Dear Zachery – Netflix Streaming

Dear Zachery
Dear Zachery

At the date of this post this is streaming on Netflix.  Spoiler Alert…Don’t read if you want to watch Dear Zachery before I write about it.  I stumbled upon this documentary on Netflix after positive reviews on the web.  Dear Zachery is a documentary made by film maker Kurt Kuenne.  From a young age, Kurt created movies with childhood friend Andrew Bagby.  Andrew was a funny individual that amassed many friends.  His schooling had led him to become a doctor.  We see him in his final years giving a best man speech on a video.  Andrew became engaged himself, but the engagement came to an end.  Friends were commenting that he wasn’t the same after the engagement ended.

Andrew managed to meet someone else.  Early on friends had noticed that the new love was a little strange.  They described her as someone who was very needy.  Moreover, she had about 13 years on Andrew.  After some time, Andrew knew that being with Shirley Turner (the one he met) was not going to work out.  She was very jealous and needy.  Andrew broke up with her and put her on a plane to go back to Iowa.  Unfortunately, when Shirley got home she decided to drive 16 hours to Latrobe, PA to see Andrew again.  Andrew told his friend what was going on.  The friend’s advice was, if someone drove 16 hours and is in the front door, than you should go out the back door.  Andrew did not take the advice, was shot 5 times, and left for dead.  The police had many reasons to believe Shirley was guilty.  This included evidence of a recent gun purchase and cell phone records of her making calls in different cities.  After some lieing to the cops, she decided to flee to Canada.

Shirley would be put on trial and found guilty of Andrew’s murder.  But there was another surprise.  She was pregnant with Andrew’s baby.  After labor and during trial, Kathleen and David Bagby (Andrew’s parents), would bring baby Zachery to prison to see his mom.  Shirley’s therapist, Dr. Doucet, posted her $75K bail.  At that point, Shirley would come up with different excuses for Zachery not to see his grandparents.  The Bagby’s were angered by this, as well as Shirley being allowed to post bail.

In July 2003, Shirley met another man.  They dated until he found out that she was in the middle of a trial for killing a man.  When he tried to break it off, she left him about 200 voicemails.  The next month, she took drugged up herself and baby Zachery, tied Zachery to her body and committed murder-suicide via ocean drowning.

The documentary is as unique as the story.  Kurt interviews many people to set up a video memoir of Andrew for Zachery.  In the process, he also documents the trial and the state of child custody.  The documentary fails to be a memoir for Zachery because Zachery dies.  But it helps Kathleen and David cope with their loss.  After the original devastation of their son’s death and then their grandson’s death, the documentary ends up showing how loved Kathleen and David are by the extended Bagby family.  This truly is a great documentary and my first time watching a documentary that I wished was actually fiction.

To Be Takei – Netflix Streaming

George Takei
George Takei

This documentary is on Netflix streaming as of today’s date.  It is about former Star Trek actor George Takei.  He broke into Hollywood by playing a Japanese characters with accents on television shows.  He would land roles among popular actors like Frank Sinatra, Richard Burton, and James Caan.  The most important role he would land is Sulu on Star Trek.

The documentary recounts the attack on Pearl Harbor.  After the attack, Japanese-Americans were forced to go into interment camps.  This lasted from 1942 to 1946 and was authorized by Franklin D. Roosevelt.  Within days of the attack, racist signs against the Japanese were seen everywhere.  Newspapers and state politicians made it clear that they wanted the Japanese to leave as well.  Later on in Life, Takei became a politician.  He led those affect by interment camps to get a restitution payment from the Reagan administration.

On a happier note, George Takei is hysterical.  He is a repeat client on the Howard Stern show.  He is also a homosexual and a huge gay activist.  In response to Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay Bill”, he puts together the funniest video.  Here is that video, George Takei video.  Fortunately, the bill did not pass.  Takei credits coming out of the closet publicly to Arnold Schwarzenegger.  When Arnold was running for government, he talked about some of his best friends being gay.  After getting into office he vetoed the marriage equality bill.  This infuriated Takei and led him to start publicly supporting homosexuality.

Takei has millions of Facebook and Twitter followers.  He is very smart and funny.  His fans love his one liners.  In the documentary he tells his husband Brad (Altman) Takei, as well as Will Wheaton that they put on some weight.  He doesn’t seem very sensitive to other people’s feelings, but he is loved by millions.

Disney War – James Stewart – Scribd – Audiobook

Disney War
Disney War – James Stewart

 

In this depiction of Disney, James Stewart gives us an insider’s guide to the management of the company.  In 1984, Roy Disney (Walt’s nephew) brought in Michael Eisner to help revive the Walt Disney brand.  In the beginning, Eisner is depicted as a humble individual who is very thankful for the opportunity that Roy Disney has given him.  He tells Roy that at any time he doesn’t think that Eisner himself is doing a good job, Eisner will leave.

That would be the last time in this book that Eisner appeared humble.  His 1984 salary was negotiated at $750,000, plus an additional $750,000 as a sign-on bonus, and options on 2 million Disney shares.  Ironically, Eisner was very frugal with business decisions.  Perhaps, he needed to make sure Disney had plenty of cash available to pay his salary.  Who Framed Roger Rabbit was using new technology mixing cartoons and humans.  Robert Zemeckis led the budget of the film.  However, Michael Eisner was trying to cut expenses as much as possible during the filming.  Fortunately, the movie was a huge success.

Jeffrey Katzenberg was Michael Eisner’s right hand man.  He was brilliant and did things when told.  Katzenberg believed he would eventually succeed Frank Wells as the President of the company.  In 1994, Frank Wells died in a helicopter accident.  Eisner did not appoint Katzenberg to the position of President.  Katzenberg left Disney and started Dreamworks with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen.  Michael Eisner hired his friend, Michael Ovitz for this role.  The book goes into detail about how they went on ski trips together, spent the holidays together.  14 months later Ovitz would be forced out of the company.  Ovitz was very angry with the way Eisner had backstabbed him.  But Ovitz also managed to leave the company with a $38 million severance payout and stock options worth $100 million at the time.

Disney had acquired ABC television.  They had caught great success when they created ‘Who wants to be a millionaire’.  The show’s popularity had a good run.  A few years later, a new writer from Las Vegas had pitched the show CSI to ABC.  Michael Eisner did not want to pick it up.  Eventually, CBS would acquire CSI.  Unfortunately, CSI ran the same prime time slot as ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire’ and CSI would get the better ratings.  In early 2005, Roy Disney had successfully went after Michael Eisner to get him to leave his position.

This book shows us the greed that goes on in the board room of America’s most well known children’s entertainment brand.  I found it interesting that the theme parks themselves were hardly mentioned.  The only mention was the failure of Euro Disney under Michael Eisner.  It looks like Disney’s production studio is much more important to the success the company.  In this book Michael Eisner definitely plays the villain.  But he also was the CEO of the company for over 20 years and that was during the time that Disney had achieved success.

Dawg Fight – Netflix Streaming

Dawg Fight
Dawg Fight Documentary on Netflix Streaming

Dawg Fight is a documentary that is currently on Netflix Streaming.  It is about bare knuckle fighters in the poor suburbs outside of the Miami area.  Dada 5000 is promoting these bare knuckle fights in the neighborhood.  These fights are extremely dangerous and difficult to watch.  West Perrine is a neighborhood that has unemployment rates 1/3 higher than the national average.  Fighting is a way for some of these individuals to make money.  This small town is plagued with high murder rates.  Ironically, fighting is the safer way for some of the residents to settle their differences.

Dada 5000 became interested in this profession because he grew up within blocks of Kimbo Slice.  Dawg Fight shows a clip of Dada 5000 losing a bare knuckle match to Kimbo Slice.  After touring as Kimbo Slice’s body guard, he comes back to the hood to create a 12′ X 12′ ring in his backyard.  The fights are illegal, but cops are accepting of it.  They accept the fighting because they know the town will be at the fight, so the residents won’t be getting involved in worst things during that time.  The fights are set up by using cheap tarp to cover the fences and there is a VIP area which is created using caution tape.  They charge people $20 to see the fight.  The residents that can’t afford to pay, climb up trees and watch.  Dawg Fight gives you a background of each fighter.  The sad truth is that all of them were locked up in prison.  Training for a violent fight is there way to stay away from trouble.

Dawg Fight introduces us to two individuals that end up fighting each other.  Chauncey is a tough fighter, that the older women believe no one should be messing with.  Tree is a young contender that thinks he may have what it takes to beat Chauncey.  After a great battle, Chauncey does end up with the win.  Days later Chauncey gets into a dispute with his girlfriend’s brother.  He ends up shot in the back of the head and is taken to the hospital on life support.  Days later they pull the plug on him.  Tree, ends up getting tasered by the police and dies from injuries sustained.  Unfortunately, this is a real documentary and those were real people.

Other graphic scenes include fighters breaking their wrist, losing teeth, getting cut up badly, and even being knocked out unconscious.  These men don’t have appropriate medical care at the fights.  Many of them heal themselves because they can’t afford to see a doctor.  Dada 5000 doesn’t earn much of a profit, as he pays out the fighters.  The documentary concludes with Dada 5000 being scouted.  He trains for a fight at the nearby Hard Rock Seminole Casino.  His frightening opponent is a fighter named Cedric.  Dada 5000 wins the fight and based on the internet is currently 2-0 as an MMA fighter.

Truly a great document with graphic fight scenes.  It makes you realize that there are people out there that are really struggling.  West Perrine is a difficult neighborhood to grow up in and I want to see those individuals succeed without violence and bare knuckle fighting.

Neil Patrick Harris: Choose your own Autobiography

Neil Patrick Harris - NPH
Neil Patrick Harris with Family

Once again, a Scribd Audio Book.  Neil Patrick Harris is brilliant.  He talks about his life as an actor.  He speaks in the third person, as he talks to himself about himself.  This book is literally at least 90% about him being an actor.

He starts the book out about talking about giving a great monologue in a school play.  His confidence boosting monologue is what he attributes to the great lesson leading to his career.  His first big break as Doogie Howser, MD was actually by luck.  It was his agent’s assistant’s boyfriend or something similar that landed him the interview.  I say the interview and not the gig because Neil Patrick Harris earned that role.  If you watched the show you would surely agree.

Neil Patrick Harris began the show at the age of 16 and it lasted until he was 20.  He talks about episodes where he had to play the doctor that delivered the baby.  After the show had come to a conclusion, NPH did not have any great gigs lined up.  He did what most actors did in their 20s.  Neil Patrick Harris hit the Hollywood club scene.  The Roxy and Viper Room at least one night of the week.  In this book he confirmed that Shannen Doherty was a handful and loved getting into fights.  In past business relationships that he made, he was able to get spots on TV shows and made for TV movies.

In 2004, he caught a big break by playing himself on the blockbuster movie, ‘Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle’.  However, himself in this movie, was depicted as a drug user who was desperately in search of a strip club.  In a great scene he is snorting cocaine off a strippers behind, while traveling on top of a stolen vehicle.  He would find great fortune in 2005, by playing the role of Barney Stinson in ‘How I Met Your Mother’.  2006, was the most important year in NPH’s life, he had come out of the closet.  He spends a good part of this book discussing how he had hooked up with girls, but found real attraction to certain males on sets that he was on.  Earlier in life, he had told his mother about his homosexuality.  Her response was that he may not be sure of his sexuality yet, but if he was gay his mother would still love him.  NPH talks about how supportive both of his parents were.

In 2004, he began seeing David Burtka.  In 2010, they had twins through a surrogate mother.  In 2011, NPH opened the Tony Awards with a controversial, comical gay song.  Their were certain lyrics he was asked not to use, but decided to use them on live television.  Some of the producers weren’t to pleased.  However, NPH managed to host the 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2013 Tony Awards.

Great actor, Great book.

 

Love Me – Netflix – Documentary

Love Me
Love Me – Netflix Documentary

Love Me is a great documentary currently on Netflix streaming.  I don’t believe it is meant to be a comedy.  However, it is quite comical.  It’s about a few interesting men in the United States that struggle to find a women.  There are approximately 160 million women here in the United States, but they can’t seem to find any for themselves.  

Spoiler Alert: Love Me is summarized, but still worth watching.

Bobby is a 400 lb government employee who obsessively plays video games.  His ex-wife cheated on him and he is now looking for love.  Eric is an engineer that lives in Texas.  He looks a little like a serial killer.  He never found true love in the states.  Robert is a construction worker from California.  He seems to be the most normal one out of the bunch.  Ron, is a divorced millionaire from California.  He is in his late 50s and very much into fitness.  At some point in this documentary it looks like he is shooting steroids.  Travis is a farmer from Wisconsin.  He looks like a creepier version of Jon Cryer.  He seems quiet and lonely.  Michael is the only one outside of the United States.  He lives in Australia.  He is an older man that has been married twice before.

All the studs mentioned are part of a service that connects them with women in the Ukraine.  These guys get ripped off by paying $10 an email to send them to potential females in the Ukraine.  The documentary shows these guys taking a trip to Ukraine to find potential wives.  It strategically shows their stories separately.  Bobby waits for his true love at a dinner/dance the foreign exchange service sets up.  He refuses to approach any of the other women at the dance because he is in love already with the one he met on the internet.  It’s quite unfortunate because which Ukrainian woman wouldn’t want to be hit on by a 400 lb US government employee?  He eventually gets them to find the woman the next day.  She seems into him.  But then ignores him when he goes back to the United States.  Eric finds his woman (this being his 6th trip to the Ukraine), and she actually seems sweet and comes from a good family.  They get married in a really inexpensive ceremony.  And the “Kiss the Bride” scene is very gross.  Eric looks even more like a serial killer kissing his bride.  Robert is able to find his true love as well.  Ron doesn’t have much success in the Ukraine, but is able to meet someone in the United States when he comes back.  Travis, meets a woman, he goes back to the Ukraine to propose.  He stays with the woman’s family and you can tell that something is not working out well.  That story ends with the police saying his wife owes them $4,000, so now Travis owes them that money.  He says he doesn’t have it and settles by paying the police $800.  He goes back to the United States scammed and wifeless.  Michael meets a woman that he marries.  He is secretly warned about the woman.  The woman admits that she only marries men to try to find a good place for her kids.  She has married multiple men and doesn’t take things seriously.  She never calls or answers calls from Michael.  When Michael goes back to the Ukraine to figure out what is going on, they break the marriage off.

Love Me is hysterical.  I think it’s supposed to be reality, but I cant help but feel that there is no way this can be real.  Watch it, be entertained, and let me know if you think this is real.

Tiger Woods : Real Story Steve Helling-Scribd Audiobook

Tiger Woods
Tiger Woods

Tigers Woods, the Michael Jordan of Golf.  The book begins with the tragedy of Tiger Woods’ infidelity.  It brings us to that part of his life when the media was well aware of what was going on.  How his cheating generated such popularity in the news.

Earl Woods, Tiger’s father, was in the military.  He had met Kultida when he was on tour in Thailand.  They had Eldrick Tont “Tiger” Woods in 1976.  Tiger had two half brothers that were much older from Earl’s first marriage.  Tiger was the name of a South Vietnamese officer that saved Earl’s life multiple times in Vietnam.

Tiger Woods was very much into golf at a young age.  He had enjoyed watching his father putt when he was a baby.  As a child he was uncomfortable between the racism at the school and not being very attractive.  As he got older Tiger Woods filled the role of the male friend to females.  They didn’t want to go out with him, but liked him because he was polite.

As Tiger Woods developed into the golf phenom his confidence grew.  He went to Stanford University on a golf scholarship.  At the age of 19 he was already playing in his first PGA Tour.  At the age of 20, he already had contracts with Nike and Titliest.  In 2000, Nike gave him a 5-year contract extension worth $105 million.

Around that time he had met Elin Nordegren.  She was a former model that was working as a nanny in Florida.  She wasn’t interested in Tiger Woods at first.  But soon she would fall in love with him.  The couple married in 2004.

Unfortunately for Elin, Tiger was a sex addict.  Based on this book it wasn’t just a scandal and fall out.  Since becoming a confident college student, Tiger Woods was all about the women.  He would entertain people with his raunchy humor.  Other golfers on the PGA tour knew Tiger Woods enjoyed the company of other females.  He would be caught in clubs making out with women.  Even when he was out with the wife, he enjoyed the attention that other women gave him.

The actual scandal had caused Tiger Woods to lose most of his endorsements.  Having Tiger Woods on a product used to be a huge money maker for these corporations, but after the scandal they had the opposite effect.  EA Sports kept the production of the Tiger Woods game they produced because they already spent too much money on testing.  Tiger Woods went to sex rehab, but it couldn’t save a family that he had destroyed.  The couple divorced in 2010 and Elin Nordegren received $750 million.

Fed Up – Netflix Streaming Documentary

Fed Up
Fed Up – Netflix Documentary

Fed Up is a documentary currently being shown on Netflix.  It is about the childhood obesity epidemic becoming out of control.  The documentary blames this on people eating the “wrong” calorie and advertising brainwashing us.  Fed Up argues that 1 calorie doesn’t necessarily mean 1 calorie.  They support that statement by showing us that the sugar content in fruit is countered by fiber, unlike Soda which hurts our bodies directly.

In the 70s, the United States created the McGovern report which made an effort to implement certain food restrictions.  Companies started lowering the fat content in their foods.  Unfortunately, the reduction in fat led to an increase in sugar.  The documentary then shows us some kid friendly commercials like the Fruity Pebbles commercial.

Four kids are followed in Fed Up.  There is a girl who is very physically active, but she cant lose weight.  She is very frustrated by this inability, but continues to ear poorly.  The documentary delves into the poor nutritional value of school food.  During the Reagan administration a large cut was made in the school food budget.  To compensate, schools started serving cheap and nutritionally poor boxed foods.  Fast forward to today and things are more out of control.  Some schools have their own student section with other bad foods.  Many other schools have a fast-food chain like McDonalds or Pizza Hut in the school.  A boy they follow first comes onto the documentary eating fries.  His mother is making a strong effort to get healthy foods, but sometimes can’t afford it.  When they go to the doctor he is in danger of serious complications if he doesn’t lose weight.  Another boy is the fattest of the multiple siblings he has.  He actually goes through a DXA scanner that calculates his belly fat to be at about 60%.  Then they show a teenager that is almost 400 lbs.  At the end of the documentary he is the only success story.  He goes through a gastric bypass procedure.

Fed Up compares the increase in gym memberships in the past 20 years with a similar increase in obesity.  Both are on the rise.  The documentary concludes with an analog of smoking back then to sugar now.

Overall, Fed Up is captivating.  I agree with most points made.  However, I think another large part of the childhood obesity epidemic is inactivity.  The basketball courts seem empty these days.  With the amount of current entertainment we get from televisions, video games, and computers we aren’t as active.  However, this new information age has given us great tools and a whole host of new nutritious foods.  We should utilize myfitnesspal and keep track of calories until we reach a nice healthy weight.

 

 

The Google Story – David Vise – Scribd

Google Story
Google Story

See July 2015 Update for Current Google News.

The Google Story is an audio book on Scribd.  It provides us with information about the formation of Google.  The story begins with Sergey Brin addressing an Israeli high school.  This high school is gifted in mathematics and have won 7 of 10 awards in Israel.  The school has much in common with Sergey Brin.  Many of the students are Russian immigrants that had fled to Israel for a better life.  Sergey says, as my father would say, what happened to the other 3 awards.

Sergey Brin immigrated to the United States at the age of 6 and grew up in Maryland.  He excelled in school and went to the University of Maryland for his undergraduate degree.  His father was a Math Professor at the University of Maryland.  He would do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.

Larry Page was also born to a professor.  His father was a Computer Science professor at Michigan State University.  Larry attended the University of Michigan.  He would also do his graduate studies in Computer Science at Princeton University.

When Brin and Page met each other, they did not get along.  Both men were incredibly smart and liked to argue.  Before Google, search engines employed tons of advertising and didn’t have a good system for giving search results.  Brin and Page had devised an algorithm to give sites a page rank based on the relevancy of the site’s backlinks.  In 1996, the original Google became a popular search engine on the Stanford University Network.  They believed the idea was brilliant and tried to sell it for $1 million.  So they can take the money and continue studying.  Search engines like Excite and Lycos didn’t purchase the algorithm.  Brin and Page decided that they would work on their project full time.

Initially, they tried to solicit friends and family for investment money.  The Sun microsystems co-found wrote them a check for $100,000.  Interesting fact, SUN stands for Stanford University Network.  They would start getting employees and putting together different computer networks to handle the capacity of computing power.  They would become a corporate power house.  Offering many conveniences that most corporations didn’t.  They had a bus that would take people to work and back.  The ability to bring your dog to work.  For parents, 18 weeks of paid leave for Mom, 6 weeks of paid leave for Dad.  Free on-site day care when returning to work.  Free fitness classes.

A large part of this book was devoted to their greatest perk.  Charlie Ayers, a former chef for the Grateful Dead became Google’s executive Chef.  He had initially taken a pay cut to join the company as their 53rd employee.  He would provide employees with gourmet food daily.  This food would be free to employees.  But more importantly his great personality had built a tight-knit community.  He retired Google $26 million wealthier with the stock options.

Overall, a great audio book about Google.  This one was written in 2005 and there may be more up-to-date books available about Google.

I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

 

I Hate Christian Laettner
I Hate Christian Laettner – ESPN 30 for 30

Well, I dont really hate him.  It just happens to be the title of an ESPN special that I was fortunate enough to catch on Netflix.  I remember Christian Laettner as the 3rd overall draft pick in the 1992 NBA draft.  I was young and did not watch college basketball when he was drafted.  I only knew him as the guy with the mushroom haircut sitting on the bridge above.

Christian Laettner was well known for being the best player in Duke history.  He holds many records and shined as a superstar when needed.  Laettner led Duke to two titles.

Growing up Christian Laettner was tall and excelled in basketball.  He was also very tough.  This special shows a high school basketball game in which Christian Laettner started a brawl.  Moving on to college his attitude wasn’t much different.  The documentary shows him constantly harassing Bobby Hurley, a fellow Duke teammate.  It doesn’t help that Duke is one of the most hated college basketball teams.

In one college playoff game Christian Laettner was perfect from the line and perfect from the field.  He also hit the game winning shot with seconds left to play.  This was after a perfect cross court pass from Grant Hill.  The fans of the other teams were outraged.  Earlier in that game Laettner stomped on Imanu Timberlake’s chest.  The fans believed Christian Laettner should have been thrown out of that game.

Rumors began to fly that Christian Laettner was gay after he gave an interview in college.  People were questioning his relationship with Brian Davis.  The article showed Christian Laettner sitting close to Brian Davis while holding a cute little kitten.  In basketball games that followed the opposing fans would throw gay slurs at Laettner.

Jalen Rose was commentating in this documentary.  He confirmed his hatred towards Christian Laettner as well.  Rose was part of the Fab 5 from Michigan.  This team included Chris Weber.  Michigan played Duke in Laettner’s last NCAA finals in 1992.  With everything going on outside of basketball, Christian Laettner had an awful first half.  Duke kept the score close because they were a great team.  Bobby Hurley started antagonizing Laettner.  In the 2nd half Christian Laettner came out with a vengeance.  Duke destroyed Michigan to win their 2nd title with Christian Laettner.

Christian Laettner was the only individual in the 1992 NBA draft invited to play with the Dream Team.  The greatest team ever assembled.  They represented the United States basketball team in the 1992 Olympics.  Unfortunately, his NBA career didn’t amount to much.  He didn’t adjust to the NBA as well as he played in college.  Also, the coaches couldn’t adjust to him as well as Mike Krzyzewski.  

As all the other ESPN 30 for 30s a great documentary.  Watch it on Netflix or try to catch it on ESPN.