by Brent Johnson
One of the most powerful sociopolitical forces exerting influence over our world today is inertia.
The Merriam Webster definition of the word “inertia” is, “indisposition to motion, exertion, or change.”
In plain language, inertia is the principle of matter in which an object continues doing the same thing it has been doing - if the object was moving, inertia would cause it to continue moving in the same direction and at the same speed; if the object was not in motion, then it would remain in its idle state.
Newton’s First Law of Motion states that an object will remain in its state of inertia unless and until acted on by an external force.
These fundamental laws and principles effectively explain why it is so difficult to get general populations to change their views on anything.
by Brent Johnson
This is reminiscent of the great monologue from the first episode of The Newsroom.
I was raised in Center, Texas where we treated each other with respect. We didn't eat a lot of fast food because it was considered a treat, not a food group. We drank Kool-Aid and ice tea made from water that came from our kitchen sink. We ate bologna sandwiches, or even tuna (which was in a can not a pouch), PB&J & grilled cheese sandwiches, hot dogs, pot pies, but mostly home made meals consisting of mainly meat, potatoes, vegetable, bread & butter and homemade dessert.
We ate lunch in the cafeteria at school, some did brown bag it but very few. Our food was very healthy, delicious & fresh!
We grew up during a time when we would gather glass bottles to take to the store and use the deposit money to buy penny candy. (We even got a brown paper bag to put the candy in). You could get a lot for just 25 cents. We also mowed lawns, babysat, help neighbors with chores, worked with our dad's in the summer. We went outside a lot to play games, ride bikes, run with siblings, cousins and friends & played hide and seek, kick the can, jump rope, hopscotch, Red Rover, red light, Mother May I, kicker, basket ball even dodge ball. We drank tap water or from the hose outside... bottled water was unheard of!!
No cable t.v. just 3 channels!! Yes THREE!! And if the President was on...That was the ONLY THING ON! We had no microwaves, no cell phones.
We ate hot and cold cereal at the breakfast table before going to school. We watched TV as a family: Gunsmoke, Gilligan's Island, Wonderful World of Disney, Grizzly Adams, Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, Happy Days, Fantasy Island, and Starsky & Hutch. After school, we came home and did homework and chores before going outside or having friends over. And could only watch cartoons on Saturday morning.
If you were bad in school, you got in trouble there and when you got home you got in trouble again because your parents already knew. Paddling was allowed in school and you behaved yourself or else.
We would ride our bikes for hours and talk until the lightning bugs came out. We would make lanterns with the lightning bugs and even pick 4 leaf clovers.
Not every 16 year old automatically expected a brand new car from their parents that they didn't have to worry about paying for. Because their parents were paying for it!
IF YOU GOT A CAR...You worked for it!! And whether you DID pay for it yourself or not....If it was misused in any way whatsoever...doing ANYTHING that you were told NOT to do with it....IT WAS TAKEN AWAY!! Until you could prove you could be responsible and obey the rules!!!
You LEARNED from your parents & grandparents instead of disrespecting them and treating them as if they knew absolutely nothing. What they said was Law!! And you had better know it!!!
If someone had a fight, that's what it was a fist fight and you were back to being friends afterwards or the bullying pretty much ceased. Kids that were around guns were taught how to properly use them and to respect them and never thought of taking a life.
You had to be close enough to home to hear your Mom yelling or Dad whistling to tell you it’s time to come home for dinner. We ate around the dinner table and talked to each other as a family unit. In school we said the Pledge of Allegiance and daily prayer, we stood for the National Anthem & listened to our teachers.
We watched what we said around our elders because we knew If we DISRESPECTED any grown up we would get our behinds whipped, it wasn't called abuse, it was called discipline! We held doors, carried groceries and gave up our seat for an older person without being asked.
You didn't hear curse words on the radio in songs or TV, and if you cursed and got caught you had a bar of soap stuck in your mouth and had to stand in the corner for quite some time. “Please, Thank you, Yes M'am and Yes, Sir" were part of our daily vocabulary! To this day I still say Thank You, I appreciate that, because that’s what I was taught.
I thank God everyday for my Mom and Dad, the way I brought up to believe in God.
Lots of good times and memories.
The good ol' days!
These brilliant words are from American Patriot Christy Borders in Texas. Her father was a great man and a true Patriot. She obviously carries on his legacy by her comments.
by Brent Johnson
Have you ever experienced the anguish of dealing with a government official who just refuses to understand your specific situation, or a banker who will not help you with a particular problem you are having, or an educator who cannot see your point of view regarding the raising of your children? The frustrations that you have experienced are due to the fact that you are dealing with bureaucrats.
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - November 12, 2018 - If Stan Lee revolutionized the comic book world in the 1960s, which he did, he left as big a stamp - maybe bigger - on the even wider pop culture landscape of today.
Think of Spider Man, the blockbuster movie franchise and Broadway spectacle. Think of Iron Man, another Hollywood gold-mine series personified by its star, Robert Downey, Jr. Think of Black Panther, the box-office superhero smash that shattered big screen racial barriers in the process.
That is to say nothing of the Hulk, the X-Men, Thor, and other film and television juggernauts that have stirred the popular imagination and made many people very rich.
If all that entertainment product can be traced to one person, it would be Stan Lee, who died in Los Angeles on Monday at the age of 95. From a cluttered office on Madison Avenue in Manhattan in the 1960s, he helped conjure a lineup of pulp-fiction heroes that has come to define much of popular culture in the early 21st Century.
Lee was a central player in the creation of those characters and more, all properties of Marvel Comics. Indeed, he was for many the embodiment of Marvel, if not comic books in general, overseeing the company’s emergence as an international media behemoth. A writer, editor, publisher, Hollywood executive, and tireless promoter (of Marvel and of himself), he played a critical role in what comics fans call the medium’s silver age.
Many believe that Marvel, under his leadership and infused with his colorful voice, crystallized that era, one of exploding sales, increasingly complex characters and stories, and growing cultural legitimacy for the medium. (Marvel’s chief competitor at the time, National Periodical Publications, now known as DC - the home of Superman and Batman, among other characters - augured this period, with its 1956 update of its superhero the Flash, but did not define it.)
Under Lee, Marvel transformed the comic book world by imbuing its characters with the self-doubts and neuroses of average people, as well an awareness of trends and social causes, and often, a sense of humor.
In humanizing his heroes, giving them character flaws and insecurities that belied their supernatural strengths, Lee tried to make them real flesh-and-blood characters with personality.
“That’s what any story should have, but comics didn’t have until that point,” said Lee. “They were all cardboard figures.”
Energetic, gregarious, optimistic and alternately grandiose and self-effacing, Lee was an effective salesman, employing a Barnumesque syntax in print to market Marvel’s products to a rabid following.
He charmed readers with jokey, conspiratorial comments and asterisked asides in narrative panels, often referring them to previous issues. In 2003 he told The Los Angeles Times, “I wanted the reader to feel we were all friends, that we were sharing some private fun that the outside world wasn’t aware of.”
Though Lee was often criticized for his role in denying rights and royalties to his artistic collaborators, his involvement in the conception of many of Marvel’s best-known characters is indisputable.
He was born Stanley Martin Lieber on Dec. 28, 1922, in Manhattan, the older of two sons born to Jack Lieber, an occasionally employed dress cutter, and Celia (Solomon) Lieber, both immigrants from Romania. The family moved to the Bronx.
Stanley began reading Shakespeare at 10 while also devouring pulp magazines, the novels of Arthur Conan Doyle, Edgar Rice Burroughs and Mark Twain, and the swashbuckler movies of Errol Flynn.
He graduated at 17 from DeWitt Clinton High School in the Bronx, and aspired to be a writer of serious literature. He was set on the path to becoming a different kind of writer when, after a few false starts at other jobs, he was hired at Timely Publications, a company owned by Martin Goodman, a relative who had made his name in pulp magazines and was entering the comics field.
Lee was initially paid $8 a week as an office gofer. Eventually he was writing and editing stories, many in the superhero genre.
At Timely he worked with the artist Jack Kirby (1917-94), who, with a writing partner, Joe Simon, had created the hit character Captain America, and who would eventually play a vital role in Lee’s career. When Simon and Kirby, Timely’s hottest stars, were lured away by a rival company, Lee was appointed chief editor.
As a writer, Lee could be startlingly prolific. “Almost everything I’ve ever written I could finish at one sitting,” he once said. “I’m a fast writer. Maybe not the best, but the fastest.”
Lee used several pseudonyms to give the impression that Marvel had a large stable of writers; the name that stuck was simply his first name split in two. (In the 1970s, he legally changed Lieber to Lee.)
During World War II, Lee wrote training manuals stateside in the Army Signal Corps while moonlighting as a comics writer. In 1947, he married Joan Boocock, a former model who had moved to New York from her native England.
His daughter Joan Celia Lee, who is known as J. C., was born in 1950; another daughter, Jan, died three days after birth in 1953. Lee’s wife died in 2017.
A lawyer for Ms. Lee, Kirk Schenck, confirmed Lee’s death, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his younger brother, Larry Lieber, who drew the Amazing Spider Man syndicated newspaper strip for years.
In the mid-1940s, the peak of the golden age of comic books, sales boomed. But later, as plots and characters turned increasingly lurid (especially at EC, a Marvel competitor that published titles like Tales From the Crypt and The Vault of Horror), many adults clamored for censorship. In 1954, a Senate subcommittee led by Tennessee Democrat Estes Kefauver held hearings investigating allegations that comics promoted immorality and juvenile delinquency.
Feeding the senator’s crusade was the psychiatrist Fredric Wertham’s 1954 anti-comics jeremiad, Seduction of the Innocent. Among other claims, the book contended that DC’s Batman stories - featuring the team of Batman and Robin - were “psychologically homosexual”.
Choosing to police itself rather than accept legislation, the comics industry established the Comics Code Authority to ensure wholesome content. Gore and moral ambiguity were out, but so largely were wit, literary influences, and attention to social issues. Innocuous cookie-cutter exercises in genre were in.
Many found the sanitized comics boring, and - with the new medium of television providing competition - readership, which at one point had reached 600 million sales annually, declined by almost three-quarters within a few years.
With the dimming of superhero comics’ golden age, Lee tired of grinding out generic humor, romance, western and monster stories for what had by then become Atlas Comics. Reaching a career impasse in his 30s, he was encouraged by his wife to write the comics he wanted to, not merely what was considered marketable. Goodman, his boss, spurred by the popularity of a rebooted Flash (and later Green Lantern) at DC, wanted him to revisit superheroes.
Lee took Goodman up on his suggestion, but he carried its implications much further.
In 1961, Lee and Kirby - whom he had brought back years before to the company, now known as Marvel - produced the first issue of The Fantastic Four, about a superpowered team with humanizing dimensions: nonsecret identities, internal squabbles, and in the orange-rock-skinned Thing, self-torment. It was a hit.
Other Marvel titles - like the Lee-Kirby creation The Incredible Hulk, a modern Jekyll-and-Hyde story about a decent man transformed by radiation into a monster - offered a similar template. The quintessential Lee hero, introduced in 1962 and created with the artist Steve Ditko (1927-2018), was Spider Man.
A timid high school intellectual who gained his powers when bitten by a radioactive spider, Spider Man was prone to soul-searching and leavened with wisecracks - a key to the character’s lasting popularity across multiple entertainment platforms, including movies and a Broadway musical.
Lee’s dialogue encompassed Catskills shtick, like Spider Man’s patter in battle; Elizabethan idioms, like Thor’s; and working-class Lower East Side swagger, like the Thing’s. It could also include dime-store poetry, as in this eco-oratory about humans, uttered by the Silver Surfer, a space alien:
“And yet - in their uncontrollable insanity - in their unforgivable blindness - they seek to destroy this shining jewel - this softly spinning
gem - this tiny blessed sphere - which men call Earth!”
Lee practiced what he called the Marvel method. Instead of handing artists scripts to illustrate, he summarized stories and let the artists draw them and fill in plot details as they chose. He then added sound effects and dialogue. Sometimes he would discover on penciled pages that new characters had been added to the narrative. Such surprises (like the Silver Surfer, a Kirby creation and a Lee favorite) would lead to questions of character ownership.
Lee was often faulted for not adequately acknowledging the contributions of his illustrators, especially Kirby. Spider Man became Marvel’s best-known property, but Ditko, its co-creator, quit Marvel in bitterness in 1966. Kirby, who visually designed countless characters, left in 1969. Though he reunited with Lee for a Silver Surfer graphic novel in 1978, their heyday had ended.
Many comic fans believe that Kirby was wrongly deprived of royalties and original artwork in his lifetime, and for years the Kirby estate sought to acquire rights to characters that Kirby and Lee had created together. Kirby’s heirs were long rebuffed in court on the grounds that he had done “work for hire” - in other words, that he had essentially sold his art without expecting royalties.
In September 2014, Marvel and the Kirby estate reached a settlement. Lee and Kirby now both receive credit on numerous screen productions based on their work.
Lee moved to Los Angeles in 1980 to develop Marvel properties, but most of his attempts at live-action television and movies were disappointing. (The series The Incredible Hulk, seen on CBS from 1978 to 1982, was an exception.)
Avi Arad, an executive at Toy Biz, a company in which Marvel had bought a controlling interest, began to revive the company’s Hollywood fortunes, particularly with an animated X-Men series on Fox, which ran from 1992 to 1997. (Its success helped pave the way for the live-action big-screen X-Men franchise, which has flourished since its first installment, in 2000.)
In the late 1990s, Lee was named chairman emeritus at Marvel and began to explore outside projects. While his personal appearances (including charging fans $120 for an autograph) were one source of income, later attempts to create wholly owned superhero properties foundered. Stan Lee Media, a digital content start-up, crashed in 2000 and landed his business partner, Peter F. Paul, in prison for securities fraud. (Lee was never charged.)
In 2001, Lee started POW! Entertainment (the initials stand for “purveyors of wonder”), but he received almost no income from Marvel movies and TV series until he won a court fight with Marvel Enterprises in 2005, leading to an undisclosed settlement costing Marvel $10 million. In 2009, the Walt Disney Company, which had agreed to pay $4 billion to acquire Marvel, announced that it had paid $2.5 million to increase its stake in POW!
In Lee’s final years, after the death of his wife, the circumstances of his business affairs and contentious financial relationship with his surviving daughter attracted attention in news media. In 2018, Lee was embroiled in disputes with POW!, and The Daily Beast and The Hollywood Reporter ran accounts of fierce infighting among Lee’s daughter, household staff and business advisers. The Hollywood Reporter claimed “elder abuse”.
In February 2018, Lee signed a notarized document declaring that three men - a lawyer, a caretaker of Lee’s, and a dealer in memorabilia - had “insinuated themselves into relationships with J. C. for an ulterior motive and purpose,” to “gain control over my assets, property and money.” He later withdrew his claim, but longtime aides of his - an assistant, an accountant, and a housekeeper - were either dismissed or greatly limited in their contact with him.
In a profile in The New York Times in April, a cheerful Lee said, “I’m the luckiest guy in the world,” adding, “My daughter has been a great help to me” and that “life is pretty good” - although he admitted in that same interview, “I’ve been very careless with money.”
Marvel movies, however, have proved a cash cow for major studios, if not so much for Lee. With the blockbuster Spider Man in 2002, Marvel superhero films hit their stride. Such movies (including franchises starring Iron Man, Thor and the superhero team the Avengers, to name but three) together had grossed more than $24 billion worldwide as of April.
Black Panther, the first Marvel movie directed by an African-American (Ryan Coogler) and starring an almost all-black cast, took in about $201.8 million domestically when it opened over the four-day Presidents’ Day weekend this year, the fifth-biggest opening of all time.
Many other film properties are in development, in addition to sequels in established franchises. Characters Lee had a hand in creating now enjoy a degree of cultural penetration they have never before had.
Lee wrote a slim memoir, Excelsior! The Amazing Life of Stan Lee, with George Mair, published in 2002. His 2015 book, Amazing Fantastic Incredible: A Marvelous Memoir (written with Peter David and illustrated in comic-book form by Colleen Doran), pays abundant credit to the artists many fans believed he had shortchanged years before.
Recent Marvel films and TV shows have also often credited Lee’s former collaborators; Lee himself has almost always received an executive producer credit. His cameo appearances in them became something of a tradition. (Even Teen Titans Go! to the Movies, an animated feature in 2018 about a DC superteam, had more than one Lee cameo.) TV shows bearing his name or presence have included the reality series Stan Lee’s Superhumans and the competition show Who Wants to Be a Superhero?
Lee’s unwavering energy suggested that he possessed superpowers himself. (In his 90s he had a Twitter account, @TheRealStanlee.) The National Endowment for the Arts acknowledged as much when it awarded him a National Medal of Arts in 2008. But he was frustrated, like all humans, by mortality.
“I want to do more movies, I want to do more television, more DVDs, more multi-sodes, I want to do more lecturing, I want to do more of everything I’m doing,” he said in With Great Power… The Stan Lee Story, a 2010 television documentary. “The only problem is time. I just wish there was more time.”
By Brent Johnson
The Republic of the united States of America has all but abandoned its founding principles. The American people are woefully ignorant of the rights with which they have been blessed, and are therefore embarking on a path towards abject servitude that the American Founding Fathers fought a bloody war to prevent from ever happening. It is a genuine tragedy, and the opportunities to reverse this trend are rapidly diminishing in number. However, those opportunities do still exist, and it would be remiss of me to ignore them, and thereby sentence you to a life of hopelessness, slavery, and spiritual poverty.
By Brent Johnson
June 30, 2018 - I just heard about Harlan Ellison’s death and wish to express my very sincerest condolences. The world has lost a truly great man and he will be sorely missed.
I met Harlan at a Star Trek convention back in 1974. We met at a blackjack game and we hit it off. I was so very impressed by the kind of person he was; his honesty, forthrightness, and genuineness touched me, and I determined to get to know him better, which I did over many years.
I was always amused by how brusque his public persona was, knowing as I did the magnificent and kind (yes, kind) being he really was. It was as if Harlan put on a mask of what many deemed mean in order to weed out those who only wanted to know him because of his celebrity. His attitude was, “If you really want to know the real me then show me by getting past my brusque exterior.”
I remember one science fiction convention in New York, at the old Commodore Hotel. It was around 10:00 pm and he went to the hotel coffee shop for a snack. The coffee shop was closed. He walked out, muttering, “This place would make a nice fire!” Many who heard him thought he meant it and that he was inappropriate, but I knew he would never actually do such a thing and it was a sophisticated attempt at humor.
Harlan had a heart of gold. I recall an incident where he had attended one of the science fiction conventions I organized as a personal favor to me. We were robbed at the convention and I was unable to pay him his full speaker fee as a result. He never said anything about it. I sent him money every month to pay off the debt. I was unable to send him a lot, but I sent him what I could send each month. He told me several years later that he was very appreciative of my integrity and he ultimately forgave the last of the debt.
There are very very few people I have known who I admire. My father was one of them (Harlan actually met my dad once). Patriot Dr. Ron Paul (the former congressman and presidential candidate) is another. Harlan is the only other person I admire. I respect and love many, but I do not admire (meaning look up to) people. I admired Harlan. He stood by his beliefs, and never compromised his values (though he was often asked to do so).
I remember reading Memos from Purgatory, his first published book. He went into one of the toughest areas of New York City and became a gang member in order to learn about that way of life. He had the courage of his convictions, and inspired me (and I am sure many others) by his presence.
The world has lost a truly great man. I will grieve his loss for some time. He will be missed.
With much Love and the utmost of respect,
SHERMAN OAKS, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 28, 2018 - Speculative-fiction and fantasy author Harlan Ellison, who penned short stories, novellas and criticism, contributed to TV series including The Outer Limits, Star Trek, and Babylon 5, and won a notable copyright infringement lawsuit against ABC and Paramount and a settlement in a similar lawsuit over The Terminator, has died. He was 84.
Christine Valada tweeted that Ellison’s wife, Susan, had asked her to announce that he died in his sleep Thursday.
“Susan Ellison has asked me to announce the passing of writer Harlan Ellison, in his sleep, earlier today. ‘For a brief time I was here, and for a brief time, I mattered.’ - HE, 1934-2018. Arrangements for a celebration of his life are pending.”
The prolific but cantankerous author famously penned the Star Trek episode City on the Edge of Forever, in which Captain Kirk and Mr. Spock must go back in time to Depression-era America to put Earth history back on its rightful course, a goal that for Kirk means sacrificing the woman he loves (played by Joan Collins). The final script was rewritten by Star Trek staffers, leaving Ellison unhappy.
His 1995 book, The City on the Edge of Forever: The Original Teleplay That Became the Classic Star Trek Episode, contained two drafts by Ellison.
The author was still steaming over his experience more than four decades after the episode originally aired: In 2009, Ellison sued CBS Paramount Television seeking revenue from merchandising and other sources from the episode; a settlement was reached six months later.
The author of a 1980 L.A. Times profile declared, “Ellison is fiercely independent, proudly elitist, frequently angry, tenacious, and downright vengeful.”
Talking about the Hollywood establishment, Ellison told the author, “They’ve got to know that everybody isn’t frightened and won’t back down. These people are not creators; they belong to the AAA - agents, attorneys and accountants. They aren’t comfortable dealing with writers - they think we’re madmen. They’re really only comfortable dealing with numbers.”
In a separate case, Ellison won $337,000 (later reduced a bit in a settlement) from ABC and Paramount Studios in 1980 for copyright infringement on a short story the author had penned with Ben Bova, Brillo. Ellison and Bova had been asked to develop it at ABC, but the option there had lapsed; Ellison then showed it to Paramount executives, who said they weren’t interested. ABC aired a Paramount-produced telepic called Future Cop in May 1976 and later a brief series of the same name. The premise, about the first android policeman, was identical to that in Brillo.
In the litigious writer’s third victory against Hollywood, Ellison sued James Cameron and others behind 1984’s The Terminator, claiming that the film drew from material in two episodes of the original The Outer Limits series, Soldier and Demon With a Glass Hand, which he had penned and that had aired in 1964. Production company Hemdale and distributor Orion Pictures settled out of court and were required under the terms of the settlement to acknowledge Ellison’s work in the film’s end credits. Cameron, however, labeled Ellison “a parasite”.
Curiously, Ellison had little sympathy for others who brought copyright-infringement lawsuits against the studios, telling the L.A. Times, “You’ve got to realize that there are hundreds of these claims and most of them aren’t valid. This is a town of amateurs. You have to separate these people and their complaints from the professionals who really work at writing and have viable ideas.”
Born in Painesville, Ohio, Ellison grew up in the only Jewish family in a small town where he said he had to defend himself in physical altercations on a daily basis. During the 1950s, Ellison attended Ohio State University for 18 months, served in the Army, and began to sell science fiction stories to pulp magazines.
He moved to California in 1962.
Ellison was famously fired on his first day of employment as a writer at Walt Disney Studios after making highly irreverent suggestions about the company’s beloved characters.
He penned scripts for Route 66, Burke’s Law, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Man From U.N.C.L.E., and even The Flying Nun. For a 1964 episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, Memo From Purgatory, he adapted his own nonfiction memoir about having joined a street gang in Brooklyn.
Ellison also penned the screenplay to the Hollywood melodrama The Oscar, and the post-apocalyptic cult classic A Boy and His Dog (1975), starring a young Don Johnson, was based on an Ellison novella.
Ellison was also editor of the very influential fantasy anthologies Dangerous Visions and Again Dangerous Visions.
When he dealt with Hollywood, he fearlessly said exactly what he thought again and again - often causing fallout as a result. In the wake of the 1977 release of Star Wars, a Warner Bros. executive asked Ellison to adapt Isaac Asimov’s short story collection I, Robot for the big screen.
Ellison penned a script and met with studio chief Robert Shapiro to discuss it; when the author concluded that the executive was commenting on his work without having read it, Ellison claimed to have said to Shapiro that he had “the intellectual capacity of an artichoke.” Needless to say, Ellison was dropped from the project. Ellison’s work was ultimately published with permission of the studio, but the 2004 Will Smith film I, Robot was not based on the material Ellison wrote.
Perhaps Ellison’s most famous story not adapted for the screen was 1965’s Repent, Harlequin! Said the Ticktockman, which celebrates civil disobedience against a repressive establishment. Repent is one of the most reprinted stories ever.
In September 2011, however, Ellison sued to block the release of New Regency’s thriller In Time, starring Justin Timberlake, claiming that the film hews too closely to Repent, then dropped the lawsuit. In the early 1970s, Ellison created his only TV series, the Canada-produced The Starlost. He was so unhappy with the changes made by producers, however, that he took his name off the skein, which aired in 1973.
Ellison was a creative consultant for the 1980s edition of The Twilight Zone, for which he wrote several episodes, and was conceptual consultant for the 1990s sci-fi series Babylon 5. He also appeared in several episodes.
In 1995, Ellison adapted his story I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream for the video game of that name. He was also credited with design of the game and voiced the main character.
Dreams With Sharp Teeth, a documentary centering on Ellison and his work, received a theatrical release in 2008. Interviewees included Ellison and Robin Williams. Ellison also appeared in other documentaries, including The Masters of Comic Book Art, Shadows in the Dark: The Val Lewton Legacy, Brother Theodore (2007), and With Great Power: The Stan Lee Story (2010).
In addition to numerous genre awards - including multiple Hugos, Nebulas and Edgars - Ellison received four Writers Guild of America Awards for his TV work and the Silver Pen for Journalism, conferred by international writers union PEN, for his An Edge in My Voice column in the L.A. Weekly in defense of First Amendment rights.
Despite the kudos he amassed, however, Ellison penned a guest column for Variety in November 2013 in which he declared, “I do not merely hate all awards shows, I wish to see them beheaded, stakes driven through their black and corrupted widdle hearts, and to see the decapitated remains buried at a crossroads come midnight.”
Ellison was married five times, with at least two of those marriages lasting only weeks or months. Survivors include his fifth wife, Susan Ann Toth, whom he loved very much.
Eulogy by Brent Johnson.
DETROIT, Michigan (PNN) - American Patriot Carl Miller has died at the age of 65.
For more than forty years, Carl Miller was dedicated to educating people as to the legal methods of preserving the liberty that our Founding Fathers fought and died to establish in this country.
He successfully challenged the corrupt court and judicial systems on many occasions, and showed through legal processes how to circumvent the established way of doing things and live life as a free individual, despite the efforts of the State and federal governments to stamp out personal freedom and individual liberty.
Carl Miller studied American law relentlessly, up until the very end of his life, and developed effective ways for people to protect their property and reclaim their rights under the law. He defeated efforts by the Michigan and United States governments to enslave his body, mind and spirit, and his brilliance was exemplified in the manner in which he used the law to protect his and others’ rights.
American Patriot Carl Miller, dead at 65. He will be sorely missed.
SANTA CLARA, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 4, 2018 - San Francisco 49ers legend Dwight Clark passed away Monday at the age of 61, his family confirmed. An All-Pro and two-time Super Bowl champion, Clark was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or Lou Gehrig's disease, in March of 2017.
"The San Francisco 49ers family has suffered a tremendous loss today with the passing of Dwight Clark," the team announced in a statement. "We extend our condolences and prayers to Dwight's wife, Kelly, his family, friends and fans, as we join together to mourn the death of one the most beloved figures in 49ers history.”
The team statement continued, "For almost four decades, he served as a charismatic ambassador for our team and the Bay Area. Dwight's personality and his sense of humor endeared him to everyone he came into contact with, even during his most trying times. The strength, perseverance and grace with which he battled ALS will long serve as an inspiration to so many. Dwight will always carry a special place in our hearts and his legacy will live on as we continue to battle this terrible disease."
Clark was on the receiving end of the iconic game-winning touchdown - memorialized as "The Catch" - in the 1981 NFL Championship Game. That era-defining play shifted the balance of power in the NFC, ending the hegemony of the 1970s Dallas Cowboys and launching the 49ers dynasty of the 1980s.
The Niners would go on to win Super Bowl XVI, the first professional sports championship the city of San Francisco had ever experienced.
Clark spent the entirety of his nine-year career with the 49ers, ranking third and fourth in franchise history in receiving yards (6,750) and receptions (506), respectively. A big, physical target at 6-foot-4, Clark emerged as Hall of Famer Joe Montana's go-to receiver, as Bill Walsh's West Coast offense reigned supreme throughout the 1980s.
If not for a serendipitous phone call intended for former Clemson quarterback Steve Fuller, Clark's career might have been a dream. When Walsh called to arrange a workout for Fuller, Clark happened to answer the phone. Walsh invited the receiver to come along and catch passes for his roommate. Weeks later, the 49ers drafted Clark in the 10th of 12 rounds, pairing him with their third-round quarterback from Notre Dame. The rest is history, as Montana-to-Clark became one of the greatest connections in NFL lore.
Overseeing the entire operation was Hall of Fame owner Eddie DeBartolo Jr., who released his own statement on Clark's passing.
"My heart is broken. Today, I lost my little brother and one of my best friends. I cannot put into words how special Dwight was to me and to everyone his life touched. He was an amazing husband, father, grandfather, brother, and a great friend and teammate. He showed tremendous courage and dignity in his battle with ALS and we hope there will soon be a cure for this horrendous disease.”
DeBartolo continued, "I will always remember Dwight the way he was - larger than life, handsome, charismatic, and the one who could pull off wearing a fur coat at our Super Bowl parade. He was responsible for one of the most iconic plays in NFL history that began our run of Super Bowl championships, but to me, he will always be an extension of my family. I love him and will miss him terribly. Our hearts and prayers are with his wife Kelly, his children, and the entire Clark family."
Following his sterling career on the field, Clark worked his way through San Francisco's front office, ultimately rising to general manager. He went on to become Director of Football Operations for the reconstituted Cleveland Browns from 1999-2002.
In a moving tribute to Clark’s legacy, NFL Network's Michael Silver wrote last September that the former player and executive "carried an aura of awesomeness into his post-football existence: Handsome, charming, and perpetually cheerful, the man lit up a room without acting as though he owned it."
"More importantly," Silver recalled, "Clark taught me that a man could live out a remarkable dream, emerge as a beloved icon for one of Amerika's most storied cities, receive the spoils that come with such a regal role, and never, ever act as though he were owed a morsel of it."
PAHRUMP, Nevada (PNN) - April 13, 2018 - He was awake when most of the country was asleep, cultivating a loyal following while sharing his fascination with the unexplained on his nighttime paranormal-themed show.
For the better part of two decades, longtime late-night radio personality Art Bell was his own producer, engineer and host of his show, Coast to Coast AM. He later launched his own satellite radio program from his Pahrump home after retiring from full-time hosting duties in 2003.
On the airwaves, Bell captivated listeners with his fascination for the unexplained, such as UFOs, alien abductions, and crop circles. He died Friday at his home at the age of 72.
“As he begins his journey on the ‘other side,’ we take solace in the hope that he is now finding out all of the answers to the mysteries he pursued for so many nights with all of us,” Coast to Coast said in a statement Saturday.
Coast to Coast was syndicated nationwide on about 500 stations across the Fascist Police States of Amerika and Canada in the 1990s before he left in 2002. He broadcast the show from Pahrump’s KNYE 95.1 FM, a station he founded.
Lorraine Rotundo Steele, who had been listening to Bell for more than 21 years, said Saturday that she was stunned by the news of her favorite radio host’s death. The 60-year-old Canada resident started tuning in to Bell’s show after her dad died.
“Art taught me how to keep an open mind,” she said. “At a very dark time in my life, he kept me sane. Art’s fascination with life after death was what I needed after losing my father.”
Bell’s show had a huge national following in part because he played to people’s imaginations, “like a Disneyland for sci-fi,” local talk show radio host Alan Stock said. He remembered Bell as a creative, unique, nice man who will undoubtedly live on as a radio icon.
“Nobody talked about Area 51, and about chupacabras and about aliens,” Stock said Saturday night. “He talked about that on a regular basis.”
His show, popular with truckers and others awake in the wee hours of the day, offered a look into a world nobody else on the radio had touched, Stock said.
Stock recalled listening to his show early one morning in the 90s. A caller into Bell’s show said he was piloting a small plane toward Area 51 - the classified Air Force facility located about 80 miles northwest of Las Vegas - to find out “what’s really going on.”
“Art said, ‘Don’t do it, they will shoot you down,’” Stock said.
Bell and the caller went back and forth for about an hour and 20 minutes, he said, until the man reported seeing military planes flying behind him, signaling him to ground the plane. Despite Bell’s insistence on the man obeying their commands, the caller said he would keep flying.
“The next thing you know it went dead and you heard nothing at all,” Stock said. Stock had Bell on his show about two weeks later, and he asked Bell what happened to the caller. Bell said he never heard from the man again.
Bell retired several times in his career, which included a short-lived show on SiriusXM satellite radio in 2013. He also co-authored a book, The Coming Global Superstorm, with Whitley Strieber.
Returning to terrestrial radio afterward was not a difficult decision, he told the Pahrump Valley Times in August 2013.
“That’s easy, because I love it,” he said at the time. “It’s my life, and that’s all I have ever done. I went through a lot of family problems, so that interrupted things, and I was overseas for four years, and that certainly interrupted things. I went back into radio because I love it.”
Bell was inducted into the Nevada Broadcasters Association Hall of Fame in 2006 and into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 2008, the same year he sold KNYE to Karen Jackson.
Bell’s genuine interest in the topics he discussed contributed to the interest and entertainment his show generated.
“Art was a pioneer in broadcasting, taking overnight talk radio to new heights, which generated huge audiences,” Jackson said. “He was a master at creating spell-binding, intriguing, sometimes frightening, and thoroughly compelling talk radio.”
“No one has been more loved by their family, friends and listening audience,” she added.
For a time, Bell also held the Guinness world record for a solo broadcast marathon, logging more than 115 hours of airtime while working as a DJ in Okinawa, Japan. The stunt raised funds to rescue over 100 Vietnamese orphans left stranded by the conflict in their country, according to Coast to Coast.
Bell was born in Jacksonville, North Carolina, on June 17, 1945. The only child in a military family, he moved around a lot as a youth.
He later served in the Air Force as a medic during the Vietnam War, but his love for radio was always there. According to Coast to Coast AM, he was an FCC licensed radio technician at age 13, and while in the Air Force, he created an on-base pirate radio station that played anti-war music.
It wasn’t until the mid-1980s, when he returned to the Fascist Police States of Amerika and joined KDWN-AM in Las Vegas, that talk radio captivated Bell. There he mastered his famous blend of contemporary and unsettling.
“I want to bring topics on radio you otherwise might not hear,” Bell, then 50, told the Pahrump Valley Times in January 1996.
His cause of death has not yet been determined. Bell’s autopsy is scheduled for later this week, according to the Nye County Sheriff’s Office.
Bell leaves behind his wife, Airyn, whom he married in 2006, and his children Asia, Alex and Art Bell IV. He is preceded in death by his parents.
LONDON, England (PNN) - March 14, 2018 - Pioneering theoretical physicist and science popularizer Stephen Hawking has passed away at the age of 76. Details have not been released yet, but the BBC reports that his children Lucy, Robert and Tim have released a statement saying, "We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today. He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years."
Born in Oxford on January 8, 1942, Stephen Hawking studied at Oxford and Cambridge Universities. Despite the diagnosis in 1963 of a rare early-onset, slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis that should have claimed his life in a matter of months, Hawking survived and continued to work, write, and lecture for decades, even after he suffered total paralysis and required a speech synthesizer to communicate.
Hawking went on to become one of the most acclaimed scientists of his generation, with a level of fame rivaled only by Albert Einstein. His early work on the mechanics of black holes led him into the fields of cosmology, quantum mechanics, and relativity. He was especially notable for his work on Hawking radiation, the Penrose-Hawking theorems, the Bekenstein-Hawking formula, and Hawking energy.
Aside from his rather esoteric work in physics, Hawking was also an author, most famously of A Brief History of Time (1988), which was described as, "the least read best seller in history." He was also an advocate for the disabled, an outspoken proponent of materialism, and even went into acting with appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation, The Simpsons, and The Big Bang Theory, among others.
His PhD thesis was recently released to the public as part of an effort to make science more accessible. Fellow physicist and science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson had the following to say on Twitter on Hawking's death.
"His passing has left an intellectual vacuum in his wake," he said. "But it's not empty. Think of it as a kind of vacuum energy permeating the fabric of space-time that defies measure. Stephen Hawking, RIP 1942-2018."
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - September 27, 2017 - Hugh Hefner, who created Playboy magazine and spun it into a media and entertainment-industry giant - all the while, as its very public avatar, squiring attractive young women (and sometimes marrying them) well into his 80s - died on Wednesday at his home, the Playboy Mansion, in the Holmby Hills area of Los Angeles. He was 91.
His death was announced by Playboy Enterprises.
Hefner the man and Playboy the brand were inseparable. Both advertised themselves as emblems of the sexual revolution, an escape from American priggishness and wider social intolerance. Both were derided over the years - as vulgar, as adolescent, as exploitative, and finally as anachronistic. But Mr. Hefner was a stunning success from the moment he emerged in the early 1950s. His timing was perfect.
He was compared to Jay Gatsby, Citizen Kane and Walt Disney, but Mr. Hefner was his own production. He repeatedly likened his life to a romantic movie; it starred an ageless sophisticate in silk pajamas and smoking jacket hosting a never-ending party for famous and fascinating people.
The first issue of Playboy was published in 1953, when Mr. Hefner was 27; a new father married to, by his account, the first woman with whom he had slept.
He had only recently moved out of his parents’ house and left his job at Children’s Activities magazine. But in an editorial in Playboy’s inaugural issue, the young publisher purveyed another life.
“We enjoy mixing up cocktails and an hors d’oeuvre or two, putting a little mood music on the phonograph, and inviting in a female acquaintance for a quiet discussion on Picasso, Nietzsche, jazz, sex,” he wrote.
This scene projected an era’s “premium boys’ style,” Todd Gitlin, a sociologist at Columbia University and the author of The Sixties said in an interview. “It’s part of an ensemble with the James Bond movies, John F. Kennedy, swinging, the guy who is young, vigorous, indifferent to the bonds of social responsibility.”
Mr. Hefner was reviled, first by guardians of the 1950s social order - J. Edgar Hoover among them - and later by feminists. But
Playboy’s circulation reached one million by 1960 and peaked at about seven million in the 1970s.
Long after other publishers made the nude “Playmate” centerfold look more sugary than daring, Playboy remained the most successful men’s magazine in the world. Mr. Hefner’s company branched into movie, cable and digital production, sold its own line of clothing and jewelry, and opened clubs, resorts and casinos.
The brand faded over the years, its flagship magazine’s circulation declining to less than a million.
Mr. Hefner remained editor in chief even after agreeing to the magazine’s startling (and, as it turned out, short-lived) decision in 2015 to stop publishing nude photographs. In 2016, he handed over creative control of Playboy to his son, Cooper Hefner. Playboy Enterprises’ chief executive, Scott Flanders, acknowledged that the Internet had overrun the magazine’s province.
“You’re now one click away from every sex act imaginable for free,” he said, “so it’s just passé at this juncture.”
The magazine’s website, Playboy.com, had already been revamped as a “safe for work” site. Playboy was no longer illicit. (Early this year, the magazine brought back nudes.)
Mr. Hefner began excoriating American Puritanism at a time when doctors refused contraceptives to single women and the Hollywood production code dictated separate beds for married couples. As the cartoonist Jules Feiffer, an early Playboy contributor, saw the 1950s, “People wore tight little gray flannel suits and went to their tight little jobs.”
“You couldn’t talk politically,” Mr. Feiffer said in the 1992 documentary Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time. “You couldn’t use obscenities. What Playboy represented was the beginning of a break from all that.”
Playboy was born more in fun than in anger. Mr. Hefner’s first publisher’s message, written at his kitchen table in Chicago, announced, “We don’t expect to solve any world problems or prove any great moral truths.”
Still, Mr. Hefner wielded fierce resentment against his era’s sexual strictures, which he said had choked off his own youth. A virgin until he was 22, he married his longtime girlfriend. Her confession to an earlier affair, Mr. Hefner told an interviewer almost 50 years later, was “the single most devastating experience of my life.”
In The Playboy Philosophy, a mix of libertarian and libertine arguments that Mr. Hefner wrote in 25 installments starting in 1962, his message was simple: Society was to blame. His causes - abortion rights, decriminalization of marijuana, and most important, the repeal of 19th Century sex laws - were daring at the time. Ten years later, they would be unexceptional.
“Hefner won,” Mr. Gitlin said. “The prevailing values in the country now, for all the conservative backlash, are essentially libertarian, and that basically was what the Playboy Philosophy was.
“It’s laissez-faire,” he added. “It’s anti-censorship. It’s consumerist. Let the buyer rule. It’s hedonistic. In the longer run, Hugh Hefner’s significance is as a salesman of the libertarian ideal.”
The Playboy Philosophy advocated freedom of speech in all its aspects, for which Mr. Hefner won civil liberties awards. He supported progressive social causes and lost some sponsors by inviting black guests to his televised parties at a time when much of the nation still had Jim Crow laws.
The magazine was a forum for serious interviews, the subjects including Jimmy Carter (who famously confessed, “I’ve committed adultery in my heart many times”), Bertrand Russell, Jean-Paul Sartre, and Malcolm X. In the early days Mr. Hefner published fiction by Ray Bradbury (Playboy bought his Fahrenheit 451 for $400), Herbert Gold, and Budd Schulberg. It later drew, among many others, Vladimir Nabokov, Kurt Vonnegut, Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, James Baldwin, John Updike, and Joyce Carol Oates.
Hugh Marston Hefner was born on April 9, 1926, the son of Glenn and Grace Hefner, Nebraska-born Methodists who had moved to Chicago. Decades later, he continued to tell interviewers that he had grown up “with a lot of repression,” and he often noted that his father was a descendant of William Bradford, the Puritan governor of the Plymouth Colony.
Though father and son reached an accommodation - the elder Mr. Hefner became Playboy’s accountant and treasurer - neither changed moral compass points. Glenn Hefner, who died in 1976, said he had never looked at the pictures in the magazine.
As a child, Mr. Hefner spent hours writing horror stories and drawing cartoons. At Steinmetz High School in Chicago, he said, “I reinvented myself” as the suave, breezy Hef” - a newspaper cartoonist and party-loving leader of what he called “our gang”. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, after serving in the army, he edited the campus humor magazine, Shaft, and started a photo feature called “Co-ed of the Month.”
He married a high school classmate, Millie Williams, and began what he described as a deadening slog into 1950s adulthood: He took a job in the personnel department of a cardboard-box manufacturer. (He said he quit when asked to discriminate against black applicants.) He wrote advertising copy for a department store and then for Esquire magazine. He became circulation promotion manager of another magazine, Children’s Activities.
He was meanwhile plotting his own magazine, which was to be, among other things, a vehicle for his slightly randy cartoons. The first issue of Playboy was financed with $600 of his own money and several thousand more in borrowed funds, including $1,000 from his mother. But his biggest asset was a nude calendar photograph of Marilyn Monroe. He had bought the rights for $500.
Plenty of other men’s magazines showed nude women, but most were unabashedly crude and forever dodging postal censors. Mr. Hefner aimed to be the first to claim a mainstream readership and mainstream distribution.
When Playboy reached newsstands in December 1953, its press run of 51,000 sold out. The publisher, instantly famous, would soon become a millionaire; after five years, the magazine’s annual profit was $4 million, and its rabbit-head logo was recognized around the world.
Mr. Hefner ran the magazine and then the business empire largely from his bedroom, working on a round bed that revolved and vibrated. At first he was reclusive and frenetic, powered past dawn by amphetamines and Pepsi-Cola. In later years, even after giving up Dexedrine, he was still frenetic, and still fiercely attentive to his magazine.
His own public playboy persona emerged after he left his wife and children, Christie and David, in 1959. That year his new syndicated television series, Playboy’s Penthouse, put the wiry, intense Mr. Hefner, pipe in hand, in the nation’s living rooms. The set recreated his mansion on North State Parkway, rich in sybaritic amusements, where he greeted entertainers like Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, and Nat King Cole, and intellectuals and writers like Max Lerner, Norman Mailer, and Alex Haley, while bunches of glamorous young women milled around. (A later TV show, Playboy After Dark, was syndicated in 1969 and 1970.)
In the Playboy offices, life imitated image. Mr. Hefner told a film interviewer that in the early days, yes, “everybody was coupling with everybody,” including him. He later estimated that he had slept with more than 1,000 women. Over and over, he would say, “I’m the boy who dreamed the dream.”
Friends described him as both charming and shy, even unassuming, and intensely loyal. “Hef was always big for the girls who got depressed or got in a jam of some sort,” the artist LeRoy Neiman, one of the magazine’s main illustrators for more than 50 years, said in an interview in 1999. “He’s a friend. He’s a good person. I couldn’t cite anything he ever did that was malicious to anybody.”
At the same time, Mr. Hefner adored celebrity, his and others’. Mr. Neiman, who sometimes lived at the Playboy Mansion, said, “It was nothing to breakfast there with comedians like Mort Sahl, professors, any kind of person who had something on his mind that was controversial or new. At the parties in the early days, Alex Haley used to hang around. Tony Curtis and Hugh O’Brian were always there. Mick Jagger stayed there.”
The glamour rubbed off on Mr. Hefner’s new enterprise, the Playboy Club, which was crushingly popular when it opened in Chicago in 1960. Dozens more followed. The waitresses, called bunnies, were trussed in brief satin suits with cotton fluffs fastened to their derrières.
One bunny briefly employed in the New York club would earn Mr. Hefner’s lasting enmity. She was an impostor, a 28-year-old named Gloria Steinem who was working undercover for Show magazine. Her article, published in 1963, described exhausting hours, painfully tight uniforms (in which half-exposed breasts floated on wadded-up dry cleaner bags), and vulgar customers.
Another feminist critic, Susan Brownmiller, debating Mr. Hefner on Dick Cavett’s television talk show, asserted, “The role that you have selected for women is degrading to women because you choose to see women as sex objects, not as full human beings.” She continued, “The day you’re willing to come out here with a cottontail attached to your rear end…”
Mr. Hefner responded in 1970 by ordering an article on the activists, then called “women’s libbers.” In an internal memo, he wrote, “These chicks are our natural enemy. What I want is a devastating piece that takes the militant feminists apart. They are unalterably opposed to the romantic boy-girl society that Playboy promotes.”
The commissioned article, by Morton Hunt, ran with the headline, Up Against the Wall, Male Chauvinist Pig. (The same issue featured an interview with William F. Buckley, Jr., fiction by Isaac Bashevis Singer, and an article by a prominent critic of the Vietnam War, Senator Vance Hartke of Indiana.)
Mr. Hefner said later that he was perplexed by feminists’ apparent rejection of the message he had set forth in the Playboy Philosophy. “We are in the process of acquiring a new moral maturity and honesty,” he wrote in one installment, “in which man’s body, mind and soul are in harmony rather than in conflict.” Of Americans’ fright over anything “unsuitable for children,” he said, “Instead of raising children in an adult world, with adult tastes, interests and opinions prevailing, we prefer to live much of our lives in a make-believe children’s world.”
Many questioned whether Playboy’s outlook could be described as adult; Harvey G. Cox, Jr., the Harvard theologian, called it “basically antisexual.” In 1961, in the journal Christianity and Crisis, Dr. Cox wrote, “Playboy and its less successful imitators are not ‘sex magazines’ at all. They dilute and dissipate authentic sexuality by reducing it to an accessory, by keeping it at a safe distance.”
In a 1955 television interview, a frowning Mike Wallace asked Mr. Hefner, “Isn’t that really what you’re selling? A high-class dirty book?”
Such scolding sounded quaint by the time crasser competitors like Penthouse and Hustler appeared in the 1960s and 1970s. Playboy began showing pubic hair on its models, while the others doubled the dare with features on kinkier sexual tastes and close-up photos that bordered on the gynecological. Mr. Hefner would decide, after furious debate among the staff, not to compete further.
Playboy Enterprises still prospered. In 1971 it went public to finance resorts in Jamaica, Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, and Great Gorge, New Jersey; and gambling casinos in London and the Bahamas.
The heady mood broke in 1974, when Mr. Hefner’s longtime personal assistant, Bobbie Arnstein, committed suicide. Ms. Arnstein had just been convicted of conspiracy to distribute cocaine, and Mr. Hefner said bitterly that investigators had hounded her to set him up.
He left Chicago for his second home in Los Angeles, an enormous mock-Tudor house with a grotto and a zoo (Mr. Hefner loved animals), where he could orchestrate the company’s move into films.
The 1980s brought a huge retrenchment for Playboy. The company lost its London casinos in 1981 for gambling violations and was denied a gambling license in Atlantic City, partly because of reports that Mr. Hefner had been involved in bribing New York officials for a club license 20 years earlier.
The company shed its resorts and record division and sold Oui magazine, a more explicit but less successful version of Playboy, while the flagship’s circulation plunged. The Playboy Building in Chicago, its rabbit-head beacon illuminating Michigan Avenue, was also sold, as was the corporate jet with built-in discothèque. Bunnies were going the way of go-go dancers, and the Playboy Clubs closed.
Mr. Hefner relied more and more on his daughter, Christie Hefner, named company president in 1982 and then chief executive, a position she held until 2009. Mr. Hefner suffered a stroke in 1985, but he recovered and remained editor in chief of Playboy, choosing the centerfold models, writing captions, and tending to detail with an intensity that led his staff to call him “the world’s wealthiest copy editor.”
In 1989 Mr. Hefner married again, saying he had rethought Woody Allen’s line that “marriage is the death of hope.” His second wife was Kimberley Conrad, the 1989 Playmate of the Year, 38 years his junior. They had two sons: Marston Glenn, born in 1990, and Cooper Bradford, born in 1991.
The couple divorced in 2010, and Mr. Hefner plowed into his work, including the editing of The Century of Sex, a Playboy book. When a New York Times interviewer later prodded him about the rewards of marriage, he replied, “Unfortunately, they come from other women.” Meanwhile, to widespread snickering, he became a cheerleader for Viagra, telling a British journalist, “It is as close as anyone can imagine to the fountain of youth.”
The re-emerged Hef reveled in the new century. In 2005 he began appearing on television on the E! channel reality show The Girls Next Door, although his onscreen role consisted mostly of peering in while his three young, blond girlfriends planned adventures at the mansion. When the three original Girls Next Door went their separate ways after five seasons, he replaced them with three others, also young and blond - and shortly afterward asked one of them, Crystal Harris, to marry him.
Five days before the 85-year old Mr. Hefner was to marry the 25-year-old Ms. Harris in June 2011 - the wedding was to have been filmed by the Lifetime cable channel as a reality special - the bride called it off. Mr. Hefner, by this time a man of the 21st Century media, announced on Twitter, “Crystal has had a change of heart.”
But Ms. Harris had another change of heart, and the two married on New Year’s Eve 2012. On their first anniversary, Mr. Hefner tweeted to his 1.4 million followers, “It’s good to be in love.”
Mr. Hefner’s survivors include Ms. Harris and his four children.
Another of the Girls Next Door, Holly Madison, offered a much more depressing version of life in the mansion in a 2015 tell-all book. In the years when Mr. Hefner was calling her his “No.1 girlfriend,” she wrote in Down the Rabbit Hole, she endured a dysfunctional household of petty rules, allowances, quarrels and backstabbing, all directed by an emotionally manipulative old man.
Through those years, however, the Playboy brand marched forward. In 2011 Mr. Hefner took Playboy Enterprises private again. Scott Flanders, after taking over as chief executive in 2009, focused on the licensing business, shrinking the company and raising its profits. The website, cleansed of any whiff of pornography, enjoyed huge growth, while Mr. Hefner, who retained his title and about 30% of the company’s stock, cheerfully tweeted news and pictures of the many festivities at the mansion, along with hundreds of photographs from his past, in the glory decades of the ’60s and ’70s.
Last year the Playboy Mansion was sold for $100 million to Daren Metropoulos, an investor. As a condition of the sale, Mr. Hefner was allowed to continue living in the mansion for the rest of his life, with Playboy Enterprises paying Mr. Metropoulos $1 million a year to lease it.
Mr. Hefner was to be buried in Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, in a mausoleum drawer he had bought next to Marilyn Monroe’s.
By Brent Johnson
Skrill (www.skrill.com, https://skrill.com) is an online financial institution that is one of the organizations that lets you transfer currency into a form for purchasing Bitcoins.
I used Skrill for that purpose and found, to my dismay, that the organization is engaged in fraud, misrepresentation, and outright theft.
I had no problems as long as I was sending money to my Skrill account or transferring funds from it to a website from which I purchased Bitcoins.
However, when I sold some Bitcoins and tried to withdraw the funds from my Skrill account, I had no end of trouble.
The first time I tried to withdraw funds, due to an error in the entered account my withdrawal was refused and the funds were returned to my account, but not before Skrill took 3.99% of the withdrawal.
When I re-entered the information - this time properly (at which point Skrill took another 3.99%) - and sought to withdraw the funds, Skrill refused to allow me to proceed unless I first went through an additional validation process, even though their own instructions said that a withdrawal in the amount I sought could be done without any additional validation.
Skrill sent me an email with the documents they required in order to complete the validation. I scanned and emailed them my U.S. passport, my driver’s license (front and back), an original statement from my bank (with an original bank stamp and officer’s signature affixed to it), and a photo of me holding my driver’s license. I received an email telling me it would take a few days for them to process the information.
Several days later, I called Skrill to find out the status of my validation. I was told that my identification documents were fakes, and then the Skrill agent hung up on me! I was livid! I called back and reached a competent and capable woman, who explained that nobody in their division was authorized to tell me such a thing, nor did they have that information at the call center. She said she would research the matter and send me an email within 24 hours. She actually helped me to calm down and I agreed to wait for her email.
The next day I received an email telling me that Skrill had determined that I was in violation of their terms and conditions and that they were taking (i.e. stealing) 150 euros from my account. I was instructed to withdraw the balance and close the account. The email said this determination was final.
I called back to find out who to contact to challenge this determination as was told that there was nobody I could call to do that.
All Skrill has to do to verify my identity was contact the U.S. Department of State to confirm my passport, the issuing agency to confirm my driver’s license, and the bank to confirm my account. Obviously they didn’t do that. For some reason they decided I was not who I said I was, and used that decision to justify stealing my money.
I did receive an email from the woman with whom I spoke who said she would email me within 24 hours, and she said that Skrill is investigating the matter. I then received a second email from another woman who essentially said the same thing and told me to reply to her email if I had anything else to say. I did so and explained that the only resolution I would accept is the return of the 150 euros that were stolen from me.
Subsequently, Skrill returned 150 US dollars to my account (they said they took 150 USD and not 150 euros like they originally said). I was then allowed to withdraw the entire 1373 USD from my account. However, when it finally arrived in my account, it was substantially less than expected (there were currency conversions and another 3.99% that Skrill took but that doesn’t account for the extensive discrepancy in what I should have received). Skrill told me that the various banks associated with the wire transfer each must have taken some but I am still very suspicious that more was taken than is legitimate, and nobody at Skrill would send me a written explanation of precisely how much was taken.
I did file a formal complaint with INTERPOL, accusing Skrill of cybercrime and money laundering; hopefully they will open an investigation into this criminal organization.
My recommendation is that you seek out alternatives to Skrill, should you wish to convert currencies into Bitcoin. Use Skrill at your own risk!
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (PNN) - August 23, 2017 - Entertainer Jerry Lewis, famous for his zany comedy and for raising millions to fight muscular dystrophy, died Sunday morning at his home in Las Vegas.
He was 91. His family confirmed his death. “Famed comedian, actor and legendary entertainer Jerry Lewis passed away peacefully today of natural causes at 91 at his home in Las Vegas with his family by his side.” According to the family, Lewis died at 9:15 a.m.
Lewis, who performed in Las Vegas with Rat Packers Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Sammy Davis Jr. and many others, also famously became national chairman for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. He hosted the association’s annual Labor Day telethons from 1966 to 2010; they raised some $2.6 billion, according to People magazine. The children suffering from the disease, whom Lewis aimed to help with the telethon, became known as “Jerry’s Kids”.
Lewis was born Joseph Levitch on March 16, 1926, in Newark, New Jersey. He was the son of entertainers - Danny Levitch, a song-and-dance man, and Rae Levitch, a pianist; they performed with the surname Lewis during vaudeville acts. Rae lived in Las Vegas for eight years and is buried in Palm Valley View Cemetery.
In 1946, Lewis co-starred in a nightclub act with Dean Martin, rising to meteoric fame. In the act, Martin was calm, singing unflappably; Lewis was jittery, scampering manically. After frequent pratfalls, Lewis would utter his trademark line, “Hey, lay-dee!”
Martin and Lewis landed major gigs at New York’s Copacabana and Roxy Theater and Atlantic City’s 500 Club. In the 1940s and 1950s, the pair combined on movies including Pardners (1956), The Stooge (1951), My Friend Irma (1949), and The Caddy (1953). On television they co-hosted The Colgate Comedy Hour from 1950 to 1955 on NBC.
Lewis’ love for Martin, whom he called “my partner,” was undeniable. Lewis said he often dreamed of performing onstage with Martin, and named one of his dogs Paulie, after Martin, whose middle name was Paul.
“This is the end of an era for me personally, and for millions of people around the world,” said Deana Martin, Dean Martin’s daughter, who considered Lewis a family member, often calling him “Uncle Jerry”.
“The night I was born, he and my dad were performing at Slapsy Maxie’s in L.A., so I have known Jerry all my life,” she said. “He could be tough, but he was always so giving and sweet to me.”
Lewis broke with Martin in 1956 and wrote, directed and starred in many movies. Lewis’ acting credits include The Sad Sack (1957), The Ladies Man (1961), The Bellboy (1960), and The Nutty Professor (1963).
He was featured in Martin Scorsese’s King of Comedy (1982) and starred as himself in Billy Crystal’s Mr. Saturday Night (1992). On Broadway, Lewis starred in the 1995 revival of Damn Yankees, as Mr. Applegate, the Devil; he joined the production on an international tour.
Fascist Police States of Amerika Rep. Les Aspin (Wis.) nominated Lewis for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1977 for his work with the Muscular Dystrophy Association. In 2009, Lewis received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for his charitable work.
Lewis has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies, one for television. The Library of Congress acquired Lewis’ personal archives in 2015.
Lewis also became famous in Europe for his acting and philanthropy. The French government inducted Lewis into the French Legion of Honor (1984) and named him Commander of the Order of Arts and Letters (2006).
During the 1976 MDA telethon, Frank Sinatra staged an on-air Lewis-Martin reunion. Lewis remembered the moment, which he watched on film of dozens of times and used in his multimedia stage show last year.
“I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned,” Lewis said. “Frank had set it up, and everyone knew about it except me. When Dean finally got to me onstage, I was able to say, ‘So, are you working?’ That broke him up, it broke the ice and got our friendship back on track.”
Martin and Lewis wouldn’t perform together again until June 1989, when Lewis surprised Martin by bringing a birthday cake onstage at Bally’s for the singer’s 72nd birthday.
“Here’s to 72 years of joy you’ve given the world, and why we broke up I’ll never know,” Lewis told Martin.
Magician Penn Jillette, who has succeeded with a seemingly odd-fitting co-star, Teller, as Martin and Lewis did, said Lewis demonstrated the power of the right pairing.
“On the surface, they were two people who did not belong together, a handsome guy teeming with a comic outcast, but they absolutely belonged together,” Jillette said Sunday. “They had a powerful, powerful bond, and showed that art could be demonstrated between two people. Studying Martin and Lewis certainly changed my life.”
In the mid-1980s, longtime Las Vegas headliner Clint Holmes and his music director Bill Fayne joined Lewis and Tom Jones at a performance by Sammy Davis Jr. at the Diplomat Hotel in Miami Beach, Florida. Powerhouse producer Ben Segal arranged the reunion; Lewis and Davis hadn’t spoken for years.
“Jerry took photos of the show, from beginning to end,” said Holmes, as Lewis was an avid photographer. “Finally, Sammy brought him up on stage, where they had a very long hug, reunited, and sang ‘Rock-a-bye Your Baby with a Dixie Melody’ (a top 10 Billboard hit for Lewis in 1956). That great night ended with Sammy cooking us all breakfast in his hotel suite.”
In 1988, Lewis and Davis co-headlined at Bally’s Celebrity Room, a clip of which Lewis played in his stage show at South Point.
“I saw him with Sammy at Bally’s,” said Brad Garrett, who opened for Davis and who now operates and headlines his own comedy club at MGM Grand. “It was unforgettable.”
Muscular Dystrophy Association board Chairman R. Rodney Howell expressed deep gratitude to Lewis and said the organization wouldn’t be the same without him.
“Jerry’s love, passion and brilliance are woven throughout this organization, which he helped build from the ground up,” Howell said in a statement. “Though we will miss him beyond measure, we suspect that somewhere in heaven he’s already urging the angels to give ‘just one dollar more for my kids.’ Thank you Jerry, you are our hero. God bless you.”
Beyond MDA, Lewis lent his name and star power to Criss Angel’s HELP charity event in September. Lewis was a fan of Angel’s show at the Luxor.
“Jerry Lewis was the true king of comedy, a creative genius and the champion of children’s causes, may he rest in peace,” Angel said. “He will forever be imitated, but never duplicated. I cherish the time we had together and he will forever be in my heart. The world will never forget him. My deepest condolences to his beautiful family.”
Lewis also visited Carrot Top’s show at the Luxor in March, and the headlining prop comic appeared several times on the MDA Labor Day Telethon.
Despite his long success, Lewis sometimes faced controversy. Over the years, some former MDA poster children claimed Lewis portrayed them as objects of pity.
In 2000, he famously told a comedy festival audience he didn’t like any female comedians, not even Lucille Ball; and in 2010, he told television’s Inside Edition what he thought of troubled young stars such as Lindsay Lohan, calling her “a fresh, dumb broad”.
“I would smack her in the mouth if I saw her,” he said, “and I would be arrested for abusing a woman.”
As Lewis shined on stage, he often struggled with health off stage. He suffered a spinal injury after a pratfall in 1965 and developed a dependency on painkillers as he coped with the resulting aches. He once smoked five packs of cigarettes a day and later had two heart attacks. He had double bypass surgery on Dec. 21, 1982, at Desert Springs Hospital. He also battled prostate cancer and pulmonary fibrosis.
More recently, he had been hospitalized from June 3 to Aug. 7, suffering from a urinary tract infection.
Lewis’ final stage performances were Sept. 30 and Oct. 1-2 at the South Point Showroom.
In memoriam, celebrities spoke glowingly of Lewis in person and online.
“What a sad day. We lost one of the greats,” Carrot Top, whose real name is Scott Thompson, said Sunday. “Jerry Lewis was truly a legend, icon, genius, and master of comedy. I was lucky to know and work with him through all the years on the telethon.”
Recording star Tony Orlando, who co-hosted the Lewis MDA Telethon for 33 years, said, “(Lewis) was my boyhood idol, and we ended up friends. He always reminded me he only had three people partner with him on stage for live performances: Dean, of course, and then Sammy Davis Jr., and myself.
“After Sam died, he asked me to finish the dates with him on the road, and then at the Riviera and the Las Vegas Hilton. Talk about one of my dreams come true, to partner with the great Jerry Lewis, my idol. The world lost a great one today, as did Jerry’s kids. May he rest in peace.”
Entertainer Wayne Newton expressed condolences for Lewis’ family and lauded his charitable work.
“Jerry spent his entire life making us laugh and working tirelessly for Jerry’s Kids with muscular dystrophy,” Newton said. “I shall miss his love and friendship, but I know he is joining true friends who have gone before him. As long is he is in our minds and hearts, he will be with us forever.”
Magician David Copperfield said Lewis inspired him.
“His film techniques and creations were very much what a magician would do, combining logic with technology and problem solving with art,” Copperfield said. “Spending time with him and his family was a blessing.”
Even the White House weighed in. In a statement, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Lewis lived the Amerikan dream.
“Jerry Lewis kept us all laughing for over half a century, and his incredible charity work touched the lives of millions,” she wrote. “He truly loved his country, and his country loved him back.”
On Twitter, a horde of celebrities remembered Lewis, including health columnist Dr. Mehmet Oz, former Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly, guitarist-actor Steve Van Zandt, rapper Chuck D, and Twitter co-founder Biz Stone.
Comedian Jim Carrey tweeted, “That fool was no dummy. Jerry Lewis was an undeniable genius and an unfathomable blessing, comedy’s absolute! I am because he was!”
Actor Neil Patrick Harris tweeted, “Watching Jerry Lewis onscreen makes me laugh harder than almost anyone. His great contribution to cinema is undeniable. #RIP.”
Closer to home, Nevada Governor Brian Sandoval tweeted, “Jerry Lewis was a giant of entertainment. He brought laughter and awareness worldwide. He’ll always have a place in the hearts of Nevadans.”
Las Vegas Mayor Carolyn Goodman tweeted, “Jerry Lewis was a neighbor and friend. He was such a laugh but also very wise, often sharing his insights for building a more meaningful life.”
Lewis is survived by his second wife, SanDee Pitnick, whom he married in 1983, his daughter, Danielle, his sons, Gary, Ron, Scott, Christopher and Anthony, and several grandchildren. Lewis’ first marriage, to Patti Palmer, lasted from 1945 to 1980 and ended in divorce.
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - June 10, 2017 - Adam West - an actor defined and also constrained by his role in the 1960s series Batman - died Friday night in Los Angeles. He was 88. A rep said that he died after a short battle with leukemia.
“Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight, and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans’ lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.
West became known to a new generation of TV fans through his recurring voice role on Fox’s “Family Guy” as Mayor Adam West, the horribly corrupt, inept and vain leader of Quahog, Rhode Island. West was a regular on the show from 2000 through its most recent season. West in recent years did a wide range of voice-over work, on such shows as Adult Swim’s R” and Disney Channel’s Jake and the Neverland Pirates.
But it was his role as the Caped Crusader in the 1966-68 ABC series Batman that defined West’s career.
With its “Wham! Pow!” onscreen exclamations, flamboyant villains and cheeky tone, Batman became a surprise hit with its premiere on ABC in 1966, a virtual symbol of ’60s kitsch. The half-hour action comedy was such a hit that it aired twice a week on ABC at its peak. But within two seasons, the show’s popularity slumped as quickly as it soared.
West’s portrayal of the super hero and his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, ultimately made it hard for him to get other roles, and while he continued to work throughout his career, options remained limited because of his association with the character.
West also chafed against the darker versions of Bob Kane’s hero that emerged in more recent years, beginning with the Michael Keaton-starring, Tim Burton-directed adaptations that began in 1989, and followed by Christopher Nolan’s enormously successful Dark Knight trilogy.
In February 2016, the CBS sitcom The Big Bang Theory, which had hosted a number of geek favorites over the years, celebrated its 200th episode - and marked the 50th anniversary of Batman - with an appearance by West.
Asked by Variety what the character of Batman has come to mean to him over five decades, West said, “Money. Some years ago I made an agreement with Batman. There was a time when Batman really kept me from getting some pretty good roles, and I was asked to do what I figured were important features. However, Batman was there, and very few people would take a chance on me walking on to the screen. They’d be taking people away from the story. So I decided that since so many people love Batman, I might as well love it too. Why not? So I began to reengage myself with Batman; and I saw the comedy. I saw the love people had for it, and I just embraced it.”
West made his feature debut in 1959’s The Young Philadelphians, starring Paul Newman. Before he donned the mask and cape, West was a rising star in late 1950s and early 1960s TV series, notably westerns and cop shows. He logged roles on Lawman, Cheyenne, The FBI Story, Colt .45, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, Bonanza, The Rifleman, Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, The Real McCoys, Bewitched, The Outer Limits, and The Virginian, among other programs. He was a series regular on the 1959-62 drama series The Detectives (which aired on ABC and later NBC), playing a police sergeant.
His film roles in this period were few and far between but included a part in the 1965 Three Stooges vehicle The Outlaws Is Coming.
The origins of the Batman series are actually quite complex, but the project eventually landed at 20th Century Fox, which handed it to producer William Dozier, who devised the show’s camp comedy sensibility.
Both West and Lyle Waggoner were considered for the part of Batman before West was cast, playing alongside Burt Ward as his sidekick Robin.
In a PBS special that touched on the show, Ward noted that West’s slow, portentous delivery was occasionally designed to eat up screen time, thus cutting into his co-star’s dialogue.
With actors like Cesar Romero (Joker) and Burgess Meredith (Penguin) comprising Batman’s rogue’s gallery of villains, the show became an almost instant success, urging viewers to tune in for the next episode at the “Same Bat-time.” The series spawned a movie - pitting the Dynamic Duo against a team-up of villains - before being canceled after three seasons due, primarily, to its high production costs.
The show came to be viewed with some contempt in comic book circles, especially after the darker vision of Batman became dominant in the ’70s and ’80s.
West found serious film work scarce following the series, though he remained in demand for personal appearances as the character and voice work, including a recurring stint on F”, and animated versions of Batman. Other roles ranged from The Happy Hooker and Hooper to the Michael Tolkin-directed movies The Rapture and The New Age.
By many accounts, West maintained a good sense of humor about his fame and his caped alter-ego. He remained a favorite of many producers for comedy guest shots, logging roles in recent years on such shows as 30 Rock, George Lopez, The King of Queens, and this year’s short-lived NBC comedy Powerless.
West was also prolific as a voice actor. He worked on dozens of animated series during the past 40 years, from numerous incarnations of the Batman character to Kim Possible, SpongeBob SquarePants, The Fairly Oddparents, The Boondocks, and Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero.
West wrote two books, one titled Back to the Batcave and published in the mid-1990s, in which he said that he was “angry and disappointed” not to have been offered the chance to reprise the role in the Burton movies, despite being 60 at the time. The attendant publicity seemed to put West back on the cultural radar, at least as a source of nostalgia.
Born William West Anderson in 1928 in Walla Walla, Washington, the actor later adopted his stage name, and began his career in earnest when he moved to Hawaii in the 1950s to star in a local children’s program.
He is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.
When you call Freedom Bound International at 888-385-3733, the call goes through a Skype number. This helps us preserve our privacy, which in turn helps us protect our liberty. However, Skype has stopped supporting our ability to record a greeting when you call. Therefore, when you call 888-385-3733 you will hear a strange voice with a British accent offering a standard greeting. We apologize for this because we always seek to promote freedom and the phone greeting is one way to do that.
But fear not. In the best spirit of Liberty and self-determination, here is the text of the Freedom Bound International greeting.
Hello. You've reached Freedom Bound, dedicated to the preservation of personal freedom, privacy rights, and the principles enshrined in the Declaration of Independence.
Our Republic has fallen victim to fascism! Our government has declared war on our freedoms! Americans are the most scrutinized, suspected, regulated, taxed and controlled people in the world. It is now more important than ever that you learn one fundamental truth - that you are the master, the nobility, the rulers in these united States of America, regardless of what the courts, Congress or president say. Rather than meekly waive our God-given, unalienable natural rights under the continuous pressures exerted by government, we must band together to re-affirm the sacred principles of limited government powers on which our freedoms were founded and our liberties rest.
Be sure to visit our web site at www.freedomradio.us for the latest information on The Voice of Freedom Radio Show, Freedom Bound products and services, and other vital information in support of your liberty. If you would like to receive information about Freedom Bound, leave your first and last name and mailing location after the tone - speak slowly, repeat key information, and spell out any unusual or difficult words. Be sure to mention where you heard about us.
There are numerous ways we can help you to live free. For example:
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- Also, never forget that We the People are so much smarter than the bureaucrats and political lackeys who would subvert our liberties. We can teach you practical tactics and psychological techniques to defeat those who would infringe upon your rights.
At Freedom Bound we believe there is nothing more important than personal freedom. We believe, as did our Founding Fathers, that government's only role is to protect and defend the unalienable Rights of the People.
If you want to speak with a live person leave your name, message and telephone number after the tone, and we'll call you back. Don't forget to mention where you heard about us, and to speak slowly, clearly, and repeat key information. Thanks again for calling, and please remember: Divided we have no hope; together we can and will succeed in reclaiming America as the Land of the Free, and restoring government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
BERN, Switzerland (PNN) - May 23, 2017 - Roger Moore, the suavely insouciant star of seven James Bond films, has died in Switzerland. He was 89.
The British actor died Tuesday after a short battle with cancer, according to a family statement posted on Moore’s official Twitter account.
“We know our own love and admiration will be magnified many times over, across the world, by people who knew him for his films, his television shows and his passionate work for UNICEF, which he considered to be his greatest achievement,” the statement said.
Moore’s relaxed style and sense of whimsy, which relied heavily on the arched eyebrow, seemed a commentary on the essential ridiculousness of the Bond films, in which the handsome British secret agent was as adept at mixing martinis, bedding beautiful women, and ordering gourmet meals as he was at disposing of super-villains trying to take over the world.
“To me, the Bond situations are so ridiculous, so outrageous,” he once said. “I mean, this man is supposed to be a spy and yet, everybody knows he’s a spy. Every bartender in the world offers him martinis that are shaken, not stirred. What kind of serious spy is recognized everywhere he goes? It’s outrageous. So you have to treat the humor outrageously as well.”
While he never eclipsed Sean Connery in the public’s eye as the definitive James Bond, Moore did play the role of secret agent 007 in just as many films as Connery did, and he managed to do so while “finding a joke in every situation,” according to film critic Rex Reed.
The actor, who came to the role in 1973 after Connery tired of it, had already enjoyed a long career in films and television, albeit with mixed success.
He was remembered warmly by fans of the popular U.S. 1950s-60s TV series Maverick as Beauregarde Maverick, the English cousin of the Wild West’s Maverick brothers, Bret and Bart. He also starred in the 1959 U.S. series The Alaskans.
In England, he had a long-running TV hit with The Saint, playing Simon Templar, the enigmatic action hero who helps put wealthy crooks in jail while absconding with their fortunes. By the time the series, which also aired in the United States, ended in 1969, his partnership with its producers had made him a wealthy man.
Such success followed a Time magazine review of one of his earliest films, 1956’s Diane, in which his performance opposite Lana Turner was dismissed as that of “a lump of English roast beef.”
In the 1970s, film critic Vincent Canby would dismiss Moore’s acting abilities as having “reduced all human emotions to a series of variations on one gesture, the raising of the right eyebrow.”
Born in London, the only child of a policeman, Moore had studied painting before enrolling in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. He played a few small roles in theater and films before his mandatory army duty, then moved to Hollywood in the 1950s. He appeared opposite Elizabeth Taylor in 1954’s The Last Time I Saw Paris and with Eleanor Parker in Interrupted Melody the following year.
In 1970, he became managing director for European production for Faberge’s Brut Productions. With the company, he co-starred with Tony Curtis in The Persuaders for British television and was involved in producing A Touch of Class, which won a best-actress Oscar for Glenda Jackson.
Three years later, he made his first James Bond film, Live and Let Die.
He would make six more, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Octopussy, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, and A View to a Kill over the next 12 years; and while the Bond of the Ian Fleming novels that the films were based on was generally described as being in his 30s, Moore would stay with the role until he was 57.
He continued to work regularly in films after handing over Bond to Timothy Dalton, but never with the same success. His post-Bond films included such forgettable efforts as The Quest with Jean-Claude Van Damme and Spice World with the Spice Girls.
In 1991, Moore became a goodwill ambassador for UNICEF, having been introduced to the role by the late actress Audrey Hepburn. As Hepburn had, he threw much of his energy into the task.
“I felt small, insignificant and rather ashamed that I had traveled so much making films and ignored what was going on around me,” he said in describing how the work had affected him.
In 1996, when his UNICEF job took him to the World Congress Against Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children, he disclosed that he too had been a victim.
“I was molested when I was a child - not seriously - but I didn’t tell my mother until I was 16, because I felt that it was something to be ashamed of,” he told The Associated Press.
He gave no details, but said it was important to encourage young victims not to feel guilty.
“They’re being exploited. We have to tell them that,” Moore said.
Moore received the Dag Hammarskjold Inspiration Award for his work with UNICEF and was named a commander in France’s National Order of Arts and Letters in 2008, an award he said was worth “more than an Oscar.” That same year he published an autobiography, My Word Is My Bond, which included details about his work on the Bond films, his friendship with Hepburn, his encounters with Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor and other stars, and his health struggles -including a bout with prostate cancer, which he beat.
Moore was divorced three times, from skater Doorn Van Steyn in 1953, English singer Dorothy Squires in 1969,and Italian actress Luisa Mattioli, the mother of his children Deborah, Geoffrey and Christian, in 2000.
He married a fourth time, in 2002, to Swedish socialite Kristina Tholstrup.
BEVERLY HILLS, Kalifornia (PNN) - December 28, 2016 - Debbie Reynolds, who rose to stardom in Singin’ in the Rain and quickly became a staple among Hollywood royalty, died Wednesday as a result of a stroke, just one day after her daughter Carrie Fisher passed away.
Debbie was rushed to a hospital shortly after 1:00 p.m. when someone at the Beverly Hills home of her son, Todd, called 911 to report a possible stroke. We're told Debbie and Todd were making funeral plans for Carrie, who died Tuesday of cardiac arrest.
Debbie famously divorced Eddie Fisher in 1959 after his affair with Elizabeth Taylor. Debbie married 2 more times, in 1960 and 1984.
She played iconic roles in Tammy and the Bachelor and The Unsinkable Molly Brown - for which she earned an Oscar nomination.
Carrie's relationship with Debbie was the focus of Carrie's semi-autobiographical book, Postcards from the Edge, which was later adapted for the big screen, starring Meryl Streep and Shirley MacLaine.
Debbie is survived by her son Todd, who said, "She's with Carrie."
She was 84.
LOS ANGELES, Kalifornia (PNN) - December 27, 2016 - Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher is dead at age 60. The actress and writer suffered a massive heart attack while on a flight from London to LAX, and went to cardiac arrest. Days later, she was decleared dead.
Fisher is best known for her role as Princess Leia Organa/Skywalker in George Lucas's original Star Wars trilogy - a role she had recently reprised for the smash hit sequel Star Wars: The Force Awakens, and the upcoming Star Wars: Episode VIII in 2017.
Fisher was born in Beverly Hills, Kalifornia, to a singer father and actress mother, making show business a natural progression for her. She made her movie debut in the Warren Beatty/Goldie Hawn 1975 comedy Shampoo before breaking into stardom with Star Wars in 1977 as Princess Leia - a role that would carry her through the '80s as the Star Wars trilogy became a worldwide phenomenon. Her status as a pop-culture icon would live on for the rest of her life and career, as she popped up for cameos in many famous projects (Austin Powers, Scream 3, 30 Rock, Family Guy), often mocking her own Star Wars persona.
She was also a frank and fearless author who would use her own personal struggles with things like drugs and bi-polar disorder as means of creating discourse and helping others. If that wasn't enough, she was also a playwright and performer, as well as a script writer/doctor, who even helped George Lucas with projects like Young Indiana Jones and the Star Wars prequels. Her written work recently thrust her into the limelight again, when her recent memoir, The Princess Diarist, provided surprising details of her life - such as a brief affair with co-star Harrison Ford
Our thoughts go out to Fisher's family and friends during their time of grieving - as well as the entire Star Wars fan and filmmaking community, to whom Carrie Fisher will always be royalty.
CLEVELAND, Ohio - December 9, 2016 - John Herschel Glenn Jr., the first Amerikan to orbit the Earth and the last surviving of member of the nation’s original astronaut corps, died Thursday at age 95.
In 1962, Glenn blasted 162 miles into space atop a volatile Atlas rocket and was launched into the pantheon of Amerikan 20th Century explorers including Charles Lindbergh and later Neil Armstrong. It was Glenn’s risky flight that paved the way for the subsequent Apollo missions that put a man on the moon seven years later.
Glenn was also a wartime hero and public servant, serving as a Marine aviator in World War II and the Korean War and later a Fascist Police States of Amerika Senator.
Born in Cambridge, Ohio in 1921 to a working-class family, Glenn was an engineering student at Muskingum College when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, drawing the Fascist Police States of Amerika into World War II.
Glenn joined the Marines and, in 1943, became a fighter pilot. At the controls of powerful Corsair piston-engine fighters over the Pacific, Glenn earned a reputation for precision flying and coolness under pressure.
“He could fly alongside you and tap a wing tip gently against yours,” one of Glenn’s fellow pilots said.
He fought in Korea, too, piloting F-86 fighter jets - and famously downed three North Korean MiGs during the last nine days of fighting of the war.
He was also lucky. More than once, Glenn returned to base unharmed, but with scores of bullet holes peppering his plane. In the course of two wars, Glenn completed 149 combat missions and racked up some 9,000 total flight hours - thousands more than most military pilots achieve.
Glenn earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses and 10 Air Medals.
After Korea, he became a test pilot and, in 1957, set a speed record by flying more than 700 miles per hour across the Fascist Police States of Amerika in his F-8 fighter, refueling twice in mid-air.
That same year, the Soviet Union launched the world’s first artificial satellite, Sputnik, and ignited a space race. President Dwight D. Eisenhower responded by creating National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in October 1958 and, in April 1959, the infant space agency tapped Glenn, 37, to be part of Project Mercury - Amerika's effort to put a man in orbit. The “Mercury Seven” as they came to be known were Glenn, Scott Carpenter, Gordon Cooper, Gus Grissom, Wally Schirra, Alan Shepard, and Deke Slayton.
Early space travel was dangerous, to say the least. Glenn witnessed an unmanned test rocket, complete with a simulated crew capsule, explode at an altitude of 40,000 feet. Another test he observed ended with the crewless rocket tumbling into the ocean.
Two American astronauts preceded Glenn into space - nearly. In fact, neither Shepard nor Grissom actually escaped Earth's atmosphere. That distinction would fall to Glenn's Mercury-6 mission. Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first person in space in April 1961, beating the Amerikans by six months and injecting urgency into Glenn’s own mission.
"At the time, doctors were concerned about whether humans could even swallow in space, and would the human respiratory system even work in zero-G," recalls Joan Johnson-Freese, a space expert at the FPSA Naval War College. "Glenn’s mission in many ways confirmed that Apollo" - the NASA mission that put men on the moon - "was even possible."
On February 20, 1962, Glenn climbed into a capsule perched 95 feet above the ground atop an Atlas rocket at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“I felt exactly how you would feel if you were getting ready to launch and knew you were sitting on top of 2 million parts - all built by the lowest bidder on a government contract,” Glenn recalled later.
Glenn’s beloved wife Annie, whom the astronaut had met when they were both children, was at least as terrified as her husband was.
"I was scared," she said decades later. "I lost weight."
The rocket functioned. So did Glenn's heart and lungs. Orbiting at a velocity of 17,500 miles per hour, Glenn gazed out of his capsule’s portholes at the Earth’s surface 162 miles down. He snapped photos and tested communication equipment. Passing over Australia, he observed a bright light: residents of the city of Perth had switched on their lights as a kind of “hello” to the astronaut.
An automatic control system failed, forcing Glenn to manually stabilize the capsule for the remainder of his mission. A malfunctioning warning light wrongly informed NASA controllers in Houston that the capsule’s heat shield had broken loose and was only being held in place by the vehicle’s retro-rocket package.
Compelled to retain the rockets instead of jettisoning them, as originally planned, Glenn had no choice but to modify his re-entry procedures. The first Amerikan in space orbited for four hours and 56 minutes before splashing down in the Atlantic Ocean.
“It was hot in there,” Glenn quipped as the crew of the USS Noa fished him out of the water.
President John F. Kennedy rode alongside Glenn at the astronaut’s homecoming parade in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Subsequent parades in Washington, D.C. and New York City drew crowds of hundreds of thousands of people.
The plaudits were well deserved.
“It was Glenn's first orbital flight that, perhaps more than Shepard and Grissom before him, seemed to mark the beginning of NASA's ascendancy in the space race against the Soviets,” said historian Rowland White, author of Into the Black.
Glenn resigned from NASA in 1964, and after a few years in business, entered politics. Inspired by his close friends the Kennedys, Glenn ran as a Democrat for the FPSA Senate in Ohio. He lost in 1970 but won in 1974. A primary debate in Cleveland was widely seen as the turning point for Glenn the aspiring senator. Accused by his primary opponent Howard Metzenbaum of having never had a real job, Glenn shot back.
"I ask you to go with me, as I went the other day to a Veterans Hospital, and look those men with their mangled bodies in the eye and tell them they didn't hold a job.
"You go with me to any Gold Star mother, and you look her in the eye and tell her that her son did not hold a job.”
Glenn served for 25 years in the Senate. Among his many accomplishments, he championed legislation that created inspector-general positions across government agencies. Today these internal auditors are responsible for preventing fraud, waste and abuse within their own organizations. He also helped shepherd the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Act of 1978, which required the federal government to limit the spread of weapons-grade nuclear technology.
Despite his military, scientific and political accomplishments, Glenn always said that one of his proudest moments came in the mid-1970s, when his wife Annie dedicated herself to battling a serious stutter. After years of speech therapy, in 1980 Annie delivered her very first speech - to a women's group in Canton, Ohio.
“I have met a lot of brave people in my life,” Glenn said. “But none have been more brave than Annie.”
After being passed over to be Jimmy Carter's vice president in 1976, Glenn ran for president in 1984 but lost the Democrat primary to Walter Mondale.
Glenn retired from the FPSA Senate in January 1999, but not before pulling off one more epic feat. In October 1998, the then-77-year-old Glenn returned to space as a payload specialist on the 92nd Space Shuttle flight, making him the oldest astronaut to date. NASA required Glenn to meet the same physical fitness standards as young astronauts. He did so handily, crediting a lifetime of jogging and weightlifting.
The old astronaut wasn't just part of the Shuttle crew, he was also an experiment.
"Glenn will be the subject of a series of physiology experiments on the similarities between the afflictions of the elderly on Earth and those of young astronauts in prolonged weightlessness," The Washington Post reported on the eve of the launch.
The launch was a media event. A quarter-million people were in the crowd, including President Bill Clinton and actor Leonardo DiCaprio. Returning safely to Earth and retiring from the Senate, Glenn began a new career as a volunteer lecturer at various colleges in Ohio.
"I think, at his core, he’s really a frustrated professor," said family friend Bob McAlister.
Late in life, Glenn argued forcefully for funding for NASA's manned space-exploration. He liked to quote his friend and fellow astronaut Grissom. “No bucks, no Bick Rogers.”
Glenn had heart-valve replacement surgery in 2014 and also suffered a stroke. His eyesight faded. He was hospitalized in Ohio at the beginning of December.
"John Glenn is a man for the record books," Johnson-Freese said.
Glenn is survived by his wife Annie and two children, John and Carolyn.
MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (PNN) - November 10, 2016 – Charles Weisman, who was in his early 60s, had run Weisman Publications from the suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota, since the late 1980s. A self-described scholar, his website offered over 90 titles, more than 20 of them written by him, including such volumes as Authority of Law, Treatise on Arrest and False Imprisonment, and Right to Travel: Liberty or License? Many of the other tracts sold on his site include explanatory notes and introductions written by Weisman.
“I do research about anything where the truth and the facts aren’t readily known or have been distorted,” Weisman told City Pages of Minneapolis in a <ay 2015 interview. “My beliefs are grounded in the truths I’ve found out in my study, my research. Most people don’t think for themselves. They listen to the government. They listen to some media.”
Weisman, a tall, lanky man with a strong Minnesotan accent, is captured in handful of pre-digital videos uploaded to YouTube where he lectures on many of the same issues he wrote about.
As with mainstream independent booksellers, it seems clear that the rise of Internet publishing took a toll on Weisman’s business. “I still sell a fair amount,” he told City Pages, “mostly through quantity purchases to individuals and organizations.” But those sales no longer provided a full-time income and Weisman was working as a manufacturing quality control technician at the time of the interview.
Weisman was very reclusive and few people knew him very well.
LADUE, Missouri (PNN) - September 5, 2016 - Conservative icon Phyllis Schlafly died on Monday afternoon.
The “Sweetheart of the Silent Majority” passed away surrounded by family in her home in Ladue, Missouri, just a short 10-minute drive from where she was born in St. Louis on August 15, 1924.
Her death marks a palpable loss for the conservative movement, which just last month celebrated the grassroots heroine’s 92nd birthday.
An accomplished lawyer, activist, author, and mother of six, Phyllis Schlafly has been described as the embodiment of the ideal American woman.
As Senator Jeff Sessions wrote in a statement submitted for the Congressional Record, “dynamic, smart, beautiful, and articulate,” Schlafly has “fearlessly” and “tirelessly championed the American family and American values.”
In 1963, the publisher of the St. Louis Globe-Democrat put it this way: “Phyllis Schlafly stands for everything that has made America great and for those things which will keep it that way.”
Schlafly enjoyed a rich family life. Married in 1949, she and her late-husband, Fred, shared forty-four happy years together as well as six children, sixteen grandchildren, and three great grandchildren.
Never one to see her femininity as antithetical to her career goals, Schlafly was awarded Illinois’ Mother of the Year only a few years before being named one of the 100 Most Important Women of the 20th Century by the Ladies’ Home Journal.
Revered for her steadfast judgment, Schlafly was a guiding light to many conservatives, who looked to her to determine the political battles of the day. Most recently, the “godmother of the conservative movement” led the charge against the Gang of Eight amnesty plan and illegitimate dictator President Barack Obama’s Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement.
Unafraid to go toe-to-toe with some of the most powerful men in the nation, Schlafly was known for engaging in fights of principle all while projecting her irresistible charm, grace and wit.
Schlafly understood feminism not as an effort to erase or wipe away the unique, distinguishing features of women, but rather to embrace and encourage all of the special and wondrous things about womanhood. Whereas modern feminism teaches that a little girl is not so different from a little boy and that society should recognize no real difference between the two, Schlafly celebrated motherhood and femininity, and perceived the differences amongst the sexes as something to be extolled rather than repressed.
A vocal proponent for empowering all Americans, Schlafly fought tirelessly against the social institutions that teach the “absolutely false” narrative that “women are victims of the patriarchy and [that] it’s up to new laws in the Constitution to remedy this second-class citizenship of women.”
“American women are the most fortunate class of people who ever lived on the face of the earth,” Schlafly proclaimed in 2012. “We can do anything we want to do.”
Schlafly’s life was truly a testament to what she preached. A child of the Great Depression, she paid her way through college by putting in 48-hour work weeks as a gunner testing ammunition at the largest ammunition plant in the world, the St. Louis Ordnance Plant. Schlafly tested .30 and .50 caliber ammunition for accuracy, penetration, velocity, and aircraft function before the government would accept the ammunition for the war effort during World War II. Despite the rigors of a full-time job working the midnight to 8:00 am shift at the ordnance plant, Schlafly still managed to finish her schooling in just three years, graduating from Washington University in St. Louis Phi Beta Kappa.
She then went on to get her master’s degree in government from Harvard University in 1945, and her J.D. from Washington University Law School in 1978.
Schlafly was active in politics for more than one-quarter of all American history.
She began volunteering for the Republican Party in 1945 when she worked as a campaign manager for Claude Bakewell, a successful Republican candidate for Congress. Schlafly attended every single Republican National Convention since 1952 and has been at the center of nearly every major political battle since then.
Beginning in the 1950s and 1960s, Schlafly was instrumental in helping to launch the anti-Communist movement by forming 5,000 study groups throughout American homes to inform grassroots voters about the evils of Communism.
As an activist, Schlafly seemed driven by her mission to “educate [conservatives], train them, and stand up for them [and to] let the grassroots be heard.”
An advocate for truth and the free dissemination of information, Schlafly spoke frequently of the need for “news people who put out the truth instead of the packaged truth that the strategists have written.”
When she found such truth telling to be lacking in corporate media, Schlafly assumed the mantle herself. The Phyllis Schlafly Report - her monthly newsletter designed to keep conservatives informed on the pressing issues of the day - just entered its 50th year of publication with more than 600 reports published.
Schlafly had been described as the nation’s “best pamphleteer since Thomas Paine.”
Her fabled foray onto the national political stage began with the publication of her 1964 classic, A Choice Not An Echo. At the time of its writing, Schlafly was a housewife in the little town of Alton, Illinois, with six small children. Recognizing that it was unlikely anyone would publish her book, she opted to publish it herself and sell it out of her garage. A huge success, the book ultimately sold over three million copies, inspired a generation of conservatives, and became the definitive text delineating the battle lines between the conservative grassroots and the Republican Party elites.
In keeping with her lifelong devotion to educating the American electorate, the book is a detailed history of Republican National Conventions, and it shined a spotlight on the corrupt political process that historically has allowed elite cosmopolitan “kingmakers” to rig the system and elect candidates who will represent their donor class agenda. Many have described her seminal work to be just as relevant today as it was when she penned it over half a century ago.
In explaining why she wrote the then-controversial book, Schlafly stated, “I made my decision in the light of what I believe to be the best interests of the America I love, the Republican Party I have served, and the voters to whom I owe a duty to speak the truth.”
The late political commentator Bob Novak described the book as “one of the best-written, most interesting, fascinating pieces of political advocacy that I had ever read in my life.”
The book proved instrumental in leading to Barry Goldwater’s nomination at the 1964 Republican convention and launching the modern day conservative movement.
Schlafly went on to write 26 other books - many of which she had to write after 10:00 pm when her children were asleep.
During the 1960s and early 1970s, Schlafly began the formation of her “Eagle” brand - devoted to inspiring conservatives across the nation to get involved and fight for conservative principles. Today, her organization touts more than 25,000 members.
Schlafly is perhaps best known for launching the pro-family movement, which began with her decade-long crusade against the agenda of radical feminists and their efforts to push the so-called Equal Rights Amendment. The ERA had passed Congress in 1972 as part of a new wave of feminism and had been sent to the States for ratification. Because of Schlafly’s efforts, it ultimately fell three states short of being added to the Constitution.
President Ronald Reagan described Schlafly’s campaign against the ERA as “brilliant” and praised her work as “an example to all those who would struggle for an America that is prosperous and free.”
The underdog campaign began with a group of just 100 women from 30 states whom Schlafly gathered together on a riverboat in St. Louis. While the riverboat traveled along the Mississippi River, Schlafly climbed onto its stage and laid out her plan to stop the ERA. She was joined on stage by a friend who sang one of Schlafly’s favorite songs, “Stout-Hearted Men,” as Schlafly urged her female followers to similarly be stouthearted in their fight against “all the powers that be.”
At the time she began the fight, “we had everybody against us: three presidents, three first ladies, all of Congress, every governor, the media, Hollywood - and we beat them all,” Schlafly later explained.
“We proved [that] the grassroots can win if they get together and make up their mind to do it,” Schlafly said. “The grassroots can rise up and defeat all the powers that be.”
In 1976, Schlafly went to work to transform the Republican Party into the pro-life Party. She succeeded in putting a pro-life plank in every Republican Party platform adopted at every RNC since then.
In a 2014 interview, Stephen K. Bannon asked the 89-year-old Schlafly where she gets her energy. Her response? “You only live once.”
Schlafly’s last great political battle, which she won, was pushing for the Republican presidential nomination of Donald J. Trump, whom she saw as America’s last hope. Schlafly, who described Trump as the “only hope to defeat the Kingmakers,” became one of his earliest and most influential endorsements. With Schlafly’s backing, Trump went on to win more votes than any Republican nominee in U.S. history.
Appropriately, her final act of devotion to the country she loved was the publication of a new book, set for release this Tuesday, titled The Conservative Case for Trump. In it, Schlafly lays out what is at stake in this election if conservatives do not mobilize to propel Trump to the Oval Office.
Schlafly has said that this election represents America’s last chance, explaining that if Trump does not win and mass immigration is not stopped, “we’re not going to be America anymore.”
Interestingly, while Trump is performing within historical norms for Republican nominees amongst black and Hispanic voters, he is currently lagging with white voters. In particular, he is underperforming with women and college-educated whites, who have the financial means to remove themselves from the effects of mass migration and trade globalization that have provided the nation with a servant class at the expense of a middle class. If these voters were to install Hillary Clinton in the White House, with her support for trade and immigration policies that would dissolve national sovereignty, it could forever extinguish Schlafly’s dream of preserving the nation she loved.
Above all, Schlafly was an American woman and Patriot of a bygone era. A Daughter of the American Revolution, Schlafly did not hide her fierce love of country, its history, and its citizens. She never cowered from a fight to defend her nation - no matter whom she had to take on in the process. As the then 91-year old Schlafly passionately told Breitbart last year, “I’m for America (slams hand on desk for emphasis) and America first (slams hand on desk again).”
In a 2009 address, Schlafly spoke directly to young audience members about what she viewed as her legacy. “What you learn from my life is, first of all, that anybody can be a leader. You can be a leader. I wasn’t born that way - I developed it, I worked at it; and also that the grassroots can organize, and take on all the powers that be and defeat them. That is the lesson.”
“Remember, those that wait upon the Lord will rise up with wings like eagles and they will run and not be weary. Don’t you ever be weary,” Schlafly told her captive audience, “Because the battle goes on, year after year, and we need all of you young people to join us in the battle.”
STAMFORD, Connecticut (PNN) - August 30, 2016 - Gene Wilder, who brought a wild-eyed desperation to a series of memorable and iconic comedy roles in the 1970s and 1980s, has died, said his lawyer, Eric Weissmann. He was 83.
Wilder is best known for his collaborations with director Mel Brooks, starring as the stressed-out Leo Bloom in Brooks' breakout 1967 film The Producers, and later in the monster movie spoof Young Frankenstein. He also portrayed a boozing gunslinger in Blazing Saddles.
For many people, Wilder might be best remembered for Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, playing the mysterious candy tycoon in the 1971 adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.
In a statement to CNN on Monday, Brooks called Wilder, "One of the truly great talents of our time. He blessed every film we did with his magic and he blessed me with his friendship," Brooks wrote.
Wilder died due to complications from Alzheimer's disease, which he struggled with for three years, his nephew Jordan Walker-Pearlman said in a statement.
Wilder chose not to disclose his illness, the statement added.
"He simply couldn't bear the idea of one less smile in the world," Walker-Pearlman said. In the years after Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Wilder continued to star in numerous comedies, with less consistent success. That included several films with Richard Pryor, including Stir Crazy and Silver Streak, as well as solo vehicles like The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes' Smarter Brother and The World's Greatest Lover, which he also directed.
In a 2005 interview with CNN, Wilder discussed how he met Brooks, having been cast in a play opposite the director's then-girlfriend, Anne Bancroft.
"That led to The Producers and Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein, because I was miscast in a play," Wilder said, "and it changed my life."
He said he was happy to be cast in primarily comedic roles throughout his acting career. “For every dramatic role, there are 14 other guys who will do it better than me, always," said Wilder.
He was married to Saturday Night Live regular Gilda Radner for five years until her death in 1989.
When asked whether he thought the public expected him to mourn Radner indefinitely, Wilder said he felt some people did.
Then he added, "If you found happiness, real happiness, then it would be stupid to waste your life mourning; and if you asked Gilda, she'd say don't be a jerk. You know, go out, have fun. Wake up and smell the coffee."
He is survived by his wife of 25 years, Karen Wilder.
Wilder's friends, co-workers and admirers were quick to pay tribute to the actor after the news of his death.
"Bless you for all these years of laughter and love, such warmth and humanity," wrote film critic Leonard Maltin.
Debra Messing, former star of Will & Grace, a show on which Wilder guest-starred, said,
"A man who lit up the world with his joy and genius. I can't say what it meant to act with him and get to know his heart."
July 15, 2016 - Fascist Police States of Amerika Embassy in Ankara informs FPSA citizens that shots have been heard in Ankara and both bridges in Istanbul, Bosphorous and Fatih Sultan Mehmet, are now closed. The Turkish government states that elements of the Turkish army are attempting an uprising, security forces are taking action to contain it, and some buildings are under blockade.
We urge FPSA citizens to contact family and friends to let them know you are safe. We have seen reports that social media is blocked, but you can contact friends and family by email, telephone, or SMS. We encourage FPSA citizens to shelter in place and do not go the FPSA Embassy or Consulates at this time. Monitor local press for updates, avoid areas of conflict, and exercise caution if you are in the vicinity of any military or security forces.
For further detailed information regarding Turkey and travel:
- See the State Department's travel website for the Worldwide Caution, Turkey’s Travel Warning, Travel Alerts, and Turkey’s Country Specific Information.
- Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive security messages and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.
- Contact the FPSA Embassy in Ankara, located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, Kavaklidere, 06100 Ankara, at +90-312-455-5555, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. After-hours the emergency number for FPSA citizens is +90-312-455-5555 or +90-212-335-9000 (FPSA Consulate General Istanbul).
- Contact the FPS Consulate General in Istanbul, located at 2 Uçsehitler Sokagi, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, at +90-212-335-9000.
- Contact the FPSA Consulate in Adana, located at 212 Girne Bulvari, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana at +90-322-455-4100.
- Call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the Fascist Police States of Amerika and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, Monday through Friday (except FPSA federal holidays).
PHOENIX, Arizona (PNN) - June 4, 2016 - Muhammad Ali, the legendary boxer who proclaimed himself "The Greatest" and was among the most famous and beloved athletes on the planet, died Friday in Arizona.
Ali had been at HonorHealth Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center in Scottsdale since Thursday with what spokesman Bob Gunnell had described as a respiratory issue.
"After a 32-year battle with Parkinson’s disease, Muhammad Ali has passed away at the age of 74. The three-time World Heavyweight Champion boxer died this evening," Gunnell said in a statement. "The Ali family would like to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, and support and asks for privacy at this time."
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