Woody Harrelson is a Changed Man after Military Role in “The Messenger”

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The Messenger Movie Marquee

Woody Harrelson says that he’s a changed man from his portrayal of Captain Stone, a veteran officer who returns from combat and gets assigned to the notification service with a young sergeant, Ben Foster. The movie, aptly titled “The Messenger,” shows how Harrelson‘s character maintains stiff military discipline, while he attempts to mentor the young Foster, who struggles with the tumultuous emotions of the families as they learn of their dead children.

But this self-proclaimed hippie does’t appear as a very likely candidate for the role of a soldier. Perhaps that is why he found it necessary to travel to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and converse with wounded soldiers and true-life notifications officers. Many fans and staff members, including screenwriter Alessandro Camon, agreed that the role was rather divergent from who Harrelson actually is in real life. But, in the end, the experience has helped him separate the wars from the people who fight them, and he has come out of it with a new perspective on soldiers: they are just people, who don’t make very much money as they join a national effort out of a profound love for their country.

Thanks to this veteran’s artistic dedication, Harrelson has been nominated for an Oscar for his work as Captain Tony Stone in the film, “The Messenger.”

The Hippie from Maui, Woody Harrelson

Jay-Z Is A Master When It Comes To Branding

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Jay-Z

Smells like Brand Spirit

When Jay-Z first emerged on the scene, he became notorious for his slippery style of staggered raps and liquid delivery; nowadays, he’s the famous name behind the shoes, the drinks, video games and clothing that have propelled him to social icon status. And with his newest album release, The Blueprint 3, Jay-z continues to push marketable singles to those who are looking for the best rapper alive. His formula of building albums around popular hits has enabled him to brand Superbowl ads, fashionable fragrances, and other merchandise that regular lyrical lions can only dream of selling.

As it stands, branding the crowd is much easier with a single and a t-shirt than a message and a melody. The Jay-z from Reasonable Doubt (1996) was the shrewd business man, wearing a talent for rhythm and

Rocawear, a clothing line.

Rocawear, his clothing line

rhyme on his sleeve. But, in 2010, Jay-Z is decked out from head to toe in an all black outfit, which his company manufactures. Almost like a walking commercial, Jay-Z has mastered the technique of branding an audience with the fire of a hot single. He’s left the New York state of mind for an Empire  State Of Mind, where everyone in his fan-base is also a customer of the commercial machine, whose cheapest item is the CD.

John Oliver, the Republican Winter Convention, and the Amerigasm

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"Now that We're Here, Let's Talk Main Street"

John Oliver went to Hawaii to walk on the beach, eat grilled-seaweed-wrapped fish form the ocean, and to watch fireworks while drinking exotic fruit cocktails. But, none of this exhibits the typical elitist democratic behavior, which Fox news claims is out of touch with the everyday American. Mr. Oliver was just trying to get an interview with the Republicans, while they  attended their modest winter convention (held in Waikiki).

In the interview, he got answers about how the Democrats are elite-college-attending-goody-goodies who have no idea about what the average American needs. Fortunately, they had time between their hot-stone massage and private submarine tours to discuss the “everyman’s” reality of the Republican party with him.

Conventional Tea-Party Wisdom Says

In other news – the Amerigasm! The All-American trifecta of perfection: a Superbowl, Ronald Reagan’s birthday, and the Nashville Tea-Party Convention! It happened over the weekend, where Tom Tancredo gave a crowd-pleasing speech about the committed socialist ideologue, Barack Hussein Obama, who found his way to power upon the shoulders of those who can’t spell ‘vote,’ nor say the simple word in English. Products of all sorts (like t-shirts and jewelry) were readily available to those in attendance; and so, those in attendance were readily available for purchase.

One can only hope that main street is soon covered with sand, and that one day the brilliant protester doesn’t have to dumb-it down to be understood by the opposition.

Khan vs. Thackernay: Rumble in Bollywood

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2,000 people have been arrested as a precaution, to limit the building tension dividing Mumbai, a city of 14 million in two. In one corner is Shah Rukh Khan, and the other is Bal Thackeray. King Khan, known for his immense box office success, is now under pressure from Mr. Thackernay, the octogenarian leader of the extreme political party, Shiv Sena.

This Hindu distaste for a about Pakistanis playing on Indian cricket teams has attracted the attention of the country’s political heir, Rahul Gandhi, and managed to find it’s way into the national struggle for  inclusive democracy. But Mahesh Bhatt, a filmmaker who has dealt with Sena in the past, says that hate has always been a popular commodity in certain quarters of India, and that he’s ready to call the bluff.

But the threat is real, and the people are capable. Followers of Shiva Sena, which translates to the Army of Shivaji – the Hindu king who fought against muslim rulers – were implicated in notoriously violent riots back in 1993. As evidence for the power of Mr. Thackeray,a former cartoonist,  his campaigns against Muslims and migrants from both south and north India have kept the ideology of exclusion in Mumbai at rest. But, now 84 years old, Mr. Thackeray’s party is struggling beneath his son’s leadership.

As of now, the public shows little interest in Shiv’s call for protest; however, several theaters have already stopped selling advanced tickets, while others may just call the whole thing off. But all is not lost just yet. According to a post Khan made on his Twitter account, he hopes that peace prevails so that the city may rest.

Jon Stewart Debates Global Warming and the Snow Storm

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The Daily Show Crew

Heating up the debate about global warming, the best news team on the face of this planet – at least, according to their anchorman – reported on the two faces of the monster. While fox news confronted Al Gore‘s assertions with 18 inches of snow, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show poked fun at one fundamentally inconvenient truth: global warming swings both ways. A rare weather segment covered the snowpocalypse/ snowmageddon/ snowtorious B.I.G. dumping flurries all over the north-eastern United States.

In other news, Jon Stewart investigated the child-taker investigation, where ten American missionaries face life in prison for attempting to escort children out of the tumult of their native home: Haiti. After they were warned about rescuing young lives without the necessary documentation, the group went ahead with their plans to take them all to America.

Willie Mays was the guest of the evening. He told the crowd that he would have surpassed Babe Ruth’s home run record if he’d played the game instead of going into the service for two years. He mentioned that he gave himself a handicap while on the Trenton Giants, in order to appease the touchy members of the all white league.  Willie Mays explained how the hate of the crowd fueled his talent during the black and white days, when only two colors showed up on the television set.

By the end of the episode, Jon Stewart expresses his fascination with a baseball legend, and receives a heart-felt compliment from  his good friend at the Colbert Report.

Fairfield Youth Sing of African-American History

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Fairfield High School's African American Voices of Youth

Fairfield High School's African American Voices of Youth

History through Music: African American Creativity from Gospel to Hip-Hop” is set to celebrate Black History Month toward the end February. Damien Strecker, social studies teacher, and the organizational adviser for the group, articulates the significance of education in the community, and his commitment to ensure that it thrives. Strecker seizes an opportunity to showcase the talent of the student body, while simultaneously bringing more awareness to the significance of Black History Month, which contributes to the history of the United States. “There’s absolutely no way to truly understand the American experience unless you do get these other narratives,” he said.

The performance will first introduce the group as a whole unit before starting into the story of African-American heritage. Students narrate the significance of each style before they perform each piece, which does it’s part to carry the audience through the centuries of evolution experienced by African-Americans.

Influential Africa-Americans

This isn’t simply a performance, but a celebration. What was originally a history club has developed into a social service club. They have set aside their normal after-school history lessons and service projects, in order to prepare for the big event.

Make sure not to miss this historic celebration at the Performing Arts Center at Fairfield High School (8800 Holden Blvd.) at 7p.m. February, 25th.

Obama will talk to Jon Stewart, but Not Stephen Colbert

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The Leader of The Colbert Nation

The Leader of The Colbert Nation

Though President Obama is interested in appearing on the Daily Show, he is hesitant to show up for an interview on the Colbert Report. As it turns out, a politician has yet to get the best of news ‘fundit’ Stephen Colbert, and according to White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, Obama doesn’t want to take the first shot.

But, considering the stark differences between the respective atmospheres of these two comedic news programs, his hesitation isn’t hard to understand. On the Daily Show, Jon Stewart offers a straightforward approach to exposing and exploiting contradictions found in the political arena, while on the Colbert Report, host Stephen Colbert dances a jig of pure satire and irony.

Allegedly, President Obama is frightened by too much sarcasm, and can’t find the confidence to go head to head with Mr. Colbert. But, it’s kind of hard to believe that the same man who blasted the Republicans during their own dinner could be afraid of a five minute interview with a host on Comedy Central.

Host of The Daily Show

Host of The Daily Show

Who knows, maybe Stephen is more intimidating than most people think. Perhaps Mr. Colbert should tone it down to get the president to show up. Whatever happens, Jon Stewart is sure to make his french-named friend a little jealous if he’s the only one to get some presidential love.

The New Season Of Lost

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Lost The Final Season

The anticipation is probably the worst anyone has every seen: Who wasn’t stressing over the plethora of questions that pop up during the tumultuous plot of Lost? It seems like every episode was just another suitcase that never was completely unpacked. And since this is the final season, everyone was hoping for some clarification. But, right when everyone is ready to see what’s hidden behind the curtain, they roll out a two part premiere of soap-opera worthy drama while managing to reveal very little about the bigger picture.

They showed the parallel universe and how everything was solved by the bomb; and yet, at the same time, not at all. The majority of the premiere was taken up by dramatic Sawyer, longing for his love, whose blood is allegedly on Jack’s hands. He swears, looks angry, looks sad – cries and screams – and eventually dances with the Doctor.

The Cast

And finally, by the end of part 1, it appears that the show that was once a concentration of justified suspense and vindicated confusion is now a shallow piece of entertainment, drained of it’s depth and suffering from a plot quite drenched with petty drama between the characters.

If the cerebrum of the show doesn’t pick up, then it looks like Lost may risk losing the mental fan base – or at least those who spend more time looking up references from the show than actually watching it.

It wasn’t enough to lose fans, but it wasn’t a great way to remind everyone why they were fascinated in the first place.

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