Category Archives: Entertainment

Tazer Ball – Shocking

Tazer Ball When I first got wind of this and decided it was blog worthy I was immediately faced with a major dilemma. Would this be classified a sport or entertainment?

The testosterone fueled players certainly call it a sport. There is a ball and two goals which gives it all the appearance of a sport. But then there’s grown men chasing each other around a big field and poking at each other with tazers. That’s shockingly good entertainment. (Pun intended)

I mean think about it. The promotional video starts out with this disclaimer:

[box type=”warning”]

WARNING — Do NOT try this at home! These are trained professionals. UTB Stun Guns can cause serious injury… or death! [/box]

How’s that for entertainment value? Like playing football with baseball bats and chain saws.

Okay, so the rules are simple.

There are two teams of four players and a great big soccer ball. You have a field of play with a goal at each end. Each player carries a low impact tazer (electrical shock device) they can use on whoever is carrying the ball.

Suddenly baseball and tennis sounds like the great American snoozefest.

There’s already a UTB league consisting of four teams – The LA Nightlight, The Philadelphia Killawatts, The Toronto Terrors and the San Diego Spartans.

UTB Teams(Franchises are available)

Hmmm…. I have this idea for a game involving Frisbees and crossbows. It’s got killer entertainment value!!

Lilyhammer – Já!

I love the whole premise behind Netflix’s first original series, Lilyhammer. Steve Van Zandt for all practical purposes resurrects his Silvio Dante role from The Sopranos. The gangster is different and the location moves from the Bada-Bing to Norway, but Van Zandt’s wise guy portrayal of mobster Frank Tagliano, turned rat and cubbyholed in the witness protection program half a world away in Lillehammer, Norway.

Tagliano proves that you can take mobster out of the city but you can’t take the mobster out of the mobster. In a fish out of water story, Van Zandt provides a rock-solid character able to hold the screen and maintain the persona with a style of his own making.

It’s a long way from the E-Street Band to the streets of Lillehammer, but Van Zandt absolutely pulls it off. If you were a fan of the Sopranos you will love this light hearted look at a gangster turned Norwegian bar owner. It’s like Al Capone meets Marge Gunderson.

Don’t fughetabout. Catch lilyhammer only on Netflix.

{Insert five gold stars and one thumbs up here.}

Bird is the Word

MIAFor a 53 year-old ex-disco star, Madonna still has some moves. Admitted her old cat-like maneuvers are more Caterpillar like and the spring in her step has lost its springyness. I give the old gal credit for hanging in there as long as she has.5ZM354D8VKY4

Sadly the performance will be mostly remembered for the deliberate one-fingered salute by guest singer M.I.A. At least Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction could be attributed to an honest mistake. This was deliberate and worldwide. The talk around the water-cooler this morning is not about Madonna’s near stumble on her lead off number, Voque. Bird is the word today, all single digit of it.

NBC has formally released an apology to the public.

“We apologize for the inappropriate gesture that aired during halftime,” NBC spokesman Christopher McCloskey said. “It was a spontaneous gesture that our delay system caught late.”

Now if they would just apologize for the Knight Rider reboot.

 

 

Sundance and the 99%

Robert RedfordLast Thursday kicked off this year’s Sundance Film Festival in the playground of the rich and famous – Park City, Utah. I think they misplaced my invitation. Did you get yours?

To listen to founder Robert Redford, his vision has always been for an event catering to the 99% crowd.

“We show stories of what people in America are really dealing with, and really living with, against a consequence of having a government that’s let them down,” Redford said. “People can come and say, ‘God, at least we’re seeing how people are really living in America, and what they’re up against.’ We square away on the 99 percent.”

I don’t know too many ninety-nine percenters with condos in Sundance. Don’t get me wrong. I like Redford. He’s always been a favorite of mine. I just don’t believe the rich and famous can truly see the issues facing the 99% he is talking about. I don’t think it’s possible to see through Hollywood eyes and have an emotional comprehension of a single mother in America flipping burgers at McDonalds to make ends meet. You can’t truly appreciate middle class poverty until you’ve scrapped for every penny in the house just to buy groceries – beanie weenies and milk.

If you look at the Sundance Sponsor list it reads like a who’s who of the 1% — Starbucks, Accura, Chase-Sapphire, Bing and GE, to name a few. Now there’s a list of companies with our well-being at the center of their mission statement.

Oh and then there’s the celebrities who line up at corporate tents to get their swag from said corporate sponsors. Anyone of them could walk into any Apple store and buy 1,000 iPads to give to local schools, but there they are in line to get a free one.

And in a twist of irony, contrary to Redford’s vision, a group calling themselves ‘Occupy Sundance’ are camped out in Park City.  They point out that of 11,700 films submitted this year, only 180 were accepted — roughly 1 percent. The Occupy Sundance organizers recognize that that volume of films could not make festival screening at Sundance. They are there to represent the 99% that didn’t make the cut.

“Robert Redford may think Sundance reflects ‘the 99 percent,’ but while his heart is in the right place, I’m not sure he can even begin to fathom how hard it is for an average person to gain access to his elite world,” said Los Angeles-based pop culture and entertainment expert Jenn Hoffman. “It’s true that independent filmmakers still have a chance at securing funding through the festival, but even the so-called indie studios still are looking for ‘names’ to star in even the smallest films and are scouting for new movies they think will bring them the largest financial gain.

Sundance“The price of a plane ticket to Utah is more expensive than what most aspiring filmmakers can afford in this economy,” she added. “Let alone all cost of all the marketing, networking dinners and social climbing events it can take to get a movie made.

“While it was once a small little festival centered around movie screenings, the Sundance film festival is now more synonymous with gifting suites, corporate sponsored parties and free swag for the already wealthy members of Hollywood’s elite,” Hoffman says. “I dare any of the celebrities attending these parties to sit with the Occupiers on a freezing cold night or to donate their free gifts to members of Occupy Sundance.”

The Art of Bradley W. Schenck

Bradley SchenckWeb destinations are a dime a dozen. Millions of digital addresses with content as varied as the people who program them.

For the most part, the world wide web is a mundane series of sameness. The same images, the same stories, the same viral video of kids biting fingers, dancing babies and cheesy cats. If it weren’t for the slight variance here and there you couldn’t distinguish between a dot com and a dash dot.

The internet is still a hodge-podge of commerce, entertainment, and confusion where data collides with dysfunction and 99% of the time the page you land on is just a stepping stone to the next page.

But every now and then the search engine will send you places you’ve never been, to find things you’ve never seen. The digital doorway will open and wonderment will unfold before your eyes. You find yourself on a virtual playground and each click of the mouse plugs you deeper into the magic of its creator.

Such is the case at www.webomator.com, the brainchild and labor of love of the talented artist and writer Bradley W. Schenck. Few destinations have held my attention or offered the depth of exploration as this place. Schenck’s site is like a fabulous fun-house of art and adventure.

Trek over to his Thrilling Tales where the story is as entertaining as the man who created it.

Check out my interview of Bradley W. Schenck in the preview of 3D Art Direct- issue 14: http://issuu.com/tosk/docs/issue14minimagissuu

TSUMZ23P479U

UFO Exposed

Remember my UFO post on Weirdo Wednesday a week ago? It was from New Orleans on Monday Night Football. The UFO community was all abuzz with this “unexplainable” video.

As it turns out the unexplainable now is.

The cameraman, R.D. Willis, contacted the Huffington Post to explain what we were all watching. R.D. is a “Time Lapse photographer. He works with the network to provide “Beauty” shots of the city the game is played in. Sometime during the broadcast the network will play the video.

In the case of the UFO behind St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans, what the viewer is seeing is commercial aircraft appearing to fly very fast because of the nature of time-lapse photography.

“If you watch Sunday Night Football on a regular basis, you will recognize my time lapse videos throughout our telecasts,” Willis told HuffPost exclusively.

“I move and manipulate my Nikon Still DSLR camera with a computer controlled pan head and dolly. This technique makes my time lapse video motion seem more like ‘real time’ motion when, in fact, they are a series of still images played back very quickly.”

Using his special rig that combines a camera, computer and dolly, every Friday night, Willis (seen here with his camera setup in New Orleans) goes out and shoots videos of different scenes in the host football city he finds himself in.

The entire video that shows rod-shaped objects moving behind the cathedral lasts nearly 30 seconds, but in order to end up with a sequence that appears to be moving in real time, it took Willis much longer to capture the scene.

“I’m a time lapse photographer, so the interval — the amount of time between shutter clicks– varies based on the subject matter,” he explained. “I want to shoot a clock for an hour so that I can see that minute hand spin all the way around.

“In real time, it took me about an hour and 10 minutes, standing there with my motion control track set up in front of the [cathedral] gates. And that’s how I got all those images.”

I love a good UFO as much as the next guy but on this one the record is set straight.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wvPxJWZhuRk]

Sons of Anarchy

Sons of Anarchy is an adrenalized drama with darkly comedic undertones that explores a notorious outlaw motorcycle club’s (MC) desire to protect its livelihood while ensuring that their simple, sheltered town of Charming, California remains exactly that, Charming. The MC must confront threats from drug dealers, corporate developers, and overzealous law officers. Behind the MC’s familial lifestyle and legally thriving automotive shop is a ruthless and illegally thriving arms business. The seduction of money, power, and blood.

Jackson ‘Jax’ Teller (Charlie Hunnam) is the MC’s vice-president who is tested by his growing apprehension for its lawlessness, Gemma Teller Morrow (Katey Sagal) is Jax’s force-of-nature mother, and Clarence ‘Clay’ Morrow (Ron Perlman) is Jax’s stepfather and MC president. The triangle of Mother, Son, and Stepfather will ultimately reveal the dark secrets in this family’s past and the lengths they will go to protect their sins.

This season begins with SAMCRO fresh out of jail and back into Charming. Upon their arrival, they encounter new law enforcement and head right back to business. The club is pressed with a decision that could challenge what SOA has always stood for and brings forth an unlikely alliance. Jax, fresh out of jail and dealing with the birth of his newborn son, is forced to put new plans into motion that could affect the club and ultimately his family.

Tuesdays at 10:00 eastern on FX.

Source: FX Networks

3D Art Direct

3D Art Direct - Issue 12 CoverI thought I would take a few minutes to pimp some of my side work.

I have been working with 3D Art Direct, a U.K. Based publication that specializes in Digital 3D Art. They initially approached me from my oDesk posting to do layout since part of my experience base was with Microsoft Publisher doing desktop publishing and such.

Since working on the initial layout work the editor has expanded my role to include artist interviews and maintenance of the blog site.

I am amazed at the talent of the artists I have been exposed to through this effort. Brilliant stuff.

3dartdirect.com

facebook.com/3DArtDirect

youtube.com/3DArtDirect

The Games People Play

Mafia WarsUnless you’ve been hiding under a rock in Farmville or you’re just MIA from life in general you know that games have been an integral part of our lives since the earliest days of man.

No, games were NOT invented as an accessory to the Nintendo. The game of Chess for example can trace its roots back to the 1oth century and within 300 years became essentially the same game played today.

The first playing cards can be traced back to the 9th century during the Tang dynasty in China. Tile games like Mahjong and Dominoes were derived from early card games.

MonopolyOf course we can’t forget Board games. I’m sure everyone reading this has an old game box stuck somewhere. Many of you will be able to look around the room and see one, or at least know where in the top of what closet you can find the Monopoly Board or the Scrabble game. And yes… Yahtzee counts.

The first board game known to historians is Senet, a game from predynastic and ancient Egypt. The oldest known hieroglyph representing a Senet game dates to around 3100 BC.

My point is, games are nothing new. The society of man has engaged in some form of social competition since Moby Dick was a minnow. From Candyland to Shuffleboard there’s something for everybody.

Pac-manThen along came technology and suddenly there was a new game arena to divert the already minuscule attention span of youth – Pac-Man, Space Invaders, Frogger and Donkey Kong ushered in the next bastian of social gaming — the game center. Parents found a coin operated baby sitter in the form of an electronic box with a computer screen and joystick.

From Pong to Kong, technology took over the youth of America. Monoply game boxes sit in the top of closets while our children sit at computers and play the latest generation of Internet games. With the prolification of the game console, Playstation and X-Box, the days of heading to the mall with a bag of quarters is behind us. Now we can multi-player around the world to our hearts content.

Mafia WarsWhich brings me back to Mafia Wars.

As the social juggernaut Facebook has grown, so has its integrated game play. Between Mafia Wars and Farmville and Words With Friends, Facebook is connecting game players in ways never before.

My question is this…

As a planet, if we are so damned social, why are there wars? We are we so intent on causing our own destruction with wars and ecological melt-down.

Oh, I know. It’s another form of games played out between world leaders. What a better world this would be if Obama and Kim Jong-il and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad should all just hash it out in Cityville like the rest of us.

Congrats to Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

One of my guilty pleasures is “America’s Got Talent.” Throughout the season a big majority of the acts seem like they would be more suited auditioning for “America’s Got a Place for People Who Can’t Sing.”

But on occasion, like last year’s runner up, Jackie Evancho, a talent will come along that shouldn’t be. The vision doesn’t match the output. That talent this year was eventual winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr.

For me the experience was much like the first time I heard Gomer Pyle sing.

At his first audition, standing there in blue jeans, his long dreadlocks hanging across his shoulders, you could sense the judge’s low expectations. And then he began to sing. From the first note Landau channeled Frank Sinatra.

Everyone sort of went… WOW!

Each week his performances got stronger and the crowd reaction got bigger and louder. Then he shifted slightly and took on Dean Martin’s “Ain’t That a Kick in The Head” with a big band backing the performance. His stage presence was phenomenal. Landau had arrived!

Landau saved the best for last in the final four showdown going back to what he does best — Sinatra. His rendition of “My Way” amazed everyone including judge Howie Mandel who summed it up by saying, “You may have just sealed the deal.”

From washing cars in Logan, WV, to a headline show in Las Vegas, give it up for Landau Eugene Murphy Jr., winner of Season 6 of “America’s Got Talent.”

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T33TjWHv6FY]