Sunday, May 31, 2009

Alexander Skarsgard I still Love You

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I haven’t written about my love, Alexander Skarsgard since May 13th, and I regret neglecting to gush and swoon about him on my blog. But rest assured I’ve been keeping track of him, but I just haven’t found the time to post it.

So today, I will post all the Alexander news I’ve been monitoring:

Alexander as a child

Alex has a new brother! Yup, Alex’s father, Stellan Skarsgard welcomed Ossian on April 26, 2009 to the family. This is the first child for Stellan’s new wife, Megan Everett, and Stellan’s 7th. Yes, seven. Be warned ladies, apparently Stellan is extremely fertile; don’t let him hug you too tightly or you might wind up pregnant (just kidding). Check out all the Skarsgard kids (those Skarsgards' have great genes).

Alexander will NOT be playing Thor

It became official that Alexander is out of the running as Thor in the upcoming Kenneth Branagh film. To many Alexander’s fans, playing Thor was a no-brainer. Alex’s Swedish, tall (6’4”), blond hair, blue eyes and all kinds of buff (not to mention sexy). The role went to Chris Hemsworth (he played George Kirk, Captain Kirk’s father in the new Star Trek film). Now, from what I’ve read online many AS fans are disappointed but aren’t that upset with the choice of Chris (Chris is a cutey in his own right).


Fangbangers.com, a Sookie Stackhouse & True Blood fansite (I recommend) gave me a shout out on their website! Are you a fan of Alexander Skarsgard? Well, this isn’t exactly Alex news, its more Camille news, but I wanted you to know anyway.

Alexander as Eric Northman in True Blood

True Blood released a ridiculous amount of promotional items on the web (new season starts June 14th at 9pm on HBO):
Terricka's photo with actors from the True Blood set, Alex on the right

Actress Terricka Hudson posted photos from the backstage of the True Blood set on her facebook page. She has one fantastic shot of Alexander in his Eric Northman costume (apparently they just filmed a bloody battle scene).

Alexander as Brad "Iceman" Colbert in Generation Kill

HBO submitted Alexander for Emmy consideration for Lead Actor for Generation Kill and Best Supporting Actor for True Blood. Let us all hope he gets nominated!

The fully bearded Alexander

The trailer for Alex’s next movie Beyond The Pole was released, it’s scheduled to be in theatres later this year. Watch below:



Metropia movie poster

The official movie trailer for Alex’s new animated movie Metropia was released. I have to say, I love listening to him speak. His voice is so soothing and I love when I can hear his accent on certain words!
A screen capture of Alexander in Lady GaGa's video

This week Lady GaGa launched her new music video for the song Paparazzi, which featured Alexander. I have to admit, I’m not a fan of the video. I enjoyed watching Alex (no doubt about that), but I just feel like something was off. Or maybe it’s just that it’s an odd video. And on TOP of that, they mis-spell his name in the opening credites of the video. What do you think? Watch below:



Alexander Skarsgard Fans Unite
Here are some fan forums where you can gush and swoon with other Skarsgardphiles.

  • The Alexander Skarsgard Forum – I just joined this site and well, its’ fantastic. Everyone is friendly, active posters and you get a lot of inside Alexander news.
  • SkarsgardNews.tk Chat room – I haven’t had a chance to join in but I’ve been meaning to do it for a while.
  • True-Blood.Net Forums – They have an active Alexander Skarsgard/Eric Northman section.
  • Alexander Skarsgard Facebook page – this isn’t his official facebook page (I don’t believe he has one) but it’s a fun page where many of his fans posts photos (they have an extensive photo gallery) and talk.
  • EricNorthman.net Forum – I’m not very familiar with this forum, but I plan to join very soon. Primarily they focus on the character Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse novels and True Blood, but they have an active Alexander Skarsgard section.

Have any Alexander news? Please email me and let me know (or leave a comment).


Alain Delon is cool...

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French actor, Alain Delon

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Pleading Guilty (North Carolina v. Alford 1970) [capital punishment]

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Part of my series: Great minds think alike – Justice William Brennan and Justice Thurgood Marshall
Lusttitia, Lady Justice, Roman Goddess of Justice

Case Background
Henry Alford was indicted for first-degree murder in North Carolina. His attorney was pretty sure he would be convicted in a trial (due to witness testimony), so he recommended that Henry plead guilty to the lesser charge of second-degree murder to get a lighter sentence (if found guilty by a jury for first-degree murder you could receive the death penalty).

Henry decided to plead guilty to second-degree murder but declared to the court that he was in fact innocent, and was pleading guilty only to avoid the death penalty.

He was sentenced to the maximum for second-degree murder, 30 years in prison. Henry appealed on the constitutional ground that his plea was “the product of fear and coercion” in violation of his constitutional rights. The Court of Appeals, found that Henry’s guilty plea was involuntary because it was motivated principally by fear of the death penalty.

The Burger Court
Front: Byron R. White, William J. Brennan, Jr., Warren E. Burger, Potter Stewert, Thurgood Marshall
Second row: William H. Rehnquist, Harry A. Blackmum, Lewis F. Powell, John Paul Stevens

Supreme Court Decision
The case eventually reached the Supreme Court. The court decided that:
There are no constitutional barriers in place to prevent a judge from accepting a guilty plea from a defendant who wants to plead guilty while still protesting his innocence.
Justice Byron White wrote, that faced with grim alternatives, the defendant’s best choice of action may be to plead guilty to the crime and the courts must accept the defendant’s choice made in his own interests.


Dissent
Of course my favorite Justices, William Brennan and Thurgood Marshall did not agree with the decision. Brennan and Marshall believed that capital punishment in the United States was unconstitutional. Brennan wrote that the actual effect of this unconstitutional threat to Henry was to induce a guilty plea. He concluded the plea should have been vacated and Henry should have been retried. Brennan also wrote:
“… the facts set out in the majority opinion demonstrate that Alford was “so gripped by fear of the death penalty” that the decision to plead guilty was not voluntary but was “the product of duress as much so as choice reflecting physical constraint.”

My thoughts
I am not a lawyer or legal scholar in any means, but I have to agree with the dissent. First, I do not believe we should participate in capital punishment. We have the means to permanently remove individuals from society and therefore I do not see the need to kill anyone. Second, I do not have total confidence in the infallibility of administering capital punishment, meaning innocent people have died in the hands of the state, which can not be tolerated.

To piggyback on Brennan’s thoughts, the fear of death (torture) can cause individuals to admit to many things, which they may not have done, which is a perversion of justice.

I also totally agree with Justice White when he states, “the defendant’s best choice of action may be to plead guilty to the crime and the courts must accept the defendant’s choice made in his own interests.” This makes sense, just like the Fifth Amendment (pleading the fifth) which gives you the right to refuse to answer questions which may cause self-incrimination.

Isn’t the law interesting! So, what do you think (leave a comment)?


Sources & Additional Reading

The Last Page of the Internet

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Friday, May 29, 2009

Rick Astley as 007 [Funny]

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Rick Astley, "Never Gonna Give You Up".


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nice Photo [Heart]

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Source [Jotter Book]

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Breakfast at Tiffany’s Sleep Accessories

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The Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's

Who didn’t find the character Holly Golightly fabulous in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s? I mean, her name was Holly Golightly!

Well, you too, can be fabulous with some Holly Golightly sleep accessories!

In the film, party girl Holly found herself sleeping during the day, so she needed some sunlight and sound proof accessories (they didn’t have AmBien back then) to make sure she was well rested for the next night.

Note her the sleep mask and earplugs

She wore a cute sleep mask and tassel earplugs. And they can be yours! Fashion in motion blog hip me to where we can purchase these cute accessories.




Yeah, I'm buying them (the price is absolutely right).


Funny

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Her sign reads, "Family killed by ninjas. Need money for karate lessons."

Found on gawker.

It’s Official, Kanye West Needs to Stop Talking

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Kanye West, the petulant man-child (yes, I said, man-child) has gone too far.

To promote his book, Thank You And You’re Welcome! Mr. West states, “I am a proud non-reader of books.”

Don't buy this book, seriously, if you see it in the store, avoid it.

[Me - blank stare]

He goes on to say, “I like to get information from doing stuff like actually talking to people and living real life.”

As someone who loves to read and works for the public library, where we promote literacy, I am flabbergasted.

Seriously, this guy is PROMOTING a book, talking about how he DOESN’T READ. Does that make any sense to you?


Even though Mr. West has a large fan base, I doubt many of them will stop reading because of his words. But I think many teenagers who are not fond of reading (or perhaps, aren’t strong readers) might be inclined to find confidence in his words and not develop their reading skills. I mean, why should they? Even a rich and famous guy like Kanye West doesn’t read!

Ugh!

I didn’t want to say it, but I’m compelled. Kanye West is an idiot. There, I said it and if you disagree, I understand. But I have no sympathy for people who are “proud of not reading.” I know people who can’t read and wish they could, and this is just a slap in the face.

Yeah, yeah, everyone has a right to live their life anyway they wish, but come on. You shouldn’t promote silliness like this.

More Kanye West book silliness:
His book is 52 pages — some blank, others with just a few words — and offers his optimistic philosophy on life. One two-page section reads, "Life is 5% what happens and 95% how you react!" Another page reads "I hate the word hate!"...He calls his wisdom "Kanye-isms." 
And this nugget,
"Sometimes people write novels and they just be so wordy and so self-absorbed," West said. "I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book's autograph.


The irony is that, even though the book is only 52 pages (some pages are blank) he had a co-author (some are saying a ghost writer), J. Sakiya Sandifer and his mother was a university English professor.

Whatever you do, don’t buy this book. 


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Broadway musical Nine now a feature film [Be Italian]

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I will admit, my knowledge of the "arts" may be lacking, but I'm always striving to increase my knowledge. So I'm always pleasantly surprised when I learn about something, I can only assume, many people already know about.

I'm talking about the 1982 Broadway musical, Nine.


Nine is based on the 1963 film  by Italian director Federico Fellini. The musical focuses on Guido Contini and his upcoming 40th birthday (and midlife crisis). He's dealing with the success of a film, creative block, and many romantic relationships.

Watch Broadway actress Kathi Moss sing Be Italian from the musical Nine.



First, Kathi's voice is wonderful and second, this song makes me want to learn the words so I can sing it loudly (and probably off key) in private.

AND...

I just learned Nine is coming to a movie theatre on November 25, 2009, with an all-star cast.
“NINE” is a vibrant and provocative musical that follows the life of world famous film director Guido Contini (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he reaches a creative and personal crisis of epic proportion, while balancing the numerous women in his life including his wife (Marion Cotillard), his mistress (Penelope Cruz), his film star muse (Nicole Kidman), his confidant and costume designer (Judi Dench), an American fashion journalist (Kate Hudson), the whore from his youth (Fergie) and his mother (Sophia Loren). The film is directed by Rob Marshall (CHICAGO). The original 1982 Broadway production of “NINE,” with music and lyrics by Maury Yeston, won five Tony Awards including Best Musical.
Watch the trailer below:



So what do you think? I'm loving it.

Michelle Obama looking good

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Michelle Obama at the White House Poetry Jam

Flowers for Algernon

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"Dr Strauss says I should rite down what I think and remembir and evrey thing that happins to me from now on."

First sentence of Flowers for Algernon (1966) by Daniel Keyes.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Enchanted with Paris and all things French (Part I - French Movies)

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I first fell in love with Paris and all things French as a teenager. Growing up in North Philadelphia, I never met anyone French, who’ve visited France, or spoke French. My attraction to Paris and all things French came from movies. I was amazed at how lovely the language sounds, the chic way they dressed, the sophistication they oozed, and the general coolness of the “French way”.

I can’t really remember how it happened or why? I can’t say it was this movie or that movie which made me attracted to all things French. I guess it started on my first day of high school in 9th grade. All freshmen had to pick a language to study, while my parents encouraged me to take Spanish (they claimed everyone would be speaking Spanish in the future), but I had my heart set on French.

Liberty Leading the People (La Liberté guidant le peupleby artist Eugène Delacroix

Ironically, I did not excel in learning French (I made straight B’s in this class throughout my high school career). I’m just one of those people who struggle learning or speaking a different language. I could read and understand it well enough, but actually speaking the words and attempting the accent was something I could never manage. But that did not curb my enthusiasm, I eventually became the secretary for the French club (sadly, this club didn’t do much but watch French movies and eat French bread and cheese once a month).


It’s kind of hard to describe the why, but let’s just say I am a sucker for all things French.

Since my love started with French movies, below, I've listed all the French movies I love!

My Favorite French film - Jeux d’enfants (Love Me If You Dare)
My favorite French film bar none! I know many people say Amélie is their favorite French film but I doubt those people ever saw Love Me If You Dare. 


Jeux d’enfants is an unorthodox love story about two children who play a mischievous game of daring each other to perform outrageous stunts. The game intensifies into more dangerous stunts as they get older and through this game they develop a love for each other. Cap ou pas cap? (Game or not game?)

Love Me If You Dare Videos:

Other French films I love & recommend:

Band of Outsiders (Bande à part) – its French title derives from the phrase faire bande à part, which means "to do something apart from the group." I wrote about this film back in August ’08

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À la folie... pas du tout) – this film stars Audrey Tautou as girl in love with a doctor, but this film is not what it seems. It uses the different point of view technique, where they show the film from her point of view for the first half of the film and his point of view for the second half of the film. 

Happenstance (Le battement d'ailes du papillon) – Another Audrey Tautou film. The literal translation of the French title is, “The beating of the butterfly’s wings”. The film is an allegory on the butterfly effect, small variations can effect larger things and how chance can change your life in unpredictable ways.

Amélie  (Le fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain) – This is just a beautifully stunning and happy film. The literal translation of the French title is, “The Fabulous Destiny of Amélie Poulain”. The director created a magical Paris we can all fall in love with.

A Very Long Engagement – Once again, an Audrey Tautou film. A romantic movie about a woman in search of her fiance who might have been killed in World War I. 

The Dreamers – This film might not be for everyone. It’s the story of an American student in Paris during 1968. He meets a brother and sister and quickly gets caught up in their lives. The group share a love of film and eventually the friendship turns into a sexual relationship. I enjoyed the film for it’s references to other films and turbulence of 1968 France.

Fat Girl (À ma sœur!) – I watched this film on a whim many years ago in the theatre and was pleasantly surprised. It’s the story of a "fat" 13 year old girl and her beautiful older sister. They spend the summer on vacation with their parents. Her older sister falls in love with a college student and the “fat” younger sister watches her sisters’ lost of innocence. It’s a film which pulls you in with the comedy, romance and coming of age tale.

The Red Balloon (Le ballon rouge) – This 1956 classic short film is a beautiful story of a boy and his balloon. The boy discovers his balloon has a mind of his own and follows him everywhere. Even though it’s only 34 minutes long it’s a lovely story.

Gigi – Every year my French club would watch this film. Even though it’s an American musical, it’s set in the turn of the 20th century Paris. I’m sure most people are familiar with the song, “Thank Heaven for Little Girls”.

Michelle Obama looking good

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Michelle Obama at the TIME 100 Most Influential People Awards May 5, 2009

The Catcher in the Rye

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"If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to know is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth."

First sentence of The Catcher in the Rye (1951) by J.D. Salinger.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

New Graphic Novel about President Obama

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American cartoonist and writer Kyle Baker has an upcoming Harper/Collins graphic novel in the works based on President Barack Obama's life.

Here are a couple images Kyle shared on his blog:



I gotta say I'm impressed and look forward to purchasing the book.


How to Write about Africa

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Kenyan author and journalist Binyavanga Wainaina wrote a satirical essay titled, "How to Write about Africa". It is a funny essay which exposes, at times, the stereotypical way many people write about Africa, such as:
  • calling it "the dark Continent"
  • book covers with children holding AK-47
  • the overuse of quotes by Nelson Mandela
  • describing how they "fell in love with Africa"
  • African characters who are always, "naked warriors, loyal servants, diviners, and ancient wise men"
  • portray starving children
  • blaming the west for Africa's situation
Here's actor Djimon Hounsou reading parts of the essay:




Jamie Foxx may play Frank Sinatra in Scorsese biopic

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You read the blog title correctly.

Jamie Foxx (yes, he's black) may play Frank Sinatra (yes, he's white) in a biographical film directed by Martin Scorcese.

Frank Sinatra

Jamie Foxx

Well now. This will be interesting. But I believe anything is possible, it's all about the talent of the actor.

But then again, I know many people in South Philly (large Italian American neighborhood) who won't be too happy with this choice. Which I can understand, Frank is icon in the Italian American community.

Robert Downey, Jr as Kirk Lazarus in Tropic Thunder

Of course, Robert Downey Jr was able to successfully play a white dude, playing a black dude, playing an Australian dude in the film Tropic Thunder. So who knows.


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