Ron Howard’s Beatles Documentary to Launch Sales at Cannes

Originally posted on Variety:

White Horse Pictures and Studiocanal will launch international sales of Ron Howard’s authorized documentary about The Beatles’ touring years — presenting unseen footage from early performances — at the Cannes Film Festival.

The untitled film, first announced last July, is produced with the full cooperation of Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, Yoko Ono and Olivia Harrison. White Horse’s Nigel Sinclair, Scott Pascucci and Brian Grazer of Imagine Entertainment are producing with Howard; exec producers include Apple Corps Ltd.’s Jeff Jones and Jonathan Clyde, along with Imagine’s Michael Rosenberg and White Horse’s Guy East.

The sound from the concerts will be restored by music producer Giles Martin. White Horse Pictures and Pascucci are repping U.S. rights.

“Ron is providing an all-access backstage VIP pass to The Beatles, giving fans fascinating insights on the band, and the ability to experience what it was like on the inside,” said Sinclair.

Howard’s film is aimed…

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The Nobel Peace Prize Watch

February 24, 2015 Leave a comment

The Nobel Peace Prize Watch.

The Nobel Peace Prize has become tainted over the past 25 years as it is being awarded over and over to people and organizations that have repeatedly acted against the tenets of the will in which Alfred Nobel stated his intention. The will is a legal instrument, with a binding obligation of its stewards. When the stewards act against its stipulations and fail to honor its purpose, then the committee is breaking the law.

This has become a matter being taken up in both the Swedish and Norwegian parliaments. If the challenge is successful, the Nobel Committee may yet be stripped of its authority.

I think this will still take 10 years longer to become a reality. But the people who are demanding a faithful and legal obligation to the Nobel testament will ultimately prevail. It is my hope that it will be before the escalating militarism in the world and the rising destructive powers of the world’s weapons makes life next to impossible in much of the region of eastern Europe, north Africa, and west Asia uninhabitable.

Emoji Everywhere 🎃

November 7, 2014 Leave a comment


I am not a huge fan of “Emoji,” at least not to the extent that many of my Japanese friends are. Actually, it is not so much that I’m not a fan, but I just don’t have the capacity or inclination to become as adept in using them as many of the people I know who use them as comfortably as words. I’m not a Luddite, but I did learn to type on a typewriter, not a keyboard, let alone a touch screen on a “sumafo”!

But it is somewhat nice to know that we can now use Emoji in our WordPress posts. 😄

I doubt I will ever become as adept at using these (😔) or these (*_*) as my very capable one-thumb typist friends, but it is still good to know that they are available on my still favorite (and largely ignored) blogging platform. For those of you who take greater care to nurture your literary children, please enjoy this new-found ability!

Originally posted on News:

Emoji? What are they?

“Emoji” is a japanese term meaning “picture character.” It’s a standard for showing smileys and other little symbols inside text. But unlike traditional smileys that are made up of a sequence of letters like :), every emoji has its own letter.

🌷 🌹 🌺 🌻 🌼

Emoji blossomed on smartphones, where quickly picking out an emoji is often faster than typing out a long sentence.

Today we’re rolling out hundreds and hundreds of emoji across — 872 to be exact.


Do they look familiar? That’s because Twitter has graciously decided to open-source their entire set, allowing anyone to use them. We’re already busy preparing to add these to Jetpack, so users can join in the fun too.

Before today, emoji you inserted into your posts on the go wouldn’t always show properly for all your visitors. While the nice little bunny…

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Important Infrequently Used Words To Know

November 6, 2014 Leave a comment

Originally posted on Just English:

Paul V. Hartman

(The Capitalized syllable gets the emphasis)


alacrity       a-LACK-ra-tee      cheerful willingness and promptness
anathema       a-NATH-a-ma      a thing or person cursed, banned, or reviled
anodyne       AN-a-dine      not likely to cause offence or disagreement and somewhat dull//anything that sooths or comforts
aphorism      AFF-oar-ism      a short, witty saying or concise principle
apostate       ah-POSS-tate       (also:  apostasy)      person who has left the fold or deserted the faith.
arrogate      ARROW-gate      to make an unreasonable claim
atavistic     at-a-VIS-tic      reverting to a primitive type
avuncular      a-VUNC-you-lar      “like an uncle”; benevolent

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April 4, 2014 Leave a comment


A very well thought out and written review of conservative (the real meaning) actions by a good friend, Jonathon Walsh.

Originally posted on Sustainability In The City:

free stuff text on blackboard

Saving the planet can seem like a near impossible task at the best of times but it doesn’t have to be that way. Every step toward creating a healthier more sustainable planet counts, but only if they are actually taken.
The great thing is that with a few simple ideas, it’s easy to not only take steps to protect the environment but also to save money, access services for free, forge new friendships, improve our health, and strengthen communities at the same time.

Jonathon Walsh outlines 7 ways we can do it quickly, easily and cheaply.


Let’s face it: the core of economics revolves around people handing over round pieces of metal and bits of paper (with pictures on them) to others. It’s farcical, and yet the only reason our currency-based economies actually continue to function is because enough of us unquestioningly buy into…

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Pictures: Ultra-Nationalist Demonstrators Overwhelmed by Anti-Racist Counter-Protest

March 18, 2014 1 comment


Wonderful post about anti-racist protestors in Tokyo.

Originally posted on Tokyo Desu:

Lately, it seems like every time we psych ourselves up to go back to writing our usual knob gags (that we stay up all night coming up with for you), some serious and/or groundbreaking news comes along that demands our attention and, alas, knob gag restraint:

Yesterday, a hard right, ultra-nationalist group known as the Zaitokukai (roughly translated as: “Citizens Against the Special Privileges of Koreans in Japan”) held a meeting of around 100 members in Tokyo’s Ikebukuro district, with a demonstration march planned directly after.

Much to the surprise and chagrin of the Zaitokukai, however, they found themselves outnumbered three to one by a huge cluster of counter-protesters holding anti-racist signs and shouting down the right wingers as they marched. Taken together with the momentous J-League punishment of the Urawa Reds for racist fan behavior doled out last week, this clash falls just shy of marking a new trend…

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Divide and Prosper: An Asian Model for Successful Business Growth

November 6, 2013 Leave a comment

I recently read Divide and Prosper, by Kuniyasu Sakai and Hiroshi Sekiyama, and posted a review in Goodreads.  My full review is linked here.

The book is, ostensibly, a business book.  It is written as an inspirational management guide.  As such, Divide and Prosper is extremely useful, providing a wealth of practical information for a successful business manager.  But this is only one tiny fraction of the book’s value.  The greatest merits of the book come from its attempt to inspire and motivate younger people to aspire to more than is offered by the status quo.

In my review, I wrote about the author’s detailed description of the subcontractor system in Japan in the section, “Big Business, Small Companies.” In this section, Sakai and Sekiyama describe carefully how the major corporations enslave the majority of the nation’s companies and people.

To Sakai and Sekiyama, the status quo does not provide redeeming lives to the majority of people.  This goes against the conventional “wisdom,” which says that Japan has achieved a higher standard of living than most of the nations of the world.  While it may have severe limitations in space and cost of living, the standard of wealth, safety, and convenience make Japan a mark of success, not failure.  But rather than spreading wealth thinly and evenly across the majority of the nation – as is the “common knowledge” explanation goes – the subcontracting system enslaves the majority of people. The big companies are not much more that a system of installing a small cadre of mediocre administrators to threaten, cajole, and pacify the masses, while pooling the wealth into the hands of a few wealthy and powerful elites, who hide anonymously behind the veils of their organizations.

First, the authors describe how the system is integral to the Japanese economy as a whole.  “The shitauke system is in one sense the very foundation of our modern business and industrial structure, the base upon which our giant commercial structure has been built.”  They continue to say that,”large corporations in a wide variety of fields act merely as “trading companies,” farming out jobs to their affiliates at cut-rate prices while charging their clients for the prestige of dealing with a top-notch Japanese firm.”

This structure is possible because the major, publicly traded, international corporations only comprise a small minority of the Japanese economy.  Sakai and Sekiyama write that, “90% of Japanese economy is minor industry.  Relatively few companies have more than three hundred employees, and more than three-quarters of all Japanese companies are very small, employing only a handful of people.  The real backbone of the Japanese industry is not the Toyotas and Nissans, the Matsushitas and Sonys, the Fujitsus and NECs, but rather, the thousands upon thousands of small firms that allow these behemoths to exist in the first place.”  Here, we start to see that the heart of their story is not just a positive guide to successful business, but a scathing war cry, aiming to defeat the massive corporate giants that cripple Japan and, ultimately, our world.

“In Japan, most small firms (and nearly all small manufacturing firms) exist in the shadow of a few dozen giant corporations which completely control their destinies. The master firm completely controls both its subcontractors’ production levels and unit costs, and this is the reason the giant industrial combines so jealously guard this system.”  Of course.  If a big company can control the production level and unit costs, it can offload most of its risks and take most of the returns from manufacturing.  It automatically inflates the big companies at the expense of the smaller subcontractors.

“What many people, even here in Japan, would find surprising is the astounding quantity of goods the firm purchases rather than manufactures.”  Again, this should not come as a surprise.  Manufacturing themselves would create a large number of “risks”, namely the human resources, facilities, and capital necessary to produce products.  Instead, the big corporations merely farm out the production, waiting “to put its name on the outer case and send the products through its international marketing and distribution system.”

This structure, Sakai and Sekiyama say, is an “industrial shock absorber.”  “The advantages of this system for the parent firm are just as obvious as the disadvantages for the smaller firms.  If the giant corporation falls on hard times, it will take a very long time (as we saw in the 90s) before it needs to lay off employees or radically alter any part of its own corporate structure.  It battens down the hatches and rides out the storm, keeping its own inconvenience to a minimum.”

“Having served as one of these “slave” companies for many years, I believe very strongly that a situation in which one must produce at another’s beck and call is ultimately destructive. ”

Men are not lemmings.  Of course, the “mass suicide” popular story about lemmings is a misconception, but the metaphor that we frequently behave unquestioningly as popular opinion dictates, with potentially fatal or dangerous consequences is, I think, quite valid.  Our fetish with big things – especially BIG business, BIG companies, and BIG data – may, in fact doom us.  I hope not.


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