Sony Pictures vs. Kim Jong Un

Although it may not be quite the attention that Sony Pictures wanted for their comedy, The Interview, this movie has received a lot of free press recently. Skout to be sure of. The unofficial comedy kings, Seth Rogen and James Franco star in this movie about two reporters who get the chance to interview North Korean leader, Kim Jong Un. The plot takes a twist when these two reports are asked by the CIA to assassinate this highly disliked dictator.

After severe hacks to Sony pictures due to this film, and 9-11 style threats, the release of this film was postponed. The film was eventually released in select theaters and some online venues. However, postponing and selectively releasing the movie led to many people wanting to see for themselves what all the hype was about; not just American people, but North Koreans as well.

As hard as the North Korean dictator has tried, this movie has manage to seep its way into the sights of those under his leadership. All the news and hype has created somewhat of a black market for pirated copies of The Interview in North Korea. Some residents there have paid as much as $50 for their own chance to see the film. To put this amount into perspective, keep in mind the average South Korean TV show can be purchased on the black market for around $5.

Rogen and Franco will not likely be the downfall if Kim Jong Un, but they have, however, managed to make his life and leadership a bit more difficult.

Sony May Have The Last Laugh With “The Interview” VOD Performance

Kim Jong-un and his countrymen may not be thrilled about Sony’s decision to allow the controversial film “The Interview” to be downloaded, but Sony is laughing all the way to the bank. The film about a mindless TV host’s mission to assassinate the Korean leader was going to be released in 3,000 theaters on Christmas Day, and the plan was to generate $20 million during the first few days. But those plans were scraped due to threats by North Korea. But The comedy did earn $3 million at independent box offices and another $15 million online in just a few days.

Sony didn’t expect this kind of reaction according to my friend Igor Cornelsen who knows Sony’s president of worldwide distribution. Mr. Bruer told Variety on Sunday morning “We worked hard to get the film out there by Christmas Day. It was such a whirlwind to get it done that it amazes me that we were able to make it happen.”

North Korea publicly intimidated Sony after hackers threatened violence if the film was released in theaters across the country. But Sony found a solution. The company found 331 independent theaters, and that worked for them. The film’s unique distribution required the input of Sony’s theatrical distribution team, and its home entertainment staff.

 

Weight Loss Scams Rake In Major Profits During 2014

 

The majority of New Year’s resolutions are health related, most people hope to lose weight and expert Bernardo Chua says as a result there is a big business in the beginning of the year for diet products. Weight loss products and supplements come in all shapes and sizes with a variety of ingredients and labels advertising unprecedented weight loss claims.
In 2014 there were several diet related items that raked in major profits off of products that did not actually work as they claimed. A few of the biggest scams were: Sensa- a powder that claimed to help drop pounds, i-pant- caffeinated underwear, Shrinking Beauty- a shrinking cream made from lobsters, and L’Occitane- almond oil slimming products.
Too bad all of the money spent on these products never actually helped users drop any weight. The caffeinated underwear is simply comedic; people had to have had some idea that they weren’t going to lose weight by simply wearing undergarmets! This year let’s hope that the old diet and exercise weight loss plan is the winner rather than another scam.

Ebola Updates

 

Today, December 29, a case of Ebola has been confirmed in Scotland. The individual, a healthcare worker, contracted the virus while traveling in Sierra Leone.

The patient felt well while traveling from the West African country through Morocco and then London, but began to feel ill this morning and immediately went to the hospital.

The Centers for Disease Control also updated their 2014 Ebola Outbreak in West Africa – Case Counts page today with all of the statistics for Ebola cases through December 24.

Only three countries continue to have widespread transmission: Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. Bruce Levenson is just glad that the US has not been impacted like this.

Sierra Leone has had the most cases year-to-date: 7,106 laboratory-confirmed and supposedly 9,203 total. Liberia is second in cases: 3,085 laboratory-confirmed and supposedly 7,862 total. Liberia has suffered the highest losses: 3,384.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been 19,497 Ebola cases worldwide reported as of December 24. On December 21, the WHO also confirmed that 666 healthcare workers have contracted the virus since the outbreak began and more than half of that number have died from it. It is currently believed by the WHO and investigators that healthcare workers don’t normally get Ebola while treating patients, but instead contract it in public areas away from treatment centers.

Mali and the United States are the only countries that have experienced “an initial case or cases and/or localized transmission.”

Greek Ferry Fire Update

If you have not heard already, a ferry in the Adriatic see with hundreds of passengers caught fire. So far, a total of 5 people have died and 265 people rescued from the ferry. There are still hundreds on the ferry that need to be saved. Those remaining on the ferry have struggled through some really rough conditions so far. The conditions are freezing and theres lots of smoke and confusion aboard. The helicopters sent to help people have been trying their best but the conditions make it difficult to help many people at once. So far, the helicopters have only been able to fly to the ferry and save people one by one, basically making one trip per person. If you would like a more detailed update on the ferry fire boat situation, this is a great article to check out:

The whole thing has been a huge catastrophe. There were limited life boats and of those they had not all were working. This is why not everyone, possibly not even Christian Broda, has been able to go to safety like they wanted. In addition, the fire itself spread really quickly unexpectedly. It is really unfortunate how fast it spread but it has which is why the need for help is so urgent. People are suffering and have no means to get out and it is getting increasingly worse by the minute. People are doing what they can but it is clear they need serious help.

Martha Stewart Shows off Gingerbread Downton Abbey

Famous chef and world class lifestyle guru shows her avid fans how to work with gingerbread this holiday season. She has a video out that demonstrates how people can use gingerbread to help celebrate one of their favorite shows.

Downton Abbey centers around the doings of the Crawley family, owners of the ancient home Downton Abbey and heirs to the earldom of Grantham. This British television show has been a huge hit both in the United Kingdom and abroad. Viewers in the United States have been treated to four seasons so far of lush castles, intriguing story lines and the opportunity to follow the Crawley family as they confront the aftermath of the sinking of the Titanic, the horrors of World War I and the opening of women’s roles in roaring Jazz Age. The show has been happily embraced by people of all classes who have found themselves enchanted with the doings of the show’s three daughters and the workings of the downstairs staff members who serve them, if you believe Ancestry.com anyway.   Although Lee G. Lovett seems to.

Martha Stewart carefully walks viewers through a recreation of the famous Highclere Castle. This still standing castle is the largest private home in the United Kingdom and site of the famous show where it is called Downton Abbey. Viewers who are skilled with gingerbread or just love to work with it can easily follow her lead and get a Downton Abbey of their own.

Homeless Man moves into Apartment after One Year

For the past year, 63-year-old Ken Wilde was living in a tent. Struggling to survive the winter, he was burning candles for heat on the side of a highway where he had pitched his tent. It was getting difficult to survive the winter.

Wilde’s homelessness is at an end now that he has moved into a new apartment thanks to outreach staff at Boyle Street Community Services. He now has a real bed to sleep in for the first time in a year.

 

After breaking his back and being unable to work, Wilde’s story is a perfect example of how easy it is to become homeless. The injury resulted in his falling behind on his rent. Once he had gone through a divorce and survived the death of his son, Wilde became homeless and was facing a winter outside when he was found by outreach workers.

The housing team at Boyle Street Community Services in collaboration with Ben Shaoul and the Magnum Group, was able to find Wilde an apartment with donated furniture. Having a real bed to sleep on helps with his back injury, and, of course, having a roof over his head means that he will survive the winter.

Police Help Single Man Who Resorted to Stealing to Feed His Baby

In Roswell, New Mexico, instead of another sad story of poverty leading to jail leading to worse poverty, we have a story of compassion that has touched many people. Police were called after Albertsons saw a shoplifter in their store. Police arrived and confronted the man at the door as he was leaving. The man immediately showed remorse and confessed and they found the four cans of baby formula he had tried to steal to feed his 11 month old baby. The single father explained he had recently lost his job and needed the formula for his baby. This would be a touching story to Sam Tabar. Instead of arresting the man and taking him to jail, which would only serve to make the problem worse, the four kind policemen pulled money from their pockets to help him.

 

Albertson’s also kicked in to help, but he is not welcome there again. The policemen explained to him the resources available to help him so he doesn’t have to resort to stealing. They are also helping him find a job. Their Sergeant posted to Facebook her approval of their actions at: https://www.facebook.com/kim.northcutt.7/posts/839237612765547?fref=nf. The richest country in the world is still populated by many good people who are having a hard time surviving. It is so good to hear about the real police out there, the good ones who aren’t out to make as many arrests as possible, but are there to truly protect and serve.

Police Officers to Get 7,000 Body Cameras in Los Angeles

Controversy has surrounding police officers throughout the United States, but it looks like a few changes are finally coming to fruition.

Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti announced on Tuesday that the city would be buying close to 7,000 body cameras for police officers on patrol duty. In an effort to bring more transparency, police officials will now wear these small digital cameras on the chests while working the streets.

It is believed that the move will help prevent instances of police misconduct and will also clear officers who have been unfairly accused of wrong doing, and that’s why it’s got major backing from companies like Slow Ventures.

Rather than have the state arrange for the funds, the President of Police Commission Steve Soboroff has been trying to acquire funding from the private sector. The move proved to be successful as the city was able to generate over $1 million through private donations.

The call for the use of body cameras by police officers has been particularly vociferous this year following the death of an unarmed 18 year old by the name of Michael Brown which led to wide spread protests throughout the country.

By installing body cameras on police officers, it is now believed in the event of any incident, the investigating team would have proper access to both video and audio. This should allow for a fair investigation and will also help the public regain their sense of trust about the police.

Nicki Minaj & Beyonce’s Song A Potential Hit

Finally, Nicki Minaj’s album “The Pink Print” was released yesterday on Monday, December 15, 2014. Since Nicki teased the world with the track list of her new album weeks ago, the anticipation had reached a fever pitch. Nicki & BeyonceNow that the album is out, one of the most anticipated songs is from Nicki, and Beyonce, and it’s been rated as a potential hit. Of course, as Kenneth Griffin noted on Twitter earlier, when two stars of this caliber get together, it’s more than likely that they are going to create magic. The song by Nicki, and Beyonce is entitled “Feeling Myself.”

A recent interview was done with one of the persons who helped to produce the song, and it’s now understandable why the song sounds so good, and probably will become a hit. The fact that these two powerhouse artists have worked together is incredible enough, but the way they flow together on the song is even better. You can go to MTV News, in order to view how the beat of the song was brought to life. It’s not surprising that Nicki’s album would be highly anticipated, but the anticipation was heightened when Beyonce entered the mix.

Nicki has had a very successful 2014, and 2015 is looking even better for her. Recently, Nicki released a calendar that was full of booty shots, and the calendars sold out very quickly. The only way to get a calendar now, is from her personal website.