Passion = Truth? How Jeffrey James Francis Ircink Sees The World? I love when people are passionate about something. That surging of emotion is the one honest measure of what truth is. It's a truthful display of how a person really feels about something or someone at that particular moment. That passion IS truth.



About me...

My photo
Greendale, Wisconsin, United States
Ex-producer of THE REALLY FUNNY HORNY GOAT INTERNATIONAL SHORT FILM FESTIVAL, playwright, actor, singer, outdoorsman, blogger, amateur photog, observer & bitcher, Beach Boys groupie, Brett Favre fanatic, lover of everything Celtic and forever a member in the Tribe of HAIR. Spent most of my life in the Village of Waterford, a small town just outside of the Milwaukee suburbs. After 12 years in North Hollywood, Bel Air and Culver City, Cali, I moved back to Wisconsin in September 2009. No regrets - of moving to LA OR moving back to WI. Have traveled to Belfast, Ireland, Dayton (OH), Manhattan, Seattle, Cedar Rapids, New York, Miami and Sydney, Australia with my plays. Moved back into the Village of Greendale where I was born. Life is good.

Celtic!

Monday, March 31, 2008

"So these two Polish models walk into a bar..."

"And the one says..." Forget it. I got no joke. All I have is two, hot Polish models. Period.

I stumbled upon the current issue of the magazine Nylon and the model above, Anja Rubik, was featured on the cover. So I did some digging and found this shot of her on W - and it reminded me of a shot in Lake magazine of my close friend from high school, Justyna, who models in Chicago. Similar looks, styles, attitudes...they're both models and they're both Polish.

No? Well it's really all about what I think, right? That's it. Just my observation.

(Photo of Justyna taken by Michael Voltattorni, 2007)


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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Wanna see a ghost on the Queen Mary?

Seriously. I took a picture of a flight of stairs - with NO ONE in the picture. And there's a figure at the top of the stairs. Seriously.

Saturday night I had dinner, drinks and then toured the Queen Mary with friends visiting from Minnesota (originally from Wisconsin). The QM is docked in Long Beach and is known to be haunted.

What I captured on film looks to be a female from around the mid to late 1930's. I'm not saying it's a ghost. And I'm not saying it isn't. I'm saying when I took the picture there was no one in my line of sight. Not before, during or after. I'm assembling "a tour" of the ship in pictures as we speak. Check back - right after this commercial break.


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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Origami No. 9. Appreciating Brett Favre.

The NFL and its fans won't fully comprehend the loss of Brett Favre as a football player until the start of the 2008 season.

(Origami is sort of my catchword for a featured blog entry that highlights my original writings - could be an excerpt from one of my plays, a poem, a song, a rant, a rave, a cursing, etc. Origami is the art of folding paper (the word is of Japanese origin). So, within the folds of this particular blog feature you may find something really beautiful, meaningful or poignant.


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Origami No. 8

While on my walk today, I saw a bum. He was talking to himself (though everyone else heard him) - ranting about this and that. If I hadn't known any better, I thought I had just seen myself.

'Course, I'm not a bum. Yet.

(Origami is sort of my catchword for a featured blog entry that highlights my original writings - could be an excerpt from one of my plays, a poem, a song, a rant, a rave, a cursing, etc. Origami is the art of folding paper (the word is of Japanese origin). So, within the folds of this particular blog feature you may find something really beautiful, meaningful or poignant.)


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Earth Hour - Do Your Part

Help raise awareness of a worldwide energy conservation effort called Earth Hour. Google turned it's "lights out" (see the Google page) to draw attention to this cause. You can do something to reduce the energy consumption of your home PC by joining the Climate Savers Computing Initiative.

On Saturday, March 29, 2008, Earth Hour invites people around the world to turn off their lights for one hour – from 8:00pm to 9:00pm in their local time zone. On this day, cities around the world, including Copenhagen, Chicago, Melbourne, Dubai, and Tel Aviv, will hold events to acknowledge their commitment to energy conservation.

As my PASSION = TRUTH's page is already "dark", my "lights" are already off. Hmm...I mean - you know what I mean.


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Friday, March 28, 2008

"The Lakehouse"

I haven't cried watching a movie in a while.

Did I cry during Atonement? I may have. Teared up. No - I teared up during The Lakehouse but I didn't cry.

So - The Lakehouse. Loved it. Two-thirds of the critics didn't but I never pay attention to them anyway. I'm not going to rehash the plot - you can look it up yourself. It's actually a re-make ofa 2000 Korean film called, Il Mare. - a man and woman fall in love through letters they've exchanged but they, in fact, exist two years apart from each other...she in 2006 and he in 2004. You have to pay attention.

Listen - I can't stand Sandra Bullock. I don't remember the last movie I saw her in. Keanu Reeves I can take but he's not in my top 100 actors. But the architecture of the lakehouse (it was built in Chicago for the movie and then dismanteled) sucked me in. I'm a huge Frank Lloyd Wright fan (who is mentioned in the movie) and I've been researching some play ideas based on Wright. The music's great (Paolo Conte) and the love story - the love story suckered me in right away. I know what it's like to long for someone who's out of your reach (however you wanna define that), so I felt empathy toward both characters.

I was begging like a little girl for the characters to end up happy.


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Wisconsin Loses to Davidson in Sweet 16

The Wisconsin Badgers got their asses handed to them by the Cinderella team of the NCAA basketball tourney - losing to Davidson by 17 points. Davidson previously upset Georgetown.


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UPDATE: Domino's recuperating and paux for my roommate

The pup is home resting. Probably a little traumatized but she'll be fine.

Martie read my post and was a tad irked. Well - can't blame her. I knew I'd be treading on thin ice when she'd see it and I do have to keep in mind that I'm a guest in her home.

That all being said, when I first wrote about Domino's accident, I mentioned at the end a comment Martie made to me and ended the post with "stupid". For the record, I was referring to her comment - not Martie. Secondly, Martie pointed out that my recollection of the event was my opinion and it painted her "the bad guy". Martie has a HUGE heart and she's a good person. Good people do stupid things. I do stupid things. I just didn't agree with the entire situation. I wrote the truth. No slants. No embellishment. No hidden agenda. I was indisposed in the bathroom - with the door shut and I never left the bathroom throughout the entire ruckus. The two neighbors were there and Martie and her son and that's four people too many. I wasn't hiding in the bathroom - heartless and unwilling to help - as Martie intimated to me this evening after she read my blog. As I stated, I was indisposed in the bathroom - with the doors shut (Martie said they were open). I knew something like this was eventually going to happen and I was fucking pissed. Please believe me, Martie - the best place for me, you and your son was that bathroom. My roommate was screaming her head off (which I didn't really care to hear) and - I didn't mention this in my original post - I had warned the boy a few minutes before this happened NOT to feed the dogs dog food outside. But - which is typical in the two years I've known him - the boy didn't listen. Had I come out of that bathroom, I may have pasted him in the mouth. Trust me - everyone was safer with me not mixed in the fray. Besides, I think it was a great bonding moment for mother and son - one they will both remember and hopefully this won't happen again.

I said hopefully. Besides, I couldn't bear to see the pup bleeding all over the place.

CORRECTION: Domino is 6 weeks old - not 4 months as I previously mentioned.


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Thursday, March 27, 2008

My Perspective on the War in Iraq

After perusing the website The War Comes Home, which I blogged about below, I'm finally resolved to share my opinion on the war in Iraq. I've blogged about the war before (search topics on right panel - down a ways), but I've never really stated my opinion.

For the record, I am neither a conservative or a liberal, but a moderate. I don't believe in the first two labels. Quite frankly I don't believe in the effectiveness of our current political party system. It's archaic and it will always be an issue of bipartisan politics which is NOT representative of the American people but only of the interests of the politicians who claim to "serve us".

Ready? My opinion on the war is...

...we need to get the hell out of Iraq. Wars are waged for three reasons: 1) To gain something as a result of (the war), 2) to come to the aid of an ally or a peoples who can't defend itself/themselves, or finally 3) to defend oneself. No one from Iraq waged war against the U.S. We're supposedly helping the people of Iraq escape a cruel dictator. Well he's dead and they don't seem to want us there anymore - so we should leave. Strike one and two. The only thing that's left is a U.S. motivation to gain something by attacking and occupying Iraq.

That must be the oil.

At first I wasn't positive that was the reason. People have said this but, I mean, no one really knows this for sure. Look at Iraq - or go in your backyard or to a park and sift your hands through a child's sandbox. It's sand. That's what Iraq is - a sandbox. What possible use could we have for sand? What possible use is this country to us? It HAS TO BE OIL. And yet it's amusing to me that our gas prices continue to skyrocket upwards. God dammit! If our government came out and just told us we were there for the oil and our gas was $1.00 a gallon, at least I'd make some sort of sense of this insanity.

Who's winning...because of this war? The Iraqi people? No. Hundreds of thousands have died. People there are dying every day. They will continue to kill each other - and we will continue to kill them until we leave. Our soldiers? No. They are dying; they are coming home maimed; over 450 have committed suicide since returning to U.S soil; many are homeless; many are not getting the treatment or help from our VA hospitals. The U.S. contractors? Yes - millions of dollars. If we as a country can't win SOMETHING - why are we there?

To help the Iraqi people. To insure a democratic Iraq. To free Iraq of the terrorists within so they don't get to us. That's what our government keeps telling us anyway. The Iraqi people have about as much of a chance of unifying themselves as the American people would have in protesting their taxes by deciding - en masse - not to file. I'll take my chances digging a hole to China. Every day 10, 15, 20, 40 Iraqi's are killed because of acts of terrorism within the country - terrorism not JUST aimed at the U.S. military presence there. Am I wrong about this? The Iraqi people are a divided peoples. That means civil war and no power can go into a country and offer them freedom and democracy within a divided country unless the warring nation goes in no-holds barred and is prepared to kick some ass. People bitch, "where's the Iraqi army?'. As I'm writing this, the Iraqi militia is being discussed on NPR, and how their performance in the next week or so will be a telltale sign for "things to come". Excuse me but the Iraqi's are too busy fighting amongst themselves to help the U.S. in our "quest for freedom and an end to terrorism". Read What Was Asked Of Us - the entire book is cover-to-cover first-hand accounts of the war. It's an enlightening, but emotionally exhausting read. According to many of the soldiers interviewed, we had the Iraqi people eating out of our hands in the first month or so of the war. Then Washington sent in new orders - a change of plans. And it's been fucked up ever since. I know - harsh language. But our young boys are dying in a sandbox halfway across the world for a half-ass cause is harsh too. If THAT reality is tough for you to grasp or have a thing or two to say about it, go to Arlington National cemetary - and shout your real loud.

My cousin may be shipped off to Iraq within a year. He has two young boys. I wish I could give him a reason for WHY HE'S GOING THERE. Quite frankly, I don't know what that reason is. Someone with a clue please tell me. My stance on this "clusterpfuck" stems not from me being an actor or a playwright or an artist, of sorts. I am not a pacifist nor a warmonger by nature. I am a patriot. I love the American soldier. No - my opinion is based on common sense. The American people have been very vocal about their distaste for this conflict, war, military action - whatever the hell you wanna call it. If the American people can see this war is wrong, why can't the people who are working for us in Washington shed their blindfold long enough to realize this as well? Why does it seem that the only people who want to be in Iraq are some politicians and our President? Or does our push for democracy in Iraq have nothing to do with setting the example?


The Iraq War is our generation's Vietnam...and we all know how that "conflict" ended. It's just a matter of time.


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I just had a talk with Freddy Krueger...

...and I was awake.

Robert Englund, who among other roles, is famous for his portrayal of Freddy Krueger in the Nightmare on Elm Street series, popped into our offices today for a meeting. I shared with him my recent epiphany regarding my acting and he agreed wholeheartedly. That's the cool thing about living in LA and working for a film production company.

Thanks, Robert. I'll think about you in my dreams tonight.


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The War Comes Home: A project by KPFA Radio - kpfa.org

I sleep with the radio on.

This morning around 5:30 a.m. a particular program caught my ear. It's called The War Comes Home, sponsored by KPFA out of Berkeley, Californina. That's right - Berkeley. Hotbed of political activism in the 60's and 70's. You're already thinking, "it must be an anti-Iraq war program if it's coming outta Berkeley." Not really. It's a presentation of facts presented by soldiers who where there.

KPFA launched this website, The War Comes Home, in an effort to put a human face on the conflict. Only by truly listening to the stories of soldiers who've come home, can we appreciate the realities of war and what we can do to help. More than 1.6 million Americans have served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. As of August 1, 2007, 73,00 of them had been killed or wounded. In addition, more than 250,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans had been treated at Veterans Administrations hospitals since their return home from combat.

A Montage That Cuts to the Heart of the War and Winter Soldier -
If you've just learned of Winter Soldier, Listen to this montage. It was produced by our own Esther Manilla after two days of heart-wrenching testimony from dozens of veterans. They spoke about the killing of innocent civlians, torture, mass arrests, sexual assault, and the dehumanization of the enemy - all of which they either committed or witnessed while deployed to the war-zone.


As part of The War Comes Home, KPFA and Pacifica Radio sponsored the historic Winter Soldier 2008 Gathering in Washington, DC, from March 14-16, 2008. The three day live broadcast was co-hosted by Aaron Glantz and former Army medic and KPFA Morning Show host Aimee Allison. During the gathering, the following topics were covered:

1) the killing and injuring of innocent civilians and unarmed combatants, as well as the destruction of the property, infrastructure and natural resources of Iraq and Afghanistan,
2) the neglect and abuse of veterans and service members with regards to their mental and physical health,
3) the government’s use of private contractors to replace soldiers in U.S. military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq,
4) the institutional policies of discrimination in the military and its impact on service members both on and off the battlefield,
5) the torture, abuse, mishandling and mutilation of the dead, and other derogatory treatment of Iraqi and Afghan civilians,
6) how war policy in Iraq and Afghanistan has led to a weakening of the U.S. military - including the lack of training and equipment for the troops, overuse of military personnel in multiple deployments and the record number of officer resignations, and
7) the spectrum of resistance within the military today and lay out IVAW’s program to build a GI resistance movement.

The War Comes Home was started by Aaron Glantz, who has visited Iraq three times during the U.S. occupation: for a month immediately after the fall of Saddam Hussein; from February to May 2004; and during the elections in January of 2005. His work from Iraq has also been syndicated to newspapers around the world by Inter Press News Service. He is author of the San Francisco Chronicle best-selling book How America Lost Iraq (Penguin/2005), which describes how the war turned to disaster from the perspective of the Iraqi people. He is author of two upcoming books The War Comes Home: Washington's Battle Against America's Veterans (UC Press) and Winter Soldier Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupations (Haymarket), which he is writing in collaboration with Iraq Veterans Against the War. Aaron is a founding producer of Pacifica Radio's national newscast, Free Speech Radio News In the course of his work he has also reported from Egypt, Turkey, Jordan, South Korea, Indonesia, India, Vietnam, France, and Denmark. Before becoming an international reporter, Aaron served as California State Capitol reporter for Pacifica's flag-ship station, KPFA, in Berkeley CA, where he won the California Journalism Award for radio in 2000.


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Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Domino Almost Swims with the Fishes

3 days.

That's the length of time a pup named Domino had a carefree, exciting and wonderful life.

My roommate bought a 4-month-old puppy on an "impulse purchase" on her way home from Vegas this past weekend. I was introduced to Domino on Sunday and wrote about the pup Monday as part of the one year anniversary of my blog, PASSION = TRUTH.

It's Wednesday. And Domino is at the vet's, bit by my roommate's other dog this morning while both dogs were being supervised by my roommate's 6-year-old son.

Say I told you so, Martie.

My last words to my roommate before she left the house Tuesday night and I stayed home to watch the kid - and the puppy: "NO - there is no way I'm letting the boy play with the puppy alone without you here. I am not supervising the boy and the dog together. The puppy will stay in its cage."

Famous last words.

Apparently the boy threw dog food near both dogs and that's how the puppy got bit. We'll never know what REALLY happened. The boy certainly can't be relied upon as a witness. Earlier the night before I had both dogs together in a controlled situation and they were fine. The older dog growled a smidgeon (as if irritated) but it was nothing out of the ordinary. The point is - I was there watching.

a.) A puppy is not something you buy on "impulse", like a candy bar or Chapstick.

b.) When your hand's "are full" already, why are you bringing a puppy into the house? Because it's cute, I know. I think puppies are cute as hell. I think babies are cute (baby Grace in Tunjunga, for example). I think it would be interesting to have sex with a high class hooker one day - just to say I did (and write about it). That doesn't mean I have sex irresponsibly just to have a child - or with high class hookers...just because it's a fun thing to do.

c.) When you already have one dog that's a pit-lab mix and very territorial, you have to strongly consider how you introduce another dog into the mix (even if that dog is a pit-lab mix, or so she was told), if you're going to bring a puppy into said environment anyway.

d.) You don't leave the puppy or both dogs alone with a 6-year-old who just a few days ago scratched the shit out of your SUV with his "nails" (uh-huh) - a child that would make me suspicious of entrusting him with a pet rock. Let me rephrase that - NOT suspicious, but QUITE CERTAIN I wouldn't leave him with a pet rock.

ALL points I explicitly made and repeated to my roommate, but - alas, to no avail. It's not my house. I've never owned a dog. What do I know? When I asked how the dog was, my roommate said to me, "Do you care?". For the record, I do care. Enough to make the arguments above; enough to voice my opinion that this particular home is NO HOME for a puppy; enough that I threatened to call the human society in lieu of potential problems I could forsee happening.

Course I exaggerate the situation. I'm a curmudgeon. I complain. I'm angry. I'm bitter. I need to smile. And now cute Domino has a broken nose, a gash above its eye that has swollen, who knows what future medical issues and who knows what psychological damage (but that's a whole nuther can of worms) and her high-pitched screams of pain and fright from this morning are still ringing in my ears. (By the way, I saw nothing because I was indisposed in the bathroom.).

And boy - how I hated to be right. Hang in there, Domino. "Life will get better." It's my mantra these days.

UPDATE: While talking to my roommate last night, she said it's all her fault this incident occurred - not her son's, and that once Domino comes home everything will be fine. She'll keep an eye on everyone - the big dog, the puppy and her son. As an aside (as she walked away from me), she said it wasn't cool that I left the house yesterday morning with the big dog locked in the bathroom and the coffee on. ???? The neighbor was there when I left. Has nothing to do with anything. Stupid.)


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Why I want to work for the Danish Road Safety Council

Don't ask me how I found this on the internet. I stumbled.

This story is a year - year and half old. The Danish Road Safety Council launched a viral campaign designed to draw attention to the speed limits on Copenhagen roads. A short documentary (2 minutes 30 seconds) tells the world about the Speed Patrol Bikini Bandits, topless blondes who stand at the side of the road holding speed limit signs.

Take a look at it at Speed Bandits the Movie.

Spotlight on the World, a fictional RFSF news program, brings a story from Bart Sweeney in Copenhagen. “For years the Danes have had a tolerant and casual attitude towards just about everything - from sex, to drinking their beloved beer. Even to casual speeding. There is a positive trend. But seven out of ten motorists are still pushing the limit. But now the Danes seem to have become less tolerant of speeding motorists and they’ve come up with a rather innovative solution..."
Heidi Svendsen, head bandit says, “Sure what we do is extreme but I know from my heart what we are doing is working. People are slowing down. People are noticing. It’s a fantastic idea."

But the plan wasn’t entirely foolproof, says Sweeney. Brent Koch Hansen, Traffic Police, says, “In the beginning the Bikini Girls worked great. But let’s say it wasn’t entirely thought through.” One could argue that traffic in Copenhagen and much of Denmark has come to a total standstill, thus pushing the tolerance level of many Danes. A woman says to the camera, “I don’t like them and I know a lot of others that feel the same.” Heidi responds, “I couldn’t care less what anybody said. If people are slowing down we’ve done our jobs and since we’re the world’s best we will continue to do our jobs.”

The campaign was released on November 6, 2006 and has since been hosted on YouTube, blogs and other sites and viewed by thousands around the world. Credits The Bikini Bandit campaign was designed at Small But Global with filming directed by Peter Harton at Far From Hollywood, Copenhagen.


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Green Bay GM Ted Thompson Named NFL Executive of the Year

Sporting News selected Ted Thompson as its George Young NFL Executive of the Year.

Since rejoining the Packers as general manager in 2005 after a stint in Seattle, Thompson has blended the right mix of players. He has kept productive veterans such as end Aaron Kampman, wide receiver Donald Driver and offensive tackle Chad Clifton while acquiring such players as linebacker A.J. Hawk, cornerback Charles Woodson, running back Ryan Grant, tight end Donald Lee and wide receivers Greg Jennings and James Jones. Thompson also hired Mike McCarthy, who won a division championship in only his second season as a coach.

"Ted rebuilt the Packers quickly and efficiently with expert drafting and roster management and selected the right coach at the right time," says Rams G.M. Jay Zygmunt.

NFL Executive: Top vote-getters
19 Packers G.M. Ted Thompson
9 Giants G.M. Jerry Reese
8 Patriots VP of player personnel Scott Pioli
3 Jaguars VP of player personnel James Harris
2 Cowboys owner Jerry Jones
Seven others received one vote

The George Young NFL Executive of the Year was determined through voting by 48 NFL executives. Admittedly, Thompson got a lot of shit from Packer fans since he joined the team. That ruckus has quieted down since the Pack finished 13-3 this past season. I was on the fence with Ted. We'll see what his "wunderboy", heir-apparent-to-Favre Aaron Rogers does this season.

'Course - Brett still hasn't filed his retirement paperwork with the NFL offices, so...


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Monday, March 24, 2008

Happy 50th, "Peace Symbol".


This forked symbol was designed for the Direct Action Committee Against Nuclear War (DAC), then adopted as its badge by the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) in Britain during the British nuclear disarmament movement. It later became an international icon for the 1960s anti-war movement, and was also adopted by the counterculture of the time. It was designed and completed February 21, 1958 by Gerald Holtom, a professional designer and artist in Britain for the Easter march planned by DAC from Trafalgar Square, London, to the Atomic Weapons Research Establishment at Aldermaston in England.












The symbol itself is a combination of the semaphoric signals for the letters "N" and "D" standing for Nuclear Disarmament. In semaphore the letter "N" is formed by a person holding two flags in an upside-down "V," and the letter "D" is formed by holding one flag pointed straight up and the other pointed straight down. These two signals imposed over each other form the shape of the peace symbol. In the original design the lines widened at the edge of the circle.

The peace symbol button was imported into the United States in 1960 by Philip Altbach, a freshman at the University of Chicago, who traveled to England to meet with British peace groups as a delegate from the Student Peace Union (SPU). Altbach purchased a bag of the buttons while he was in England, and brought them back to Chicago, where he convinced SPU to reprint the button and adopt it as its symbol. Over the next four years, SPU reproduced and sold thousands of the buttons on college campuses.

Peace.


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Capital One credit card services = screw job

I mailed in my last payment late. My mistake.

So Capital One charges me a $39 late fee. My fault - I'll take my lumps. Now the late fee takes me over my credit limit. They then tack on another $39 fee. That's when I called them and bitched.

They credited my account $78. You have to pick your battles - though it pays to bitch sometimes. And I learned my lesson.

PS (This is one of those things you don't wanna mention to my mother, Carole.)


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Voice your opinion! Some letters are read.

I recently blogged about the potential demise of one of my favorite candies - Candy Raisins. Here's a response to my email from NECCO corporate in Massachusetts:

March 21, 2008

Dear Mr. Ircink:

The decision regarding the continuation or discontinuation of the Candy Raisin product has yet to be rendered. We certainly can understand the regional importance of the product and we are weighing every aspect of this decision. Since much of the concern stems from the recent announcement to close our Pewaukee plant, that does not necessarily mean we are not going to continue to produce the same products that they have been supplying, especially to the local market.

Several other people have also contacted us regarding this unfortunate closing and expressed their concern regarding the potential loss of Candy Raisins. I can assure you that we will give it every consideration as we move through this process.

Sincerely,
Theresa Denis

Consumer Correspondent


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Alleged Iowa City murderer takes easy way out - sonofabitch kills himself, wife and four adopted children

UPDATE: Authorities are now saying they're almost certain Sueppel ("sonofabitch") killed his family - they all died of blunt-force injuries - before he killed himself by crashing the family minivan on I-80.

AP reports that 5 people - a woman and her four children - were killed in an Iowa City, Iowa shooting. Dispatchers got a call at 6:31 a.m. today saying officers needed to get to the address immediately. The caller then hung up, police said. Officers found the house unlocked and discovered the bodies inside. While police initially said the victims had been shot, this has not been confirmed

Officers said they were not able to find the woman's husband, Steven Sueppel (sonofabitch). Court records show that the Sonofabitch, who lives at the address where the bodies were found, was indicted last month on federal charges of stealing about $560,000 from the bank where he worked. Police also said the family's van was missing. They said a single vehicle, fatal crash on Interstate 80 about 10 miles from the house may have involved the same van. However, the vehicle was on fire so officers are having a difficult time identifying the occupant, according to the department news release.



The Sonofabitch was charged last month with one count of embezzlement of bank funds and six counts of money laundering while serving as the vice president and controller of Hills Bank and Trust. Authorities said the alleged thefts occurred between July 26, 2000, and Sept. 12, 2007 and, in part, helped to supplement the Sonofabitch's cocaine habit. The Sonofabitch, 42, pleaded not guilty and was released on $250,000 bail. His trial was scheduled for April 21.

I spent 5 1/2 years in Cedar Rapids, which is about 25 miles north of Iowa City, so I'm intimate with the area. My friend in Chicago is from I.C. (I met her there in December of 1997 when I was performing in Jack & Jill at the regional theater, Riverside Theatre. We dated for a week.). Her father had business dealings with the bank the Sonofabitch worked for and knew him. Authorities have confirmed NOTHING at this point. But let's put two and two together. The Sonofabitch lived at the address with his wife and four children. A woman and four children were found dead in that home. The family minivan is missing but later turns up on the freeway after it careemed into an embankment and burst into flames. One charred body - beyond recognition - was found in the car. Sueppel was facing criminal charges, fines and imprisonment. Who do you think was in the minivan?

The Sonofabitch's children were ages 3, 5, 7 and 10. Go figure - he took the easy way out. I hope the flames flickering on the Sonofabitch'e body hurt and I hope it was an extremely slow and painful death. And then I hope he had second thoughts about killing himself at just about the point in time when it was too late.

Sonofabitch.


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Happy Birthday to PASSION = TRUTH!

I can't believe it's been a year since I first joined the hundreds of thousands of bloggers across the universe (I'm not that naive to think there aren't intelligent bloggers in other galaxys).


And to celebrate my one-year anniversary - meet Domino, my roommate's new 4-month-old lab-pit mix puppy. She greeted me last night when I arrived back in Culver City from a peaceful, Easter weekend away in Tujunga with Donovan, Maria and baby Grace - whose new nickname is "Brett" (she's crawling like a maniac now). We drove out to Calabassas for drinks with friends and got an ass-chewing from a prospective Los Angles mayoral candidate for smoking within 20 feet of Grace (I won't get into the discussion). Then spent Easter in Laguna Niguel with Maria's family. Anyway, cute dog, Domino. Big, big mistake though - in my opinion. But I'm just a guest so my opinion is worthless.

When I first began PASSION = TRUTH it was as a fun, writing exercise and a way for me to vent. It's been a unique learning process, one I'm continuing to stumble through. Let's see...since March 24, 2007, my friend's baby Grace was born into this world in July; my QB retired from the NFL - devastating news we knew would happen sooner than later, but the Packers had a fantastic year and Brett rode off into the sunset on his terms; blogging has hit closer to home - three cousins, the one cousin's wife, my high school buddy Tony in NY and another buddy Mark in Cedar Rapids all started blogs of their own; made my first trip to NYC for a reading of one of my plays; survived a microburst in Irving Park, and am closer to making some life-changing decisions. I'm nearing 500 posts - with this month setting a single-month record. I've heard from people I haven't talked to years and read comments from people who are only strangers to me. All in all, a very enjoyable experience.

I've talked at length about the responsibility writers with access to the media have in disseminating their opinions and observations in an intelligent manner. Everyone's got an opinion. The 6-year-old I live with has an opinion. Through this mundane, verbose, self-indulgent task of writing a blog I've made in my singular task to present my opinions supported with research and concrete facts that you, the reader, can wade through and formulate your own opinion.

In the process of becoming a "blogging extraordinaire" (right), I've discovered new technologies and fancy widgets that I hope to utilize and make PASSION = TRUTH even better for the next year. I'm intent on getting the blog out to more people and have contacted several blogging consultants for their help. So we'll see where that takes me. Where it takes us.

I hope you've enjoyed perusing. And I hope you continue to do so. And if you remember nothing else from this blog or from life, remember this - PASSION = TRUTH.


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Wisconsin Moves on to Sweet 16; Faces Davidson

The #3 seed Wisconsin Badgers defeated Kansas State and move on to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men's basketball tourney. They'll face Davidson this Friday evening; #10 seed Davidson upset #2 seed Georgetown today.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Is this the same girl?














Just curious. "She's" billed as two different women - both with the first name of "Lena".


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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Wisconsin & Marquette Advance to Final 32

In tonight's NCAA college basketball tourney, 3 seed Wisconsin beat 14 Cal State Fullerton 71-56, and 6 Marquette (in Milwaukee) beat 11 Kentucky 74-66. Wisconsin faces 11 Kansas State on Sunday at 1 pm ET and Marquette faces 3 Stanford Sunday at 3 pm ET.

Wisconsin wasn't on television and I really don't watch a lot of basketball to begin with. As I've said before (and the critics seem to agree) although Wisconsin is ranked #6 in the nation by AP with a record of 29-4, they're just sorta boring to watch and I don't have high hopes for them beyond maybe getting to the Sweet 16. Do I think they're talented? Yeh. But I think they can play better. Who knows.


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Patrick Henry also said, “Give me my Candy Raisins, or give me Death!”

I'm serious. He said that. Unfortunately none of that made it in HBO's miniseries, "John Adams", which I sort of review a couple posts down.

(the following was in-part taken from SavetheCandyRaisins.com)

Back to my post. Wisconsin's Candy Raisins are in danger of becoming extinct. And we need your help. NECCO (New England Confectionery Company), whose corporate headquarters is in Revere, MA, is the oldest multi-line candy company in the United States, dating back to the summer of 1847. Necco manufactures candy classics such as NECCO Wafers, Sweethearts Conversation Hearts, Mary Jane, Clark, Mighty Malts, Haviland Thin Mints, and Candy House Candy Buttons.


According to a recent article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Necco is closing the Stark Candy plant in Pewaukee, WI - and they are unsure if they will continue to manufacture these sweet little gems. I have no idea where else you can get Candy Raisins - they may have been indigenous to Wisconsin, I'm not sure. I grew up eating them. My mother and her siblings grew up eating them. My mother ships them to me in California. I can not live without my Candy Raisins.And I'll be damned if someone's gonna take my Candy Raisins away from me!

One of the funniest comments on the petition to get Necco to continue to manufacture Candy Raisins at their MA plant - "Even though I almost choked to death on candy raisins once, I still love 'em."

What exactly are Candy Raisins? They're this strange little nugget - a translucent, honey colored candy similar in shape to a jujube. They have the texture of Dots and a unique flavor. The best way to describe their flavor is a light ginger taste. Generally they're found in bulk candy stores and in the case of Wisconsin, some of the major grocery chains. You can even purchase them on Amazon.com.

Neccos may have retained their position in the candy world by virtue of their having been developed for the troops in World War I. Their selling point was that they stood up under the harshest conditions and didn't rot or break down.


Candy Raisins were originally manufactured by three companies: American Candy Company, the Ziegler Candy Company and the Haase Candy Company. Stark Candy Company began making its own version of the Candy Raisins in the early 1970s. Today, the Stark Candy Co. (part of NECCO) is the only company still manufacturing this juju candy. Stark trademarked the candy in 1976. Candy Raisins are a Midwest, and almost exclusively Milwaukee, thing.

So go to the Save the Candy Raisins site and sign the on-line petition to stop this madness. If not for yourself, for me, my family and the state of Wisconsin. We already lost our QB to retirement. Don't let them take our candy away.


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Amy Winehouse naked. Ummm....no thank you.

Troubled Amy Winehouse has posed for a nude photo shoot to raise breast cancer awareness among young women. The singer appears naked in the April issue of British magazine Easy Living after she stripped off for photographer Carolyn Djangoly. In the black and white snapshot, Winehouse is captured playing a guitar, which covers her genitals, while two pieces of duct tape cover her nipples. The 24-year-old isn't the only celebrity posing naked for the campaign - singer Sade and actress Helena Bonham Carter also removed their clothing for the picture project.

Now - I like her music. Her voice hearkens back to another era and - for a white woman - is as soulful as any black female singer. And the breast cancer cause is wonderful. But to see Winehouse who, I think, looks as if she's suffering from malnutrition, naked? Uh-uh.

One more thing: what is it with female celebrities who pose "naked" for Playboy but don't show anything? Seriously, if you're in Playboy and you're making a big deal about how you did it to capture a moment when you were really "hot", then I wanna see bush. Don't cover it up with your leg or a leaf or your hand. Put up or don't pose. Women are posing left and right wearing next-to-nothing in GQ, Vanity Fair, Esquire, among other magazines, and they cover up those "questionable" areas. That's OK. But if you pose for a nudie magazine, I want to see you NUDE.

Which begs me to ask the other question (a question asked by many, I suppose): what is it about a woman's nipple that's the make or break body part when it comes to nudity in magazines or on film? You can show an entire breast but not the nipple. What IS the deal with the nipple?


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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Green Bay Packers to Retire Brett Favre's Number

Brett during the Packers' victory over Seattle at Lambeau during the 2008 Divisonal playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers say they will retire the number of Packers quarterback Brett Favre during the Packers' 2008 home season.

Packers president Mark Murphy told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that the team would decide which game would have the retirement ceremony once the schedule comes out, which is expected in April. He states he had a preliminary talk with Favre that ended with an agreement to retire the number this year.

The Packers have only retired five numbers in the team's history:

• #3: Tony Canadeo, RB (1941-44, 46-52), the first NFL running back to gain 1,000 in a season

• #14: Don Hutson, E (1935-45), the first prototype wide receiver

• #15: Bart Starr, QB (1956-71), the NFL record holder for most league championships for a starting quarterback

• #66: Ray Nitschke, LB (1958-72), the anchor of the Lombardi defenses

• #92: Reggie White, DE (1993-98), the NFL's all-time leading quarterback sacker at the time of his retirement.

Favre retired earlier this month after a season where he broke NFL records for most career wins, touchdown passes and passing yards. Back in 2005, then-Packers president Bob Harlan stated the team would take this step when Favre chose to retire.


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Do you like magic?

Do you like pretty, naked women? Than you need to watch this video. And you have to watch it all the way until the end. Her schtick, mannerisms annoyed me right from the start but you have to watch this. "Abracadabra!" - which means, "I create while I speak!"


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HBO's "John Adams"

This is a GREAT series indeed, sir...though I'm only through the 2nd episode. Watch it if you've the chance.

I'm a history buff and this show is bringing back the critical moments in our country's history - the First and Second Continental Congress, Bunker Hill, Lexington and Concord and the "Shot Heard 'Round the World", the Declaration of Independence, the American Revolution - and, of course, the series will take us deeper into the life of John Adams, who went on to become the 2nd President of the United States. And it is a refresher course, a history lesson for me as well, re-introducing all of us to such charactres as John Hancock, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, Samuel Adams, Washington and many more. I encourage everyone to watch it.

But what this show does for me, more than anything else, is portray the era with a sense of realism that puts me in the shoes of every man, woman and child who lived in the time - as if I am living in that moment. I am enthralled by it.

For a more comprehensive look into the making of John Adams, including interviews with the actors, Tom Hanks - producer, author David McCullough, etc. go to HBO "John Adams".


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BREAKING NEWS! Federal Mint to re-issue Wisconsin State quarter!

The Federal Mint is recalling the recently minted Wisconsin quarter to replace the images on the back with an image of Brett Favre because there has been an overwhelming number of Wisconsinites that want their quarter-back.

Ha. Ha-ha. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Do you find this amusing?


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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Illegal aliens and $300+ Billion/For what it's worth

My cousin sent me this email. I can't possibly check all these out - but I believe most of it. Take a look-see. And for those of you who say, "well, we were all illegal aliens at one time", use your head. From 1607-1830, America didn’t have any laws that determined who the illegal immigrants were. From 1830-1890, illegal immigrants were not an issue - at least no one bitched about it and the costs involved were minuscule (well, there are no costs recorded so we don't know). From 1890-1924, Mexicans and Canadians were not counted as immigrants (at least during the early 1900's). Most immigrants that came to America during this time period came here as legal immigrants - including my family. And it's documented.

1. $11 Billion to $22 billion is spent on welfare to illegal aliens each year.
http://tinyurl.com/zob77

2. $2.2 Billion dollars a year is spent on food assistance programs such as food stamps, WIC, and free school lunches for illegal aliens.
http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html

Illegal aliens in Long Island, New York. Nice, isn't it?

3. $2.5 Billion dollars a year is spent on Medicaid for illegal aliens.
http://www.cis.org/articles/2004/fiscalexec.html

4. $12 Billion dollars a year is spent on primary and secondary school education for children here illegally and they cannot speak a word of English!
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.0.html

5. $17 Billion dollars a year is spent for education for the American-born children of illegal aliens, known as anchor babies.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

6. $3 Million Dollars a DAY is spent to incarcerate illegal aliens.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

(Wait! There's more...)

7. 30% percent of all Federal Prison inmates are illegal aliens.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

8. $90 Billion Dollars a year is spent on illegal aliens for Welfare & social services by the American taxpayers.
http://premium.cnn.com/TRANSCIPTS/0610/29/ldt.01.html

9. $200 Billion Dollars a year in suppressed American wages are caused by the illegal aliens.
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRI%20PTS/0604/01/ldt.01.html

10. The illegal aliens in the United States have a crime rate that's two and a half times that of white non-illegal aliens. In particular, their children, are going to make a huge additional crime problem in the US .
http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0606/12/ldt.01.html

11. During the year of 2005 there were 4 to 10 MILLION illegal aliens that crossed our Southern Border also, as many as 19,500 illegal aliens from Terrorist Countries. Millions of pounds of drugs, cocaine, meth, heroine and marijuana, crossed into the U.S. from the Southern border. Homeland Security Report:
http://tinyurl.com/t9sht

12. The National Policy Institute, "estimated that the total cost of mass deportation would be between $206 and $230 billion or an average cost of between $41 and $46 billion annually over a five year period."
http://www.nationalpolicyinstitute.org/pdf/deportation.pdf

13. In 2006 illegal aliens sent home $45 BILLION in remittances back to their countries of origin.
http://www.rense.com/general75/niht.htm

14. "The Dark Side of Illegal Immigration: Nearly One Million Sex Crimes Committed by Illegal Immigrants In The United States ".
http://www.drdsk.com/articles.html


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"Truth Against the World"


See this space above? I want you to think really good thoughts about it - and me in it. Got word from a contact in Wisconsin who told me she was "excited" about my "idea". I'll keep you in the loop as more is revealed.


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Heather Mills (the former Mrs. Paul McCartney) is a goldigging bitch.


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"Pass the Salt, Please." - The Lost Photographs!

Finally! Some photographic evidence of my 10-minute, dirty play, "Pass the Salt, Please." , that was performed at UNcover: a two night art exhibition with an erotic vibe, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa (my old theater stomping grounds) in March 2007. The person who was supposed to get pictures to the coordinator of the event dropped the ball, but I got these two from my friend Shannon in Cedar Rapids, who's married to my theater buddy, Officer Jim Keller (Follies) of the Linn County Sheriff's Department.

My actors, Gary Benzer (Follies and TCR) and Julia Kent during one of the performances. I flew in from LA to direct it 'cause I couldn't find anyone that could - or would (too risque - go figure). Gary jumped right in and Julia (who I knew from WMT) hadn't acted in 30 years. They were perfect. And the play won Best of Show honors and a nice little cash stipend that paid for the trip.

My very good friend Jim Keller, me and one of the painted models in attendance. Yes - she's nude. Nice personality, too.


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Checkers Update! Jeff = 17, Colton = 1

He actually made some good defensive moves. To no avail - but he's learning. He has to learn that it's not the individual battles (checkers you take) that matter but the war (the game in the end) that count.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

John Ford's "The Quiet Man"

And the best movie about Ireland, I'll say. John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara light up the screen like no one else. This is the famous fight scene. If you've got a few minutes, it's worth the watch.


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Ireland.

'Tis Saint Patrick's Day, so I thought it fitting for a stroll down memory lane when I was in Ireland, April 2006. Not a day goes by when I don't think of this country - or the trip. I want to go back now, yesterday - whenever. I think I left a piece of me over there. Anyway, that's what it feels like somedays.

God, the land's beautiful. Takes my breath away. Redross - in Co. Wicklow. A view from our porch.

My friend Justyna (we've known each other since we were 14) accompanied me as one of my plays, Stan's Addiction, was being read at a festival in Belfast. You know how when you go on trips and certain songs remind you of the trip 'cause you heard them...on the trip? Take a listen to our song - though we picked it out before we got to Ireland. Is that cheating?


The Irish Sea at Brittas Bay.

It's not difficult to find one of those famous Irish doors to lean against.
Justyna and I in Avoca.

Lynhams of Laragh - in the Village of Laragh, near Glendalough. Founded in 1777, it was the coziest of all the pubs we'd been in.

Me and my Guinness in Waterford, Co. Waterford. Happy St. Patrick's Day and "Caed Mile Failte", or "A thousand welcomes".


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Sunday, March 16, 2008

#8 Badgers Win Big 10 Tourney - Meet Cal Fullerton in 1st Round of NCAA

The Wisconsin Badgers won the Big Ten Tournament today, beating Illinois. And they won the Big Ten regular season outright with a record of 28-4 - which leaves no debate on who the Big Ten champ is. These tournaments are stupid.

The Badgers, ranked 8th in the nation by Associated Press, will meet Cal State Fullerton on March 20 in the Midwest Regional in Omaha. I haven't watch many games and what I've seen...I'm not overly impressed. Below is an assessment from Fox Sports:

How they got in: Big Ten champions

In a nutshell: In what might have been Bo Ryan's finest coaching job yet, Wisconsin went from being a preseason afterthought, at best a middle-of-the-pack Big Ten pick, to the regular season champion with no stars and absolutely no pizzazz. With a blend of suffocating defense and timely play, especially on the road, the Badgers did more than just rebuild, they came together to become a regular in the top 10. While this is a limited team, it doesn't screw up, is ultra-efficient offensively, and is as well-coached as any in the nation.

Strengths: Defense, defense, defense. The nation's leader throughout the year in scoring defense, allowing teams to average around 54 points per game, the Badgers don't let offenses get into any sort of a rhythm. More than anything else, they don't allow offensive rebounds and rarely put anyone on the line, ranking among the top five teams in the country in fewest fouls committed.

Weaknesses: There isn't even a hint of offensive explosion. Everything revolves around the defense, but when opponents start to get hot and start to ramp up the tempo, the Badgers have a hard time keeping up. It's no coincidence that they're 26-1 when holding opponents to under 70 points, and 0-3 when allowing more than 70. For good and bad, the offense spreads the wealth around and doesn't have a pure scorer.


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How 'bout a little BB music for a sunny day in Cali?!

The Beach Boys' "Do It Again" and "I Can Hear Music"


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A quick review of Tarantino's "Deathproof"

I understand this movie came out a year ago or so, but I just watched it on HBO did see if it got better since. I'll make this short and to the point (and I'll try not to spoil much):

1.) Loved Kurt Russell.

2.) Loved the song the first quartet of women were listening to in their car before they met Stuntman Mike on the road. It's called "Hold Tight" by Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich, a British band from the 60's. Listen here.

3.) Loved the crash the first quartet of women were involved with and was happy with the outcome (I'm chomping at the bit 'cause I wanna say something different but I promised I wouldn't spoil it for you). Here it is - listen for "Hold Tight".

The rest of the movie - sucked. Tarantino needs to shut up. The entire movie theater was in an uproar - yelling at the screen. He's got great movies but what's the sense of great dialouge if the characters go on and on and on and on and people leave the theater???

Some quick observations:

1) Zoe Bell should stick to being a stuntwoman.

2) Jordan Ladd's acting in the car during "Hold Tight" was cute.

3) Rosario Dawson and Vanessa Ferlito - alright, and Sydney Tamiia Poitier all annoyed the shit out of me. SHUT THE FUCK UP!

4) Quentin Tarantino needs to stop acting in his own films. Or just stop acting period.


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"Sophie's"

I've known of three "Sophie's" in my life: Sophie, a dog I met on my walk today;


Sophie, my friend Justyna's dog. That's Soph waiting for Momma to come home; and finally, Sophie Sweet. Well - I don't actually know Sophie Sweet. I know of her. She's an actress - of sorts.

"Where's my baby?! Where is she? Come on! Come on, Sophie! Come get the bone! COME ON!" What? I'm talking to the dog.


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Checker Update! Jeff = 14, Colton = 1

Three more solid victories.

I even backed off one win in order to give the kid a break but he just couldn't seem to take advantage of my generosity. And I'm such a "mean guy".

This win streak is getting ridiculous.


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I love doo wop.

I do love my doo wop music.

Come on, you know the groups - Danny and the Juniors. The Crests. The Danleers. The Diamonds. The Capris. The Tokens. Dion & the Belmonts. Little Anthony & the Imperials. Frankie Lymon & the Teenagers.

Wanna start - oh...that's Dion (above) from Dion and the Belmonts. I'll get back to him in a second. Wanna start a DW group? The name's easy. Pick something and put "The" in front of it. Here, I'll look around my room - The Clocks. The Shags. The Calendars. The Knick Knacks. The Oldsmobiles. The Coasters (I know that's a group but there's a coaster setting in front of me). The Hearts. The Radios. The Tams. It's easy.

And the songs...THOSE SONGS! Dammit - the harmonies. And the notes. My falsetto is almost perfect, which may be one of the reasons I love DW so much. "Little Darling". "At the Hop". "Juvenile Delinquent". "One Summer Night". "Remember Then". "Teenager in Love". My head is spinning and I can't type fast enough - so you'll just have to check out this website. I just added this to my "favorite sites" on the right panel, toward the bottom - but here it is: Brian's Doo Wop Fixxx. There are hundreds of DW songs on it - shit I never heard of. You'll recognize some of them.

Back to Dion. Dion DiMucci - The King of Cool. Oh my God - my favorite DW artist of all time. With hits like, "Teenager In Love" (Belmonts), "Runaround Sue" (solo), "I Wonder Why" (Belmonts), "Where Or When" (Belmonts), "Drip Drop" (solo), "Donna the Prima Donna" (solo - my favorite), "The Wanderer" (solo - my other favorite), "Ruby Baby" (solo), "Abraham, Martin and John" (solo) - want me to stop? That's the Belmonts with Dion below.

Anyway, this Italian-American, Bronx boy (Francis is his middle name - it's my confirmation name) by the age of 21 was a millionarie a couple times over, was almost the 4th guy to die in the plane with Buddy Holly, Richie Valens and The Big Bopper (didn't wanna pay the $36 fare and drove there instead), later kicked a heroin addiction, became a born-again Christian, and a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and has continued to make critically-acclaimed music since. Take a listen -

1) the 45 rpm recording of Donna the Prima Donna
2) Dion singing "The Wanderer"
3) Dion & the Belmonts singing Teenager In Love
4) and finally, Dion and Company at the 1988 Grammy's

I love him. How can you not? He was there in '57 when it was all just a baby - R&R, man.

"Ohhhhh, well I'm the type a guy, that likes to roam around. I'm never in one place, I roam from town to town..."

You know - my dad and Dion look an awful lot alike. That's dad's navy picture from around 1960-61 ( I doctored it up a bit). I've seen pictures of my dad that really do look like Dion. Dad played lead guitar and sang lead in a group, The Glenn Mar Trio, from about 1957-1961. That's how he met my mom - playing at a nightclub. Chicks flocked - according to more than one person, dad not included. Dad thought he was cool then and still thinks he's cool. That's a whole nuther post though. He's 70 now and still plays the electric guitar.

My dad and Dion. Too cool for school, baby.


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A sound observation - from Darth Vader.

James Earl Jones was interviewed on CBS Sunday Morning news show by Michelle Miller, a respected black journalist:

VO of MICHELLE MILLER
Between stints as a pitchman, he found work in soap operas, rarely turning down a chance to create a role - any role.

MICHELLE MILLER
"You've been...the groundbreaker - I mean, the first black doctor on a soap opera, first black..."

JAMES EARL JONES
"Who got excited about that? 'Cause I sure didn't."

MICHELLE MILLER
"You didn't?"

JAMES EARL JONES
"No. 'Get a life'...isn't that the expression the kids use? Get excited about me being the first black doctor on a soap opera? As the World Turns. I got a job. And I had a chance to work in front of a camera..."

Bravo, Mr. Jones - for dismissing the "first black" syndrome. I'm tired of hearing about the first black coach in the Super Bowl or the first black ref to work a Super Bowl, or the first black man/woman to win Oscars in the same year or possibly the first black Democratic Nominee to the White House, etcetera, etcetera. If I said Mike Holmgren was the 31st white coach to win the Super Bowl or that I'm looking into forming the NAAWP (National Association for the Advancement of White People), or The White College Fund, I'd be admonished for being a racist. But for some black people who want to be treated like a human being and not discriminated against because of his/her color, it's OK to perpetuate the "first black" whatever or attach "negro" or "black" to an organization or even refer to other black people as "nigger".

I'm Czech and Polish (among other things). I'm gonna start the Dumb Pollack Society of Los Angeles. Yeah. 'Cause that's my heritage.

Enough. I'm bored.


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Advice to aspiring film makers from Michael Douglas

This was the first question asked of Michael Douglas in the 20 Questions column of the November 1980 issue of Playboy. His answer:

"I'd tell him or her to begin by making porno flicks. My own first film - and, of course, this is a little know fact - was something called "Jew Gone Bad". Incidentally, it was never released. In fact, it has never been seen outside my home."

Up until that point, he had producted One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and The China Syndrome.


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Saturday, March 15, 2008

Vandermause & Packer Nation take on ESPN's Sal "I wanna swim with the fishes" Paolantonio

Last week ESPN columnist Sal Paolantonio wrote a verbose column on why he thought Brett Favre was an over-hyped player in the NFL. He took an excerpt from his book (on over-hyped players in the NFL) and updated it - and ripped into Favre's legacy. I joined the fray of comment-teers early on, when the number of comments was around 150. It's now over 5,000. Hot topic. At one point I actually got booted from the message board because some asshole reported me for a "violation". After a couple hours, I was granted a reprieve - then proceeded to get the "asshole" booted off (he was booting people off left and right - it was bullshit).

I've stayed away from commenting any more an Sal's bullshit for two reasons: 1) I don't wanna get booted again,and 2) I found out that when our boy Sal was on the Mike and Mike Radio Show and the Favre comments in Sal's book were brought up, Sal the Weasel conveniently attributed what was written about Favre to his "associate" - the other writer. Ohhhhh...I see how it is, Sal. After Favre retired, Sal thought it would be cool to bring up the subject again, but I didn't read anywhere that he attributed the comments to his "associate" this time. I wonder what Sal's grudge is?

I stayed away until Mike Vandermause, a columnist for Packernews.com wrote a retort of sorts to Sal's pile of shit article.

First, read Sal's take on Favre: Over-hyped: Favre didn't deliver in second half of career
Now read Vandermause's take on Sal's take on Favre: Paolantonio's slam on Favre lacks merit


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Wisconsin versus Illinois in Big Ten Basketball Tourney Finals

The Badgers (27-4) beat Michigan State today and will face Illinois (15-18) Sunday in the tournament finals. Wisconsin already won the Big Ten outright.


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Jeff's Spring/Summer Travel Plans

Next week - Tujunga, CA, Easter Weekend
May - Chicago; fishing up at the Rainbow Flowage in Lake Tomahawk, Wisconsin; Milwaukee, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
June - camping at El Capitan Canyon Park; Santa Barbara - Solstice; Sequoia National Park
July - home to Wisconsin for good


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Friday, March 14, 2008

#4's Name Removed from Packer Roster

I just looked on both Packers.com and Packersnews.com and it was the first time I had noticed Brett Favre's name not on the official Green Bay Packer roster. First time in 16 years.

Reality bites the big one, my friends. That truly sucks.


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Checker Update! Jeff = 11, Colton = 1

I didn't think my complete domination would last forever, but - oh well. In game #11, I killed him with four double jumps. In game #12, we hit a stalemate because we blocked each other's checkers into a no-move situation and it was my turn - not to move. And that was early in the game - I think we each had at least 7 or 8 checkers left. That's never happened to me before and I had to look online to find the ruling.

As Vince Lombardi, the great Green Bay Packer coach said, "It will never happen again".


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"Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I'm 38?"

In the last week, I've seen two blogs (both people I know) make reference to Beatles' lyics. I wanted to carry on the tradition - sorta.

Apparently "38" is the magic age for great QB's to retire at. John Elway walked away at age 38. So did Dan Marino, Joe Montana and Steve Young.

And now - Favre.


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"Hey baby...what's your sign?"

I was thinking about today's football players and the endorsements they're involved with. Brett Favre has pushed Snapper, Mastercard, Wrangler, etc. Peyton Manning has pushed everything else. Here's an ad I found in a 1980 Playboy - Joe Pisarcik, NFL quarterback for the New York Giants, endorsing the book, "How to Pick Up Girls". Interesting. I misplaced my copy years ago.

*(Pisarcik began his NFL career with the New York Giants, and is best remembered for his role in a November 19, 1978 game where the Giants, up 17-12 with only seconds to play and the opponent out of time-outs, lost after his ill-advised handoff (a play called by offensive coordinator Bob Gibson over Pisarcik's objections) to Larry Csonka was fumbled and returned for a touchdown by Herman Edwards of the Philadelphia Eagles. The play has ever since been remembered as "The Miracle at the Meadowlands" by Eagles fans. Handoffs must not have been covered in that edition of "How to Pick Up Girls".)


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

"Free Speech" has a price.

This billboard appears on Santa Monica Blvd., just east of Sepulveda in LA - right across from my office. It's not the first thing I see when I exit the office front door - you half to walk to the end of the block to get a glimpse of it. I was still pissed because it's an Iranian flag. Then I did some research.

This is the former Iranian National Flag. Some organizations in the Iranian-American community of nearly one million strong have adopted this flag to represent their nostalgic cultural ties to their motherland of origin (Persia), while reaffirming their commitment to their adopted land. I've also read there are some anti-Muslim undertones with those Iranians who adopt this as their flag. "It is further resolved that the selection of this historical Flag as a national symbol should not be misconstrued as an endorsement by the Persian Parade of political organizations that have also adopted it as their symbols in the past few decades. The Flag does belong to ALL Iranian peoples."


Another source states, "It (the flag)too is surrounded with controversy as it has come to be associated with different political figures and groups who raise this same flag. In other words, the Iranian flag is a hotly contested issue. Unfortunately, it has become increasingly difficult for an Iranian who simply wants to wave a flag to show their connection to the land of Iran without being accused of adhering to controversial politics."

Free speech. Boy - it's one of the cornerstone's our country was founded on. And it means we have to sometimes turn the other cheek. It gives people the right - like conservative radio talk show host Laura Ingraham - to mock Brett Favre's demeanor (my football team's QB) during his retirement press conference (see previous posts) and it allows organizations to display the Iranian flag on a billboard overlooking a high-traffic street in the U.S. Ya think there are any U.S. flags on billboards in Iran? No. If you consider free speech encompassing the art world, then a man can display a crucifix in a container of urine and call it "art" (and "free speech"). People question the right of one person who, let's say, complains about the "Pledge of Allegiance" being recited at school - we (myself included) say, 'Why is the majority bowing to the minority?'. Same holds true with the examples I first cited. For the right of the majority to express their freedom of speech, we have to allow the minority to state their opinion, however much we disagree with it. Or we lose that freedom of speech.

My gripe has always been 'sure, everyone has an opinion and I'm open to hearing different arguments on whatever it is I'm discussing with someone, but it has to based on something intelligent'. I do it when a director offers me suggestions on how to improve my acting. I do it whenever I give my plays to people to read, asking them to give me constructive criticism. "This play sucks" or "I didn't get it" don't help me. A 2-year-old can say that and not even read the play. Opinion has to be based on something. Knowledge, research...something. There are some opinions I could give a rat's ass about. And some opinions, those based on careful research and opinion, I do care about.

It still sort of bugs me seeing that Iranian flag outside my office. But I'm glad I did the research into who put it up there and why they did it.


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