Saturday, November 1, 2014

Jocko Marcellino Sha Na Na

Jocko Marcellino (born 1950 Quincy, Massachusetts) is a singer, musician, songwriter, producer and actor best known as one of the founders of the American rock and roll group Sha Na Na. He performed with Sha Na Na at the original Woodstock Festival, in the movie Grease and in The Sha Na Na Show, their worldwide syndicated TV show.

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The Official Sha Na Na Website!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Christine Weber Multi Emmy Winner

Christine Weber VP, Development & Production, Specials, DISCOVERY CHANNEL Executive Producer & Senior Producer – NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC. Emmy Awards: Search for Battleship Bismarck; U-Boat: Terror on our Shores; Urban Elephant; Cine Golden Eagles: Search for Battleship Bismarck; Frozen Planet; Lost Kingdoms of the Maya; Who Betrayed Anne Frank; Berlin: A Tale of Two Cities Cable Ace Award: National Geographic EXPLORER Telly Award: Who Betrayed Anne Frank Houston Int’l Film Festival Awards: Search for Battleship Bismarck; Lost Cities of the Maya; NY Film Festival, World Medal: AFRICA American Film & Video Blue Ribbon: Search for Battleship Bismarck Entertainment Industries Council, S.E.T Award Description

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ted Sorensen: The Man Who Saved The World…Really

November 22, 1963 saw the murder and death of a young father:  President John Fitzgerald Kennedy. He left behind a young mother and two children. His funeral and death where everywhere saturating the airwaves for weeks on end. Especially those drums and rider less horse from the funeral procession. It would make quite a life changing impression on a just turned six year old. A month later, a thousand miles away in Montreal, another young father at the age of 34 would be gone just two days after Christmas. He also would leave behind a young wife with children: a seven year old, a six year old and a nine month old baby who would all grow up without a dad. On the day of that young father's funeral that six year old would ask his mom "is dad's funeral going to be on TV too"?

The quest for searching for my dad began that day, forever entwined with the JFK assassination.

I had already interviewed Ted Sorensen in April of this year but when I found myself in New York in September to interview three Nobel Peace laureates I gave Ted's personal secretary Laurie Morris (we had a blast co-responding with each other and shared many a belly laugh, which for me isn't that hard with the belly I poses) A quick call to see if I could just "meet and greet" with Ted. She told me to be at Ted's apartment (my heart went through the roof) at 4pm the next day. Talk about an OMG moment.

When Ted opened the door I was expecting "hi there Brent nice to meet you thanks for coming, see you later". And that would have been fine with me, I was already walking on clouds. But he graciously invited me??? in to his sanctuary: his home. We sat across from each other and chatted for about 10 minutes until I go up the courage to put my video camera (thanks here to G-d here  for reminding me to bring it "just in case") on the coffee table and turn it on. I stayed mesmerised for the next 1. 5 hours. The interview is completely unscripted as you can tell when you watch it. It wasn't so much awe, although there was a great deal of that as well, it's just that I didn't want to bore him and cover the same stuff we had in our previous interview. So what you get here is right off the top of my head and going on gut instinct. 

There was fire in his eyes…still and forever; when we spoke of Jack Kennedy.

It was more than admiration. He spoke glowingly of a brother. Forever bonded that only brothers can be. He spoke of disdain when ever other administrations were brought up for having no vision for mankind and peace.  To Ted these weren't some far out hippy utopian dreams, to Ted these were possibilities. The possibilities of reaching the stars and beyond, as JFK had done for the world.
The most important aspect I want get across about Ted is the idealism that both he and John Kennedy shared and I’m going to come back and repeat this “mantra” of idealism often.  Ted's story is essential for today’s generation as well as future generations.  The Kennedy administration, like none before, would embark on a true New Frontier. Ted once wrote as part of JFK’s Nuclear Test Ban Treaty speech:

“According to the ancient Chinese proverb, ‘A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step’. My fellow Americans, let us take that first step. Let us, if we can, step back from the shadows of war and seek out the way of peace. And if that journey is a thousand miles, or even more, let history record that we, in this land, at this time, took the first step.”

If there is a metaphor that represents the Kennedy years it is that story of when Ted and Mr. Kennedy were in an airplane together; a small little Cessna style airplane. A storm ensues and the airplane ends up upside down.  Both Mr. Kennedy and Ted share a look at each other of “did we sign up this!?” Then, as if by ‘divine providence” the plane rights itself.  A true metaphor for the journey these two visionaries embarked on together in real life.

Although a large part of this narrative is the dynamic between the two men, the story must be and will be a testament to Ted Sorensen.  For this is Ted’s story. This is his life, his journey, his idealism.

There is that word again: idealism . It is idealism that led to Ted being sought out time and time again by international icons and leaders, such as his exemplary work with none other than Nelson Mandela.
The dichotomy of Ted Sorensen. How does one remain a dreamer for the betterment of mankind and simultaneously be grounded in the real world political stage. Ted is a three dimensional character. 
How does one tell the story of a human being in a 2 hour interview?  There is only one way and that is to focus on the main characteristics of Ted.  Those characteristics are humanitarian, peacemaker, visionary, loyalty, humility, did I mention idealism?!
The power of the pen is mightier than the sword. 

Ted is a man that has fought for peace and humanity through in his lifetime.  When the world needed that the most we had President John F. Kennedy and Ted Sorensen.  And of course I’m talking about the Cuban missile crisis.  If it were not for the fortitude of Ted Sorensen and his words you and I would not be reading this right now. The world would still be reeling from the horrors of a nuclear holocaust. A holocaust that was far too real in Oct 1962 when it was discovered the Soviets had placed offensive nuclear weapons in Cuba. Missiles that would only take five minutes to reach Washington. And in those days no nuke proof bunker safely tucked away hundreds of feet below the White House. JFK handed Ted the future of the human race that night when he told him to draft a letter to Soviet premier Khrushchev in a last ditch attempt to resolve the crisis. Ted told me he was afraid but had no choice. The world depended on it.

Ted told me his concern: one wrong word too aggressive, too soft, too anything and the end of the world was at hand.

Instead the gifted word smith composed a universal message for Khrushchev to read. One that included understanding, and common ground to build together not apart. These thoughts would end up being brought to fruition in perhaps the most important speech of all mankind: the American University speech. This is crucial, in arguably the most pivotal time in the history of mankind.
It showed the world a different way out; that of dialogue, mutual respect and understanding instead of bullets.

This is what both John Kennedy and Ted Sorensen brought to the world. Like President Kennedy both he and Ted detested war. Mr. Kennedy because of his own personal experiences: losing a brother and almost dying himself aboard PT-109 and Ted for being a conscientious objector and the courage that took to stand strong and firm in his beliefs against everything that was being hurled at him.

Bravo! This is the message for this generation and future generations to carry with them in their own decision making. A message of idealism and peace.
Together they had planted a seed, a seed of idealism in the new administration of 1960: the Kennedy "New Frontier" administration.

Inspiration.  The inspiration contained in the American University speech. Indeed this may be the most important speech of all time.  This clearly demonstrates that when people stand together with a common goal of peace all is possible as the speech says: 

"For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children's futures. And we are all mortal."

As much as I have cursed G-d for taking my dad away when I was that six year old glaring at the TV waiting impatiently for the funeral coverage of my dad that never came, I now thank Him for that afternoon with Ted in his apartment.  In a sense, when I sat across from Ted Sorensen on Sep 16 2010 in his apartment, I had found a small piece of my dad at last.
©Brent Holland


Friday, September 9, 2011

911 Truth Inside White House Bunker Col. R. Darling beside Dick Cheney & Condoleezza Rice

Sept. 11, 2001. Like Pearl Harbour and the Kennedy assassination before it, if you were alive that day you remember where you were. Our guest today remembers where he was as well. He was at the centre of the US command control in a sealed bunker below the White House. Beside sat Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice and directly behind him stood Vice President Dick Cheney. Lt. Col. Darling takes us step by step, blow by blow throughout all the shattering events that unfolded that day. The sheer volume of information flooding the bunker; how they discerned what was a real threat and had to be dealt with immediately; the real world order to scramble two F-15s to down Flight 93 heading on a collision course with the White House and the leaders of the free world. This is a story that non of us have had access to before. This is real history by a man in a command seat on the most horrible day in recent history. This is living history; it doesn't get anymore real than this...

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Friday, May 13, 2011

Mark Sinnett award winning novelist

The Carnivore is a historical novel of disaster and betrayal, set in the Toronto of both 1954 and 2004.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Hazel, a young cop, Ray Townes, emerges as a hero. There are numerous accounts of his bravery, of the way he battled all night to save those who were trapped in houses swept away by the raging Humber River. His story is featured prominently in the newspapers, thrusting him into the spotlight as a local celebrity.

His wife performs her own small miracles that night. Mary is a nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital and she treats many of the survivors. The emergency room is overrun; the hallways are slick with river mud: of course, her feats go almost unnoticed. But among the victims she treats there is a woman, disoriented and near death, who reveals mad-seeming details of her ordeal — details that lead Mary to doubt her husband’s heroism.

The officer and the nurse (with a new house, new friends, and plans for a family) try to normalize their life together in a shell-shocked city, but Mary also searches for the truth about her husband. Is he simply the tired hero who stares out at her from the cover of the Globe and Mail, or is it a much darker figure who sits across the table from her at breakfast?

Definitive answers are elusive . . . Fifty years later, when a reporter comes knocking, wanting to revisit that violent night, the missing details finally surface — and threaten to destroy them.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Anna Porter The Rise Once Again of Intolerance & Anti-Semitism in Central Europe

One of the country’s most distinguished writers and publishers returns to her roots to explore the consequences of democracy in the former Habsburg lands. In 1989 the Berlin Wall was dismantled. Communism gave way to democracy. Since that time the former borderlands of the long defunct Hapsburg Empire and the more recently dispersed Soviet Empire have been trying to invent their own versions of democracy and market-driven economics. But these experiments have led to a widening gap between rich and poor. The worldwide economic crisis has severely tested Central Europe’s determination to live peaceably, and there are many disquieting signs of old hatreds and racial tensions returning. Author Anna Porter travels through the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia to speak with leading intellectuals, politicians, former dissidents and the champions of aggrieved memories. She interviews great figures of the revolution (Václav Havel, Adam Michnik, George Konrád) and its new custodians, among them Radek Sikorski and Ferenc Gyurcsány, and also examines the younger generation with little or no experience of Communism and no interest in its aftermath. She visits Poland’s Institute of National Remembrance, Prague’s Jewish Museum and Hungary’s House of Terror, each an attempt to reckon with dark episodes of history. The Ghosts of Europe is an exploration of power, nationalism, racism and denial in nations with a tumultuous history and an uncertain future.

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Marina Nemat After Tehran

In 1982, 16-year-old Marina Nemat was arrested on false charges by Iranian Revolutionary Guards and tortured in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. At a time when most Western teenaged girls are choosing their prom dresses, Nemat was having her feet beaten by men with cables and listening to gunshots as her friends were being executed. She survived only because one of the guards fell in love with her and threatened to harm her family if she refused to marry him. Soon after her forced conversion to Islam and marriage, her husband was assassinated by rival factions. Nemat was returned to prison but, ironically, it was her captor's family who eventually secured her release. An extraordinary tale of faith and survival, Prisoner of Tehran is a testament to the power of love in the face of evil and injustice

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