Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Me Myself and I

Not another one of my self praising essays. Don't you have enough of those? You never can. You will never be satisfied with All Ed All The Time. Just kidding. I am sure some of you find me an ego maniac. If you do I just hope you find this guy worse. When I last looked a football team is composed of 53 players about a dozen coaches and a whole lot of support people. You may not know a lot about football but read Owens' words. He may be good but you win as a team and you lose as a team.

In high school our English teacher/ celeb Joe Burke taught us what a tragic figure was. Someone who's qualities that cause their rise to prominence also are the same qualities that lead to their downfall.

Owens intense love for self and confidence help make him the star that he is. That intense love for self has helped implode other teams before and maybe we are seeing the Dallas Cowboys turn.

Even if you don't read the story please click below for an appropriate song or go here (http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com) in the blog section and just find this entry. If you do take time to read the story, just skip to the parts where he talks about himself. Look for the parts I put in bold and underlined. Ask yourself "Do I want my kid to talk like that? What would I think of my friend if they talk like that?"



T.O no team man

By DAVE GOLDBERG, AP Football Writer Sep 29, 3:41 pm EDT

Terrell Owens’ love affair with Tony Romo and the rest of his Dallas teammates may be turning down the rocky path that his relationships with Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia followed. At least it seemed that way after the Cowboys lost Sunday for the first time this season.

“I’m a competitor and I want the ball,” T.O. said after the 26-24 loss to the Redskins, ending the speculation that Dallas might emulate New England and go 16-0 this season, finishing the deal in the Super Bowl, which the Patriots didn’t.

That was a silly dream. What the Patriots did was a once-in-35 years kind of thing. Moreover, as Washington demonstrated, this season’s NFC East is not last year’s AFC East, through which New England breezed.

But beyond that, we all know that the Cowboys’ worst enemy is not the opposition, nor their slightly overrated talent level—not all 13 Pro Bowlers last year deserved it. The enemy is themselves: an owner who is also general manager who thinks of himself as a coach; a head coach laid back enough to accept input from above; and an offensive coordinator who has been effectively designated by said owner as the current coach’s successor.

Plus a locker room with at least three players who were run off other teams for reasons unrelated to their talent.

So here was the most prominent and skilled of those three after Sunday’s game, whining that he should have been involved in more than 20 of the 58 offensive plays the Cowboys ran against the Redskins.

Yes, he was implicating the coaching staff for not recognizing that he must be the focal point of the offense. He also was implicating Romo, the same “friend” he defended with tears after the unexpected playoff loss to the Giants last January, saying from behind dark glasses: “You can point the finger at him …. and if you do that, it’s really unfair. That’s my teammate. My quarterback. We lost as a team.”

Funny he didn’t utter the “T as in team” word on Sunday. The only “T” involved was the first initial of his first name.

First of all, give some credit to the Redskins.

Then blame Jerry Jones (“Coach Jones” for long periods during his 20 years of ownership); coach Wade Phillips; and Jason Garrett, the offensive coordinator and head coach in waiting.

For the most obvious stat to come out of the loss was not Owens’ seven catches for 71 yards; 11 yards rushing on two reverses; and 11 other plays designed for him.

It was that Marion Barber got just eight carries for 26 yards and that Felix Jones did not touch the ball from scrimmage.

Barber came in with 285 yards rushing for a 4.6 average and four touchdowns in three games. Jones, the explosive rookie, had scored in all three games and had 148 yards on 18 carries, an 8.2 average. One of the touchdowns was a 60-yard run, another a 98-yard kickoff return.

Were Jones, Phillips, Garrett and Romo catering to T.O at the expense of the running game? Were they scared of the Redskins’ run defense? Washington ranked 16th in a 32-team league against the run, allowing 108 yards per game. Although to be fair, almost half those yards, 154, came in their opener against the Giants, their only loss. They improved markedly against the Saints (55 yards) and Cardinals (116).

But does that mean the Cowboys had to stop trying to run? Barber is a punishing runner who can wear down opponents in the second half and it wasn’t as if they got way behind and had to throw on every play. They trailed 17-10 at the half and it was 17-17 in the third quarter.

None of this might matter in the long run. The Cowboys might finish 15-1. Or, more likely, 13-3 or 12-4 because they play in the NFL’s best division.

But what happened Sunday demonstrates anarchy of a sort that doesn’t afflict other good teams. Randy Moss, even more notorious as a “me first” receiver for his first nine NFL seasons, discovered when he got to New England last year that playing a team game can be liberating and good for your stats. His stats—a record 23 TD catches—speak to that.

T.O. seemed to have gotten that message during his first two seasons in Dallas. But Sunday’s outburst is more suggestive of the kind he had weekly in San Francisco and in his second year in Philadelphia.

“Everybody recognized that I wasn’t really getting the ball in the first half,” Owens said. “I’m pretty sure everybody watching the game recognized it, people in the stands recognized it. I think my team recognized it.”

That’s the “I” word three times in three sentences.

Bill Belichick or Tom Coughlin or Andy Reid or Bill Parcells would end that immediately. Reid, in fact, suspended Owens in Philadelphia in 2005, and Coughlin suspended the Giants’ star receiver, Plaxico Burress, when he declined to show up for practice last Monday.

Phillips doesn’t have that power.

Jones brought Owens to Dallas and he also gave Phillips a third head coaching job when Parcells left after the 2006 season. By several accounts, the Tuna was tired of dealing with the distractions.

The biggest distraction is T.O.

In a season when the Cowboys remain a solid favorite to win the Super Bowl, Owens may be the reason they won’t. If one loss sets him off this way, imagine what happens when Dallas inevitably loses another game or two.

In other words, the Cowboys may be the team that has the best shot of depriving the Cowboys of an NFL title.
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Monday, September 29, 2008

And You Think You Are Having a Tough Day at Work

This is a sad read. But it helps you appreciate what you have. Imagine having to do your job and to have your fellow co workers depend on you after going through all this. You wouldn't wish what Matt Bryant went through on anybody.



A kicker's mind is supposed to be clear.

They live by rituals – preparing exactly the same way before each kick. They often stand at the same place on the sidelines; ask that the holder places the ball just so; take the same number of steps backwards to get into place, then – only when they're ready – will the action begin.

Then the kicker thinks about nothing except swinging his leg.

No one yet knows what was on Matt Bryant's mind today. But every parent can imagine what burden was laying upon his heart.

On Wednesday, Bryant, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' placekicker for the last four seasons, and his family awoke to discover 3-month-old Matthew Tryson Bryant dead in his crib. As of now, there has been no announcement as to a cause.

Matthew was the youngest of Matt (shown with Melissa and son Tre prior to Sunday's game) and Melissa's two sons. His funeral was Saturday.

And yet there was Matt, trying to keep a clear mind, trying to adhere to his rituals on Sunday at Tampa Bay's Raymond James Stadium against Green Bay.

Going into the game, Bryant was one of the game's most accurate kickers. He'd not missed a field or or PAT in five and eight tries, respectively. He remained perfect Sunday, hitting three PATs and field goals of 23, 36 and the game-winner from 24 yards during a 31-20 victory.

There may be some who criticize Matt for playing on Sunday. I am not among them. Nor do I think any parent would be.

They can only imagine his pain. And they never want to imagine his grief.

Grief requires peace. Grief requires finding a place where one can make sense of the senseless.

Grief requires finding a place in the mind that can be clear while the heart tries to mind.

Everyone has a different place. For some, it's a place of solitude. For others, it may be a place that holds 65,857 people.

Matt Bryant's place of peace and clarity was where it always is – on the football field.

A place where every parent's prayers were with him.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Death of A Man of Principle Part 2

For Death of A Man of Principle Part 1 Click Here

One blog entry is not enough to honor the passing of a social pioneer that is Don Haskins. Not even two but I'll try. I saw the movie last weekend and it's a good movie. It's not a faithful retelling of the story however. Movies themselves have limitations. Disney movies have even more limitations, read Wetzel again below so you can get a better feel for what really happened. Sadly Coach Rupp was even worse than the movie portrayal. Cultures that value sports put coaches in a pedestal that they sometimes do not deserve. From what I understand Rupp is on quite a pedestal in the state of Kentucky. Granted I would have been careful portraying someone who died 30 years ago. Disney movies predictably have fairy tale endings. Again, read carefully below, Haskins believes winning the 66 championship was the worst thing that happened. Then there's the institutional hatred and smear campaigns. All the while Haskins just plugged away. Black Americans and White Americans fought together to help put a stop to what Hitler was doing in WW II. Yet, things like this existed 20 years later in the home front. I am also including a Youtube speech about Haskins by one of his most famous students. Even this is laced with irony. Haskins was a man of principle the more you learn what he was about and the price he paid. The movie does not tell half the story. Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.



The long and winding road
By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports
January 12, 2006

Dan Wetzel
Yahoo! Sports
HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – Harry Flournoy stood in the middle of a long, long red carpet, stretching half a star-studded block here, surrounded by cameras and microphones and goodwill, surrounded in a moment he never thought would come, the end of the longest Glory Road of all.

Flournoy was one of five black starters (plus two black reserves) who led the Texas Western Miners to the 1966 NCAA men's basketball title. They beat all-white Kentucky in the final, a moment that forever desegregated college athletics in the South.

"Glory Road," the Disney movie that opens nationally Friday, tells the story of Flournoy, his tough teammates and his heroic coach, Don Haskins. It even features his own strong-willed mother, Amy, an eighth-grade dropout in Gary, Ind., who nonetheless so valued education she once flew to El Paso to help Haskins chew out her son for skipping a couple of classes.

The movie also deals with all the racism the Miners had to endure as they upset the apple cart of college athletics and American society. The racial taunts and spits in the face were real. So were the death threats to Haskins, the white coach who never bent, risking both his career and his life because he refused to start a token white player like everyone else.

But the worst racism of all didn't come from some nut job in the upper deck or from an anonymous letter. It didn't even occur during the 1965-66 season.

The worst came in the scenes that "Glory Road" doesn't show, in the aftermath, in the slander, in the establishment media hatchet jobs, in the reputation-killing comments from Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp, in the decades of shunning silence that the 1965-66 Miners endured.

"People hate to be proven wrong, so they have a mind to get you," Flournoy said.

And did they ever get Harry Flournoy and his teammates, just one reason it took 40 long, long years for this story to get big, for this movie to get to the big screen, which is what made that long, long red carpet so magical.

"I never thought we would get the recognition," said Flournoy, now 62 but with the look of a little kid. "It never even entered my mind that it was even possible."

Along with Haskins, I wrote the book "Glory Road," and in the process I became, perhaps, the team's all-time greatest fan. Not just for how they handled that season; you could predict that ignorant stuff. What I never could fathom was what happened after.

It is easy for white America to deal with the convenient parts of this story. We comfortably can condemn as rednecks and racists from a bygone era those people who shouted slurs, who threw things at the players, who trashed hotel rooms.

But that's the small stuff, almost as meaningless as the little slights the team dealt with, such as how when Texas Western won the title game, no one even brought out a ladder so the Miners could cut the nets (Shed had to hoist up Willie Worsley to do the honors). Or how the team never was asked to appear on "The Ed Sullivan Show," as was customary for NCAA champions. ("Gee, wonder why," smiles Shed these days.)

No, the worst came from the institutions with the real power – the media, the NCAA, the iconic Rupp, who was overcome with petty jealousy and ugly anger.

Sports Illustrated, ever the limousine liberal of sports magazines, proudly boasts that it never even mentioned race in its championship story, like it was some evolved, color-blind medium. It conveniently forgets that the week before it built an entire preview of the Final Four around race.

And SI must want to forget that in 1968 it published one of the most scurrilous stories imaginable, an "exposé" of the Texas Western program which concluded that the players weren't real students, that El Paso was a viciously racist city and that rather than being a hero to blacks for giving them a rare chance at an education, Haskins and the school "thoroughly and actively exploited black athletes." It went on and on.

"They made us look like idiots," Flournoy said. "It hurt. It really hurt to see my parents read it. My mother said people have a lot of hate to come up with all of that garbage, all of that fictional stuff. And that is what it was, fictional stuff. But people read it and believed it."

Haskins says his school president at the time wouldn't let him sue SI, calling it one of the biggest regrets of his life.

"I used to respect that magazine," Haskins said in our book, "but like a lot of people who have dealt with it through the years, I realized its purpose isn't about telling the truth."

In this case, it may have been about keeping the status quo. Sports Illustrated was so powerful then, serving as just about the only national sports media outlet, very much the establishment organ.

Its allegations damn near killed Haskins' program as rival coaches flashed the article to all the black recruits Haskins was after, trying to claim that what they saw on TV that March night in 1966 wasn't reality, that Haskins was in fact the racist.

It got so bad that Haskins began discovering letters from black people in the bushels of daily hate mail he received.

Just two years after the supposedly glorious championship, Haskins somehow was despised by both whites and blacks.

Haskins' anger with SI is exceeded only by his feelings toward noted historian and elitist author James Michener. Relying on the magazine's "research," Michener wrote in the best-selling 1976 book "Sports in America" that the Miners were "a bunch of loose-jointed ragamuffins" who were "conscripted" to play for Haskins, and he claimed that none ever graduated or were serious students.

The championship, Michener concluded, was "one of the most wretched episodes in the history of American sport."

One of the most wretched in history?

Rival recruiters passed around that book too, of course.

"I said for a long time that the worst thing to ever happen to me was winning the national championship," Haskins said. "I wished we had lost. My life would have been a hell of a lot easier if we had lost."

That is how it worked. Power protecting power. You'll never see SI publish an apology to those players. Haskins hasn't forgiven or forgotten, though. The Bear still wishes he had been able to get his hands around those writers' necks. His old players remember well, too. Flournoy still pauses when he thinks of the pain that Michener and Sports Illustrated caused. Michener never interviewed a single player ("He didn't know us," Flournoy said).

"It hurt to see my mother cry," he said. "She was a strong woman, and she wouldn't want me to see her cry but sometimes I did. It hurt. I knew my mother took a lot of pride in my education. I was the first in my family to graduate from college. My mother had so much pride in that."

It was Harry Flournoy's academic success that even prompted his mother to earn a GED in night school and eventually an advanced degree from Purdue, just a stunning accomplishment for a black woman born in the 1920s.

And the charges, of course, are more laughable now than ever. Forty years later those players, each a success story, still would walk through the desert for Haskins, their so-called exploiter.

"The best thing to ever happen to me," Shed said. "He is a great, great man."

"I owe it all to Coach Haskins," Worsley said.

This is how it worked though, and no one wants to remember. Back then the NCAA was an ugly, racist organization itself, led by a power structure of old, white men at old, white schools.

Upstart programs in the 1960s and '70s that played too many blacks quickly were put in their place. Check the history. Western Kentucky, Centenary, Long Beach State and so many others that dared to field predominantly black teams almost immediately were crushed by an onslaught of NCAA investigators and the subsequent pumped-up probation – all while big schools with just the right quota of white players cheated tenfold right down the street.

That was the aftermath of "Glory Road." A racist heckler? A threatening letter? A trashed motel room? Yeah, nasty stuff. But nothing compared to the NCAA and those writers from New York.

"Glory Road" the movie is fairly kind to UK coach Adolph Rupp, painting him more arrogant than racist. And perhaps that is fine. People have looked long and hard and never found a convenient white cloak in Rupp's closet. Besides, Disney movies aren't the place for settling scores – which doesn't mean there isn't one to settle.

Rupp apologists, and there are too many to believe, love to point out that he was just a product of his time, an old Southerner who wasn't really racist, just indifferent.

Maybe he wasn't as courageous as Haskins, they contend, but he probably was more progressive than most of his peers, even if his final team, in 1972, still had five white starters.

It is a nice sentiment and makes a lot of people feel good about what they did and didn't dare write about. "People want to sugarcoat it," Flournoy said.

But no matter how much sugar gets sprinkled, it doesn't change the fact that Adolph Rupp eventually called the Miners "a bunch of crooks."

It doesn't change the fact that Rupp, in a Louisville newspaper interview, claimed that David Lattin was a criminal, recruited out of Tennessee State Prison, when, in fact, Lattin had no record and merely transferred from Tennessee State University.

It doesn't change the fact Rupp went on to claim the Texas Western players all wound up academically ineligible, which was a lie. Or that he said none graduated from college, also a lie and a slap in the face of all those hard-driving, big-dreaming mothers such as Amy Flournoy. Or that he alleged Haskins cheated in recruiting, which naturally prompted an immediate NCAA investigation (which found nary a violation).

"Rupp was just sour grapes," Flournoy said. "He just ran into a better team and then let his ego get the best of him."

But the allegations stuck. In researching and writing "Glory Road" on more than a half dozen occasions I had people harmlessly ask me if it was true that the Miner players never actually attended Texas Western or were illiterate or were ex-convicts. All sorts of stuff. "I heard they could do everything with a basketball but sign it," one person said. "Bunch of thugs, right?" said another.

Having gotten to know those players so well, it was enough to make me sick.

So maybe Rupp just was a product of his time. But if being a product of one's time means that powerful white men are allowed to slander powerless black kids, then the times were pure evil.

Or you were.

"What they did to my players still makes me sick," Haskins said. "Say what you want about me, go ahead. But those were just college kids trying to help their families out."

Times change, of course, and 40 years is a long, long time.

Consider the University of Kentucky, where a black man, Tubby Smith, not only is the coach and is paid some $2.25 million per year to work inside Rupp Arena but also is the most popular person in the Commonwealth, according to polls. Consider, as ESPN's Pat Forde (formerly a sports columnist in Louisville) points out, that the two most popular recent Wildcat players were blacks from California, Tayshaun Prince and Chuck Hayes.

And so too does it change for Texas Western (now UTEP), which is how Harry Flournoy, his proud wife at his side, wound up last week on that long, long red carpet, staring into all those Hollywood cameras. He now is a sales representative in Southern California and the father of eight. He is just one of a team full of success stories of the so-called exploited black players.

Lattin played in the NBA before becoming a public relations man and the owner of several businesses. Worsley became a coach in Spring Valley, N.Y., and works with the Boys Choir of Harlem. Orsten Artis is a retired detective in his hometown of Gary. Willie Cager became a coach and runs charitable foundations.

Bobby Joe Hill worked as an oil executive in Texas before passing away in 2002, never making it to see his overdue day in the sun, although his college sweetheart and wife, Tina, heart-wrenchingly brought a framed picture of him to the movie premiere and hugged it throughout.

"I am just so proud of what kind of men they all became," Haskins said. "Great men. Great fathers."

And now, finally, the rest of America is proud, too. The wretched now are the celebrated. They have a movie, a Wheaties box, red carpets, interview requests, ESPN specials, NCAA awards and on and on. At last they are embraced by the establishment that spent decades trying to ignore them at best, destroy them at worst.

It is all so incredible.

"If you had told me that one day Walt Disney Studios would make a major motion picture honoring that team I would have thought you were plum crazy," Haskins said. "If you told me I would one day be writing a book released by Hyperion Books, a major publishing house in New York City, I would have laughed at you. There was just no way. None.

"We were pariahs. We were villains. We were the 'wretched.'"

The movie "Glory Road" ends with a championship-game victory. The real glory road for the 1965-66 Miners ends on that red carpet in Hollywood, the smiles on the wrinkled face of Harry Flournoy and all his old teammates serving as proof that yes, this may be 40 years too late, but late always is better than never.

Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist and author of "Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph" with the Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning. Updated on Friday, Jan 13, 2006 4:45 pm, EST

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Funny piece of trivia from Armageddon

Regarding the film's premise, Ben Affleck asked director Michael Bay, "Wouldn't it be easier for NASA to train astronauts how to drill rather than training drillers to be astronauts?" Bay told Affleck to shut up.


Paul Newman 1925 to 2008

I was researching for other blog entries in IMDB and other sites tonight when the news of Paul's death flashed on the unrelated page that I was at. I am saddened once again for someone I never met.

Memories off the top of my head:

  • Last role as Doc in Pixar's Cars
  • Raindrops Keep Falling Off My Head- Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
  • Sully in Nobody's Fool
  • As the villain in the under rated Coen Brothers movie Hudsucker Proxy.
  • Money won is ten times sweeter than money earned - Color of Money
  • Reggie Dunlop the charismatic , womanizing, manipulative coach in Slapshot (Paul Newman has stated on many occasions that he had more fun making this film than on any other film he has starred in, and that it remains his favorite of his own films http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0076723/trivia
  • Sting with Robert and Redford and my personal hero Charles Durning
  • That charm just shined through in Cool Hand Luke (only saw it this year)



Legendary actor Paul Newman dies at age 83
Saturday September 27 9:16 AM ET

Paul Newman, the Academy-Award winning superstar who personified cool as an activist, race car driver, popcorn impresario and the anti-hero of such films as "Hud," "Cool Hand Luke" and "The Color of Money," has died. He was 83.

Newman died Friday after a long battle with cancer at his farmhouse near Westport, publicist Jeff Sanderson said. He was surrounded by his family and close friends.

In May, Newman he had dropped plans to direct a fall production of "Of Mice and Men," citing unspecified health issues.

He got his start in theater and on television during the 1950s, and went on to become one of the world's most enduring and popular film stars, a legend held in awe by his peers. He was nominated for Oscars 10 times, winning one regular award and two honorary ones, and had major roles in more than 50 motion pictures, including "Exodus," "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," "The Verdict," "The Sting" and "Absence of Malice."

Newman worked with some of the greatest directors of the past half century, from Alfred Hitchcock and John Huston to Robert Altman, Martin Scorsese and the Coen brothers. His co-stars included Elizabeth Taylor, Lauren Bacall, Tom Cruise, Tom Hanks and, most famously, Robert Redford, his sidekick in "Butch Cassidy" and "The Sting."

He sometimes teamed with his wife and fellow Oscar winner, Joanne Woodward, with whom he had one of Hollywood's rare long-term marriages. "I have steak at home, why go out for hamburger?" Newman told Playboy magazine when asked if he was tempted to stray. They wed in 1958, around the same time they both appeared in "The Long Hot Summer," and Newman directed her in several films, including "Rachel, Rachel" and "The Glass Menagerie"

With his strong, classically handsome face and piercing blue eyes, Newman was a heartthrob just as likely to play against his looks, becoming a favorite with critics for his convincing portrayals of rebels, tough guys and losers. "I was always a character actor," he once said. "I just looked like Little Red Riding Hood."

Newman had a soft spot for underdogs in real life, giving tens of millions to charities through his food company and setting up camps for severely ill children. Passionately opposed to the Vietnam War, and in favor of civil rights, he was so famously liberal that he ended up on President Nixon's "enemies list," one of the actor's proudest achievements, he liked to say.

A screen legend by his mid-40s, he waited a long time for his first competitive Oscar, winning in 1987 for "The Color of Money," a reprise of the role of pool shark "Fast" Eddie Felson, whom Newman portrayed in the 1961 film "The Hustler."

Newman delivered a magnetic performance in "The Hustler," playing a smooth-talking, whiskey-chugging pool shark who takes on Minnesota Fats played by Jackie Gleason and becomes entangled with a gambler played by George C. Scott. In the sequel directed by Scorsese "Fast Eddie" is no longer the high-stakes hustler he once was, but rather an aging liquor salesman who takes a young pool player (Cruise) under his wing before making a comeback.

He won an honorary Oscar in 1986 "in recognition of his many and memorable compelling screen performances and for his personal integrity and dedication to his craft." In 1994, he won a third Oscar, the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award, for his charitable work.

His most recent academy nod was a supporting actor nomination for the 2002 film "Road to Perdition." One of Newman's nominations was as a producer; the other nine were in acting categories. (Jack Nicholson holds the record among actors for Oscar nominations, with 12; actress Meryl Streep has had 14.)

As he passed his 80th birthday, he remained in demand, winning an Emmy and a Golden Globe for the 2005 HBO drama "Empire Falls" and providing the voice of a crusty 1951 car in the 2006 Disney-Pixar hit, "Cars."

But in May 2007, he told ABC's "Good Morning America" he had given up acting, though he intended to remain active in charity projects. "I'm not able to work anymore as an actor at the level I would want to," he said. "You start to lose your memory, your confidence, your invention. So that's pretty much a closed book for me."

He received his first Oscar nomination for playing a bitter, alcoholic former star athlete in the 1958 film "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof." Elizabeth Taylor played his unhappy wife and Burl Ives his wealthy, domineering father in Tennessee Williams' harrowing drama, which was given an upbeat ending for the screen.

In "Cool Hand Luke," he was nominated for his gritty role as a rebellious inmate in a brutal Southern prison. The movie was one of the biggest hits of 1967 and included a tagline, delivered one time by Newman and one time by prison warden Strother Martin, that helped define the generation gap, "What we've got here is (a) failure to communicate."

Newman's hair was graying, but he was as gourgeous as ever and on the verge of his greatest popular success. In 1969, Newman teamed with Redford for "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid," a comic Western about two outlaws running out of time. Newman paired with Redford again in 1973 in "The Sting," a comedy about two Depression-era con men. Both were multiple Oscar winners and huge hits, irreverent, unforgettable pairings of two of the best-looking actors of their time.

Newman also turned to producing and directing. In 1968, he directed "Rachel, Rachel," a film about a lonely spinster's rebirth. The movie received four Oscar nominations, including Newman, for producer of a best motion picture, and Woodward, for best actress. The film earned Newman the best director award from the New York Film Critics.

In the 1970s, Newman, admittedly bored with acting, became fascinated with auto racing, a sport he studied when he starred in the 1972 film, "Winning." After turning professional in 1977, Newman and his driving team made strong showings in several major races, including fifth place in Daytona in 1977 and second place in the Le Mans in 1979.

"Racing is the best way I know to get away from all the rubbish of Hollywood," he told People magazine in 1979.

Despite his love of race cars, Newman continued to make movies and continued to pile up Oscar nominations, his looks remarkably intact, his acting becoming more subtle, nothing like the mannered method performances of his early years, when he was sometimes dismissed as a Brando imitator. "It takes a long time for an actor to develop the assurance that the trim, silver-haired Paul Newman has acquired," Pauline Kael wrote of him in the early 1980s.

In 1982, he got his Oscar fifth nomination for his portrayal of an honest businessman persecuted by an irresponsible reporter in "Absence of Malice." The following year, he got his sixth for playing a down-and-out alcoholic attorney in "The Verdict."

In 1995, he was nominated for his slyest, most understated work yet, the town curmudgeon and deadbeat in "Nobody's Fool." New York Times critic Caryn James found his acting "without cheap sentiment and self-pity," and observed, "It says everything about Mr. Newman's performance, the single best of this year and among the finest he has ever given, that you never stop to wonder how a guy as good-looking as Paul Newman ended up this way."

Newman, who shunned Hollywood life, was reluctant to give interviews and usually refused to sign autographs because he found the majesty of the act offensive, according to one friend.

He also claimed that he never read reviews of his movies.

"If they're good you get a fat head and if they're bad you're depressed for three weeks," he said.

Off the screen, Newman had a taste for beer and was known for his practical jokes. He once had a Porsche installed in Redford's hallway crushed and covered with ribbons.

"I think that my sense of humor is the only thing that keeps me sane," he told Newsweek magazine in a 1994 interview.

In 1982, Newman and his Westport neighbor, writer A.E. Hotchner, started a company to market Newman's original oil-and-vinegar dressing. Newman's Own, which began as a joke, grew into a multimillion-dollar business selling popcorn, salad dressing, spaghetti sauce and other foods. All of the company's profits are donated to charities. By 2007, the company had donated more than $175 million, according to its Web site.

In 1988, Newman founded a camp in northeastern Connecticut for children with cancer and other life-threatening diseases. He went on to establish similar camps in several other states and in Europe.

He and Woodward bought an 18th century farmhouse in Westport, where they raised their three daughters, Elinor "Nell," Melissa and Clea.

Newman had two daughters, Susan and Stephanie, and a son, Scott, from a previous marriage to Jacqueline Witte.

Scott died in 1978 of an accidental overdose of alcohol and Valium. After his only son's death, Newman established the Scott Newman Foundation to finance the production of anti-drug films for children.

Newman was born in Cleveland, Ohio, the second of two boys of Arthur S. Newman, a partner in a sporting goods store, and Theresa Fetzer Newman.

He was raised in the affluent suburb of Shaker Heights, where he was encouraged him to pursue his interest in the arts by his mother and his uncle Joseph Newman, a well-known Ohio poet and journalist.

Following World War II service in the Navy, he enrolled at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, where he got a degree in English and was active in student productions.

He later studied at Yale University's School of Drama, then headed to New York to work in theater and television, his classmates at the famed Actor's Studio including Brando, James Dean and Karl Malden. His breakthrough was enabled by tragedy: Dean, scheduled to star as the disfigured boxer in a television adaptation of Ernest Hemingway's "The Battler," died in a car crash in 1955. His role was taken by Newman, then a little-known performer.

Newman started in movies the year before, in "The Silver Chalice," a costume film he so despised that he took out an ad in Variety to apologize. By 1958, he had won the best actor award at the Cannes Film Festival for the shiftless Ben Quick in "The Long Hot Summer."

In December 1994, about a month before his 70th birthday, he told Newsweek magazine he had changed little with age.

"I'm not mellower, I'm not less angry, I'm not less self-critical, I'm not less tenacious," he said. "Maybe the best part is that your liver can't handle those beers at noon anymore," he said.

Newman is survived by his wife, five children, two grandsons and his older brother Arthur.


On the Net:


Friday, September 26, 2008

Star Struck Disposable Fools -Cover Songs and why there are mostly rubbish

Obviously there are exceptions to the rule. But here is the difference no one will tell you. In the old days Led Zeppelin and the Beatles covered tunes while they honed their song writing skills. Nowadays no one has song writing skills to hone and cultivate.

I always ask this question to everyone that challenges my belief that most of music made in the last twenty years has minimal creativity: Can you name any songwriters that came into their own in the last twenty years in the league of Lennon-Mccartney, Burt Bacharach and Hal David, Carole King, Randy Newman, Cole Porter, Glenn Frey - Don Henley etc. People who wrote stuff that you can hum now and hum twenty years from now.

Song writing is dead and that is all there is to it. So how can new music have much validity? What are the reasons?

1) Jack Black in School of Rock was right "MTV" (see video below)

2) Technology - slightly related to 1).

3) Quick money-

4) Success of the old- related to 3). Yes that is not an error. In the past it was impossible to make a lot of money over a significant period of time as musicians without touring a lot , selling a lot of records and *ghast* being good. The problem with that old paradigm is the successful act had the record company by the short hairs. The record companies did not want this. So better have 20 mediocre acts that you replace again in two years than to have one mega act since there will be more profit for the company. They wanted their acts good enough to sell in the short term but never good enough to last. Then just crank out the next set of star struck disposable fools.

There is so much to say about this topic and that's the beauty of a blog is you can keep adding.



You Know What’s Really Cool About That Cover Song? … Nothing
Posted Tue Sep 23, 2008 6:00am PDT by Gil Kaufman in GetBack
There’s no finer way in music to pay homage to an inspiration than the time-honored cover song. The Rolling Stones, Beatles, and Led Zeppelin essentially began their careers as glorified cover bands (or rip-off artists, depending on who you ask) before graduating to having their songs remade by everyone from Tiffany to Billy Joel, Bette Midler, Stone Temple Pilots, and Hootie & The Blowfish.

Covers versions can be great (think Johnny Cash’s take on Nine Inch Nails’ “Hurt”), but more often than not, atrocious (think Hilary Duff mauling The Who’s “My Generation”). And then there are remakes so bad they’re almost comical.

Which brings us to Korn’s Jonathan Davis. See, once upon a time, Korn were the leaders of the so-called “nu metal” brigade, a horde of frustrated boys who loved hip-hop and metal and decided to stick their Black Sabbath-inspired white chocolate into some gangsta peanut butter, essentially ruining two genres at once.

The dreadlocked Davis has made what is practically a second career out of questionable covers, from his band’s trashing of Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick In The Wall” to their bagpipe-assisted take on War’s “Low Rider” and an ill-conceived swing at Ice Cube’s “Wicked.” All fun and games, until Davis recently dropped his latest homage, a retread of Lil’ Wayne’s still-fresh “Got Money,” a bouncy clubber in which Davis cranks up the robotic AutoTune vocals and paints himself as some kind of flossy, flashy strip-club-alien lothario from the hood (assuming there is a hood in Bakersfield, California).

For the most part, efforts like Davis’ are meant to take an artist out of their comfort zone, so that got us thinking about some of the other cover catastrophies we’d rather forget.


I could probably pick just about any of Canadian power elf Celine Dion’s covers and throw it on the fire, but her gender-switching decimation of AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” is one of those car-crash horror shows that makes you unsure if you first want to gouge out your eyes or stick needles in your ears, or just do both at the same


“Tainted Love” is a great 1964 song that already survived a 1981 Soft Cell cover, which has actually become more popular than the original, and barely escaped with its life in 2001 when Marilyn Manson put his goth stink on it. And then the Pussycat Dolls dragged it through their cat box of horrible vocals and over-emoting in 2005, turning it into a pole-dancing anthem that went from reeking of heartbreak to just kind of, well, skanky.


Generally, when you cover a song the idea is to bring your own unique perspective to it. Apparently, nobody told this to jokey rockers Bowling For Soup, who took Modern English’s classic 1980s hit “I Melt With You” and did nothing at all to it, except let their whiny-voiced singer make us forget what was great about it to begin with. And don’t even get me started on Limp Bizkit leader Fred Durst’s “homage” to the tune. At least he didn’t try to sing it, though his attempt at an ’80s dance is worth a chuckle.

Durst video:



How to get the most out of this blog Part 1

How to get the most out of this blog


why I do what I do?


How I practice psycho blogging

One of my rules is it's easier to explain why I find something interesting than it is to figure out what other people find interesting.

A lot of the time I will write a short blurb in red italics signed by me then give you the link and the piece I am drawing your attention to in the color that it came in from the web page. In that
blurb I often make the case to as why should you care even if the topic may not be your bag of tea. If I will write something that will only appeal to a hard-core baseball fan or someone who is really into jazz, I will usually say up front. But most of the time I write so that anyone
who will read can somewhat understand regardless of their personal tastes.

You may notice it seems like I write a lot about sports. I will rarely do something like an Associated Press objective summary of a game. I actually write a lot about people involved in sports. High level sports usually attracts interesting characters. Characters who would be just as interesting if they were cab drivers or antique dealers. But that's why I have always read sports books because any coach never stops learning and never stops teaching. We can all learn from that process. A smart coach wants their players always improving. The best way to teach and lead is by example so logically the coach him or herself should always be improving. So even if I write about sports , anyone who is a fan of human behavior
will eventually get something out it regardless of how little sports you know. Behind every athlete and coach is a person trying to succeed in an ultra competitive endeavor.So aren't they a little like us? Can't we all learn something from that?

Not only do I write about the individuals who compete in sports but also about their governing bodies and what they do and what I think of what they are trying to do. At least from where I sit. Yes , in case you did not know there is politics in all significant sports. One of the few of that ilk that I am proud of is here.

One topic I will visit time and time again is Nationalism, how I view it and how I see others exercise their view of it. Some of the ones I have written are : 1 2 3
I said this is a previous blog entry, it is virtually impossible to find local examples to spotlight because all that we see are artistas and politicians and heaven knows we can't use them as role models. Yet many people do. I will not.

The weirdest things trigger the instinct in me to blog about it. The thing is I try to explain that spark when it comes.I have no formula. Thoughts come to me and sometimes you see them
here. Other thoughts get claimed by senior moments. I can be very goofy with my pieces or I can be very serious. The opening paragraph and the tags should give you an idea what mood I am trying to invoke.

The beauty of blogs is people from anywhere in the world can read your stuff five seconds after you release it and you can also read theirs. It is not a one way process. Another beauty of the blog medium is you can make your points with pictures, links, videos and
songs. I can spend 45 minutes writing why I enjoy a song and what it meant to me before and give links to artist information then in the end you have the option of downloading the actual song after I build it up in your mind. Two examples complete with the songs themselves:



I like to have my fun with the movies :



For better or for worse my output in this blog is a product of my inputs. I will always reference my inputs but don't blame them for me.

The one thing I can do best in the the world is be me. In this blog you get me. Sometimes it's impulsive. I am the Jedi reject who can not control his passions sometimes. Sometimes I will compromise tact to make a point. My philosophy is nobody is reading anyway.

John Molson ( Canadian National Hero) once said an honest brew makes it's own friends. I would like to think an honest blog that did not pander to trends or to the lowest common denominator makes it's own friends. If some entries might seem way too weird, well there are 340 hundred plus other entries. To keep my interest I have to be me. I have to always be developing. Development is not always steady. There are growing pains. To quote another contributor to culture as we know it:

In "It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," Linus is the sole prophet and devotee for the Great Pumpkin. Instead of trick-or-treating on Halloween, believers in the Great Pumpkin sit in a pumpkin patch all night waiting for the Great Pumpkin to rise. Linus tells everybody, "Every Halloween night, the Great Pumpkin rises from the pumpkin-patch he thinks is most sincere, and flies through the air giving toys to good boys and girls."




What always got me was Linus' values. He did not believe the pumpkin patch's raison d'etre was to be extravagant or well produced or vain or flashy. The goal was sincerity. Which for me is the opposite . A phrase I have adopted recently from listening to ESPN a lot is "All Icing No Cake". Linus' ideal pumpkin patch is all cake no icing. There are a few role models in the sincerity department that I have in this blog , here are two : 1 2

I will give you moments of weakness . I will show you some of the many flaws I have. Because you can get PR fluff anywhere. But life is battling through your flaws and always learning something new. One of my favorite books is a book called Season on the Brink. written by John Feinstein. the reason why it resonates with me is because it's WYSIWYG book. What You See Is What You Get. Warts and all. That way when you do hear the good stuff, it's more believable.

I will write a little bit about the books I am reading. Logic being if I internalize enough to explain it to you guys , I will most likely understand it better. It's a concept Steven Covey talks about. The best way to learn something is to treat it like you have to teach it. And yes ask me questions or better yet tell me if what I say makes you want to read more.

The more I read throughout my life, the more I fantasized about being the one doing the writing. Maybe it started when my dad and I watched Andy Rooney at the tail end of 60 Minutes. The guy wrote about anything. I want to thank all these blog sites and of course all of you for reading for allowing me to be a microscopic Andy Rooney. The two forms of writing I fantasized about most were 1) sports columnist and 2) comedy writer (the guys who wrote Letterman's bits in the NBC days)

Like some of you, a blog can be good venting. Also if my opinion on a topic can be extreme during the venting then that's the price I pay for not being politically correct. Don't worry, I don't intend on writing a shock blog anytime soon. I am not good at it. Although the controversial posts are there if you look hard enough.

I can honestly put down writing as a hobby. Now I never said my hobby was quality writing.

There are different ways you can be reading this.

1) Checking your multiply inbox

2) Checking your normal email (emailed by multiply to your gmail, yahoo, hotmail, ISP mail or work mail)

3) Checking my url (s)

a) http://cornholiogogs.multiply.com/ (no membership required)

b) Checking my blog spot (Google Blog) (no membership required)


c) Checking my livejournal (MS Blog) http://cornholiogogs.livejournal.com/ (no membership required)

4) You could have googled (or yahooed or whatever search engine) "edrlopez" and something would have showed up.

Point is Multiply does all the work. I enter it there and it shoots it off to all the various avenues .

Word got around to a cousin of a cousin that I blog about sports, so it peaked his interest. He wanted to look at the blog and one way of getting it to him was by sending it to the facebook of his wife. The wife heard about it beforehand and in her head it's a sports blog and since she is not a sports type of person , she assumed there will be nothing in there for her. But I would like to argue that there is. Topics are varied enough I hope.

One way of finding something you might like is to go to the home page


and look up the different "tags" in the home page . There is something in there for everybody. Good way to weed out the sports entries or the music entries. Still some of them can be beneficial if given a chance because my sports blogs ultimately end up being about human or organizational behavior. No matter what the topic I try to humanize it and say what it means to me. I might put in a personal experience or two. At my age I sure have a few of those.

One of my central themes has always been what is good is good. What I mean by that is the combined quality movies and music of the sixties will easily outweigh the quality movies and music of 2007 and 2008 . I do my best to catch up or revisit the classics. Over the course of my life I get lead to something that is good that may not be extremely popular by reading other people write about movies,books and music . Some things get exposed by "word of mouth". I hope I can be part of your "word of mouth".

This entry has been months in the making and I hope I can get you to appreciate what I am trying to do. God bless you for having read this far and let me know what you think.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Understanding Movie Production The Wilhelm scream

Being an imdb junkie I bumped into this phonemena. I hope you enjoy this as much I did. There's nothing like watching a movie that you did not know had this effect then it rings true out of nowhere. Like when I watched the Star Wars Episode III.




You've probably heard the Wilhelm Scream dozens of times in different movies and television shows without realizing it, but it's one of those things that once you hear, you'll always be able to identify it afterwards. It's now become an in-joke amongst sound editors who try to insert it into their films whenever there's a perfect moment that just needs an over-the-top scream. It began as a Warner Bros. stock sound effect, but was revived and put to serious use by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt. Now the thing just won't die. Find out more in our screaming triviagasm below.

The first appearance of the scream was in 1951's Distant Drums, and was used when a man was eaten by an alligator.
The sound is named the "Wilhelm Scream" after Pvt. Wilhelm gets shot in the leg by an arrow in the 1953 film The Charge at Feather River, and screams as he falls over.
The sound was used in eight more films in the 1950s, including 1954's Them!, about giant, nuclear-mutated ants.
The sound persisted into the 1960s, appearing in eight more movies, including the campy Hercules Against The Moon Men, where Hercules battles monsters from the moon.
While Wilhelm started to flag in the 1970s, Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt found a reel labeled "Man Being Eaten By Alligator" in the Warner archives and used the sound when Luke shoots a Stormtrooper who falls down a shaft in the Death Star.
Burtt later tracked the sound back to its original use in Distant Drums, although he was the first to call it the "Wilhelm Scream."
The sound has since been featured in every Star Wars and Indiana Jones movie. In fact, it was even used in The Star Wars Holiday Special.
It's a mystery as to who the actor was that recorded the original scream, but the most likely suspect is character actor and singer Sheb Wooley, whose name appeared on a memo as a sound extra for Distant Drums. He's best known for his hit song "The Flying Purple People Eater".
The sound has been used in over 75 movies (most recently in Cloverfield), dozens of television shows (like Doctor Who), and even numerous video games... including many of the Star Wars titles


One sound effect that has found a following with many sound editors and observant movie fans is a distinctive scream named Wilhelm.

In 1951, the Warner Bros. film "Distant Drums" directed by Raoul Walsh starred Gary Cooper as Captain Quincy Wyatt, who leads a group of soldiers to stop some Seminole Indians from threatening settlers in early 19th Century Florida. During a scene in which the soldiers are wading through a swamp in the everglades, one of them is bitten and dragged underwater by an alligator.

As is usually the case with the making of a movie, the scream for that character was recorded later. Six short pained screams were recorded in a single take, which was slated "man getting bit by an alligator, and he screams." The fifth scream was used for the soldier - but the 4th, 5th, and 6th screams recorded in the session were also used earlier in the film when three Indians are shot, one after another, during a raid on a fort.

After "Distant Drums," the recording was archived into the studio's sound effects library, and was re-used in many Warner Bros. productions.

In "The Charge at Feather River" (1953), the scream is heard when a soldier named Pvt. Wilhelm (played by Ralph Brooke) gets shot in the leg by an arrow. Originally released in 3-D, the film used the "Distant Drums" scream recording two other times as well.

Up until the mid-70's, the scream recording was used exclusively in Warner Bros. productions, including "Them!" (1954), "Land of the Pharaohs" (1955), "The Sea Chase" (1955), "Sergeant Rutledge" (1960), "PT-109" (1963) and "The Green Berets (1968).

In "A Star is Born" (1954), the scream is heard twice - one of the times because a scene with the scream in "Charge at Feather River" is playing in a screening room.

One person who noticed the same distinctive scream reoccurring in so many movies was sound effects fan Ben Burtt. Ben and his friends in the cinema department at USC, Rick Mitchell and Richard Anderson, noticed that a scream was popping up in a lot of movies. One of the films they made together, a swashbuckler parody "The Scarlet Blade" (1974) included the scream - which they borrowed off another film's audio track.

A few years later, when Ben Burtt was hired to create sound effects for Star Wars (1977), he had an opportunity to do research at the sound departments of several movie studios. While at Warner Bros. looking for sound elements to use in the space adventure, he found the original "Distant Drums" scream - which he called "Wilhelm" after the character that let out the scream in "Charge at Feather River."

Ben adopted the scream as a kind of personal sound signature, and included it in all the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" films, and many of the other films he has worked on including "More American Graffiti" (1979) and "Willow" (1988).

Ben's friend Richard Anderson also continued the tradition. Both Anderson and Burtt worked on "Raiders of the Lost Ark" (1981), and Richard used the screams in the film's truck chase - one of the sequences he cut sounds for himself.

Richard also used it in many of the films he supervised sound editing for, including "Poltergeist" (1982), "Batman Returns" (1992), "Planet of the Apes" (2001), "Agent Cody Banks" (2003), and "Madagascar" (2005).

Because of Ben Burtt, the Wilhelm has lived in the sound library at Skywalker Sound. Other colleagues there including Gary Rydstrom and Chris Boyes have used it in such films as "Toy Story" (1995), "Hercules" (1997) and "Pirates of the Caribbean" (2003).

Richard Anderson and his company, Weddington Productions (now a part of Technicolor Sound Services), archived the scream into his library as well. Editors there including Mark Mangini, David Whittaker, Steve Lee and George Simpson have used it in "Beauty and the Beast" (1991), "Aladdin" (1992), "A Goofy Movie" (1995), "The Fifth Element" (1997), “The Majestic” (2001), “Just Visiting” (2001), “A Man Apart” (2003), and "Tears of the Sun" (2003).

Growing in familiarity with fellow sound editors, especially with its use in the hugely successful "Star Wars" series, the Wilhelm Scream has become a favorite with a few sound editors outside of Skywalker and Weddington. Although it has never been available in any commercial sound effects library, the recording has made it around the sound community through editors who appreciate its history.

Only a few studios have the master of the Wilhelm, but because the "classic" scream can be found "in the clear" in a few films - such as the Judy Garland version of "A Star as Born," it has been "borrowed" for projects this way by other studios… not to mention quite a few student films.

Some noted Directors have become fans of the Wilhelm and its history, asking for it by name.

Joe Dante is familiar with the scream. Beginning with his first major film, "Hollywood Boulevard" (1976), it has been included in his films "Explorers" (1985), "Gremlins 2" (1990), "The Second Civil War" (1997), “Matinee” (1993), and "Looney Tunes: Back in Action" (2003).

After learning the significance of the scream while it was being put into "Reservoir Dogs" (1992), Quentin Tarantino called a break from its mix so that he and his sound crew could crowd into a nearby room with a small TV to watch "Distant Drums" on a local station to hear the scream. Later Wilhelm appeared in his film "Kill Bill: Vol. 1" (2003) as well.

When Peter Jackson was told the history of the Wilhelm during the sound mix of "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002), he was so excited it was included that he had its volume raised - and insisted that it also be used in "Return of the King" (2003).

Wilhelm occasionally pops up on television shows. Besides its use in a number of shows produced at Warner Bros. in the '50s and '60s, including "Maverick," it was in episodes of "The X-Files," "Angel," and "Family Guy." It has found its way into a few commercials as well - for Dell Computers and Comcast.

Several theme park attractions included the scream, such as The Star Trek Adventure at Universal Studios, The Batman Adventure at Warner Bros. Movie World, and "Golden Dreams" playing at Disney's California Adventure.

Video game fans have encountered the Wilhelm in many Star Wars games.

Although the "signature" or "classic" screams, takes 4 through 6 on the original recording, are the most recognizable, all of the screams are referred to as "Wilhelm" by those in the sound community.

The first scream can be heard in "The Empire Strikes Back" (1980) during the Hoth battle when a rebel soldier’s laser gun dish is hit and explodes, and also during the truck chase in "Raiders of the Lost Ark" when a Nazi soldier falls from the rear left side of the truck, ripping the canvas as he falls. The second take can be heard in Tim Burton's "Planet of the Apes" (2001) when General Thade (Tim Roth) hurls two humans into the air at once.

The third scream is heard in the original "Star Wars" just before the stormtrooper falls into the chasm on the Death Star - and just before the "classic" Wilhelm is heard. It is also in "Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones" (2002) when a ship explodes on the planet Coruscant at the beginning of the film.

Many fans of the Wilhelm Scream have long wondered who originally performed the scream. No specific documentation has been found attributing the scream to any one person, but Ben Burtt has been researching the matter.

Between his work on the last "Star Wars" films, he has visited Warner Bros. to gather more information. He discovered a file for "Distant Drums," which contained paperwork that was left over from the picture editor when the film was completed. One of the papers was a short list of names of actors who were scheduled to come in to perform various lines of dialogue for miscellaneous roles in the movie. After reviewing the names and even listening to their voices, one person seemed to be the most likely suspect.

Sheb Wooley was a musician and character actor who appeared in many Westerns - but is probably most famous for the song "Purple People Eater," which in 1958 spent six weeks at Number One and sold 3 million copies.

He played one of the four gunslingers that stalked Gary Cooper in the classic "High Noon" (1953), and starred on the hit TV series "Rawhide" as scout Pete Nolan. He also appeared in "Giant" (1956), "The Outlaw Josey Wales" (1976), "Silverado" (1985) and even the film adaptation of his song "Purple People Eater" (1988).

Sheb played the uncredited role of Private Jessup in "Distant Drums," and was one of the few actors assembled for the recording of additional vocal elements for the film. It is very likely he was asked on the spot to perform other things for the film, including the screams for a man being bitten by an alligator.

Sheb Wooley died of leukemia in Nashville, Tennessee, in 2003. He was 82.

Although there is no way to confirm with him that he performed these special screams, his wife, Linda Dotson-Wooley, said Sheb was fond of saying how talented he was at performing laughs, screams, and dying vocals for films.

After finishing the last "Star Wars" film and beginning work at Pixar, Ben Burtt has announced he will no longer be using the Wilhelm. This is surely an end of an era for the scream, but there is no indication that it will be silenced anytime soon. The Wilhelm Scream continues to be heard in new films every year.

- Steve Lee
17 May 2005

Very special thanks to those who have contributed information and time for interviews, including Ben Burtt, Richard Anderson, Rick Mitchell, Gary Rydstrom, Curt Schulkey, Chris Boyes, David Whittaker, David Stone, Phil Kovats, David Fein, Chris Linke, Jack Malvern, and Linda Dotson-Wooley.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Clay Aiken and Why It Matters?

I confess, I have told a lot of gay jokes in my day. For six years I worked in place with about 19 people. For 5 1/2 of those years there were no women so you can imagine the jokes flying there. The funniest episode of Northern Exposure ever is the one where two guys explore moving into Cicely and developing it commercially. Which is all OK for man's man Maurice Minnifield. Former fighter pilot and astronaut. He discovers that the guys love what he loves, show tunes and gourmet cooking. Then he finds out that they met at a party where one of them was dressed up as Barbara Streisand and they are dog groomers.

Now is not one of those times for gay jokes. I chose to write about this for several reasons. Asked myself why in these times do people (celebs) who are "overtly gay" hide it or not make it "official"? It seems to me, these guys telling you they are not gay or keeping quiet about it is similar to me telling you that I rarely have opinions on anything, specially sports.

First of all, full disclosure. I do not watch American Idol at all. I barely know this guy , yet from what I gather Clay's story is similar to Johnny Weir which I have included below. You people who are more familiar with Clay can read the article and draw your own conclusions.

This may not be the place to get into the whole morality thing but I will say this: I believe God makes gay people. I once had a doctor friend who told me that seven year olds know they are gay. A decade ago we knew this guy who was popular with the women. He had girl friends that we knew. One day we found out he was gay. It did not throw me for a loop but it did surprise me. I had a friend in college, who was married to a guy for a year then left the marriage, turns out the husband was gay.

I hope you are not reading this for quick answers. In fact I hope you leave here with more questions.

Consider the following:

1) The President of an entire country addresses an elite American academic institution that he believes no gay people exist in his country.



2) Dan Wetzel on Johnny Weir

(oddly enough Jimmy MacElroy 's costumes were based on Weir's)

3) Another link exploring why some visible gay athletes officially stay in the closet


4) Clip below from In & Out .

5) The paradox that is Roy Cohn.




No matter how you are reading this, clips and pics available in


The closet is a fascinating place. Because society seems to dictate to some people how long they should stay in there. Yes, personal agenda has something to do with it too. Still the case of Clay matters because denial is not just a river in Egypt. If this topic makes some of you uncomfortable, don't worry. I have been there before. Sometimes opening your mind and seeing different viewpoints can take you out of your comfort zone, not that there's anything wrong with that.


Clay Aiken: "Yes, I'm Gay"
Posted Tue Sep 23, 2008 4:57pm PDT by Lyndsey Parker in Reality Rocks

Guys, I know this is going to come as a bit of a shocker, so I hope you're sitting down before you continue reading. But (deep breath, now)...Clay Aiken has confirmed, in an interview featured on the cover of the upcoming issue of People magazine and first leaked on Perez Hilton's site, that he is indeed (wait for it), homosexual.

All right, all right...so this isn't the biggest news scoop in tabloid history. This is sort of akin to reporting that Chris Daughtry is bald, or that David Cook uses hair gel, or that Ruben Studdard shops at Big & Tall For Men. It's always been that obvious. But this is the first time Clay's actually admitted it, so I for one am thrilled that he has set the record straight (no pun intended).

For years, practically from the minute he reared his bespectacled head on season 2 of American Idol, Clay has skirted (again, no pun intended) around this issue--even telling Diane Sawyer herself that she was "really rude" to grill him about his sexuality in a 2006 Good Morning America interview. He always made a big point of keeping his private life just that--private--but it seemed the quieter he remained, the louder all the gossip (and snarky jokes) became.

Of course, promo photos of Clay's new look (frosty blonde highlights, inch-thick pancake makeup), or news than his son was conceived via medical intervention with his 50-year-old "best friend," didn't help matters. But Clay still kept mum, perhaps out of fear of alienating his adoring, mostly female fanbase.

But now Clay has finally come out, in a People article accompanied by the first published photos of his new bouncing baby boy, Parker Foster (who apparently was his inspiration for telling the whole truth and nothing but the truth here, as he told the mag, "I cannot raise a child to lie or to hide things"). Kudos to Clay for being an honest role model for his child, and I'm certain that any worries Clay--or, probably more specifically, his handlers--had about him losing fans after such a confession will prove totally unfounded.



He's here, he's Weir

By Dan Wetzel, Yahoo! Sports | February 16, 2006

TURIN, Italy – Ah, let's see, how should I phrase this one without getting into trouble?

OK … so, if there was, per chance, the need for a closet to be involved in Johnny Weir's personal life (hypothetically speaking, of course, although, judging by 99 percent of the American public's perception of him there would not be said need) don't you think it is rather remarkable that he has never come out of it?

If, of course, there even is a closet. Oh, and, for the record, not that there is anything wrong with that. Or anything else. But, well, ah, let's just say …

"If Johnny Weir isn't gay, then I'm not gay," said Jim Buzinski, founder of outsports.com, a gay sports web site, on Thursday.

Thank you, Jim, for bailing me out here. (For the record, Jim is gay.)

Johnny Weir has rocketed to become the most popular and talked-about male figure skater in years. And it is not just because of his skating – which, unfortunately, he didn't display in a poor performance here Thursday where he finished fifth.

He's a national phenomenon because of his flamboyant ways, even if he isn't officially gay. Few people seem to care what he really is; they just like the showmanship that makes Elton John look straight.

It's the dandy outfits. It's the rhinestones. It's the Louis Vuitton bags. It is the prancing ways. It's the fact he describes himself as "princessy," says things such as "I felt like the prettiest flower at the pond" and wears a single red glove.

"I call my glove 'Camille,' " he said at the national championships. "Two Ls."

Know any straight men who would say that? How about admitting Christina Aguilera is their idol? I am less convinced Wilt Chamberlain was straight than I am that Johnny Weir is not.

"NBC's segment was titled, 'He's Here, He's Weir," noted Buzinski, a pun off the "we're here, we're queer" gay rights slogan. "Wonder what they were trying to say?"

Buzinski notes that you'd have to have the worst "gaydar" on earth not to sniff this one out. The beauty of it all is that the lack of subtlety is why he so popular.

"He's hysterical," said Buzinski, whose website has been overrun with Weir talk. "He's so out there. Gay people love the guy the way they always love divas."

Straight people do too. I (since we are discussing it) am heterosexual, but feel quite comfortable saying I love the guy. He's colorful, fun, entertaining. We need more characters like him in sports.

"Tony Kornheiser, who is the least gay human being on the planet, loves the guy for who he is," said Buzinski.

But, why, then is Johnny Weir not officially gay? He's declined to answer the question, even on his personal website.

"I don't feel the need to express my sexual being because it's not part of my sport and it's private," Weir writes. "I can sleep with whomever I choose and it doesn't affect what I'm doing on the ice, so speculation is speculation.

"I like nice things, and beautiful things, so if that is the only way people are determining that I swing one way or the other, then to me, that's sad. You can't judge a book by its cover, ever. I am who I am, and I don't need to justify anything to anyone."

This would be a reasonable explanation, except on every other subject Weir is like a 13-year-old girl at a slumber party – no secrets. He talks about everything. He says anything. He seems to relish it.

"He can't [come out] because he will deal with repercussions from judges," claims Jon Jackson, a former skater and Olympic-qualified judge, who is the author of the book "On Edge: Backroom Dealing, Cocktail Scheming, Triple Axels and How Top Skaters Get Screwed."

"I've seen it," Jackson said Thursday, "And it goes beyond (prejudice) from straight judges. (It includes) gay male judges who have their own sexual identity threatened if a gay skater does something feminine."

Jackson, who again for the record, is also gay, says the figure skating establishment in the U.S. encourages skaters to stay in the closet by making it known they want their athletes to be straight because it believes that is what the public wants.

He estimates that 30 to 40 percent of elite male American skaters are gay. But in what Buzinski calls "the gayest sport," there hasn't been an openly gay American skater since Rudy Galindo came out in 1996.

"It is U.S. Figure Skating's mindset that it is not good for skating," said Jackson. "It is what Tonya Harding dealt with. If you are not a perfect lady, it hurts figure skating's image. If you are not perfectly manly, it hurts figure skating's image. But if there was ever a sport [where] it wouldn't matter, it is this one."

U.S. Figure Skating denies those accusations.

"We are not commenting on the book because it so baseless," said Lindsay DeWall, spokesperson for the organization. "I don't think [sexual orientation] is any of our business. A skater is free to be whoever they want to be publicly and privately."

This brings us back to Weir, who despite missing out on a medal, will return to the States as one of the Olympics' most popular and publicized athletes. He is a hero to the gay community – "We love him," said Buzinski. He is popular in much of the straight one, too.

He seems like a natural for Leno, Letterman and who knows what else. He may not get mainstream endorsement deals, but he isn't likely to fade away. Besides, he is only 21 and promises to be back for the next Olympics.

By then, perhaps, we will have gotten to the point where closets, if there are any, no longer matter. Although, judging by the Weir phenomenon, I think mainstream America is closer than ever.

Either way, here's hoping Johnny Weir, whatever he is, hasn't changed one single bit.

Dan Wetzel is Yahoo! Sports' national columnist and author of "Resilience: Faith, Focus, Triumph" with the Miami Heat's Alonzo Mourning. The book details Mourning's rise from foster care to NBA stardom before kidney disease changed everything. Send Dan a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.