Monthly Archives: May 2009

Stephen King’s Novella Morality In The July 2009 Esquire Magazine

As I reported earlier this year, the new Stephen King novella entitled Morality is featured in the July 2009 issue of Esquire magazine.  The magazine should be on newsstands this week and features the Israeli model, Bar Refaeli on the cover with a temporary tattoo of the story covering her body. 

Here is a brief synopsis of the story: Chad, an aspiring writer who is teaching school until he lands a publishing contract, and his wife, Nora, who is working as a home nurse for a retired minister, are like most people these days struggling financially.  Nora is approached by her employer with a proposition that could make their dream of a home in Vermont a reality.  But will it be worth the moral consequences? 

July 2009 Esquire

 

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UP Soars At The Box Office

The animated action comedy “Up” took flight with a $68.2 million opening weekend, maintaining a perfect box-office track record for Pixar Animation, whose 10 films all have been commercial and critical hits.

“Up” had the third-best opening for a film from Disney-owned Pixar, just behind the $70 million debuts for “Finding Nemo” and “The Incredibles.” Last summer’s Disney-Pixar release, “WALL-E,” debuted with $63.1 million.

Like its Pixar predecessors, which include the “Toy Story” movies,””Finding Nemo” and “Ratatouille,””Up” earned glowing reviews from critics.

“Up” took over the No. 1 spot from 20th Century Fox’s “Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian,” which slipped to second-place with $25.5 million. The “Museum” sequel raised its 10-day total to $105.3 million.

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Woodstock 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition DVD

Celebrate the 40th anniversary of peace, love, and rock n’ roll with the Woodstock 40th Anniversary Ultimate Collector’s Edition ($42-$49). Available on DVD and for the first time on Blu-Ray, this 225-minute director’s cut chronicles the landmark event, with plenty of footage from the crowd, as well as the legendary musical performances. In addition, it includes a Lucite display with images from the festival, a LIFE Magazine reprint, an iron-on patch, reproductions of festival memorabilia, and a comprehensive featurette on the festival and filming, including interviews from editor Martin Scorsese, director Michael Wadleigh, Woodstock Festival executive producer Michael Lang, and more.

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Rebranding America

Right now America is like a company teetering on bankruptcy — we have lost so much credibility and brand currency over the past eight years. And so Papermag invited some of the best visual communicators they know (from ad gurus to artists) to create original advertising concepts that could redefine our country’s image. Welcome to U.S.A. 2.0.

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Mad Men Season Premiere Scheduled For August 2009.

Production on season 3 of Mad Men has already begun. The show’s creator and executive producer Matthew Weiner will be back with cast members Jon Hamm (Don Draper), Elisabeth Moss (Peggy Olson), Vincent Kartheiser (Pete Campbell), January Jones (Betty Draper), Christina Hendricks (Joan Holloway), and John Slattery (Roger Sterling).

The season premiere is scheduled for August 2009.

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DC’s Wednesday Comics

In July, DC Comics gives a fresh twist to a grand comics tradition with Wednesday Comics ($3.99), a new, weekly 12-issue series by some of the greatest names in comics today! Wednesday Comics is unique in modern comics history: Reinventing the classic weekly newspaper comics section, it is a 16-page weekly that unfolds to a sprawling 28” x 20” tabloid-sized reading experience bursting with mind-blowing color, action and excitement, with each feature on its own 14” x 20” page. Spearheaded by DCU Editorial Art Director Mark Chiarello, whose past editing credits include Batman: Black and White, DC: The New Frontier and Solo, each page of Wednesday Comics spotlights the continuing adventures of DC heroes, including: Batman, Wednesday Comics weekly cover feature, by the Eisner Award-winning 100 Bullets team of writer Brian Azzarello and artist Eduardo Risso, Superman written by John Arcudi (The Mask) with art by Lee Bermejo (Joker), Green Lantern, written by Kurt Busiek (Trinity) with art by Joe Quiñones (Teen Titans Go!) and The Flash, written by Karl Kerschl (Teen Titans Year One, The Flash) and Brenden Fletcher, illustrated by Karl Kerschl.

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Dave Eggers Discusses The Future Of The Written Word

The Authors Guild recently celebrated Dave Eggers for his charity work. The focus was on 826 National, the nonprofit writing and tutoring centers aimed for children ages six through eighteen. The name originates from the first center Eggers founded seven years ago, in the Mission District of San Francisco at 826 Valencia Street. Eggers spoke with conviction about the future of the written word:

“To any of you who are feeling down, and saying, “Oh, no one’s reading anymore”: Walk into 826 on any afternoon. There are no screens there, it’s all paper, it’s all students working shoulder to shoulder invested in their work, writing down something, thinking their work might get published. They put it all on the page, and they think, “Well, if this person who works next to me cares so much about what I’m writing, and they’re going to publish it in their next anthology or newspaper or whatever, then I’m going to invest so much more in it.” And then meanwhile, they’re reading more than I did at their age…Nothing has changed! The written word—the love of it and the power of the written word—it hasn’t changed. It’s a matter of fostering it, fertilizing it, not giving up on it, and having faith. Don’t get down. I actually have established an e-mail address, deggers@826national.org—if you want to take it down—if you are ever feeling down, if you are ever despairing, if you ever think publishing is dying or print is dying or books are dying or newspapers are dying (the next issue of McSweeney’s will be a newspaper—we’re going to prove that it can make it. It comes out in September). If you ever have any doubt, e-mail me, and I will buck you up and prove to you that you’re wrong.” (Reprinted from The New Yorker)

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Palm Pre Syncs With iTunes

Plug a Pre into a Mac or PC and it syncs, seamlessly, with Apple’s iTunes. In fact, the iTunes Store treats the Pre just as it would an iPod or an iPhone with two exceptions: it can’t handle old copy-protected songs or iPhone apps. Third party programs that sync music with various non-Apple MP3 players including the Palm Treo and 700p have been available for some time. But team Pre has apparently built the necessary code right into the device’s firmware. They certainly have the know-how. The team is filled with former Apple employees and is led by Palm president Jon Rubinstein, who built the original iPod for Steve Jobs.

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Pop’s Stache

Pop’s Stache is a collaboration by Industrial Designers Shane Blomberg, John Healy, and Andrew Reeves. These hilarious temporary mustaches serve as drink identifiers and remind everyone that there is nothing more fun then unshaved lip hair.

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Autodesk’s Project Dragonfly

Streamline your next home improvement project by using Dragonfly’s intuitive design tools to rapidly create and furnish your floor plan, experimenting in real time with your ideas in 2D and 3D before making it real. Try it HERE.

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The Top 40 Movie Soundtracks

What makes a great soundtrack? A collection of killer songs, the perfect encapsulation of a film’s storyline and mood, a cohesive album that stands on its own … or better yet, all that at once.

Moviefone sifted through decades of movie soundtracks in every musical and cinematic genre, and came up with a Top 40 list of albums that moved them — in all senses of the word — from crowd-pleasers (‘The Wedding Singer,’ ‘The Big Chill’) to audiophiles’ love letters (‘High Fidelity,’ ‘Rushmore’) to single-artist experiments (‘Superfly,’ ‘The Graduate’) and everything in between (‘Nashville’). Check out the best soundtracks of all time HERE.

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10 Hot Summer Products

Comcast picks their top 10 Summer products HERE.  

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Introducing Hulu Desktop

Hulu, the TV network-supported streaming online video service that was started in response to the growing video section of the iTunes Store, has recently released a beta version of Hulu Desktop, a full-featured client application for the Hulu service that allows users to turn a 2.0GHz dual core Mac or Windows PC into a Hulu media center. Hulu Desktop is designed to work with standard keyboards, Windows Media Center remote controls, or Apple remote controls, and can easily be controlled with just six buttons, allowing users to navigate between menus, select content to watch, play and pause content, scan forward or back through the currently-playing video and adjust the volume. An iPhone app version is expected in the near future. Similar in concept to Apple’s Front Row and Microsoft’s Windows Media Center applications, the Hulu Desktop is designed to make Hulu’s entire library of content more readily available to Hulu users without having to rely on a web browser, enabling access to TV shows, movies, and short video clips with commercial sponsorship rather than download charges. The initial release of the Hulu Desktop is as a beta so that Hulu can gather user feedback to improve the service. Hulu Desktop is available as a free download from http://www.hulu.com/labs/hulu-desktop in both Mac and Windows versions, and requires an Intel Core Duo 2GHz CPU, 2GB of RAM and Flash 9 to be installed. It is presently available solely for U.S. users.

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Laodicean

Meaning “indifferent or lukewarm especially in matters of religion,” laodicean was this year’s winning word at the National Spelling Bee. Congratulations to the winner, 13-year-old Kavya Shivshankar!

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Shawn Colvin Live CD Due on June 23rd

Shawn Colvin culled these 15 live tracks from two decades’ worth of material, including her Nonesuch debut, These Four Walls, and makes it all sound even more deeply insightful and compellingly up to date in these sets from three sold-out nights at Yoshi’s San Francisco in July 2008.

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Coraline DVD Due On July 21st

From the visionary imagination of filmmaker Henry Selick, director of The Nightmare Before Christmas, and based on the award-winning novel by Newbery Medal winner Neil Gaiman (The Graveyard Book, Sandman) comes the remarkable handmade, stop-motion animated feature film Coraline, available on Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack, 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD and single disc DVD July 21st, 2009 from Universal Studios Home Entertainment. While all editions feature both the 2-D and 3-D versions of the film and four pairs of 3-D glasses, the Blu-ray Hi-Def and 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD also include a digital copy of the movie, as well as an astounding array of bonus features that take you inside the intricate hand-crafted world of this incredibly unique film. The Blu-ray Hi-Def combo pack also includes a standard definition DVD of the film, as well as even more bonus features, including additional filmmaker interviews and behind-the-scenes exclusives within Universal’s U-Control and BD-Live features.

An instant classic that will captivate audiences, Coraline, the first feature film from Portland Oregon-based animation studio LAIKA, is the first stop-motion animated feature originally produced in stereoscopic 3-D. A startlingly original tale, Coraline’s vibrant flights of fantasy will keep kids and adults enthralled as it underlines one of life’s most essential truths: be careful what you wish for.

Coraline’s stellar voice cast includes Dakota Fanning (War of the Worlds), Teri Hatcher (“Desperate Housewives”), John Hodgman (“The Daily Show”), Ian McShane (“Deadwood”) and Keith David (Crash), with an enchanting musical score by Bruno Coulais (Winged Migration, The Chorus). Henry Selick is one of the leading directors working in animation today. He directed the 1993 film The Nightmare Before Christmas, which has achieved classic status and the remastered 3-D version is bringing Selick a whole new generation of fans. Selick is also the director of James and the Giant Peach, which won the top prize for animated feature at the Annecy Film Festival, and Monkeybone. He also created the celebrated animation sequences for Wes Anderson’s The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Coraline is based on Neil Gaiman’s book, a New York Times and international bestseller and enormous critical success. Among its many honors are: the British Science Fiction Award, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Bram Stoker and the Elizabeth Burr/Worzalla awards. Coraline on Blu-ray Hi-Def is priced at $39.98. The 2-Disc Collector’s Edition DVD is priced at $34.98 and the single disc DVD is priced at $29.98.

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LOST: The Secret Identity Of The Statue Is Officially Revealed

According to the LOST ABC season finale recap, the description of the statue was as follows:

“And as the camera pulls back, we see what we’ve been waiting to see since we first glimpsed that four-toed foot over three years ago… the towering, majestic statue of the Egyptian goddess Taweret. “

Taweret also known as The Great Female was the ancient Egyptian goddess of maternity and childbirth, protector of women and children.  More can be read HERE.

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Sammy Hagar Discusses New Band, Chickenfoot

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Tired of the tequila-friendly party shows that he’s been performing for the last 13 years with his post-Van Halen solo band The Waboritas, Sammy Hagar tells Billboard.com his decision to form Chickenfoot with guitarist Joe Satriani, former Van Halen bassist Michael Anthony and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith was a challenge he desired as an artist.
 
“I just got to a point where I felt I needed to grow,” Hagar says. “I was feeling stuck and stagnant. And the whole party thing I created, I just got tired of doing that. You need to eat and feed yourself in order to grow and the best way to do it for me is to start new projects, and I don’t want to call this band a project because we’re a band. It’s just getting together with other people for new input that stimulates and inspires you to become better. That’s all there is to it.”
 
After making its debut at a February 2008 solo Hagar show in Las Vegas, Chickenfoot songwriters Hagar and Satriani started working in earnest last October. The band then reconvened earlier this year to record its self-titled debut effort, which is due out June 9 on Redline Entertainment.
 
“I don’t think I could have written a record this good by myself in 100 years,” Hagar says. “And by getting together with Joe, I think we wrote some amazing songs. It’s funny he’s in the same place as me. He’s tired of being a solo artist. We’re all on the same page so much in this band it’s scary. And we want to take this thing worldwide. We need to take this to everyone who loves this kind of music. I really think it’s Montrose, Van Halen and the thing Chad brings is a deep pocket. He plays this groove that is kind of Zeppelin-esque. We’re really coming from everywhere.”
 
Currently finishing up its debut mini-tour playing clubs, Chickenfoot is set to make its national television debut on during the first week of Conan O’Brien’s “Tonight Show” on Friday June 5. The band then starts looking ahead to a month-long European jaunt beginning June 20 in Austria before returning stateside for a full North American run slated for August and September. Hagar says the group will then take a break while Smith returns to the Chili Peppers to presumably work on recording that band’s next studio effort. Chickenfoot may get back together in early 2010 for an Australian tour with another American leg as well.
 
While the current outing finds the band playing its debut effort in its entirety, along with unreleased new track “Bitten By The Wolf” and covers such as Montrose’s “Bad Motor Scooter” and Deep Purple’s “Highway Star,” Hagar hints the band isn’t adverse to loosening up its set list in the future to include material from the members’ star-studded resumes.
 
“At some point, I think it will be the next album project and tour when we have more songs under our belt, we’ll deconstruct Chickenfoot,” Hagar says. “So it’ll be a little bit of Joe, a little bit of Sammy, a little bit of Van Halen and maybe a little bit of the Chilis. That’ll be a wonderful thing down the road when we’re in an arena and doing ‘An evening with,’ but right now we really want to play all of the new songs. And right now we’re paying almost two hours, so it’s crazy. It’s awesome.”

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The album packaging, when heated up by the simple touch of a hand, will change opacity, revealing hidden images on the cover and hidden song titles on the back cover.

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Rumor Round-Up: Everything We’ve Heard About the Next iPhone

This month, the Apple rumor volcano erupted with purported details of the next-generation iPhone. Various blogs claim receiving tips from informed sources about features in the highly anticipated handset, such as a magnetometer (digital compass), a video camera and a speedier processor.

HERE, we round up every rumor that’s appeared about Apple’s next iPhone, which many are betting will be announced June 8 at the Worldwide Developer Conference in San Francisco. We’re also accompanying each rumor with a percentage rating for its probability to be true, as well as our analysis.

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Best Animated Movies of All Time

Animated movies can do everything live action movies can do — make us laugh, make us cry, make us go agape at the sheer wonder of it all. Actually, they can do all those things better than live action movies can, sometimes — because they’re drawn, which makes them that much more, you know, impressive. Check out these 25 awesome animated treats and see if you don’t agree.

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Fan-Made Green Lantern Trailer

This fan-made trailer for Green Lantern is not for a real movie starring Nathan Fillion as Hal Jordan.

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LEGO Pirate Theater

You have to check out this amazing self-operating LEGO theater depicting pirates on the high seas. A mix of Mindstorms NXT and LEGO Pirates pieces were used in the build. Watch it all the way through for a sneak peak at how it works.

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Japanese Horror Author Koji Sazuki Is On A Roll

Acclaimed Japanese horror novelist Koji Sazuki (his work inspired The Ring) is printing his latest tale of terror on toilet paper. Drop is nine chapters long and is set, appropriately enough, in a public restroom. The story is illustrated with splashes of blood – although the blood is blue, for reasons unknown. The toilet paper company that’s publishing Drop says that reading the book while using the restroom will heighten the “psychological fright.” 

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