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Black Entertainment USA - Celebrity / Entertainment News - African American view

Entertainment and celebrity news, movie previews and reviews, sports events, television shows and commercials, music videos, interviews, and commentary. A less mainstream media view for exceptional visitors.


I believe a person's character can be found in their answer to this question: If you could go back in time to the begining of Civilization with 3 books, which 3 would you choose?

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Sunday, April 11, 2010

Quotes of Cindy Sheehan - comedy or tragedy?

When you stop to listen to some activists and individuals of dubious celebrity, you often hear things that just make you want to laugh or cringe. Often I have wondered why anyone would follow such a person. All of this came together when I covered Cindy Sheehan at her book signing in Binghamton New York recently.

Some of the things she said was comically absurd, other parts contradicted her own statements seconds earlier, and yet other statements were tragically wrong. I want to share that with you, and the nature of the following celebrity political video is not quite right for my political blog.



Now when you consider all that I would like you to consider the question that was asked of me by George McAnaname at the Sheehan event.

"Who do you think embodies the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King more, President Obama or Cindy Sheehan?"


**Note, given time considerations of the video, every effort was made to keep the comments of Cindy Sheehan in context. The clips are in chronological order. No alteration was made to statements of Sheehan or any other person speeking.**

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Absinthe Fairy

Saturday, April 10, 2010

P.O.W./M.I.A. Remembrance Service

This is not about entertainment, but I feel very strongly about this. Please take a moment to read the following (originally posted at P.O.W./M.I.A. Remembrance Service in Binghamton NY at Wall That Heals


Though it was a cold, overcast, misty evening dozens of veterans and their families came together at Columbus Park in Binghamton, New York. The reason for the gathering was in part the Wall That Heals, one of the Moving Walls that are travelling 1/2 sized versions of the Viet Nam Memorial found in Washington D.C. The other part was the Remembrance Service held at 6:30.

The Remembrance Service is in honor of those that gave the ultimate sacrifice for our nation, but have yet been unable to come home. It is for those that were captured and tortured in lands where there is no debate allowed about how anyone is treated. It is for members of every service, those that served in Korea, Viet Nam, the Gulf War, Iraq, Afghanistan, and every other conflict that America has ever had or will ever have.

Thus with deep respect, and in honor of those brave and dedicated souls, I present the P.O.W./M.I.A. Remembrance Service so that every American, young or old, never forgets them.



**If you know a veteran or anyone that would appreciate this, please pass it on.**

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Monday, March 29, 2010

Poetry night

Poetry is an art that is often considered an old-fashioned idea. Something that belongs in the era of the Middle Ages, or to the turn of the 20th century. But such a view would be incorrect.

Every Thursday in Binghamton, New York, at the Belmar Bar and on various days in cities actross the nation there are poetry nights. Open mike events where new and established writers gather to share their thoughts and emotions with those that are interested. It's more than a fad, it's a trend that has been growing and surging among those in college as well as regular older adults as well.

Recently I was at the Belmar Bar in Binghamton to listen to the poets at the open mike. Some of those that stepped up to the mike were part of the Binghamton University Poetry Slam, others were just students, and still more were just fans. Overall it was an interesting night of styles and forms of poetry and presentation that brought new meaning to what many think is poetry and/or how it might sound.

I have already presented one poet, Khamal, who read one of my more popular poems - I Rejoice In Me. But there were more than a dozen other poets at the Belmar Bar that Thursday night. I present a couple of those artists for your consideration.

[I note that the low lighting, for the mood, made it difficult to get clear video. Please bare with me on that and hear how and what was said.]

Justin


Khamal


Jimmy


There were many others that were equally as good as the above. I hope to have a chance to present them as well in the future. More importantly, let your inner voice sound out.

If you have a poem you would like to share, come down after 9pm on Thursday to the Belmar (if you are in Binghamton or the surrounding area). Or het on Youtube, or just write. Poetry deserves to live with your voice, and it will if you let it.


**Remember to check out Alchemy at World of VASS and our other sponsors. Your support helps keep this blog alive.**

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Friday, October 16, 2009

6 months after tragedy in Binghamton, NY

You know what I hate? Well among other things, the hit and run nature of the major media. It's something that really has always annoyed me. The way they swoop in and get a few headlines but never really get the full story, or follow-up. Its a bad change from just a decade or so ago.

Take for example the Civic Center shooting in Binghamton, New York. It was a dark day for the city and tragic. I recall getting a call and a text from friends concerned about me when they heard the news. That's how I found out what was happening 6 blocks from my house. And of course I went to cover the breaking news.

It was a cold rainy day. I spent hours getting photos and finding out whatever I could. The number of rumors that day was incredible. Many thought it might have been a terrorist attack early on. But as I continued to seek out facts the situation became more clear. It was the deranged actions of a single troubled man.

There was of course lots of news media around. They traveled from Ithaca, Syracuse, and I recall a few from New York City in the day or so afterwards. But it was just a day or so before they were all gone, moving on to other stories. Which would be fine, except it nagged me that in all the stories almost none of the media bothered to find out what Binghamton was like before the shooting.

I let it go, expecting that at some point there would be some kind of follow-up. Yet it has never happened. Binghamton was marked as a place with a potential danger or some kind of scarlet letter. And while most people in the nation may not thnk of Binghamton's shooting, when the name comes up it has been something they recall. Which I can't abide.

So I have sought out to tell a bit of the real nature of Binghamton. The city that I have called my home for 5 years now. A city that is small but filled with a diversity of people from across the nation, and more than a few countries. Its a place that is perhaps the safest place I have ever lived, and generally filled with good people.

Part of my desire is to set the record straight. Part of it is as a minor member of the press (I'm no CNN) I believe that the positive side of Binghamton deserves to be shown. And of course part of it is the fact this is where I call home.

Thus I start my ongoing coverage with a 15 minute interview with Mayor Matt Ryan. We discussed some of the events of that day. The difficulties that the local authorities had, and how they were resolved. We discussed what has changed in Binghamton, and more importantly what has not. Overall we spoke about the strength of a community and the ability of its people to overcome adversity.

Thus I present my interview with Mayor Matt Ryan of Binghamton, NY





I hope that this helps complete the part of the news cycle that never got finished back in April. I will have more on this soon.

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

An update from Michael Vass

Ah yes I have been busy. With the upcoming 6 month anniversary of the shooting in Binghamton NY, plus the holiday season starting with Halloween, there has been much to do.

With regard to the shooting, I plan to review what has changed for the average person in Binghamton, and what has not. While many want to forget what has happened I believe in the adage

"Those that forget history are doomed to repeat it."


On happier news, there is Halloween. As you may recall I recently made available purchase of Alchemy of England products. These are high quality, hand-crafted, English Pewtewr and Swarovski crystal products imported directly from England.

While many consider these goods only something for the halloween holiday, as an addition to a costume, or something only for those into the Goth lifestyle I believe otherwise. These are products that anyone can enjoy and appreciate.

I believe that the selection of Alchemy products are something that people in every style of life can engage with. Whether its a ciggarette or lighter case, a flask, a goblet, earrings, pendants, whatever. Age is not the factor, expressing your own style is.

So far I have provided Earrings, Pendants Necklaces and Chokers, Ciggarette cases and Lighter cases, Goblets, Chalises, Drinking and Wine Glasses, Cellphone chains, and Rings. Next to be added are T-shirts, Bracelets, Flasks, Buckles, and Walking Canes. But there is even more than that to come.

Dracul Shot Glass - unique old gothic style vessel, with highly decorated glass-bottom, for the self-administration of lethal spirits

Already the response has been wonderful. To that end, I have created a separate site (in addition to providing direct purchases via this site) just for the Alchemy line of products - http://www.alchemy.vassconsult.com/.

Please feel free to take a look, give me your thoughts, tell your friends, and to make a purchase. I use Paypal for all purchases to help ensure your protection in any transaction - and there is no limit or requirement on the size of your order.

Your support is always appreciated.

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Brawlin at the Belmar 2009 - pro competition

To give all my readers a feel of what was seen by those at the 3rd Annual Brawlin at the Belmar BMX Dirt Jump Competition, I decided to fix a camera just on the ramp and capture every jump of the pros. This way you get to hear the reactioon of the crowd and see exactly what the pros did.

The feild of pros was no small group. They included X-Games champions, the winner of the 2008 Belmar competition (Chris Doyle who I interviewed), a local Central New York pro, and a couple of guys from as far as Australia. And the competition was firce. They were all going for the win, and the enjoyment of the crowd.

You really could tell they were all experts as there were many great trick jumps, lots of air off the ramp, and very few crashes or failed jumps. Considering the degree of difficulty, I really was impressed by several of the BMX pros. Though I think that age and experience really too the stage as the older bikers seemed to have the edge.

The following video is basically uneditied. It's the first couple of competition runs for the pros. Out of this group 5 finalists were picked, and they had 4 runs each. I will have a video of that as well.

Pros in the competition include in order:

Adam Rich, Mike Potasney, Ryan Worth, Garrett Williams, Tom Arkiss, Tom Dylan, David Kaye, Chris Doyle, Ben Hill, Tim Rose (Australia), Kye Ashworth (Australia), Chip Slaterly, Pete Schmidt, Brian Foster, Chris Childs



I also plan to make a video of the very best jumps by the pros from the competition. Just give me a bit of time to edit through all the video I took.

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Brawlin at the Belmar 2009 - Chris Doyle interview

The first in my series of videos about the 3rd annual Brawlin at the Belmar BMX Dirt Jump Competition held at the Belmar Bar in Binghamton New York is an interview I was able to get before the pro competition with Chris Doyle.

Chris Doyle is a 16 year veteran pro of BMX, a stunt biker, and the 2008 winner of the Belmar competition. He is from Pittsburgh PA, and a really pleasant guy. In addition he is one of the featured riders/actors in an upcoming film of BMX called Xcelerate (I may have misspelled the title) by director Eric Bugbee [more on the movie soon].

The video contains a couple of teaser practice jumps, photos of Chris Doyle in mid-air, and my interview with him.

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Saturday, September 05, 2009

Brawlin at the Belmar 2009 BMX Dirt Challenge

Well the 3rd annual Brawlin' at the Belmar BMX contest has just finished and I had a blast. The crowd was huge, and the event just keeps getting bigger each year.

This year there were more photographers, more people, and a film crew. In fact there was one phtographer from Japan. And the film crew was shooting scenes from the upcoming BMX movie Xcelerate (Director Eric Bugbee).

I have a lot of video to go through of all the pros competing. I expect to have that up in a day or so.

In addition I was able to get a quick interview with last years winner Chris Doyle. I also have some information about the Xcelerate film, and may have a chance to get more information on the in development independant film to you exclusively.

More details and video soon. I just wanted to let everyone know what a great time the event was. Plus the pros are still doing trick jumps, and the crowd is out to party all night at the Belmar Bar in Binghamton New York.

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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Nightlife Review: Scoreboard in Binghamton NY

Binghamton NY is a city that recently hit the national news. But the city is far more than that tragic event. Even now the city and its populace are trying to move forward from that day.

One aspect of the city that was not covered by the media is the nightlife. There is a robust college student presence in Binghamton. Like all college students a desire to go out and let off steam is as important as getting good grades. The Scoreboard Bar is an important, if somewhat new, part of that process.

The Scoreboard Bar is located on State Street, downstairs from the street level. It's a sports bar primarily, but also has a nightclub with a dance floor and DJ. The bar is split into 2 sections, which can be traversed with ease. Half is the sports bar with over 8 seperate flat screen televisions covering baseball, basketball, hockey, golf and other sporting events daily. The other half is the nightclub, with a dance floor, DJ booth, strobe lights, and more.

No matter which side you might choose to go to you can find plenty of room for dancing or just sitting at the bar and watching a game. On the sports bar side there is additional seating with booths that are open to the rest of the bar. Both sides feature a pool table with enough room for even the tallest player. And there are bathrooms for men and women on each side as well.

There is a lot that can be said for the Scoreboard, but I think the photos give a better indication of how well liked it is already. I say that because the bar has only opened up this month, and is still not known to the populace at large yet. And there are more things to come in the near future - including a kitchen.

The music is lively on either side (the sports bar side tends to play music later in the night after most sporting events are over) though the nightclub is a bit more danceable and festive. The sound system is powerful, but never so loud that your ear will be spliting. The bars are well stocked, with an attentive staff. Plus there are several bouncers on hand to ensure the safety and good time for all patrons.

In addition to all of that there are the various promotional events from time to time. One example is a wet t-shirt contest that recently occured on the nightclub side. It wa an idea that went over very well as you can see from the video. The entire crowd, young men and women, seemed to have a great time. I would imagine that the event will become more of a fixture in the future based on the response the crowd gave to the show.



There aren't a lot of things you can say about a bar beyond if it's worth going to or not. I would say that the Scoreboard is worth the time. It's safe, well located, roomy even when the crowd comes in, friendly, well-staffed, clean, and good music. There are many places in Binghamton, or any town for that matter, that can't say the same things.

If you are in Binghamton and want to watch a sporting event, or want to go out and dance, or even just want to go and play a game of pool going to the Scoreboard will let you do all of the above and more.

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Saturday, April 04, 2009

Unknown heroes in Binghamton took many forms

There has been much thanks and congratulations given to the local and state police in thier response to the attack at the Civic Association, which is due. But I believe that there are others that have not gotten enough credit that they are equally due. Because there are true heroes from this entire event. Some of them just didn't get national media attention.

The hero that has yet to be named is the receptionist who survived the initial attack. One of the first to become a victim of this rampage, with wounds in her stomach she pretended to be dead. Then she made the critical 911 call that brought police and SWAT teams. Without that call, and her efforts to identify the killer, and other information about the event and location, it is unimaginable what could have happened.

There are other people that I think need to be celebrated as well. People who stepped up to help others, just because there was a need. I noticed one of those good samaritans, Mr. Nadil Noouh, at around 12:45. I was able to speak with him last night about the deadly rampage.

Mr. Nadil Noouh is a 26 year old naturalized citizen of the U.S. He lives in the Binghamton area since 2002, used to go to the Civic Association before he passed his tests, and is familiar with the immigrant community in the city. Mr. Noouh also volunteers his time to help translate for immigrants that have trouble with english at the Civic Association.

In the middle of the confusion and horror of the shooting rampage Mr. Noouh, who speaks multiple languages, volunteered to help where he could. His desire to help ensure that communication between those surviving the shooting and police seeking to help them overrode his desire to remain safe. Few of us might have that same thought given the situation.

In speaking with Mr. Noouh about the day, I learned that the police were appreciative of his efforts. They directed him to a nearby firestation where he could be in contact with the hostages. A staging area where critical facts of the what and how could be determined.

I was told how the greatest fear Mr. Noouh had for the survivors was that the lack of understanding english might cause confusion and potential injury; if commands from police like "put your hands up" could not be understood. I learned that Mr. Noouh did this at the risk of his job potentially. Though once he contacted his manager at a nearby large computer technology company he was given all the time he needed to help out.

As it turned out Mr. Noouh was not used. There were many translators gathered with speed by the police from the local community. Still I believe that the effort being made, at a time when so little was known or clear, makes a major statement. And Mr. Noouh was not the only one to do this, though he was one that I did observe personally.

Mr. Noouh mentioned to me in my interview last night that it turned out he did have 1 associate that was in the building during this horrendous crime. Luckily that associate was one of the 37 people that survived the ordeal. I also asked if he knew the attacker, or if there was any clue in the immigrant community beforehand that this was possible. So far, Mr. Noouh has not seen a picture of the man responsible for this cowardly act and thus is unsure if he knows him. And to his best knowledge, of the immigrants and community within Binghamton, there was no warning signs, no indication of the potential for what occured.

Mr. Noouh stated,
"We lost a lot of people, all of us. It's a sad day. I wish I could have helped more. Hopefully people will show up tomorrow and in the future to move forward in time."


I concur. It will take time. And the heartache, the pain, of this event is still just being understood by all of Binghamton. But I believe that this city will overcome this pain, and become a stronger and better city. Because, at the heart of it all, there are heroes and good samaritians in this city. We will never know all their names, or everythig they each did or tried to do. But the fact they exist is a credit to the city and it's people.

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Friday, April 03, 2009

Update after press conference with Gov. Patterson

I have returned from the press conference at City Hall in Binghamton and I will give a quick rundown of some of the facts as discussed by Governor patterson, Mayor Matthew Ryan and Police Chief Joseph Zikuski.

I know that several rumors are floating around the city of Binghamton. There was no shutdown of cell phone service today. Nor was there a bomb threat at the Federal building as of what I have learned. There is no known connection to terrorist, Al Quida or any other group at this time. It is unclear what the motivation for this insane and viscious attack. There is no confirmation that the attacker - who's name is not being divulged at this time - either was angry from losing a job or failing a test.

Most of the rumors running thru Binghamton right now are nothing more than just that. In a small community where crime is low and such acts unthought of, the need to have a cause is rampant. But it is not in the best interest of anyone to believe any of these unsubstantiated facts.

What we do know is that the gunman blocked the back door with a car that was not his own. We know that a receptionist, who is in critical condition right now, called 911 about a man with firearms and shooting. We know that police responded within minutes of that call and that the Police Cheif was on the scene in 3 minutes.

We know that 26 people were in the basement hiding from the gunman, and that police were in constant contact with those people. Had the gunman approached them the Police Chief assured the press that SWAT and officers would have acted to protect those people. We also know that the gunman did not have a rifle, but did have 2 semi-automatic handguns and a hunting knife. We know that the victims were located in the first room after entering the Civic Association building. And we know that at some point the believed gunman shot himself.

I can also state that police are currently searching the believed gunman's residence, and continuing the investigation. Answers will come. Wild speculation helps no one at this time.

I will have more once I finish editing my video of the press conference. I am not a major news agency, but I am working as fast as I can to provide the accurate truth of whayt has happened in Binghamton New York today.

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Update on the Binghamton NY shooting

Ok, I've dried off a bit and calmed a bit.

What I can say about this shooting is that Binghamton will never be the same. In a town with one of the lowest crime ratings in the nation, the community is aghast. The older citizens are wondering why this has happened, while I overheard and spoke with several younger citizens that were comparing the events to an action movie.

In fact there were some that were upset that they were looking in the rain and not hearing gunshots, or seeing the police rush in. What that means about the state of the youth of this nation I do not know, but this was observed by me first hand.

I arrived on the scene at about 12:30, learning about the situation late. By this time the entire area had already been blocked off by local and state police. At some point over the next couple of hours I can state that SWAT officers went through several stages of preparedness - taking and shifting sniper positions. At about 1pm a helicopter was also employed on the scene.

There was no lack of crowds as the rains started at about 1:30. And police were very tight lipped about the events on-going. Every officer I spoke with refused to provide any information, which was good to prevent panic, but bad as later in the day rumors of cell phone shutdowns and a bomb threat at the Federal Building started to circulate.

I want to emphasis that to my knowledge at this moment such news is ONLY a rumor. There is no fact that I am aware of. I am merely discussing the mood and talk among of many in the various crowds.

I have several photographs that go from my arrival on the scene to about 2:15. I know that the local Sun-Press was on the scene, and that at around 1:45 reporters from Syracuse 9 showed up - shushing the crowd as they got establishing shots.

I was not paying attention to the time, but I guess around 1:30 or so, several hostages were released from the front of the Civic Association building. I was told by several onlookers that had a view of the back of the Civic Association building that around this same time half a dozen people raced way, with police officers surrounding them - but whether they were in the Civic building or an adjoining one I cannot say. Those leaving the building from the front were placed in a city bus with a throng of officers surrounding them. I imagine that this was due to the FBI negotiators.

Shortly after some hostages were released, which I believe were not harmed at the time, an individual was taken from the building in handcuffs. While this was not the best photogrpagh of the individual I can say that he appeared to be in the late 20's to 30's, medium build, very short hair or bald. He was wearing a white baseball cap. It was unclear if the man in handcuffs was of asian descent, but I believe so from my view. This may also be part of why I believe that interpeters of asian descent were used by police. Again I cannot fully confirm this, but I am lead to believe that at least one interpeter was Laotian.

During the event, there were many statements that there was up to 3 gunmen involved. I have since heard that a gunman killed himself. I have also heard it reported that the dead gunman was the lone attacker. Which makes me wonder who was handcuffed and removed quickly from the scene that I photographed.

Much is still very unclear at this time. I am hoping to recieve calls from a good samaritan that worked at the Civic Association and volunteered to provide translation services, as well as any local or state officials.

Until I can learn more I leave you with these photos from the scene. I apologized for the blur, but that is due to the rain and cold at the time.



As I learn more and can comfirm more I will provide those updates.

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Live fron the shooting in Binghamton NY

As many readers are familiar, I live in Binghamton NY. Today Binghamton has joined the family of cities across the nation that are familiar with the senseless murder of it's citizens.

Just 4 blocks from my home the American Civic Association has been the scene of an ongoing nightmare. A horrific event that has taken the entire city and place it in shock.

At 9 pm today at least one, and possible 3 gunmen drove their car against the back door of the Civic Associations building. They then proceeded around the front, entering the building and proceeded to shoot people in the facility. So far reports of at least 4 (possibly more) dead and between 6 and 15 others wounded.

I became aware of the events late, as news struck the nation and friends in the area were able to reach me after checking on family.

I have just returned to provided what information I can. I will be providing pictures from the scene and of at least 1 individual that was removed from the scene in handcuffs.

More shortly.

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Introducing the first 2009 model Ashley

One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68

Just in time for the start of the New Year, M V Consulting Inc. presents our first model Ashley France. The latest shoot covered a multitude of the products found at our online store, but by no means did it cover all 1500 items that can be found for men, women, White, Black, Latino/Hispanics and more.

For the start of the year we featured Ms. France in a calendar that covers all 12 months of the year. This is in addition to greeting cards, posters, and other items that you might find useful. All of the items display clothing lines that have themes that can be used all year long, and Ms. France as the model.

One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68One of several pictures of Ashley, the first model of 2009, in the clothes found at www.cafepress.com/nova68

Of course Ms. France is not unique in the fact that she looks good in our clothing lines. We believe that every woman in the world would look great with any of our custom original clothing. No matter the age, race, or country. And the men have hundreds of options too.

If you are interested in modeling one or several of our clothing lines - including the new Respect My Mind, Wanna Ride (Male and Female versions), Cowboys, and Fluffy & Lovable lines - you can either purchase your own clothes from our store and send us the photos, or if you are in the Binghamton New York area you can contact us about joining one of our product shoots.

[The various shoots planned do not require bikini photos, and nudity is never accepted. Any photos sent to M V Consulting, Inc. become the property of the Company. Any model selected will be notified by the Company. All models require proof of age, or parental approval for modeling. Professional photographers are welcome to submit their resume as well. Any further questions about photo shoots and/or modeling for M V Consulting can be directed to our email at info@vassconsult.com]

And in the next shoot I will be sporting the Male Wanna Ride Boxers among other men's fashions. We are fair in all things here at M V Consulting. So come see our store.

More importantly have a safe and happy Christmas and New Year.

Look good at the bar, a concert, or just among friends.Found at the online store at www.cafepress.com/nova68Loveable, Fluffy, fun Bulldog and Persian Cat.An eyecatching pillow like you.Found at the online store at www.cafepress.com/nova68Loveable, Fluffy, fun Bulldog and Persian Cat.Let people know who just passed them.Found at the online store at www.cafepress.com/nova68Loveable, Fluffy, fun Bulldog and Persian Cat.Found at the online store at www.cafepress.com/nova68See our new Wanna Ride clothing line.A sexy and provacative mouse pad to motivate your computing everyday.Make every day of the year sexy and provacative!Who says a stein can't be sexy!An eyecatching pillow like you.Stand out among the crowd.A tease of the real wild man you are.
Let people know who just passed them.Assertive, sexy, and flirtatious. Are you man enough to own it?Assertive, sexy, and flirtatious. Are you man enough to wear it?Assertive, sexy, and flirtatious. Are you man enough to wear it?Assertive, sexy, and flirtatious. Are you man enough to wear it?

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Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Movie Review: Transporter 3

$1.25 for gas
$20 for tickets to movie theater
2 hours of your life

"Are look upset?

But let me tell you why." - From the Birdcage


That I think aptly describes the experience of going to see Transporter 3. That isn't to say this was a bad film. It is to say that I should have waited for the DVD. Because the film is disappointing.

The Transporter series of films have come to make a few things expected. Great car driving, a couple of 5 or more on 1 fight scenes, Jason Statham changing his suits (and thus shirtless for the ladies in the audience), and explosions of large order. These are all very good things in a action film, which the latest does have. yet you feel somehow jilted by the end of the film.

The pace of the film is far slower in the feeling than the other prior movies. While the Audi has another staring role it seem to be held back from what you'd really like to see happen. Often you are just sitting waiting for something to happen. And you just never get a good payoff.

Part of the problem is the writing. And action fans are probably saying "what does that mean?" Action films are not known for their plots. Usually there are plot holes big enough to crash Mac trucks in. But the Transporter series has tended to be better than average in making it all make sense. Until this film.

Early in the film we are left with a big issue. Somehow our female lead is inexplicably asleep until a gentle touch from our hero. At this point one sorry soul has already failed to say 2 words that would have ensured his life. He said 4 or 5 other things, that make no sense to anyone out of the loop. But literally 2 words could have just kept him alive. And the lady also wastes time, and is highly insensitive to the situation, in cluing in Frank Martin (Jason Statham).

Later when Frank has ample time and opportunity to find out what is going on, the lady yet again is about as helpful as acid on your tongue (don't try it, it's just a bad idea). Had she been even slightly helpful everything would have changed. But instead we plod along.

I should mention that the relationship that develops between Frank and this young woman is unbelievable in virtually every aspect. Her whole purpose in the film seems to be to provide a love story so female viewers had a reason to buy the DVD. I felt it was a complete waste of film and did nothing for the story.

The 2 big fight scenes were decent, but not the best. The first movie had the best I think. The car scenes only had 1 that was really cool, and again I think the first movie was far better on this score as well. And when it comes to unbelievable actions, this film beats the other 2 in spades. I dare Mythbusters to try this escape-from-the-lake scenario and bust it wide open.

If you noticed I kept getting disappointed by the film. That includes the final bad guy fight, which ends stupidly. Perhaps one of the most believable parts of the film is Frank fishing with the ever so Columbo-ish French officer that seems to be is detached sidekick now. And that is not saying much.

For all these problems the film is not terrible. It's a decent action film and there are dozens far worse. It's just that I went to the theater for this. At $9 a ticket (and the Regal Theater in Binghamton smells bad by the way) I tend to want more than ok. especially from a film series that has done better than that in the past.

Jason Statham didn't have much to work with in this film. He tried and is just under par with his previous performances as Frank Martin. The French officer is exactly what he has been in the past. And the Audi excels as a top-end vehicle of choice for movers of questionable goods.

The problem is, in the middle of the film when the key bad guy says

"I just realized I don't need the best driver for this job. Any sucker that can drive can do it."


The audience has to say, 'He's right.' And then you wonder why you are watching this film anywhere but in your living room.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Good people on a bad night

I want to depart a bit from my usual blogging to share a moment of my life with you.

I think everyone has had a weekend where things just don’t go right. This weekend has been mine. It started very well with my trip to Hagaman, New York where I met up with Mr. Gregg Cordero. Readers may be familiar with Gregg from my interview with him on the subject of real estate and the mortgage bailout crisis. You may also be familiar with him because of the reason for my trip, the 1st Annual Madden J. Cordero Memorial. I will be discussing that event in a separate post, but the event went well.

On my trip back home though things went a bit awry.

Halfway back to Binghamton the car died. At my best guess the car threw a rod. This happened at the gleeful location of the sign indicating 87 more miles to Binghamton on I-88 west. If you have driven past this spot it is remarkable only in that it is 38 miles from Oneonta and surrounded by a lot of nothing. The time was 8:30pm, so the sun was down and the temperature was likewise dropping. I believe it was less than 40 degrees at that moment.

I was with a friend, who had forgotten her cell phone at home. My cell phone had died while I was at the event. Traffic was infrequent enough that we had time to push the car to the shoulder of the road. Of the trucks and cars that did pass by at that point, none even slowed down. With the prospect of little traffic, no cops, no phone, and a lack of familiarity with the area, as the temperature continued to drop we decided to walk to the nearest town. The fact that it was severely dark, there are no lights in the area, nor any towns, and that fear of freezing waiting for a cop or the chance of being hit by a wayward driver were moderate all factored into the decision to walk.

I should mention that I was wearing a suit and overcoat. My friend was wearing a dress, thin sweater, and a mid-length leather jacket. Suffice to say we were cold. Oh, I was wearing a pair of 1970 leather half-boots, and she had on moderate heels. So neither of us had footwear appropriate for a long walk.

When I say the walk was long, I mean real long. On the far right shoulder of the road, unable to see more than 5 feet or so in front of us. And at the time we had no idea of how far we had to travel. We started off at about 9:15, and for the next hour and maybe a half some 25 cars and trucks passed us without pause. In the miles we covered we saw no indication of any turnoffs or exits nor that we would come to one at any point in the near-term. There are also no phone or emergency call phones that can be found along the road on some highways. Did I mention that it was cold and dropping temperature?

Finally 2 ladies did stop their car and asked us what we were doing. After learning of our situation, they thankfully decided to give us a ride.

The driver was a woman named Kara, and the passenger was her friend from Washington State Roseanne. We learned that the ladies were just returning home from visiting NYC and the 9/11 site, which Roseanne had never seen before. Both ladies had sons that were in the military and serving in Afghanistan. They were quite proud and also worried for their sons, as the fighting there was intense from what they conveyed to us.

They drove us some 15 minutes or more to Oneonta, and dropped us off at the Neptune Diner. The diner is a 24-hour location and quite nice. I would have taken pictures of the place, except the camera had also died. The ladies were very kind and tried to provide us with cash, which I kindly turned down as I did have money available to me. They had also allowed us the use of their cell phone to contact the daughter of my friend, so she could pick us up. (Thank goodness because I don’t really know many people in Binghamton and the few I do know were phone numbers in my cell that I could not retrieve.)

Once in the diner we were able to get something to eat, and coffee to warm us up. I actually had a Bailey’s and coffee. At this point we asked the staff to help us select a towing company to get the car. The staff not only provided us with a telephone book, but the name of a reliable (and relatively cheap I learned later) tow, the use of the manager’s cellphone (which he volunteered when we asked about a payphone) and a bit of pleasant conversation while we waited for everyone to arrive.

At about 11pm, Marcus Arellius – yes just like the gladiator from the movie of the same name – showed up for the keys to pick up the car. About another half hour later my friends’ daughter showed up. 15 minutes after that Marc was back with the car.

  • The cost to tow a car from the middle of nowhere on the highway some 38 miles away? $194.
  • Cost of the meal? $17.50.
  • Cost of fixing the car? Still don’t know yet as the garage, Susquehanna Auto is closed on Sunday.
  • Having someone pick you up from the middle of the dark, cold, highway and get you to civilization? Priceless
  • Having people help you out and get you home? Priceless.

    There is no feeling like being 2 Black people on a road and unsure if anyone will come to help you, or if they will pretend to help and endanger you more. There is no feeling like having people who have no need to help you step up and do so.

    I thank Kara, Roseanne, the staff of the Neptune Diner, Marcus Areillus, and my friends’ daughter for all their help Saturday night. Had each of them not gone out of their way the hours it would have taken in that cold would have been extreme. There is a large question on how safe we would have been, either from the cold or a driver accidentally hitting us on the highway.

    America is often a divided nation, based on racism, economic status, sex and other issues. But every so often, it’s refreshing to see when people that don’t have to help out do so.

    And as a moment of caution to my readers I suggest the following:

      Always charge your cell phone before a trip of any length.
      Always have a couple of phone numbers of friends on a piece of paper in your wallet.
      Always carry a spare battery for your electronic devices
      Always have warm clothing in your car, and a spare set of sneakers or boots.
      Always keep an extra $20 in your pocket or wallet whenever taking a trip.
      If possible always have an extra credit card that is only for extreme emergencies.

    These things may not sound like a big deal, but as I found out they can make an extreme difference.

    And if you laughed at any point of this, it’s ok. No one wound up hurt, and everyone got home safely. The money is not fun to have to spend, but it could have cost more. So a laugh after the fact is not a big deal.

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  • Thursday, June 26, 2008

    My New House pt 2 - the developing interior

    As I mentioned a day or two ago (I've kind of lost track) I purchased a new home. Since I have shared my experiences on getting approved for the mortgage, as well as my thoughts on most every other subject, I thought you might want to know more about the house (or at least see inside).

    The house is 2005 sq ft (which I plan to expand to 3500 sq ft due to the attic and basement). It's a 1910 brick house in relatively excellent condition. The house is filled with American Cherry wood, which I am told you cannot find anymore. Each closet is big enough to house a college student (litterally they are almost as big as some apartments I saw in New Brunswick back when I was in Rutgers). It has 2 floors and attic and basement - which run the full length of the house. The rooms are all large to above average in size. I have a small yard (which needs a bit of work). There is a small garage and behind that a shed too.

    The house has 3 enterances, solid wood doors, and original skeleton keys in place. The lights are all original ceramic sconces (the white ones) and brass sconces. [I plan to sell the ceramic sconces on eBay if anyone is interested] The carpets you see are all going to be removed, and the hard wood floors below are in fantastic shape. All the furniture is newly purchased - and I picked out everything myself [I think I did a good job]. Not sure what I will do with the chandilier in the dining room, but it is also original and has haind painted glass. The dining room has pocket doors and the embedded trophy case has leaded glass. The fireplace is fully functional.

    Now don't think there is no work to be done on this. I have work to do on the roof, yard, painting all the rooms, replacing some fixtures and a couple of 100 year old pipes. Oh, and curtains too - God they are expensive. Oh and still a few more pieces of furniture too.

    And I have a few odd bits that I will be selling, like an antique (circa IBM 1950)iron desk, an old possibly handmade table saw, some light fixtures and such. The porcelian sink stays.

    Of course I will be making the attic a master suite with its own bath (adding about 750 sq ft to the house). I also plan to add a sauna and hot tub to the basement after I finish the ceiling there.

    All in all its a hopefully 2 year project, though I could easily live here without major change now. But my point in sharing this is that if I can do it (being single, not rich, with my own money, and never owning anything bigger than a futon before) you can do it as well. And if you plan and work hard from the start I bet it won't take you til you are 40 - my age - to get it.

    Now the pictures of some of the rooms. If you have suggestions or comments let me know.

    Still need to paint and add a 42 inch TV

    another view from the dining room pocket doors

    My office in a state of unreadiness

    From inside the dinning room hiding some boxes

    You can see my certificate from the Marines, and several of the items I sell at www.cafepress.com/nova68

    Taken from the seperate pantry/butler's room - yes I know odd bits are around.

    leading to the second floor and across to kitchen and the yard out back.

    And because I know some one will ask

    My Bedroom - with clothes about, and no the queen mattress and boxsping are not shown.

    My bathroom - you really don't need to see more of it do you?.

    While that's not every room or every detail I think you get the idea of the insides. I hope you have enjoyed peeking at this moment in my life. I'm glad to have shown it to you all and hope you go out and get the same or far better for yourself.

    Best wishes to you my readers, I'll be back to writing in a day or so.

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