Covering Cinema From All Across The African Diaspora

If You're Obese, Get Ready To Start Paying Fines

According to an article in Time Magazine, the state of Alabama, unhappy with its second place position in national obesity rankings, intends to reverse course towards healthier living for its constituents by implementing what some are calling a controversial law that would require all obese state employees to pay $25 per month for health insurance costs - a fee they've never had to pay before, since they are government employees, with free health insurance as part of their benefits package.

Government statistics show Alabamians have a weight problem. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 30.3 percent are now obese, ranking the state behind only Mississippi.

I guess the strategy here is to hit them where it hurts the most - their wallets and purses - until they work their bodies into more "acceptable standards," based on the nationally accepted BMI index. A BMI of 30 is considered the threshold for obesity.

State employees will be required to go through annual health screenings to test their blood pressure, cholesterol, glucose levels and for obesity. And those who fail the tests will have to enroll in a fitness program, or take steps on their own to improve their health. If they show progress in a follow-up screening, they won't be charged. But if they don't, they must pay $25 monthly starting in January 2011.

Of course, this doesn't sit very well with those fine men and women of Alabama, and complaints have already been registered. However, it looks like it's a done deal, and they'll have to comply... or move to another state... although it's possible that other states could adopt a similar policy, especially given recent national concerns over the overall health of Americans, with a significant number considered obese.

Proponents of big government will likely champion the idea. Others... not so much. I can hear cries of "big brother" coming from the right. A police state is only a few statutes away.

Will it work in the long run? I doubt it! Obesity is an illness as far as I'm concerned, and should be treated as such. It's practically an epidemic now, if you believe the CDC's numbers. This kind of legislation only trivializes it I think, and might actually backfire.

Imagine if it was a nationwide law - the BMI index becomes THE standard by which we all are judged... every American is required to get themselves checked out every year, and the results of their tests are sent to some governing body for verification... and those with BMI's of over 30 are required to enroll in some government approved wellness program, to nurse themselves back to acceptable health standards or pay a monthly fine for as long as they are over the BMI limit. An obvious follow-up question would be, what if someone refuses to do any or all 3 - refuses to have an annual check-up, refuses to get themselves into a wellness program, or refuses to pay the fine? What happens to them then? Will they get thrown in jail for failing to comply? How far will the government go to see its policies enacted?

What do you think?


Barack And Biden Sittin' In A Tree...

So, as I'm sure you've all already heard or read, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Barack Hussein Obama II announced his selection for vice president earlier this morning - an expected choice in Joseph Robinette Biden, Jr., senator from Delaware.

Is that a collective yawn I hear...

Given all the build-up and anticipation of who Obama's choice would be, I was expecting, hoping that he'd surprise and excite us with an unexpected, intriguing selection - like maybe a woman, especially after his fallout with Hillary supporters, or someone the caliber and stature of an Al Gore - not Biden.

Biden might be experienced, but he doesn't quite fit Obama's call for a new order... change we can believe in. He's still a member of the "old guard" as far as I'm concerned. But maybe that's what Obama needs to compliment his candidacy. Time will tell.

Now that Obama has shown his cards, it gives McCain a bit of an edge, I think, because he could be thinking the same thing that I'm thinking, and really surprise us with his selection - maybe choose an independent, a woman, or even an African American; unlikely, since Joe Lieberman (the traitor) seems to be the name that's on most lips. But, all eyes will now be watching in anticipation of McCain's eventual pick.

So it goes... it's Obama/Biden in 2008! Get used to it!

Olympics: Slippery Hands

Wow! What are the chances that BOTH the American men and women 4X100 relay teams would have baton exchange woes on the same leg, disqualifying both teams before the finals, despite leading in both scenarios, heading towards the homestretch to certain gold medal wins? I'm surprised no one is calling for an investigation into a potential "fix." Is gambling allowed in the Olympics? If so, someone just made a killing :o)

P.S. the thighs on the women sprinters are incredible! Damn!

There Will Be Blood... A Little

Clearly the Democrats plan on milking McCain's recent gaffe for as long as they can...

Read Magazines Online For FREE!

You know me... I'm always looking for free shit :o)

Here's another FREE online service that some of you might find useful.

It's a new site (launched in July I believe) called Based on its name, I'm sure you can guess what it's purpose is. In short, is a website where you can read magazines for FREE! You can also share (whether via email or social bookmarking), archive and customize specific articles within those magazines you read.

Printed magazines are uploaded in whole, from the cover to cover - even the ads - and you can read them on the site using its convenient flipbook feature, which also allows you to zoom in and out, to read any tiny print.

Since it's a new site, don't expect to find every single kind of magazine in circulation, but there's enough there to tickle your appetite in expectation of what's to come. You can also upload magazines you own, especially those that aren't already on the site. So, think of it as a kind of file sharing site, except the files being shared are magazines. The quality of the images aren't pristine, but certainly good enough to read and appreciate - even for the optically-challenged. Did I mention it's a FREE site?

Pick from a variety of categories - Arts & Culture, Automotive, Computers & Internet, Electronics & Audio, Entertainment & TV, Home & Garden, News, Business & Money, Sports, Travel, and more.

At a quick glance I saw listings for the most recent editions of Times, Vanity Fair, Ebony, Oprah, Car & Driver, BusinessWeek, Cosmopolitan, Vibe, Wired, PC Magazine, MacWorld, Popular Photography, FHM, Maxim, Popular Science, Newsweek, Forbes and The Economist amongst man others. I also saw several weekly publications, like People Magazine, National Enquirer, Us Weekly, Entertainment Weekly, and others.

And if you missed a past issue of a magazine, they have some of those as well... for example, if you didn't read the now infamous New Yorker magazine issue that had the Obama's caricatured on the cover, you can read all 100 pages of that edition on the site, for free.

There's also a nifty "subscribe" feature which is self-explanatory.

And the selections aren't solely American. The site claims a library that's global, although limited, meaning you could read the most current issue of Der Spiegel, provided you're fluent in German, or you can flip through the pages of La Provence, as long as French isn't foreign to you. Or, you can read the Indian version of Vogue! I didn't even know that there was an Indian version of Vogue! Scary.

So, check out Mygazines why don't you! You might find something you like. I expect that magazine publishers will soon come calling with lawsuits and such, assuming the creators of the site don't have the legal rights to make the magazines available on the site, especially for free.

Go to:

The 10 highest-paid American CEOs

Just released today, the 10 highest-paid CEOs in 2007. Only companies that make up the The S&P 500 are considered for this list assembled by The Associated Press. The total pay figures are rounded, and include salary, perks, bonuses, above-market interest on pay set aside for later, and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year.

1. Larry Ellison, Oracle Corp., $84.6 million
2. John Thain, Merrill Lynch & Co., $83.1 million
3. Leslie Moonves, CBS Corp., $67.6 million
4. Richard Adkerson, Freeport-McMoran Copper & Gold Inc., $65.3 million
5. Bob Simpson, XTO Energy Inc., $56.6 million
6. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group Inc., $53.9 million
7. Kenneth Chenault, American Express Co., $51.7 million
8. Eugene Isenberg, Nabors Industries Ltd., $44.6 million
9. John Mack, Morgan Stanley, $41.7 million
10. Glenn Murphy, Gap Inc., $39.1 million

Must be nice...

Borrowing from the powerful Medici family's slogan - you make money to get power, and you use that power to protect money.

May I suggest a viewing of American Ruling Class below:

Let George Clooney Buy You A New Car!

This is probably the ONLY time you'll ever hear me say that I wouldn't mind being "rear-ended" by George Clooney!

That's right - of course I'm talking about a different kind of "rear-ending"... the bumper to bumper variety... as in automobile accident! What the fuck did you think I meant?

Anyway... the story goes... George Clooney, 2-time People Magazine Sexiest Man Alive honoree, bought some lady a new car after hitting her vehicle from behind in an accident, as he was driving in Pennabilli, Italy.

Clooney accepted the blame for the incident, and when the woman went to pick up her car from the mechanic, she discovered that Clooney had replaced her Lancia Ypsilon with a brand new one. Cost? $28,000!

How about that, huh?

How About A Coffin Couch?

"We at have the mindset of thinking "Green" and we know it is different but we strongly believe in recycling. Our niche happens to be 18 gauge steel coffins which we collected from local funeral homes primarily in Southern California. It is a health and safety law that funeral homes cannot resell used coffins to the general public. We approached funeral directors with the attitude of recycling."

Interesting, if not morbid! A couch that was once a coffin! Upon initially reading the company's website intro above, I had to pause and ponder - used coffins? What the hell is a used coffin? Aren't they supposed to be buried under several feet of dirt? Is there actually an industry that unearths coffins with human remains still inside, in order to retool each coffin, creating couches out of them? WTF?

But after further reading, I learned that apparently, these used coffins are not used for burial "due to slight cosmetic inconsistencies."

Phewwww! That's certainly good to know! These blemished cases are instead modified into what you see above and below - coffin couches!
And how much do each of these babies cost? About $3,500. No info on how well they're selling. But if anyone out there owns one, please let the rest of us know!

Check out for more morbidity.

Watch Feature Films Online For FREE!

Just a reminder for those who missed my original post on it: - watch documentaries online for FREE!!

I won't repeat what I said about the site and my initial experience with it - you can read that post HERE.

Since learning about it about a month ago, I've used the service quite a few times, watching a basket full of riveting, informative documentaries on a variety of topics. Most are available for purchase on DVD, or previously enjoyed theatrical releases, so you might be familiar with a few. But it's discovering gems I've never heard of that's thrilling for me - like a trekkie at a Star Trek convention :o)

I love to learn, so the educational opportunities provided by the informative nature of documentaries is something to relish!

I encourage you to take advantage of the FREE virtual screening room! You can watch right on your computer screen, or, if you're like me, you can connect a projector to your computer, and watch on a larger screen, whether it's a bedsheet, or, in my case, a wall in my apartment... at night... in the dark... in the nude... (ok, scratch the last part).

A few docs I've watched on the site recently:

- Stolen - In 1990, in the early morning hours after St. Patrick’s Day, thieves disguised as policemen gained access into Boston’s Isabella Stewart Gardner museum and successfully executed the largest art heist in modern history. STOLEN brings the audience on a journey to understand not just a crime, but also the nature of beauty itself - its fragility and its power.
- Charlie Chaplin: The Forgotten Years: Charles Chaplin's later life, after being forced to leave the USA in 1952.
- Protagonist: What do a terrorist, kung-fu master, gay evangelical minister, and a bank robber have in common?
- Super Size Me: (I'm sure everyone has heard of this one) Morgan Spurlock eats a McDonald's-only diet for thirty days straight and monitors the effects on his mind and body.
- American Ruling Class: Satire that explores our country’s most taboo topic: class, the presence of an elite in our nominally democratic republic. Harper’s Magazine editor Lewis Lapham takes two young Ivy-League graduates on a tour of the corridors of power and their own career possibilities. Along the way they meet an all-star cast, including, among many others, former cabinet secretaries, corporate mandarins, newspaper publishers, and journalists. By story’s end, the graduates’ choice of career takes on great weight: will they try to save the world, or rule it?

So, head on over to NOW! You'll appreciate it! And no, they aren't paying me to plug the service. Did I mention it's FREE?

John McCain: "I Don't Know How Many Houses I Own"

When you don't know how many homes you own, it's a clear indication that you own too many, especially given the current state of the American housing market.

John McCain said in a recent
interview with Politico on Wednesday that he was uncertain how many houses he and his wife, Cindy, own.

"I think — I'll have my staff get to you," McCain told Politico. "It's condominiums where — I'll have them get to you."

Newsweek estimated this summer that the couple owns at least seven properties.

In recent weeks, Democrats have stepped up their efforts to caricature McCain as the real elitist, given his outlandishly rich lifestyle, as a kind of payback for portraying Obama as the disconnected snob.

Here's a video, titled McCain's Mansions, released last week by Brave New Films and SEIU:


UPDATE: Christopher Scott Cherot Lives!

A few weeks ago I posted a "missing persons" alert for Hav Plenty writer/director, Christopher Scott Cherot (You can read that entry HERE).

Yesterday, reader Naoe posted a comment with a link to a press release from July detailing Mr Cherot's current adventures - a film called The Untitled Bathroom Project, described as a "don’t-judge-a-book-by-it’s-cover comedy about one woman’s unforgettable experience in a ladies’ bathroom." I'm assuming it's a feature-length production, but the press release doesn't say.

The film, which will be funded with "financial support from family, friends, colleagues and business associates," is set to begin shooting this fall, under the umbrella of 2 newly formed indie production shingles - Apphia Productions, created by Délé Ogundiran and NeW•YiLLy Entertainment run by Adenrele Ojo - both Los Angeles-based movie producers.

No other info was provided, but you can read the entire press release here:
Untitled Bathroom Project.

Paging Hollywood's Black Elite...!

Talking about his upcoming $36 Million biopic of prominent Haitian revolution leader Toussaint L'Ouverture, while at a recent film seminar in Paris, Danny Glover said of his fund-seeking tribulations in America and Europe: "Producers said, 'it's a nice project, a great project . . . where are the white heroes?'"

Do those alabaster suits in Hollywood really STILL say things like that? I mean, really?! Essentially, they want to rewrite history, right? It's so freaking ridiculous that one can only laugh at the idiocy of it all! I'd never survive within their system... I'd probably bitchslap the jackass who asks me a question like that... or at the very least, spit some venom his way.

As previously reported, Venezuelan socialist leader Hugo Chavez gave $18 million to finance half of the project. The rest was supposed to come from a distributor, but according to Glover, no one in Hollywood was interested, stating, "I couldn't get the money here. I couldn't get the money in Britain. I went to everybody.. The first question you get is, 'Is it a black film? It's not going to do good in Europe, it's not going to do good in Japan.' Somebody has to prove that to be a lie."

Paging Will Smith... Oprah Winfrey... Denzel Washington... Eddie Murphy... can somebody lend this man a dollar... a dime... a nickle... a penny... something... so that he can get this film made, please? We're talking about a film about a man who was born a slave and would eventually lead a slave rebellion to victory over the Europeans, abolishing slavery in the region, and establishing Haiti as the first post-colonial independent black-led nation in the world! Come on folks!


All White Men Look Alike

But I suppose it's better to be mobbed by adoring fans of the person they think you look like, as opposed to hearing the infamous "you fit the description..." while being slammed on the hood of a pig wagon! And just in case you too are fooled by their *unmistakable* resemblance... the "idol" below is Stephen Parry - former British middle-distance swimmer and currently sports Journalist for the BBC - not Michael Phelps.

Actors - An Endangered Species

'Emily', the woman in the below video animation, is not real. She was created using a new modeling technology from a company called Image Metrics that enables the most minute details of facial expression to be recreated. She is considered to be one of the first animations to breakthrough a long-standing barrier known as 'uncanny valley' - which refers to the perception that animation looks less realistic as it approaches human likeness.

What do you think? Towards the end of the clip, the real Emily is shown for comparison.


Trailer - Baracky, The Movie!

In the video trailer below, Barack Obama stars as Baracky, in this Rocky-like rendition of the 2008 US Presidential race. Funny... ha... ha...

Where The Millionaires Are

According to new report by the I.R.S., the state of California boasts the most millionaires - 428,000 (more than a fifth of the nation’s total). Following in a distant second place is Florida with 199,000 residents with a net worth of $1.5 million or more, and then (surprisingly) New York with a paltry 168,000! Given the ever-rising costs of living in my home state (New York), I'd expect that we'll be at the top of the list - not that it's necessarily a designation to be proud of. Although I should note that California does house many of those techie millionaires and billionaires. And Florida is of course a haven for wealthy retirees (they also don't pay income tax down there).

For the envious, don't sweat it - a million just doesn't buy what it used to anymore. Nowadays you've got to be at least in the centi club to make much of a splash!


Wonders Of The World

Scary isn't it? No, it's not a Photoshop job. This here is known as a Coconut Crab - said to be the largest land-living arthropod in the world, which can weigh as much as 37 pounds, with a leg-span as wide as 3 1/2 feet. They are called Coconut Crabs for a reason - coconuts are their favored food item. They use their strong massive claws to break coconuts into smaller pieces for easier consumption. Imagine what they could do to your head! *Shudder*

Thankfully these babies are local to areas in the South Pacific Ocean, where they are seen as both pets (???) and dinner - a delicacy and an aphrodisiac, with a taste similar to lobster and crab meat. That's a shitload of crab meat! If I ever saw one of these things up close and personal, I think I'd scream like a little girl!


It's All In The Details... Tuesday Humor!

Do these look like the shoes of an elitist? Pushawwww!!


I'd like to take a look at soles of McCain's $520 loafers for comparison.


How Infuriating!

I hope the man in this video is first caught by a group of vigilantes, and is beaten mercilessly, until he's almost unrecognizable, before being left at the doorstep of the nearest police station!

If the video isn't clear enough, here's a written explanation:

CROWN HEIGHTS, Brooklyn — Cops released video on Monday capturing a punk's attack on an 85-year-old woman. The surveillance video shows the robber following Lilian France into the elevator of a Crown Heights building, and then choking her from behind.

She was left panting on the floor as he ran off with $900, and her cane, as the video shows.

Police believe the cowardly thug has gone after nearly a dozen seniors in Crown Heights, Kensington and Flatbush during the last few months.

The robber — described as a man in his 20's or 30's — likes to follow his prey into their apartment lobbies to share an elevator ride, said police. Then, "he approaches them from behind... Either knocks them over or puts them in a chokehold."

Anyone with information about his whereabouts should call the NYPD's Crime Stoppers Hotline at 800-577-TIPS, or text in their tips to 274637 and then enter TIP577.

There is a reward of up to $12,000 if he is captured.

Here's the video:

New Black Cable TV Network? Hmm...

I think it's clear that there's STILL an opening for a black TV network, despite the existence of both BET and TV-One. I'm surprised that there haven't been more attempts, given the disappointing reception that the currently operating stations have received over the years - notably BET. If I had the resources, or access to the necessary resources, I would have certainly taken on the challenge. There's a lot of room for improvement and eventual financial success, because we are still without a definite crowned champion in the field, which makes it even more attractive for anyone willing and able to enter the market, and eventually dominate - given the right mix of style and substance in its content, of course.

Will Master P... I mean Percy Miller's venture become what we all wish BET and TV-One already were?

Who knows? We'll learn in time. But his quote stating, "I believe that there is a market in our community for a new diverse network that provides a new brand of superior programming that caters to all aspects of television, from reality to original programming," is inspiring, and hopeful. Let's hope that he keeps that promise!!

The new cable network called Better Black Television (BBTV), is set to debut in 2009, and will provide "positive content for a black and brown culture," and unofficially compete with BET for viewers.

Content will include "a wide range of scripted, unscripted and news programming, including drama and comedy series, movies, animation, reality, politics, sports and entertainment news, children's educational and teen programming, as well as "responsible hip-hop music and videos."

The fact that Denzel Washington is on the network's advisory board, is somewhat encouraging. I certainly wouldn't expect Denzel to attach himself and his reputation to anything that didn't meet certain standards... but who knows?

BBTV's programming in the works include the following:

* "Sunset and Vine": Video show that will showcase the top hip-hop and R&B acts as well as play classic videos.

* "One Shot Comedy Show": Comedy show featuring established and upcoming comedians.

* "Gee Gee the Giraffe": Children's educational show (will air Saturday morning on BBTV Kids).

* "Manage Your Money": Featuring financially successful people lending tips to promote financial literacy.

* "Karma TV Show": Bilingual soap opera with an African-American and Latino cast.

* "What's Cooking TV Show": Talk show that covers wide aspects of entertainment and current events while cooking healthy, budget-conscious meals.

* "The Black List Movies": Film showcase featuring classic and contemporary movies, as well as original BBTV productions.

As I said above... we'll just have to wait and see. Profit is king, so, while P. Miller might have the best of intentions for the station and its potential audience going into this venture, profit will always supersede substance. I think anyone who seriously wants to engender change should be prepared to lose a lot of money, at least initially, and ride out some hard times early on, be patient, and in time, audiences will respond, provided the content remains prime. But I certainly applaud the man for the effort.


O! Say Can You See...

Can you answer all 3 of these questions?

1. Which party now controls Congress?
2. Who is the current U.S. secretary of state?

3. Name the new prime minister of Great Britain.

I certainly hope so!

According to a Pew Survey on News Consumption (taken every two years and released this afternoon), the national average for answering the three questions was only 18%!!

Let me repeat that again... 18-freaking-percent! Are you kidding me?

According to the release, even though most Americans surveyed scored poorly on the test, a vast majority of them actually believe that they follow national news closely - obviously not close enough! Maybe this shouldn't be a surprise, but it's rather pathetic and embarrassing.