Friday, May 30, 2008

EXCLUSIVE: That "never-seen footage of an alien" is apparently the same inconclusive video that was broadcast on national television ten years ago!

Based on the image that was released today in the Rocky Mountain News, The promise of a new, never-seen videotape showing an actual extraterrestrial life form that was hyped on The Drudge Report appears to be a ten-year-old videotape that was broadcast on national television on November 24, 1997 on the television series Strange Universe.

"It's the alien in the window, mate!" exclaimed Wayne Darwen (right), the respected veteran producer for TV's Extra! who was managing editor and lead writer of the controversial late-night series. "I remember that story. It was the family who had the videocamera running and suddenly a face pops up int he window for a second. We examined it in a hundred ways-- we had a panel of experts study it. In the end, it was inconclusive.

"Anyone who is waiting for this video expecting to see a walking talking breathing E-T will be sorely disappointed!"

Burt Kearns, the former executive producer of Strange Universe, confirms that the still appears to be from the "Alien in The Window" episode of the show. "Scott Lasky was the reporter."

Jeff Peckman of Denver claims to have video of a living extraterrestrial, but tells the Rocky Mountain News he's not showing it because he wants to save it for his movie: "No one will be allowed to film the segment with the extraterrestrial because there is an agreement in place limiting that kind of exposure during negotiations for the documentary."

The image above is supposedly a still from the video, showing the little visitor peeking into a window.

It looks like the same footage that got a half-hour presentation on Strange Universe.

See references to the segment and video here.

ACLU goes after company that fired Barry Nolan

We don't think former tabloid television host Barry Nolan should have been fired for his campaign against a Boston Emmy honor for Bill O'Reilly-- even if he did veer off from his mission to attack us, our readers and our editor (we were happy to spar with Barry online, but we changed our tune when he got the axe). And neither does the American Civil Liberties Union, whose Boston chapter is going on the attack against Comcast, the cable company that fired Barry from his gig hosting a cable TV show.

Here's the article from the Boston Herald:

ACLU hits Comcast on Barry Nolan axing

Says cable company’s move suggests it neither
values nor understands independent journalism

By Jessica Heslam

Calling the firing “disturbing,” the local American Civil Liberties Union is blasting Comcast for canning TV host Barry Nolan over his Bill O’Reilly protest.

Nolan, a host on Comcast’s CN8 for five years, was axed last week for speaking out against the local Emmy Awards for giving the Fox News host the Governor’s Award – its highest honor.

In a statement sent to MediaBiz yesterday, the ACLU said Comcast has hurt its reputation. O’Reilly has declined comment.

“Comcast’s decision to terminate Mr. Nolan is most unfortunate, as it suggests that independent journalism is not valued or perhaps even understood at Comcast,” wrote Jim Wolken, senior director of communications for the ACLU of Massachusetts.

“Bill O’Reilly’s struggles with fact-based journalism have been well documented by numerous independent sources, making Mr. Nolan’s firing all the more disturbing,” wrote Wolken, who didn’t cite the sources. “Barry Nolan’s value to the public is that his credentials as a reporter cannot be bought or intimidated. By firing him, Comcast injures its own reputation as a reliable source for news.”

Wolken added: “Barry Nolan has been a respected journalist in the Commonwealth with a well-earned reputation for fair and intelligent reporting on a wide range of complex issues.”

During the May 10 awards, Nolan passed out fliers with quotes from O’Reilly and the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him.

Before firing Nolan, Comcast suspended him for two weeks without pay.

Nolan has since written a piece defending his O’Reilly protest that was posted this week on ThinkProgress.org, which the Huffington Post (
editor's note: and Tabloid Baby) picked up.

As for the ACLU’s support, Nolan said: “I was very touched by that.”

Bon Jovi earns a spot in Dr Ruehl's Bizarre News

The Realm Of Bizarre News, Episode XXIII

Tabloid Baby pal, contributor, columnist and TV, movie and music video star Dr. Franklin Ruehl Ph.D. has crystal skulls, a three-raccoon tail hat-- and good news about the events of December 21, 2112.

What chutzpah! IBL's Berger insists the league will cover debts and play baseball in Israel in 2008!

Overlooked amid the Jerusalem Post's reportage that "confirms" our April 14th report that there will be no professional baseball in Israel in 2008 is the insistence by Martin Berger, the Israel Baseball League's president and COO (the Bloom to IBL founder Larry Baras' Bialystock-- or Bagelstock), that the IBL will play its second season in Israel this year!

Wilder-- er, Berger, tells the Post:

"[The IAB] created an issue, we hope we have resolved that issue. We don't think we've breached any agreements, and we're moving forward in cooperation with the IAB. We are working hard to secure enough funding to make sure that any debts that we had from the first season are paid off, and that we have enough financial backing to move ahead. We really intend on having a second season, we're trying to be financially and fiscally responsible."

Baras continues to maintain his silence.

Jerusalem Post basks in credit for our scoop

The Jerusalem Post is the putative hometown paper of the Israel Baseball League, but it's given short shrift to the most intriguing sports and business story in its nation these past nine months, barely acknowledging the existence, rise, fall and chaotic aftermath of the Israel Baseball League and its impact on the lives and pocketbooks of everyday Israelis.

And when it got around to reporting what we broke exclusively a month and a half ago-- that there will be no professional baseball in Israel in 2008-- the months of legwork and investigation by Our Man Elli in Israel that developed this story and kept it alive for close to a year-- gets nary a nod of credit nor attribution.

And as blogsites and news organizations finally pick up the story and credit the Jerusalem Post, exposing how far behind the news and how uninquisitive each of them is, we carry on. And we wonder where the writer with the very fitting name of Jeremy Last got his insights and background material for this Jerusalem Post editorial that follows the late, derivative and unattributed article, as it contains not a single original thought and nothing that hasn't been said-- and read-- on this site for months now:

The Last Word:
The inevitable failures of the IBL

The news that the Israel Baseball League will not be returning for a second season this June was no big surprise considering the embarrassment of difficulties it faced last summer.

It was a sad end to what turned out to be a sorry affair which had many positives but in the end promised too much while delivering all too little.

The announcement confirmed the fears that the IBL, which had been over hyped and promoted for months up to its launch in June 2007, was nothing more than a badly organized disaster waiting to happen.

It is now time for what is left of the IBL management since the glut of resignations last November to take a wider perspective and realize just where they went wrong and how it would likely be only a good thing if the league does not come back in the same format as last year.

The problems were obvious from the beginning. Aside from Opening Day, which attracted over 3,000 supporters, there was hardly any interest from regular Israelis in a league which was run by Americans and almost exclusively for Americans.

Throughout the season the announcements were mostly in English, the Hebrew section of the official Web site was poor quality and the fields were difficult to get to. Israelis had little affiliation with the teams made up of players from around the world, just not Israel.

Added to that, there wasn't even a Jerusalem team although plans for one to be included in an expanded IBL for the 2008 season were announced a few months ago, before it became obvious that there will not be any such season.

Unfortunately it seems that the IBL has not considered taking this to heart and appears convinced that there is still a chance the league will continue in 2008. The main barrier could well be financial, and therefore overcome through a sudden monetary boost.

But, even if the league somehow manages to get itself together in just a few short weeks before the start of the new season it had scheduled for itself, it would be a foolish move.

The problems were deep and inbred from the start and, unless the league is made much more accessible for local supporters, it will continue to fail.

The IBL should take a leaf out of the book of what at first appeared to be its football sister, the Israel Football League.

Unlike the baseball league, the IFL is packed with locals playing in its four teams, encouraging far more fan involvement. That the games were played at Jerusalem's Kraft Stadium also helped, but if the IBL is to ever return and become a success it must start small rather than thinking big from the outset like it did last year and therefore setting it up for the all too inevitable fall from grace.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Harvey's Dead? The distasteful TMZ mocks the death of another beloved show business legend

"Harvey's Dead"? That's a headline to announce the unexpected death of beloved comic actor Harvey Korman? Leave it to the scumbags at the corporate porn-pushing gossip site TMZ.com to use the latest sad jolt to Hollywood's old school to once again add to a family's pain with an inside joke headline like that one.

We all know what they meant. "Harvey's Dead" doesn't tell the world that Harvey Korman passed on. There's only one "Harvey" in TMZ's scummy hot tub. They wanted to fool us into thinking that shaved bronzed midget Harvey Levin had popped his clogs.

Not cool.

Not funny.

Wishful thinking.

The Jerusalem Post finally reports that there will be no professional baseball in Israel this summer--- WE REPORTED THE NEWS ON APRIL 14th!

Readers of this site are better informed about the state of professional basebal in Israel than readers of the hometown Jerusalem Post. Thanks to the tenacious reportage of Our Man Elli in Israel, we reported definitively on April 14th that there would be no professional baseball in Israel in 2008 from either the disgraced Israel Baseball League or the fantasy Israel Professional League. And we've been following up ever since. The Post didn't get around to reporting our scoop until today. And no, they didn't give us any credit. And no, neither Baras of the IBL nor Rosen of the IPBL have done that baseball mitzah we'd offered.

Here's the late, unsourced Post story:

May 29, 2008

IBL: Israel Baseball League strikes out after one year


The much-hyped Israel Baseball League, which was slated to begin its second season June 22, has been cancelled for 2008 and its future is in jeopardy, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

"There will be no league in 2008," Haim Katz, president of the Israel Association of Baseball, told the Post on Thursday. According to Katz, the league's problems stemmed largely from a number of Israeli creditors who, he said, had not been paid by the IBL.

"2008 is not happening, 2009 we're working on. Right now it's [nearly] the first of June, and there's no preparation. But there are many parties interested in reviving professional baseball [in Israel]."

The six-team IBL was founded by Boston-based businessman Larry Baras, and started play in the summer of 2007, featuring Jewish and foreign players selected by personnel director Dan Duquette, the former general manager of the Boston Red Sox.
Baras could not be reached for comment.

Its 10-week debut season in the summer of 2007 brought much fanfare but few fans, the great portion of whom were American olim or groups of Anglo youngsters in Israel for the summer.

It was marred by financial and organizational problems - from missed player payments to games cancelled early because of inadequate lighting.

Former New York Yankees pitcher Ken Holzman quit managing the Petah Tikvah Pioneers with one week left in the season, unhappy with the league.

Ten members of the team's advisory board, including former US Ambassador to Israel turned IBL commissioner Daniel C. Kurtzer and Yankees President Randy Levine, resigned in November, citing disappointment with the league's business operations. The IAB is authorized by the Ministry of Science, Culture and Sports to grant licenses for professional baseball in Israel, in addition to coordinating amateur and international play.

Another startup, the Israel Professional Baseball League, headed by Maccabi Haifa basketball team owner Jeffrey Rosen, a former investor in the IBL, was expected to begin play this year. But, like the IBL, the IPBL is now also looking to 2009.

Martin Berger, president and COO of the IBL, said despite the IAB comments, he still had hope for a second season this year.

"[The IAB] created an issue, we hope we have resolved that issue," Berger said. "We don't think we've breached any agreements, and we're moving forward in cooperation with the IAB."

"We are working hard to secure enough funding to make sure that any debts that we had from the first season are paid off, and that we have enough financial backing to move ahead. We really intend on having a second season, we're trying to be financially and fiscally responsible."

Tel Aviv Lightning manager Ami Baran said he had also heard of hopes for an abridged schedule, but that a decision had not yet been made.

The league's Web site gives no indication of a postponed or shortened season, and publicizes January tryouts in Miami, along with "future tryouts" in the Dominican Republic and Los Angeles.

One of the board members who resigned, Professor Andrew Zimbalist, said as far as he knew, "the league is dead."

"The main difficulty last year was that there wasn't sufficient work on the ground to prepare the terrain and to familiarize people with what was going to happen," said Zimbalist, a pioneer in the field of baseball economics.

"There needs to be a lot more marketing - to introduce a new sport into a country, you need to promote it, and it wasn't adequately promoted. Once it got started, the communication system between the league and the potential fan base was not in place.

"I think that there is a lot of momentum and lot of interest that was established, and there is no reason why there can't be a successful league here in the long run. It has to be managed better and prepared better."

While the country has a burgeoning youth program, and the Israeli national team will compete for entry to the 2009 World Baseball Classic, the market for professional baseball was not developed - nor, it seems, was it cultivated, said Marvin Goldklang, an owner of several minor league baseball franchises, and a minority stakeholder in the Yankees.

"One of the things that was missing last year was a serious due diligence effort, focusing on both market and facility related issues, to assess the economic viability of professional baseball in Israel," said Goldklang.

"I do believe there is a future, provided it is structured and marketed in a manner more likely to connect with the broader Israeli population, than was the case last summer."

We'll have complete reaction to the Post story in a bit. Stay tuned...

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fan websites drive Seventh Python awareness

With tickets now on sale for the world premiere of The Seventh Python at Martin Lewis’ Mods & Rockers Film Festival next month, much of the buzz in and beyond the Innes fanbase has been generated by Innes fan sites on the Internet. And all that’s very fitting, since the worldwide Web is the very platform that’s spread Innes’ publicity around the globe for the past decade— and the movie itself is being billed as an “interactive” feature that sends viewers to their home computers for more after they leave the theatre (see the end of the post).

The Words of Innespiration website at Neil Innes.org is the original, a comprehensive guide to all things Neil, a starter course for newcomers and the meeting place for Innes fans around the world and universe. The site was created Bonnie Rose and Laurie Stevens, two fans in Los Angeles who ran the site and attracted fans from around the world for two years until Innes found out about. He approved.

This past week, Bonnie— who produced and directed animations for the film-- created a special The Seventh Python page on the Innespiration site-- and a new command center and clearinghouse for all things Seventh Python.

Neil in Us: The Neil Innes Unofficial Fan Page is a newer site begun by a diehard fan from Texas. Barb is her name and she’s got to be the #1 Neil Innes cheerleader in America right now. New friends welcome.

The Seventh Python Official MySpace page is just that—the movie’s MySpace page. In the first month of operation, it’s attracted thousands of MySpace “friends” and features new photos and exclusive Innes performance videos each week leading up to the big premiere.

A Tribute to Neil Innes is a new site run by a fan and writer based in the UK. It features great photos and videos of Innes from throughout his career.

Rokuvajes (a reference to Rock of Ages, Barb's favorite Innes song) is a companion page to the Neil in US site.

As is the recent The Innes Book of Memories. (See page six.)

Diane Dimond stands up for Barry Nolan

Former tabloid television host Barry Nolan's response on the leftist Think Progress website has finally drawn the national support he could have used for his anti-Bill O'Reilly campaign that got him fired from his cable TV gig. Among the scores of sympathetic commenters to his essay is Diane Dimond, the former tabloid television reporter whose TV career effectively ended after her much-criticized, overzealous prosecutorial coverage (and collusion with the prosecutor) in the Michael Jackson molestation case was followed by Jackson's acquittal and her exit from Court TV.

Her Think Progress comments also seem to reflect thoughts about her own situation that have never been expressed publicly:

Diane Dimond says:

Barry Nolan and I worked together for many years and I count him as a dear friend, I wish him all the best in the future.

After having spoken the plain truth he is rewarded by a cowardly employer with walking papers. And the saddest truth is by speaking the truth, by exercising his constitutional right to say what he thinks off the job, Barry likely ended his broadcasting career. I hope I’m wrong because Barry is one of the smartest people in the TV business. But as a veteran of the industry I can tell you the ‘little guy’ is never rewarded for pointing out the failures of ‘the big guy.’

Its a shame what’s happened to tv journalism. Barry’s right, its been replaced by yelling and bullying and personal opinion and invective.

I repeat, its a shame. But Barry and others who walk away from in it disgust are to be applauded.

Love ya’ Barry.

Diane Dimond

Barry Nolan writes about his firing o'er O'Reilly

It's a bit too late to control the spin that spun him onto the unemployment line, but former tabloid television host Barry Nolan is in friendly territory as he has his say about being fired from his hosting gig with Comcast's New England cable system for protesting a local Emmy honor for his former rival Bill O'Reilly. Had Barry also launched his protest on the lefty, liberal Think Progress site rather than the gossip page of the blue collar Boston Herald, Barry might have marched into the Emmy ceremony with his leaflets of smarmy allegations in hand and an army of protesters at his back. Instead, he was derided as an elitist moonbat and bounced.

Barry's essay is a little over the top, what with its mentions of waterboarding and "Fox Security" coming over to visit and such, but hey, we'll cut him some lack because even though he did the same shouting he editorializes against, he did put his job where his mouth was and paid the price.

Here's his piece on the Think Progress site:

Barry Nolan: The Story Behind My O’Reilly Protest

Our guest blogger is Barry Nolan, a veteran TV journalist who was recently fired by Comcast Cable’s CN8 channel in Boston for protesting an award honoring Bill O’Reilly.

So, I’m that TV guy who got fired by Comcast over Bill O’Reilly. I protested the fact that O’Reilly was chosen to receive the Governors Award at this year’s Emmy Awards ceremony. That’s the highest honor that they hand out. The important word here is: honor.

Now granted – you won’t find a lot of Albert Schweitzers or Mother Teresas working in television, but at least the people who had been honored in the past had pretty much followed the part of the Hippocratic oath that says, “First, do no harm.”

O’Reilly was an appalling choice, not because of his political views, but because he simply gets the facts wrong, abuses his guests and the powerless in general, is delusional, and, well, you might want to Google: Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Plus there was that whole sexual harassment thing – the lawsuit he settled for an estimated $10 million. Not the kind of guy you normally think of when it comes time to pass out honors.

I found that most of my colleagues felt the same way. So, on May 10th at the Emmy Awards dinner, I quietly passed out a document that contained – not my opinion – but O’Reilly’s own words and quotes from his sexual harassment lawsuit. And that is what got me fired. I got fired from my job on a news and information network for reporting demonstrably true things in a room full of news people.

Normally, in the great scheme of things – this should be a total non-story. “Overpaid White Guy Gets Fired from Cushy Job for Shooting Mouth Off.” Yawn. But these are not normal times. After the word got out that I was fired – I started hearing from people from all over the country who were outraged. A guy in Texas who had once worked with O’Reilly and had seen a meltdown like the one on Youtube – a weather anchor in Arizona – a woman in China no less.

And it all got me to thinking about the myth of free speech. In today’s America, speech is only “free” when you are talking down to someone less powerful that you. Speak “up” – and look out. In your work life, they can fire you, as I found out, for quietly saying something that is widely known to be true. Put a lid on it.

And in our role as citizens, we have been told by O’Reilly to shut up, or Fox Security may pay you a visit. We are called traitors if we simply speak the truth about the absence of WMD’s – the way the war is going – the disgraces of Abu Ghraib, of Gitmo, of waterboarding. Shut up.

So, when exactly do they think we have the right to speak up? To speak the quiet simple truth, to people who have more power than us?

Well, I think now would be a good time. The fog of fear is lifting. The balance of power is shifting. People are beginning to talk to each other again instead of shouting. I think it’s time to reclaim the right to free speech – even if it comes at a price.

Meanwhile, if anyone needs any lawn work done or his or her car detailed – give me a call.

Nice closing line. As you'd expect, the comments on this liberal site were far more sympathetic than the Boston locals-- as a matter of fact, practically unanimously sympathetic and supportive. And it might even lead to a new TV job.

Who killed J.R.? Another fast food giant dead!

Five months. Six deaths.

Tell us we’re “conspiracy nuts” now. After a strange “coincidental” trio of fast food chain founder's deaths in the first three months of 2008, we began to keep close tabs on the mortality rate in the controversial industry, only to be shocked by the sudden passings of one of its legends and another pioneer.

That would be five deaths in the first five calendar months of 2008:

Carl Carcher, founder of Carl’s Jr. (January 11);
Lovie Yancie, founder of Fatburger (January 23);
Al Copeland, founder of Popeye's Famous Fried Chicken (March 23);
Herb Peterson, inventor of the Egg McMuffin (March 25);
Irvine "Irv" Robbins, co-founder of Baskin-Robbins (May 5).

Today, we add another to the list.

J.R. Simplot, the billionaire king of the frozen French fried potato, supplier of fries to McDonald’s and other fast food chains-- the man whose product literally greased the skids for the rise of the fast food industry-- died on Sunday, May 25th.

The LA Times notes:

“Simplot's sale of frozen fries to McDonald's and other chains accelerated the growth of the fast-food industry and changed the nation's eating habits, according to Eric Schlosser, author of ‘Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal’ (2001).

"’Americans have long consumed more potatoes than any other food except dairy products and wheat flour,’ said Schlosser, who called Simplot ‘America's great potato baron.’”

Simplot drove around Idaho in a Lincoln Continental with the license plate “Mr. Spud.”

The coroner says he died of “natural causes.”

He was 99.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Tickets are now on sale for The Seventh Python world premiere at Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre

Tickets are now available through Fandango.com for the world premiere of The Seventh Python.

The movie about the life, career and war against fame by legendary musical satirist Neil Innes, kicks off the Mods & Rockers Film Festival at 7:30 pm on Thursday, June 26th at the Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard.

Tickets are $10 general admission; $7 for American Cinematheque members; $8 for students and seniors at $7 kids 3-17.

The same prices apply for the Neil Innes concert the following night.

Israel baseball's Bergstrom pitches first win, but--

When we last checked in with Israel Baseball League golden boy alum Rafael Bergstrom, he was holding his own in Connecticut, pitching for the Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League, and doing much better than his record-- 0-1 with a 4.18 ERA in 23 innings, with 18 strikeouts, seven walks and an opponents' batting average of .233— might lead us to believe.

“I told Bergstrom one of these days we're going to win a ballgame for him," manager Tommy John told The Connecticut Post. "He throws all of his pitches. He throws strikes. I personally think he can pitch more with his fastball than he does. I think his fastball is better than what he thinks it is. He throws the ball well."

On Friday, Rafael picked up his first win, defeating the Long Island Ducks before a sold out crowd of 6,047. That’s the good news.

The bad news? He gave up nine runs on 13 hits over five and two-thirds innings, and walked off the mound with an ERA of about 6.3.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Did Olbermann throw a gunshot gag into his "special comment" about Hillary's RFK gaffe?

That Keith Olbermann really cracks us up. (But now, Sir, you may have gone too far! Too far, Sir, I say!) We spun by his show about a week or so ago and were agog as he spent more than ten minutes reading this overheated, outdatedly formally-written screed against George Bush, all “Have you no shame, Sir,” and “Mr. President, sir, have you no decency?” in a way that nobody speaks nowadays or ever, getting all fired up and sputtering, but knowing to turn to a different camera every few lines. But long before he actually signed off with a  “Good night and good luck” that pays more homage to George Clooney's show biz liberalism than the old show biz hack Olbie thinks he's emulating— about eight minutes in or so, we realized it was all shtik, all comedy— why else would NBC let Bill O'Reilly's comic foil get away with such over-the-top craziness? The guy’s a bonafide mental case and they let him act it out on air!

We emailed a pal over at MSNBC and he told us they love it over there, because the wilder he gets, the more the ratings spike. That explains that--

But on Friday, Mr. TV Personality, Sir, how could you stoop so low? During your “Special Comment” aimed at Hillary Clinton and her reference to RFK’s assassination, did you really throw in a phony gunshot near the top of your blatherings? Did you, Sir? Did you really? As you railed against Hillary’s new low at bringing the terrible spectre of murder into the campaign, did you actually have someone set off a party popper to increase the drama? Was it a prankster on the set? Or will you blame a busted lightbulb? You don’t do that routine live, do you? Do you Sir? Ha!

(Watch: "And claiming there are people who would do anything to stop you-- you! " POP!)

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Viral marketing for the new Hudson Brothers DVD in the New York Times magazine?

The Hudson Brother Razzle Dazzle Show comes out on DVD on June 3rd. Check out "77 DOWN" in today's New York Times magazine crossword puzzle:

A tip of the Tabloid Baby hat to Daniel Brown for being smart enough to complete the puzzle and for the heads-up.

Jewish baseball cards

Our Man Elli in Israel turns us on to comedian David Moore-- and reminds us that payment for printing of Israel Baseball League cards remains a sticking point in the debt-ridden aftermath of the IBL's sole season.

Phooey! Israel baseball big's heart in Hong Kong?

Our Man Elli in Israel points out an interesting revelation tucked in the announcement by would-be Israel Professional Baseball League organizer Jeffrey Rosen that he'd be shifting his attention and shekels to the Maccabi Haifa Heat basketball team he bought while an investor in last year's failed Israel Baseball League: he's also financing a baseball team in Hong Kong.

Coming the same week that the Miami millionaire Magnetix maven (AKA billionaire boychik) implicitly gave up on his attempts to play baseball this summer by removing all mention of the IPBL's 2008 season from his Triangle Financial Services website, the press release includes the following phrase in its penultimate sentence (and explains the stray baseball cap that appears amid the Israel-related sports photos on the page's margin:

"...The sponsorship of the Dragonflies, a semi-professional baseball team in Hong Kong, China, represent(s) Triangle’s continued effort to invest in emerging international sports ventures."

From the start, the subtext to the story of professional baseball in Israel is that the wealthy American men who have been involved in the battle to get it off the ground are motivated by more than money, greed or self- aggrandizement, but by pride in their Jewish heritage and Zionism.

Yet the truth has been in plain sight for some time now: Jeffrey Rosen's international sports aspirations are not limited to Israel.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Boston blogsite defends Barry Nolan

Former tabloid television host Barry Nolan was fired from his job as a cable show co-host this week over a loud and passionate campaign to deny his former tabloid television rival Bill O'Reilly a Boston Emmy. Comcast isn't commenting, so it's not clear whether the cable television giant fired him for simply speaking out against a cable television superstar or because Barry spun out of control with liberal furor (his campaign included over-the-top name-calling-- labelling O'Reilly a "mental case"-- mass emailing of Academy members-- a personal attack on Tabloid Baby's editor for questioning the wisdom of his outburst-- Barry snarkily accused him of being sober, nasty shots at Tabloid Baby commenters who disagreed with him, and ultimately, the old-school propaganda tactic of leafleting the Emmy ceremony with quotes from O"Reilly and the "loofah-falafel" sex harassment suit that O'Reilly somehow overcame), but what has been most striking is the lack of public support for Barry.

Well, at least one Bostoncentric blogsite has joined us in challenging the firing (we've got no hard feelings-- we encourage the traditional literary feud). The Bostonist, part of The Gothamist group, stands tall:

Comcast Bows to O'Reilly, Fires Barry Nolan

For a while, it seemed safe to have opinions about overprotected, pasty professional jaw-flapper Bill O'Reilly. Stephen Colbert won awards for it. But local CN8 host Barry Nolan from "Backstage" just got canned for it.

Nolan protested the fact that the New England EMMY chapter honored O'Reilly and handed out flyers at the event. However, he didn't give that opinion on the air or even spoof O'Reilly a la Colbert. Nolan said that, when O'Reilly was honored by the EMMY chapter, other people booed. Will all of them be fired, too, for sharing their opinions off the clock?

This is sad. Bostonist fondly remembers when Nolan interviewed Slavoj Zizek, a professional jaw-flapper who seems far less uptight than O'Reilly.

Friday, May 23, 2008

L.A. movie alert: Bloodline switches theatres!

Bloodline, the terrific and controversial documentary film that explores the real-life mystery behind The Da Vinci Code, has proven to be an explosive independent hit at the box office in New York and Los Angeles.

The film, which received rave reviews here and in other publications, has been the #1 hit at Manhattan's Village East theatre, and the Laemmle Sunset 5 and Culver Plaza in LA, so it's been extended for another week in both cities.

But be advised, Laemmle has moved the film from the Sunset Strip, west to the Monica 4-Plex in Santa Monica.

It's an easy trip down Santa Monica Blvd. toward the ocean, and worth the drive, because director and star Bruce Burgess and producer Rene Barnett will be hosting Q&A sessions and battling the skeptics following selected shows in Santa Monica and Culver City.

Here's the LA schedule:

Monica 4-Plex
Show times: Daily 1:20, 4:10, 7:00, 9:50
Q&A scheduled Friday, May 23 & Saturday, May 24 after the 7:00 PM show and Sunday, May 25 after the 4:10 PM show.


Culver Plaza
Show times: Daily 2:45, 5:15, 7:30, 9:40
Q&A Sunday, May 25 after the 7:30 PM show

Yankees kick Eladio downstairs, again

The Pride of the Israel Baseball League has become the official Ping Pong Ball of The Yankees. Eladio Rodriguez, who's gone from the AAA Scranton/Wilkes Barre Yankees to the Single A Staten Island Baby Bombers, back to Scranton, a step from Yankee Stadium, and down a step to the AA Trenton Thunder, all in the space of a month, has again been kicked down to the Single A NY-Penn League farm team in Staten Island.

As the third catcher on the roster, E-Rod wasn't expected to see much action to begin with, but he did appear in one game for the Thunder, going one-for-five with a double against the Reading Phillies on Wednesday. He'd been transferred from the roster of the Staten Island Yankees to Trenton on May 9th. He appeared in one other game this season with Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, where he'd landed on April 29th. He was signed by the Yankees out of the Israel Baseball League on November 24th, 2007. He caught for the Modi'in Miracle, led the league in hitting and was co-MVP.

We told you! Rikki Rockett cleared of rape charge

The following update has been posted at Poison drummer and Tabloid Baby pal Rikki Rockett's MySpace page:

"Poison drummer Rikki Rockett was exonerated of a felony rape charge filed in Mississippi stemming from a September 23, 2007 incident in which a Neshoba County, Mississippi woman claimed that Rockett had forcibly raped her. Rockett was not in Mississippi during September 2007. The Neshoba County District Attorney refused to prosecute the case after determining that Rockett was not the person who committed the alleged rape. The charges carry a potential life sentence. Rockett said, 'I want to sincerely thank my lawyers Barry Tarlow and Mi Kim for their commitment to my case and their terrific legal work that exonerated me of any wrongdoing.'

"The warrant, issued on December 18, 2007, sought the arrest and extradition of 'Rockett, Rikki A' a/k/a 'Minskosf, John' to Mississippi for 'strong arm rape.' News stories shortly disclosed the correct spelling of the name John Minskosf as 'John Minskoff.' Rockett has never used the Minskoff name. It is now believed that Minskoff used Rockett's name to convince the complaining witness to sleep with him.

"'I think it was a case where the woman and her husband unfortunately believed they could extort money from me and my band,' Rockett said, 'This is a gross example of people attempting to abuse the law for personal profit. They tried to subvert and make a mockery of the criminal justice system. It is abhorrent and disgraceful.' Rockett happily continued: 'It's nice to feel like I can have my life back now. I have a Poison tour to look forward to as well as a wedding to prepare for.'

"Rockett was arrested at LAX when he and his band mates arrived after performing at a large music festival in Wellington, New Zealand. Rockett said: 'I was exhausted from a 14-hour flight and then was hauled off to jail. The worst part was having to walk past my fiancé in handcuffs. She had no idea what was happening and neither did I! When I was finally told that I was arrested on charges of rape, I about passed out!' Rockett was booked, fingerprinted, and photographed at the Los Angeles county jail. 'The Police were as cool to me as they could be considering the circumstances. I was never disrespected by them during the time I was there. I want them to know that I appreciate that.'

"A flood of press coverage, both negative and positive, soon followed. 'I remain surprised that no member of the educated and savvy press ever googled the name "John Minskoff"! Had they done so, they would have found out that in 1996, John Minskoff claimed to have been involved with the rock band, White Snake, when he lured and kidnapped a 15-year-old girl in Reno, Nevada. Minskoff is a violent career criminal and felon and convicted perjurer with multiple convictions who has admitted to impersonating "rock stars" to sexually pursue women.'

"'I received undying support from my band, friends, and fans, but unfortunately, my detractors had a field day with the story. I look forward to serving the press who created defamatory remarks some healthy lawsuits!' Rockett went on to say, 'I also look forward to helping other people who have been falsely accused of committing heinous crimes. My lawyers, Barry Tarlow and Mi Kim, are helping me seek out organizations like Centurion Ministries to help if I can. This wonderful organization works to free innocent people in prison who have done serious time for crimes they did not commit.'"

(NOTE: Upon learning of Rikki's arrest in March, we wrote the post, Rikki Rockett is No Rapist, saying in part: "
Rikki Rockett is no rapist. And we're not even going out on a limb here. We've known Rikki for more than a decade, and he's always been a principled, disciplined, straight-ahead character who's tried to use his fame for worthy causes and is aware that whether he likes it or not, he's a representative of them...")

Television Academy has no comment on firing of Barry Nolan over his anti-O'Reilly Emmy campaign

So what did the New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences have to do with cable television monolith Comcast's to fire former tabloid television host Barry Nolan from his hosting gig on its CN8 variety network, in response to his bitter and very personal campaign to stop the group from giving a special Emmy award to Bill O’Reilly?

Barry’s attack was not only on O’Reilly but on the wisdom of the local Emmy group’s decision to honor Barry’s former tabloid television rival and current cable news superstar. Though Barry did not speak up during the awards ceremony on May 10th, according to the Boston Herald he apparently disrupt the event by putting fliers on tables containing "quotes from O’Reilly as well as three pages from the sexual harassment lawsuit O’Reilly settled.

“Security approached Nolan and told him he couldn’t distribute information at the event.”

He'd also waged an email campaign asking Academy members to challenge the chapter's decision.

We asked Tim Egan, the president of the New England chapter of NATAS if his group, or the incident at the awards ceremony had anything to do with Barry’s firing.

He replied:

“The National Academy of Television Arts & Science does not comment on station operations.”

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Little sympathy for Barry in Boston

Yeah, he got his wish and now he's a liberal martyr and once again elevated near the recognition level of his former tabloid television rival Bill O'Reilly. And even though he attacked us amid his fateful O'Reilly offensive, we're the first to say it:

Boy, do we feel sorry for Barry Nolan!

After leaving Hollywood and the tabloid world for the rarified and certainly liberal Boston television market, with knowledge of enough twenty-five cent words to get himself a spot on a National Public Radio-style word quiz show, and enough wit and boyish good looks (not to mention that Mensa card) to marry a respected local documentary producer and academic, surely he felt safe-- and, perhaps, duty-bound-- speaking up against a ticket-selling ploy by the local branch of the National Academy of Television and Sciences (SATAN in reverse, by the way) of offering his former tabloid television rival Bill O'Reilly a special Emmy.

But Barry's campaign got him
fired from his job hosting a show for Comcast's cable system. Whether there's more to it than the fact that he spoke his mind (as Barry's related scattershot attack on this site might indicate), we'll find out, but in the meantime, public opinion was definitely not in his favor, as evidenced by the reaction to the Boston Herald tabloid's stories of his campaign-- and its repercussions.

Barry misjudged his audience-- something his mentors back in the halcyon (Peter Brennan) days of Hard Copy would not have done. Maybe he should have gone to the more liberal Globe, where he'd have a better chance of controlling the spin. But tabloid is as tabloid does.

Here are the first fifty or so comments on the Boston Herald website story of his ouster:


You had your say, Barry...resulting in a 'dumb move' on your part...sayonara, Barry.

What a maroon... This no talent was lucky to be gievn a forum on a cable-access show, and he blew that. I applaud CN8. The intolerance of these liberal clowns is getting out of control. They are the modern day McCarthys.

Good luck, Barry. What's next after being fired from a Wayne's World job? I see a Deval Press Relation's role in your future!

Enjoy retirement Barry! Next time dont bark up the tree of a guy thats 1000 times more successful than you are.

Barry, there is a reason why you were (formally anyway) on CN8 and O'Reilly is on FOX. Hopefully Barry you've figured that out....

Just another Bush hating, O'Reilly hating, bandwagon hopper, that probably never seen ONE episode of The O'Reilly Factor. Go sit on Keith Olberman's lap Barry, that's the only way you'll get back on TV again.

Barry Nolan despises me, and I'm glad he's out 'looking at his lawn grow' now. What a haughty elite he is for shouting his liberal bias from the mountaintop. It's people like Barry that CONVINCE everyone else of the utter liberal bias that has ALWAYS existed in the mainstream media. And here comes Fox News and Bill O'Reilly--a LONE WOLF on the 'other side'--and poor Barry gets his panties in a wad because he simply can't STAND there to be even a semblance of 'equal time.' Nolan is a bottom-feeder of the worst kind. I hope his lawn gets crabgrass and his wife tosses him aside for someone a little less cantankerous. BFD that he just got a '5-Year watch' from a media outlet hardly anyone knows about.

While Barry is sitting on his front porch watching his grass grow, someone should walk up to him and hand him a cup of coffee . . . in an O'Reilly Factor mug.

kevkristy- if you call someone a "maroon" when you are trying to say moron, doesn't it kind of backfire?... you are telling us more about yourself than Barry N

All is not lost, Barry. You can work again if you learn to say "Would you like fries with that".

Jessica, real professional and objective calling Bill O'Reilly a "Fox News blowhard". Nolan's inappropriate actions get him fired and yet you see fit to take a swipe at O'Reilly?

Good job Barry. The reason why O'Reilly is so dangerous is because the amount of idiots that believe his crap. Unfortunately they vote. To the 6 people above me in this comment thread. Go have a schlitz and bark at your wife about how many welfare mothers are stealing your hard earned cash as you watch Jerry Springer on your 200inch plasma.

tappan, the very fact that there are TEN anti-Nolan posts before readers come to YOUR single post in defense of him tells us all we need to know. I suspect that you're probably the welfare mother or father that's doing the stealing, and happy to be doing so. True story.

Interesting that the folks bashing Barry are not claiming that Barry was wrong in what he said. "He's delusional," Nolan said of O'Reilly, a former Boston TV anchor. "He's a man that mangles the facts." Do they actually believe that O'Leilly does not mangle the facts? Anyone that chooses to listen to Billo, knowing half the stuff that he says is unmitigated LIES, has a serious problem grasping reality. Good luck Mr Nolan in whatever you choose to pursue in life, hopefully you will remain in broadcasting as we could use some people with principles out there speaking the TRUTH.

Remember when this country had the right to free speach?

I remember that. I also remember when its citizens could spell the word "speech" correctly. C'mon man.

"Remember when this country had the right to free speach? " Typical liberal idiot. Where was his speech denied? He spoke up and let his opinion be heard. Then his private employer fired him, blame your politicans for MA being a no fault State. How people forget you have the right to say whatever you want but there can be consequences for your actions as well.

Rotinsky, Generally that use of "maroon" is from Bugs Bunny cartoons. Kinda sorta more insulting that way.

GDubaUBush, "the right to free speech" means the goverment cannot pass any laws restricting it. You also have the right to suffer the consequences if your "speech" impacts on things like your employer as it did in this case. There is NO freedom from consequences for what you say.

Look there's a lot I don't like about O'Riely even when I agree with him. There's a lot I don't like about a lot them. but what Barry Nolan did was just plain stupid. Talk about ego, and now he can just sit back and like the others say watch the grass grow.

To the scared and violent white suburban patriots getting ready for their "Budweiser slingfest backyard BBQ's"....Let me repeat what I said a few minutes ago.... Good job Barry. The reason why O'Reilly is so dangerous is because the amount of idiots that believe his crap. Unfortunately they vote. To the many people above me in this comment thread. Go have a schlitz and bark at your wife about how many welfare mothers are stealing your hard earned cash as you watch Jerry Springer on your 200inch plasma.

LOL! As an RCN subscriber, I haven't seen Barry Nolan or Sara Edwards for years! I didn't know they were even on TV! The funny part is that he had to get fired from obscurity to land on the front page of the Herald.com...

You have got to love all the O'Reilly fanboys in these comments typing their hatred through their official O'Reilly keyboards.

While O'Reilly sometimes comes on too strong, the fact is that he has the guts to publicly stand up to the liberals who want to open up our borders, tax us into oblivion and turn political correctness into an art form. Barry, go watch your grass grow.

Actually, the right to speak freely has been challenged many times in our history. Starting with John Adams and the Alien and Sedition Acts...Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus and three folks in prison without charges for months...Woodrow Wilson's administration effecively silenced fight Bob LaFollette opposition to the USA entering WWI...and on and on. The current administration has been quite tolerant of dissent in comparison. And speaking of this guy - he had every right to do what he did - as he can do so again if he chooses. But any future employer will also have the right to impose professional standards on his behavior as well.

You don't need a better example than this to realize that Nolan is simply a Wal-Mart door greeter who took a lucky turn somewhere along the way. He and others of his ilk are assuredly not Mensa candidates, and here's Barry Nolan just putting an exclamation point on it. Somewhere, Bill O'Reilly is asking, 'Barry WHO?'

Barry was just a no talent jerk trying to be the local Olberman. Passing out that literature at the ceremony was just a spineless lib maneuver

Hey tappan, go back to your tofu and birkenstocks and leave your hate speech in the closet where it belongs. Liberals love the truth as long as it fits their beliefs. They have no tolerance for another viewpoint, and you just help us conservatives make that point every day. Heck, I think O'Reilly says stupid things as well, but at least he says what he feels, and there's no crime in that unless you're a liberal and then it's all hate speech. Stop your hypocrisy.

Good Luck Barry on you next adventure. The truth huts! B. O'reilly swept his harrassment case under the rug. Money talks, this b.s. is still walking on a "VERY" thin line. You should of booed him.

Go to it Tappan. What O'Reilly does is the journalistic equivalent of Vince McMahon's World Wrestling Entertainment, in other words, it's schtick, with emphasis on the 'entertainment' part. ChrisNH can likely not appreciate the irony of his/her lock-solid, iron-clad conclusion that the posting of ten anti-Nolan posts to your one, actually proves anything. Wonder if (s)he owns a banjo? If the NH means New Hampshire, I suppose we can take the possession of that particular instrument as a given. He's sure got a purty mouth, now, don't he? huh, huh . . .

I love "theone's" post about sweeping the stuff under the rug with money. Ever hear of the Kennedy's up there?

maroon is an insult just like moron didnt you ever see bugs bunny cartoons

I appluad channel 8, these mean spirited libs are way out of control. Maybe this will be a prelude to a house cleaning at MSNBC and NBC! Principled in Rangeley, Maine

Barry, regardless of what you said, or how you said it, you are correct. Bill O'Reilly is a 'pundit'. A commentator who has little respect for the truth and ZERO tolerance for those who dissagree with him. (I notice how that is being shared by conservatives everywhere. "You're right until I say you're wrong!" I am saddened that an Emmy was presented to him. It loweres my esteem for the Academey of Broadcast Arts and Sciences. As for Savage (Weiner), well he IS a real terrorist. The first time I heard him, he was advocating the line-up of all liberals against a wall and machine gunning them! This from a man of Jewish heritage! Best of Luck Barry.

Who's Barry Nolan?

I wonder if Bill O'Reilly will call Barry Nolan a Pinhead or a Patriot??

Tappen, please just a few exsamples of what you speak.

It is hard to believe any one would be giving an honor to Bill O Do people still watch that channel he is on?

SHT OFF YOUR TV>>>>>THERE IS NOTHING scarier than a Northeast conservative. The bible belt conservatives are at least guided in their conscience by the Lord, and are good neighbors. Here, all it ever is, Gimme my right to have guns and lots of 'em, where's my right to kill the guy that will eventually come into my house and try to kill my family...Death penalty, Death penalty, Death penalty... Damn, look how the ACLU is killing my family...Look how the school system wants to teach sex ed that I don't appreciate, look how the town green can't have baby Jesus without having a Jewish Menorah, look how THEY say "Happy HOLIDAYS" instead of Merry X-mas.. You are ALL scared, you N'East conservatives. You are ALL tools who are making Howie and Bill LAUGH all the way to the bank.... Love your neighbor and buy more TOFU

In spite of being constantly reviled, Bill O'Reilly has the guts to publicly challenge the liberals who want to open up our borders, tax us into oblivion and turn political correctness into an art form. Barry, go watch your grass grow.

hey now: last time I checked, 3 times as many as watch MSNBC. Nolan is quoting Edith Freakin' Bunker and he's accusing OTHERS of being delusional? No wonder I haven't seen him in 20 years.

In spite of being constantly reviled, Bill O'Reilly has the guts to publically challenge the liberals who want to open up our borders, tax us into oblivion and turn political correctness into an art form. Barry, go watch your grass grow.

I bet Bill Oreilly is having the last laugh today.

heynow, The O'Reilly Factor has totally dominated the cable news programming over the past couple of years. That's why you have morons like Barry Nolan, Keith Olbermann and the rest of the "wine and brie crowd" lowering themselves to idiotic levels because they know they don't attract an audience like O'Reilly does...whether you love him or hate him...

My WWE comparison stands in the matter of Bill O'Reilly. The guy's doing schtick, an act, whatever you want to call it. Somebody once said he'd rather "be loud than right" and there's the problem. A guy like John McLaughlin is bombastic and over-the-top, but regardless of the opinion, you have to admit he's entertaining. So much so that when Dana Carvey started lampooning him, the bit absolutely went to Carvey's top five. O'Reilly on the other hand, is just a mean-spirited blowhard who just happens to be an idiot on top of it. Check out his repeated references back in an '05 series of debates/discussions with Gen. Wesley Clarke to a massacre of German prisoner/soldiers by American troops at Malmedy, Belgium during WWII. Of course it just happened to be the other way around. German soldiers murdered unarmed American POWs who had their hands in the air. Hey, why let the facts get in the way of a good rant? It doesn't matter that Barry Nolan is a nobody in Bill's world. O'Reilly is deserving of honor from no one.

I don't even know where CN8 is on my TV. Hey Barry, my grass is growing as well. I'll pay you to come cut it, I figured you may need the cash and you do have the time.

Tappan - your ignorance is staggering. You seem to be possessed of the same stereotypical view of we on the right that everyone on the left appears to have. Believe it or not, we ain't all gun-totin' bible-thumpin' overall-wearing hicks with bib-style overalls and mullets. If you'd but learn to diversify (and that is the word that defines a liberal, isn't it?) your political beliefs a bit and gain some respect and understanding for your political rivals you may just come to realize that, though we may think differently, we are all just people. I fully respect your right to your opinion, and will allow you to speak it without insult or injury. Will you not do the same?

"As for his future, he plans to get his lawn in good shape and spend time with his wife." It's a shame his wife will now have to suffer for his sins.

Ah, CN8. The channell that BC HOckey is on when all the other sports stations have Pros. Congrats to PeterScala, over 150 words and no mention of Howie Carr. A new record.

It's one thing to have an opinion, but Nolan went too far and embarrassed his employer.

Mrs.Heslam refers to Bill as a blowhard.I wish you sweeties would get it right.He\'s a commentator for the great Fox News.

I guess Nolan couldn't stand the fact that no one cared what he thought, so he had to copy some lame quotes from some far-left website onto cards and put them on all the tables. That's crossing the line. That's liberals for ya: always throwing a tantrum when no one cares what they think.

I have a question for the folks who are so aghast at O'Reilly receiving an Emmy. What did you think when Hillary Clinton won her Grammy?

peterscala: The phrase you're quoting is as follows, and you'll love the author: "When the law is on your side, argue the law. When the facts are on your side, argue the facts. When neither is on your side, yell." Al Gore.