Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Canadian, Ian Tyson's, "Four Strong Winds" performed by Neil Young, his wife, Pegi, Emilou Harris, and Friends

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The most beautiful song while the winds blow and snow flies.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Friday, December 17, 2010

For your enjoyment, SCROOGE in its entirety. God bless us, everyone!

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Of the countless number of Christmas films, Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol has always been my favorite. It never fails to entertain and, simultaneously, send the message that each of us can profoundly affect one another's happiness.

Although productions starring Reginald Owen and Alastair Sim are superb, the 1935 British production of SCROOGE (the first sound production of A Christmas Carol) starring Seymour Hicks presents a raw but realistic portrait of the strength of humanity during difficult times.

Enjoy, and wishing you and your loved ones a Blessed and Merry Christmas! xo

Sunday, December 12, 2010



Flakes fell heavily Christmas Eve;

Close to midnight, the snow was deep.

Simon glanced at his canine, Queen.

"We'll frolic in the snowfall, oh so pristine."

Yet in that moment, exquisitley serene,

He reconsidered and sipped the Benedictine.

Adjusting himself in his new recliner,

He bellowed, "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire..."

A crash in the fireplace caused him to jump,

Queen barking at a red clump.

"Who's there?" Simon called, his hand on the phone.

The stranger lay stunned on the hearth's stone.

Queen sniffed the young woman dressed as Santa,

Simon impatiently awaiting her answer.

She stood and brushed off the soot briskly,

Then turned to Simon and replied quickly.

"I'm so sorry. I'm new," she pleaded.

"Queen, come here," its owner, it heeded.

"Please don't call Santa," her plea most sincere,

"He's working overtime. I'm a volunteer."

Confused, Simon stared at her blankly.

She offered her hand. "My name is Laurie."

Simon did not attempt to extend his.

Instead replied, "Simon, mine is."

"I have your present but it's still on the roof."

To this, Simon remained aloof,

And said, "You don't need to pity me."

"I don't, Simon." Blushing, "You're most attractive.

But, your present! You'll love it, you'll see!"

Simon shook his head as she flew out the door,

Then heard mumblings on his front lawn.

Laurie cried, "My reindeer are gone!"

A neighbor stopped, "Reindeer? Gone?"

"Please help! Do you have a ladder?"

Scratching his head, "Yes, I have a ladder."

He entered his home, then with one appeared.

It steady, Laurie climbed, then disappeared.

She found Simon's gift and scurried on.

"Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones."

Excited, she gave Simon his present.

As he groped, all became evident.

"Let me," Laurie offered, sitting at his feet.

'Merry Christmas, Simon. Enclosed is a check

for the eye surgery. Santa'

Simon buried his head in his hands;

No words came for such a present grand.

Nor a greater gift could he receive,

Than the woman sitting at his feet.

"If you like, I'll go with you."

Simon clutched then kissed Laurie's hand.

Catching his breath, he whispered, "Thank you."

Simon and Laurie married and raised a family,

Whom they cared and loved most dearly.

A more full life Simon never knew,

Til Laurie fell clumsily through his flue.

Blind and alone until age twenty five,

Simon loved his helper until he died.

**written by petra michelle**

Monday, December 6, 2010

The production and infrastracture for electric cars is a long time coming! And a wonderful Christmas present to Mother Earth!

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The U.S. Department of Energy has allocated $400 million to electric vehicle infrastructure. Several companies are working with cities to put in charging stations in the next year -- about 12,000 of them. Most of them are going in Western state cities where power is primarily from renewable resources and cheaper than other areas. For instance, in Oregon, 69 percent of electricity is generated by hydropower.

Portland Mayor Sam Adams said his city has learned from its experience with building one of the biggest bike networks in the country.

"We built a system that made people comfortable with going from Point A to Point B," he said, adding that bike ridership has doubled in the past 15 years. "The thing we know having introduced large-scale strategic changes in our transportation system here ... is you do your homework upfront, you figure out what it is, in this case that will address people's range anxiety, and then you watch it very, very closely in the first six to 12 months, and you make the necessary changes."

Therein lies the question or questions: How many charging stations do you need? For how many electric cars? Do you put in thousands of public charging points, and then watch as just a few cars use them? Will people even buy electric cars if they don't see places to get power around town?

At your house, plugging the car in overnight is not an issue. When you are out running errands during the day, it can become a concern.

Early buyers of electric vehicles are more likely to put up with the inconvenience of locating public charging, but large-scale sales will depend on the public's comfort with always being able to get fuel.

"The charge infrastructure is going to be something that people adapt to," said Ted Bohn, an electrical engineer at the Argonne National Laboratory near Chicago, Illinois. "It's like you get used to charging your cell phone battery or your laptop battery, you know when you need to plug in."

He said it makes sense to put chargers in where people will spend a lot of time -- offices, coffee shops, shopping centers, movie theaters. On the street, charging will be a different story, similar to hunting for a public bathroom. It depends on how badly you need it.

Home chargers should be able to fill a car's batteries in a few hours. A fast charger outside a grocery store might be able to do the job in 30 minutes. But if all you can find is a 110-volt outlet, getting anything more than a few miles' worth of power will take more than half a day.

"If the public infrastructure is out there, it makes people feel more comfortable, particularly the people who aren't very familiar with electric cars," said Paul Scott, vice president of Plug In America, a coalition of electric car advocates and drivers. Scott lives in California and has driven an electric car for eight years. He said he trades with hybrid-owning friends when he goes on a long trip.

"That said, we feel there is going to be an awful lot of organic growth in public places," said Britta Gross, General Motors' director of global energy systems and infrastructure commercialization. "[Consumer demand] for public charging is the right way to do it because then it says you are going to do it in just the right spots [where people show they want to charge].

Determining the right spots is falling into the hands of companies that have tapped into the Department of Energy millions. One of those is ECOtality, which manages the EV Project, an initiative to get the electric car movement reborn.

Jonathan Read, chief executive officer of ECOtality, said that besides helping local governments, utilities and consumer groups set up charging networks, the primary goals are charging station projects that connect cities such as one planned for Interstate 5 along the West Coast.

"The objective is to show what's necessary to build these major corridors," he said. "What we're doing is rolling out the largest infrastructure program for electric cars in history, but we're also doing is, under the auspices of the DOE program, is we're collecting data -- where people charge, how often they charge, so that we can have hard data to share with other communities of what the consumer is looking for and what we need to do as an industry."

Nissan, makers of the Leaf, an all electric car which is scheduled to hit the roads in a few months, said the data collected from the initial rollout will be hugely beneficial to other parts of the country that will be a part of the second phase.

"Of course we're not going to be 100 percent perfect with every decision, every location," said Mark Perry, director of product planning at Nissan. "So the deliverable is how do people use it? What is the impact on the grid? What kind of support did drivers need? All that information will be important."

A closer look at Nissan's Leaf:

Lessons learned from the rollout of charging stations to support the General Motors EV1 more than a decade ago are helpful but "somewhat irrelevant," he said because the new charging stations are much more sophisticated as are the electronics in the car.

One of the people working on Ford's electric vehicles said it is vital not to repeat earlier mistakes of putting recharging spots where they weren't needed. The Ford Focus electric car will become available in late 2011.

"Some of the most premium parking spaces were used for EV charging, and there weren't the vehicles to support them, and you can imagine what the impact was for non-EV drives," said Mike Tinskey, manager of global electrification at Ford Motor Co. "The answer is not only putting them in the right spot but at the right time."

Another issue was the technology:

Mike McQuary, chief executive of Wheego electric vehicles in Atlanta, Georgia, said those charge points were built to varying standards and that one of the huge "breakthroughs" recently was an agreement reached between car companies and makers of recharging stations over international equipment standards.

"There's going to be one type of socket and one type of plug," McQuary said. "Before that I thought we were going to see a Beta vs. VHS sort of thing."

The standard was the last big hurdle before the new electric vehicles hit the road, he said.

General Electric is probably the biggest player now getting involved in the manufacture of charging stations. TV ads for its WattStation are already running during network primetime.

"When someone as large as GE comes into the space, you know they have done their research and they see a very big future," said Perry of Nissan, which is partnering with a company called AeroVironment for home charging stations.

While the general public may still look at the electric car as a novelty, its advocates see the coming wave of new models and stations as a big step toward eliminating this country's use of oil, especially foreign oil, and helping the planet. Stopping to get a charge away from home is a small price to pay, said Scott, the Plug In America vice president.

"If you care about the environment, if it bothers you that you are polluting everybody's air, if it bothers you that you are sending lots of money out of the country," he said, "then it's worth it to you to spend 20 minutes recharging."

NOTE: A hybrid uses both gasoline and a battery, so if you want an all electric, it should be clear that it is ALL ELECTRIC.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010

Leslie Nielsen (February 11, 1926-November 28, 2010)

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(CNN) -- Leslie Nielsen, whose longtime career as a square-jawed dramatic actor took a sudden turn into comedy with gut-busting spoofs like "Airplane!" and "The Naked Gun," has died at age 84, his family said Sunday.

The Canadian-born Nielsen's career reached back into the early days of television, when he made frequent appearances on live drama series like "Goodyear Playhouse."

He played the earnest starship captain in the 1956 science-fiction classic "Forbidden Planet" and made regular appearances on a wide range of TV dramas into the 1970s, including "Hawaii Five-O."

He also played the captain of an overturned ocean liner in the 1972 disaster movie, "The Poseidon Adventure."

Much of that changed in 1980, when he was cast as a doctor aboard an endangered jetliner in the gag-a-minute disaster-movie parody "Airplane!"

Remembering Leslie Nielsen Nielsen's deadpan response to the question "Surely, you can't be serious?" with "I am serious -- and don't call me Shirley" helped launch a second career.

The film's producers went on to cast him in their short-lived television series "Police Squad!"

He reprised that show's bumbling lead character, Lt. Frank Drebin, a decade later in three "Naked Gun" movies, in which he shared the screen with O.J. Simpson and Priscilla Presley.

Nielsen appeared in several similar but less-acclaimed spoofs following those films.

Nielsen was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2003. The medal is awarded to "Canadian citizens for outstanding achievement and service to the country or to humanity at large."

Nielsen died of complications of pneumonia in a hospital near his home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, surrounded by family and friends, a family statement said.

Doug Nielsen called his uncle's death a "great loss."

"He was extremely funny," the younger Nielsen said in an interview with CNN affiliate Global Network News in Vancouver.

"At all of our family get-togethers, he was always the life of the party and a great-natured guy," Nielsen said. He was a very good friend to me."

From Wikipedia:

Leslie William Nielsen, OC (February 11, 1926 – November 28, 2010) was a Canadian-American actor and comedian. Nielsen appeared in over 100 films and 1,500 television programs over the span of his career, portraying over 220 characters.

Born in Saskatchewan, Canada, Nielsen enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force and worked as a disc jockey before receiving a scholarship to Neighborhood Playhouse. Beginning with a television role in 1948, he quickly expanded to over 50 television appearances two years later. Nielsen appeared in his first films in 1956 and began collecting roles in dramas, westerns, and romance films. Nielsen's lead roles in the science fiction film Forbidden Planet (1956) and disaster movie The Poseidon Adventure (1972) for which he received positive reviews as a serious actor.

Although his acting career crossed a variety of genres in both television and films, Nielsen's deadpan delivery as a doctor in 1980's Airplane! marked a turning point in his career, one that would make him, in the words of film critic Roger Ebert, "the Olivier of spoofs." Nielsen enjoyed further success with The Naked Gun and its sequels, based on a brief television series he starred in. His portrayal of serious characters seemingly oblivious to (and complicit in) their absurd surroundings gave him a reputation as a comedian.

In the last decades of his career, Nielsen appeared in multiple spoof and parody films, many of which were met poorly by critics but performed well in box office and home media releases. Nielsen was recognized with a variety of awards throughout his career and was inducted into both the Canada and Hollywood Walk of Fame. He married four times and had two daughters from his second marriage. On November 28, 2010, Nielsen died in his sleep of complications from pneumonia.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Barbara Walters on Gilda Radner's Baba Wawa

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Can never get enough of sweet Gilda Radner who was on the original cast of SNL. Enjoy her wonderful memory! :))

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Stress and Meditation

Stress -- that out-of-control, reeling, and overwhelming feeling we've all dealt with can be debilitating and exhausting. Friends have asked how I cope with the stresses in my life. Among countless outlets, dancing, music, yoga, and meditating are extremely helpful to me. Meditation helps rid the clutter of thoughts and offers balance and peace of mind. A cd I cannot live without is Deepak Chopra's The Soul of Healing Meditations. It's a gem!
The following is a breakdown of its contents:
1. Breathing Meditation
2. Heart Meditation
3. Body Awareness
4. Heart Sutra Meditation
5. Envoking The Gods of Healing
6. Inviting the Spirit of Healing
7. Banishing Disease
8. Ode of Solomon
In closing, I'd like to quote Deepak: "Between a grievance and a miracle, choose the miracle." What has one got to lose? And remember to stop to breathe! :))

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

In honor of November 1st, and assist on a manic Monday. ;)

The lucky flower for Scorpio is the chrysanthemum, which counts the chamomile, the tansy, the marguerite and the common daisy among its relatives.
This flower has been known since before 500 B.C. in a small yellow form. It was named by Carl Linnaeus, derived from the Greek krus anthemom, which means "gold flower." The chrysanthemum originated in Japan and China, the latter...considering it to be the highest of all flowers...naming their royal throne in its honor. Indeed, this flower has been the focus of Oriental adulation for centuries. Believed to be one of the four Chinese "noble plants," the chrysanthemum was once the official badge of that country's army and since it was deemed to be the flower of the nobility, was prohibited from being grown in the garden of lower class individuals. According to Chinese tradition, a chrysanthemum given to one's beloved, after being used to wipe one's mouth after drinking wine, will ensure undyling love and fidelity. In Japan, where the chrysanthemum is known as kikus, it is that country's national flower and featured on the imperial coat of arms. It even has a special day in its honor...Chongyang, which is celebrated on September 9 every year.
In addition, the chrysanthemum was so loved by Japanese emperors that they had it carved upon their thrones...and the greatest honor for a Japanese citizen is to obtain the Order of the Chrysanthemum. This flower is still held to be symbolic of the Sun and the orderly unfolding of its petals considered to be indicative of perfection. In Japanese culture, it is also believed that a single chrysanthemum petal placed in the bottom of a wine glass will encourage a long and healthy life. Also know as the Flower of Happiness, Flower of the East and Flower of Life, the chrysanthemum may be found in a range of shapes and sizes and is available all year round. The blooms appear in every conceivable color, including bronze, lime green and brick red. The one exception to this is chrysanthemums are artificially dyed for special events.
Chrysanthemums are native to Europe, Asia and North America and formerly known in England as the corn marigold.

Can you believe there's sixty days left to 2010!? Note to self. Stay in the moment! :))

Thursday, October 28, 2010

In its entirety, "House on Haunted Hill" starring Vincent Price. Happy Halloween!

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My all-time favorite Halloween film is the B-classic House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price. Its 1950's black and white setting and sinister plot amply provides for that yearly spook! Enjoy! And...

Happy Halloween! :))

Sunday, October 24, 2010


Comes tears.
Ameliorate earth's ills,

Cleanse oil spills,

Release cholera's grip,

Veil fallen soldiers;

Heal the homeless' blisters,

With the sick, cry,

Accept a lover's good-bye.

Hemorrhages heal,

Through the pain of true love.

**written by petra michelle**

Sunday, October 17, 2010

100 Years Ago in Baseball--The End of the First Decade

For everyone out there who knows me, you know my love of sports, esp. baseball. The World Series is nearing. Feeling nostalgic, I wondered what happened in baseball 100 years ago. This is what I found on

THE WORLD SERIES 100 years ago
October 17 1910 to October 23 1910

The first decade of World Series baseball came to a close as two regulars, the Chicago Cubs (making their fourth appearance) and Philadelphia Athletics (making their second) went head-to-head for the championship title. Both teams were powerhouses with the A's chalking one-hundred two victories and winning their pennant by fourteen games. The A's boasted three .300 hitters with Eddie Collins, Rube Oldring and Danny Murphy and a thirty-one game winner in Jack Coombs, a twenty-seven year-old righthander who was 12-12 the previous season. Both teams suffered devastating injuries and would not be at full strength for the Series. The Cubs had lost second baseman Johnny Evers to a broken ankle and Philadelphia was missing Oldring with a broken leg and pitcher Eddie Plank who was suffering from an arm ailment.

Although A's manager Connie Mack was handicapped with the loss of one of his starting pitchers, he remained confident in his other aces Jack Coombs and Chief Bender. Bender, coming off his first twenty victory season in the Major Leagues (he was 23-5), opposed the Cubs' Orval Overall in Game 1 of the Series. The matchup proved a mismatch, with Bender pitching a one-hitter into the ninth inning and Overall departing after allowing three runs and six hits in the first three innings. The A's, getting three hits and two RBIs from Frank Baker, scored a 4-1 victory as Bender completed a three-hitter with eight strikeouts.

In Game 2, Coombs maintained his team's momentum with a solid, but unspectacular Series leading performance. Although he lasted a complete game, he surrendered eight hits and nine walks while managing a 9-3 victory. Philadelphia had consecutively beaten two of Chicago's top aces and prepared to tee off on a third against Series veteran, Ed Reulbach. The A's came out swinging in Game 3 and drove Reulbach off of the mound in the second inning after tallying three runs. Harry McIntire took over in the third with a 3-3 tie, but was shelled for four runs in the 1/3 inning. The Cubs continued to collapse and before the inning was over, the A's had tacked or a fifth run en route to a 12-5 romp. Coombs remained unbeatable while pitching with only one day of rest. Playing well on both sides of the plate, he only gave up six hits and had three hits and three runs batted in.

Suddenly, the mighty Chicago Cubs, considered sports first official dynasty, found themselves on the brink of elimination. Realizing that Philadelphia's advantage was the direct result of poor pitching, the Cubs put their faith into the right arm of rookie Leonard (King) Cole, who had just completed a 20-4 season. The twenty-four year-old newcomer handled the pressure well, but was pulled in the eighth inning, while trailing 3-2. Hanging on by a thread, Chicago managed to get something started in the ninth when playing Manager Frank Chance tripled home Frank Schulte. Then, in the tenth, Chicago's Jimmy Sheckard came through with a two-out, game-winning single against Bender, who had gone the distance, but paid for it with a 4-3 loss.

I haven't had time to watch the season, but definitely will be peeking at the World Series. Perhaps it's the time of year which makes it that much more exciting! :))

Monday, October 11, 2010

A Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian friends!

During the celebration, explore the Kevin Bacon Game, aka, Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, by clicking on the link below. I have yet to find an actor or actress who doesn't fall into the six degrees of separation. Fascinating and fun!

p.s. Kevin Bacon once claimed that he had worked with everyone in Hollywood. Now you can test his claim. Sometimes it's called the Kevin Bacon Game, others call it Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon after the phrase: six degrees of separation. Use this application to determine the degree of separation between any two actors alive or deceased. The higher the score the better. It's very hard to obtain a score higher than 6 and it's very rare to find actors that aren't connected at all (have an undefined score). See if you can find a pair of actors with a score of greater than 6 or above!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Tony (Bernard Schwartz) Curtis -- June 3, 1925 to September 29, 2010

Tony Curtis was an American film actor. He played a variety of roles from light comedy, such as the musician on the run from gangsters in Some Like It Hot, to serious dramatic roles, such as an escaped convict in The Defiant Ones which earned him a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actor. Since 1949, he appeared in more than 100 films and made frequent television appearances.

Born Bernard Schwartz in the Bronx, New York, to Emanuel Schwartz and his wife Helen Klein who were Jewish Hungarian immigrants.

During World War II, Curtis joined the United States Navy, heavily inspired by Cary Grant in Destination Tokyo and Tyrone Power in Crash Dive (1943). He served aboard USS Proteus (AS-19), a submarine tender and on September 2, 1945, he witnessed the Japanese surrender in Tokyo Bay from about a mile away. Following his discharge, Curtis studied acting at the Dramatic Workshop of The New School in New York with the influential German stage director Erwin Piscator, along with Elaine Stritch, Walter Matthau, and Rod Steiger. He was discovered by a talent agent and casting director Joyce Selznick. Curtis claims it was because he "was the handsomest of the boys." Arriving in Hollywood in 1948 at age 23, he was placed under contract at Universal Pictures and changed his name to Tony Curtis, taking his first name from the novel Anthony Adverse and his last name from "Kurtz", a surname from his mother's family.

Throughout his life, he enjoyed painting, and since the early 1980s, painted as a second career. His work commands more than $25,000 a canvas now. In the last years of his life, he concentrated on painting rather than movies. A surrealist, Curtis claimed "Van Gogh, Matisse, Picasso, Magritte" as influences. "I still make movies but I'm not that interested in them any more. But I paint all the time." In 2007, his painting The Red Table was on display in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. His paintings can also be seen at the Tony Vanderploeg Gallery in Carmel, California.

Curtis was married six times. His first wife was actress Janet Leigh to whom he was married from 1951–1962, and with whom he fathered actresses Jamie Lee and Kelly Curtis.

Suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, he was hospitalized in Las Vegas after an asthma attack during a book signing engagement in Henderson, Nevada at Costco.

Tony Curtis died in bed at his Henderson home on September 29, 2010 at 9:25 PM of cardiac arrest.


Criss Cross (1949)
City Across the River (1949)
The Lady Gambles (1949)
Take One False Step (1949) (scenes deleted)
Johnny Stool Pigeon (1949)
How to Smuggle a Hernia Across the Border (1949) (short subject)
Woman in Hiding (1950)
Francis (1950)
I Was a Shoplifter (1950)
Sierra (1950)
Winchester '73 (1950) (Credited as Anthony Curtis)
Kansas Raiders (1950)
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951)
Meet Danny Wilson (1952) (cameo)
Flesh and Fury (1952)
No Room for the Groom (1952)
Son of Ali Baba (1952)
Houdini (1953)
The All-American (1953)
Forbidden (1953)
Beachhead (film) (1954)
Johnny Dark (1954)
The Black Shield of Falworth (1954)
Six Bridges to Cross (1955)
So This Is Paris (1955)
The Purple Mask (1955)
The Rawhide Years (1955)
The Square Jungle (1955)
Trapeze (1956)
Mister Cory (1957)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957)
The Midnight Story (1957)
The Vikings (1958)
Kings Go Forth (1958)
The Defiant Ones (1958)
The Perfect Furlough (1958)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
Operation Petticoat (1959)
Who Was That Lady? (1960)
The Rat Race (1960)
Spartacus (1960)
Pepe (1960) (cameo)
The Great Impostor (1961)
The Outsider (1961), as Ira Hayes
Taras Bulba (1962)
40 Pounds of Trouble (1962)
The List of Adrian Messenger (1963) (cameo)
Captain Newman, M.D. (1963)
Paris, When It Sizzles (1964) (cameo)
Wild and Wonderful (1964)
Goodbye Charlie (1964)
Sex and the Single Girl (1964)
The Great Race (1965)
Boeing Boeing (1965)
The Flinstones (1965) (voice)
Chamber of Horrors (1966) (cameo)
Not with My Wife, You Don't! (1966)
Arrivederci, Baby! (1966)
Don't Make Waves (1967)
On My Way to the Crusades, I Met a Girl Who... (1968)
Rosemary's Baby (1968) (voice)
The Boston Strangler (1968)
Monte Carlo or Bust (1969)
You Can't Win 'Em All (1970)
Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came? (1970)
The Persuaders! (1971–1972)
Mission: Monte Carlo (1974)
Lepke (1975)
The Count of Monte Cristo (1975)
London Conspiracy (1976)
The Last Tycoon (1976)
Casanova & Co. (1977)
Sextette (1978)
The Manitou (1978)
The Bad News Bears Go to Japan (1978)
The Users (1978)
Double Take (1979)
Title Shot (1979)
Little Miss Marker (1980)
It Rained All Night the Day I Left (1980)
The Mirror Crack'd (1980)
The Scarlett O'Hara War (1980)
Othello, the Black Commando (1982)
Where Is Parsifal? (1983)
BrainWaves (1983)
The Fantasy Film Worlds of George Pal (1985) (documentary)
Club Life (1985)
Insignificance (1985)
The Last of Philip Banter (1986)
Balboa (1986)
The Passenger - Welcome to Germany (1988)
Lobster Man From Mars (1989)
Midnight (1989)
Tarzan in Manhattan (1989)
Walter & Carlo In America (1989)
Prime Target (1991)
Center of the Web (1992)
Hugh Hefner: Once Upon a Time (1992) (documentary)
Naked in New York (1993)
The Mummy Lives (1993)
A Century of Cinema (1994) (documentary)
The Immortals (1995)
The Celluloid Closet (1995) (documentary)
Roseanne - TV Series (1996) (role as Hal, ballroom dance studio instructor)
Hardball (1997)
Brittle Glory (1997)
Alien X Factor (1997)
Stargames (1998)
Louis & Frank (1998)
Play It to the Bone (1999) (cameo)
Reflections of Evil (2002) (narrator)
Where's Marty? (2006)
The Blacksmith and the Carpenter (2007) (voice)
David & Fatima (2008)
The Jill & Tony Curtis Story (2008) (documentary feature)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010

Autumn, my favorite season, is soon here! Enjoy a musical preview!

Autumn in Central Park, Manhattan

Stories Behind the Hit Songs of Autumn By Mary Dawson

It has already started! The air is getting colder and crisper. Time for candlelight and popcorn -- falling leaves and soon, falling snow. It's "that time of year" once again. It's not quite Christmas, but the emotions are ramping up. We start thinking about family gatherings, parties, romantic evenings snuggled up by the fire with the ones we love. And under it all, is the magical music of the season.
In my never-to-be-humble opinion, some of the greatest songs ever written were inspired by the Season of Autumn. If you can't name at least a few songs about this season and the songwriters who created them, it's time to join us as we explore the stories behind the wonderful melodies and lyrics that mark this time of year.

The first song that comes to mind is the haunting, "Autumn in New York" written by Vernon Duke back in 1934. Never heard of him? Stay tuned.

You may be familiar with Billie Holiday's amazing rendition of this song, but then it has also been recorded by the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Diane Schuur, Ray Charles, Mantovani, George Shearing, Rosemary Clooney, Charlie Parker and dozens of other major artists. Year after year this song keeps reappearing with new arrangements and different artists, but definitely the same words and melody written by this guy, Vernon Duke. This song is what's known as a standard -- the goal of every songwriter. Now do you want to know a little more about Mr. Duke?

Vernon Duke was born Vladimir Alexandrovich Dukelsky in a train station in Prafianovo, Russia, on October 10, 1903 as his mother was traveling to another Russian town. Growing up in an aristocratic family, Vladimir showed amazing talent for music at a very early age. When he was eleven, he had already been admitted to the distinguished Kiev Conservatory to study under the famed composer, Reinhold Gilere.
After the Russian Revolution, the Dukelsky family made its way to the United States where Vladimir's classical compositions began receiving rave reviews. In America, Vladimir became friends with the famous George Gershwin, who encouraged him to begin writing popular music. Gershwin also suggested that he consider changing his name to something more "American" -- like Vernon Duke. From that point onward, the composer began his double life -- using the name, Vladimir Dukelsky, for his classical works and Vernon Duke for his pop songs.

In the 1920's Vernon/Vladimir moved to Paris where he wrote oratorios and music for ballet and symphony, becoming friends with Russian composer, Sergei Prokofiev and artist, Pablo Picasso. When he would travel to Britain or the United States, like Superman, he would step into a phone booth and come out as Vernon Duke, writer of popular songs for theater and the Ziegfeld Follies. Collaborating with other great songwriters of the era, Duke wrote such classics as "April in Paris. Taking a Chance on Love," and "I Like the Likes of You."

With that as a backdrop, take some time to enjoy "Autumn in New York."


The following are UGO Entertainment's Top 11 autumn pop songs:

11. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground by White Stripes
10. Grey Sky Eyes by Carbon Leaf
9. September by Earth, Wind, and Fire
8. Amanda Cecelia by Elliott Smith
7. Grand Theft Autumn by Fall Out Boy
6. Scarborough Fair by Simon and Garfunkel
5. Autumn Almanac by The Kinks
4. Autumn Acid by Aphex Twin
3. October by U2
2. Forever Autumn by Justin Hayward of The Moody Blues
1. California Dreamin by The Mamas and the Papas

If you'd care to listen to any of the 11 songs, please click to the song on the playlist at bottom of page.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

My wishes for a meaningful Yom Kippur, and...

a joyous Rosh Hashanah!

Love, Petra xo

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Gulf Restoration Network

For anyone who would care to help in the Gulf's recovery, I found The Gulf Restoration Network to be one of the most effective organizations. Visit for more information.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

"Who Killed The Electric Car?" - A Documentary

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

Who Killed the Electric Car? is a 2006 documentary film that explores the 10 year life span of the battery electric vehicle in the United States, specifically the General Motors EV1. The film explores the role that several parties including auto manufacturers, the oil industry, state and federal governments, and consumers played in the failure of the electric vehicle in the 1990s.

It has been criticized, primarily by General Motors, for not accurately portraying the company's dedication to the technology. Most criticisms focus on the movie's implication that there was a high demand for electric vehicles and an unwillingness of automakers to produce the cars.

Tom Hanks is working with a company to continue to produce an all electric car. Wonderful that he's helping save the planet!

I saw Who Killed The Electric Car? It's so sad that General Motors made these cars which were so successful, and yet were squelched for very obvious reasons.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Robert Redford's call for environmental responsibility

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A $1.4 million prize offered to help restore our oceans and environmental future

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

An oil spill in Michigan?! God help us!

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

(CNN) -- Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is calling on the Environmental Protection Agency and a Canada-based energy company to step up efforts to contain an oil spill in the Kalamazoo River, after more than 840,000 gallons of oil leaked from a pipeline since Monday.

"There needs to be a lot more done," the governor said Tuesday, after touring the river area in a helicopter. "We don't have enough resources right now for containing the spill to the level where we can feel comfortable."

"The last thing any of us want is to see a smaller version of what has happened in the Gulf," she said, referring to the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Oil began leaking from the 30-inch line Monday, moving from Talmadge Creek into the Kalamazoo River, which flows from near the city of Battle Creek into Lake Michigan. The pipeline normally carries 190,000 barrels of oil per day from Griffith, Indiana, to Sarnia, Ontario.

Officials do not know what caused the oil to leak, but the pipeline now has been shut down. It is owned by Enbridge Energy Partners, based in Canada.

The slick spans some 16 miles, and the governor is worried it could reach popular Morrow Lake, between Battle Creek and the city of Kalamazoo.

Crews staffed by Enbridge are using booms to try to contain the oil and vacuum trucks to clean it up. The effort is being supervised by the EPA.

But Granholm fears the slick may spreading faster than it can be contained.

"Clearly this is a significant incident," she said. "It cannot be taken lightly. We need all hands on deck."

The river right now is close to flood stage, complicating efforts to contain the slick.

Two homes near the spill site have been evacuated, and 25 people worried about health issues have been relocated, according to Jim Rutherford, health officer with the Calhoun County Health Department.

Officials say there's no immediate danger to drinking water.

Wildlife has been affected, with some fish and birds coated in oil. The energy company is preparing a wildlife rehabilitation center for treating the animals.

People are being urged to avoid swimming or fishing near the affected areas.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

BE THE ONE to offer your support by signing the petition to help "Restore The Gulf"

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

While there has been good news lately about attempts to contain the devastating BP oil spill in the Gulf after nearly three months, the region's real recovery is only just beginning. Now, in a newly-released PSA for a grassroots effort called Restore the Gulf (, celebrities, many with personal ties to the ravaged coast, are asking fans to help.

The PSA, first seen on, features Sandra Bullock (who recently bought a home in Louisiana), Dave Matthews, Alfre Woodard, Lenny Kravitz (who took part in the Larry King Live telethon for the oil spill last month), Emeril Lagasse (who based his first restaurant in New Orleans), Blake Lively, John Goodman, Alfre Woodard, Eli and Peyton Manning, James Carville, Harry Shearer, Bryan Batt (Mad Men) and Wendell Pierce (Treme), among others.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom and Nikki! :))

Happy Birthday to you, my dearest, who will be 77 July 22nd!

When I first saw this photo of my mother (to right with a friend) while still living in Germany, I couldn't believe she'd just turned 16! Seems all young girls want to look more sophisticated and mature than their age. A month after this photo was taken, she'd marry her sweetheart in British uniform, and, at 17, have me (the first of six).

Love to you always! xoxoxo

One day later, Nikki would have shared my mother's birthday. She turns 18 tomorrow, the 21st!

I am so thrilled for you, Nikk! Happy Birthday! xoxoxo

Doesn't Nikki look like her grandmother? She doesn't see it, but the older she's gotten, the more evident it becomes. xo

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Congratulations, Nikki! Spread your wings and fly! :))

On Graduation Day: Nikki to far right. Oops, I see Analisse to the very far right.

Nikki and friend ready for Prom.

To My Immortal,

May your passion and joy abound throughout college and your lifelong journey of learning and living!
With all my love,
Aunt Petra xoxoxo

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Gulf Oil Commission Hearing Began Today

A special Commission set up by President Obama and taking place in New Orleans, LA, is to cover ALL aspects of what went wrong, what is being done, and what the future looks like, both economically and environmentally.

To watch it live, visit this link: or watch it on
CSpan3 which is also airing it.

When is the "A Whale" skimmer going to skim? The containment cap has been removed, gushing oil full throttle.

The "A Whale," a giant supertanker converted to skim oil from the spill in the Gulf of Mexico will continue testing after "inconclusive results" over the Fourth of July weekend, a spokesperson for the Unified Command Joint Information Center said.

The tests were "inconclusive in light of the rough sea state we are encountering," a
spokesperson said. Testing operations were located in a 25 square-mile area just to the north of the well-site according to Coast Guard Adm. Thad Allen, the Joint Incident Commander.

The ship, must still gain approval to operate from the U.S. Coast Guard, officials said.

No timeline has been set for the completion of additional tests, according to Unified Command. Why not?

The oil leak, which began on April 20, with the fatal explosion of BP's Deepwater Horizon oil rig, and is still gushing from a ruptured well pipe, is the largest oil spill disaster in U.S. history.

The 1,100-foot-long vessel (approximately 3 ½ football fields) is ten stories high and can process 500,000 barrels (21 million gallons) of oil mixed with water every day.

The A-Whale "brings a piece of technology that has never been used in the U.S. oil spill response," Allen said.

Rear Adm. Paul Zukunft of the Coast Guard said on Friday that sea levels needed to be "about three feet or less" to be able to effectively skim.

With the containment cap removed since Saturday, July 10th, allowing crude oil gushing into the Gulf at full throttle, why isn't something, ANYTHING, being done?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Going Green at Google


Google's green employee programs are designed to reduce its corporate carbon footprint, and help its employees stay green too.

Bikes on Campus

At Google's Mountain View headquarters, shared bicycles are scattered among its buildings for employees to use for short trips around campus, reducing the need for employee car trips during the work day.

Biodiesel Shuttles

Google offers an extensive shuttle service that brings more than 1,500 employees to work from around the Bay Area every day. These shuttles are fueled by B20 biodiesel.


Waste from its Mountain View, CA cafes is separated and the organic component is composted. As a result, it has reduced waste sent to landfills, reduced greenhouse gases, and recycled nutrients leading to improved soil quality without chemicals. In addition, it has reduced the overall number of disposable items in its micro-kitchens and cafés. Any disposable plateware and cutlery they continue to use in the cafés is now compostable. I suggest bringing one's own nonplastic plateware and cutlery to work.


This Mountain View program is designed to support alternative commuting through a car-sharing program that is free to Google employees. Within this fleet, it has eight plug-in hybrid vehicles which are parked under a solar panel carport at Google's headquarters.

Green Design Elements

The buildings at its main campus in Mountain View use sustainable building materials that are environmentally friendly and healthier for employees, such as "cradle-to-cradle" certified products designed to never end up in landfills, fresh air ventilation, daylighting, and PVC- and formaldehyde-free materials whenever possible.

Locally-grown Food

Google chefs are committed to using as many local, organic, sustainable ingredients as possible. Café 150, for example, sources ingredients for everything on the menu from within 150 miles. It also has a seasonal farmers market in Mountain View and an organic garden in the main courtyard.

Residential Solar Program

Google has partnered with several residential solar companies to offer discounts to employees who want to go solar at home.

Self-Powered Commuter Program

Employees who bike, walk, pogo-stick, unicycle, or otherwise self-power to work can earn points that translate into a donation from Google to a charity of their choice.

Google's green thumb sets a wonderful example for other corporations!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

'70s Board Game contains eerie BP oil spill scenarios

A nearly 40-year-old board game is getting a lot of new attention because of eerie similarities between the scenarios of its play and the 78-day-old BP Gulf oil disaster.

The game BP Offshore Oil Strike, which came out in the 1970s and is adorned with an old BP logo, revolves around four players exploring for oil, building platforms and constructing pipelines – all in the name of being the first to make $120 million.

But like the real-life oil game there are some big hazards, too. Players have to deal with the possibility of large-scale oil spills and cover cleanup costs. You struggle with "hazard cards" that include phrases now part of our daily vernacular, including: "Blow-out! Rig damaged. Oil slick cleanup costs. Pay $1 million."

Sound a little familiar? The similarity has led to discussions all over the Web. It's prompted people to dig in their attics and put their old games up on eBay – many of which have promptly been snatched up.

One copy of the game was donated to the largest toy museum in England, the House on the Hill Toy Museum in Stansted, Essex.

The museum's owner, Alan Goldsmith, told CNN he was shocked when he saw the donated game.

"It was sort of uncanny how it was similar to what's happening really," Goldsmith said. "I thought it was odd that it was a game in the '70s, which has basically now come true. The interesting thing is that it was in dollars, even though it was a European game. The cleanup bill was $1 million, which we now know isn't nearly enough, but it is a weird colorful circle."

The game came out during the oil crisis of the '70s – and perhaps it was an attempt to drum up support for U.S.-based drilling.

Goldsmith said as a part of the game, players work to amass a drilling empire. But the game comes with all of the scenarios of the present Gulf disaster. Even the game board and cover resemble images from the Gulf these days – with rigs attempting to reach far into the ocean depths.

The game has many people online remarking about whether it eerily foreshadowed the current BP disaster.

"It's strange, you've got this fictitious board game with fictitious drama – but it couldn't be any closer to the reality of what's happening now," Goldsmith said.

The world of video games, meanwhile, appears to have a more direct link to the Gulf oil disaster.

In "Crisis in the Gulf," which an independent producer released last month for the Xbox, gamers use weapons to zap blobs of oil.

The game is available for purchase through Xbox's online marketplace.
Do those in oil really believe that they too don't have to eat, drink, and breathe the same as everyone else? It's sad and twisted!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Phillipe Cousteau, "Reform is Needed Now"

Please pause playlist at bottom of page to hear/watch video.

Editor's note: Philippe Cousteau Jr. is the grandson of legendary ocean explorer and filmmaker Jacques Yves Cousteau. Philippe heads the nonprofit organization EarthEcho International ( Philippe, who has been working in this field for years, is an advocate for the people and the wildlife in the Gulf of Mexico during the oil crisis, visiting the area and learning first hand the impact the disaster has had not only on the ecosystem but on the people who suffer as a result of the catastrophe. Read more about Philippe's background.

I remember my first trip to see the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. A few weeks after the rig exploded I traveled to survey the spill both above and below the surface. Seeing the impact from the shore as well as being the first one to dive and film the oil spill from beneath the waves was a horrifying experience. Wave after wave of oil/chemical dispersant mix washed over us - a chemical soup that is toxic to countless creatures and still spreading through the Gulf, wreaking havoc on the lives of animals and the livelihoods of people.

It was made all the worse because less than 18 months earlier, in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy, I had testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee to address the deficiencies of the laws that govern oil and gas development in the oceans. The echo of that testimony is still haunting me as I have watched the devastation unfold first-hand over the past 70 days.

One of my favorite writers Mark Twain once wrote, "A man's first duty is to his conscience and his honor." There is no honor in this catastrophe, and its consequences are unconscionable. Nor is there honor in the circumstances that created it.

There is a lot of talk in the media about the moratorium the Obama administration recently put in place; but the truth is that a moratorium would not have prevented this tragedy. What I testified about more than a year ago and what is still needed today is to reform and strengthen the existing laws to ensure that they protect ocean health and coastal economies, and that science - not profit - should guide any oil and gas development.

This spill reminds us we are in desperate need of a policy that recognizes that in our ocean environment, everything is connected - from industrial uses to the health of our ocean and the health of the coastal economy. The BP Deepwater Horizon disaster exposes a fundamental flaw in our nation's approach to oil and gas activities in the ocean.

Specifically, we have to do three things:

First, we must reform the way the planning and leasing process happens so that the appropriate environmental analyses are done. Clearly the health of the environment was not taken seriously when disaster response plans named animals such as walrus and polar bear, exclusively arctic species, as some of the ones that would be impacted during a Gulf spill.

Second, we must ensure that we have both the baseline scientific knowledge as well as the technology to clean up a spill. And we must flat-out prohibit oil and gas activity in important ecological areas, as well as those areas where oil spill containment and cleanup is not feasible, places like the Arctic where floating ice would make the feeble skimming and booming efforts in the Gulf completely futile.

And third, we must ensure that revenue generated by activities that put our oceans at risk, like drilling for oil and gas, are reinvested in protecting, maintaining and restoring ocean health. This would help to combat another problem, namely that we have underinvested in the oceans for decades. The federal budget for space exploration is exponentially larger than the budget for ocean exploration. Knowing if there was ever water on Mars is not critical to life on this planet: Healthy oceans are. This is part of the reason no one knows the long-term impacts of this spill; we don't have enough understanding of the ecosystems and species that inhabit the Gulf in the first place.

June 11th would have been my grandfather's 100th birthday, and I know that both my father, Philippe Sr., and my grandfather would have been covering this story if they were alive, and that they would have been just as horrified by what they saw as I have been. I can only hope that we learn from this and start to truly take the kind of drastic action necessary to begin the decades-long road to recovery.

As my grandfather often told me: History will not only judge us by our mistakes, but by what we do to fix them.

Post by: Philippe Cousteau Jr. -- Special to CNN

Wholeheartedly agree with Phillipe Cousteau!