Thursday, August 14, 2014

Lauren Bacall 1924-2014

The great Lauren Bacall nee Betty Joan Perske passed away at age 89 on Tuesday. Ms. Bacall was nothing but class (at least onscreen), one of the last of the golden age of American cinema.

She was 19 years old when she appeared in To Have and Have Not with the great Humphrey Bogart. Bogey and Bacall went on to get married and make some of the most memorable films in history. Their onscreen chemistry was simply amazing.

This is the famous "You know how to whistle, don't you Steve? You just put your lips together and blow" scene from To Have and Have Not released in 1944, when again, Lauren Bacall was 19 years old.

"Slim" was Bogart's nickname for her on and off screen.

Here are some clips and photos:

Again from To Have and Have Not (1944)

The Big Sleep (1946)

Dark Passage (1947)

Key Largo (1948)

Ms. Bacall is quoted as saying: "I think your whole life shows in your face and you should be proud of that."

More quotes:
Actors today go into TV, which I don't consider has a lot to do with acting. They only think of stardom. If you photograph well, that's enough. I have a terrible time distinguishing one from another. Girls wear their hair the same, and are much too anorexic-looking.
We live in an age of mediocrity. Stars today are not the same stature as Bogie, James Cagney, Spencer Tracy, Henry Fonda and Jimmy Stewart.
A legend involves the past. I don't like categories. This one is great and that one is great. The word "great" stands for something. When you talk about a great actor, you're not talking about Tom Cruise. His whole behavior is so shocking. It's inappropriate and vulgar and absolutely unacceptable to use your private life to sell anything commercially, but I think it's kind of a sickness.

RIP Lauren Bacall. As my late great dad used to say "They don't make 'em like they used to."

Monday, August 11, 2014

Sad News. RIP Robin Williams

This was quite a shock. First off, I want to talk about depression. I've seen and heard comments that this was a cowardly thing to do, and who cares about a celebrity killing themselves, etc.

Depression is no laughing matter. It can happen to anyone, from any social status, rich, poor and in between, famous or unknown, it doesn't matter.

While it's likely that we may never know what drove Robin Williams to (allegedly) commit suicide, what's important to know that nobody is immune to depression.

There are reports that Mr. Williams had been battling major depression of late, and his drug and alcohol abuse are well documented.

I'm no expert by any means, but it seems to me that as giant a personality as Robin Williams was, he may have been battling personal demons all his life. It's very likely that whatever drove him to suicide is something he has been dealing with since childhood.

When I saw the first reports that Mr. Williams had passed, I remembered watching ABC Monday Night Football back in 1980 when Howard Cosell announced that John Lennon had been shot.

Hearing that Robin Williams was dead felt the same.

I was surprised at how hard it hit me as I began to read about it and hear more of the details. I was always an admirer of Mr. Williams talent, but not always a fan of his movies. In fact, I probably have seen half of the films he's been in.

That said, I'm not here to critique his career, the man was immensely talented and of course, a comic genius. What does get lost a little bit when we think of Robin Williams, is how good he was as a dramatic actor. He was amazing. It's pretty rare for comics to pull off dramatic roles, many have tried, few have succeeded. Robin Williams was a very good dramatic actor.

Here's a scene from the movie Insomnia where he more than holds his own with Al Pacino

It's a shame that he took his life, and it's a shame that we have lost such a great talent. As I said, we'll probably never really know why.

But what applies to Robin Williams applies to many, many others who suffer with depression. It is real and it can take someone down to the point where Mr. Williams went where someone can feel that they can go no further.

If you ever feel that life is too much or know someone struggling, please try to get help. You never know, it could save someone's life or even your own.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Boycott Market Basket

I'm not usually one for boycotting anything. Boycotts are usually some phony political movement that's designed to make everyone feel like they're accomplishing...something.

But in this case, I am boycotting Market Basket, I am supporting the workers and the ousted president, Arthur T. Demoulas.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Market Basket and the story behind what has gotten us to this point, please read here.

A quick synopsis:

Market Basket is now the company name of a regional chain of supermarkets originating in Lowell, Massachusetts. Formerly known as Demoulas, named after its founder Arthur Demoulas, Market Basket has grown into one of the largest privately owned grocery chains in the nation. Known for their low prices, Market Basket has become a reliable place to shop without having to worry about any games, membership cards or gotcha deals.

There are two heirs to the company's fortunes, Arthur S. Demoulas and Arthur T. Demoulas. (Yes, they are named after the founder) Arthur T. is beloved by long time employees, some with over 50 years with the company. Arthur S. is all about profits and many believe he is trying to sell the company.

For quite some time, Arthur S. has been trying to oust Arthur T. Last year, the board of directors narrowly voted to keep Arthur T. as president to the joy of the many long time employees of the company. This year, however, the tables turned and Arthur T. was finally deposed.Several long time employees walked out after Arthur T. was fired in protest.

The company brought in two CEOs to replace Arthur T., Jim Gooch  former CEO of Radio Shack, and Felcia Thornton, former CEO of Knowledge Universe to replace Arthur T.

Here's Forbes Magazine's take on Gooch, by the way. Calling his loss Radio Shack's biggest gain as the company took a huge nosedive in 2012 while Gooch was at the helm.

Thornton resigned from Knowledge Universe in June 2011 for personal reasons, according to reports.

Sounds like a real dynamic duo.

Workers protested the firing and subsequently staged a protest outside the company's headquarters in Tewksbury, MA. As a result, deliveries were stifled any many stores ran out of product.

Gooch and Thornton released the following statement in advance of the rally:

View image on Twitter

Predictably, Gooch and Thornton reacted by firing long time warehouse leader Dean Joyce and district manager Tom Trainor and predictably, more firings will follow.


What is going on here is amazing. For the first time I can recall on this scale, workers are loyal to a man who they view as an honest leader with their best interests at heart. You don't see or hear that too often. These people are willing to lose their jobs rather than sit by and let Arthur S. Demoulas destroy what Arthur T. has built.

Gooch and Thornton are doing the dirty work putting themselves in the crosshairs of public disdain when the real villain in this story is none other than Arthur S. Demoulas.

Arthur S. Demoulas.
You are a very bad man Arthur S
If Arthur S. was the sole proprietor of Market Basket and saw fit to setup the company to be sold, that's certainly his prerogative, which is obviously the end game now that he has full control of the company. But what he's done is not only steamroll his cousin, he's ignored the backbone of the very empire he oversees, the employees and chosen to push them aside in order to fatten his wallet.

I have no doubt that both Arthur S. and Arthur T. are very wealthy and could live comfortably for the rest of their lives right now if the whole thing collapsed.

That's not the point.

Arthur T. is all about taking care of his employees and his customers.

Arthur T. Demoulas
Arthur t. Demoulas
Arthur S. is all about greed.

This is the essential issue that is plaguing this nation right now. For too long, too many companies have seen profit and a fat balance sheet as more important than a happy work force and happy customers. The American worker has been cast aside as a spare part that must be replaced once a certain salary or age has been reached.

But it's not just greedy businessmen who are guilty, workers for their own part have also contributed to the demise of employment in America. For far too long, workers have demanded more from employers and expect to do less. there are far too many workers who perform well below their capabilities and feel they are owed something without earning anything.

This is disgraceful and has dragged our country down.

There needs to be a balance and Arthur T. Demoulas obviously found that. He not only created an environment where customers were happy with his stores, he created an environment where his employees are so loyal they are willing to walk away from their jobs for him.

This issue has galvanized people where now even local politicians are supporting boycotting the stores. It doesn't matter whether you are liberal or conservative, this fight is about what's right. And what's right is boycotting Market Basket.

What wins this fight is not Arthur S. or Arthur T. Demoulas, the board of directors, the CEOs or even the Market Basket employees.

What wins this fight is the customer.

By not setting foot inside Market Basket you have the power to send a message to Arthur S. Demoulas and his greedy board of directors, you send a message to the rest of corporate America that you will not be bullied and you will not stand by and let a wrong like what has happened to Arthur T. Demoulas and his employees happen.

Quote from Market Basket CEOs Jim Gooch and Felicia Thornton: "If you choose to abandon your job or refuse to perform your job requirements, you will leave us no choice but to permanently replace you."

Memo to the new CEOs and the board of directors of Market Basket: "You have chosen to fire Arthur T. Demoulas and now have decided to terminate several employees, you have left us no choice but to permanently replace you."

Send a message, boycott Market Basket.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Gary Busey, Pitchman

So Amazon has tossed their hat in the ring with their new Amazon Fire TV device and who do they have as their spokesperson?

Gary Busey.

Amazon Fire TV
Is he happy or ready to eat the remote?

The thought of Gary Busey being the pitchman for any product is, well, interesting. 
Have a look at the promo video Amazon did where Gary likes to, well talk to things


Interesting choice Amazon

Thursday, March 27, 2014

RIP LT. Ed Walsh Jr and Michael Kennedy

Boston mourns two of its bravest who perished in a fire in Boston's Back Bay yesterday.

Firefighters Michael R. Kennedy (l) and LT Edward J. Walsh, Jr. (r)

Lt. Walsh's Family - L Uncle William Walsh - C Father Edward Walsh - R Uncle Thomas Walsh
This one hits home for me because I worked with Lt. Walsh's late father, Ed Walsh, Sr. his late uncle Bill Walsh, uncle Tom Walsh and their mother, the late Margaret "Peggy" Walsh, all from Watertown, Mass.

Lt. Walsh's dad and uncles were Watertown firefighters.

RIP to two of Boston's bravest.