Friday, January 18, 2013


"Gangland" was a hit TV show from 2007 to 2011 -- so popular, so beloved, that the producers have been announcing it as a major new movie for about a year. It's still a hot idea.

 Say "Gangland" and we're remembering "Godfather" films, and juicy-nasty headlines about big name Mafia guys -- a whole kit-caboodle of illegal things that guys do to make more money so they can afford to acquire more and more fabulous possessions.

The "Godfather" guys inspired a younger generation -- a whole new crop of gang men, gang girls and gang culture. Gangland is on Facebook and Twitter, and there are gangland followers, gangland groups in Dublin, London, China,  Japan, Canada, Mexico, and South Korea.  (Note S. Korea -- it's was a big hit there.)  It's an epidemic --  millions of people are into the style, the customs, the sexy wild doings and morality of "Gangland."

And now, WOW -- we've got a dancing Korean man, deeply affected with the upscale fashion and lavish lifestyle of the "Gangland" men.  Spell "man" backwards -- this guy calls himself "nam," and he is raking in money as "Gangnam."

His name is "Psy", and this South Korean pop artist's catchy dance tune, "Gangnam Style" has become YouTube's most-watched video, squeezing out Justin Bieber's "Baby" from the top spot. Why? Probably, because women would rather be Psy's "sexy lady" than Bieber's "baby." Whatever it is, we now know that China is not the major threat to American culture. It's South Korea we have to watch out for.

Here's Ellen and Britney Spears and Psy.

Hey, when you have time, peruse this -- the official version of "Gangnam Style" -- and practice a few steps.      

Wednesday, January 16, 2013


Every time I see him, I remember "Tucker: A Man and His Dream," a film with Jeff Bridges as Preston Tucker, an automobile manufacturer, who passionately believed that the auto he created was the best in the world.

And every time, yes, EACH time I see Jeff Bridges in a film, I am enthralled by the way he seems to connect with me -- the real me who came from my life, my daily routines, my home -- who bought a ticket and is sitting in the theater . Even though I'm an invisible part of the audience, just a watcher, it's as if he has picked me out, knows me, is telling me, showing me who HE is.

For me, Jeff Bridges, has a power, a presence that no other movie actor has. I get connected with the man of the man he's playing -- it's the man Jeff Bridges himself is, as well as the guy on the screen.

Compare actor Jeff bridges with whom? With Cary Grant, Richard Burton, John Travolta, Richard Gere, Tom Cruise, or others about whom I've written and put on my list of favorite male actors?

My favorite actors invariably leave, in my mind, feelings about the story and the man they portrayed, and no matter how many times I've seen the film, their star qualities -- looks, diction, humor, passion -- whatever is special about the actor, delights, amazes, and touches me again.

Jeff Bridges doesn't belong on that list of mine. Bridges, creates a new man, somehow -- a whole person whom you meet, get to know, follow, like or dislike and gradually get to understand as you absorb the man's confusions, delusions, and what he wants. This creative thing the actor Bridges does is unique, and it's magic. It isn't the movie star, Bridges, that has stayed with me. It's that other man that I've gotten know.

I don't love all the films in which Jeff Bridges has appeared as a character. Actually I haven't seen all his films, but of the ones I've seen -- even when the story, the plot, the environment isn't my cup of tea, I'm interested and involved with the person Bridges becomes.

So who is the real man? He's 62, married to his first and only wife, has three daughters, a couple of homes, six Academy Award nominations and an Oscar in 2009, for his portrayal of Otis "Bad" Blake in Crazy Heart. He's been nominated, and won many other awards, (too many to list here.)

He is what I call "movie royalty." Son of Lloyd Bridges, the actor who starred in a number of TV series, and is best known as Mike Nelson in "Sea Hunt."  Jeff Bridges has made more than 70 films, and is very busy right now with making a music album, and shooting another movie.

What made me write about him? I saw the PBS, Master's documentary on Bridges. I am quoting the wife in Arthur Miller's play, "Death of a Salesman," who says: "Attention must be paid."

I want to say -- not what I'd say to Al Pacino, or Robert De Niro, or Dustin Hoffman, or any of the other great actors or my special favorite actors -- I just need to say "Wow, I'm glad I met you."

If you want to remember the films he made that still knock you out, here's International Movie Data Base's (IMDb's) mini bio.

And a clip from the PBS's "Masters" that I loved.

Monday, January 14, 2013


Find out about MOOCs.

It's the acronym for Massive Open On line Courses. MOOC is a new term for education that's all of a sudden hot, written about in the NY Times, Time Magazine, and dozens of other online sources. 

Why would you (or I), want to go to a school and learn something new?

Perhaps, because you (like me) sense that being busy the way you are now, is not shaping up into a money-earning career -- not leading you anywhere -- not really inspiring you to do more than more social networking.

Social networking is activity that sort of connects you with other people who sort of want to connect with other people because ... well, they're ... WHAT? Bored? Not challenged? Feeling old, out-of-date? Useless? Lonely?

Hey guys, what you do in your spare time can make big a difference -- new thoughts, new activities can perk you up.

At present, Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have more than 370,000 students signed up for their start-up courses; most of the other big name universities have start-up courses. MOOCs are getting bigger than Facebook.

Since it won't cost you anything except time, (MOOCS are free), you ought to take a look. You'd meet other people -- students, like yourself, as well as teachers. You'd have activities, quizzes, possibly a trial project to play with.

LIKE WHAT?  Just about anything that sparks for a second or two in your mind.

Robots fascinate me; the latest things in electronics amaze me. Things I already like to do occasionally -- humble stuff -- like growing plants, helping kids, cooking, big dreams like writing a play or poetry. Maybe you like pets, old movies, celebrities, games -- maybe you'd like to be able to play the piano, or write a hit song.

Why not joke around with it? Got a dream about making a movie about how you're feeling these days -- that sense of tiredness -- the fact that nothing seems as important as it used to feel?

Try this: Blink -- ask yourself what interests me? Do the blink-what-interests- me routine six times, and listen to your innermost whispers.

Boink! It just hit me!.  I study MOOCs -- if I learn more, I could become a MoocAdviser someone you contact when you're trying to figure out what you want to be when you grow up.