Friday, August 28, 2015

Parking the Theme of the Day

I will be retiring to watch some movies tonight, so.... 

"Comcast unexpectedly bets big on Universal theme parks" by Brooks Barnes New York Times  August 03, 2015

ORLANDO — The Universal theme park chain was the last thing Comcast was interested in when it bought NBCUniversal four years ago. Endless upkeep? Endless spending on new rides? Endless anxiety about public safety?

Thanks, but no thanks. Some analysts predicted a speedy sale.

Instead, Comcast did a public about face, identifying Universal Orlando, in particular, as a growth engine and spending $100 million to build a “Transformers” ride here in 2013. Still, there was skepticism. Was Comcast becoming a new theme park force? Competitors insisted the jury was still out.

Well, the verdict just came in: Comcast is pouring billions of dollars into Universal Orlando and a sister property in California, opening major attractions and resort hotels at breakneck speed, and visitors are flooding the gates, but now Comcast faces a new question: Is it moving too fast and disregarding the perennial problems that have long challenged this corner of entertainment?

They can always hike the bundles.

Here at Universal Orlando, an 800-acre resort that includes two theme parks, four hotels, and an outdoor CityWalk mall, a vast amount of construction is underway.

As the stock market swoons (down again today I saw on Fox, as they pushed for the nixing of the Iran deal with the most outrageous lies; public is overwhelmingly against the deal? Fox is Israel, and ZNN is no better).

Four cranes towered last month over a site that will become Volcano Bay, a new water park.

Where you can even get a Coke.

A few hundred feet away, six cranes toiled over an even bigger site marked Project 664. Rising from the ground, there is a $300 million hotel called Sapphire Falls, which Universal hopes will strengthen its conference business.

The theme is this bu$ine$$ $ection -- as well as the re$t of the paper -- isn't for the vast rabble.

More hotel rooms are on the way — a lot more. Burke has said that Universal Orlando, which will have 5,200 rooms after Sapphire Falls opens next year, could have 10,000 rooms and still maintain profitable occupancy levels.


We all know of the legendary optimism of real estate agents.

Since 2013, Universal Orlando has opened rides themed to “Transformers,” “Despicable Me,” and the Harry Potter movies. A major “King Kong” attraction will arrive next summer.

I'm still not going.

In the works are attractions based on the “Fast and Furious” films, “The Tonight Show,” and the “Hello Kitty” and “Nintendo” video games. At the CityWalk shopping district, where eight restaurants have opened over the last two years, an NBC Sports Grill & Brew pub is on the way, with 100 televisions.

I'm bored.

And that is just in Orlando. Universal is also building a $3.25 billion park in Beijing in partnership with a consortium of Chinese companies; it is slated to open in 2019.

I suppose the Chinese markets will have rebounded by then.


Add in the billions of dollars Disney is spending to expand its own empire — the $5.5 billion Shanghai Disney Resort opens next year and megawatt “Avatar,” “Frozen,” and “Star Wars” additions are coming to Disney outposts in Florida — and perhaps the biggest theme park building boom in history is underway, analysts say. It is a remarkable turnaround for a business that became a backwater in the years following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, when attendance dropped sharply.

Who do they think is coming to spend what money, or is this just a way to dispose of excess profits?

But with increased investment in theme parks comes increased risk. Theme parks will always be sensitive to swings in the economy.

This article is dated when?

Another challenge involves managing visitor expectations; training them to expect something new every summer will eventually disappoint. Analysts point out that, despite an extraordinary safety record, these teeming resorts could become relative ghost towns overnight if a park anywhere in the world became a target of violence.

I think we have just discovered the next false flag terror attack, crisis drill gone live, or staged and scripted fiction.

Disneyland in Anaheim, Calif., recently endured a public-relations nightmare when it was linked to an outbreak of measles.

Related: African Guinea Pigs

Now they want you exposing the kid to peanuts to make them more pliable to the vaccines!

Also seeState reports season’s first West Nile case in a human 

I'm so sick of the propaganda pre$$ hyping slim-to-nonexistent threats while ignoring real ones.

“I don’t think it’s a great business,” said Doug Creutz, an analyst at Cowen and Co. “You’re always pouring money into them. It’s relatively low return. And when you have a downturn in the economy, they typically get hit pretty hard.”

Still, theme parks, at least for the moment, are a reliable business.

Moments gone.

Last year, the Universal parks were significantly more profitable for NBCUniversal than movies or broadcast television. “Comcast’s stock price is driven by growth, and the parks, while a small piece of Comcast overall, have become an outsized contributor to its growth,” said John Hodulik, an analyst at UBS.

While still delivering huge returns, cable has started to sputter with ratings erosion. The movie business, meanwhile, remains challenged by piracy, diminishing DVD sales, and rising marketing costs.... 

I don't want to hear Hollywood crying poverty, sorry. That's offen$ive!


Here is a look at the box office:

‘‘Furious 7’’ enjoyed a victory lap over the weekend, becoming only the third film ever to make $1 billion internationally and leading the domestic box office for the fourth straight week. But the movie that’s poised to topple the Universal juggernaut, Marvel’s ‘‘The Avengers: Age of Ultron,’’ revved up overseas with a massive $201.2 million debut. In North American theaters, ‘‘Furious 7’’ had enough left in the tank to top all films with an estimated $18.3 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. ‘‘Furious 7’’ has now made $1.3 billion globally. Only two other films, both by James Cameron — ‘‘Avatar’’ and ‘‘Titanic’’ — have made more money internationally. This weekend, the only new wide release was the Blake Lively fantasy romance ‘‘The Age of Adaline.’’ The Lionsgate and Lakeshore Entertainment release came in third with $13.4 million. The Sony comedy ‘‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’’ held up stronger than expected to take second place with $15.5 million in its second week. Russell Crowe’s directorial debut, ‘‘The Water Diviner,’’ opened in 320 locations with $1.3 million. The critically acclaimed indie science-fiction drama ‘‘Ex Machina’’ expanded to 1,255 screens in its second week of release and earned $5.4 million." 

Those Cameron movies far superior to the rest of that crap.

‘Avengers’ sequel is second biggest US opener of all time

"The “Avengers” sequel ‘‘Age of Ultron’’ topped the domestic box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $77.2 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. The film, from Disney and Marvel, has earned a staggering $312.9 million in just 10 days in theaters, tying ‘‘The Dark Knight’’ to become the second-fastest film to do so. ‘‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’’ also added $68.3 million internationally, bringing its worldwide total to $875.3 million. The film opens in China on May 12 with midnight screenings, which have been selling out, prompting IMAX theaters to add 3 a.m. showings. ‘‘Hot Pursuit,’’ meanwhile, debuted with $13.3 million. The Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara buddy comedy, which cost a reported $35 million to produce, was projected to earn at least $18 million out of the gates. “The Age of Adaline,” ‘‘Furious 7,’’ and ‘‘Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2’’ rounded out the top five with $5.6 million, $5.3 million, and $5.2 million, respectively (AP)."

Speaking of the Avengers: 

Chris Evans apologizes for Black Widow comments

Jeremy Renner Doubles Down on Black Widow ‘Slut’ Joke

Who is the Black Widow?

"Scarlett Johansson defended John Travolta on Thursday, calling the actor ‘‘a class act’’ and denouncing the image of the two on the Academy Awards red carpet as ‘‘an unfortunate still-frame’’ that doesn’t reflect a ‘‘totally sweet and totally welcome’’ encounter. In a statement to the Associated Press, Johansson said ‘‘there is nothing strange, creepy or inappropriate about John Travolta.’’ Travolta greeted Johansson at Sunday’s Oscars with a kiss and his arm around her waist. The photo has since been turned into an Internet meme, adding to an impression furthered by Travolta’s touching of Idina Menzel’s face while presenting at the Los Angeles ceremony. ‘‘I haven’t seen John in some years and it is always a pleasure to be greeted by him,’’ said Johansson, who costarred with Travolta in the 2004 drama ‘‘A Love Song for Bobby Long.’’

See: Called on the Carpet 

Hollywood has been filled with sexual harassment and worse for forever, but seriously investigating it would spoil the illusion and image of Tinseltown.

"Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson out-muscled the competition at domestic movie theaters as the earthquake epic ‘‘San Andreas’’ earned an estimated $53.2 million over the weekend. ‘‘Aloha,’’ the critically maligned romantic comedy from director Cameron Crowe, opened in sixth place with $10 million."

I already said goodbye at the end of today's posts.

"Melissa McCarthy notched her first No. 1 box-office debut as a leading lady with the $30 million opening of the espionage comedy ‘‘Spy,’’ leaving the guys of ‘‘Entourage’’ in the dust. The result added to the string of successes of McCarthy and writer-director Paul Feig, who first united on the 2011 hit ‘‘Bridesmaids.’’ ‘‘Spy’’ fell short of the $39.1 million debut of their 2013 comedy ‘‘The Heat,’’ with Sandra Bullock . Last week’s top film, ‘‘San Andreas,’’ the disaster movie starring Dwayne ‘‘The Rock’’ Johnson, slid to second place with $26.4 million. ‘‘Insidious: Chapter 3’’ opened with an estimated $23 million, a strong debut for the low-budget horror prequel from Jason Blum’s Blumhouse Productions. But HBO’s ‘‘Entourage,’’ made for about $30 million, failed to compete. The film, released about four years after the TV series concluded, made $10.4 million over the weekend and has brought in a total of $17.8 million since opening Wednesday."

‘‘Jurassic World,’’ the fourth film in the series, became the highest global opener of all time with a staggering $511.8 million in its first days in theaters. It also devoured a number of domestic box office records with an estimated $204.6 million take. ‘‘Jurassic World’’ is now the second-highest domestic opening of all time, right behind ‘‘Marvel’s The Avengers’’ which took in $207.4 million in 2012."

Ticket prices are higher, right?

"In a box-office bout of Tyrannosaurus-size proportions, ‘‘Jurassic World’’ kept the top spot with one of the biggest second weeks ever, while Pixar’s ‘‘Inside Out’’ nearly matched it with a $91.1 million debut well above expectations. Universal’s ‘‘Jurassic World’’ took in $102 million in North American theaters, according to studio estimates Sunday, making it only the second release to break $100 million in its second week. The enormous holdover for ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ which last week set an opening weekend record with $208.8 million, has been bested by only 2012’s ‘‘The Avengers.’’ In 10 days, ‘‘Jurassic World’’ has made $981.3 million and appears poised to be among the highest-grossing releases ever." 

Good summer for the movies, huh?

"A foul-mouthed Teddy bear is no match for a pack of dinosaurs. Seth MacFarlane’s ‘‘Ted 2’’ opened under expectations with $32.9 million, according to estimates Sunday, ceding the top spots to holdovers ‘‘Jurassic World’’ and ‘‘Inside Out.’’ ‘‘Jurassic World’’ was No. 1 for the third weekend in a row with $54.2 million. ‘‘Inside Out’’ was second with $52.1 million. ‘‘Max,’’ another opener, took in $12.2 million to finish fourth."

‘‘Magic Mike XXL’’ and ‘‘Terminator Genisys’’ both fizzled over the July Fourth weekend, leaving holdovers ‘‘Jurassic World’’ and ‘‘Inside Out’’ to top the holiday box office. Despite the release of the anticipated sequels, the rule of ‘‘Jurassic World’’ continued with an estimated $30.9 million in its fourth week of release. Pixar’s ‘‘Inside Out,’’ though, virtually tied it with $30.1 million in its third week."

"Universal’s ‘‘Minions’’ overran the box office over the weekend as audiences in the United States and Canada shelled out an estimated $115.2 million to see the evil-master-serving horde frolic on the big screen. It was the second-biggest opening ever for an animated film and an easy win for the sidekicks who took the spotlight after playing supporting roles in two previous ‘‘Despicable Me’’ movies. Directed by Peter Coffin, “Minions’’ easily beat ‘‘Jurassic World,’’ another Universal picture, which grossed $18.1 million in its fifth weekend, according to box office tracker Rentrak. Disney’s ‘‘Inside Out’’ ranked third with $17.1 million in its fourth weekend." 

Related: Evil Minions

I'm starting to see Hollywood that way, and picking up on that theme:

"A former child actor who starred in one of the ‘‘Star Wars’’ movie sequels faces charges after leading South Carolina deputies on a high-speed chase. Colleton County Sheriff’s Sergeant Kyle Strickland said Sunday that deputies last week arrested a man they confirmed through a former talent agent was Jake Lloyd , 26. He played young Anakin Skywalker in the 1999 ‘‘Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace.” Strickland said he was charged with reckless driving after hitting speeds over 100 miles an hour before crashing into trees."

He flashbacked to the Boonta Eve pod race.

‘Star Wars’ land coming to Disney theme parks
Chris Pine, Chris Evans promote at Disney's D23

The theme continues to be avenged even after the apology.

"Marvel’s ‘‘Ant-Man’’ debuted at the weekend box office with an estimated $58 million, while Amy Schumer’s ‘‘Trainwreck’’ also opened strongly with $30.2 million. The tiny ant hero, played by Paul Rudd, edged out the little yellow guys of Universal’s ‘‘Minions’’ for the top spot. In its second week of release, ‘‘Minions’’ took in $50.2 million. Schumer’s big-screen debut ‘‘Trainwreck,’’ which the comedian also wrote, is one of the biggest comedy successes this summer and the second best opening ever for director Judd Apatow."

Swiftly speaking of Schumer....

‘‘Ant-Man’’ crept past new opener ‘‘Pixels’’ to claim the top spot at the box office this weekend. The Disney and Marvel superhero pic brought in $24.8 million over the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $106.1 million according to Rentrak estimates Sunday. ‘‘Pixels,’’ meanwhile, just barely missed first place with a $24 million debut. While studios always hope for the bragging rights of a No. 1 debut, the real issue here is whether the Adam Sandler comedy will make up its $88 million production budget. Critics were not fond of ‘‘Pixels,’’ which shows 1980s video arcade game characters attacking Earth, but younger audiences turned out — an estimated 62 percent were under 25. Holdovers ‘‘Minions’’ and ‘‘Trainwreck’’ took the third and fourth spots with $22.1 million and $17.3 million, respectively. Meanwhile, the R-rated boxing drama ‘‘Southpaw’’ surpassed expectations and landed a place in the top five with its $16.5 million opening. Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst, said that its performance is likely because of star Jake Gyllenhaal’s enthusiastic promotion of the film. ‘‘Paper Towns,’’ an adaptation of John Green’s coming-of-age novel, opened in sixth place with $12.5 million. Overall, the box office is down 3 percent from the same weekend last year, when ‘‘Lucy’’ opened particularly strong. Final domestic figures will be released Monday."

Lucy is Johansson.


"A group of American Indian actors walked off the set of an Adam Sandler movie over complaints about stereotypes and offensive names. Actor Loren Anthony told the Associated Press Thursday that he and eight others quit the production of the satirical western ‘‘The Ridiculous Six’’ after producers ignored their concerns about its portrayal of Apache culture. He said the script included offensive names."

I hope that doesn't ruin the party.

"The stakes may be high for Ethan Hunt and his team in ‘‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,’’ but it was hardly impossible for the Tom Cruise pic to conquer the box office. The fifth installment in the nearly 20-year-old film series has earned $56 million, according to studio estimates Sunday. It’s the second-highest opening for a ‘‘Mission’’ film since ‘‘Mission Impossible II’’ took in $57.8 million over Memorial Day weekend in 2000. Meanwhile, “Vacation’’ went a bit off the track. The Warner Bros. film earned $14.9 million over the weekend and $21.2 million since opening Wednesday. Starring Ed Helms and Christina Applegate, the R-rated film was imagined as a continuation of the 1983 road-trip comedy ‘‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’’ when a now grown Rusty Griswold (Helms) takes his family to Wally World. Holdovers ‘‘Ant-Man,’’ “Minions,’’ and ‘‘Pixels’’ rounded out the top five."

"Hollywood’s summer has had runaway sensations (”Jurassic World”) and heartwarming hits (”Inside Out”). It now has its fiasco. ‘‘Fantastic Four,’’ 20th Century Fox’s attempt to reboot the superhero team-up franchise, debuted with just $26.2 million at North American theaters over the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. The result was bad enough that last week’s leader, Tom Cruise’s ‘‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,’’ held the top spot with $29.4 million in its second week. ‘‘Fantastic Four’’ was Fox’s attempt to revive a franchise just 10 years after its launch. But those earlier films — neither of which critics or fans much liked — opened twice as well. The 2005 original debuted with $56.1 million and the 2007 sequel, ‘‘Fantastic Four: The Silver Surfer,’’ opened with $58.1 million. Several other lower-profile releases fared better over the weekend. The suspense thriller ‘‘The Gift,’’ directed by costar Joel Edgerton and starring Jason Bateman and Rebecca Hall, opened in third with $12 million. The Meryl Streep rocker ‘‘Ricki and the Flash’’ debuted with $7 million on 1,603 screens. The film, directed by Jonathan Demme, will expand to more theaters in the coming weeks (AP)."

Not only is Hollywood completely out of ideas, it is sequels to sequels and version upon version of garbage.

"The boys from Compton smashed opening weekend expectations, while the stylish ‘‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’’ struggled to find its footing. Universal’s N.W.A biopic earned an astonishing $56.1 million in its debut, according to studio estimates Sunday. Director F. Gary Gray’s well-received film charts the formation and rise of the influential rap group. It cost just $29 million to produce. N.W.A members Dr. Dre and Ice Cube served as producers on the film, which has Ice Cube’s son O’Shea Jackson Jr. playing his father. Dr. Dre also released the companion piece ‘‘Compton’’ — his first new album in 16 years. ‘‘It really struck a chord with audiences. It’s a story that is resonating right now,’’ said Paul Dergarabedian, Rentrak’s senior media analyst. “It [1988’s ‘Straight Outta Compton’] was one of those records that was an important work and a very important expression of a particular viewpoint. To this day, that album has so much power.’’ According to exit polls, audiences for the R-rated film were evenly divided between genders, 51 percent were under 30 years old, 46 percent were African-American and 23 percent Caucasian. Meanwhile, Warner Bros. PG-13-rated adaptation of the 1960s television series ‘‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’’ debuted in third place, behind ‘‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,’’ with a sluggish $13.5 million. ‘‘The Man From U.N.C.L.E.’’ stars Henry Cavill and Armie Hammer as two American and Russian agents in the fashionable Cold War-era film. Fox’s ‘‘Fantastic Four’’ plummeted to $8 million to take the fourth-place spot, while ‘‘The Gift’’ took fifth with $6.5 million. Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at US and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Final domestic figures will be released Monday." 

Must be why there are no more antiwar bands or songs.

‘‘Straight Outta Compton’’ easily maintained its lead at the box office with an estimated $26.8 million in ticket sales over a sleepy late summer weekend at North American multiplexes, according to studio estimates Sunday. Universal’s N.W.A biopic has made $111.5 million in two weeks. Of the weekend’s new releases, Blumhouse’s low-budget horror sequel ‘‘Sinister 2’’ fared best, opening in third place with an estimated $10.6 million, behind Paramount’s ‘‘Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation,’’ which made $11.7 million in its fourth weekend. Fox’s assassin thriller ‘‘Hitman: Agent 47,’’ the second attempt in eight years to adapt the popular video game, disappointed with $8.2 million. It will hope to do better abroad, where the 2007 original made $60.3 million. Lionsgate’s stoner action-comedy ‘‘American Ultra,’’ starring Kristen Stewart and Jesse Eisenberg, opened with $5.5 million. The box office was down 7.5 percent from the same weekend last year, according to box-office data firm Rentrak. In limited release, Sony Pictures Classics ‘‘Grandma,’’ a comedy starring Lily Tomlin, opened on four screens with a strong per-screen average of $30,214. Final domestic figures will be released Monday (AP)."

Any more buzz?

"Seeking younger audience, NBC invests $200 million in Buzzfeed" by Callum Borchers Globe Staff  August 18, 2015

We’re about to find out what happens when the world of “Meet the Press” collides with “11 Things You Need To Know About Beyonce’s Flash Tattoos.”

No, we are not and no, we do not need to know that.


For a corporation the size of Comcast, which generated $68.8 billion in revenue last year, the spending spree of the last two weeks is relatively modest. But $200 million is big money in the news business — nearly three times what Red Sox principal owner John Henry paid to purchase The Boston Globe two years ago, and close to the $250 million that Amazon founder Jeff Bezos spent on The Washington Post around the same time.

That's because the New York Times cut that thing loose for cheap. 

As for Amazon....

The fact that $200 million buys only a minority stake in BuzzFeed serves as the latest reminder of shifting media values. With the new infusion of cash, BuzzFeed, a site that didn’t exist a decade ago, is now worth $1.5 billion, according to some estimates.

Media specialists added that NBCUniversal’s decision to invest in BuzzFeed, rather than attempt to launch a similar site that could rival it, is indicative of a broader industry trend.

“The basic dilemma is build or buy,” said C. Samuel Craig, director of the Entertainment, Media and Technology Initiative at New York University’s Stern School of Business. “It’s very difficult for large companies to build internally because the corporate structure is risk-averse, and it’s hard to move quickly. If you see something out there that’s already working, the temptation is to buy or buy in.”

Related: “The question is whether we are in a new Gilded Age or well beyond it — to a Platinum Age.”

Craig cited Walt Disney Co.’s acquisitions of Pixar Animation Studios Inc., Marvel Entertainment LLC, and Lucasfilm Ltd. — all in the past nine years — as prominent examples of one media company buying another to reach a new audience.

More media con$olidation. Great!

Not everyone is following the same strategy. The New York Times has increased its newsroom budget by 50 percent since 2008, to about $300 million per year, while developing new digital offerings and shedding business assets, including the Globe. This month, the Times celebrated 1 million digital-only subscribers.

And they are still going down the toilet. 

Must be all the agenda-pushing lies.

But in the case of NBCUniversal, “it makes more sense to buy in to BuzzFeed than to try to build something in their own kitchen,” said Rick Edmonds, media business analyst at The Poynter Institute for Media Studies in St. Petersburg, Fla.

Like some terrorist cooking up chemicals.


With foreign correspondents filing stories from Istanbul, Cairo, and Kiev, BuzzFeed’s on-the-ground reach exceeds that of many highly regarded news outlets.

The site’s growth and diversification since its founding in 2006 have made BuzzFeed attractive to investors such as Andreessen Horowitz, the blue-chip venture capital firm in Silicon Valley, but NBCUniversal’s $200 million bet on the media company is by far the biggest. BuzzFeed had previously raised $96.3 million over five investment rounds, according to the high-tech funding tracker CrunchBase.

See to jwhom all the loot is going?


So who you gonna call?


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na, na-na-na-na-na-na-na


Did you see who has a cameo?

Of course, the recent budget keeps the film tax credit after several takes, even as the Globe and the governor yelled "Cut." The dictatorial director DeLeo spent the day at the track (helping the poor, of course).

Kevin Hart, ‘The Rock’ filming in Financial District

A fault line in Bo$ton?

Did you see who was the producer and co-star?

Who wrote the soundtrack?

What would a Hollywood movie be without some romance?

Is Affleck-Garner marriage on the rocks?
Ben Affleck, Jennifer Garner splitting up
Ben Affleck television episode violated standards, PBS says
Ben Affleck breaks silence, tweets at John Kerry
Warner Bros., Affleck planning film about FIFA scandal
Affleck to start shooting ‘Live by Night’ in November
Ben Affleck in the spotlight at Comic-Con

"Covert as most of their operations are, you’d expect the Central Intelligence Agency would keep a low profile on Twitter. But, surprisingly, the CIA is quite savvy on social media and sometimes uses it to tell tales based on declassified reports. For example, a few years ago, the agency used Twitter to set the record straight about “Argo,” Ben Affleck’s movie about the CIA’s efforts to rescue Americans from Tehran during the Iran hostage crisis. This week, on the occasion of Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week,” it tweeted about the role Julia Child played in helping the CIA invent “shark repellent” during World War II. It was 1942, long before Child became a celebrated chef and while she was working at the Office of Strategic Services, a predecessor of the CIA. US Naval personnel were being attacked by sharks, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Franklin Roosevelt asked for a repellent. Child and her colleagues at the OSS tried everything but eventually settled on a cake that included copper acetate and smelled of dead shark. The cakes were put in small metal boxes that were strapped to servicemen’s life vests, keeping sharks at bay for several hours. Now you know."

What a great story, huh?

Related: Night at the Oscars 

You might want to tweet that out, #CIA Mockingbird!!

The WAY BETTER HALF of the pair:

Matt Damon is rockin’ a ponytail

He really has some great movies out (Green Zone, Elysium), and asks some really tough questionsMaybe there is some promise for them after all (in the Fantasyland that is film).

I will be parking this blog for the rest of the month, readers, as I will be working on several posts for presentation in the near future. Got a party to go to tonight, though (I do have a ride home).

See you in September!!!

(Rearicks until then)