This is too good not to share.
from Rolling Stone magazine: (for the full article and other links, click on the name)
This is great journalism, written by: Guy Lawson: “The e-mail confirmed it: everything was finally back on schedule after weeks of maddening, inexplicable delay. A 747 cargo plane had just lifted off from an airport in Hungary and was banking over the Black Sea toward Kyrgyzstan, some 3,000 miles to the east. After stopping to refuel there, the flight would carry on to Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan. Aboard the plane were 80 pallets loaded with nearly 5 million rounds of ammunition for AK-47s, the Soviet-era assault rifle favored by the Afghan National Army.
Reading the e-mail back in Miami Beach, David Packouz breathed a sigh of relief. The shipment was part of a $300 million contract that Packouz and his partner, Efraim Diveroli, had won from the Pentagon to arm America’s allies in Afghanistan. It was May 2007, and the war was going badly. After six years of fighting, Al Qaeda remained a menace, the Taliban were resurgent, and NATO casualties were rising sharply. For the Bush administration, the ammunition was part of a desperate, last-ditch push to turn the war around before the U.S. presidential election the following year. To Packouz and Diveroli, the shipment was part of a major arms deal that promised to make them seriously rich.
This article appears in the March 31, 2011 issue of Rolling Stone. The issue is available now on newsstands and will appear in the online archive March 18.
Reassured by the e-mail, Packouz got into his brand-new blue Audi A4 and headed home for the evening, windows open, the stereo blasting. At 25, he wasn’t exactly used to the pressures of being an international arms dealer. Only months earlier, he had been making his living as a massage therapist; his studies at the Educating Hands School of Massage had not included classes in military contracting or geopolitical brinkmanship. But Packouz hadn’t been able to resist the temptation when Diveroli, his 21-year-old friend from high school, had offered to cut him in on his burgeoning arms business. Working with nothing but an Internet connection, a couple of cellphones and a steady supply of weed, the two friends — one with a few college credits, the other a high school dropout — had beaten out Fortune 500 giants like General Dynamics to score the huge arms contract. With a single deal, two stoners from Miami Beach had turned themselves into the least likely merchants of death in history.
Arriving home at the Flamingo, his sleek condo with views of the bay, Packouz packed the cone of his Volcano, a smokeless electronic bong. As the balloon inflated with vapors from the high-grade weed, he took a deep toke and felt the pressures of the day drift away into a crisp, clean high.
Dinner was at Sushi Samba, a hipster Asian-Latino fusion joint. Packouz was in excellent spirits. He couldn’t believe that he and Diveroli were actually pulling it off: Planes from all over Eastern Europe were now flying into Kabul, laden with millions of dollars worth of grenades and mortars and surface-to-air missiles. But as Packouz’s miso-marinated Chilean sea bass arrived, his cellphone rang. It was the freight forwarder he had employed to make sure the ammunition made it from Hungary to Kabul. The man sounded panicked.
“We’ve got a problem,” he told Packouz, shouting to be heard over the restaurant’s thumping music. “The plane has been seized on the runway in Kyrgyzstan.”
The arms shipment, it appeared, was being used as a bargaining chip in a high-stakes standoff between George W. Bush and Vladimir Putin. The Russian president didn’t like NATO expanding into Kyrgyzstan, and the Kyrgyzs wanted the U.S. government to pay more rent to use their airport as a crucial supply line for the war in Afghanistan. Putin’s allies in the Kyrgyz KGB, it seemed, were holding the plane hostage — and Packouz was going to be charged a $300,000 fine for every day it sat on the runway. Word of the seizure quickly reached Washington, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates himself was soon on his way to Kyrgyzstan to defuse the mounting tensions.
Packouz was baffled, stoned and way out of his league. “It was surreal,” he recalls. “Here I was dealing with matters of international security, and I was half-baked. I didn’t know anything about the situation in that part of the world. But I was a central player in the Afghan war — and if our delivery didn’t make it to Kabul, the entire strategy of building up the Afghanistan army was going to fail. It was totally killing my buzz. There were all these shadowy forces, and I didn’t know what their motives were. But I had to get my shit together and put my best arms-dealer face on.”
Sitting in the restaurant, Packouz tried to clear his head, cupping a hand over his cellphone to shut out the noise. “Tell the Kyrgyz KGB that ammo needs to get to Afghanistan!” he shouted into the phone. “This contract is part of a vital mission in the global war on terrorism. Tell them that if they fuck with us, they are fucking with the government of the United States of America!”
From IMDB: “Elizabeth Taylor, one of the last great screen legends and winner of two Academy Awards, died Wednesday morning in Los Angeles of complications from congestive heart failure; she was 79. The actress had been hospitalized for the past few weeks, celebrating her birthday on February 27th (the same day as this year’s Academy Awards) while at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center with friends and family. Her four children, two sons and two daughters, were by her side as she passed”.
Ricky Gervais causes controversy at this years Golden Globe awards.
From Total Film:
Brit Ricky Gervais hosted the Golden Globes for the second year in a row, so you’d think the show’s producers would’ve known what to expect.
The Social Network took four big awards and Colin Firth was named Best Actor, but the real talking point this morning has been Ricky Gervais’ hilarious opening monologue, which had the assembled A-list guests squirming in their seats.
Gervais took shots at everything from Charlie Sheen’s social life, to Hugh Hefner’s forthcoming nuptials and Scientology.
While we were splitting our sides, the Hollywood stars didn’t always look so impressed.
Will Gervais’ blunt gags cost him some of his Hollywood clout? Who knows, but we have a feeling the show’s organisers might plump for a ‘safer’ host next time.
For a breakdown of his moments, check this out.
With over 8,667,787 (and rising….) hits on youtube.
Die Antwoord deserve this achievement!
The follow up video from Die Antwoord: Evil Boy has been banned on many sites.
But…. here it is: (check it out while you still can!)
I personally know the DOP/ Co- Director: Robert Malpage and the editor: Saki Bergh.
Next year I plan on interviewing them and writing a kick-ass story!
The Best Videos of 2010
By MySpace Music • 5 days ago Year In Music
I found an interesting review on this Myspace page:
“Sure, the world’s introduction to Die Antwoord—via these two bizarre, but hugely engaging clips—looked like it cost a few hundred bucks. And, yeah, we should probably admit that “Zef Side” isn’t even a proper music video. (The song featured in the clip is actually “Beat Boy,” from the South African rave-rap outfit’s major-label debut, $O$.) But even with that being said—and with apologies to the numerous big-budget productions hailed above—nobody else utilized the music video as effectively in 2010 as Die Antwoord.
With “Enter The Ninja,” a bizzaro freak out that recalled the “Parents Just Don’t Understand” video, but on crystal meth, and “Zef Side,” a three-minute slice of alternate reality exploring the band’s origins, we get a remarkably comprehensive picture of the Die Antwoord aesthetic: Their sense of humor, where they come from and how that background has shaped their entire being. That’s a rather old-school notion of what a music video should do; these days plenty of acts seem to view the form (if they indeed view it all) as a way to impress, rather than engage. But needless to say, when these two clips trickled onto the Internet this past winter, we were left with far more questions than answers.
What, for instance, were we to take from the sight of Ninja’s nuts rattling around inside his Dark Side Of The Moon boxers? What should we make of the seemingly extraterrestrial-like creature stuntin’ in the “Enter The Ninja” clip? This year, only one band were this good at presenting themselves as a riddle, creating videos that, as a whole, were funny, weird and strangely cozy. These two clips, more than any other, invited us into Die Antwoord’s world and made us want to linger for awhile. Consider it an old-school artistry for a new-school paradigm.—Mikael Wood
To read the full article and see the other 29 best vids, check this link out.
Its a really cool and accurate one.
February 2011, picture the scene:
Post holiday melt down and miffness.
The weather is still cooking.
We are all craving something exciting.
Well, music lovers, there’s a treat install for all of us!
N.E.R.D live in Jozi on the 12th February 2011
As far as I know, Hansa is sponsoring the event. See the link for more information.
U2 live in SA: 360° Degree Concert Tour: Jozi on the 13th February, Cape Town 18th February 2011
Hotttt off the press:
Kings of Leon are confirmed!
The Kings Of Leon South African tour dates have been confirmed by 5FM, and here they are:
Johannesburg on 27 March 2011 at the FNB Stadium
Cape Town on 24 March at the Cape Town Stadium.
Golden Circle = R590. General Field Standing = R390. Seated from R215
For more info: see slxs.co.za
Okay, so awards season has officially kicked off.
After the disappointing American Music Awards (AMA’s), it’s no surprise who’s leading the pack at the up and coming 53rd Annual Grammy Awards.
From: People magazine
“This year, the Grammy Awards are spreading the wealth.
Fronting a diverse array of nominees, rapper Eminem led the pack with a total 10 Grammy nominations, including nods in major categories like Album of the Year and Record of the Year, it was announced Wednesday night.
Not far behind: Bruno Mars, who nabbed seven nominations, including several as a songwriter, while Lady Gaga and country trio Lady Antebellum each earned six nominations, including an Album of the Year nod for their stirring single “Need You Now.”
“Album of the Year nominations were awarded to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs, Eminem’s Recovery, Lady Antebellum’s Need You Now, Lady Gaga’s The Fame Monster and Katy Perry’s Teenage Dream. ”
I’m really glad that Arcade Fire got the well deserved nod! However, I think it’s a long shot.
Especially considering the competition.
From The Envelope:
“The beleaguered record industry couldn’t have been happier about the return to the spotlight in 2010 of rapper Eminem, the biggest-selling artist of the new millennium, and heaped upon him a field-leading 10 Grammy Award nominations for his “Recovery” album, including nods in all three top categories of album, record and song of the year.
Although it was widely expected that Eminem would do well in this year’s Grammy competition, Hawaiian-born producer-singer-songwriter-multi-instrumentalist Bruno Mars caught many by surprise as runner-up to Eminem with seven nominations, announced Wednesday in conjunction with a televised Grammy nomination concert from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles.
Mars is competing with himself in the record of the year category for his production and vocals on rapper B.o.B’s “Nothin’ on You,” and as one of the producers of R&B-soul singer Cee-Lo Green’s broadcast-confounding hit single “… You.”
“Given that each record of the year nominee is traditionally performed live on the awards telecast, which will be held Feb. 13 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, Grammy ceremony producers will have a challenge in how to present a song on national television in which the profanity is not simply a casual toss-off that’s easily excised, but central to the song’s message from a guy to the girl who has dumped him. Expectations are that Green will perform the PG-rated “Forget You” version that allowed many radio stations to play it during the year.
Wednesday’s telecast skirted the issue by listing only the names of the artists who recorded the nominated songs, not the titles. When presenters Dave Grohl and Selena Gomez announced the titles, Gomez referred to it as “the song otherwise known as ‘Forget You.’”
The other three nominees for record of the year, which honors performance, production and engineering, are “Love the Way You Lie” from Eminem and Rihanna; Jay-Z and Alicia Keys’ love letter to the Big Apple, “Empire State of Mind”; and country trio Lady Antebellum’s romantically desperate closing-time phone call, “Need You Now,” which also earned the country trio an album of the year nomination.
Eminem and Lady A are vying in the album category with Lady Gaga’s “The Fame Monster,” Katy Perry’s frothy “Teenage Dream” and the latest critically acclaimed effort from Canadian indie rock group Arcade Fire, “The Suburbs.” Eminem also got nominations for pop vocal collaboration, short-form music video and every rap category in which he was eligible: rap solo performance, rap-sung collaboration, rap album and twice for rap song.
Green’s profanity-laced send-off also is up for song of the year, which is strictly a songwriter’s award, along with the Lady Antebellum hit written by Dave Haywood, Josy Kear, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott; Alexander Grant, Holly Hafferman and Marshall Mathers’ “Love The Way You Lie”; Ray LaMontagne’s “Beg Steal or Borrow”; and Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin’s “The House That Built Me,” a hit for Texas firebrand Miranda Lambert, who landed three nominations of her own in country categories.
Lambert got humorously political in choosing “Only Prettier” for her performance segment, in which she sang, “Let’s shake hands and reach across those party lines.… We might think differently, but we got a lot in common you will see/We’re just like you, only prettier.”
Teen idol Justin Bieber shares space in the new artist category with Canadian rapper Drake, Portland, Ore.-born jazz-pop musican Esperanza Spalding and a pair of English groups, Florence & the Machine and rock quartet Mumford & Sons.”
Back to my 2 cents worth:
Grammys are awarded for recordings released during the eligibility period between Sept. 1, 2009, and Sept. 30, 2010, and are decided on by about 12,000 voting members of the Recording Academy.
So if you are wondering why Kanye’s new masterpiece isn’t up there… You gonna have to wait for next year.
There are always surprises when it comes to these awards.
Check out this article that the LA Times has posted.
For a full comprehensive view of all the nominees, check out:
Give me a few days and I’ll update on my predictions.
Okay, so it’s that time of year again when AWARDS season strucks us hard.
The countdown now begins.
Tonight 22h00 est, thats ± 08h00am here tomorrow, the nominees will be announced.
From The LA Times:
“When Grammy Award nominations are unveiled on Wednesday, expect to see these four tunes in the race for best record of the year.
“Love the Way You Lie,” Eminem featuring Rihanna
“Empire State of Mind,” Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys
“Need You Now,” Lady Antebellum
“Bad Romance,” Lady Gaga
So … what will be nominated in that fifth slot?
Grammy nominations for the top four awards — best record, album, song and new artist of the year — are chosen by a secret committee of music experts who usually like to include representative contenders from major music genres. Eminem’s “Love the Way You Lie” will represent rap in the race for best record, but I also believe that Jay-Z’s “Empire” could be included too, considering its huge pop success in 2010. Regardless of who represents rap in this top race, the big cliffhanger looming is: Can it win? A rap tune has never claimed the award for best record of the year. Rap is way overdue.
Lady Antebellum will probably edge out Miranda Lambert to represent country in this contest. Lady Gaga can’t be ignored — she will not tolerate it — so that means “Bad Romance” will make the list too even though it seems like it’s 5 years old by now. Months ago “Bad Romance” swept the MTV Music Video Awards and now seems destined for prominence, if not victory, at the Grammys.
Many tunes vie for that fifth slot: “Hey, Soul Sister” (Train), “Airplanes” (B.o.B. featuring Hayley Williams), “Dog Days Are Over” (Florence + the Machine), “California Gurls” (Katy Perry featuring Snoop Dogg) and “Soldier of Love” (Sade).”
I totally agree with the above statement.
It’s funny, whenever one (especially me) hears popular tunes like the ones listed above, it takes an awards ceremony like the Grammys to help us remember why these songs are so great.
Personally, Florence and the machine are a favorite for me!
However, there is one song that everyone is forgetting about for the ‘song of the year’, for me, that’s Shakira’s: WAKA WAKA.
Watch this space
Best new artist, for me, 100% goes to B.O.B.
From The Envelope:
“1. The underdogs. The popular choice for a surprise is the soulful orchestral pop of Florence + the Machine. Yet after the act wowed audiences at the MTV Video Music Awards, a best new artist nod should be a given rather than something unexpected. Though it shouldn’t have taken a full year, Florence + the Machine no doubt woke stodgy Recording Academy voters to her talents. A bigger surprise, however, would be the Arcade Fire earning an album of the year nod for “The Suburbs.” Sooner or later, Recording Academy voters are going to have to recognize that the industry has changed and independent acts regularly appear on the charts. A general decline in sales has created a level playing field of sorts. Fans are venturing beyond superstars, and it’s time Recording Academy voters did the same.
2. Because it’s Miranda’s time. You can count on at least one country artist scoring an album of the year nod. The safe bet is Lady Antebellum, whose adult contemporary pop has a country twinge and crossover appeal. Yet don’t be surprised if Lambert edges out Lady Antebellum as the Nashville representative. Though she has reality-show roots, having been discovered on “Nashville Star,” Lambert has managed to assume the role of mainstream country’s rock rebel. With a voice that can break hearts as easily as it can rattle spines. Lambert has the support of the Nashville community, having won best album at the recent Country Music Assn. Awards, and is a more likely vote for a rock-heavy voting bloc.
3. Big things should be in store for hip-hop. Eligible rap albums include monster efforts from Eminem and Jay-Z, and a sharp album from the Roots, who are long overdue for some recognition in the album of the year field. Eminem’s “Recovery” should be considered a lock, as it showed off a more serious side of the artist than did his prior effort “Relapse.” Jay-Z, however, has never scored an album of the year nod, and his “The Blueprint 3″ was a commercial success that spawned the forever-to-be-unavoidable “Empire State of Mind.” The Roots? The most deserving, but the biggest longshots.
4. Because one of the year’s best singles can’t even have its name printed in a newspaper. The radio-safe version of the song is known as “Forget You,” and though Cee Lo Green’s hit likely can’t win record or song of the year, the cut took bitterness and turned it into something rather charming. For that alone, Cee Lo deserves a nom.
5. Admit it, ranting about clueless Grammy voters is a time-honored tradition. Think of all the fun angry tweets that will be inspired by something like Train’s “Save Me San Francisco” scoring an album of the year nod. Actually, don’t. “
As you all know, Total Film is one of my favorite sites, they have reviewed all the films of 2010 and discussed whats worked and what hasn’t, as well as whats on the horizon.
Every film that has been released this year is discussed!
ROCKON on Total Film!
Leslie Nielsen, the star of: Naked Gun, Airplane!, Spy Hard, Dracula: Dead and loving it. The beloved funny man died from Pneumonia in a Florida hospital on Sunday afternoon.
“Leslie Nielsen, the serious young actor who enjoyed far greater fame in a second career as a bumbling, older, comic actor in hits such as Airplane! and the Naked Gun series, has died from complications from pneumonia brought on while battling a staph infection. He was 84.
Nielsen was born on February 11, 1926 in Regina in the Saskatchewan province of Canada. He was the son of a Canadian Mounted policeman and went on to serve in the Royal Canadian Air Force before becoming a radio announcer and DJ. A scholarship to New York’s Neighborhood Playhouse allowed him to study acting with Sanford Meisner and dance with Martha Graham. Bit parts on stage and TV led to leading roles.
His height and his good looks made him a natural to play the stalwart hero, which he did in films like the sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet. He then spent two decades in various TV roles, often guest spots, with the odd turn in movies where the role required a serious and commanding presence, as he did as the captain of the doomed ship in The Poseidon Adventure.
He was doing guest stints on television’s “The Love Boat” and “Fantasy Island” when David and Jerry Zucker and Jim Abrahams came to call. They wanted Nielsen to play the solemn character he’s perfected over the years in their upcoming spoof Airplane! as Dr. Rumack, the practical physician aboard a troubled flight. Nielsen was relieved to be offered something where he wasn’t playing the grandfather and the role forever changed his career and the public’s perception of him. Nielsen deadpanned some of the best lines in the movie: “Surely you can’t be serious.” “I am serious. And don’t call me Shirley.” and “The life of everyone on board depends upon just one thing: finding someone back there who can not only fly this plane, but who didn’t have fish for dinner. “ (That dialogue was taken directly from Zero Hour!, the serious flight disaster film upon which Airplane! was based.)
Though Airplane was the surprise hit of that summer Nielsen headed back to TV, to star as Lt. Frank Drebin in the short-lived Zucker/Abraham’s comedy, “Police Squad.” The show failed but it inspired the creative team behind it to make a big screen version with The Naked Gun: From the Files of Police Squad! The success of that film in 1988 led to two sequels with Nielsen headlining and the reliable George Kennedy and still comely Priscilla Presley supporting. The series also gave O.J. Simpson another few years of time in front of the movie camera. Several poorer cousins, such as Dracula: Dead and Loving It, Mr. Magoo, Spy Hard and Wrongfully Accused, followed and tainted the goodwill Nielsen had accumulated and the diminishing box office confirmed it. He continued to make cameo appearances in films, almost all spoofs, up until his death.
Nielsen had been ill for over a week, getting treatment for a staph infection in a hospital in Fort Luaderdale when he contracted the pneumonia. His nephew, Doug Nielsen, confirmed the rumors of his uncle’s death by a call-in to a Manitoba radio station, CJOB on Sunday stating that “today at 5:30, with his friends and his wife, Barbaree, by his side, he just fell asleep and passed away.”
Nielsen is survived by Barbaree Nielsen, his fourth wife, and his two daughters, Thea and Maura, whom the actor had with his second wife, Sandy Ullmann”.
“Willie Nelson was arrested yesterday at a border patrol checkpoint in Sierra Blanca, Texas after agents reportedly found 6 ounces of marijuana on his tour bus. Mickey Raphael, Nelson’s longtime harmonica player, tells Rolling Stone that the singer, who posted a $2,500 bond was freed by 1:30 p.m. yesterday, is in good spirits. “He said he feels great — he lost six ounces.”
Raphael says Nelson, 77, was traveling without his band from California, where he spent the Thanksgiving holiday, to Austin, TX, where he owns a ranch. The El Paso Times reports that agents at a checkpoint searched his bus, called the Honeysuckle Rose III, at 9 a.m. Nelson admitted the pot was his and was taken to the local Hudspeth County jail.
“It’s kind of surprising, but I mean we treat him like anybody else,” Hudspeth County Sherriff Arvin West told the newspaper. “He could get 180 days in county jail,” the sheriff added. “If he does, I’m going to make him cook and clean.”
Nelson’s publicist had no comment.
“The singer has long advocated for the legalization of marijuana. “It’s a matter of time, a matter of education, a matter of people finding out what cannabis, marijuana is for, why it grows out of the ground and why it’s prescribed as one of the greatest stress medicines on the planet,” he said in 2008.”
In January, six of Nelson’s band members were issued citations in North Carolina for reportedly possessing moonshine and marijuana. In 2006, Nelson and four others on his bus were issued citations at a traffic stop in St. Martin Parish, Louisiana after authorities seized nearly 1.5 pounds of marijuana and 3 ounces of hallucinogenic mushrooms. Nelson and tour manager David Anderson both paid a $1,024 fine and served six months of probation. “Both bus drivers were over fifty years old,” Nelson said at the time. “The other guys were 60 years old. My sister is 75, I’m 73, so it’s like they busted an old folks home.”
P.s. If you are Harold and Kumar fans, I’m sure you would’ve appreciated the cameo that Nelson makes at the end of Harold and Kumar escape from Guantanamo Bay.
Imagine chilling out and smoking a fatty with this champ
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