Robin Williams, a Great Entertainer!

Robin Williams. Born July 21, 1951 in Chicago. Career highlights: Stand-up comedy (Audio, TV, HBO, & Film), Mork and Mindy (TV Series 1978-82), & Films: Moscow on the Hudson (’84), Good Morning, Vietnam (’87), Dead Poets Society (’89), Awakenings (’90), The Fisher King (’91), Mrs. Doubtfire (’93), Good Will Hunting (’97), Patch Adams (’98), and many other great movies. Awards: 1 Oscar, 2 Emmys, 4 Golden Globe including the 2005 Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement, and more.

He is at his best doing stand-up, where he is known for telling irreverently dirty crazy jokes about drugs, sex, politics and the ironies of life. In films Robin usually plays an odd eccentric character; an alien, a elderly British nanny, a semi-human robot, the King of the Moon, a deluded homeless man, a Genie, a gay dragclub owner, a penguin. These diverse roles have allowed him to demonstrate his wide range of comedic talents.

What makes Robin such a great charismatic entertainer is that he is not only outrageously hilarious, but also a very heartfelt, warm and compassionate actor. A good example of this is his role as a therapist in Good Will Hunting, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. I will always remember his scene with Matt Damon (Will Hunting), where he repeatedly tells Will “It’s not your fault” (about his being abused as a child). That is one of the most powerful film scenes i have ever seen. Most of his roles (even the very comedic wacky ones), have shown some of this loving warmth. I have seen him in interviews talking about a serious social political issue, being very convincing and concerned. Then he says something really funny about the issue, and you realize that while it’s important to care about things and get involved, it’s also meaningful to put things in perspective, and be able to momentarily laugh at their absurdities.

Personal: 3 children, has lived mostly in Northern California, likes sci-fi & playing video games.

Quotes:
“God gave men both a penis and a brain, but unfortunately not enough blood supply to run both at the same time.”
“Cocaine is God’s way of telling you you are making too much money.”
“Catholic Lite; same rituals, half the guilt.” about his Episcopal faith.

Thanks Robin for everything!

Where’s the Justice?

What has happened to the Justice System in the USA? I’m tired of seeing big criminal trials become media circus fiascoes. The media coverage in big trials creates a business out of crime. Criminals can profit from victims’ suffering, by selling interviews, photos, books, film rights later. Spectators following the trials become addicted and obsessed by the twisted circumstances. Confidential info is exposed, and can lead to a wrong verdict. Stop the madness!

The 1995 O. J. Simpson murder trial was the first big televised court case, a real disgusting display of a media circus. Because of so much publicity before and during the trial, it’s likely that a guilty man was not convicted, although he was held liable at the 1997 civil trial. It is estimated that 100 million people worldwide watched or listened to the verdict and $40 billion of work productivity was lost from employees following the case. Some evidence against Simpson was not presented at the trial because the witnesses sold their stories to the media. Other prominent media circus cases are the trials of Gary Gilmore (1977), Martha Stewart (2004), and Casey Anthony (2010). Dr. Ronald B. Standler, an Attorney in Massachusetts, has a very compelling essay against Pretrial Publicity.

Who’s to blame? The Media mostly, publishers of Television, Newspapers, Magazines, and Books. These big trials bring them big profits, and they spend more time and effort on them than more important news. The history of ‘Yellow Journalism‘ in the USA goes back to the late 1800′s.

I remember when cameras and photos were forbidden in court, only artists were permitted to draw sketches. How did we go from that to live television!? Let’s bring back some dignity to the Justice System by keeping TV out of the Courtroom. Stop the madness!

Apalachicola, FL, a trip back in time

When most people think of Florida, they probably conjure images of beaches with palm trees and semi-clothed sunbathers, Disney type theme parks filled with touring families, and big cities clogged with traffic. Yet if you drive through the state, you realize that most of it is quite different from that. There’s a lot of forest, lakes, hills, agriculture, and small towns.

Apalachicola is one of those places that is quite unique. Located on the North Gulf Coast, it has a character and pace that makes one feel as if in another time period. I lived there for four years, and got a pretty good familiarity with it. One of the interesting things about it is that after about a year living there, I got to know many of the people. I could go just about anywhere in town, and run into someone I knew. This just doesn’t happen in Miami, my hometown, where I have spent more years than elsewhere. Of course ‘Apalach’ (as its called there) only has about 2400 residents, but the point is, most of them are friendly.

Oysters are the central theme here. Many locals work in the industry; harvesting, processing, and transporting the voluptuous bivalves. There are many fine seafood restaurants to choose from. There’s even one called ‘Boss Oyster’, which serves oysters in many creative delicious ways. The local shrimp is also excellent. The biggest event of the year is the Florida Seafood Festival held every November. It’s a lot of fun, with great fresh seafood, entertainment and rides.

The little town incorporated in 1827 has quite a bit of interesting history. It was once the third busiest port in the Gulf of Mexico. Botanist Alvan Wentworth Chapman settled in Apalachicola in 1847. Dr. John Gorrie discovered the cold-air process of refrigeration and patented an ice machine in 1850, while trying to help fever patients, which led to advances in modern refrigeration and air-conditioning. The city erected a monument to him, and a replica of his invention is on display in the John Gorrie Museum.

There are a few special little hotels in Apalachicola, and the Coombs House Inn is a real pearl. It has an authentic historical ambiance, the breakfast is fantastic, and the Innkeepers make you feel like at home.

The small downtown area is an easy and pleasant walk. It is filled with eclectic shops, eateries, and historic sites, as well as picturesque vistas of the working riverfront. Anyone who wants to see the ‘other’ Florida should visit Apalachicola.