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Thursday, December 31, 2009

AVATAR: The Environment Man Review

By Environment Man

"Avatar" was everything word of mouth said it would be. The 3-D is the new standard for such grandiose action/visual films. It is great to experience some depth perception in such films. It definitely enhances the film experience.

The Vietnam analagy was appropo and so was the indigenous environmental theme. And of course corporations were cast as the bad guy, as was the military/industrial complex. Yet the chief military character was a great bad guy. A good movie always needs a good bad guy.

James Cameron also borrowed Sigourney Weaver from "Aliens" and the mechs from "The Matrix." The helicopters were cool but I wondered about the the opposite spinning main rotor blades. I wondered why you had them on both sides of the choppers when you would have only needed the left rotor spinning one way and the right rotor spinning the other way to neutralize the torque in a tail rotorless configuration. Then I realized that you could knock out either engine and it could still fly. Without Cameron's design the chopper would spin out of control if one rotor got taken out. Cameron's configuration makes it possible for the chopper to still fly with one side knocked out.

The blue giant Na'vi were clearly modeled on indigenous 3rd world people and native American indians. I read some criticisms about 'the white Tarzan' rescuing the clueless natives but I reject that description. If anything he was a traitor to this own people. Plus Cameron covered his flank by casting Zoe Saldana as the woman behind the female blue woman lead (Neytiri).

In spite of what seems to be the Hollywood contract requirement to curse God in each movie (4 times in this film), there was a religious subtext. It was a hybrid pagan/quasi Christian spiritual approach. Heaven was in the trees and one could be resurrected if the spirit realm so approved.

Finally, Cameron had an interesting cross racial, cross species love story. And the action was second to none. James Cameron knows how to produce spectacle.
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The Washington Times Makes Significant Changes

The Washington Times, founded in 1982 by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon, right, leader of the Unification Church, laid off more than 40 percent of its 170-member newsroom staff, including its top editor and scores of reporters, editors and photographers. At a staff meeting, employees were told to pick up packets that revealed their fates. Dismissal packets included notice that they would receive salary until Feb. 2, plus the amount of vacation pay they had earned for 2010.

The Sports and Metro sections will cease to exist as stand-alone entities and layoffs in those sections neared 100 percent.

The plan is a response to the recessionary economy and the continued downward financial pressures on the news industry as newspapers everywhere transition into 21st-century multimedia enterprises. The Times has lost money since its inception. (WashPost, 12/31/09)
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Thursday, December 24, 2009

Gort v. GORT

The 1951 Gort beats the 2008 Gort hands down, notwithstanding the 2008 version being given a defined acronym: (GORT) Genetically Organized Robotic Technology. Gort-51 has a cooler laser beam and cooler head. Although GORT-08 has a more muscular body, the computer generated image (CGI) is observable. Whereas, the 'guy-in-a-metallic-suit' Gort-51 works better, just as The Thing in "The Fantastic Four" works better than the Hulk in "The Hulk," because the Hulk is computer generated and you can tell.

Gort-51 resurrects Klaatu with the help of the spaceship, above right. GORT-08 seems to stablilize Klaatu after he is shot, but a doctor has to remove the bullet. If the magic words of "Klaatu Barada Nikto" had not been recited as instructed by Klaatu, Gort-51 was going to turn the Earth into a 'burned out cinder.' GORT-08 morphs into trillions of energy absorbing, matter eating nanites, left, that begin to devour everything in site. Odd though, seeing that in the 2008 version, Klaatu came to save the Earth 'from the humans,' yet the nanites were destroying everything in site. The nanites are killed when Klaatu evidently utilizes energy from all the Earth's machinery in order to stop them. Just as in the 1951 version, everything comes to a standstill.
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Monday, December 21, 2009

Snow Delays Environment Man At Global Warming Conference

By Alan Smithee

A week after playing at the Copenhagen City Hall Town Square, Environment Man & The Ecology Band (EMTCB), left, were stuck at the Kobenhavns Lufthaven Airport on the Amager Island on Sunday because the Washington, DC region was completely snowed in. The band had access to a new Gulfstream 6, pictured below, but both Hyde Airfield, pictured below, and Potomac Airfield were completely snowed in (both private airfields are about 2 miles from Eman's residence). Dulles, Reagan National and Thurgood Marshall Baltimore-Washington Airports were closed too. The irony is not lost on the band and they are composing a song to capture the experience. The tentative title is, "Snowed In At The Copenhagen Global Warming Summit."

The group played a 3-song set the previous Sunday as the opening act for the Danish band Outlandish, who followed Archbishop Desmond Tutu's speech (he also joined in with Outlandish to dance a bit). Earlier, Tutu handed over 250,000 signatures from the international campaign Countdown to Copenhagen to Yvo de Boer, chief climate change officer for the United Nations (Framework Convention on Climate Change). The Sunday December 13th event was open to all and free. It was part of Hopenhagen, an 'open for all' cultural event at Radhuspladsen Town Hall Square (map), above right, with music and happenings during Cop 15.

EMTCB purchased offsets to cover the flights and limos. Eman also tried to negotiate an agreement for us (see CMX) to provide the UN climate change meeting in Copenhagen with offsets, but evidently they went with another service. The total projected direct emissions generated by the conference were approximately 40,000 tons. EMTCB is producing a documentary about the entire experience.
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Marlon Jackson & The Badagry Historical Resort Project

By Environment Man

I was watching the “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty,” and Marlon Jackson describing his vision of establishing more tourism in Nigeria, Africa by developing a combination resort area with a visitor center-type experience of a historic slave port. The developers say the $3.4 billion Badagry Historical Resort (The Motherland Resort) will be marketed to African-American tourists as a mixture of luxury tourist attractions and historical education.

Marlon is trying to attract African-American tourists who want to trace their roots back to Nigeria. Marlon's partnership also intends to honor the history of the transatlantic slave trade and provide employment opportunities for Nigerians. Ghana and Senegal have successfully turned slave ports into tourist attractions. Visitors will be able to see the route their ancestors walked and pay their respects at the site of a mass grave for those who died before boarding ships across the Atlantic Ocean. They can visit a replica slave ship to see the conditions Africans suffered.

Although some detractors are criticizing the project as a "bizarre combination of a slave history theme park and a museum and exploiting painful history," we disagree with them and understand what Marlon Jackson and his partners are trying to achieve. AAEA supports the Badagry Historical Resort.


~ Transatlantic slave trade ran between 1650 and 1866.
~ About 10.2m slaves arrived in the Americas from Africa.
~ 35% came from the Niger River area .
~ 10-20% died on the journey [approx 2 million people]
~ An estimated 4.5% died in slave ports like Badagry

Source: slavevoyages.org

The Motherland Group (TMG) LLC, based in District Heights, Maryland, USA, is an international business investment and development corporation with members of the Board of Directors well known all over the world. Besides Marlon Jackson, some of the men behind it include: Gary L. Loster, chairman of the organisation, is also the Chairman/CEO of G.L. Loster and Associates; Chairman of TMG, is also on the Board of Directors of The International Consortium of Global Alliances Inc; Board member of Infrastructure Financial Services among other high level portfolios in the USA and abroad. He was also the Mayor of the city of Saginaw, MI, in November 1993 and served for an unprecedented four consecutive terms. Jack C. Sims, currently the president of Motherland Beckons Investments, is the Vice President and Chairperson, Trade of the World Conference of Mayors and former President, Maryland Black Mayors Association. He is the founder and former Chairman /CEO and Managing Director of The Atrium Group, USA, and also the Chief Alliance Partner of United for The World Event Group (UWEG) Las Vegas. Haim Saban, one of the founders of Saban Entertainment and creator of the kids show "The Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers," is also a partner in TMG. (BBC News, 2/16/09, AllAfrica.com, 12/8/08)
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Saturday, December 19, 2009

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Environment Man To Play NPR's Tiny Desk Concert?

By Holly Wood

Bob Boilen's work space desk is the stage at National Public Radio (NPR) for mini-concerts by an eclectic group of famous, near-famous and downright obscure musicians. Reps for Environment Man have made overtures for him to play at what is being called NPR's Tiny Desk Concerts. Boilen is a veteran music producer for NPR and his desk is a perfect venue for the unique talent that is Eman to perform a three-to-four-song set.

Tom Jones, the Welsh heartthrob, sang at the Tiny Desk last spring. Boilen had conversations with reps of Paul McCartney and Bruce Springsteen when their tours came through Washington recently, but performances did not happen. Eman, pictured at right with The Ecology Band, is ready to go. Boilen likes to keep things diverse; he has had hip-hop artists and R&B singers, chamber orchestras and classical guitarists. Boilen says in The Washington Post that "Surprise and spontaneity -- that's kind of the idea...there's some sense of excitement not knowing what's going to happen...If you're really an artist, you'll take a chance."

The shows, which NPR videotapes and turns into webcasts and podcasts, are as intimate and minimal as the name implies. Boilen's desk is tucked into a quiet, cluttered corner of NPR's building on Massachusetts Avenue NW in Washingtin, DC. There are no amps, no special lighting. An electric keyboard is about as elaborate as the instrumentation gets. The shows have become popular enough on NPR's music Web site that music publicists now call Boilen to push clients.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Will.i.Am on Energy, Environment & Global Warming

By Holly Wood

Will.i.Am talked about his actions in relation to energy, environment and climate change at the Green Inaugural Ball during President Obama's inaugural events last winter. His take:

"The technology is there. [He said that after he puts solar panels on his house later this year] "I'll be completely off the grid. There's a lot we can do."
Did Will put up those solar panels? Send us pictures Will and we will post them. Ummm. But I am told that you will probably keep that grid hookup on your house for the cloudy days and nighttime electricity use.

Will said he owns a Tesla all electric sports car, which costs about $100,000. His comment:

"Crazy torque."
He also owns a Bentley. The manufacturer's suggested retail price is $329,990. And it gets only 9 miles a gallon in the city, and 15 miles a gallon on the highway. So we guess Will is splitting the difference. That's okay with me. Sure would like a ride in both of Will's cars. And I bet he has other cars and more than one house too. Ah America. You CAN have it all. (Wash Post, 1/27/09)
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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Danish Band Outlandish & Archbishop Tutu at Copenhagen

By Holly Wood

The Danish band Outlandish had a performance at the Copenhagen City Hall Town Square on December 13th, 2009. Archbishop Desmond Tutu had just given a remarkable speech when Outlandish took over. Tutu, apparently liking their miuic, returned to the stage and started rocking and dancing with the band in an improvised jam session. [video shakes a bit at first but settles down]

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Blackface In Copenhagen: A Bad Idea For Climate Mitigation

By Environment Man

I was surfing the YouTube wave for performance videos from Copenhagen and came upon this video about using black balloons to signify CO2 in the atmosphere. Not far into the video (30 seconds), the Friends of the Earth Balloon action members started putting on the blackface. Of course this caught my attention. Maybe someone should have told them that blackface never works. Although the kids are young, they should be aware of the vile history of blackface. The balloons were message enough.

Here is how they described there action in the description on YouTube:

This Balloon Action took place on Saturday November 21st 2009. In order to make a visual statement on the injustice of CO2 emissions between countries. December 12th 2009.
Get a clue people. Get some black people on your staffs. They would have advised you against going blackface. It completely distracts from the message you were trying to send.

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Ecology Records Negotiating With Next Media In Hong Kong?

By Holly Wood

Rumors are all over Hong Kong about Ecology Records negotiating an animation deal between Environment Man & the Ecology Band and Next Media, the cutting edge animation company that garnered worldwide attention when they animated the Tiger Woods incident. I have been trying to get to Jimmy Lai, right, the founder of Next Media, to verify the rumor. And our Eman is hush hush on the possible deal.

The band, left, has a number of videos but Eman says he wants to produce some new content for the special animations. He says he will produce some videos and music with 'green' themes and shared a tentative title of one productions with me: "Making Green Music in a Blue World"

Stay tuned folks, this could be one interesting development.
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Monday, December 14, 2009

"The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty" & Jermaine Jackson

By Holly Wood

In the new reality series, “The Jacksons: A Family Dynasty,” the four remaining Jackson Brothers reunite (minus Randy) to try to make a comeback. The two hour opening episode that aired on December 13th showed the four brothers, Marlon Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jermaine Jackson and Jackie Jackson, interacting with each other, their families and the world. The series will be aired in six episodes. Why isn't Randy a part of the series anyway?

The four Jackson brothers seem to want to embark on a world tour as the “Jackson 4,” in order to pay homage to Michael Jackson and also a comeback for the the remaining members of the legendary group.

But it seems to be Jermaine Jackson, right, and the Jackson 3. Jermaine is up to his old tricks again. He appeared to be a divisive force in plans for recording two songs and the planning for the tour. The best scene though was Jermaine's attempt to rewrite history by saying he did not leave the Jackson 5 because of Hazel Gordy, but due to the loyalty he felt for Motown because the company 'discovered' them. Jermaine should consider an acting career. His crocodile tears didn't fool any of us who lived through his split with his brothers in the 1970s. All of us already knew it was a combination of Jermaine's marriage to Hazel and his loyalty to Motown that led to the split. He talked often about wanting to take over Motown from Berry Gordy one day. Jermaine clearly sees himself as the successor to Michael, at least within the remaining structure of The Jacksons.
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Friday, December 11, 2009

Senator Joe Lieberman Invokes Prince To Pass Climate Bill

By Environment Man and Holly Wood

At a news conference with Senators John Kerry (D-Mass) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) yesterday, Senator Joe Lieberman (I-Conn) decided to bring the Artist Formerly Known As Prince and now known as Prince again, into the debate to pass a global warming bill in the U.S. Senate.

Here is the quote:
"You remember the artist formerly known as Prince? This is the market-based system for punishing polluters previously known as 'cap and trade.' "
Senators Lieberman, Kerry and Graham also said they favored expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, an increase in nuclear-power plants and more money for research to reduce emissions from coal plants. AAEA opposes expanded offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. We support nuclear power plants and we support research and development to reduce emissions from coal plants.
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

"This Week" With Donna Brazile

By Alan Smithee

Hey ABC, give Donna Brazile a chance to show her chops by letting her host "This Week." Now that George Stephanopoulos has made the decision to host "Good Morning America," this provides a shot for Brazile, since ABC must be diametrically opposed to elevating conservative George Will. Donna is a fascinating character and "This Week" is the perfect vehicle for her particular brand of Southern charm and political savy. Our president has known Brazile for almost three decades and he says that ABC could not make a better choice.


Donna Brazile, left, is currently the founder and managing director of Brazile and Associates, a political consulting and grassroots advocacy firm based in Washington, D.C. She became the first African American to lead a major presidential campaign when she headed the Gore-Lieberman campaign in 2000. Brazile is also chair of the Democratic National Committee’s Voting Rights Institute (VRI) and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University. Brazile is the author of "Cooking with Grease: Stirring the Pots in America," a memoir about her life in the political arena. A weekly contributor and political commentator for CNN, Brazile is also a political consultant for ABC News and a contributor to National Public Radio (NPR). She is also a columnist for Ms. magazine and Roll Call, the weekly Congressional newspaper. Donna was a leading advocate, along with musician Stevie Wonder, in getting the Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday established as a national holiday.
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Tiger Woods? Support Langston Golf Course in Washington, DC

By Environment Man

Tiger Woods, right, should build a golf and learning center in Washington, D.C. at Langston Golf Course. Langston Legacy Golf Course in Northeast, opened in 1939 as a racially segregated course for black golfers. Langston was managed by pioneering golfer Lee Elder and his wife, Rose in the 1970s and is manaaged by local legends Jimmy Gravin (Manager-photo below left) and Janice Arrington (Assistant Manager) today. Jimmy Garvin is president of Langston Legacy Golf Corporation, which teaches golf and encourages academic achievement. Langston Golf Course is located near RFK Stadium and the Anacostia River. It is located in a part of the city where many children come from low-income households.

Last July, when Tiger was in Bethesda for the AT&T National, Greg McLaughlin, president of the Tiger Woods Foundation, announced plans for a golf and learning center in Washington, D.C. McLaughlin has stated that their key criteria are safety, proximity to public transportation, availability of land and cost. McLaughlin runs a superb foundation and his efforts on behalf of Tiger touched the lives of more than 10 million youngsters through scholarships, grants, the establishments of golf teams and other programs offered by the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, California. The center in the District would be the second.

Langston, at 26th Street and Benning Road NE, is closer to some public housing complexes than it is to a Metro subway line. Some might see safety and proximity as issues, certainly compared with other possible locations in more upscale parts of the city. But avoiding low-income black communities because they are perceived as unsafe and inaccessible only perpetuates a cycle of socioeconomic isolation.

Tiger, in looking for the most ideal location, should favor locating the the learning center in a place that is inaccessible to disadvantaged kids. Garvin and Arrington host many youngsters who are interested in golf because of Tiger. But the window for taking advantage of their interest does not stay open very long.

Tiger? Our president is a pathetic golfer who plays Langston as much as he can. Jimmy and Janice lament his lack of golfing skills but praise his determination. Put the learning center at Langston, if for no other reason, so that our leader might have access to any facility that would help his game. (Wash Post, 12/9/09)
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Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Cartoon Drawings of President Barack Obama

By Alan Smithee

Have you noticed that there aren't any really good cartoon drawings of President Barack Obama? If you have one, please send it to us. I looked around and the illustration at right is the one I like best.

Why do you think illustrators are having trouble 'capturing' President Obama? I noticed this same problem during the campaign. I mean he has the ears. And clearly his head is a bit big. And the lips that are darker than his face color.

Maybe cartoonists are afraid of offending blacks. Or President Obama with caricatures. There are rumblings that President Obama does not like criticism. Regardless, the illustrations are not very good. Google President Obama cartoon images and see what you come up with.

Help us out here. Send GOOD illustrations of President Obama.
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