Wednesday, December 22, 2010

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly AND To Be Charitable!!!

Here in Los Angeles, we're hoping that Santa's reindeer don't drown on Christmas Eve. I walk 3-5 miles every morning, rain or shine. A discipline that has been greatly challenged over the last few days. There are a lot of areas where water is collected when it rains a lot and that results in two things happening for people like me who are out there walking. (1) Walking detours because of flooded areas and detours that are lengthier than usual when it comes to trying to cross a street without having to walk through ankle deep water. (2) Cars that just can't resist an opportunity to drive quickly through a flooded area so they can "wipe out" that idiot walker like me.

Okay, enough bitching by me.

It's the HOLIDAY season, right? And I want to officially begin this week's blog about some nice people who will be doing some charitable things on Christmas Day.

First of all, my thanks to Entertainment Tonight's long time Producer-Director and long time friend of mine, Kevin Gershan for making sure I got this information.

Jamie Masada is the owner of The Laugh Factory in Hollywood. He knows how tough it is to "make it" in Hollywood. This town is full of talented people who have come here from all over the country. Just because you're talented doesn't mean you'll get that "break" that you need. And while you're struggling just to stay alive and in many cases not having any kind of support group like friends, etc., The Laugh Factory will be doing something on Christmas Day for the 31st year in a row. The underprivileged, the homeless and anyone alone for the holiday can show up and get a free meal during four Christmas dinners annnd...you'll also watch a free comedy show following each of the four meals served. And by the way, generous portions of food will be served. Laugh Factory owner Jamie Masada will welcome each visitor at the door and when you've finished your meal, you will be entertained by comedians like (and in no particular order) Arsenio Hall, Richard Lewis, Paul Rodriguez, Tom Arnold, Kevin Nealon, Jamie Kennedy, Paul Mooney, Larry Miller and many more who in addition to performing for you, will also greet and help serve the food to the guests.

Pretty sweet, huh?

The Laugh Factory is located at 8001 Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood and that's between Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Fairfax.

The free meals will be served on Christmas Day at 1pm, 3pm, 5pm and 7pm.

Way to go, Jamie Masada! And how about all those professional and big name comedians who normally are paid big bucks to perform, but in this case will entertain you for free annnd serve you the food for free! Boy, talk about the Christmas spirit! I don't know about you, but their charitable gesture has me making plans to go there on a different night and pay the admission fee.


This is being written on Wednesday night, December 22. Less than 3 days from now it'll be Christmas and less than 10 days from now it'll be New Year's Day. Most folks figure to not be interested in reading commentaries about "serious newsy" kinds of stuff unless the mentions are whacha call, "short". With that in mind, that's what you're about to get along with a few fun items sent to me by a long time friend of mine and some regular entertainment news stuff.

Brief Serious Newsy Stuff:

We are being told to get ready for what will probably be new and painful hikes in gas prices after the first of the year.

Am I the only one who has noticed the overall hike in food prices at our favorite supermarkets? I don't care what the food is! The price has gone up and is continuing to go up! Meanwhile, most folks are having to take pay cuts and that's if they HAVE a JOB!!!

"Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will soon be officially repealed. And it's about time. I served in the military and I think this is the right thing to do. Gay people aren't stupid. We have an all volunteer military now. No way will they deliberately be doing anything to call attention to themselves. All any soldier of any kind really wants to know is if he or she can rely on the person next to him or her to "cover their back".

Speaking of the military...I can't help but wonder if that Army doctor who disobeyed orders to deploy to Afghanistan because he questioned President Obama's eligibility to be commander in chief, was used by some people because of an agenda they have. I remember when I was a young soldier, some civilian tried that with me and I told him to "take a hike". This Army doctor spent 18 years in the Army, was a Lt. Colonel and now he's in jail and won't get a pension from the Army.

"The Dream Act". It didn't get passed and I'm glad it didn't get passed. Too many things in that bill that would figure to lead to more problems regarding the expenses and more illegal immigrants getting amnesty because of this misguided bill.

Here's one thing regarding illegal immigrants I would support. If an illegal immigrant can speak English and is willing to join one of our military branches for at least three years, when those three years have ended, I want to shake that person's hand and say to him or her, "Welcome aboard, American citizen!"

We've all heard about this "Obamacare" business, right? The part that seems to bother most of the folks who are doing the yelling about it has to do with (in essence) all adults having to buy health insurance. The reason for that is because by having everyone enrolled, that will keep costs lower for everyone because everyone will be insured. Which is definitely not the case now. Virginia's attorney general, with the help of talk show host Mark Levin has/have come up with a ruling stating that mandatory health insurance is unconstitutional.

Well, if that's true, let's all stop paying automobile insurance, too. You do that here in California, you will be in whacha call, "deep doo-doo". And maybe in your state, too.

And would it be a newsflash for Virginia's attorney general (and for that matter, Mark Levin) to learn that owners of motor vehicles are required to buy auto insurance in Virginia? And if Virginia vehicle owners don't buy insurance they are required to pay a yearly motor-vehicle fee of $500. I think that's less than the fee people would have to pay if they chose to not sign up for what is known as Obamacare.

I know. The devil's in the details and I'm sorry (not really) that I'm being a spoilsport.

Time Now For Those "Fun Items" I Mentioned Earlier:

Marilyn Hanish, a.k.a. Marilyn Stafford is a long time friend of mine. She lives in St. Louis with her husband and kids, but when I first knew her, she was a student at the University of Missouri. And the first time I met her was when she showed up in response to a solicitation for attractive women to participate in a radio promotion at a station in St. Louis where I was the morning show host and in charge of this promotion. When she showed up, I did the best acting job I've ever done when I didn't acknowledge how beautiful and sexy she was. Bashful, she ain't and she was whacha call struttin' on that day!

I saw her a few times after that when (among other things) she was a ballgirl for the St. Louis Cardinals, I think she was the runner-up in a Miss Missouri pageant and she was also an actress. An actress who became a fine actress when she moved out here about two or three years after I had moved here.

She's ambitious, she's beautiful, she left the acting arena here when she fell in love and we've continued to stay in touch.

Oh, I could tell you more about her, but I'll stop it with the story telling by simply saying that Marilyn Hanish/Stafford is my kind of lady. A whole lot of brass mixed in with a whole lot of fun and taking shit from no one.

From time to time, Marilyn sends me stuff. Most recently, she sent me some quotes from a book called, "Disorder in the American Courts". This is a book that features things that were actually said in court and were written, word for word, by court reporters. Needless to say, I can't print everything she sent me, but when you read the few examples I'm about to write, imagine your reaction if YOU had heard these things in a courthouse.

Here goes:

Attorney: What was the first thing your husband said to you this morning?
Witness: He said, 'Where am I, Cathy?'
Attorney: And why did that upset you?
Witness: My name is Susan!

Attorney: Are you sexually active?
Witness: No, I just lie there.

Attorney: Were you present when your picture was taken?
Witness: Are you shitting me?

Attorney: Is your appearance here this morning pursuant to a deposition notice which I sent to your attorney?
Witness: No, this is how I dress when I go to work.

Attorney: What gear were you in at the moment of the impact?
Witness: Gucci sweats and Reeboks.

Attorney: So the date of conception (of the baby) was August 8th?
Witness: Yes.
Attorney: And what were doing at that time?
Witness: Getting laid.

Bah-Dah-Bing and thank you very much, Marilyn Hanish/Stafford. Merry Christmas and please give my best to everyone in my adopted home town.

ENTERTAINMENT STUFF:

Did you see Larry King's final show on CNN last week? I did. A couple of awkward moments, but overall, I thought it was a very entertaining exit show. Many years ago, Larry King had a national radio show and shortly after I arrived here to go to work at Gene Autry's KMPC, Larry's show was picked up by KMPC and was heard late at night. One day, King decided he wanted to have the great football coach George Allen come on his show. When I arrived at the station late that afternoon, I heard about the trouble that Larry and his producers were having in reaching George Allen. Coach Allen was a good friend of mine who would end up being my Super Bowl expert every year when I was a television sports anchor every night. Anyway, I volunteered to help Larry make contact with George. Larry King told me that if I got George Allen to come on his show that Larry would have me on his show as a guest when he was finished with Coach Allen. I contacted George, he drove to the station that night and when the interview with Coach Allen had ended, Larry King had me on as a guest for almost an hour.

Katie Couric was on Larry King's final show last week. And a couple of days after that, we read some news about Katie Couric. Her contract with CBS will be up in May and it is expected that she will be asked to take a close to 50% pay cut if she wants to continue her news gig on CBS. This is not unusual, folks. Stuff like this has been happening to radio and television performers for the last more than ten years, but until recently, people never heard about it.

One New Film and Two not so New:

A few nights ago, I saw a film I hadn't seen since it had been released as a new film. 1974's "The Parallax View". It was directed by Alan J. Pakula and it starred Warren Beatty, Hume Cronin, William Daniels, Paula Prentiss and in a terrific role that required very little dialogue, Bill McKinney. Many years later when I decided to try acting, I had the pleasure of working in a film with Bill McKinney, but I had forgotten I had seen his work in "The Parallax View". In that film, he played the role of a silent assassin and he played it superbly.

The other "not so new" film was a 2009 film called, "Mercy". This is a film that was written and produced by Scott Caan, son of James Caan. I'm told that this film was made for about $200,000 and maybe even less than that. Scott got his dad to play in this film as well as other fine actors like Dylan McDermott and the beautful Erika Christensen. I thought this was a pretty good film and you're encouraged to check it out the next time you see that it will be shown on TMC which is where I saw it.

The new film I saw was, "The Fighter". This is a film that Mark Wahlberg worked on for quite a few years before he finally got it made. Wahlberg is a producer and lead actor in this film. A film that also stars Christian Bale, Amy Adams and Melissa Leo. Folks, "The Fighter" is a very, very good film. All four of those people I mentioned are deserving of Oscar nominations. Melissa Leo has an Oscar nomination on her resume and she has publicly questioned the tactics of David O. Russell, who was the director of "The Fighter". Russell is apparently whacha call "a piece of work" when he's directing because he once got into a fist fight with George Clooney on the set of (I think) "Three Kings". Or something like that. Anyway, Melissa Leo tells us that Russell had a habit of yelling at actors in the middle of a scene and that she was one of those actors.

Sometime in the next few days I hope to see "True Grit" and "Country Strong".

THOUGHTS AND OR COMMENTS? Please write to me at scottstjames@sbcglobal.net and I will respond to you as soon as possible. Don't write to the blog because there's no way for me to know your email address so I won't be able to respond. All "Anonymous" emails are ignored.

THE NEXT BLOG? Barring unforeseen circumstances, late Wednesday night, December 29 or early Thursday morning, December 30.

P.S.

If you're near your computer on Friday, I will again be on CRN with CRN owner, Mike Horn from 4-5pm, Pacific Time. As usual, this show will be repeated throughout the weekend. If you'd like to check us out, all you have to do is click on www.CRNTalk.com

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!!!!



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