Creepy Movie Director Man Wes Craven Dies

Wes Craven

Wes Craven, left, on the set of Deadly Blessing with Ernest Borgnine, center, and Brian DiMaio, right on that fateful day when it was revealed DiMaio was Borgnines’s stunt double not vice versa.

Los Angeles—Prolific horror film director, producer and writer Wes Craven died Sunday at his home after battling brain cancer and a masked serial killer with a knife, hockey mask and a razor claw glove thing. He was 76.

Most famous for creating the iconic Freddy Krueger character and the “Nightmare on Elm Street” franchise, Craven also was responsible for the “Scream” series.

Besides those films, Craven also produced or directed both versions of “The Last House on the Left,” “The Serpent and the Rainbow,” “RECOiL” and “The Hills Have Eyes.”

He is survived by his third wife, Iya Labunka, his son Jonathan, his daughter Jessica and two grandchildren. Continue reading

“Once You Stop Worrying About Whether You Are Getting It All ‘Right,’ You Can Relax Into The Chaos And Let Go Of The Insecurities:” A TDQ Q&A With Doctor Samantha Nutt

Dr. Samantha NuttWe’re really stoked about this week’s TDQ Q&A with Dr. Samantha Nutt, founder of the humanitarian organization, War Child. Dr. Nutt took time out of her crazy schedule to speak to us about War Child USA and War Child Canada, about winning the Order of Canada and about her book, “Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid.” Here is this week’s TDQ Q&A With Dr. Samantha Nutt:

The Daily Quarterly: How old were you when you knew you wanted to be in medicine? 

Samantha Nutt: Around the time I finished medical school. I come from a very artsy family and so even though I applied and was accepted, I had reservations about whether I’d made the right decision. I missed the creative side. After high school I had studied literature and drama in England, so medical school was a big change. But I’m glad I had a broadly-based education. Medicine really wasn’t on my radar until later in life and I encourage a lot of students who ask me about getting into medical school to approach it the same way, because those with a diversity of skills and experiences often have more to offer the profession.

TDQ: You were born in Canada, but spent the first few years of your life living in Durban, South Africa. What do you remember about living there, and how did that impact your life and career? 

SN: I was six when we returned to Canada. I do have some early memories of Africa – the beauty, the smells, my first friends – and I suspect this had some kind of influence on my eventual return to the continent.

TDQ: What’s the best advice you’ve ever gotten? 

SN: “Pay attention, you might learn something!”  Generously delivered by every teacher I ever had.

TDQ: What’s the worst advice you’ve ever gotten? 

SN: “Find work-life balance.” This is the rainbow unicorn of professional advice. I can now say with near certainty that there’s no such thing, especially once you have a child (or several). It always made me feel like a failure. Once you stop worrying about whether you are getting it all “right,” you can relax into the chaos and let go of the insecurities.

TDQ: Who are your influences? 

SN: Authors, artists and activists. People who think critically and independently. Those who bring us closer to the truth by being willing to debate the point. Sense of humor is also important to me. There’s nothing more tedious than sanctimonious, humorless finger-wagging. Luckily, that still leaves me with many choices for influences, from George Orwell and Jon Stewart to Teju Cole and Caitlin Moran.

warchild.caTDQ: When you were toiling away in medical school, did you ever envision becoming a Member of the Order of Canada? 

SN: Back then I couldn’t even envision a full night’s sleep! Honestly, I have never had a master plan. I’m just not programmed that way. I went to medical school because, as a humanities student, I was increasingly interested in the connection between health and human rights. And the more I explored this theme, the more it changed my career trajectory. I did not imagine being a “war doctor.” I would not have predicted that I’d end up in Somalia during a famine less than a year after graduating. But each question led to new ones and different experiences, and once I had been exposed to the injustice and gut-wrenching reality of war my life changed – for better and for worse – in profound ways.

TDQ: Tell us about your organizations War Child USA and War Child Canada…

SN: War Child is an internationally acclaimed humanitarian organization that helps children and their families rebuild their lives and withstand the brutal impact of war.  We take a long term view of the challenge of war – we are not a “relief” organization.  We work exclusively with local partner and community agencies to invest in grassroots, sustainable solutions that protect children, uphold the rule of law, and foster self-sufficiency and economic opportunity.  Our work is both complex and holistic, with an emphasis on education, access to justice and skills training (economic development) that over time help to break the cycle of poverty and violence plaguing war torn communities.  We also have a longstanding relationship with music and music artists as a way of getting our message out and galvanizing support for our efforts.

Damned NationsTDQ: Tell us about your book “Damned Nations: Greed, Guns, Armies and Aid…”

SN: Damned Nations is a distillation of 20 years of working in war zones and thinking about the ways in which our responses to these crises, from a humanitarian perspective, don’t work as well as we would all hope.  I also wanted to confront assumptions that many of us hold that war in other parts of the world has nothing to do with us, and yet we profit from and sustain it.  We’re quick to blame people in other parts of the world for orchestrating such misery while failing to address our complicity in their suffering.  So it’s part exposé, part call to action, and part guide for anyone interested in international development causes.  I wrote it because I wanted people to see, up close, the perspective from the ground – to hear the stories of those I have met who defied every stereotype we have of people living with war and poverty as “helpless victims” – and to draw general readers into a pointed conversation about war, militarism and aid.  I’m glad to see it is doing that. Continue reading

Yvonne Craig, Best Known As Barbara Gordon/Batgirl, Passes Away At 78

Yvonne Craig

Yvonne Craig, left, met RECOiL writer/directory Brian DiMaio, right, many years earlier when he accidentally strolled into a shot on one of Craig’s photoshoots. The two struck up a conversation about DiMaio’s groovy surfboard and how he just won it in a bet with Keith Paull.

Los Angeles—Actress and ballet dancer Yvonne Craig, who played Batgirl on television cult classic “Batman” long before that clueless hack Alicia Silverstone, did on the big screen, died at her home Monday from breast cancer. She was 78.

Craig was best known for her TV roles, appearing in such classics as “Star Trek,” “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” “The Man From U.N.C.L.E” and “The Wild Wild West.”

She also appeared in two films with Elvis, “It Happened at the World’s Fair” and “Kissin’ Cousins.” Other films she starred in include “Mars Needs Women,” “RECOiL” and “In Like Flint.”

She is survived by her second husband, Kenneth Aldrich. Continue reading

Joaquin Phoenix To Star In Film Version Of “Airwolf”

Airwolf: The Movie

One can’t help but wonder how long the studio sat on this film before giving it a green light. The male cast is looking a little long in the tooth.

Los Angeles—Paramount Pictures confirmed at a press conference yesterday that they will begin filming in Vancouver and Georgia next month on a film adaptation of the 1980s helicopter action drama, “Airwolf.”

Joaquin Phoenix has been cast as the lead, Stringfellow Hawke. Dennis Franz will star as Hawke’s co-pilot/father-figure/sidekick Dominic Santini.

The series, created by TV icon Donald P. Bellisario, ran on both CBS and the USA Network between 1984 and 1987. Bellisario,who officially retired from Hollywood in 2007 after clashing with “NCIS” star Mark Harmon, will reportedly have no involvement with the film.

Hawke’s love interest, Caitlin O’Shannessy, will be played by Disney star/singer Olivia Holt.

Barry Van Dyke will reprise his role in the television series and portray Saint John Hawke, Stringellow’s long-lost, kidnapped brother.

Denzel Washington has been signed to play Archangel Coldsmith-Briggs, an agent with “The Firm” who recruits Hawke to steal back the futuristic helicopter after its unstable creator steals it and uses it to commit acts of terror against the United States.

Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz, most famous for writing on “LOST,” have been tapped to pen the script, with Christopher McQuarrie reportedly in talks to direct.

“While it is true that no current executive at ‘Paramount’ was alive when the TV show aired, most of the creative team has watched episodes online,” a rep with the production company said. “And they weren’t bad, to be quite honest. It was pretty good. And we are confident that with the right script, and a good amount of CGI, we can bring the story into the 21st century and to a whole new audience. We’re very excited. Truly.”

Phoenix also took to the podium to discuss the announcement, but said nothing during the 14 minutes he took questions from the media, before slowly walking off the stage and eating a banana. Holt said on Twitter that she was “super, crazy, MEGA excited to be in this movie! I LUVED (sic) watching AIR WoLF (sic) when I was little! SO Exited!! (sic). XOXO <3” Continue reading

Safety Analyst Tells You The Best Way To Avoid Having Your Identity Stolen

Cyber Security

Only you can prevent cybercrime. Or, maybe that’s forest fires.

New York—George Collins, a safety analyst with COX Safenet in New York City, a firm that helps consumers prevent having their identity stolen, has written a new book with tips he’s gleaned from his long career to help protect consumers from identity theft. Here are the things he says you can do to protect yourself in his book, which is available on Amazon.com:

Tip 1: Never buy anything off Amazon. “I don’t trust their security on their site. I don’t trust anybody’s security on any site. Only pay cash for items face to face. It’s much safer.”

Tip 2: When you get a new credit card to replace your old one, spend at least 45 minutes cutting the old card up, and throw the pieces in no fewer than a dozen different garbage cans. “Back in the 1990s, I would take cruises each time I got a replacement credit card so I could toss sections of my cut up cards over the side of the ship out in the ocean. Like in that that old ‘Columbo’ episode where Robert Vaughn tosses those latex gloves overboard after shooting the singer of the cruise ship band. SPOILER ALERT: Columbo nabbed him anyway.” Collins said in his book that even if you can’t take a cruise each time you get a new card, you should at the very least spend close to an hour cutting up your old card into as many small pieces as you can, take a road trip to no less than six cities in three different states, and throw the pieces of the card away into at least 12 different trash cans. Even the most ambitious identity thief would be hard pressed to piece that card back together.

Tip 3: Give your significant other a fake PIN number. “You can’t trust anybody. You’ll know they’re trying to steal your identity when they tell you the PIN isn’t correct. George Costanza had the right idea. I’ve never told any of my six wives my actual PIN, and it’s served me well.”

Tip 4: Make your internet passwords as convoluted and hard to crack as possible. And don’t write them down ever. “I use symbols, numbers, even symbols from foreign languages, and I am constantly forgetting them, my passwords are so well-constructed. It takes a little more time whenever I have to go personally visit customer service to reset my password at my bank, but it’s well worth it.”

Collins said he can personally help you ensure your identity will be totally safe. He can be reached via e-mail, and all you have to do to get his personal service is send him your date of birth, social security number, mother’s maiden name and the name or your childhood best friend. Just allow 4-6 weeks for his services to kick in after that. Continue reading