Hollywood


WHERE IN THE WORLD WASN’T ANDREW SPEAKER?

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Son of a “B___!” Talk about a made for TV conspiracy movie, or an intriguing marketing idea to quickly build up business for a law firm, I give you Andrew Speaker; the “Typhoid Mary” of 2007. Your mind could go wild with this one, but it really doesn’t have to. Here’s the set-up:

A handsome, well-to-do and gregarious young couple gets married stateside jetting bon voyage by the well-wishers attending their reception, off to enjoy a storybook honeymoon in the Greek Isles. The day had finally come, following one postponement after another. Typical of “on-the-rise” young professionals, finding time for the wedding had been tough, especially for the groom, a star law school graduate on the cusp of developing an equally stellar professional practice alongside his father. Putting the wedding on hold again was out of the question – but Andrew had a secret. The viral young lawyer was carrying a particularly virulent strain of Tuberculosis, or TB. Not fearing the worst, thanks to encouragement by his doctor, he can’t let this get in the way. Heck, he feels great, being in the best shape of his life, and a little TB wasn’t even interfering with his daily jogs. After all, one-third of the world carries the TB bacteria without problems, and is walking around doing just fine. Right? No, the wedding was definitely a “go.”

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Andrew Speaker giving the winning opening argument for the University of Georgia law team at the ABA National Criminal Justice Trial Advocacy Competition in 2003.

Now, our story and the “secret” gets complicated. A classic,“What did you know, and when did you know it?” You see, Andrew’s “little case” of TB carries a bad prognosis; likely death, as it is a multi-drug resistant strain, and there are no known effective vaccines for the world’s adult population.

This is the point where your questioning mind and imagination have a head-on collision with the facts. Terrorists? Spies? Brain-washed doctors and border guards? Hollywood, book deals, or big pay-offs? Who knows, but for now maybe the answer lies in a combination of stupidity, selfishness and really bad communication. Some consolation, as either way, exploring questions leads to one serious answer; dead is dead. Not a lot of thrill in this potential ending.

Our patient was identified today as Andrew Speaker, a 31-year-old personal injury lawyer who returned last week from his wedding and honeymoon trip through Italy, the Greek isles and other spots in Europe. His new father-in-law, Robert C. Cooksey, is a long-time CDC microbiologist whose specialty is TB and other bacteria. Huh? Is that your jaw on the floor? A personal injury lawyer running around the world with a highly communicable disease? Don’t those guys kinda specialize in cases involving reckless endangerment? And, whoa, the father-in-law is, what?

Now you question, outside of the sanity of Andrew Speaker and Robert Cooksey, where were the doctors, the CDC, Homeland Security, the WHO, the CIA, FBI, airline security, and whoever else is supposed to be protecting us from this type of pandemic? TB, regardless of the strains severity, doesn’t just sort of come on like a stress headache. At least Andrew and his doctor were long well aware he had TB, and there was time to react. Although only discovered today, and poorly constructed as events are still falling into place, consider Andrew’s travel schedule, as we think we know:

He flew to Paris on May 12 aboard Air France Flight 385, also listed as Delta Air Lines codeshare Flight 8517. He and his bride then took four more flights within Europe, flying from Paris to Athens on May 14; from Athens to Thira Island on May 16; from Mykonos Island to Athens on May 21; and from Athens to Rome also on May 21. On May 24, Andrew flew from Rome to Prague on Czech Air Flight 0727. From Prague, the couple left for Montreal that day aboard Czech Air Flight 0104. From Montreal, they grabbed a rental car and headed across the border back into the United States. Notwithstanding the frequent-flier miles he racked-up (hope he lives to use them), imagine how many people were in contact, then changing planes and contacting others throughout the world.

Somebody has got a lot of explaining to do, to say the least. But you were warned. Well, sort of. Missed it? I did too, but I’m talking about the ABC TV movie; “Fatal Contact: Bird Flu In America.” The movie follows an outbreak of the H5N1 avian flu virus from its origins in a Hong Kong market through its mutation into a pandemic virus that becomes easily transmittable from human to human and spreads rapidly around the world. Interesting plot. Apparently, ABC must have done its homework well, as the United States Government dedicated web pages to it via PandemicFlu.Gov and AvianFlu.Gov, stating:

“The Department of Health and Human Services prepared a Viewer’s Guide and some anticipated Questions and Answers to provide factual information for viewers of the movie.” Of interesting note, in addition to English, translations of the content are available in Spanish, Chinese and Tieng Viet. This to me, alone, is spooky. While fingers start pointing and we pray for Andrew Speaker’s health over the next who knows how long, take a minute to read the site’s information. You will learn what to do, where to go, and even what groceries to stock-up on when a pandemic strikes. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to print a copy to put with your other emergency stuff. The link is HERE.

Phillipines Tuberculosis Animated Short

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(L>R) “Nappy Hair,” Prof. Carolivia Herron, Prof. Kay E. Vandergrift, Bushwick, NY, Hillary Swank, Sandy Dennis, Sidney Portier

I’m not much for going to movies, and to this venue, I’m rarely current. I did see the biopic drama FREEDOM WRITERS not long ago, mainly because I like Hillary Swank, but I’ve seen this movie before in UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE, and TO SIR WITH LOVE. These are all pretty much the same, and here’s my logline for all three; “Idealistic young teacher knowingly accepts assignment in tough neighborhood/situation determined to make a difference, gets frustrated with intolerable conditions, motivates largely apathetic students amid setbacks and cynicism of others.” Two big name Hollywood reporter’s critical reviews of “Freedom Writers” offer readers a slant not only on the movie, but where we are today with our own melodrama rekindled by the now famous, “Nappy Headed Hos” line.

Kirk Honeycutt of THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER said of FREEDOM; “Unfocused urban drama is a real missed opportunity,” and James Berardinelli of ReelViews said; “Refreshingly different.” Polarized reviews, as opinions often are, and the same was said of TO SIR and UP (Both films aired 1n 1967 – a quick 40 years ago) Without imagination, Hollywood either remakes or offers new spin on the “deja-vu” because, aside from the box gross, they know in the long run, we cave to success stories, which is, of course the end product of all three films here. To the Imus-Sharpton thing, clearly there is an “unfocused real missed opportunity.” If, however, your take is, “refreshingly different,” you are like me with the movies, not current, and have missed opportunities presented in our own earlier real biopics. There are a bunch of true-life stories I could splice here, but what follows is, without doubt, the most ironic and best, “history repeats itself” drama I know. And really, it wasn’t that long ago.

It’s December, 1998 and fresh-faced, recently engaged to be married, 27 year old Ruth Sherman, a new third grade teacher, has aspirations to teach the world. The setting has Ruth living in Inwood, New York, a small town of mostly white middle-class families in suburban Long Island. Ruth drew her dream teaching assignment in a town nearby, but worlds apart – Bushwick, the Brooklyn “hood,” a gritty black and Hispanic badlands in Brooklyn notorious for it all. For close to thirty years Bushwick leads the city in crime with gang violence, rape, murder, and drugs. Drugs are so rampant, the “shopping” area along Knickerbocker Avenue is known by all the “homeys” as “the well.” Some say graffiti originated in Bushwick. Some say opportunity moved out of Bushwick, others say it moved in. Whatever, Bushwick is not safe – day or night.

Pride also left Bushwick, pushed away by cynicism. Ruth commutes to work, a public elementary school “institution” known uncaring as P.S. #75. “When I first told them, people said to me; ‘Bushwick? Oh my God, why Bushwick?’ ” Ruth said. “But there was something about it. I chose that school because I wanted the neighborhood. I was going to turn things around, really make a difference.”bushwick-copy.jpg

In just three months at P.S. #75, Ruth Sherman did make a difference, but not what she planned. In less than a week, Ruth was the focus of a small, loud community making it’s uproar heard deep out of “the well.” Things got so bad that Ruth was sent packing, ideals and intentions included, fearing for her life.

Ruth never saw it coming, but her troubles began right away in September with, NAPPY HAIR, a book written by an author born in, the very same district. Ruth chose the story because she thought it would change her students’ lives. She regaled her class with the story of a little black girl with “the nappiest, fuzziest, the most screwed up, squeezed up, knotted hair.” She said they loved it so much that “they clamored for copies to carry with them.” An eager new teacher’s ideals, constrained by an overlooked budget with no tax allocation, led her to the “crime” of paying to have copies made. Poor naive Ruth was Xeroxing her own “best laid plans.”

So, the holidays roll around, but in Bushwick, it’s just another cold month with no thought of celebration. Just before Thanksgiving, a P.S. #75 parent finds a pack of pages from NAPPY HAIR in her daughter’s book bag, and let’s describe the woman as much less than “thankful.” This was the start of it – the books title; NAPPY HAIR, according to Board of Education spokesman J.D. LaRock, who explained that the angry woman and some other parents at the predominantly black and Hispanic P.S. #75 school interpreted NAPPY HAIR as a racial slur.

“The first I knew of the problem, was when this parent came into my classroom and said she was surprised she didn’t see a white hood on my desk,” Ruth said.

After blowing out Ruth, the offended parent, whose name school officials refused to reveal, put pages of the book with protests in neighborhood mailboxes. Almost immediately, Ruth was summoned from class in the middle of a morning lesson. Ruth knew a meeting was in progress to choose a new assistant principal, and her presence had been requested. Knowing she had been a “hit” with her students, Ruth scurried down the hall to the principals office thinking, “could it be me?” Ruth was a “hit,” alright.

Ruth Sherman smiles when she’s nervous, just a clumsy shy tic. And she smiled on her way to the meeting. As she neared, Ruth heard angry shouting and stopped to phone her fiance, telling him she had the feeling something was wrong, and bad things were about to happen.

Ruth entered the meeting, assembled by some 50 parents, most not of her students, and was “greeted” with what she and school officials called abusive language. More nervous than ever, Ruth kept smiling. “I couldn’t stop, and I think that made them madder,” Ruth said. “They started getting in my face, asking me who I thought I was reading that book, calling me a cracker. Nobody would let me or the principal or the librarian, who was waving good reviews of NAPPY HAIR from off the Internet, talk.”

A woman stood up and told Ruth, she “better watch out.”

“I asked her if she was threatening me, and she said it was no threat – it was a promise,” Ruth said.

She left the meeting, reduced to nothing but tears, and was sent home by school district Superintendent Felix Vazquez, who too was present for the meeting, albeit arriving midway through.

“Felix Vazquez told me he heard people saying they wanted to do me bodily harm,” she said. “And that was it. I never saw my students again.”

After a day of review, with cooler heads, the school backed Ruth Sherman and NAPPY HAIR, which has been critically praised as a positive lesson for children. The most outspoken proponent for the book has been Kay E. Vandergrift, Rutgers University Professor – School of Communication, Information and Library Studies, renowned author, international consultant, champion of civil and women’s rights, and principal architect of The Eclipse Project, from Rutgers, home of the very “Scarlet Knights.” (Small world, indeed) We are nearing completion of part two of this story, including Kay’s interest here, a truly remarkable person, and fascinating story.

Carolivia Herron, the author of NAPPY HAIR, said Ruth Sherman’s students were exactly the audience for whom she intended the book. “I wrote it delighting in nappy hair,” said Herron. “I love my own nappy hair and the stories my uncle used to tell me about it. It was a celebration, and I had no idea it would be political. I am a ’60s person and thought we had already dealt with this problem of being ashamed of our hair.” (Wow)

The book itself grew out of a novel. When Herron, an assistant professor of English at California State University at Chico, visited the Anacostia Museum to read from her work in progress, the listeners focused on the vignette about hair.

“The reaction here was wonderful,” museum educator Joanna Banks said. “The story was part of a novel she was working on and was hilarious. I encouraged her to get it published as a children’s book. I thought it would be something for African American children to celebrate.”

A school-wide meeting was called the day after Ruth Sherman left. Only a handful of parents out of the 60 or so gathered, complained about Ruth or NAPPY HAIR. Offers were extended Ruth by the district school board, with promises of extra security and an escort from her car to the school doors. Chancellor Rudy Crew wrote her a letter over Thanksgiving commending her performance and pleading she return to P.S. #75. Ruth declined the offer.

“I miss my kids,” she said. “I wanted to go back for them, but I’m scared. I listened to the idea of someone walking me to my car, and all I could think was, that’s ridiculous. What do I tell the kids about that, after everything I was trying to teach them about getting along and loving each other, no matter what color your skin was?”

What would I tell them Ruth? LIVE, AND IF YOU DO NOTHING ELSE IN LIFE – LEARN.

OuteasY

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TO SIR WITH LOVE ~ “LADIES CHOICE” 1967

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“Nappy Ho, Nappy Ho” ~ I’m Sick of Your Message, and…

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(CLICK PICS TO ENLARGE)

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12 April, 2007 ~ If Col. Lindberg’s baby were with us today, he would be 75, a good age. Anyhow, I have never been quite satisfied with the outcome of the trial. The following sighting is an update to the outcome of this post:

“We never intended to take Dannielynn from anyone, we were just here in case Prince Von Anhalt was the father. We wish Larry luck in raising Dannielynn and we wish him the best.” ~ Spokesforce on hand in the Bahamas. More follows,

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Prince von Anhalt on Dannielynn

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

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This is a partial transcript from “On the Record,” April 10, 2007, that has been edited for clarity.GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, HOST: Howard K. Stern is not the only one disappointed with today’s paternity announcement. There is also Zsa Zsa Gabor’s husband, Prince Fredric von Anhalt. He joins us on the phone from his Bel Air home. His lawyer Chris Fields is in L.A.

Prince Fredric, is disappointment the word to describe how you feel tonight, the proof being that it’s Larry Birkhead who is the father and not you?

FREDRIC VON ANHALT, ZSA ZSA GABOR’S HUSBAND: No. I’m not very disappointed. I’m not disappointed at all, you know, it’s just that I was a tiny bit upset, you know, because I would like to have the child. I would love to have a baby in the house, you know, but on the other side, I was very happy that Larry Birkhead is the father now and not Howard Stern.

Happy also that my wife is not so much upset because bringing a child home, you know, being married to Zsa Zsa Gabor for 20 years, bringing home a child would be terrible for her and would have upset her very much and she was very happy when she had the news today.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well, that’s — and Larry likewise is happy. You know, now that Larry Birkhead is the father, I know that you got into a bit of a spat with Bill O’Reilly, he called you a fraud over this whole fatherhood thing and that you filed a lawsuit against Bill O’Reilly and FOX News. Are you still going to go forward with it now that Larry is the father?

ANHALT: Well, you see, if I — I don’t know if I could.

CHRIS FIELDS, PRINCE ANHALT’S ATTY: Let me interrupt, Greta.

ANHALT: No, no, no, wait a minute. Wait a minute; he calls me a fraud because I told him I had an affair with Nicole? It doesn’t matter if Larry Birkhead is the father or not, I could have been the father, I never said I am the father. I said I could be father. But he said because I said I had an affair with Nicole that’s not true and he calls me a fraud. That’s how what he did. You know, and that is all.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, Chris, you want to get in on this. Chris, who is your lawyer. Chris, you want to get in on this.

FIELDS: Well, I just wanted to caution Frederic on saying too much out of the league sphere. We’re proceeding with the process. It remains to be seen how far we’ll take it, but we are very serious about the suit.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, Chris, it’s very interesting because as I understand the lawsuit, the prince said that they didn’t like he didn’t like being called a fraud that that reflected on his credibility. And what I’m sort of — I’m a little fixated on the whole fact that, you know, that he’s worried that his word isn’t any good anymore, yet he publicly comes out and says that when he said “I do” to Zsa Zsa Gabor 20 years ago that apparently his word wasn’t good there either because he had an affair.

ANHALT: I tell you. I want to tell you something.

VAN SUSTEREN: Go ahead, Prince.

ANHALT: I want to tell you something, if I get — when we go to court, if I see Bill O’Reilly in court and I will prove, then I will come with witnesses and also places where I was with Anna Nicole. Right now there is not a fight. If I get into a fight I bring you the proof and the Bill O’Reilly will look stupid, there. I’m telling you that right now. But, on the other side, Bill O’Reilly has one choice, you know, either I see him in court or at least he apologizes.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, being a — Prince, if you wanted to bring the proof to me, I’ll be happy to put it on the air.

ANHALT: No, I’m going to bring it to court.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, well OK, bring it to court, then. Whatever. It certainly is an interesting lawsuit to put it lightly and gently. And we’ll follow this one.

FIELDS: And Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: Yes, Chris.

FIELDS: If I can interrupt. Being called a fraud has a definite, very bad criminal and civil connotation. Being called a philanderer…

VAN SUSTEREN: I agree. You know what, Chris? I think being called a philanderer, I think that’s lame. You know, it says that when you say “I do” that your word is no good. I mean, I don’t know. Maybe call me old fashion.

FIELDS: Well, we have a lot of public and media figures who, unfortunately, they cheat on their spouses. And it’s just — it’s an unfortunate fact of our pop culture, if you will.

VAN SUSTEREN: And that is good for another whole show you and the prince now have to do another whole show on that one. Anyway.

FIELDS: Yeah.

VAN SUSTEREN: Prince, thank you for joining us again. Chris, thank you as well.

ANHALT: OK.

FIELDS: Thank you.

AFTERNOON UPDATE 1:30 PM PST/NO DECISIONS TODAY. COURT NEXT IN SESSION TUES. 4/10 2:30PM AST

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Today could be the day of reckoning for Prinz Frederic von Anhalt, 65, spouse to legend Zsa Zsa Gabor, 90, both current residents of Bel Air, CA. Frederic, together with a cast of plenty are claiming paternity to Dannielynn, the near seven month old baby daughter of recently deceased actress Anna Nicole Smith. von Anahlt surprised most admitting to a past extra-marital affair with Ms. Smith, and subsequently insisted upon contributing a sample some ten days ago, believed buccal, to prove his assertion to be child’s natural father. Sources in the Bahamas say labratory results are now available, however, it remains uncertain whether the judge will allow same into testimony in today’s Supreme Court proceedings, now in active session. On reporting for the DNA test, von Anhalt offered, “I felt like it.” Attorney Fields representing Frederic summed the action, “we are playing catch-up.”

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NACHMITTAG UPDATE-1:30 P.M. PST/NO ENTSCHEIDUNGEN HEUTE. GERICHT ZUNÄCHST IM LERNABSCHNITT TUES. 4/10 AST

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Heutiger Tag konnte der Tag der Abrechnung für Prinz Frederic von Anhalt, 65, Gatte zur Legende Zsa Zsa Gabor, 90, beide gegenwärtigen Bewohner der Bel-Luft, CA Frederic, zusammen mit einer Form von viel sein behaupten Vaterschaft zu Dannielynn, die nahe siebenmonatliche alte Babytochter des vor kurzem gestorbenen Schauspielerin Anna Nicole Smith. von Anahlt überraschtes Zulassen zu a hinter Extra-ehelicher Angelegenheit mit Ms Smith und nachher beharrt nach dem Beitragen einer Probe einigen 10 Tagen, geglaubtes bukkales, um seine Behauptung zu beweisen, um natürlicher Vater vor des Kindes zu sein. Quellen in den labratory Resultaten des Bahamas Sagens sind jetzt vorhanden, jedoch bleibt sie, ob der Richter selben in Zeugnis in den heutigen Gerichtverfahren erlaubt, jetzt im aktiven Lernabschnitt unsicher. Auf Bericht für den DNA Test, bot von Anhalt an, „ich fühlte wie es.“ Rechtsanwalt fängt das Darstellen von Frederic summierte die Tätigkeit, „wir spielen sich verfangen-oben.“
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Frederic tests lies, onlookers, LA attorneys Lee & Fields hold case

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Prince Porno yukkin’ it up with Paris

Zu unserem Freund Outeasy von deinen Freunden an TV TOTAL. Genießen!

THIS STORY CONTINUES HERE.

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“Is that smoke, where’s it coming from?” No doubt about it. This news now breaking wind is guaranteed to spark a firestorm of classless action suits, although attorney doods, I don’t want to get anywhere near your conference rooms. Coincidentally, a brush fire is sweeping the Hollywood Hills threatening Universal City, Griffith Park, and the Prinz and Porno’s (Frederick & Marcus) favorite parking spot near the world’s most photographed billboard. No word on the cause of the fire? LOL. Now’s a good time to quit cigarettes. Kevin, bro, you really were on to something with that six degrees thing.

Swiss pharmaceutical maker Novartis AG will stop selling a drug to relieve constipation after it was linked to a higher chance of heart attack, stroke and worsening heart chest pain that can become a heart attack, federal health officials said Friday.

Novartis agreed to withdraw Zelnorm at the FDA’s request, the agency said in a public health advisory. Zelnorm, also called tegaserod maleate, is a prescription medication approved for short-term treatment of women with irritable bowel syndrome with constipation and for patients younger than 65 with chronic constipation, the FDA said. Doctors who prescribe Zelnorm should work with their patients and transition them to other therapies as appropriate, the FDA added. Oh. I got it. Constipation is now appropriate. Thank you, FDA.

Be worried. Be very very worried.

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