Monday, August 18, 2014

This stuff really, really works!

“Most discoveries even today are a combination of serendipity and of searching. — Siddhartha Mukherjee, physician, scientist and writer

Sometimes I think that the best things I do are mostly by accident. I came down with a miserable sneezing, coughing, eight-boxes-of-Kleenex viral thing. 

I moaned about it on Facebook, and one of my FB friends recommended that I brew tea, put honey in it, and if I wanted, add a little lemon. 

Possibly because I was in fact SICK when I read what she wrote, I got mixed up and didn't see the tea part. In my head it was: heat up lemon juice and water and put honey in it.

I was home alone, we didn't have lemons, but I did have two big bottles of Italian Volcano 100% organic lime juice that I bought at CostCo with a "hey, this stuff looks interesting — maybe we can put it in things" attitude.

I went to the kitchen, grabbed the Italian Volcano, dumped some in a mug, added water and Tupelo honey, heated it up, drank it and found it very helpful. 

But being skeptical, I was thinking, "Oh it's probably just the placebo effect," and I drugged myself to sleep with some kind of Nyquil-type stuff. However,
when I woke up in the morning, my head was a brick, I couldn't breathe, and I felt like my throat was going to close up, so I said, "Paul! Paul! Go make me some hot lime juice with honey!"

I drank it, and in about a minute my head started draining, the coughing became productive, and over the course of the afternoon, I stopped coughing!! Holy moly!!

I called my MD friend Galen who told me that lemon and lime are — I apologize that I can't remember the big scientific word — natural mucus breakers, and I've been swigging my hot water, lime juice and honey ever since.

I even went to work today for three hours this afternoon. This is absolutely the fastest I've ever recovered from such a congested, coughing viral thing — ever, ever

We have this wonderful little Chinese grocery store two blocks from our office, and while I was at work this afternoon Paul said, "This lime juice/honey thing seems to be working wonders, but I'm walking down to talk to the old Chinese proprietor to see what she recommends."

Guess what she said??? "Heat up water. Put honey in. Put lime juice in. No lemon. Must be lime. Drink. I make my daughter drink every morning. No coughing."

So there ya' go. I got mixed up and did it wrong, but ended up making the most perfect mucus-busting, cough calming stuff ever!

You're welcome.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

We can do this!!!!

“Take that bone out of your nose and call me back.” — Rush Limbaugh (admitted in a 1990 Newsday article to saying this to an on-air caller)

Okie dokie. Here we go!

Here's the super duper good news. Bit by bit, Rush Limbaugh is going down! 

I'm serious!!

His advertisers are bailing on him, and stations are dropping him. This is the best news I've had in a really, really long time, and even though I'm still suffering from a viral grunge, this blessed occurrence makes me want to run around, leaping and singing and laughing hysterically. 

What's so really, really wonderful about this turn of events is not just that this hateful waste of skin is being slowly silenced, it's that WE THE PEEPS are doing it!!!!

BTW: If any of you find this post offensive, go ahead right this moment and unsubscribe from my blog or unfriend me or any other distancing mechanism you can think of because I can tell you with the full authority of my soul, you and I do not want to be connected. 

And if by chance you are sitting on the fence and need evidence as to what a cancer on the body human El Rushbo is, I will send it. The rest of us already know.

I've heard so often, "But what can one person do?" 

The answer right now is a whole heck of a lot!

It's each one of us taking one step. And I'm here to help you do it.

First, read the below article from Daily Kos because it will cheer you up and help you realize how much power you have!!! (Included is a live link to where all of his advertisers are listed.)

Below that is part of the transcript of Limbaugh's August 12 show with comments about Robin Williams' death, just in case you want to remember how day-to-day hateful he is.

And below that, for your convenience, I've attached the 36 national advertisers and their contact information so you won't even have to leave this post to register your protest against Slimbaugh's advertisers. I'll send you local ones later.

(Note: Normally when I share someone else's article, in addition to identifying who wrote it and where it came from, I put it in small type as another visual reminder that I didn't write it, but I'm leaving the below DK article in larger type so that you may feel more inclined to read it.)

Clear Channel Gives Limbaugh Bum's Rush in Pittsburgh

by tkirkland
AUGUST  07, 2014

Rush Limbaugh has an achey breaky heart today. Clear Channel just flipped Limbaugh's WPGB in Pittsburgh to country music. It had fallen to 11th in Pittsburgh, echoing hate radio's plummeting popularity across the country. He got picked up by the smaller WJAS in Pittsburgh, owned by Radio Partners LLC, and 7,000 watts compared to WPGB's 15,000.  It is AM to boot, so likely suffers more from interference than the FM WPGB would. Pittsburgh is considered the 25th largest radio market in the U.S.

August is off to a bad start for Rush Limbaugh. Last week, he got dumped by one of his California stations, which flipped to a country music format, too, a switch the owner said was due to Stop Rush.  Earlier in the year, Mr. Limbaugh was demoted to smaller stations in L.A. and San Francisco as well, the 2nd and 4th largest markets in the country, respectively.

Mr. Limbaugh seems to be floating more fringe conspiracy theories and gross misogyny lately, perhaps in hope of maintaining the hard core listeners he has left. Today it was that the border crisis is a plot to "wrest control of this country from the white majority." That is worthy of a diary of its own; I hope someone will write one up. Last week, he hyped for two days what he called his "Vagina Justice Monologue."

Advertisers don't want to be associated with either one.  So, it's not a good long-term strategy, for him, or any of his stations.

Decent folks who believe in tolerance and equality are no longer powerless against Rush Limbaugh's efforts to spread intolerance on the radio.  StopRush is making a major impact by convincing advertisers on this show to withdraw their ads--and with your help we can do even more.  Just a few emails, tweets, or Facebook messages a week to Limbaugh's advertisers can go a long way toward making hatred less profitable.  It is our collective voice that makes us strong.

Want to do something hold Limbaugh accountable?  

Join StopRush!  We can use your help in the following ways:

Join:  The Flush Rush Facebook community

Visit:  The StopRush sponsor database

Fact Check:  Limbaugh Lie Debunking 


 Install: ThinkContext StopRush browser extension (notifies you as you browse which companies advertise on Rush)

(End of Daily Kos. Kelly here again now.)

In case you need reminding (I doubt you do) Slimebaugh is the one who called a college girl a "slut" because she was unmarried and on birth control pills, and said the below about Robin Williams' death (taken from the actual transcript of His Vileness' radio show).

"If you notice the coverage is focused on how much he had, but it wasn't enough. He had everything, everything that you would think would make you happy. But it didn't. 

Now, what is the left's worldview in general?  What is it? If you had to attach not a philosophy but an attitude to a leftist worldview, it's one of pessimism and darkness, sadness. They're never happy, are they? They're always angry about something. No matter what they get, they're always angry. 

Talk about low expectations and general unhappiness and so forth. Right here it says that one the contributing factors to Robin Williams deciding to kill himself was "survivor's guilt." It's in the headline . . . 
He could never get over the guilt that they died and he didn't." 

Me again: There really isn't any transition from the nastiness of the above sentence to the below screed. And BTW, it makes no sense! (Just how desperate is he?!)

"Well, that is a constant measurement that is made by political leftists in judging the country. It's outcome-based education: 2 + 2 = 5. That's fine until the student learns it's 4. We're not gonna humiliate the student by pointing out that he's wrong. If he figures it out, cool. We're gonna take the fast learners and we're gonna slow them down so that they don't humiliate the kids that don't learn as fast as they do. It's just not fair."

So the bottom line is here is it's reported that he died, which is true, but he actually committed suicide. I just really hope that this coverage does not spawn copycats, because the coverage is fawning and glorious, and positive.

I mean, everybody would love to be spoken of the way the media's speaking of Robin Williams today and last night . . . (sigh). Man, oh, man, oh, man. The media just...You know, anybody can be...What do you think the percentage is of media people who are actually low-information, incompetent people themselves?"  

(We all in unison answer: You El Rushbo. YOU are in the percentage "of media people who are actually low-information, incompetent people." AND the description you cite of liberals — "They're never happy, are they? They're always angry about something. No matter what they get, they're always angry" — fits YOU, you dumb ass!!)

I said all that to say this: 

You can make a difference by calling and emailing these advertisers and stations!!

How do I know? Because the calls and emails that are coming in are already influencing advertisers and stations to dump him! 

So help!!! There comes a time when we all have to stop waiting for someone else to be the difference. You know he's despicable. And now you know you can help.

(Please note that if you'd rather – or also – contact these advertisers on Facebook, the StopRush sponsor database

 link has those Facebook links as well.)

Final Trim (weight loss pills)     800.655.8385

IDrive     818.878.9202

Blinds.Com / Home Depot     800.505.1905

Ovation Hair / Ovation Cell Therapy     760.597.5936

Dinovite (pet vitamins and supplements)     859.428.1000

American Bullion (gold buyers and sellers)     800.365.4189

Budget Blinds     866.590.6341

Power Swabs (teeth whitening) (testosterone)

Visiting Angels (elder care)     800.365.4189

Regus (office space across the US)     888.863.0551

Goldworth Financial     818.444.7102

Gold Bond (all products)

Tax Defense Partners (tax resolution)     866.IRS.PROB

DeVry (online university)     866.DEVR.34

ProFlowers     800.580.2913

Rite Aid (drug store chain)     800.RITE.AID

Dish Network (personal ID app)     650.206.2707

State Farm     309.766.2311

Apple Computer     408.996.1010

WAVE Home Solutions     800.293.9577

American Heart Association (PSAs)     214.373.6300

Buzzed Driving NHTSA / Ad Council     202.331.9153

Quicken Loans     800.863.4332

Unisom (sleeping aid)     423.821.4571

Super Beta Prostate     800.943.6465

UPS Store     858.455.8982

Napa Auto Parts     800.538.6272

The Company Corporation (online law service)     800-945-9958

Acura     800.382.2238

iHeartRadio (owned by Clear Channel)

Greenlight Financial Services     866.663.2783

Icy Hot Patch     423.821.4571

Hillsdale College     517-437-7341

Comcast Business Class     800-391-3000

REMEMBER: It isn't enough to just stop doing business with his advertisers. In fact, simply ceasing to buy from them might just cause them to advertise more with him in the hope of pumping up sales. You have to tell these businesses what you will no longer or now not consider buying from them.

In our household there are seven advertisers that fit into that category.

  • We've owned three Acuras. We need a new car. Guess what we won't buy. 

  • Everybody has to have insurance. Will it be State Farm? Don't make me laugh. And BTW: isn't this the same company who did everything they could to get out of paying Katrina claims?

  • We were auto parts shopping recently, and we still have a radiator to buy. It won't be from Napa.

  • We already send our business freight via Fed Ex. UPS is constantly trying to woo us. They can kiss any chance of that goodbye.

  • I seriously sent flowers via ProFlowers about a month ago, and I was going to send some to someone else through them. Not gonna happen.

  • We already fired Home Depot for the shameful way they treat their employees. Here's another reason to never go back, and with this office move and reno, believe me we've been buying plenty of DYI supplies — but not there.

  • What in the name of heck are we going to do about Apple?? We own some many Apple products. I guess I'm going to have to lodge my complaint on the basis of that. 

C'mon!!! We can do this!!!!

Friday, August 15, 2014


“Christopher Robin Had wheezles And sneezles, They bundled him Into His bed. They gave him what goes With a cold in the nose, And some more for a cold In the head.” — A.A. Milne


So I thought, "Well, since this circumstance has befallen me, it's a good time to work on a major post." But two things:

1) I feel crappy. Nothing life-threatening. Just a most miserable virus. Lucky for me, Paul is being his usual, loving self — making me homemade chicken soup, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and bringing chocolate home. He also made two trips to the store to get me first Lotion Kleenex (which didn't feel any different than regular) and then Cool Touch Kleenex which does feel better on a raw nose, but the head is too achy to write much.

2) This particular post I have in mind will be a time-consuming one. I'm writing it with the intention of enlisting your help in putting Rush Limbaugh out of business. Seriously, I think we can take him down. I'm so very, very encouraged by the recent high numbers of advertisers deserting him, and boy howdy, am I game to help!

So hang on, sloopy, sloopy hang on. (I was going to quote the famous Sam and Dave lyrics, but hey, this is the innertubes, and lord only knows how those particular lyrics might have been misconstrued!)

In the meantime, here are kitties knocking things on the floor. C'mon! They're not jerks!! Kitties can't help it. It's like asking Monk not to straighten a picture.

Time for baby knockout drops for moi. Oh, and PS: Even though I'm sick abed, I'm doing the happy dance that Texas governor Rick Perry has been indicted by a grand jury on charges abuse of power. Hee hee. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

The charity of Robin Williams

"No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world." — Robin Williams

ONE OF my Facebook friends pointed out that in speaking of Robin Williams' life and death, his humanitarian efforts shouldn't be overlooked. I agree.

I'm sharing some statistics and a couple of stories from various sources so his legacy of kindness and generosity can be celebrated and remembered.

Personally, I still feel very sad to know that he was in so much pain that death seemed less painful.

From the website, Look to the Stars — The World of Celebrity Giving

Robin Williams supported the following 28 charities and foundations:

  — Aid Still Required
— American Foundation for AIDS Research
— Amnesty International
— Andre Agassi Foundation for Education
— Augie's Quest
— Bob Woodruff Foundation
— Celebrity Fight Night Foundation
— Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
— Comic Relief
— David Foster Foundation
— Doctors Without Borders
— Dogs Deserve Better
— Dream Foundation
— Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
— Heifer International
— International Medical Corps
— Keep Memory Alive
— Love Our Children USA
— Luke Neuhedel Foundation
— Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center
— Musicales
— Prince's Rainforests Project
— Prince's Trust
— Robert F Kennedy Memorial
— Smile Train
— St. Jude Children's Research Hospital

  — USO

Robin Williams' other role: humanitarian
By Pamela Dembo, CNN
Wed August 13, 2014

(CNN) -- The sudden death of Academy Award-winning actor and comedian Robin Williams has sent shock waves throughout the world. The 63-year-old was not only known for bringing laughter to so many throughout his career but for bringing compassion to his philanthropic causes as well.
Impact Your World remembers Williams' generosity by looking at some charities with which he worked.

The United Service Organization (USO) was a perfect fit for the comedian. The goal of the organization is to lift the spirits of American troops, and that's exactly what Williams did. During his USO tours, the "Good Morning, Vietnam" star traveled to war zones entertaining troops from Afghanistan to Kuwait.

The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injuries, tweeted:

The entertainer and Christopher Reeve were very close friends. They formed an inseparable bond as roommates while studying at New York's Julliard School.

Williams was the first to bring a smile to his college buddy's face after Reeve's 1995 horseback riding accident left him paralyzed from the neck down. In Reeve's autobiography "Still Me," he wrote how Williams made a surprise hospital visit impersonating a Russian proctologist and was going to perform an exam on him!

Just like his "Patch Adams" character, Williams brought smiles and laughter to sick children. He visited kids battling cancer one-on-one and signed autographs at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.

In 2006, the father of three was honored with the Muhammad Ali Humanitarian Award at Celebrity Fight Night. The annual event raises money primarily for the Muhammad Ali Parkinson Center in Phoenix. Reba McEntire has emceed the benefit dinner and auction for the past nine years and recalled her favorite memory of Williams.

She added, "I will miss Robin so much, as we all will. Thank God we have so many wonderful memories of him, his wit, talent, big heart and generosity."
The late actor was also involved with Comic Relief to raise money for those in need, especially America's homeless.

Comic Relief Campaign Was More Than Photo Op for Robin Williams
By Cynthia Littleton, Variety
August 13, 2014 

In remembering Robin Williams, friends and family members have hailed the depth of his commitment to supporting a range of charitable causes. In many instances, he donated his time and money without fanfare or recognition.

But the cause that Williams, who died Monday at 63, was most associated with in the public eye was Comic Relief and the series of telethons that he co-hosted with Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg on HBO in the 1980s and ‘90s.

The org, founded in 1985 by comedian Bob Zmuda, focuses on efforts to ease the crisis of homelessness, with an emphasis on health care services. To date, Comic Relief has raised more than $70 million in the U.S.

Zmuda got the idea for Comic Relief by watching the 1985 “Live Aid” concert that raised money for famine relief efforts in Africa. He took the concept of staging a comedy version to his former comedy partner, Chris Albrecht, who had just joined HBO as VP of original programming (and is now chairman-CEO of Starz).

Zmuda knew the telethon would need heavyhitter hosts to draw other talent. Albrecht had worked with Williams, Crystal and Goldberg during his previous tenure as an agent at ICM. It wasn’t long before the trio was on board and helping to recruit a who’s who of comedy stars for the inaugural three-hour “Comic Relief” telecast on March 29, 1986.

Zmuda also knew Williams from their days in the trenches of Los Angeles’ comedy clubs in the late 1970s. Williams was eager to help out with Comic Relief in part because he had come from a privileged background and felt an obligation to do what he could to help others.

“Robin was a silver-spoon guy,” Zmuda told Variety. “He came from a well-to-do family and he always felt it was important to give back.”

Comic Relief “couldn’t have happened without the three of them,” Albrecht told Variety. “It was about putting together the publicity machine not just for the show but for the issue. Robin was certainly dedicated and passionate about making sure that the (homelessness) issue got platformed with as much visiblity as possible.”

Albrecht recalled the nervousness among the hosts and producers in the opening moments of the first telecast, staged at the Universal Amphitheater in Los Angeles.

“They went out on stage and did their opening monologue and the phones started ringing. We were standing there going ‘Oh my god, people are actually calling and donating money.’ We were almost beside ourselves with giddiness,” he said.

Zmuda recalled that the “Comic Relief” director learned an important lesson within the first few minutes of the telecast. “Always keep a camera on Robin, because he’s the one who’s going to be bouncing around all the time and you never know what he’s going to do,” he said.

In addition to co-hosting eight editions of the telethon between 1986 and 1998 (plus a 2006 event to raise money for Hurricane Katrina relief), Williams, Crystal and Goldberg made many visits to homeless shelters and service orgs around the country. It wasn’t all about photo ops, Zmuda assured.

“They would rehearse the hell out of that show for weeks beforehand,” he said. “And they’d go to homeless project sites and interface with people. This guy had a big, big heart.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Depression and suicide

“The demons are still there. The little voice saying, 'You're garbage, you're nothing, you hear me,’ — yeah he’s still there, believe me.” — Robin Williams

MANY OF US, including me, remain shocked by Robin Williams' suicide. I think virtually everyone of us wishes we could have saved him.

But although it's incredibly tragic, it's no more so than the rest of the suicides that took place on Monday, August 11, 2014. For anyone to reach such a dark and despairing place that he or she feels there is literally no hope, is the very definition of tragedy. 

At some point I'll write a post about the wide, black swath of suicide and mental illness that runs in my family right through to my mother, but for now I want to share two things. 

The first is something that came to me from a Facebook friend. I promised him that I would share it, and I'm doing so in honor of him and Mike A., Mike S., V.L.L., Deb L., K.N., Richard L., D.J.H., Randall W., David S., Marion Wright, Eddie Lybbert, Josephine Lybbert, Donald Lybbert and Helen Katrina Lybbert Sargent.

The second is a New York Times article about Robin Williams' death that appeared August 12, 2014.

Busy Working, Robin Williams Fought Demons
AUG. 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES — Peering through his camera at Robin Williams in 2012, the cinematographer John Bailey thought he glimpsed something not previously evident in the comedian’s work. They were shooting the independent film “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” and Mr. Williams was playing a New York lawyer who, facing death, goes on a rant against the injustice and banality of life.

His performance, Mr. Bailey said Tuesday, was a window into the “Swiftian darkness of Robin’s heart.” The actor, like his character, was raging against the storm.

That defiance gave way on Monday to the personal demons that had long tormented Mr. Williams. With his suicide at age 63, Mr. Williams forever shut the window on a complicated soul that was rarely visible through the cracks of an astonishingly intact career.

Given his well-publicized troubles with depression, addiction, alcoholism and a significant heart surgery in 2009, Mr. Williams should have had a résumé filled with mysterious gaps. Instead, he worked nonstop.

At the very least — if his life had followed the familiar script of troubled actors — there would have been whispers of on-set antics: lateness, forgotten lines, the occasional flared temper.

Not so with Mr. Williams. “He was ready to work, he was the first one on the set,” said Mr. Bailey, speaking of Mr. Williams’s contribution to “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn,” of which he was the star.

“Robin was always 1,000 percent reliable,” said a senior movie agent, speaking on the condition of anonymity to conform to the wishes of Mr. Williams’s family. “He was almost impossibly high functioning.”

As Hollywood struggled on Tuesday to understand how Mr. Williams — effervescent in the extreme — could take his own life, authorities released details of his death. A clothed Mr. Williams hanged himself with a belt from a door frame in his bedroom in Tiburon, Calif., according to Lt. Keith Boyd, assistant deputy chief coroner for Marin County.

Mr. Williams’s wife, Susan Schneider, went to bed at 10:30 Sunday night and woke up on Monday believing her husband was still asleep in a separate bedroom. A personal assistant, concerned that he was not responding to knocks on his door, discovered the body, cool to the touch and with rigor mortis, at about 11:45 a.m. on Monday.

Mr. Williams, who had recently been treated for severe depression, was declared dead at 12:02 p.m. Officials found a pocketknife in the room, apparently with dried blood on it, and superficial wounds on Mr. Williams’s left wrist, said Lieutenant Boyd, who declined to say whether there was a suicide note. Toxicology reports are still pending.

To a large degree, said studio executives and agents who worked with him, Mr. Williams seemed to use work as a way to keep his personal demons caged. At an age when most actors are slowing down, Mr. Williams was engaged with a half-dozen recent and planned projects. They ranged from stage work and low-budget films to an anticipated — though still distant — big-budget sequel to his biggest hit, “Mrs. Doubtfire,” which took in about $728 million worldwide in 1993, after accounting for inflation.

Seeming to thrive on performance, despite the undertow of depression and substance abuse, Mr. Williams interrupted a live comedy tour for his heart surgery in 2009. But he quickly returned to finish his run. Stanley Wilson, a film producer who attended Juilliard with Mr. Williams and remained a close friend until the end, said a 2011 stint on Broadway left the actor “overwhelmed with joy.”

“He was totally proud” of his recent work, Mr. Wilson said, speaking by telephone on Tuesday. But he acknowledged that Mr. Williams had long been a “melancholic guy.”

Experts say that it is impossible to predict who will commit suicide. The act is so radical, individual and rare that it defies precise scientific analysis.

But there are factors that increase its likelihood, experts said, and many of them were Mr. Williams’s longtime companions: drugs, alcohol, depression. After a cocaine-fueled early career, Mr. Williams quit cold turkey in the mid-1980s and strung together two decades of sobriety before returning to alcohol while shooting a movie in Alaska, according to his own public statements. He entered rehab in Oregon in 2006.

Mr. Williams was also a middle-aged white male facing career challenges — his 2013 television series, “The Crazy Ones,” was canceled by CBS after one season — only a few years after the heart surgery. More than 70 percent of all suicides in the United States are white men, most of them in their middle years, and many take their lives in the wake of some loss, whether professional, personal or physical.

Charles J. Biederman, a Los Angeles lawyer who represented Mr. Williams in entertainment dealings, strongly refuted tabloid reports on Tuesday that the actor was in acute financial distress.

“No, no, he was doing fine,” Mr. Biederman said. Other members of Mr. Williams’s professional coterie also insisted that money problems were not an easy explanation for what happened. “He didn’t have crazy money like before his divorces, but the coffers were still full,” said a person who worked closely with Mr. Williams, who was currently on his third marriage.Mr. Wilson said: “He was not broke. He got highly paid for the series, and he just did two movies.”

Mr. Wilson did acknowledge that money had been an issue for his friend roughly two years ago. In an interview with Parade last year, Mr. Williams said as much, telling an interviewer that he had decided to do “The Crazy Ones,” his first steady TV job in 30 years, because of the paycheck. Mr. Williams’s salary for the show was reportedly between $150,000 and $200,000 an episode, which for a season of 22 episodes could have paid more than $4 million.

“There are bills to pay,” Mr. Williams told Parade, adding that he had recently re-listed his Napa ranch for $29.9 million because “I just can’t afford it.” (The ranch, initially listed in 2012 for $35 million, is still for sale.)

Whether for emotional or financial reasons, Mr. Williams in recent years increased his workload, even taking on commercials. He played a football coach unhinged by hunger for Snickers and his voice was used in spots for iPad Air devices.

His 2006 relapse appeared related to concern about his ability to keep working. “It’s fear,” Mr. Williams said in a 2010 podcast interview with the comedian Marc Maron. “You’re kind of going, ‘What am I doing in my career? Where do you go next?’”

Mortality also appeared to weigh on him. While shooting “Boulevard,” an indie drama that was filmed in Tennessee in the spring of 2013, Mr. Williams spoke pointedly about the recent death of another famous comedian — his idol, Jonathan Winters.

“On set, Robin talked about losing Jonathan Winters in all his brilliance and goodness, like any other fan,” said Dito Montiel, the director of “Boulevard.”
For Mr. Bailey, Mr. Williams’s little-seen performance in “The Angriest Man in Brooklyn” is the comedian’s “defining role,” revealing him for the tormented, if comic, soul that he really was.

Nicole Perlroth contributed reporting from San Rafael, Calif. Bill Carter and Benedict Carey contributed reporting from New York.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Marching to save the planet

"Gandhi didn't fast for 21 days and take a day off. To me you have to commit yourself to the sacrifice, because it's so important. Even if people don't agree, they appreciate commitment." — Ed Fallon, Organizer of the Great March for Climate Action

YESTERDAY, I joined the Great March for Climate Action for a walk in Des Moines. Facebook friend Ryan Hirl hipped me to the fact that it was happening. I appreciated knowing because as I told him, I don't want to be one of those people (like Rosanna Rosanna Danna's dad used to tell her – SNL and Gilda Radner fans, you know what I'm referencing) who rant and complain, but don't actually get off their keisters and do something. So thanks Ryan. He and his sister marched, too.

Who knows if my one extra person made any difference. I got a blister, if that counts.

Below is a news story from the Des Moines Register. There was a news clip on WOI Channel 5 News, and I actually saw my yellow sign and colorful pants go walking past for about a second. 

I'm embarrassed to say, because I consider Ed Fallon a friend, that I didn't realize until yesterday that he created this march!! I knew he was participating, but I didn't know it was his brainchild! 

Go to to learn more.

Ed Fallon's climate-change awareness trek reaches Iowa
August 8, 2014
by Mike Kilen

Ed Fallon is walking 3,000 miles across America with a cherished walking stick and a group of people who smell vaguely of the fields around them.

They camp in tents every night, shower sporadically, and walk on roads through hail and rain, dust and wind. They keep walking and walking, not without the purpose of Forrest Gump, but with some of the same motivations — to churn away at grief. Theirs is for the planet and what they view as its death by climate change.

It is an adventure, to be sure. While some try to tackle the Appalachian Trail to find or test themselves, to discover nature or reacquaint themselves with it, Fallon's adventure is of another sort. To do something about that grief.

"This is tough, the toughest thing I've done in my life" said Fallon, 56, walking on a gravel road outside Cumberland, Ia., in the fifth month of the journey he organized called the Great Climate March for Climate Action. "It's tougher than running for governor."

The physical challenge for the former state legislator and Des Moines radio talk show host is tough, each day rising before the sun and setting off on feet he said will never be the same. For so long they've ached from walking an average of 15 miles in a day. He walks with a bad back and little sleep. He has lost 24 pounds and he was already rail thin.

Getting across his message has been tough. He hears from many who don't believe that humans are the cause of climate change.

The finances are tough. "We are in our 10th financial crisis," he chuckles.

The disappointments are tough. His original vision — marching with 1,000 souls from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C. — quickly turned into a core group of a couple dozen and only six who have walked every step, including himself.

So, yes, he's asked himself, like most adventurers, what in the world he has done to put himself here. He quickly finds an answer.

"I'm really concerned about the future of our planet," he said. "We better get serious. Immediately."

And then he tells about his walking stick, one that people in Des Moines may see Monday if they join his marchers from 13th and Locust streets to the Iowa State Capitol. He had it made by monks at New Melleray Abbey, a monastery south of Dubuque, in 2006.

When his father died in 2008 he had the same woodworking monks make the casket.

Before he died, Ed Fallon interviewed Ed Fallon Sr. about his life. He was a career military man who wanted to tell his son about World War II and how Americans ignored the tragedy unfolding for Jews in Nazi Germany. Until Pearl Harbor made them pay attention, they denied it was happening.

"I see this in a similar way. We are ignoring the problem and I hope and pray we take action before it's too late," Ed Jr. said.

His father was adventurous and wanted to do what was right for his country, he said.
"This stick connects me to him."

David Osterburg, who served with Fallon in the Iowa Legislature and is founder of the Iowa Policy Proj­ect, walked at his side and has since Omaha. He was asked what can be done to help reverse climate change.

He listed off tax credits for solar energy, making homes and businesses more energy efficient and closing coal plants. Fallon added that supporting the growth of sus­tainable agriculture would help lower the carbon footprint and, for a minute, the two rambled in a policy discussion like the old days.

But most of the people marching on this day are those who have left behind what they do and joined from all parts of the country.

"We're talking about saving the planet," said Lala Palazzolo of Michigan. "Leave my upholstery business? No problem."

There are people like Miriam Kashia, 71, of North Liberty who have walked every step of the way, and people like Chris Ververis of Boulder, Colo., who have had Iowa farmers reach down from their tractors to hand him $20. One man told him it was an "Obama hoax," this whole climate change thing, but Ververis said that after he talked to him about his spiritual call to care for creation, the man called back to offer his barnyard for camping.

Fallon has made such connections often, he said. He does it through stories — of his father, of the mayors in little towns who have marched into their campground bearing food, or the 200 people who showed up in Denver.

He tells them why he doesn't just take a day off.

"Gandhi didn't fast for 21 days and take a day off," he said. "To me you have to commit yourself to the sacrifice, because it's so important. Even if people don't agree, they appreciate commitment."

Fallon attracted 15 wood ticks in one day, picked up $30 in change on roadsides across America and counted 6,000 road kills. But that's just fun numbers to pass the time. More often, he talks about the police escort and rousing showing they received in Payson, Ariz., or the man who handed him $5,000 after hearing him on a radio talk show in Colorado.

During March's starting day, rains came down so hard they walked in water over the ankles.
So he tells them stories about weather, and they connect it in their own lives. It has been stranger, more volatile, than they ever remember, Fallon hears them say.

But in the end he is still walking every day. There is some peace in that. In Cass County, he passed wind turbines, rows and rows that to him are hope for a renewable future.

He kept walking and walking. Migration, he said, has always been how we respond to crisis.
"Whether we are fleeing from volcanoes or Huns, we got up and walked. This crisis is maybe not as visible as a volcano, but we still move.

"We are on a pilgrimage."

To join the march on Monday, August 11, go to 3935 Ford St., Norwalk, for the walk to Des Moines.

The public is invited to gather at 5:30 p.m. at the corner of 13th and Locust streets in downtown Des Moines for the 1.6-mile walk to the Iowa State Capitol at 6 p.m., where several speakers will be part of a 6:45 p.m. rally.

To learn more about the march, its route and how to help, go to

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Aurturo helps a father and son bond

"My father was a car mechanic. We lived with a dirt floor; we were literally dirt poor. But, it was good. It makes me appreciate everything in my life." — Arturo Sandoval

DEAR INDULGENT READER: If you read anything I write, you are a patient friend. This post is a bit long, but do read all the way to the bottom for the pay off.

August 2 was the second day of Des Moines' first-ever jazz festival, and it really was a "day" of music — a full eight-plus hours.

First up was the Steve Grismore trio. Steve is a lecturer at the University of Iowa School of Music. He's been playing the guitar for over 45 years and has degrees from the Guitar Institute of Technology in Los Angeles and the University of Iowa. 

Chris Merz and his Hands of Time Quartet followed. Chris is a professor of jazz studies at the University of Northern Iowa School of Music. Both Steve and Chris are long-time jazz pals of Paul.

Chris Merz and The Hands of Time.

The Des Moines Big Band was next in line. Directed by Jim Oatts, this band has existed for 52 years, and Paul has been playing in it for 21 of those years.

The Des Moines Big Band with Paul and Dave Bohl dueting.

Paul soloing with Steve Charlson on bass.

Following the Des Moines Big Band was jazz vocalist and pianist, Patricia Barber, whom neither Paul nor I had heard or heard of before. Here's what Wikipedia has to say about her:

Patricia "was born to parents who were both professional musicians; her father is Floyd "Shim" Barber, a former member of Glenn Miller's Band. Raised in South Sioux City, Nebraska, her music is centered on her singing in a fairly low register and a traditional blues-jazz style, and her piano playing is technically accomplished. Her repertoire includes original compositions and standards drawn mostly from classic rock. She is known for imbuing her songs with intelligence and a wide and unusual vocabulary, which results in complex and witty lyrics."

The penultimate act was sax-man Damani Phillips backed by organist Pat Bianchi, drummer Byron Landham and trumpeter Greg Gisbert. Damani, who has played with the Des Moines Big Band in years past, now lives in Iowa City where he's an assistant professor of jazz and African-American studies. He's not only a first-rate sax player, but a great scat singer as well. 

Pat Bianchi is based out of New York City, and in 2010 Downbeat magazine named him one of the 10 best jazz organists. Paul thought Philadelphia drummer Byron Landham was the bomb, and I really enjoyed Greg's Gisbert's classic, clean and as Paul described it, "big fat trumpet" sound. Greg has played with Buddy Rich, Woody Herman's band, John Fedchock, Maria Schneider, Gary Burton, Lew Anderson, Mingus Epitaph, Clark Terry, Chuck Bergeron and other big names.

Damani's group played Saturday and Sunday, and below are pictures from both nights.

Damani singing scat.
Damani and Greg Gisbert.
Philly drummer Byron Landham.
Greg and organist Pat Bianchi.

Ah, then the piece de resistance: the master — Arturo Sandoval. Arturo has been nominated for Grammy awards 19 times and won 10, received six Billboard Awards and one Emmy, and in 2013 he was honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award given by the United States, presented to him by President Barack Obama

If you don't already know, Arturo is a polymath. He plays the trumpet and flugelhorn — jazz as well as classical — piano, percussion and he sings both regular voice singing and incredible scat. 

You might not guess that Cuba has a robust and rigorous musical education system. As an FYI I've included the below short excerpt taken from an Ontario, Canada music school's website:

"Cuba is unique in their music education. Students begin their professional training in the third or fifth grade depending on the instrument. A large amount of sight singing and ear training is employed from an early age, and a lot of rote learning and movement is used in their teaching methodology. Schools have very high curricular standards and expectations for their music students. Although supplies for music are extremely difficult to obtain including printed music and quality instruments, Cuba continues to produce incredible musicians."

Rather than me doing a bad job of trying to summarize Arturo's life, read the below August 12, 2012 article from Fox News Latino written by Rebekah Sager. (I promise this will be the ONLY time I ever quote Fox News about anything, but it's most revealing.) It's followed by excerpts from an August 20, 2013 NPR interview with Arturo

With a new album and tour dedicated to the musician he idolized, legendary trumpeter Arturo Sandoval recalls being 28 years old and meeting the man who would change his life.

The Cuban-born trumpet master heard Dizzy Gillepsie was coming to Cuba as part of a tour in 1977, and he offered to drive Gillespie around while he was on the island.

“When I met him, it was like a gift from God.  He changed my life with his friendship and support,” Sandoval said recently. “He encouraged me to always keep trying, practicing, and learning.”

With Sandoval’s latest album titled "Dear Diz, (Everyday I Think Of You,)" he wanted to show just how much he was in awe of Gillespie and of HIS art form.  

"My hero was Dizzy and he embraced everybody," Sandoval said. "He gave everyone an equal opportunity. The last thing he did was the United Nations Band, and there were players from all over the world in that band.”

Sandoval’s Start

Born in Artemisa, Cuba, in 1949, Sandoval started his musical career playing the snare drum in his school’s marching band.

"My father was a car mechanic," he said. "We lived with a dirt floor; we were literally dirt poor. But, it was good. It makes me appreciate everything in my life."

When he heard the trumpet the first time, he knew he had to play it. 

At 15, he began his classical music training at the prestigious Cuban National School of Arts. A year later, he earned a place in Cuba’s All-Star National Band. The day Sandoval met a young Cuban journalist was the day he says everything came together for him.

“He asked me if I’d heard of Jazz music. I said ‘no’. He played me Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. And that was it. I thought I have to learn that so bad. I taught myself,” says Sandoval.

But listening to foreign music had its costs.  

 “They put me in jail for three months for listening to the voice of the enemy,” Sandoval says. At the time, Sandoval was serving his military service.

Sandoval ended up defecting Cuba in 1990 from Spain while he was touring with Gillespie, a heart-wrenching decision for him. He became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 1999.

Ironically, it was Gillespie, who he had met decades before on the island, who helped him leave his country. The documentary, “For Love or Country: The Arturo Sandoval Story,” which starred Andy Garcia, dramatized Gillespie’s role in helping Sandoval arrive in the U.S.

He lived in Miami for 20 years to be close to his parents, but Sandoval and his family eventually moved to Southern California.  

“I can never go back to Cuba," he says. "I’m not allowed to go back.”

The iconic musician says that for him it’s hard to understand and difficult to explain the repression of Cuba. 

"No one loves this country more than me--the same maybe, but no one more," he said. "I’ve said it again and again, no freedom no life.”          

A Lost Tradition

Sandoval, considered one of the legendary Cuban jazz artists in recent history, now teaches at universities and privately, but worries about losing his beloved music over time.

“We are losing this musical tradition—it’s at risk of disappearing. The greats are mostly gone—Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Clifford Brown. Fewer and fewer media outlets cover jazz," said Sandoval. "I believe it’s the most important art form created in this country." 

He said it would be a crime if music is not preserved.

These excerpts from an NPR interview tell more about his imprisonment and his devotion to Dizzy Gillespie.

On growing up loving jazz in Cuba

"We used to listen every day, every single day, [to] Voice of America. [It] was a shortwave radio program, and they play everything in jazz music. That was the only way we have to hear that kind of music and to be connected with the music we love. I was in the obligatory military service for three years when the sergeant [caught] me listen[ing] to the Voice of America, and then they put me in jail because I was listening to the voice of enemies."

On meeting Dizzy Gillespie for the first time

"I was dying to meet him. Finally we get together and [at] that time I couldn't speak any English at all ... but we connected so well since the very first moment that I drove him and I showed [him] the city for the first time. I never told him I was a musician myself. When he saw me with a trumpet in my hand and he said 'Hey! What [is] my driver doing with a trumpet?' Somebody said, 'No he's a trumpet player.' He said, 'No no, he's my driver.' That was the very beginning of our friendship and collaboration."

On the legacy of jazz

"I always say that jazz is the most important art form created in this country. We have to really be aware of that — that we have to carry that legacy and let everybody, [the] younger generation, that this is a beautiful music created in this country [with a] wonderful legacy and also big recognition and prestige [from] all over the world. You know the people love and admire and respect jazz immensely. [There] isn't any place on earth where the people don't know about jazz.

And last, but so definitely not least, here's a text message that Paul received a few days after the jazz festival. It's very touching.


I wanted to send a quick note to say thanks for your work associated with the Jazz Under the Canopy last weekend. I was able to catch the last three concerts on Saturday, and it was very enjoyable.  

Since you're the guy who I think did much of the booking, I thought I would share an anecdote with you. I went to the concerts with my father who is not a jazz guy at all. His familiarity largely begins and ends with listening to Glenn Miller. As the Arturo Sandoval performance unfolded, he continued to nudge me and ask what I could tell him about Arturo. He was mesmerized. My 77 year old Dad and I have been talking of little else since that concert. I downloaded all of the Sandoval stuff I could find on his computer, and he is listening to it day and night. We had one of the most memorable nights of our lives at that concert. It is thanks to people like you that Des Moines provides these types of opportunities.   

I would be interested in pitching in on future of events of that type if you could use any help. Again, thanks for your part in a great night between a father and son and for helping turn a 77 year old guy onto some great music.


P** K******

Arturo Sandoval.

 As you would expect, all of the musicians in Arturo's group were absolutely phenomenal, but even so, 
I'm not sure his sax player is of this planet.
Arturo was generous enough to call Greg Gisbert, the trumpeter in 
Damani Phillips' group, up on stage to play with him.