Our annual New Year greeting is on-line for this holiday season.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Then, I hear from a colleague that Roby suddenly and unexpectedly exited the planet. Immediately I went into disbelief. There was nothing on Google or anything.
Then, finally, I got the following from Bob Bennett and Terry Clark:
Roby Duke - Sudden DepartureWe’ve found additional information at http://www.robyduke.com/ and information on Roby’s funeral and memorial services at http://www.robydukefamily.com/home.
10:46 PM PST
Paso Robles, CA
I’m away from home until Sunday afternoon. This morning I got sad word
that my friend Roby Duke died suddenly (details are forthcoming, but it
appears it may have happened on Wednesday and discovered late Thursday
night). I've been excitedly telling folks for weeks the plans Roby and I
had to collaborate on a Christmas album for Fall 2008. I have always had
great admiration and love for him ... for his music and as a fellow
traveler. In times like these, I am most afraid of saying something
stupid, something shopworn, some pseudo-spiritual platitude tossed out
carelessly. It might be a spot of pride on my part, but also the notion
that I don't want to cheapen or minimize the difficulty of such a sudden
and, by human horizontal-view standards, a tragic loss as this. I will
only say again that I dearly loved this man. If you have heard him or
ever met him, chances are very good you feel the same. Shortly after I
found out, it was my difficult task (self-appointed, but necessary) to
call Terry Clark about this ... later in the day he and his wife Nancy
wrote a much more lucid and God-in-view response than I can manage here:
Dear Catalyst Family,
Our dear friend, Roby Duke, has preceded us into the presence of our
Savior, after a sudden heart attack yesterday, December 27, 2007.
We want to honor Roby and thank God for the life of sacrifice and
service that was itself a treasure given to those who knew him and
thousands of people who heard his music. He deeply impacted our lives
and we are eternally grateful.
Since 1993, Roby’s genius has been responsible for the production of U
Gada No, Love Heals, This Christmas, Only Believe and The PRIZE. During
those years we have become brothers.
We were so blessed to have been with him for his birthday earlier this
month, then again last Sunday as we played together at Calvary Chapel in
Thousand Oaks, CA. He kept glancing over at me as he sang his final
song, “I Shall See God,”" as if to assure me that he fully believed what
he was singing like never before. It was such a sweet and powerful
moment as the whole congregation echoed over and over, "I shall see Him,
touch His face."
Our prayers are with Brantley, Roby’s son; Anne Baldwin, his assistant
and the whole Duke family.
Thanks, Lord, for loaning Roby to us for a little while. It was way too
short, it seemed we had so much more to do. But we are absolutely sure
You know how to perfectly satisfy the deepest longings of our hearts.
You've welcomed him personally to do exactly what he has been singing
about for as long as we've known him.
So long, Roby. We'll see you soon.
Terry & Nancy Clark
Looking at the last of the antibiotics and the horse pills I’ve been taking. Feels as if the last of this bug is out of my system. Well, at least, I can stand upright without falling over and feel well enough to go outside and mingle with other people.
I put David Byrne’s über percussive song “Like Humans Do” on and tried some tail feather shaking. What do you know...
I CAN DANCE!
Which is funny, considering I couldn’t dance before going on the meds. Hmm... why are those people on the other side of the club falling on the floor, laughing? Oh well...
Maybe it is true that being sick can really make you appreciate having your health. But next time, I will just write a reminder to myself, “Appreciate your health.” A lot easier than falling out on your posterior anatomies for a couple weeks and then having to choke down several gigantic horse pills every day.
Friday, December 28, 2007
My buddy Jeff and I were discussing home improvements. He sunk a ton of cash in remodeling his place and I spent maybe a good hunk of that on my place… with more improvements upcoming.
One big upgrade I have been considering is to add some decorative lighting to the exterior of my house. Not like gaudy or audacious Christmas or other holiday lighting… I am thinking something functional with a soupçon of class. That is where landscape lighting comes in. LED landscape lighting is:
Deterring would-be thieves from your property
Providing nice highlights to your outdoor living space
- Energy efficient
Costing about 90% less than incandescent lights
Giving an average life of 50,000 hours
Sponsored by: landscape lighting
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim state (serving two terms as Prime Minister of Pakistan), was assassinated earlier today by an assailant who subsequently exploded a suicide bomb, killing himself and twenty innocent bystanders. According to the BBC, Mrs Bhutto was taken to Rawalpindi General Hospital, but was pronounced dead at 1816 local time.
The 54 year old mother of three had just finished speaking in a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad. Mrs. Bhutto had addressed an audience of thousands as next month's general election grows closer.
An eyewitness reported that nothing appeared out of the ordinary as she stepped down from the stage and entered her land-cruiser. She then stepped back out of the vehicle to wave to a group of supporters who were chanting slogans in her support near the main gate of the park where the rally had been held. Suddenly, three shots rang out, followed by an explosion. Mrs. Bhutto had received fatal wounds to her neck and chest.
The first born child of former Pakistani President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bhutto attended Lady Jennings Nursery School and then Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi. Her later education included Harvard University's Radcliffe College, graduating with a Political Science degree. Subsequently, she attended Oxford University. achieving the honors of election to the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union Debating Society and President of the Oxford Union. Upon completion of her education, she returned to Pakistan, she joined her father as his political and economic adviser.
As leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Bhutto dedicated her life to the transformation of Pakistani society by focusing attention on programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged. She authored numerous works including “Foreign Policy in Perspective” (1978) and her autobiography, “Daughter of Destiny” (1989). She received the Bruno Kreisky Award for Human Rights in 1988 and the Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award from Radcliffe in 1989.
Mrs. Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father's political legacy. World leaders, including President Bush, have been speaking out regarding these sad happenings.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
There was an interesting item on E! last night about actresses who revive their careers by losing weight. Specifically, Kirstie Alley and Valerie (Van Halen) Bertinelli who are currently spokespersons for a certain brand of weight loss products. And, after the feast of Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, the rest of us are also in need of some guidance with healthy weight loss.
I went to see my doctor last week and was happy to learn that I had lost 15 pounds since my last visit. It was mostly from pumping iron and doing cardio… but also from catching the mother of all colds (for which I was seeking some meds from the doc). But that news inspired me to ramp up my efforts at losing weight and getting back into prime, optimal shape.
Discovering weight-loss-diet-help.com was a huge Christmas gift. This site has links to all of the major weight loss products such as Weight Watchers and NutriSystem. They also provide links to valuable coupons that includes a free meal from Diet to Go, and a free week of products from MediFast. A pretty good resource, if you seriously want to lose weight.
Another benefit of this kewl site is the fact that they provide their visitors with effective diet plans and a selection of articles providing weight loss tips and tricks. Maybe this summer I will fly down to South Beach and be stylin’ and profilin’ (and not casting a gigantic shadow over the entire beach).
Sponsored by: Weight Loss Diet Help
The AFP reported that a 300-lb Siberian tiger escaped its enclosure at the San Francisco Zoo and went on a killing rampage. One victim is reportedly dead, two are undergoing medical treatment.
The police came upon the Tiger sitting next to one victim, who was sitting upright with blood all over his face. Now, if I was a cop, I would have immediately blown the cat away. It appears, however, that the police followed procedure by not immediately firing. The tiger jumped on top of the victim, probably to finish its job, but the cops drew the tiger’s attention and it attacked them. Finally, they fired and the carnage was over.
I am sure a number of lawyers are lining up at the San Francisco Zoo...
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
A man crashed his van into Atlanta’s ABC TV 7 studio this past weekend as the Sunday evening newscast was underway. The anchor exclaimed, “WHOA!!” as a loud crash interrupted his reading of the evening news.
Apparently, the driver wanted to get on the news and thought that crashing a vehicle into the studio during a live newscast would be a good way of achieving that goal. The driver, who may have mental health problems, is out on $150,000 bond.
One-Hundred Fifty-Thousand dollars? That’s a lot of cheeseburger, cheeseburger... pepsi, pepsi at Billy Goat’s.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I remember those early days of the web when we signed up with sites like TheGlobe and others that allowed us to create our own web pages. Since most people had little knowledge of HTML, they had a long page that scrolled for miles as their own personal bulletin board. Today, MySpace has inherited that realm… although anybody serious about making a name for themselves will get their own specialized domain and a full-fledged web site run by a top notch hosting company.
If you are ready to make the move from a simple page to a site that includes e-commerce, databases, Unix Hosting and more… then check out Web Hosting Choice, a site that allows you to search for hosts by determining the maximum you want to pay for a specific amount of diskspace and bandwidth. Check it out!
Sponsored by: http://www.webhostingchoice.com
Thursday, December 20, 2007
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Wednesday, December 19, 2007
The younger sister of pop tart Britney Spears, 16-year-old Jamie Lynn Spears, has announced that she is pregnant, due to deliver this coming summer.
Reportedly, the good girl of the Spears clan never missed a single curfew. So how did this happen?
It was a hook-up at church with an 18-year-old guy.
The matriarch of the family had planned to release a book on parenting with a major Christian publishing house. Not so surprisingly, the book has been “delayed indefinitely.”
And what would precipitate such a serious penalty on a little girl?
According to WFTV, she brought a piece of steak in her lunch bag... and, a knife to cut the steak.
School officials saw her cutting the steak and immediately took the knife from her.
The girl explained that she had brought the knife before with no problem and she had not threatened anyone with it.
Maybe in the future her parents will slice her steak for her. Then again, a 5th grader who eats steak for lunch? Nice family! I was lucky to get peanut brrrr.
As Yakov Smirnoff would say...
What a country!
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
If you have ever had to deal with any type of illness, you will appreciate having health insurance. Having good, quality health insurance can make the difference between getting the care and treatment you need or suffering a lot longer than you might have otherwise. Also, the high cost of health care can completely wipe a family out without having good insurance coverage.
One great source for health insurance information is BUPA Heartbeat. This comprehensive web site not only provides you with comparative levels of coverage but allows you to get health insurance quotes.
Also, if you are a business owner, BUPA Select is a source for company health insurance.
This post sponsored by BUPA Select
Monday, December 17, 2007
Had plans to hang out with some buddies in Hollywood, drive up and down the road listening to KROQ and munching on In-N-Out burgers (double double, animal style). Instead, I am sleeping all day, waking up only to hack up phlegm and... sorry, TMI.
So, why the picture of Dr. Smith doing the hippie thing?
Well... the good doctor usually pouts and whines, but the doc also knew how to get jiggy wit’ it. As soon as the last of this bug is out of my system, I will do the same.
But without the wig.
And wearing much better bling.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
What more could you ask for? What more could make a show successful?
- The producer of the updated Battlestar Galactica
- Popular star from the BBC long-running soap EastEnders
- The fantabulous, hot and sexy Katee Sackoff
- The jangly jowls of Miguel Ferrer
- Castaway Isaiah W. from Grey’s Anatomy
Bionic Woman debuted on NBC with a strong 14 million viewers... but those viewers gave up on a wishy-washy character with no compelling plots or story lines. And now, alas... the show is no more.
So what will Michelle do now that she is unemployed?
She can crash at my pad and have a shoulder to cry on.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
We’ve seen the “pop tart” starlets drive through drug rehab centers faster than Fat Albert cruising through a drive-through with little to no results to show for their trouble. But, let’s face it, real people with drug problems are not going to be allowed to sit in the sun and tan while their publicists put spin on their situation. No, real people need real help!
The Stone Hawk Rehabilitation center, located east of Chicago in Battle Creek, Michigan (where Kellogg’s Corn Flakes are manufactured), is a 58,000 square foot facility overlooking a private lake. It provides rolling hills and large oak trees for a tranquil and bucolic location where body and mind may be healed.
If you are having problems and nothing else has helped, try Stone Hawk.
This post sponsored by The Stone Hawk Drug Rehabilitation Center
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Congratulations to the ultra-talented Michael C. Hall for his Golden Globe nomination for his awesome job as the “serial killer who kills serial killers” on the Showtime cable network.
We have posted frequently about this great dramatic thriller... a unique concept that is one of the best developed, written, produced, and acted programs on the airwaves.
But, while Michael gets his well-deserved nomination, the rest of the cast (and the show itself) gets awarded.
Well... some may be glad that David Duchovny and his show Califonication have been nominated... but in my opinion, Dexter is the one to beat.Good luck Michael!
P.S. -- check out Dexter in our video bar at the top left of our blog. This will give you a clue of what we have been raving about!
Most people remember Ike as the sadistic musician (portrayed by classic thespian Lawrence Fishburne) who beat Tina Turner worse than Joan Crawford beat her kids in “Mommie Dearest.” Then again, maybe wire coat hangers do hurt worse than a shoe?
But... there was more to Ike than giving a beat-down.
As one of the pioneers of the all-American genre called Rock and Roll and the more grassroots Rhythm and Blues, Ike composed some beats that your feet can not resist moving to.
Starting with the classic song Rocket 88, Ike composed a string of classic hits that he performed with a number of bands... most famously, Ike and Tina Turner with the Ikettes. Even after Tina finally left him and the movie cemented his reputation as a bad guy, Ike kept the music coming, both as a session musician and as a performer in his own right.
I hope that Ike made his peace before leaving this planet.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
I like what Chris Rock said about insurance. It is “in case --- happens.” And stuff does happen in life. That is why it is so important to have car insurance, not just to cover your mistakes, but to protect yourself from the mistakes of others.
When I was a teenager, the idea of getting insurance was complicated by the fact that teens are considered poor risks. But there is a way to get the best car insurance rates for yourself or even for your teens.
The same applies to house insurance. If you want your house protected against fire, floods, breakins, or even a bunch of unruly teenagers who throw a party while you’re away, house insurance is the way to go!
Oh yeah, don’t forget about your need for life insurance.
One perk of subscribing to the Wall Street Journal is that you get to order (for free) annual reports from companies that you may do business with or (more commonly) own stock or stock options in. Well, how would you like to be able to tell where your tax dollars are going? Are they going to buy $500 toilet seats? Are they going to bomb bomb bomb... bomb bomb Iran (with apologies to John McCain)?
There is a new web site out, http://www.usaspending.gov/, that shows you exactly what the federal government is doing with your money. Why was this site created? The Federal Funding Accountability and Transparency Act of 2006 (Transparency Act) requires a single searchable website, accessible by the public for free that includes for each Federal award:
- The name of the entity receiving the award;
- The amount of the award;
- Information on the award including transaction type, funding agency, etc;
- The location of the entity receiving the award;
- A unique identifier of the entity receiving the award.
I remember my first experience with the “Heavenly Bed” while on travel. I wanted to just lay in bed the entire trip… not to visit anyone or go anywhere. It was that comfortable. And so, I became obsessed with having a heavenly bed at home.
As I began looking for materials to make this great bed… featherbeds, quilts, down pillows and etcetera, it became obvious that the high-density memory foam was the only way to go. And so, I actually stacked memory foam in order to create an experience that… well, every morning I hit snooze more times than I should and often find myself running late or hitting heavier traffic than I would if I had gotten up that half-hour earlier.
So what is so great about memory foam? Well… memory foam contours to your body. Some people have bad posture and may sleep twisted (picture Michael J. Fox in “Back to the Future” in a contortionist posture with drool on his face). Others sleep in a fetal position. Others sleep like they are in the military and standing at attention. It doesn’t matter how you sleep… just know that these mattresses allow you to sleep better and more comfortably than anything else.
If you plan to go that route, plan to go the best way... with high quality tempurpedic mattresses. I’m telling you from experience... it is the best way to sleep... sleep... sleep!
Sunday, December 2, 2007
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Contrary to what some of my friends have said to me, this is not an obituary blog.
However, I do like to celebrate the lives of those who made a difference, especially in the entertainment industry.
The BBC reported the death of Tony Holland, co-creator of the classic series Eastenders. Tony was only 66 and had been unwell (as they say across the pond) for quite some time.
Eastenders has been running for over 20 years and shows no sign of slowing down. The cast and crew will certainly help keep Tony’s memory alive for some time to come.
Friday, November 30, 2007
Variety announced the demise of America’s number one stuntman.
When I was a kid, I heard about other kids who were breaking bones riding their bicycles off of the roof of the house... or some such other insanity. Supposedly, they were emulating their hero, Robert “Evel” Knievel.
The great stunt man is gone... at the far too-young age of 69.
Something about burning the candle at both ends, I reckon.
I stood on the sidelines for quite a while… listening to the debate. Some thought that blogs were sacred talismans, never to be soiled or sullied by thoughts of avarice. Then again, was I thinking avarice or was I thinking the stack of bills piled up on the table? Hard to say.
No, actually… quite easy to say. When I first ventured into Washington DC as a green and wet behind the ears teenager, I heard these great words of wisdom:
Money Talks. Bull$#!^ Walks.
Maybe that was from Peetey Greene? Regardless, paying the bills is a good thing. There are other things money provides, such as (in the words of Sir Anthony Hopkins in “The Human Strain”) the delights of sexual rapacity. But, I digress.
In all seriousness, bloggers are the new Associated Press. We are the next generation of the venerable Op-Ed page. Should we not be compensated, remunerated?
After my moment of peripeteia, I signed up as a member of Pay per Post. It made me feel good to know that my rants and raves not only entertain the masses, but I can actually make the pile of bills shrink a little. That is a good thing for everybody.
And so, if you are a blogger… then what are you waiting for? Sign up for yourself!blog advertising
After a few days of “radio silence” while the WGA and AMPTP were at the negotiation table, word has come of continued resistance on the part of the producers.
The WGA proposal amounts to something in the neighborhood of a 3% raise for writers earnings. The studios earnings have increased by about 10%. Needless to say, we are still the proverbial red-headed stepchildren in the eyes of the studios.
The President of WGA stated:
For Sony, this entire deal would cost $1.68 million per year. For Disney $6.25 million. Paramount and CBS would each pay about $4.66 million, Warner about $11.2 million, Fox $6.04 million, and NBC/Universal $7.44 million. MGM would pay $320,000 and the entire universe of remaining companies would assume the remainder of about $8.3 million per year. As we've stated repeatedly, our proposals are more than reasonable and the companies have no excuse for denying it.
Given the BILLIONS made by the industry, this is relatively pennies. Come on folks, it is bad enough that the writer is the least welcome person on the set (somewhere behind the craft services folks and the janitors) but at least we should get something resembling fair pay.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Well, now there is no need to wait for a trip to New York. Sweeny Todd is coming to a theatre near you... starring the master thespian Johnny Depp.
And, to set the mood for the movie, there is an on-line confessional for those of you who feel there is an act of revenge that you wish to carry out.
Like, for instance, I would like to get back at Ben Affleck for making me watch Jersey Girl. Eeeeeeee!
Don’t forget to visit the official Sweeney Todd movie site!
Monday, November 26, 2007
I was reading a New York Times Blog that suggests former Bush Administration member Colin Powell may become a part of Hillary Clinton’s presidential administration.
Of course, this is all speculation... but as Arte Johnson might say, “Verrrrrry Interesting...”
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Better known as Mister Whipple... the man who did not want you squeezing the Charmin... character actor Dick Wilson has left this planet at the seasoned age of 91.
Wilson starrted in over 500 commercials for the Procter and Gamble product... but appeared in other film and television projects... including Sol Sak’s comedy classic Bewitched.
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
We just wanted to remind you guys about the novel published by Dwacon® entitled Pater Familias. This book reminds us that family can be a noun... a verb... or a profanity.
In this compelling novel, a powerful political consultant parlayed his life-long relationship with the current President of the United States into a successful political consultancy. He is willing to risk losing all he has spent his lifetime building in a desperate attempt at reconciling his four adult children. His children suffer deep unmasked pain from traumatic events of their childhood. Over the years, they have become estranged. They deal with the mounting drama in their lives in relative isolation. Raymond faces a ticking clock with only a short period of time to bring reconciliation to his children before... (we won't give away the ending).
Offbeat, wildly inventive, and driven by the funniest dialogue this side of Hepburn and Tracy, Pater Familias will have you flipping pages at warp speed. You will laugh, you will cry, you will empathize with the rich, rounded and colorful characters as the drama unfolds.
Click Here to add this book to your collection today!
Monday, November 12, 2007
We were saddened to learn of the unfortunate death of the mother of Kanye West.
Dr. Donda West raised Kanye alone. She worked as the Chair of the English Department at Chicago State University before retiring to serve as Kanye’s manager.
She had undergone an undisclosed cosmetic procedure, typically a minor surgery, when she unfortunately passed.
Our prayers go to the family and friends of this great woman.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
Friday, November 9, 2007
Silas portrayed the character Haywire on the Prison Break series. Sadly, his character met a rather terrible demise.
This episode doesn’t show up on Silas’s IMDB résumé... at least, not yet. However, take a glance and you will see that Silas is hardly hurting for an acting job.
Silas would have made a great addition to the cast of Dexter, but sadly he ended the episode in pieces. Literally. After all, Dexter does kill people.
Thursday, November 8, 2007
According to Variety, Hollywood producers may consider hiring writers from the United Kingdom to circumvent the Writers Guild Strike.
In the words of Mister Bill...
We hope our British counterparts will show some solidarity and resist the temptation fo scab. But then again, Hollywood has gone above and beyond the call bringing British actors over to provide graduate-level acting experience for underclassman-level paychecks.
Maybe I’ll throw a cup of tea in the Pacific...
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
Sunday, November 4, 2007
It looks as if the Writers Guild strike will happen on Monday. It is interesting the various comments about the entire process.
I learned early on that writers are typically at the bottom of the food chain, right below the caterer. This is sad, since writers are so crucial to the process of making films and/or television.
Consider the following:
- The actors who are chased by papparazzi get famous reading lines written by writers.
- Directors who win the Oscar® win directing scripts written by writers.
- Producers who attend gala Hollywood events get there by producing a writer’s work.
Yet, writers get very little notice. In fact, their blood and sweat and tears go into a screenplay that is immediately re-written. I have enjoyed putting months into creating a screenplay, then having a producer say, “It’s good... but the hero’s kid should be a son, not a daughter. And lets make the kid gay. But make him older... like 20. Oh, the hero is 20? Guess I’ll just pass.”
Consider the following:
- Everybody remembers Arnold Schwarzenegger saying, “I’ll be back.” A writer wrote that line. Do you know his name?
- Everybody remembers Clint Eastwood saying, “Go ahead. Make my day.” Who wrote that?
I hope this strike accompishes getting us writers just a soupçon of better treatment by the industry that relies so strongly on us.
If you are a writer, you can find strike information here.
Saturday, November 3, 2007
Friday, November 2, 2007
Thursday, November 1, 2007
As we mentioned in a previous post, Showtime Network’s outstanding series Dexter is back for its sophmore session.
If you can’t get enough of Michael C. Hall in his amazing portrayal of Dexter Moser, er... Morgan -- check out a new feature on Showtime’s Web Site.
The pseudo-anime takes some of Dexter’s best, erm, murders... and puts them out there like the Matrix trilogy did.
Well, not exactly like the Matrix.
You might also want to download the latest Dexter Podcast where Michael explains the strange tension between himself and Doakes.
Dexter is one of the most unique shows on television and only an innovative network like Showtime can bring it to us.
Okay, Mr. Redstone... do I get my shot now?