for gun control?) Did you talk about that between rants of racism? The affects of music so loud that everyone’s blood pressure goes up is another aspect. Did you look at it from that perspective? Applying the law objectively is another facet. It’s not just about race. It’s about a jury and a fair trial. Try using more complex reasoning for a change, Sunny Hostin and Jeffrey Toobin. Don’t just dismiss this as being a case solely about race. That’s just irresponsible, at best. Stop acting so naive, Don Lemon. Consider the effects on everyone involved when it comes to excessively loud music (the phenomenon also known as audio terrorism). Who cares if it was rap? Nobody fires a gun just because they don’t like the choice of music. Just because Michael Dunn mentioned rap and thugs, do you make that the entire case? What was the behavior of all of those involved? I found it interesting that the problem of audio terrorism has been an ongoing problem in Florida for a while. It’s real. I’m not saying it was the root of this case, but I’m not dismissing anything, unlike CNN.

Echoes of George Zimmerman Case

Finally, if and when Michael Dunn is tried a second time for the murder of Jordan Davis, I would suggest that the jury be given the benefit of a full re-enactment of the crime with as much realism as is possible based on the evidence and descriptions from actual witnesses. I would like to see a re-creation using the same decibel levels of sound, and the same music that was playing at the time of the incident. I suggest the jurors experience the sound levels both from the inside the teens’ vehicle, as well as the sound levels and vibrations felt from inside Michael Dunn’s vehicle. If this demonstration is permitted (considering some jurors may not want to subject their ears to possible damage), the jurors who participate will get a clearer sense of how the entire situation evolved and the true impact of the “loud music” and the role it played in the confrontation. If anything, this could be a valuable lesson going forward. I predict, however, that the State of Florida may have not learned how to choose their battles. This could well go the way of the George Zimmerman case.

Robert George Reoch

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake

Birthday Cake is a Tradition in Our Home

I baked another Birthday Cake for Joon this year. This  birthday cake has pockets of soft chocolate fudge swirled inside each of the two layers, plus a rich chocolate butter cream frosting. That’s love, man. Ha!

JoonsBirthdayCake2014comp

Happy Birthday Joonyo!

I’ve really been getting into baking over the last few years. It’s a lot of fun, but it takes an investment of time and love (and using the right tools). Anyone can learn. Just remember this one important rule about baking: Measure, measure, measure. You can’t mess around with recipe proportions. Also, don’t substitute ingredients like baking soda for baking powder, or powdered sugar for regular sugar. It just doesn’t work that way. I’ve learned a ton about baking by watching Martha Stewart videos on TV too. She is the best at explaining all the tricks.

Robert Reoch

Robert Reoch Images

Robert Reoch Images

Robert Reoch uses the pen name, Robert George Reoch

Look for Robert Reoch’s Traveler’s Shorts Books available worldwide.

Robert Reoch at Grand Tetons in Wyoming, U.S.

Robert Reoch Grand Tetons

Robert Reoch in Chatham Massachusetts on Cape Cod

Robert Reoch
Robert Reoch Cape Cod

Robert Reoch in Old Quebec City, Canada

Robert Reoch Quebec City

Robert Reoch in Quebec City, Canada

Robert Reoch Op Pic

Robert Reoch in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

Robert Reoch Amsterdam

Robert Reoch at Tanglewood in Massachusetts

Robert Reoch Tanglewood

The other place to enjoy the magnificent Boston Symphony.

Robert Reoch in Italy

At the top of Il Duomo in Florence Italy. It's only 422 steps to the top.

At the top of Il Duomo in Florence Italy. It’s only 422 steps to the top.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Reoch in Venice Italy. Yes, it really looks like this. (sigh)

Robert Reoch in Venice Italy. Yes, it really looks like this. (sigh)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Reoch writes short stories that have nothing to do with travel. Figure that out.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Robert Reoch Christmas Cookies 2013

Robert Reoch Christmas Cookies 2013

Christmas Cookies or Duck Sex.

Real men don’t manufacture devices to call ducks for sex and then shoot them (hello Duck Dynasty). Real men bake cookies.

Christmas Cookies

Merry Christmas!

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

A Wild Ride: “Chance and Keanan: Adagio for Windowpane and Gazebo”

The above title is just one of several new short stories in my second book, Travelers’ Shorts 2.

In this riotous tale, two friends named Chance and Keanan explore Disneyland on acid—in a form known as “windowpane.”Fly with them along the I-5 freeway from La Jolla Cove to Disneyland and back. Who does that?

Chance and Keanan, that’s who.

Click the images below to order.

Travelers Shorts 2

Travelers’ Shorts 2

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

What Are Travelers’ Shorts?

Travelers’ Shorts are my short stories. Although originally written with the traveler in mind, my short stories are for everyone. In fact, they’re not even about travel. I just thought travelers might enjoy reading short stories as opposed to a lengthy novel. Thus, the title: Travelers’ Shorts.

I used to travel on business often. I was never in the mood to begin a heavy book while jetting. I didn’t like reading long tomes on vacation time either. I craved something interesting to read (on a plane, train, boat, or bus) instead of the usual newsstand pulp and in-flight magazines. I realized that other people likely shared my sentiments too. Thus, I came up with the idea of writing short stories with the traveler in mind. I knew I could write interesting content. I had a flair for the dramatic and definitely a sense of humor that other travelers might appreciate. The results came pouring out.

I wrote several epic stories—if you can call a short story epic. Some are made-up, but most are based on real life experiences. They say, write about what you know. The truth is always more interesting. I’ve been around for a while. There’s been a lot gone on in my life that makes for first-rate story telling. You’ll be convinced when you read my books. You may find a bit of yourself in them too. 

From Batman to Bobby Kennedy and even Arnold Schwarzenegger. Scenarios in my tales go from mausoleums to outer space. From Southern California swimming pools to New England. There’s a rich mix of heroes, soaring icons, everyday slobs, and royalty.

My books are available in print as well as Ebook, including wireless delivery. Enjoy my short stories at your own pace, in your own time. You’ll want to read them again and again (unless I exposed you in one of my stories). Order today and see what’s inside my “Travelers’ Shorts.”

Robert George Reoch

Travelers Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers Shorts 2: Tethers by Robert George Reoch

Travelers’ Shorts 2: Tethers

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Margaret Thatcher Has Died

Margaret Thatcher First
Female Prime Minister of Great
Britain Has Died

Margaret Thatcher death

Former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the first woman to become a British Prime Minister has died of a stroke at the age of 87. According to CNN, she suffered a stroke on Monday. The former “Iron Lady” and leader of Great Britain suffered a first stroke in 2002, and then several small strokes in subsequent years. She had been the longest-serving (1979–1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom of the 20th century.

Margaret Thatcher Close Ties to Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev

Margaret Thatcher’s stunning career included close ties to U.S. President Ronald Reagan and former Soviet communist leader Mikhail Gorbachev.  Thatcher once said she considered Ronald Reagan, “…the second most important man in my life.” Bound by opposition to communism, Thatcher and Reagan shared a close bond throughout the 1980s. Together, they provided a united western counterbalance against the Soviet Union. The relationships developed by Thatcher, who famously told Mikhail Gorbachev that “[she] could to business with him,” and the two world superpower leaders, Reagan and Gorbachev, ultimately helped lead to the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the push for democracy in Eastern Europe.

Margaret Thatcher Grocer’s Daughter

Born in 1925 in the small town of Grantham, England, Margaret Thatcher was the daughter of a British grocer, Alfred Roberts. Her father was active in politics and raised Margaret Roberts as a strict Methodist. After graduating from Somerville College at Oxford, Margaret Thatcher began a slow rise in politics beginning in 1959, eventually serving as leader of the Conservative Party from 1975 to 1990. Thatcher won thenation’s top job only six years after declaring in a television interview, “I don’t think there will be a woman prime minister in my lifetime.”

Margaret Thatcher Career Defining Moment


Margaret Thatcher, Britain’s Fighting Lady

Well into her career as Prime Minister, on 2 April 1982, when the ruling military party in  Argentina ordered the invasion of the British-controlled Falkland Islands and South Georgia, Margaret Thatcher took to defending Britain’s interest with the triggering the Falklands War. The subsequent crisis was “a defining moment in Margaret Thatcher’s career. She set up and chaired a small War Cabinet to take charge of the war effort,  dispatching, in early April, a naval task force to retake the Falkland Islands. Argentina surrendered on 14 June and the British operation was hailed a success.

Margaret Thatcher Funeral

Margaret Thatcher’s funeral was held at St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, with full military honors, followed by a private cremation.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

North Korea in Shadow of B2s

North Korea in the Shadow of B2s

North Korea’s Kim Jong-un Versus B2

Once again, on the subject of North Korea,

a picture paints a thousand words:

Kim Jong Un Versus B 2Dennis Rodman Can’t Fix This

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 2 Marketing

Books and Self-Publishing by Author Robert George Reoch Part 2: Marketing

Books Don’t Pay Unless . . .

Books don’t pay unless:

A) Your book comes with built-in name recognition, or a signed book deal with a major publisher eager to profit from your celebrity (in other words, you are already rich and famous, or at least in the midst of your 15 minutes of fame), or

B) You’ve written a true literary masterpiece and have a well-connected saint for a book agent. There’s a caveat to the latter too. Most agents won’t touch you unless you can show you’ve already sold at least a thousand books! (See A).

Books Only Profit When They Sell Tens of Thousands of Copies

If you’ve been thinking of having your book published in hopes of making tons of money from royalties, read the above paragraph again. Depending on the price of your book, your cut will be small
compared to the actual retail price. Printers, distributors, and retailers (even Ebook retailers) take a big cut. If you sell 100 books, you will likely receive less than a thousand dollars. If you sell 1,000 books, you’ll probably make less than $5,000. If you are distributed through a site like Amazon, you’ll be
competing with millions and millions of books. Millions!

Why Your Book Won’t List at the Top

On Amazon’s site, your book title won’t necessary be listed in order, alphabetically. Algorithms decide how to list your book as befits the retailer. These secret formulas are dictated by consumer demand and will determine how early-on in the list of publications your book appears—even if your book should be first alphabetically. More popular books with similar titles will be positioned near the top of the list. If you are a new author, or unpopular, your book will quickly be lost in the morass. Again, even if someone searches for your book title by typing it in alphabetically exactly correct, it won’t pop up near the top of the list unless it’s already a big seller. (I know this from experience. Go ahead, experiment with my book titles if you like.)

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

Marketing is Key

I ran out of time for marketing my books. You may laugh. Seriously, I had an entire strategy, but life happened and I had to move away from my book projects before I could delve into serious marketing. I had given myself a timeline. Even with a solid year dedicated, life gave me too many interruptions. I finished self-publishing my books, but I needed to go back to my day job. I didn’t have time to market my books properly. However, I missed a window that would likely have been fruitless anyway. (See A in paragraph 1).

Book Marketing Requires Research

Even though I ran out of time, I still made a modest effort to market my book. I quickly discovered that book agents put up walls. While searching Online, I found websites for agents who advertised, openl, that they don’t take clients whose books have not already sold at least a thousand in number. Was I discouraged? Of course, so I moved on. I could have continued looking, however I feared I might spend more time and money for naught by falling victim to someone preying on another new author’s dreams. Some unscrupulous agent might take my money and just make a few empty promises. Perhaps they would make some weak gesture such as offering to issue a press release—something I could have done myself. That’s how things panned out.

I put up a couple of websites for my books, which was a hopeful idea, but even that doesn’t help  if people never see the websites. Meanwhile, social media explodes. This could be good. Yet, even putting one of my books on Facebook did nothing measurable.  Facebook wanted me to purchase ads (like the ones you can block). Those Facebook ads cost me more than all of the royalties I’d ever received. Ouch! (Yes, you can laugh.)

My Books Have Been Purchased

The few purchases of my books were probably made by distant relatives of whom I’ve never heard. Perhaps I made a few sales from people who happened across one of my websites, or one of my Twitter accounts. Maybe they saw the poster I tacked up on a bulletin board along the bike trail near my house that was later mowed down by an errant bicyclist. (How’s that for sophisticated marketing?)

If you want to market your book and you don’t fit the profile in item A of paragraph 1 above), you’ll need a lot of luck, plain and simple. Maybe you have a big congregation at your church who can be easily guilt-ed into buying your books.

At the end of the day, at least books should be written if only for the love of writing. Keep writing…or don’t. Be happy.

Robert George Reoch

 Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Georgia Aquarium

Georgia Aquarium

On my first trip to Atlanta, Georgia, we visited the Georgia Aquarium. It was just what I had hoped. There are an abundance of creative exhibits, and the dolphin show is spectacular! It’s all indoors, so you can visit anytime. Here’s a shot of some of the colorful fish there:
Georgia AquariumFish Tales

Speaking of fish tales, check out my books of short stories. Look for the links on this page. Travelers’ Shorts: Stories That Move

Travelers' Shorts

Travelers’ Shorts—Short Stories by Robert George Reoch

 

Happy travels!
Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch

Twitter Trending Topper is One Direction

One Direction Trends on Twitter

One Direction? I think I like them. They remind me of a certain band from way back. I even knitted together a couple of images to express my initial impression:

Remember the Monkees

One Direction and Monkees

You’ve got to admit the resemblance.

My best!

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man

The Amazing Spider-Man  (2012) Starring: Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Rhys Ifans, Denis Leary, Martin Sheen, Sally Field

Director: Marc Webb

3D is well-honed in The Amazing Spider-Man. It’s not all in-your-face in one moment and then gone the next. The visuals lend splendidly to Andrew Garfield’s Spider-man in his red and blue costume, swinging like Tarzan between tall buildings in Manhattan.

Teenage Peter Parker becoming Spider-Man is made to appear plausible in this well directed installment. Thanks to a great cast and a rounded story, things move along with the character of a good indie and the appeal of a John Hughes film. There’s even a high school bully with whom Peter Parker must contend along with the pressures of a twink Spider-Man saving the world from a mad scientist while romancing the police chief’s daughter at the same time.

Fine cinematography captures the abundant screen presence of the cast. As Peter Parker’s aunt and uncle/legal guardians, Martin Sheen provides firm fatherly authority while Sally Field weighs-in with her urgent motherly pleadings. It’s screen gold. Emma Stone is radiant.

Andrew Garfield’s expressiveness adds depth to his character. We get the full range of the male testosterone experience including his initial awkward flirtations with classmate Gwen Stacy (Stone).  Somehow, overnight, he morphs from a fumbling geek to a smoldering kisser and ninja fighter.

This is the best Spider-Man so far. It’s balanced romance, drama, and thrilling 3D action.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

We Need To Talk About Kevin

We Need To Talk About Kevin 

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) Starring: Tilda Swinton, John C. Reilly, Ezra Miller

Director: Lynne Ramsay

Told with strategic flashbacks, We Need to Talk About Kevin is a compelling character study. Even with its non-linear style, satisfaction comes in the telling and the superb acting.

Life turns melancholy for Eva (Tilda Swinton), a successful writer, after giving birth to a boy, Kevin, who only shows contempt for his mother. Compounding Eva’s frustration, her boy demonstrates normal outward affection for his father while maintaining open hostility toward her only when the father isn’t around to see it.

As teen-aged Kevin, actor Ezra Miller ignites his scenes. Attractive and dangerous, his character is also troublesome and defiant. Eva, even after giving birth to another child—a normal happy girl—continues to struggle as a parent. Jumping between present and past, we come to appreciate Eva.

Director Lynn Ramsay’s calculated timing heaps-on the suspense, although we can see the ending coming. Still, it’s a thrilling journey despite an editing bump or two.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Woman in Black

The Woman in Black 

The Woman in Black (2012) Starring: Daniel Radcliffe, Roger Allam

Director: James Watkins

Like homage to classic ghost thrillers from mid 20th century, every hoary haunted house cliché gets play time in this flick—not just once or twice, but repeatedly throughout.

A young English gentleman (Daniel Radcliffe) is stranded alone overnight in a vacant old mansion during inclement weather. He’s left to wander the musty house, room to room, following the sounds of creaking boards and tortured cries. Doorknobs turn themselves. Children’s toys spring to life. The tension is pierced by sudden loud noises and ghastly apparitions strategically spaced between long pauses of dread filled silence. This type of business is repeated too often over the course. The result feels contrived and planned like a carnival spook house. Still, there’s something compelling, even redeeming, holding our interest.

Handsome, well-dressed lawyer, Arthur Kipps (Radcliffe), has traveled on business to retrieve legal documents left by the deceased former occupant of the vacant manor, which is situated on a small island only accessible at low tide. Mr. Kipps is warned off, and treated hostile by a few local villagers who vehemently try to convince him to leave. The only cordial resident, Mr. Bentley (Allam), provides supper to Mr. Kipps and reveals some horrid secrets. Several of the local children have died mysterious horrible deaths, believed to be the result of vengeful acts by the spirit of a dead woman who had ties to the empty house. Mr. Kipps very slowly pieces together a tragic local history and even goes so far as to try to reconcile a lingering conflict.

Savor this film for how it gloriously mimics the old classics. A clever macabre twist at the end compensates for any campy thrills leading up. Compared to the classics, this movie is over-the-top with its bumps-in-the-nights and ghosts-in-the-mirrors. However in the good old days it would have been choice fare for a date at the Drive-In-Movie theater, sharing some shivers and cuddles during the scary parts.

Daniel Radcliffe and Roger Allam do fine work, certainly appreciating the rare opportunity for modern actors to revisit this dramatic genre, especially with it being so well wrought with nostalgia and authenticity by director James Watkins. Vincent Price would have loved this.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Avengers

The Avengers

The Avengers (2012) Starring: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Tom Hiddleston, Clark Gregg, Stellan Skarsgard, Samuel L. Jackson, Gwyneth Paltrow

Director: Joss Whedon

Multiple Marvel Comics superheroes can work together well, even if they don’t always get along. They may even have a few spats, but they get their work done. 3-D effects keep getting better, and this film is the best example I’ve seen yet.

In this story, Thor’s half-brother, Loki, is back on the scene and bent on dominating stuff (in this case, the Earth) as usual. He manages a feasible plan, but is forced to contend with the agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D.—Strategic Hazard Intervention Espionage Logistics Directorate—including a potent assortment of superheroes hired as temps for the police.

This film moves quickly. The dialogue is smart and often funny. The outcome is predictable. Seen in an IMAX theater, children screamed and laughed in some parts, while the adults laughed in others. The movie was engaging enough that I could ignore the girl behind me kicking my seat and forgive the little boy beside me elbowing me and kicking me as he sucked on his gigantic soda loudly during the quiet parts. It’s a superhero movie. It’s noisy. I’ll never go to a matinée again.

My grade: A-

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Rango

Rango

Rango (2011) Starring: Johnny Depp, Isla Fisher, Abigail Breslin, Ned Beatty, Alfred Molina

Director: Gore Verbinski

Is there anything Johnny Depp can’t do well? How about portraying an animated banged up chameleon prone to bad luck that is recruited as the sheriff in a town called Dirt? With this dried up desert town as the backdrop, sheriff Rango has his hands full. Ned Beatty voices the irresistible corrupt mayor of Dirt, who lords over the oppressed thirsty citizenry with his monopoly on the water supply.

Hilarious, colorful characters abound. Although the story slows in the middle, humor and distinctive voices keep things interesting. Johnny Depp continues his reign as king of inflection and nuance. The actor must have watched a ton of old movies to have picked up so many echoes from classics of the past. He brings a richer level of entertainment, rare in the industry today. This crazy role as an animated lizard is another example of his extraordinary talent. It makes this movie special.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Hugo

Hugo

Hugo (2011)Starring: Asa Butterfield, BenKingsley, Chloë Grace Moretz, Sacha Baron Cohen

Director: Martin Scorsese

A boy named Hugo (Asa Butterfield) is orphaned after his father dies in a fire. Taken in by his drunken uncle who runs the massive clocks at the Paris Train Station, Hugo winds up (no pun intended) alone, once again, after his uncle disappears. Fending for himself, Hugo keeps the clocks running while working to restore a mechanical (automatronic) man, a museum relic on which his father had been working.

A colorful ensemble of characters frequents the train station, echoing the charms of an old Charlie Chaplin film. Among the denizens is a shopkeeper, George Méliès (Kingsley), who has it out for Hugo, convinced that Hugo had been stealing mechanical parts from his merchandise. The train station’s sole constable (Cohen) also presents a constant threat to Hugo, as he tries to capture the homeless boy, eager to remand him over to an orphanage.

Computer assisted imagery and masterfully blended cinematography combine for a visually stunning film. Legendary director Martin Scorsese imbues the production with sentimentality and nostalgia harkening to the days of silent film (again no pun intended).

As daily life unfolds, Hugo secretly befriends the shopkeeper’s goddaughter, Isabelle (Chloë Grace Moretz), who mysteriously happens to possess a special key, the only one that can unlock and make function the mechanical man.

Romantic side tales embellish, as well do several classic silent film clips. Inspiring and entertaining, Scorsese adds to his generous legacy.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Limitless

Limitless

Limitless (2011) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Robert De Niro

Director: Neil Burger

An acquaintance gives a struggling writer (Bradley Cooper) a sample of a new drug (NZT) that causes his mind to expand at an extraordinary rate. Soon, his writing improves dramatically as does every other aspect of his life. He’s able to recall every experience he’s ever had or witnessed, bringing to bear knowledge and skills he had never used before. The world becomes his oyster.

Naturally, there’s a price to pay. Others want the secret. The film’s ultra-cerebral story and beautifully produced theatrics overcome its predictability. The result is a taut and exciting drama. Visually innovative and well acted.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Ides of March

The Ides of March

The Ides of March (2011) Starring: George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Paul Giamatti, Evan Rachel Wood

Director: George Clooney

George Clooney plays it safe in this middle-of-the-road election politics drama. It’s a timely story. The structure is by the book, the acting is slightly more than competent. Although, Paul Giamatti, as the rivaling campaign manager, raises the pitch more so than others do.

Personally, I would have developed the character of Molly (Evan Rachel Wood) a little farther to expand the emotional dynamics a bit. There was plenty of time to do that, given this film goes just 101 minutes.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is in everything these days. I admire his work ethic and his craft.

I haven’t seen any other Clooney directed films as of this writing, so I can’t compare this to one of his others. I like this film. It was worth the price of a rental.

My grade: B-

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Drive

Drive
Drive (2011) Starring: Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Albert Brooks, Ron Perlman, James Biberi

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn

Music: Cliff Martinez

Drive is cinematic perfection. Cliff Martinez’ music captures an essence and feel for LA that  reminded me of the American Gigolo soundtrack (music by Giorgio Moroder).

Ryan Gosling (whose character is unnamed) plays a stunt driver doing side work driving a getaway car  for armed crooks. Becoming friendly with his married neighbor, Irene (Carey Mulligan), things become complicated when he tries to help Irene’s husband, an ex-con, who is being threatened over old debts upon his release from prison.

Gosling’s driver is steel behind the wheel in souped-up chase scenes. His character develops quickly, growing throughout the story. His boss, Shannon (Bryan Cranston), at a garage on Reseda Boulevard, has dreams of owning a competitive stock car with (Gosling) driving it on the racing circuit with high paying sponsors. Cranston’s Shannon is a cringing, vulnerable stooge with one bum leg, and prone to bad luck. After successfully convincing a mobster named Bernie Rose (an unlikely but highly effective villain Albert Brooks), to bankroll his racing dream, things go sour. A rough entanglement ensues.

While Bernie Rose is the intimidating calculating businessman, his violent partner, Nino (Ron Perlman), epitomizes heavy handedness. The violence in this film comes through with masterfully created special effects.

Nicolas Winding Refn artfully directs with equal measures of bold strokes and a subtle brush. His characters interact with both tenderness and shocking brutality. The bursts of graphic violence rival that of any mob movie ever made, while other scenes linger languidly as Irene and her young son interact with the driver (Gosling), developing a tentative bond. The dialogue is sparse and not wastefully trite. Gosling’s driver is disarming as he melts the screen.

This film imparts nuances of the essential history and majesty of Los Angeles, even while snaking through its seamy underbelly. The contrasts and the crassness feel familiar to those who know LA. With music, often synthesized, the soundtrack brilliantly recalls a musicality from a 70s-80s synth age, sometimes grinding and pulsating rhythmically as in night music and the clubs. Always, the tone fits with the dynamic. This ride demands you crank up the sound of your home theater system. With superb cinematography and action, this is an exhilarating drive.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Help

The Help

The Help  (2011) Starring: Viola Davis, Emma Stone, Bryce Dallas Howard, Octavia L. Spencer, Ahna O’Reilly, Jessica Chastain, Allison Janney, Sissy Spacek, Anna Camp, Eleanor Henry, Cicely Tyson

Director: Tate Taylor

The Help is great cinema with its authentic depiction of life in the south in 1963. Rich white families in rural Mississippi employed black women as full time maids. In this story, young, white, ambitious Eugenia “Skeeter” Phelan (Emma Stone) decides to write secretly a book exposing the unseen abuses endured by black workers in the town of Jackson where bigotry thrived. With a variety of characters, conflicting attitudes, and clashing personalities we have an epic story of personal and social evolution. The superb ensemble cast assures a rich interpretation of Kathryn Stockett’s book. In the hands of screen adapter/director, Tate Taylor, the production remains pure.

Viola Davis received a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her role. Octavia L. Spencer won for Best Supporting Actress in this film. Sissy Spacek’s scene stealing performance is notable too. Fans will relish this small, but memorable role. The entire cast are solid and convincing.

The DVD includes must-see Special Features. The director’s personal experiences parallel those of the story’s writer/personal friend. The behind the scenes back stories provide additional layers of fascinating nostalgia. Destined to become a classic.

My grade: A+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Davy Jones Goodbye

Thank you Davy Jones

Davy Jones Dies

Davy Jones passed away at his home in Florida on February 29, 2012 (reportedly from a heart attack).

When I was growing up, the Monkees were huge and Davy Jones was a standout. His British accented voice was distinctly his own whether in speaking, or singing. Jones also possessed a rare wholesomeness that never wavered throughout his career.

Many people share worshiping rights to Davy Jones. He belonged to the millions who were made joyful by his personality and singing. When Davy Jones sang with The Monkees, everyone sang along. Nobody could resist singing while knowing all the words to, “Daydream Believer.” Davy had a knack for comedy too, which contributed greatly to the success of The Monkees TV series.

I recall attending a Monkees in concert (reunion tour) at the San Diego County Fair in the mid ’80s. Oingo Boingo was playing there too. I was into Oingo Boingo at the time, but was still surprisingly thrilled to see The Monkees. It was surreal to be near them, live, for the first time, even so many years after their 1960s popularity.

If you click on the Daydream Believer link above, you’ll hear Davy sing his most popular song. It all comes back if you’re from that era—guaranteed to make you nostalgic and a little sad.

My condolences to friends and family of Davy.

Goodbye Davy Jones. You will long be remembered with great affection. Thanks again.

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II

The Hangover Part II (2011) Starring: Bradley Cooper, Zach Galifianakis, Ken Jeong, Ed Helms, Paul Giamatti, Justin Bartha, Jeffrey Tambor, Mason Lee

Director: Todd Phillips

Yes, this film is practically the same movie as The Hangover (part 1). The premise is the same, just the settings have changed. This one also has a monkey and a few other new faces. Otherwise, its four besty guy pals getting into a whole lotta trouble when they’re supposed to be preparing for one buddy’s wedding. Some good laughs here and there. Ken Jeong is the standout in this episode, much as he was in the first. Jeffrey Tambor has an uncanny way of grounding a film that needs it. That’s called presence.

My grade: C+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

50/50

50/50

50/50 (2011) Starring: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Seth Rogen, Anna Kendrick, Anjelica Huston

Director: Jonathan Levine

50/50 is a cancer movie. It’s a character study, well-acted and intelligent. Most of these films are very similar, but what separates this one is that it turns out the way you might hope it would. That’s not to say nobody dies, or is it? There’s more to it than that. Worthy entertainment. Seth Rogen, in a dramatic role, does well, as did the rest of the seasoned cast—as was expected.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Thor

Thor

Thor (2011) Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Anthony Hopkins, Tom Hiddleston, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Idris Elba

Director: Kenneth Branagh

Thor is an unexpectedly contemporary take on the Norse god of the same name. In an updated story, Thor (Chris Hemsworth), is kicked out of his Norse Gods heavenly realm for being too reckless. His father, Odin (Sir Anthony Hopkins), is just about to crown him as successor to his throne when he instead is compelled to banish Thor for impetuously stirring up war with their longtime rivals, the Frost Giants. Thor plummets to earth, stripped of his powers, only to find himself flat on his back in the nighttime desert and a subject of interest for a tight group of star-gazing science nerds who have accidentally smacked into him with their science equipment vehicle. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) develops an instant attraction to studly Thor as she’s dusting him off after the accident. The boy-meets-girl thing starts.

Enter the Federal Agents who noticed a foreign object (Thor’s powerful hammer), which has also fallen from the sky. Science geeks and Thor tussle with the Feds over the hammer and for the return of confiscated documents taken from the science team. Meanwhile, other battles are heating up back in Thor’s home realm where his bad brother, Loki (Tom Hiddleston), has plotted to take over their father’s throne by any means, including preventing Thor from returning from Earth.

It all runs like clockwork in entertaining fashion. The special effects are clean. There are plentiful robust battles between larger-than-life entities (yes, it’s another one of those movies). This is not your father’s Thor. The acting is great. The action is cartoonishly humorous at times. Nicely directed. Kenneth Branagh has it down.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

Crazy, Stupid, Love

Crazy, Stupid, Love (2011) Starring: Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, Julianne Moore, Emma Stone, Marisa Tomei, Jonah Bobo, Analeigh Tipton

Directors: John Requa, Glenn Ficarra

Crazy, Stupid, Love is a fantastic look at the many faces of romance. Cal Weaver (Steve Carell) and his wife, Emily (Julianne Moore) find their 25-year marriage falling apart, while their adult daughter, Hannah (Emma Stone) explores her own romantic options. Meanwhile their youngest son, Robbie (Jonah Bobo), has his first crush on his teenage babysitter, Jessica (Analeigh Tipton), who has doe eyes for Robbie’s dad, Cal.

After separating from Emily, a forlorn Cal befriends a guy in a bar, Jacob (Ryan Gosling), who is a womanizer of the first degree. Receiving coaching and a male makeover from Jacob, Cal winds up having flings with several woman at the local club, including his son’s recovering alcoholic teacher, Kate (Marisa Tomei). The plot really thickens then.

As incredible as the character dynamics become, the movie works remarkably well. Excellent acting and realistic dialogue keep it interesting and often funny. Carell keeps a firm rein on his character, never going over the top. Tomei lets loose to great effect. Jonah Bobo steps into his role, and holds his own along with the stellar cast. A wonderful, original, modern film.

My grade: A

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol

Mission Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011) Starring: Tom Cruise, Simon Pegg, Michael Nyqvist, Paula Patton, Jeremy Renner

Director: Brad Bird

On audience appeal, teenage boys are the obvious target here. This Mission is packed with explosions, mechanical gizmos, and spy weaponry. Adults will enjoy the nostalgia of Cold War stereotypes. The film’s primary villain is a Russian bent on blowing up the world. It’s always the same with those pesky Russians.

Tom Cruise, as Ethan Hunt again, has the right stuff this time. He projects intensity and effortlessness, unlike other recent turns where he’s been wound-up tighter than his smile. The only visual negative in this movie is the bad hair on nearly every character in the film. (You’ll see what I mean, but it doesn’t detract from the story.)

This Mission actually has two major tasks for the IMF team to complete over the course, filling up every second of its 110 minutes. Multiple complex characters keep things interesting too, while the changing global scenery supplies added visual depth. Altogether, worth a watch.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Super 8

Super 8

Super 8 (2011) Starring: Joel Courtney, Kyle Chandler, Elle Fanning, Riley Griffiths, Ron Eldard

Director: J. J. Abrams

Obvious story influences is Super 8 range from E.T. to Jeepers Creepers and even Stand By Me. The most redeeming quality of this film is its charismatic ensemble of preteen actors.

Super 8 refers to the old eight millimeter film used in cameras of the 60s and 70s. Set in the late 70s, a group of kids is making a zombie movie for a school project. While filming, they witness a spectacular train wreck. Out of the twisted metal and to their small town comes mystery and terror.

The tight group of characters each have distinct personalities, all easily winning our sympathy, which rarely happens in movies over the last few decades. This ensemble is irresistible from the beginning.

Among the effective cinematic devices vexing these children are a deep black hole in the ground, a cemetery,  kidnappings, and the adult figures who cannot understand all the urgency. Resisting the adults and other horrors, the band of youngsters press-on with their movie project, while terrifying secrets are unleashed by the train wreck. Soon, the entire town is facing a violent menace.

Joel Courtney (as Joe Lamb), in his first ever film, is already someone to watch. The same goes for Elle Fanning with her impressive turn as Alice Dainard. I see great things coming from these two young actors.

Even with its overabundance of loud explosions and some graphic violence, this film charms. Gratifying entertainment.

My grade: B+

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses

Horrible Bosses (2011) Starring: Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Colin Farrell, Jennifer Aniston, Charlie Day, Kevin Spacey, Jamie Foxx

Director: Seth Gordon

Horrible Bosses is well thought out and certain to endure on video and/or television, although it’ll need a lot of editing for sexual content and language.

Three friends each have uniquely despicable bosses, and getting out from under their thumbs requires planning and finesse. Unfortunately, these guys are lacking in finesse—the punchline to this comedy.

Kevin Spacey’s vile boss portrayal stands out. Jamie Foxx steals scenes with his great comedy chops too.

My grade: B

Robert Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch Publishing

Reality Shows Go Too Far as “Real Housewives” and “Hoarders” Poison Society

Reality Shows Lower Our Expectations in Hoarders, Jersey Shore, and Real Housewives of. . .

Some
people love to watch really bad reality shows, especially the ones with
people arguing and generally not getting along. With control of the TV
remote out of my hands, I was recently subjected to watching Hoarders,
a show about people who are compulsive keepers of junk. It’s one of
those shows that’s like fingernails on a chalkboard to watch. These
“real people” on Hoarders are frustratingly stubborn (and yes,
mentally ill). They alienate their families (and in one case even have
their children taken away) because of their unhealthy compulsion
to
keep dangerous clutter in their homes. In
a recent episode, clutter on the stairs caused a family member to trip
and fall, breaking an arm.
This reality show features unreal
people who literally fill their homes to the rafters with boxes and
stacks of crap they don’t need. They pile-in their basements and cram their
kitchens, bedrooms and attics until the home develops (in some cases) an infestation with
“critters” (mice and God knows what other vermin).

My objection to reality shows such as, Hoarders, is simple: Why? Why is this considered to be TV entertainment? This is not reality. It is the extreme exception to what we know should be reality. Why do people feel compelled to
watch this drivel? These TV shows should not be considered worthy of our time,
especially as a regularly scheduled series. Don’t we have enough
stress in our lives without white-knuckling through other peoples’
unrealistic problems? That doesn’t accomplish a thing. I certainly do
not feel any more lightened or enlightened after watching a lunatic being exploited for their mental illness.

This is just another step down in society’s digression–lowering our expectations in television viewing. Shows like Hoarders
give people reasons to justify bad behavior. People are now glamorizing
conflict everywhere you turn; If it’s on TV, it must be cool. It’s okay to act-out like a fool. Yes, there are people gullible and (for lack
of a better word) stupid enough to absorb this kind of garbage and
assimilate it as being  mainstream. This is
NOT reality. It leaves the door wide open for the third grade mentality
to adjust their moral compass another step lower. It sets up people closer
to the level of the losers they see on TV. Why not do a series about a
family of physical abusers? Let’s watch the Smiths slap each other
around for an hour. That might be entertaining. You know, All in the Family with bloody noses and black eyes.

Shows like The Real Housewives of… and Jersey Shore are also prime examples of people behaving really
badly and then calling it entertainment. That’s just what the  masses need at the end of the day; shows tell us, in reality,
it’s okay to gossip and bitch about your so-called friends. It is okay
to tear down their family and to physically threaten people
with whom you disagree. It’s entertainment! Producers are telling you
it’s okay to suck trash as your TV reality. With that as the true reality,
we are in a lot of trouble. My stomach turns just seeing some of these
hysterical losers on TV. They need to get involved in a sport or art, or
some other creative activity rather than hoarding crap or back stabbing
their friends.

Another symptom of bad reality is the way government
is currently being run in this country. 
Just look at the
dysfunction in Washington. They cannot even pass
a budget. It’s exactly like a bad TV reality show, the way they disagree and
refuse to cooperate. Politicians are loving the on-air TV time in the
spotlight while they knock each other down and ruin the nation’s credit
rating.
This includes President Obama, who apparently has
no skills for bringing people together in rational agreement, yet
he loves being on TV. He must be right if he’s on TV. Is that the reality?

Not all reality shows are horrible. Fortunately, there are some popular ones about good clean competition, such as The Amazing Race, Dancing With the Stars, and Food Network Star,
which make for healthy examples that feature people striving to achieve a
goal and requiring some positive skills. They improve as they learn,
working together, and sometimes having normal people disagreements as
opposed to vicious cat fights.

I
say, if you can’t find anything redeeming in a reality show, don’t
watch it! Go for a walk. If there’s nothing decent on television, bake some
cookies. Exercise. Do something with your kids. Read a book. Just turn off that bad reality crap, period! It does more harm than good.

Too many people in this country are influenced too much by what they see on television. As discussed by a group of female journalists on CNN recently, women are beginning to notice how other women are behaving more aggressively ever since shows like Real Housewives and Jersey Shore
have cropped up. On these shows, they see women taking the concept of “empowerment” to
the extreme. They point out that these hostile women never seem to find a
solution. When there is a conflict, one of the women always winds up like “stripped car,” the clear loser. These shows are all about conflict without
rational resolution. As one female journalist pointed out, women are able to achieve
success, operating with empowerment, but they don’t have to do it that way (referring to The Real Housewives
ugliness.) The journalist also pointed out that men, on the other hand, usually
find a way to resolve a conflict without leaving things unsettled and
someone being a loser. (Tell that to Congress.)

Let’s hope the producers of
these rancid reality shows (and the women associated with them) wake up and stop
the noise. We don’t need to hold up bad reality as an example to be emulated in society at large. Get this garbage out of our faces.

[Update August 23, 2011]

The recent suicide of Russell Armstrong, husband of Taylor Armstrong, both cast members of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, is a perfect case in point against some of these awful so-called reality shows. Russell Armstrong himself was recently quoted as saying, “Everything you see on that show is bullshit. Those Bravo bastards take every little argument out of context and magnify it for the cameras.” The circumstances surrounding Mr. Armstrong’s death could easily be attributed (at least in some partial, yet significant ways) to his relationship with the reality show.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

I Dreamt About Shirley MacLaine Last Night

I Dreamt About Shirley MacLaine Last Night

I woke up still remembering a dream, which is very rare for me. I usually only recall my most vivid dreams.

I
was on my way out of a small convenience store, one of those that is
dimly lit inside, not bright, but clean. As I was leaving, Shirley
MacLaine was entering. She was immaculate in a form-fitting tube dress
with long sleeves. It was black and had alternating colored
stripes–very chic. Ms. MacLaine’s hair was in her usual bob, her
lipstick perfect. Giving me a brief glance with her cat’s eyes, she
moved, passing on my left.

I stopped outside the door and turned back,
realizing a rare moment. I held open the door and stared back inside at her
standing by the counter. In that same moment she turned around,
returning my stare. She had that mischievous look. She smiled softly and
walked toward me, approaching to say hello. I was determined to say
something meaningful.

“You’ve brought me so many happy moments in my life,” I said.

She smiled spontaneously and leaned, giving me a hug. “Thank you,” she said. She meant it. I felt her kindness.

I wrote this down before doing anything else today.

We share the same birthday, Shirley MacLaine and I. It may not be the same year, but I have always felt a connection.

I thought this was worth writing down. A little magic. A hug from Shirley MacLaine–if only in a dream.

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

“Home Alone” House for Sale. Movie Opportunity?

What if Macaulay Culkin Bought it?

The Home Alone house is up for sale in Michigan. This is the lovely warm home featured in the John Hughes Home Alone movies from the 1990s, which are now Christmas classics. As you may recall, a young Macaulay Culkin plays a boy, Kevin, who is accidently left home alone as his family goes away on Christmas vacation. His house comes under seige by burglars and Kevin defends it, heroically, insanely, funnily.

Wouldn’t it be great if Macaulay Culkin were to buy this house today? He could live out his life in the home that helped to make him famous. I already have an awesome idea for a future film, a film which could feature Culkin and his house.

My jaded scheme: The idea is to make a follow-up film, an epilogue of sorts, about the real-life Macaulay Culkin after he has lived in the home, alone, for decades. In the new film, we fast forward 50 years and senior citizen Culkin is still living there and hopelessly lost in memories of his former childhood stardom. We get John Waters (Pink Flamingos, Hairspray) to direct the new film. Waters deliciously works it with Culkin emoting a la “Norma Desmond” in Sunset Boulevard. Yes, Macaulay Culkin doing Norma Desmond. Wouldn’t it be great? I just know he would love it!

Open Scene: Macaulay Culkin, looking wan and haggard (not unlike John Waters often does), appears descending the long staircase of the house. A movie camera awaits at the bottom. Half way down, Culkin pauses to say (to no one in particular), “I am big, it’s the pictures that got small!” He lingers, and then continues down the stairs. At the bottom of the staircase, Culkin is surrounded by film crew and reporters. As he nears the camera, he gazes longingly into it, uttering the words, “All right, Mr. Hughes, I’m ready for my close-up.” He then clasps his hands to the sides of his face and screams, “A-a-a-ah!”  . . . End Scene

My grade: B

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Happy Endings

Happy Endings  (TV 2011)

Happy Endings Debuts

Starring: Zachary Knighton, Elisha Cuthbert, Adam Pally, Casey Wilson, Eliza Coupe, Damon Wayans Jr.

I watched the new TV sitcom, Happy Endings tonight. It is something like a cross between Friends and Cougar Town. Age-wise it is just between the two. I found the pace to be a rather rapid-fire and in some places too hurried, although these first two episodes, shown back-to-back, did well to establish some of the characters.

At this point, it is difficult to make any predictions. The acting and story lines, thus far, were generally creative and entertaining, but I sensed an uncomfortableness on the part of Damon Wayans Jr. It is difficult to pin down the personality and general attitude of his character. There is little extraordinary about the rest of the cast either, but Adam Pally’s gay Max is a refreshingly honest portrayal of a less flamboyant, somewhat rough-around-the-edges, common gay man (yet still with a lightening wit).

I’ll watch again to see how things develop. I see potential. This may take time, but this new show is definitely watchable.

My grade: B-

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

“Peanuts” Fan (me)

I still recall this strip from an old Peanuts book by Charles M. Schulz. 

My Mom used to buy me “Charlie Brown books” (as I called them) as a kid. Life was so much less complicated then. This particular strip doesn’t actually involve good ol’ Charlie Brown.  Schulz would often feature his other characters, by themselves, with hysterically funny portraits of their personalities.  I recall reading this one during a warm summer day in the ’60s as I laughed out loud. I can only describe it as I remember it:

An empty round wading pool flies in the air past Linus in a gust of wind. Lucy, carrying a long bicycle pump, walks up to Linus, looking for her runaway pool. She is still wearing her scuba mask and a large pair of flippers for swimming.  Linus, having mistaken the pool for a flying saucer and Lucy for an alien from outer space, screams, “A-a-ah! A Martian!” He runs and hollers, “The Martians are here! The Martians are here! . . One of them just pointed a ray-gun at me!”

That was all it took to make me laugh as kid. (And still.)

Robert George Reoch

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

A Charlie Sheen Supporter Too (Me)

I Too Support Charlie Sheen

As I am a fan of Charlie Sheen, I feel an urge to express my views on the ongoing battle between Sheen and CBS regarding the future of the show, Two and a Half Men, and Charlie Sheen’s status as leading member of the show’s cast.

After observing Charlie Sheen on Piers Morgan Tonight, I solidly agree with Morgan that Charlie Sheen is not insane. What’s more, I think CBS trying to shut down Charlie Sheen and Two and a Half Men, a show which Sheen has made so successful, is a perfect example of cutting off your nose to spite your face. CBS is the preening hypocrite condemning Charlie Sheen’s off-screen, real-life persona while, at the same time, the show’s script writing builds around precisely such a character.

As an avid watcher of the show, I have often been surprised at how ribald the dialogue has become. There is no topic off limits. I could list a few examples, but it would be easier to leave it to the reader’s imagination. Virtually anything the reader might consider as going too far (short of serial killing) has already been fodder for laughs on Two and a Half Men. Still, for years, it has been the funniest show on network television.

What this very public conflict ultimately boils down to is this: CBS can far better afford to abandon a successful show (and/or its star) than Sheen can afford to lose his $1.8M-per-episode. I believe both sides are keenly aware of that.

Sadly, this seems to matter mainly to Charlie Sheen and his loyal fans. Never underestimate the callousness of corporate America and the petty goons who run it. Remember, too, that the other actors and crew on this show are directly impacted by the actions of CBS as well.

As to the questions of morality, I would hope parents would have figured out, long ago, that Two and a Half Men is not intended for young viewers. Putting on the table questions of morality or aspects of the show being a proper example is just idiotic. Likewise, if you produce a show of this nature with a star of Charlie Sheen’s character, there can be no double standard with respect to the show’s content and it’s principle actor’s off-screen behavior in his personal life.

I have no control over outcome in this, obviously. I have marveled at Charlie Sheen’s amazing comedic gifts for several years. His supporting cast have clearly added to the show’s success too. I have enjoyed many fond laughs while watching this show. I also admit I have sometimes worried about the show’s bending the rules (perhaps just a little too much at times) during prime time.

Regardless, I wish only the best of health and success to Charlie Sheen and his fellow actors and crew on Two and a Half Men.

Robert George Reoch

Remember to scout around this site. My books are here, including a new one I recently published relating to alcoholism and recovery: SOS Safely Obtaining Sobriety: The Alcohol Recovery Aid  by George Legacy.

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Mr. Sunshine

Mr. Sunshine (Television) 2011

Starring: Matthew Perry

I watched the pilot of this new TV series with some trepidation. My worst fear was that Matthew Perry might be embarrassed in a bad showing. However, by the end of this pilot I was convinced this show could make a really good go of it.

Ben Donovan (Perry) manages the Sunshine Center (a simile for the San Diego Sports Arena), where he contends with multiple venue attractions as well as several strong personalities within his circle of business associates, lovers, and friends.

What I enjoyed most was Perry himself. I write this out of hope that this series continues. There are strong signs of life. Matthew Perry is as Matthew Perry as ever (which is to say a master of comic timing and readable, funny facial expressions). He is the punch line in every scene.

I can watch 30 minutes of Perry on a regular basis. My only critique of this first show is the writing (and ironically Perry has a hand in it). The dialogue needs some fine-tuning to pick up the pace. They take a few modern risks with adult situations and some dancing around racist jokes (which everyone seems to be doing these days). However, they need to put more zing in the funny.

That’s all I’ve got for now on this new show. I hope it succeeds. There are unlimited possibilities with the basic platform of the show. You’ve got a single, funny guy and an entire sports arena to use as a backdrop for comedy. I hope they show some authentic location shots of San Diego (my home town) in future episodes too.

My grade: A

Robert George Reoch

February 16, 2011 UPTDATE:

Just saw the second episode of Mr. Sunshine. This show really rocks. The storyline and humor seemed to have amped up about five notches. I am raising my original grade to an ‘A’ (from a B minus). Matthew Perry and this cast are a hit.

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

What’s Up Doc

What’s Up Doc (1972)

Starring: Barbra Streisand, Ryan O’Neal, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars

Director: Peter Bogdanovich

(In memory of Kenneth Mars, Madeline Kahn, and Mabel Albertson.)

Since first seeing this film in 1972, at age 15, I still consider this
to be one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my life. It is now
considered a classic in comedy, having one of the longest comical chase
scenes in cinema history.

Streisand and O’Neal are both at their sexiest in this clever romance.
Magnificent Madeline Kahn is the fussy Eunice Burns, wife-to-be to O’Neal’s
clumsy professor, Howard Bannister. In this love triangle, Streisand is Judy Maxwell, who pokes her nose into handsome Howard’s business, getting him into trouble with Eunice while falling in love with him at the same time.

Madeline Kahn’s Eunice is quirky and hysterical with her nasal nagging of
Howard about his precious geological specimens (his “igneous rocks”) which keep disappearing and getting mixed up with another identical bag containing stolen jewels. (For a time, soon after this film was released, the term igneous rocks became a household word.) Kahn went on to steal scenes, opposite O’Neal again in 1973’s Paper Moon (another Bogdanovich directed box office hit).

Kenneth Mars also stands out as a Croatian musicologist, Hugh Simon,
competing for grant money with Howard. Mars gives his character 
a Cold War Era, Eastern Bloc bad-ass attitude and will stop at nothing to gain the
donation from wealthy benefactor Frederick Larrabee (Austin Pendleton), while Eunice eggs-on Howard to win the prize.

Performances are energetic, with sublimely ridiculous dialogue and
side-splitting slapstick. Wait till you see how the jewel thieves use their
“creativity” to stall the wealthy Mrs. van Hoskins (Mabel Albertson) on her
way to her hotel room. This gag had me going for minutes. Albertson (familiar for her conservative mother-in-law roles in Barefoot in the Park and as Darren Steven’s mother in TV’s Bewitched) leaves a memorable impression with her big scene lying on the floor of the hotel lobby, pounding her fists, kicking her feet, and wailing, “My jewels! My jewels!”

With a great cast of classic character actors plus Streisand and O’Neal, this will always be a must-see film favorite.

My grade: A+

Robert George Reoch

There is plenty more to explore on my site, including my books of short stories. Take a look around and follow the links. It doesn’t cost anything to look or comment.

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Just Got My Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue

I just received my Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.  So, uh, . . . help me out with this Ryan Seacrest and Derek Hough . . . and Jul–

Just sayin’ . . .

Robert George Reoch

There is plenty more to discover on my site, including my books of short stories. See what an imagination I have. Movie Reviews, Health Tips, and more too! Take a look around.

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

“What Would You Do?” The TV Reality Show Primetime

Change the Channel–That’s What I’d Do!

This may be a strongly worded opinion, and even though it may sound theatrical and harsh, it suits the topic of this reality show perfectly. Read on.

I feel compelled to rant about another recent addition to the lineup of TV “reality shows” (the ones apparently based in non-reality). This one is called, “Primetime: What Would You Do?” The show stages professional actors in mock situations in the nature of exaggerated social conflict, such as racial discrimination at a restaurant, or an abusive woman berating her professional nanny in a public coffee house (right in front of her child and onlookers, of course).

The premise is to gauge bystander reactions to socially deplorable behavior. The problem with this reality show, like so many others of its ilk, is that the staged situations are far from the realm of reality. Once again, producers give us portrayals of people behaving at their absolute worst for the sole purpose of provoking others who are not part of the charade.

This is not reality! One scenario I just watched has the mother railing at her hired nanny in front of her child and using the most abusive language possible. She grabs the nanny repeatedly by the arm in a threatening and hostile way while making threats of bodily harm. The show then exploits the innocent bystanders by gaging their reactions. The idea is to then judge the unwitting and grill them up close on why they either stepped in to assist the poor “victim” or did nothing. Or, in some cases the producers would challenge the people who actually sided with the offending party and ask them to explain themselves (if they even permitted their faces to be shown).

The other scenario in the show I watched had day workers being refused service by the operator of a take-out restaurant. The man behind the counter was so openly hostile in his bigotry that some bystanders either joined in trying to kick out the aliens, or, in most cases simply ignored the confrontation. In a few instances people actually came to the defense of the migrant workers and turned against the nasty restaurant operator.

In all of these mock situations, what played out was ugly, hostile, and tension filled. None of it was based on normal social behavior or reality. These types of scenarios are not a true depiction of the society we live in today. However, think about how many people will actually see it as being reality.

And, therein lies the rub, folks. This is not reality. This is televised sensationalized garbage. This is painting society blacker than it really is. It is also a vehicle for convincing the masses in America that it is somehow acceptable to butt into other peoples’ ugly business and escalate the drama. Why not? They do it on TV. Just be prepared for the consequences when dealing with agitated strangers if that’s your poison.

This is the mind-set of this ludicrous and dangerous television show. “Primetime: What Would You Do?” seeks to instigate and stir up hysteria by creating faked realities that are far beyond everyday context. Actors portray exaggerations of people whom we would naturally see as immoral or wrong. Yet the examples are so extreme they defy reality. Ignorant people buy this crap. Some may even actually identify with the “bad guys.” This gives people permission to rachet up their response. “It must be normal to be this horrible if we see it on television.” Some will buy into these examples of so-called reality. They may see it as a reality. Some will even side with the prejudiced jerk who insults the day workers and refuses service in his restaurant while spewing racial epithets.

There are plenty of impressionable IQs in the American audience who take their lead from these examples. Some will take the high road. Some will stay out of it. Others may see the themselves more as the one who steps in to defend the wronged. They’ll see themselves putting themselves in the middle of a conflict so they can be heroes like the ones they saw on TV. It is all based on a false reality observed on television. It is license for open hostility–the antithesis of civility.

Why do they keep producing shows like this? More and more reality programs seek to portray us as a society of mental cases and hostile, competitive monsters. This is what people are seeing in The Jersey Shore and The Housewives of New York (or wherever). There is a long list of similarly themed shows.

My question is this: Are you for true reality or are you for some producer’s version of low class reality based on hostile and dangerous examples. We do not need to slide any farther down that slippery slope of becoming like the slime balls we see on the reality shows. We need to stop watching and stop allowing our children to watch. What are these examples telling us? They are sending all the wrong messages about what we are as a society and who we should be as a society. People learn by example. We have too many bad examples on television doing great harm to society. Enough already!

(As I update this post on November 19, 2010) a new episode of this show is being advertised on TV.) The premise for this latest show is: What would you do if you saw a person berating someone else in public for looking bad (too fat) in their bathing suit? Is this really reality?! Are people really that rude? I don’t think so. However, I also believe that some people who watch this garbare, who are inclined to be bullies already, may take this show as another signal that is it not so extraordinary for to behave like this. This show would make it appear that this type of behavior is commonplace, when it is not! It is a bad distortion and NOT reality.

Change the channel! Watch sports. Watch PBS. Watch Dancing With The Stars or one of the good cooking shows. Watch a game show. Just stop with these horrible reality shows that are dragging society into the muck. Change the channel. Look for programming that models decent social behavior. Don’t mire in baseless reality shows. It is bad form to watch bad behavior for entertainment. Grow up! Change the channel!

Robert George Reoch

About this blog:

There’s plenty more to discover on my blog, such as my books of short stories. Available in print as well as digital formats for any computer, including wireless delivery. 
 
Fascinating shorts stories.  Not your typical newsstand fare. Engaging reading anytime. Click on the images below for more information on Amazon:


                      
       

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013

Gerry Rafferty Remembered

Gerry Rafferty Remembered

In 1979 I worked smack in the center of downtown San Diego on 5th Avenue. Summers were always sunny then. Just south of Broadway, our men’s store was a popular stop for pimps and gang bangers. I would stand out on the sidewalk in my skin tight bell-bottom Angel’s Flights, posing in front of our large glass window casement, showing off my package. Inside our windows, men’s shoes filled the shelves as people of all walks either passed by or stopped to look. Some went hurrying down the hot sidewalk to catch a bus. Others slowed slightly on their brief business lunches. The black guys came in looking for Stacy Adams pointed patent leather shoes or a size 13 pair of sneakers. The hispanics always went for the Hush Puppies. They had a word for them I don’t recall now. White people sounded weird if they used it. We sold a lot of those bland suede shoes in black.

Our store drew the pimps and the hispanic gang bangers as well as the navy guys, or “swabs” as we called them. There were always hookers strolling by, looking to take the navy boys for whatever they didn’t spend on shoes or booze. We were a low-end store, but we were slick. We had our own soundtrack. All day long, the six speakers hanging from the store ceiling blared the hottest music. Whenever “Baker Street” played, people came in. The boss played Gerry Rafferty’s album at least twice a day, or more.

There was never a sexier time than when beautiful San Diegans in their summer shorts strolled by our store. I would stand in the doorway and watch and listen while Rafferty’s guitar riffs wound and ground inside and Raphael Ravenscroft’s saxophone solo went wailing out to the street.

Gerry was Scottish, like me.

Robert George Reoch

About My Blog:

There’s plenty more to discover on my blog, including my books of short stories. In print as well as digital formats for any computer, including wireless delivery. 
 
Fascinating shorts stories.  Not your typical newsstand fare. Engaging reading anytime. Click on the images below for more information on Amazon:


                      
       

Copyright Robert George Reoch 2009-2013