Archive | Media

Where Are Your Teens Tonight?

 

Studying at the Library?  Yeah, Right.

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

We think that only “bad” kids get into trouble. 
And that “good” kids never do.

We’ve got news for you.  They all do. 

All kids get into trouble.  They’re risk-takers, seemingly invincible, and yearning to be independent.  The hormones are flaring and they’re out the door to do who knows what.

A long, long time ago it used to be smoking, getting into a fight, skipping class, smashing mailboxes.  Today, it’s alcohol, drug, and prescription med abuse, sexually acting out, running away, and more risky stuff– like blowing your mind out in a way-too-fast joyriding car or stupidly handling a gun while too high or drunk.

They do stupid shit like there’s no tomorrow.

There’s a Beast and We All Feed It, above, is by Jake Bugg,  a 19-year-old singer-songwriter out of working-class Nottingham, England.  His songs paint a vivid, realistic, and sometimes violent picture of fights, drugs, poverty, and heartbreak happening with kids today.

Black Sugar, below, is a flick of a different flavor.  All kids– even those nice quiet middle class white kids living in the ‘burbs in big homes with swimming pools– find themselves on the riskier side of things when you, and they, least expect it.

Don’t kid yourself.  Each one is portrait of what’s happening with kids today. 

Remember when you were young?

 

Black Sugar from Hank Friedmann on Vimeo.

 

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Rubble and Broken Lives

 

The Human Cost of War

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

She is a courageous, remarkable woman–
and an outstanding photo journalist.

Immediately after the September 11 attacks, 24-year-old photographer Kate Brooks set out to document the impact of war on civilians.

Since then, she has covered major conflicts throughout the Middle East and Afghanistan, including the American invasion of Iraq, the 2006 Lebanon War, and the Libyan revolution.

“When it comes to military force and going into conflicts, people are very short sighted about what it’s actually going to mean,” says Brooks. “Civilians are always the ones who pay the biggest price in any conflict.”

In this short film, producers Leandro Badalotti and Simon Schorno powerfully weave together the images and interview with the photographer over the course of her career.

Brooks discusses the motivation behind her work, the moral dilemmas photojournalists face, and the importance of documenting the non-military lives affected by these wars.

“One of the things that I love about the greater Middle East is that it’s the birthplace of ancient civilizations and world religions,” says Brooks. 

“Over the past decade it’s become a region of rubble and broken lives.  I don’t have a problem risking my life doing what I am doing, but I have to believe in what I’m doing.”

While many of the photographs can be difficult to view, the film serves as an ever-important reminder of the consequences of war, the human costs for civilians, and the accompanying cycle of violence that many politicians– and us– seem to forget.

 

~Via Kate Brooks, Leandro Badalotti, Simon Schorno,
InterCross and Peace 2000, and Vimeo

* * * * * * * * *

Kate Brooks is currently working on a documentary about the poaching of rhinoceroses and elephants. Please visit her website to see more of her work.

 

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A Twilight Zone Groundhog Day Love Story of Infinite Possibilities

 

Need We Say More?

Staff Pick **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

The Universe is infinite– and so are the options.

A Truncated Story Of Infinity is Director Paul Trillo’s look at the infinite possibilities within our everyday existence.

It’s a bizarre and trippy flick.  As we follow a day in the life of Vincent– otherwise known as Subject X– we find his many variations that exist throughout the universe, and the story slowly begins to fracture into different threads from there by his following a would-be lover down the street.

It’s a little like the Twilight Zone, A more pathetic Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, and a Love Story story– all intertwined into one mildly insane piece and place.

Carpe Diem.  Or consider the multiple possibilities presented in each moment while keeping your sanity delicately intact.  Are you a person dreaming you are a butterfly?  Or a butterfly dreaming you are a person? 

We dunno.  It’s all too much like a mystery wrapped up in a burrito for us.

Enjoy.

 

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A New Life in the Saddle

 

The Story of Jonathan Field

 

 Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

“You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him participate in synchronized diving.”
        ~Cuthbert Soup, Another Whole Nother Story

 

His parents introduced him to horses when he was just a year old
and he’s been around them ever since.

Growing up in the rural community of Bradner, British Columbia, Jonathan Field spent many evenings and weekends with his family and friends spending time with their horses.  In a helmet and jodhpurs riding his small buckskin quarterhorse named ’Wee Mite Buck’ he jumped everything, raced friends, and competed in the local 4H club.

At the age of 13, a trip to a cattle branding with his family changed Jonathan’s focus, spurring him toward another path with horses.  He was determined to be a cowboy.

For four seasons Jonathan worked at the historic Quilchena Cattle Company, one of the largest operating cattle ranches in Canada.  Living the cowboy life he rode the range by day and nestled in a cow camp at night, driving cows and branding calves come rain, snow or shine.  Each day was spent in the saddle.  A  teenaged-Jonathan could imagine nothing better.

In 1995 Jonathan’s family hosted a horsemanship demonstration at their ranch.  A cocky, brash young cowboy, Jonathan wasn’t prepared for what awaited him there.  The demonstrator was Pat Parelli; the legendary ’horse whisperer’ and trainer.   Witnessing the sensitive relationship between Pat and his horses turned Jonathan’s world upside down.  It opened his eyes to the unique possibility that one could have a special bond with horses.

Life so often shifts unexpectedly, and Jonathan decided to pursue a stable future with his family’s water well drilling company.  However, a well-drilling accident in the bush, 20 minutes from the nearest town, changed everything.

A 500-pound steel casing fell from 20 feet in the air after the supporting chain failed, landing on Jonathan’s arm.  Crushing and amputating all but the skin on his left wrist, he barely made it to the hospital as he witnessed the enormous loss of blood along the way.  Nearly succumbing to blood loss and shock during the ten hours of travel by plane and ambulance, Jonathan knew his horse career days were all but over.

Four doctors at Vancouver General Hospital decided to attempt the reattachment and rebuilding of Jonathan’s hand and wrist.  After a remarkable surgery, Jonathan awoke in a haze at the hospital’s Plastics and Burns Unit, uncertain of his future.

The doctors performed a miracle reattaching tendons, aligning bones and transplanting nerves in a surgery that wasn’t possible four years earlier.  The doctors phenomenally performed the technical work.  The real test, however, was that the future mobility of Jonathan’s hand would be entirely up to his own determination and attitude toward healing.

During the months of physical therapy and pain management that followed, Jonathan’s resilience and recovery were continually tested.  It played out on a day by day basis, continually marked by frustrating setbacks and delays.  At times it seemed as if it all were going nowhere.

His healing was arduously slow and painful.  He experienced phantom pains.  At times his hand and fingers would go numb, feeling no sensation or movement at all.  He struggled with post traumatic stress, recurring nightmares, and terrifying flashbacks.  He remembered the blood gushing out of his arm for hours on end on the long trip to the hospital.  It was a trauma that played endlessly in his head, over and over.

Struggling with the realities of his future and feeling sorry for what he had lost, Jonathan was about to encounter the one thing he needed most moving his life forward:  he listened to a good friend.

Late one night while working on his stretching exercises and martial arts conditioning with friend and Judo expert, Osamu Kasahara, their talk turned to Jonathan’s accident.

Osamu sensed Jonathan’s struggle and presented him with one of the most powerful thoughts he had ever heard.  

He said to Jonathan proddingly, “You have two choices: to suffer …or to heal.”

The reality of those simple words hit Jonathan like a rock.  Osamu had gently forced him to consider that the future was literally in his hands;  Jonathan would be the ultimate master of his own destiny.  It was an epiphany. 

Jonathan thought long and carefully and came to his decision.  He would turn a horrible situation around and heal; he would be a better and stronger person because of  the accident– instead of worse.

Jonathan will be the first to admit that prior to the accident he was neither a patient nor sympathetic man.  Had he been faced with a another friend in a similar situation, Jonathan’s reaction would have been different.  It would have been more along the lines of “Get over it,” “Cowboy up” or “It’s all in your head.”   That’s the cowboy way.

It’s often a different story when you’re the one who’s living in the saddle.  If not for Jonathan’s decision to heal, he would neither be as sympathetic as he is today nor the compassionate teacher for others.

The path of personal growth was a long journey for Jonathan.  It was one marked by difficult turning points and significant milestone markers along the way. 

A huge contributor towards his sensitivity and empathy, Jonathan now works and mentors both fearful horses and worried people in his new career.

It took a terrible accident and painful months of recovery to begin a journey that would change Jonathan forever, leading him to a new life with horses and a different perspective on life overall.

 

~Via Jonathan Field.net, Vimeo, Salazar

For Shannon Miranda, the Sampson & the Ellett families, 
and Navajo Trails Ranch

 

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Caught in the Conflict of Gaza

 

It Can Be Done:

Negotiate an End to the Siege

**VIDEO**

 

Joseph A. Palermo
Huffington Post

 

 

The gutless American political class has abdicated its
responsibility for the actions of the Israel Defense Forces.

Few people living in the Middle East or anywhere else make the distinction between the United States and Israel, nor should they with all those weapons stamped “made in the USA.”  It’s supremely foolish to conclude that Israel can never negotiate with Hamas on lifting the siege of Gaza.

The American rhetoric of spreading “freedom” has been a legitimizing argument dating back to the 1898 Spanish-American War when we were “liberating” the Cubans and Filipinos from the yoke of Spanish colonialism.

When the U.S. Senate votes 100 to zero to support whatever the IDF does in Gaza our political “leaders” might not realize it, but they’re undermining the ideological architecture that has allowed them to drive this country into every other war.

United States military interventions have always been accompanied by justifications that emphasize the goal of social uplift for the country under attack.  The U.S. might bomb women and children but we’re there to “help” our allies build schools and clinics or bring “freedom” and “women’s rights” to the dispossessed.  We are told the violence is targeted at those opponents who would sabotage the good progress the U.S. is trying to make in Vietnam or Afghanistan or Iraq.

The discourse around the Israel-Palestine struggle has an antiquated settler state accent to it more akin to the America of the 19th Century when white people were “defending” themselves against the onslaught of Native Americans– whose lands were being annexed.

In the 20th Century, especially since the Second World War, the portrayal of U.S. military action is always sold as being altruistic in nature.  The U.S. engages in wars only reluctantly and for the highest ideals.

The historical context for the Israel-Palestine fight today has changed markedly from what it has been over the past half century.  This is not 1967, or 1973, or 1982.  Today in Iraq, Sunni fanatics dominate large swathes of the country and have already ethnically cleansed the Christians from Mosul after a pretty good run of 1,900 years.

With the breakup of Iraq and Syria, the rise of ISIS and other newly-minted anti-Western groups and the realization that the United States is not going reinvade Iraq nor bomb Iran, the neo-conservative juggernaut as far as U.S. policy goes for now, is effectively finished.

Bibi Netanyahu’s stubborn conviction that Israel can never talk to Hamas fails to take into account the shifting regional and global dynamics.  His viewpoint is just a fearful, right-wing reaction that fails to recognize the shifting contours of history.

Pro-war voices always say that negotiations are impossible.  The white minority rulers of South Africa said it– but Apartheid collapsed.  The East German regime said it– but the Berlin Wall came down. The Protestants in Northern Ireland said it too.

Times change.  And the United States is no longer the superpower it once was.  The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have depleted our resources and have created a broad based domestic anti-war backlash.

In addition, the nation suffers from historic levels of income and wealth inequality, chronic trade imbalances, mass incarceration, a huge national debt and a Congress with precious little connection to the will of the people.  In short, the U.S. is in no position to allow its surrogates to dictate terms.

During the Vietnam War, New York Senator Robert F. Kennedy tried to explain to his pro-war detractors why he was calling for talks when they claimed the U.S. was “winning.”

“I thought we were at a critical time,” he said. “And before we take the final plunge to even greater escalation, I think we should try negotiation.  If we can’t find the answer to it we can always go back to the war.”

In November 1967, Kennedy questioned the moral appeals that had been made from the earliest days of the U.S. intervention.  He told a panel of Washington journalists on Face the Nation that the US’s “moral position” in the conflict had “changed tremendously.”

“We’re killing South Vietnamese; we’re killing children; we’re killing women; we’re killing innocent people,” Kennedy said.  He had not yet announced his presidential run but his speeches and other public remarks on Vietnam challenged the narrative that had enabled the war in the first place.

Wittingly or not, RFK had shredded the pro-war moral appeals.

Kennedy was also a strong supporter of Israel.  Days before he was murdered at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles on June 5, 1968, he had appeared at an event in that city wearing a yarmulke and calling for advanced fighter jets to be sent to Israel.

A 24-year-old Palestinian who apparently had been enraged by RFK’s views fired his $30 Iver-Johnson pistol at the Senator shortly after Kennedy won the California Democratic primary.  The Canadian historian, Gil Troy, (an uncritical booster of Israel) has referred to RFK’s assassination as the first act of “Arab terrorism”
on U.S. soil.

So, RFK, who might have become President of the United States, was murdered at the age of 42 ostensibly as an indirect byproduct of the Israel-Palestine conflict.  

Enough is enough.  History cannot be frozen in place. Things have a way of moving along.  Just consider how social media has countered the dominant narrative of the current IDF attack on Gaza and one can see that we now reside in a new world.

There are so many stakeholders, not only in the Middle East but also in Europe and beyond, that would like to see an end to this madness in Gaza. 

The vital thing confronting us today is for the United States to put pressure on Israel to lift the siege of Gaza and seek a viable and realistic political solution.

And if negotiations fail, as RFK said about Vietnam in 1967, “we can always go back to the war.”

The vital thing is to try.

* * * * * * * * * * *

Before earning a Master’s degree and Doctorate in History from Cornell University, Professor Palermo completed Bachelor’s degrees in Sociology and Anthropology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master’s degree in History from San Jose State University.

His expertise includes the 1980s; political history; presidential politics and war powers; social movements of the 20th century; the 1960s; and the history of American foreign policy. Professor Palermo has also written articles for anthologies on the life of Father Daniel Berrigan, S.J. in The Human Tradition in America Since 1945 and on the Watergate scandal in Watergate and the Resignation of Richard Nixon.

Professor of History at California State University, Sacramento, Professor Palermo’s most recent book is The Eighties. He has also written two other books: In His Own Right: The Political Odyssey of Senator Robert F. Kennedy and Robert F. Kennedy and the Death of American Ideals.

Part of the Iona Brotherhood, we thank Dr. Palermo for sharing his work with our readers here.

 

 

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The Humble Origin of Computer Graphics

 

The Big Bang:

The Adobe Illustrator Story

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

We’ve come a long ways since the days of Pong and Mario Brothers.

Even if you have never used a computer illustration program in your life, Terry Hemphill’s informative video above shows us the humble beginnings and the groundbreaking breakthroughs Adobe first made when they introduced their pioneering software– allowing anyone and everyone to be a graphic design artist in their own home.

When Adobe Illustrator first shipped in 1987, it was the first software application for a young company that had, until then, focused solely on lettering and fonts for Apple computers.  The new product not only altered Adobe’s course, it changed drawing and graphic design for the masses forever.

It’s pretty entertaining to see what actually passed for digital illustration in the early days of Adobe– which wasn’t actually all that long ago, and how things have progressed at lightning speed ever since.

As the Illustrator story unfolds, we see the beginnings of Adobe’s first software product, its role in the digital publishing revolution, and what has become an essential tool for designers worldwide today.

The Adobe Illustrator Story is a tad long, but it’s a well done piece with high production values and solid insight into John Warnock’s vision of making graphic design easier and more creative for all of us, since those old school days of using rapidograph pens and the painstaking process of transferring images from paper to the drawing board.

If you can think it, you can create it.

 

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Guardians of the Temple

 

Burning Man and Meaning

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s fairly simple, actually. 

Life is precious.  Life is short.  Life should be a celebration. 

And your temple of sacred space for the celebration and reflection of life is anywhere and everywhere.

Since 2002, the Guardians have held an integral role at the Temple of Burning Man.

68,000 people from all over the world turned out for the radical arts event set in the remote Black Rock Desert of Nevada.  They came, they heard, they saw, and they burned.  For some, it was one big party.  For others, self-expression and freedom.  And for a few, a place for self-reflection and insight.

The Guardians, however, have remained largely invisible; holding space and place from the mysterious shadows of the playa.

Until now.

 

 

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Your Mind is Not Your Own

 

Anywhere the Eye Can See

Lies an Iconic Consumer Image

 

Award-Winning Short Video

 

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s not yours and your mind is not your own.

Guy Trefler set out to flex his graphic design muscles and convey the message that nothing is original.

In Not Mine, a creative visual exploration of how everything’s been inspired by something else, we can see how our brain is implanted with millions of casted images throughout our life.

In a true whirlwind of brand names, logos, iconic imagery and memorable products, we’re made to realize that everything inspired something else at some point or the other.  It’s a fallacy to assume that anything is original anymore, but that doesn’t mean old ideas and concepts can’t be recombined, reconfigured, and reinterpreted to create something new and exciting.

Not Mine was created using a series of 469 images from Google’s image banks, which Trefler playfully labels as ‘not mine’ at the end of the film– showing a full breakdown of all the shots in the short.

His film reminds us how much and how often icons and images are thrust upon us.

Marketers and advertisers try their hardest to reach people while they’re watching TV or reading newspapers or magazines.  But consumers’ viewing and reading habits are so scattershot now that many advertisers say the best way to reach time-pressed consumers is to try to catch their eye at literally every turn.

And it has become ubiquitous. 

Researchers estimate a person living in a city 30 years ago saw up to 2,000 ad messages a day, compared with 5,000 today.  About half of the people surveyed in one study said they thought marketing and advertising today was overblown and out of control.

Expect more saturation on the horizon.  Old-fashioned billboards are now being converted to digital screens, and they’re considered to be the next big thing coming.  They allow advertisers to change messages frequently from remote computers, timing their pitches to sales events or the hour of the day.  

People can expect to see more of them not only along highways, but also in stores, gyms, gas stations, elevators, doctors’ offices and on the sides of buildings, marketing executives say.

It’s frightening to realize just how many images, advertisements, jingles, and worthless bits of subliminal garbage fill up the useless space in our heads like pieces of flotsam and jetsam.

Our brain cells could be put to so much better use if they were simply free of the clutter, conditioning, and the distraction being forced upon us without our consent, much less our conscious awareness.

 

 

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The Unusual Journey of Robina Asti

 

‘Flying Solo’

 

A Staff Pick
Award-Winning Film

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Everyone has an interesting story to tell.

Flying Solo: A Transgender Widow Fights Discrimination, is a short documentary by the Lambda Legal organization relating the unusual and touching struggle of 92-year-old transgender widow and war veteran Robina Asti.

Robina Asti was denied the survivor benefits she should have received after her husband’s death for two long years.  In a 2004 ceremony in an airplane hangar in Orange County, NY, Robina, a World War II veteran and pilot, married her longtime sweetheart, Norwood Patton.

In June 2012, Norwood passed away at 97 years old.  On July 27, 2012, Robina applied in person for survivor benefits through the SSA.

Though Robina already received Social Security benefits, being able to claim survivor benefits would increase her monthly check by about $500.  On April 24, 2013, the SSA notified Robina that her survivor benefits under Norwood’s Social Security record were denied because “her marriage does not meet the requirements under Federal law for payment of Social Security widow’s benefits,” stating that her marriage was not valid because she was “legally male” at the time of their wedding.

In June 2013, Lambda Legal filed a request for reconsideration on Robina’s behalf. 

This past Valentine’s Day, after months of legal advocacy, the Social Security Administration (SSA) paid Robina, and in April of this year, the SSA updated its policies and procedures regarding the ability of transgender individuals to receive benefits through their spouses.

Robina’s struggle had taken over two years.

After Social Security changed both its mind and its policies, Robina was elated to find out that her long fight to be fully recognized as a spouse was finally over. 

She recounted afterwards:

“I was so happy.

I felt like it was my husband Norwood’s Valentine’s Day gift to me.  I’m glad that Social Security finally came to its senses. 

I hope this means that other people won’t have to experience this.”

 

Robina chose to share her story of struggle, hope, and love with others– so that they, too, may persevere and find their way.

~Via Lambda Legal, Robina Asti, Vimeo

* * * * * * * * *

Flying Solo is previewing at NewFest: The New York LGBT Film Festival, July 27th at 1:30pm.

More information about Lambda Legal’s resources for trans people and advocates can be found here

If you liked this story and video, you might also enjoy Eri’s unusual story, too.

 

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Prisons and Muppets

 

John Oliver’s Detailed Take

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

How bad is the mass incarceration problem in the US?

So bad that Sesame Street featured a muppet with a father in prison to help the 2.7 million American children with an incarcerated parent understand what just happened.

Incarcerated people, parents or not, face a system that subjects them to often horrific conditions.

The touchy issue of racism is also brought up by John Oliver in the above HBO clip.

“It reminds me of a joke,” John Oliver quipped yesterday on Last Week Tonight.  ”‘Black people who commit drug offenses, they go to jail like this, whereas white people …don’t go to jail at all.”

Watch him walk through, in considerable detail, every problem of our corrections system from the epidemic of prison rape to the perverse incentives created by prison privatization to the alleged use of sugar to treat wounds in prison clinics.  He covers more ground quickly than we can possibly touch on here.

Whether you agree with his reasoning or not, and whether you care, is another matter altogether.  Prisons have more than their fair share of psychopaths, sociopaths, murderers, rapists, the habitually violent and criminally-minded peeps, and just plain badass dudes.

But make no mistake:  the American prison system is one screwed-up hell pit carved out by institutionalized racism, despicable politics, corporate greed and other reprehensible factors that– culturally– we’ve mostly agreed to ignore.  For the most part it’s out of sight and out of mind.

The issues facing our nation’s rapidly growing incarcerated population isn’t attractive to focus on.  It’s a brutal and sad dilemma and one that’s easy to dismiss because a lot of people can’t find it in their hearts to care about criminals.

There’s nothing cute about prison advocacy.  Which is why John Oliver cares enough to use humor, song, and adorable muppets to get Americans to actually give a whit.

 

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It’s Nappy-Poo Time!

 

Many Children Were Harmed
in the Making of This Video

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Chris Capel is a writer/director who describes himself
as passionate, creative and pine-scented.

He used to animate talking animals at DreamWorks Feature Animation for a living, but says he strives to one day be a big time director so he can just sit in a chair and tell people what to do.

He loves to write as well and is driven to tell entertaining and engaging offbeat humor stories of any level or size to whoever will pay attention. 

His Naptime! infomercial above is his all time dank favorite, following in the true Griswold family tradition.

Getting the intended twisted emotional response from his audience is considered by Chris to be the ultimate high.  Black tar heroin runs a close second.

Chris lives in Valencia with a cat, two rabbits and his wife Lindsey, who is an aspiring animal hoarder.

Thanks for your help getting our Sunday family snooze on, Chris.

* * * * * * * *

 

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Bringing Water and Life to Others

 

 

World Vision’s Zambia Water Project

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Greed is not good. 

Humanity, distribution, and the delivering of resources are good.

More children die from diseases caused by unsafe water than HIV/AIDS and malaria combined.  1,600 children die every day from diarrhea because they lack something as simple as clean water.

Scarce, dirty water locks people into poverty.  Clean water not only gives life, it makes it possible for kids to attend school, for families to provide adequate nutrition, and for communities to prosper outside of poverty.

The current World Vision Water Project in Zambia  hopes to dramatically change life in four communities in desperate need.  The project is part of their overall goal to provide clean, safe water to one million new people this year.

50 percent of rural Zambians lack access to clean water, and 1 out of every 12 children die before the age of 5.

The World Vision project includes 133 new and rehabilitated water points, 1600 sanitation facilities, and 117 communities and schools trained in hygiene.  With the formation of 117 local water committees, Zambia will be equipped to maintain the water points and pay for its own repairs, helping to ensure clean water lasts for generations to come.

Clean water transforms entire communities for generations.  Without clean water, all else fails.  It’s a given necessity for progress and humanity.

We can solve the global water crisis within our lifetime.  For the first time in history, we have the technology, resources, and the distribution to bring clean water to every child on the planet.

The World Vision Organization is reaching more people with clean drinking water than any other non-governmental agency– an amazing one person every 30 seconds.  They believe they can provide clean water to an additional 5 million people in the next 3 years.

That may sound impossible– yet it’s already here, it’s happening, and the mission is entirely possible.

And yes, you can help.

 

~Via World Vision, Keith Rivers, Vimeo, and YouTube

 

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Urban Surfing

 

 

Let the Fun Times Roll

A Soon-To-Be Viral Video

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Devin Supertramp’s team has put it’s own twist on surfing 
for what they call “Urban Surfing.” 

They hit the wicked streets of San Francisco to create what looks like a giant slip ‘n slide.  After laying down some plastic and spraying on a bit of water and adding a few toys, they started the fun rolling.

We like the idea that just about anyone can do this.  It’s an instant urban park slip ‘n slide, a gathering of kids who like to slip, surf, skate, and slide, courtesy of your local fire hydrant and whatever tunes you might have available on hand. 

Oh, it probably takes a lot of plastic, a city permit,  liability insurance and some porta-potties, too.  You know how San Francisco goes. 

And kids really can have too much fun.  Slip and slides have always been fairly notorious for more than a few falls, twisted legs, broken elbows and dented chins.  Nothing says Summer fun quite like tequila shooters and lost teeth.  Fortunately youth these days are very malleable.

We only hope they know the Golden State of Cali is headlong into a drought.  Perhaps taking their plastic sand pails and filling them up, they watered down some thirsty urban trees while munching down some Bear Naked Granola before catching the next performance of
Beach Blanket Babylon.

Slip on.

* * * * * * * * *

Film by Devin Graham. 

Shot in San Francisco using the Canon RED Dragon, Phantom Miro, Canon 5D Mark III,
and GoPRO Hero3+ with Goscope poles, and a Glidecam HD 4000.

The music is ‘Hang Out’ by Radical Something.

Below is the interesting Behind-the Scenes In ‘n Out Takes for you camera junkies:

 


 

 

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What Do You See When You Look in the Mirror?

 

Self-Judgment and Worth:

A Woman’s Perspective

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

63 women were asked what they see when they look in the mirror.   
Their answers were surprising.

When I Look in the Mirror is a powerful behind-the-scenes exploration of each woman’s thoughts and insights as they take a deep look into the mirror and reflect on themselves and their experiences.

Dozens of interviews were conducted over the course of twelve days to cultivate this collection of voices.  From cancer survivors to a bullied middle school student, each woman’s answer is indicative of her unique life experiences.

Through interviews, vérité filming, and impromptu reflections, this short documentary from Everdream Pictures’ Kristelle Laroche and Ben Mullinkosson deeply explores female self-images, self-judgments, and ultimately, worth and self-love.

Everyone has their own individual beauty.  And no one can ever take that away from you.

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Jon Stewart: The Kidsplosion Invasion

 

 

 Politicizing Kids for the Far Right’s Cause

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Don’t mess with the kids.

Opening The Daily Show yesterday, Jon Stewart tore into the lawmakers and protesters scapegoating the thousands of young immigrants coming to the U.S. and asking why they can’t be deported back to Central America.

“First of all, what the f*ck is wrong with you?” Stewart demanded.

“These are children.  Why would you even ask that?  And second of all, good question.”

“It’s not fair to single President Barack Obama out for blame in the issue, Stewart argued, considering how often Republicans tell anybody who will listen that the U.S. is the greatest country in history.

“Why would you not come to a place that is great,” Stewart asked.

“In fact, it’s why all of our ancestors came to this country, and were themselves originally unwelcome.  Because that’s the story of America:  from Ben Franklin’s worries that the Germans were ruining Pennsylvania, to our 19th Century 60-year ban on the Chinese immigrants who had just finished building our rail system, to our very real and justifiable concerns about the Irish and their insatiable  ’applying for jobs’.  We have always been a nation of immigrants who hate the newer immigrants.”

In the clip above, Stewart explains more of the immigration process, the myriad of bureaucratic forms, and the kids fleeing their countries of origin because of poverty and violence.

Meanwhile, the GOP and right-wing nut groups are simply giddy arming themselves head over heels with signs, flags, and guns, going after what’s being called the ‘Kidsplosion Invasion’ or ‘President Obama’s Hurricane Katrina’.

Via Google, Mediaite, Jon Stewart,
The Daily Show, and YouTube

 

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Delivery

 

Life Goes On Against the Odds 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Bill is fifty-two years old.

Sporting an unruly mountain man beard and chain smoking
Camel straights, he delivers pizza on a bike in Brooklyn.

Over the course of several shifts, filmmakers Christopher K. Walker and Michael Beach Nichol’s Delivery unveils an intriguing portrait of a man rushing through life and getting the food to your door while it’s still “hot and fresh” through the Big Apple’s crowded streets and back alleyways. 

And he works hard.

A local legend known for his fierce determination and deliverance to the job and his bicycle, Bill’s been through a hard and weathered life.  At the end of his shift he’ll often look for a place to sleep on a friend’s couch. 

His family and apartment are long gone; his future is limited.  Yet everyday he comes to work, making another hard-earned dollar through sheer perseverence.

Riding the City’s streets as a courier and pizza delivery guy for 30 years, Bill has no regrets.  As long as he can continue to ride his bike, he’s relatively happy. 

“The day I can no longer ride a bike better be the day I’m fucking dead,” he says.

To note, filmmakers Christopher K. Walker and Michael Beach Nichol run a documentary production company called No Weather Productions located in Brooklyn, NY.  Michael shoots and Chris edits. 

Sometimes they switch that up.

 

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It’s a Plastic World

 

In its Varied Forms

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Andreas Tanner
Andix Productions

 

It’s everywhere.

We need and we want it.  We find it in places we wouldn’t expect.

A world without plastic is inconceivable.  But do we know the consequences of our self-indulgent plastic consumption?

With two excellent speakers and nice music by Alexander Rösch, I’m very proud to present It’s a Plastic World, my film showing the various problems associated with plastic and the possible solutions.

In my holidays I saw a secluded beach that was littered with plastic waste.  I asked myself how this could be possible.  Back home, I began to fathom the causes.

The problem is that the ocean is completely polluted with plastic.  A lot of plastic is washed up on beaches worldwide.  This and many other bad facts led me to make my movie about plastic material and its far-reaching consequences.

It took weeks of collecting facts, writing a story, and drawing the storyboard for the movie.  After four more months of computer and production time, it was finally finished.

Many NGO’s like Greenpeace, WWF and PlasticOceans helped endorse and spread the movie.  I’d be very glad if everyone  shared and spread it.

If you would like to know more about making this movie, please watch the short Making-Of trailer, seen below.

Thank you,
Andreas Tanner

 

 

 

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Growing Up Bayou

 

Everyone is Happy to Give

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

At 82, Anna Mae Doucet sounds deeply comfortable
with herself and her life.

Doucet is a Cajun.

“I wouldn’t want to be anything else but a Cajun.  I’m happy.  I’m a very happy person,” she said. “Maybe the happiest person in the world.”

On a morning last spring, she sat across a small table from her doting great-granddaughter, Elise.

Doucet is a country girl, having lived along Louisiana’s Bayou Lafourche for 75 years. 

She is Elise’s “Mommee,” the matriarch of a family extending five generations, including 10 great-great-grandchildren who still live in the twists and turns of bayou country.

Growing up in Golden Meadow, Doucet and her six siblings wintered four months a year in the marsh where the rhythms of trapping annually consumed their father.  Then it was back on the bayou to fish and trawl for shrimp.

At home they grew vegetables, picked citrus and peaches, and cared for chickens and two cows. When people baked, they automatically shared a bit with neighbors.

They had no car, Doucet said. Nor, it seemed, did anyone else.  They were poor but she or her neighbors didn’t know it.  They had enough; or as she saw it, they had plenty.  Sometimes the clothes were hand-me-downs; sometimes the bathwater was shared among siblings.

There was no washing machine, dryer or dishwasher.  The labor was hard, but there was also leisure time. Neighbors looked out for another, kept up after each other’s children, and helped one another when needed.  Things—and food—were shared when someone needed it.  Everyone seemed happy to give.  It was a way of life.

They were a community; a tight-knit community, loving of each other and understandably wary of the world outside and its strangers they didn’t know.  There was no crime, no drugs, and to their point of view, no poverty, either.  Rich in relationships, they felt blessed.

“We still had a lot of time to visit, because we had no television,” Doucet explained.  “Wherever you wanted to go, you’d walk.  And you had people sitting on the porches, and everybody wanted to know everybody.  So we’d never get to where we were going to, too early.  Because Momma knew everybody, we’d stop and talk at the friends, you know?”

In time, Anna Mae met and married a fine young Cajun man. He had served in the Navy, came home from World War II and settled with Anna Mae in Golden Meadow to work as a marine engineer for the shrimpers.

In their 52 years together, they lost two children, but raised two more.

Life was hard.  There were struggles.  Little money.  New things wanting to be bought from far away.  Keeping clothes clean and shoes for the children in good stead.  Getting to school could be difficult depending on the weather, impending storms, and the boat-taxi ride to the schoolhouse 45 minutes away.

When hard times came, they moved for a few years to Brownsville Texas, where some other families from the bayou country moved to follow the shrimp.

After their return there was another family move, when they arranged to have their house in Golden Meadow jacked up, trucked to the bayou, and barged 10 or 12 miles upstream to Cut Off, where it sits today.  Old traditions and community roots die hard in this part of the country.

Doucet explained they wanted the safety of being a few extra miles inland during hurricane season.  She remembered riding out Hurricane Betsy in a schoolhouse in Raceland in 1965.  A tornado hit the place, blew out the windows, and hurled glass at the evacuees huddled inside, she said. 

The children were terrified but the adults had weathered many storms like this before.  There was safety among themselves, and with others in number.  And when all else failed, they always had their faith to rely upon.

Elise asked her Mommee some questions.

Does she believe in God?

“Definitely.”

Do you pray?

“Yes.”

In English or French?

“Sometimes both.”

“And I’m your favorite, right?” teases Elise.

“Oh yeah,” replies Doucet, sweetly.

Then, thinking for a moment, she wisely adds…

“All of you are precious.  Whoever faces me is my favorite at that time.”

 

~Via New Orleans News, The Golden Age and Woodkid,
Vimeo, Jeremy Love and Zuda Comics

 

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Trans-Mormon

 

Finding Identity

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Eri Hayward was born and raised in Utah County, Utah.

Coming from a conservative Mormon background, she was raised in the LDS Church and even went to Mormon private school – but something wasn’t adding up.

Eri was born a boy and it was a slow, painful journey for her to recognize she is transgender.

Friends at OHO Media met with Eri and her close-knit, supportive family this summer, just before she flew to Thailand for sexual reassignment surgery. 

A guest speaker at both Brigham Young University and Utah Valley University, Eri regularly talks about being a transgendered Mormon woman and reconciling her religion, personal beliefs, and one’s life experiences.

A sensitive portrait of a controversial subject, TransMormon was the winner of the Artistic Vision Award at the 2014 Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, winner of the 2014 Utah Short Film of the Year Award, and the chosen Vimeo Staff Pick seen here.

 

If you liked this story, you might enjoy our other piece:  The Unusual Journey of Robina Asti.

 

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The Billionaire Mathematician

 

Seeker, Doer, Giver, Ponderer

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

James Simons has led a life of ferocious curiosity. 

Making his fortune, he is now making his own major contributions for the future of America. 

The following excerpt from the New York Times profiles Simons, the multi-billionaire scientist and hedge fund star who has won praise for his financial gifts to scientific research and his efforts to get children interested in math.

Simons, who has led a life full of twists and turns, successes and failures, has held up his life as example to young people of what perseverance and curiosity can accomplish.

 

 

James H. Simons likes to play against type.

He is a billionaire star of mathematics and private quantitative investment who often wins praise for his financial gifts to scientific research and programs to get children hooked on math.

But in his Manhattan office, high atop a Fifth Avenue building in the Flatiron district, he’s quick to tell of his career failings.

He was forgetful.  He was demoted.  He found out the hard way that he was terrible at programming computers.

“I’d keep forgetting the notation,” Dr. Simons said. “I couldn’t write programs to save my life.”

After that, he was fired.

His message is clearly aimed at young people:  If I can do it, so can you.

Down one floor from his office complex is Math for America, a foundation he set up to promote math teaching in public schools.  Nearby, on Madison Square Park, is the National Museum of Mathematics, or MoMath, an educational center he helped finance.  It opened in 2012 and has had a quarter million visitors.

Dr. Simons, 76, laughs a lot.  He talks of “the fun” of his many careers, as well as his failings and setbacks.  In a recent interview, he recounted a life full of remarkable twists, including the deaths of two adult children, all of which seem to have left him eager to explore what he calls the mysteries of the universe.

“I can’t help it,” he said of the science he finances. “It’s very exciting.”

Jeff Cheeger, a mathematician at New York University who studied with him a half century ago at Princeton, described Dr. Simons’s career as “mind-boggling.”

Dr. Simons received his doctorate at 23;  advanced code breaking for the National Security Agency at 26;  led a university math department at 30;  won geometry’s top prize at 37;  founded Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful hedge funds, at 44;  and began setting up charitable foundations at 56.

This year, he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, an elite body that Congress founded during Lincoln’s presidency to advise the federal government.

With a fortune estimated at $12.5 billion, Dr. Simons now runs a tidy universe of science endeavors, financing not only math teachers but hundreds of the world’s best investigators, even as Washington has reduced its support for scientific research.  His favorite topics include gene puzzles, the origins of life, the roots of autism, math and computer frontiers, basic physics and the structure of the early cosmos.

“He’s very ambitious,” said Edward Witten, a physicist at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton.  “He can have a big impact.”

Working closely with his wife, Marilyn, the president of the Simons Foundation and an economist credited with philanthropic savvy, Dr. Simons has pumped more than $1 billion into esoteric projects as well as retail offerings like the World Science Festival and a scientific lecture series at his Fifth Avenue building.  Characteristically, it is open to the public.

His casual manner — he’s known as Jim — belies a wide-ranging intellect that seems to resonate with top scientists…

During the interview, Dr. Simons reached into the pocket of his blue shirt and pulled out a pack of cigarettes, at times letting one dangle from his mouth unlit.  He was relaxed and chatty, wearing tan pants and loafers, his accent betraying his Boston birth and upbringing.

Dr. Simons said he knew as a boy that he loved math and logic.  He would lie in bed thinking about how to give the instruction “pass it on” in a clearly defined way.

“One night, I figured it out,” he recalled.  By morning, he added, he could no longer remember the insight.

At 14, during a Christmas break, he was hired by a garden supply store for a stockroom job. But he was quickly demoted to floor sweeper after repeatedly forgetting where things went.  His bosses were incredulous when, at vacation’s end, he told them he wanted to study mathematics at the nearby Massachusetts Institute of Technology…

Forbes magazine ranks him as the world’s 93rd richest person — ahead of Eric Schmidt of Google and Elon Musk of Tesla Motors, among others — and in 2010, he and his wife were among the first billionaires to sign the Giving Pledge, promising to devote “the great majority” of their wealth to philanthropy.

Of late, Dr. Simons said, his giving had accelerated, adding that he was particularly proud of Math for America. It awards stipends and scholarships of up to $100,000 to train high school math and science teachers and to supplement their regular salaries. The corps is expanding to 1,100 teachers, mainly in New York City, but also in Boston, Los Angeles and elsewhere.

His passion, however, is basic research — the risky, freewheeling type. He recently financed new telescopes in the Chilean Andes that will look for faint ripples of light from the Big Bang, the theorized birth of the universe.

The afternoon of the interview, he planned to speak to Stanford physicists eager to detect the axion, a ghostly particle thought to permeate the cosmos but long stuck in theoretical limbo. Their endeavor “could be very exciting,” he said, his mood palpable, like that of a kid in a candy store.

For all his self-deprecations, Dr. Simons does credit himself with a contemplative quality that seems to lie behind many of his accomplishments.

“I wasn’t the fastest guy in the world,” Dr. Simons said of his youthful math enthusiasms. “I wouldn’t have done well in an Olympiad or a math contest. But I like to ponder. And pondering things, just sort of thinking about it and thinking about it, turns out to be a pretty good approach.”

An excerpt, you can read the full NYT article here.

 

~Via Google News, NYT, and YouTube

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Ballet Meets Robotics

 

A Strange and Perfect Union

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Ballet and robotics have come together in a bizarre
and beautiful way.

Although it seems contradictory, it turns out ballet and robotics have a rather remarkable chemistry. The practiced precision of the dancers and the highly controlled movement of the robot make for a strangely harmonious and completely original take on the classical art form.

Or so it seems, judging from filmmaker Tarik Abdel-Gawad’s film adaptation of Tchaikovsky’s Francesca Da Rimini ballet, seen above and below.

Described as “an experiment designed to synchronize dance choreography with robotic motion,” the film introduces San Francisco Ballet stars Maria Kochetkova and Joan Boada as they perform highly perfected and precise steps to a massive robot-controlled moving camera designed to track and dance with them across the stage.

The close-up shots, tight and intimate, naturally fit with Tchaikovsky’s expressive and dramatic symphonic adaptation of Dante’s classic story– where Francesca and her
lover are eternally damned to Hell. 

“The film itself brings the viewer closer to a ballet performance than is possible on a stage.  Using a robot allows the camera to be choreographed– as well as the dancers– achieving spectacular shots designed specifically for the performance.  The end result is a film that makes viewers feel they’re in the room dancing with the performers,” Abdel-Gawad said.

It’s hard to argue with such a statement because the result is
spectacular and unique, upfront and personal.

Abdel-Gawad gracefully sums up the project as a breakthrough process that “demonstrated that it was possible to synchronize robotic motion with extremely complex athletic choreography.”

We see it as an innovation that will soon be taking root in Hollywood film production, especially as 3-D imaging and Matrix-like scenes evolve further.

Below is the very interesting behind-the-scenes look of how director Abdel-Gawad brought the whole enchilada together.

~Via Tarik Abdel-Gawad, Vimeo, Outer Places

 

Ballet Meets Robotics from Francesca Da Rimini Film on Vimeo.

 

If you liked the robotic element of this story,
you’ll really like our other fantastic piece here.

 

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Going All the Way

 

‘Roll the Dice’

Award-Winning Video

–and a ’Toon

 

Words by Charles Bukowski

Film by Willem Martinot
Narrated by Tom O’Bedlam

Game of Thrones by Zen Pencils

 

 

“I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom of me a magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.

The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.  I shall use my time.”

Jack London

 

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Beat the Drum Slowly

 

A Dark & Haunted Poem

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Deco tower, rainbow fountain showers
Crystal columns, silver tabloid entry
The celebrity cemetery

A faded trail of a golden age
that flickered out into celluloid ashes
phantasms fantastic.

Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche

To the cameras rolling

We beat the Drum slowly

The family jewels, the swimming pool
yards marked by emerald coffins
we heard crimes often and softly
A mystery mist, new systems shift
things recognized from television channels
nostalgia signals, unscrambled.

Outran the avalanche
Outran the avalanche

Outran the avalanche
To the cameras rolling

We beat the Drum slowly

 * * * * * * * * *

Dark, haunted, surreal and vacant. 
Shades of the arid West, a funeral march, Jim Morrison, an empty LA night.
Melancholy and society lost. 
Yeah, we liked it.

~Via Timber Timbre from their album ‘Hot Dreams’

 

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Looking Into Your Junk

 

Prosecutors Want Graphic Photos

Of Teen Taken as Evidence

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Talk about an invasion of privacy. 

A Virginia teenager is fighting efforts by police who want to take photos of him in a sexually aroused state to try to prove a sexting case against him.

Prosecutors in Prince William County, Virginia, told a judge they need photos of the 17-year-old’s erect penis to compare against photos he is accused of sending to his 15-year-old girlfriend at the time.  

The teen has been charged in juvenile court with possessing and manufacturing child pornography related to the images of himself he’s accused of creating.

The teen’s lawyers say the search warrant allowing the photographs has been authorized by a magistrate but not yet executed.  They are fighting the warrant in court; a hearing is scheduled for next week.

Defense lawyer Jessica Foster said she is unaware of any cases where police have pursued similar photographs, particularly of a minor.

“This is crazy,” she said.  ”Nobody’s even heard of something like this. … The charges are excessive, and the means by which they are seeking evidence are outrageous.”

The teen’s appointed guardian ad litem, Carlos Flores Laboy, said his understanding is that police plan to do some sort of computer analysis of the photos to try and prove a similarity to the explicit photo found on the girl’s phone.  He said the search warrant vividly demonstrates the importance of defending individuals’ constitutional rights against invasions of privacy.

“Doing this to an adult would be traumatic.  We’re talking about a 17-year-old child.  Doing it to a 17-year-old would be even worse,” he said.

A guardian ad litem is an attorney appointed to serve as an advocate in certain juvenile cases.

The lawyers said police have told them they plan to obtain the photo by taking the teen to a hospital and injecting him with a chemical that would cause an erection.

The teen’s aunt and legal guardian has sent the teen out of state for now so the warrant can’t be executed.

“He’s overwhelmed.  He’s scared.  He doesn’t want to be in Virginia” because police could theoretically show up at any time to try to execute the warrant and take the photographs, she said.

Police have been pursuing the case since January, the aunt said, when the girlfriend’s mom discovered the explicit content.

She said prosecutors insisted on getting the photographs after her nephew turned down a plea deal that would have required a year of probation in which he would be forbidden from using a cell phone or the Internet.  She was concerned that a slipup on probation– even a single use of a social media account like Facebook or Twitter– would leave him exposed to a felony record and a requirement to register as a sex offender.

She said her nephew has received a lot of support since the case was first reported last week on WRC-TV, the NBC affiliate in Washington.

Police and prosecutors did not return calls Wednesday afternoon seeking
comment.

The Manassas City Police later posted a statement on its website saying that it is not their policy “to authorize invasive search procedures of suspects in cases of this nature and no such procedures have been conducted in this case.”

The statement added that police were contacted by the mother of the 15-year-old girl “who was sent pornographic videos” by the 17-year-old “after repeatedly being told to stop.”

 

~Via Google News, The Washington Post, Fox 43,
Tomo News and YouTube

 

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The Lion of Britain

 

The Challenges of Being Churchill

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Born in 1874, Winston Churchill was a legendary orator, a prolific writer, an earnest artist, and a long-term British
statesman.

Yet Churchill, who twice served the as the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, is best remembered as the tenacious and forthright war leader that led his country against the seemingly unstoppable Nazi machine during World War II.

A sickly child since birth, Churchill was sent off to boarding school at age eight.  Although well liked, he was never an excellent student and became known as a troublemaker.

In his adult years, Churchill decided that he wanted to help make policy and not just follow it.  So when he returned to England as both a famous author and war hero at age 25, he was able to successfully run for election as a member of Parliament (MP).  

This was the start of Churchill’s very long political career.

Churchill soon became known for his outspokenness and energy, giving speeches against tariffs and in support of social changes for the poor.  It soon became clear that he didn’t hold the beliefs of the Conservative Party, so he switched to the Liberal Party in 1904.

Churchill’s dedication and efficiency earned him an excellent reputation and he was quickly promoted to Cabinet positions.  

In October 1911, Churchill was made First Lord of the Admiralty, which meant he was in charge of the British Navy.  Churchill, worried about Germany’s growing military strength, spent the next three years working diligently to strengthen the British Navy.

When the World War began in 1914, Churchill was praised for the work he had done behind the scenes to prepare Britain for war.  However, things soon began to go badly for Churchill.

Always energetic, determined, and confident, Churchill had his hands in all military matters, and not only those dealing with the Navy.  Many felt that he had overstepped his position.

Then came the Dardanelles campaign.  It was meant to be a combined naval and infantry attack on the Dardanelles in Turkey, but when things went poorly for the British, Churchill was blamed for the whole thing.

The official and public mood soon turned against Churchill.  He was swiftly moved out of government.

Churchill was devastated to have been forced out of politics.  Although he was still a member of Parliament, he went into a deep depression and worried that his political life was completely over.

It was during this time that Churchill learned to paint.  It started as a way for him to escape the doldrums, but like everything else he did, Churchill attacked it with zealous passion, working to improve himself. He continued to paint for the rest of his life.

He also continued to write, finishing a number of books including his autobiography, My Early Life.  He continued to give speeches, many of them warning of Germany’s growing power.  Curiously enough, he also learned bricklaying.

By 1938, Churchill was speaking out forcefully against British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain’s plan of appeasement with Nazi Germany.  Churchill’s message wasn’t well received in the least.

When Nazi Germany attacked Poland, Churchill’s fears had proved correct.  The public soon realized that Churchill had seen this coming.

When Nazi Germany attacked France on May 10, 1940, it was time for Chamberlain to step down as Prime Minister.  Appeasement hadn’t worked and now was time for action.  The same day that Chamberlain resigned, King George VI asked Churchill to become the Prime Minister of Great Britain.

German bombs soon fell from the skies onto London’s streets and homes. 

England’s citizens fled to nearby bomb shelters while the neighborhood sirens continually wailed.  Britain faced an uncertain future and the prospect of war darkened the country’s mood.

Churchill spurred himself and everyone around him to prepare for war.  He rallied Britain’s citizens to stand up to the face of hardship, adversity and uncertainty.  He actively courted Franklin Roosevelt and the United States to join in the hostilities against Nazi Germany.  Despite Churchill’s extreme dislike for Stalin and the communist Soviet Union, his pragmatic side realized he needed their help and cooperation, too.

By joining forces with both the United States and the Soviet Union, Churchill not only saved Britain, but helped save all of Europe from the domination of Nazi Germany.  He became known as the Lion of Britain.

In his final retirement, Churchill continued to write, finishing his four-volume A History of the English Speaking Peoples.  Churchill also continued to give speeches and …paint.

During his later years, Churchill earned three impressive awards.  

In 1953, Churchill was made Knight of the Garter by Queen Elizabeth II, making him Sir Winston Churchill. Later that same year, Churchill was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.  Ten years later in 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy awarded Churchill with honorary U.S. citizenship.

In June 1962, Churchill broke his hip after falling out of his hotel bed.  On January 10, 1965, he suffered a massive stroke.  After falling into a coma, the legendary lion died on January 24, 1965. 

The entire country mourned in his wake.

Facing many challenges, defeats, and failures throughout his life, Churchill courageously persevered throughout. 

He had his flaws: meticulous, meddling, arrogant, and at times, harsh.   Many came to realize those flaws were linked to his greater strengths of character.  A Godfather of sorts, he had led his country through its darkest hour to its finest moment.

Committed to the well being of his country and fellow citizens, he remained a stalwart member of Parliament until a year before his death, at age 90.

 

 

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Flowering Beauty

 

 

Stunning Time Lapse Photography

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

“Earth laughs in flowers.”
     Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

From earliest times, flowers have held a special place in people’s lives.

Observed in art, jewelry, stories and paintings, a rich love has grown up around flowers throughout the centuries.  We admire their beauty;  their varied aromas, colors, forms, and textures. 

We use flowers and plants because of their age old symbolism. They are dear to our hearts.  We use them to represent love and desire, celebrations, events, birthdays and feasts of all kinds.

Flowers continue to be used as love tokens because they remind us to open our hearts to life and love.

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.

The beauty of a simple flower can move us profoundly on a very subtle level that we don’t always consciously recognize or understand.  They seem to rise up magically out of the bare earth or, more often, appear to emerge out of formless masses of stems and leaves.

We enjoy gazing at them.  We’re reminded of their humble beginnings eons ago and what is truly the crowning creation of Nature’s evolutionary glory. 

We’re also reminded of the fleeting nature of life– and how transient everything unfortunately is.

A blooming flower highlights the profound beauty that exists for only brief single moment.

The gloom of death and its decaying flowers will once again be with us– yet for now we are left with a positive feeling that, whenever the flower blooms, life goes on, springing hope eternal.

 

 

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The Faked Star Wars Footage Going Viral

 

 

Don’t Believe Everything You See

VIRAL VIDEO

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Be one with the Farce.

It is an obvious hoax.  And at the same time, it’s a pretty impressive one.

A YouTube video titled Leaked Star Wars Episode VII Filmset Footage! has been viewed more than 3.5 million times– despite the fact that only a very small child would believe it was real.

The description claims:

“Looks like the Story of Star Wars plays on Earth too in the next episode.

I took these pictures on my Flight back from the States to Germany at the Frankfurt Airport.  

Seems like the biggest German airport plays a key role as an imperial starport in the new episode — there have just been imperial forces at the scene.”

 

The impression is reinforced further by implanted signs and superimposed real objects, shaky camerawork, and some arbitrary zooming in and out by the “photographer”.

But that definitely didn’t happen as the minute-long video shows Germany’s Frankfurt airport taken over by the forces of the Imperial army.

Walking AT-AT tanks plod along the runways, TIE fighters hover and take off, and the film’s familiar Storm Troopers stand guard at the perimeter fences.

In the final and perhaps most ridiculous shot, we pan up to see an obscured Death Star hazily looming over the city.

Who made it and why? 

No one is really sure.  The YouTube user uploading it using the common German name of “Frank Wunderlich” has never posted before or since.  

Could he be a front for a piece of subtle viral marketing?  Unlikely, says Philip Dobree, CEO of Jellyfish Pictures, a visual effects company.

“It definitely wouldn’t have been leaked by the makers of the film.  It’s not good enough, and there’s no reason for Disney to put out something of that quality,” Dobree said.  

The film is also not due out in theaters until December 2015.

Dobree estimates the fake footage must have taken about two weeks to complete, or more if the maker animated the walking tanks by himself.

“I’m guessing this is a fan that has just been playing around.  It is someone who is into visual effects and who has gotten hold of various models of Star Wars vehicles,” Dobree said.  

“It’s just a fan mucking about.”

Regardless, it’s a nice piece of CGI work.  Fake, but fun.

~Via Google News, Youtube, and Frank Wunderlich– whoever he is.

 

 

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The Nonstop Flow-Motion of Barcelona

 

Unique Visuals and Photography

Make for a Stellar Film Trip

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Staying home in Humboldt this summer?

Take a short two-minute trip to Barcelona!

In few other cities is it possible to walk from spectacular location to spectacular location.  Barcelona is one beautiful, cosmopolitan place; a photographer’s dream.

Photographer Rob Whitworth had a fantastic time adventuring around Barcelona’s winding streets making his ‘flow-motion’ film, a very fast moving Vimeo Staff Pick that’s unlike anything we’ve seen.

You get the easy end of the traveling camera stick here.  Rob reminds us that while his film is short, it took a lot of manpower to get it done.

How much effort?  Try 363 total hours of work. 

Yowza.  Let’s review the numbers:

There were 75 hours of logistics and travel.  31 hours scouting and finding the locations. Another 78 hours shooting film and 179 more spent in post-production hours.  Altogether, Rob compiled 26,014 raw camera files for a whopping 817 gigabytes of data.

And it took more than a few cameras and gear. 

How much do you ask?  Well, for you camera buffs out there, let’s try:

A Nikon camera D800 DSLR, a Nikon D7100 DSLR, another Nikon D7100 DSLR, and lastly, his favorite  Nikon model, a D3200 DSLR.  We guess Rob is a Nikon kind of guy? 

To note, he also used a wide arrangement of at least six special zooms, fisheyes, wide lenses and filters ranging from 10.5mm to 200mm.

For those having been to Barcelona, you will recognize the familiar locales Rob shot of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya, Gran Teater del Liceu, Sagrada Familia, Museu D’Historia De Barcelona, Palau de la Música, and the Santa Maria del Pi, among others.

Nice job, Rob. 

We hope you were able to enjoy the rest of what Barcelona has to offer– all the fine wine, sunshine, fashion, art and architecture, pretty ladies dressed to the heels, and the other beautiful things Spain has in store for everyone;  that is, when you weren’t glued behind the lens bringing us these wonderful and spectacular images.

If you like Rob Whitworth’s work, you might also like the other fast-motion Vimeo Staff Pick film he did, This is Shanghai.

 

~Courtesy of Rob Whitworth and Vimeo

 

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Look Before You Leap

 

Haste Makes Waste

 

Short Award-Winning
**Humor Video**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Pay attention, Grasshopper.

What is it we we tell our kids?

Haste makes waste.  Look before you leap.  Stop and think.  Don’t judge a book by its cover.

We’re often led to believe that we’re better off gathering as much information as possible and making a quick decision rather than spending the same amount of time thinking and deliberating about it.

Learning, relationships, work, manners, love, and just about anything else you can think of, take time. 

Sweet, slow, precious time.  And nothing is more sloppy, vulgar, and even downright dangerous than haste.

The early bird gets the worm.  The early worm… gets eaten. 
Sometimes the bird freezes to death.

Or the excitable, short-sighted, and unobserving frog foolishly goes belly up…
and croaks.

 

 

 

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Mad Max’s Road Warriors—With a Twist

 

Leave it Up to Those Aussie Bashers

 

**VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

We like the Aussie style of doing things. 
They’re a tough bunch.  And it’s oh so…
…Humboldt.

The NSW Variety Bash is Australia’s biggest motoring event, raising
more than a million dollars in August each year for kids in need.

It’s 110 weird, wacky, old and tricked-out vehicles run through 2,750
miles of Outback Hell and back. 

The 380 colorful characters who participate provide a unique spectacle akin to a circus caravan for the 17 towns that they visit along the way of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

Given that the Bash criteria are that the vehicles must be pre-1974, the colorful convoy is truly something out of a Mad Max movie– but with a charitable cause in hand.

In the video above you’ll spot a spectacular array of vehicles spanning three decades from 1959 to 1974: cars, ambulances, buses and fire trucks.

The oldest car in the fleet is a 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon, while a 1964 ‘Chico Roll’ themed Wolseley 2480 MK2 proved to be the most enduring by having survived 25 previous rough and tumble Bash events.

Other classic cars hitting the road are two Rancheros, 32 Fords, 36 Holdens, some minis, a Volkswagen Beetle, Ramblers, two Chevy Bel Airs, an Austin, a ‘74 Ford F100 Ambulance, and 12 rugged, dirty and dust ridden rag-tag Mercedes.

They rock, roll, rattle and hum into the towns hosting them.  The Bashers deliver much needed resources like sporting equipment, play equipment or special needs/medical equipment along the way to the local schools they visit. 

Schools kids put on events.  Beer, games, Aussie camaraderie and celebration pour forth in great fanfare.  Hotels get into the act sponsoring their locales and favorite vehicles. 

In short, it’s one big party and a hella good time playing
Road Warrior along the dusty ruts of the Outback.  While
there are few real rules, blatant cheating and bribery are encouraged.  Please check your weapons at the door.

To take part in the Bash costs a tax deductible donation of $8,500 to Variety, the children’s charity.  Any amount raised above this may be used for the purpose of bribing and corrupting officials during the event.

Bashers travel in the guises of cowboys, hippies, mermaids, Indians, ladybugs, Smurfs, Shrek, the Flintstones, and Batman and Robin. 

The oldest basher is 80-year-young Beryl Driver; set to complete her 15th Bash dressed as a Mermaid and in her appropriately sea-themed 1963 EH Holden.  We said they were a tough bunch.

The Bash is not a race or a rally as much as it is a hellacious drive in the Outback with fellow like-minded fun raisers.  They drive the miles for the smiles; travelling to parts of Australia they wouldn’t normally see, ramshackling their vintage vehicles to all heck, driving like a bat outta hell, and at the same time raising money to support kids in need. 

Yeah, sounds like fun.  We like the Aussie style of getting things done. 

Since the first Bash began, the event has raised in excess of $115 million with who-knows-how-many miles piled on and cruisers wrecked. 

Someone should tell our local big money cannabis weed farmers of Southern Humboldt to put their jacked up 4X4s to a similarly good use and charitable cause.

~Via Vimeo, NSW Variety Bash,
and Australasian Paint and Panel

 

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In Cold Blood

 

A Random Stop Leads to a
Brutal and Violent Encounter

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Be forewarned.  The above video isn’t pleasant. 
You may not want to see it. 

It’s an accurate and true portrayal of tragic and violent events as they happened.  Shocked and dumbstruck by its harsh reality and brutal ferocity, it’s not only what you see but also what you hear.  It’s ugly.

We were taken aback.  It was that brutal and senseless.  And it escalated as quickly on film as it did in real life.

We don’t like intolerable abuses by law enforcement and we often report about them.  This, however, is the flip side of that story.  It’s the other side of the coin, a very dark and tragic one underscoring the life and death consequences that law enforcement may meet at any given time.  Especially when hesitating making split-second decisions.

On Monday, January 12, 1998, near the end of his shift, Laurens County Deputy Kyle Dinkheller made his last and final stop before going home, pulling a motorist over for speeding.

Dinkheller encountered the speeding Toyota pickup truck near Dudley, Georgia, which he clocked at nearly 100 miles per hour.  The deputy pulled the truck over on a rural dirt road adjacent to Interstate 16.

The traffic stop at first appeared to be a routine one.  Both the deputy and Brannan exited their vehicles and exchanged greetings.  Brannan, however, placed both hands
into his pockets.  Dinkheller instructed him to remove his hands and keep them in plain
view.

Brannan then became agitated and belligerent.  He yelled at the deputy to shoot him.  He then began to dance and wave his arms around in the middle of the road.

Dinkheller radioed dispatch for assistance and issued commands for Brannan to cease his behavior and approach the cruiser.  When Brannan saw that the deputy was calling for other units, he ran toward the deputy in an aggressive manner.

Dinkheller retreated while issuing commands, using his baton to keep Brannan at bay.  On Dinkheller’s dashcam video, Brannan was heard shouting that he was a “Vietnam combat veteran.”  Both Dinkheller and Brannan were heard saying, “I’m in fear for my life.”

Despite Dinkheller’s commands, Brannan walked back to his pickup truck and withdrew an M1 carbine from underneath the driver’s seat, taking cover near the driver side door.

Dinkheller positioned himself near the passenger door of his cruiser and gave Brannan commands for approximately forty seconds.  Brannan stepped away from his pickup truck and pointed his M1 carbine at Dinkheller.

Dinkheller fired a shot at Brannan.  After the first shot, Brannan returned fire and a barrage of gunfire was heard.  Dinkheller did not strike the suspect and was forced to reload.

At this point, Brannan ran from his pickup truck toward the deputy and began to fire, hitting Dinkheller in the exposed areas of the arms and legs.

Brannan then began to reload his weapon.  Dinkheller, injured, tried to position himself near the driver side door of his cruiser.  Another shot from Dinkheller was heard.  Brannan began advancing and firing at the deputy, hitting him numerous times.  Before being disabled from gunfire, Dinkheller was able to inflict a gunshot wound to the stomach of Brannan.

After being struck and clutching his stomach, Brannan then raised his M1 carbine and fired two more shots with one striking Dinkheller in the head, killing him.

Brannan retreated into his pickup and fled the scene.  He was discovered the next morning by police hiding in a sleeping bag beneath a camouflage tarp in Laurens County, Georgia, and arrested for the murder.

Brannan pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, but the jury found that the murder of Dinkheller was carried out in a torturous and cruel manner. 

Brannan was found guilty of the murder nearly two years later and is awaiting the death penalty.  
Currently 66-years-old, he is still incarcerated in Georgia, has not been executed, and is appealing
his conviction.

When asked why he killed the deputy, Brannan responded, “Because he let me.”

The original dashcam video of Dinkheller’s cold blooded murder is used throughout United States police academies as a training aid.  Some students have had to leave the room after viewing it.

Dinkheller was only 22-years-old at the time of his death.  Survived by his wife, daughter, and son, he was named Deputy Sheriff of the Year by the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association.

 

Appreciation goes out to Gun Safety Blog, Vimeo, and Castel.

* * * * * * * * *

This Independence Day, remember those that have gone before you; those who are not with us and unable to celebrate the life and liberties, protections and rights, that we have today.

 

 

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Posted in Crime, Media, National1 Comment

Slip ‘N Slide Cliff Side

 

 

One Slick Ride to the Bottom of the Chasm

 

**Viral VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Yeah, it looks fun alright. 

Sun, water, scantily clad bodies, and a whole lotta height.

Ooh La La.  Finally.   A slip and slide extreme sport for sober, trained, mature adults. 
Like that would ever happen in real life.

Director Devin Graham released an online video garnering 3.5 million views in the past two weeks that features young kids sliding off a 50-foot cliff and landing in water in Utah.  The only thing is, the kids here are supposedly trained professionals. 

We think.

The participants take good advantage of the high drop by performing some twists and flips on the way down, but running a makeshift water slide all day in a dry, isolated location has its challenges.

A behind-the-scenes video (seen below) shows how the crew perched themselves on the cliff to record the slides.  There were a few issues with lack of water so they used environmentally friendly dish soap to ensure they could make it down the slide.  Judging from the scum gathering at the center of the pool, we’re not sure how ‘environmentally friendly it was.

Though it appears fun, it’s not appropriate for everyone who lives near large cliffs.

The stunts performed in this video were done by trained professionals and under the supervision of professionals; we insist that you do not try this at home,” the director warns in the video’s description.

Good idea.  Our day isn’t complete unless we suffer a mild concussion and completely blow out the family jewels.  And lay off the sauce unless you really want to knock yourself silly.  Or having to upchuck and enjoy your lunch and those Long Island Teas twice.

Still, it does look hella fun, doesn’t it?

 

 

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Alone Again… Naturally

 

Keeping Body and Soul Together
Assuming Others’ Identities

 

Cannes Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Charles makes his very sad life happier.  By assuming the identities of others.

After his wife leaves him, Charles begins to assume the identities of strangers at a local coffee shop to avoid being alone.  All with the simple wave of the hand and a few well-placed half truths. 

It all works out for the best in the end.  Sort of.

A New Man, directed by Hughes William Thompson and supported by the Kevin Spacey Foundation, was based on the short story Healthy Start by Etgar Keret.  

A beautifully crafted and compelling short film, A New Man gained numerous accolades and the winner of the 2014 Cannes Lions Young Director Award in France.  It has aired at  number of festivals and was particularly well-received at the Academy-qualifying Palm Springs ShortFest in California and the NY Shorts Fest. 

Thompson himself is a young director, writer, and photographer living in New York with a flair for offbeat characters, surreal subjects, and a natural sense of wry humor in his films. 

We hope you like his unusual piece as much as we did.

 

 

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Ashley Fiolek’s Unusual Ride to the Top

 

 

A Very Challenging Champion

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

Don’t tell her she can’t do something.  She won’t take no
for an answer.  And she believes nothing is impossible.

Women’s motocross is a fast emerging sport.  Motocross has been a predominantly male pastime, particularly in the pro and international arenas. However, things are changing as the popular sport keeps on evolving.

Leading the charge is a young pioneering woman in the field: Ashley Fiolek, an AMA Motocross Champion and consistent top three finisher hailing from the sunshine state of Florida.

Ashley’s route into the sport wasn’t an orthodox one in the least.  Ashley herself has been profoundly deaf since birth.

Her family moved to Augustine, Florida, because it was home to the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind, the largest specialized school of its kind.  She studied ballet, ran track, and played baseball, which was about as wild and reckless as it got.  When she finished eighth grade, her parents decided to begin homeschooling her.

Some years before, as a child, Ashley’s parents noticed her passion for riding bikes.  She used to ride on the front of her mother’s 4-wheeler or her father’s bike, and they often went to her grandfather’s house in Northern Michigan where she rode through the woods for hours.  Around the age of three, her parents gave her a Yamaha PW50.  Despite not liking the training wheels, the youngster’s career path was irreversibly set from this point and no amount of ballet and athletics was going to change that.

She was originally misdiagnosed as “mildly retarded” by doctors and was shy and introverted as a young child, until her family encouraged her to join the amateur motocross circuit.

Ashley started racing in 1990 at the tender age of seven.  She soon shone as an emerging talent.

In 2008, Ashley won her first WMX Pro National Championship title, the youngest female ever to do so.  In 2009, she won her first X-Games gold medal, cementing her position as a top rider and taking herself and the sport to a bright new future at the same time.  In 2010, she won her second consecutive gold medal.

It didn’t come easy, though.  In 2009, she finished Pennsylvania’s Steel City Railway race in great pain due to a collarbone fracture due to a spill.  In 2011, at X-Games 17, Fiolek crashed during practice and knocked herself unconscious.  In 2012 she again crashed again, this time suffering a concussion and a fractured tailbone during the WMX Moto 2 race in Lakewood, Colorado.  Despite her injuries, however, Fiolek still continued to race; with determination, daring, an ongoing disability, and a whole lotta grit.

She became the first female rider featured in action on the cover of Transworld Motocross Magazine to advance women’s racing in the US.  In 2009, she made headlines again when she became the first female to be signed to the American Honda Racing factory team.

In 2010, Ashley met Noora Moghaddas, a top motocross competitor in the Middle East, and the two women became friends while riding.  They soon found out they shared similar goals for improving conditions for women and girls in their respective countries.

“Noora continues to help Iranian women learn how to ride, race and become stronger,” Fiolek said.  “I hope to be a part of that important mission with her so we can share our love of motocross with people in other countries.” 

“It is great to know our world is really not that big.  Even with different languages and cultures, we can all come together and share something we feel passionate about,” she said.

Today, the 23-year-old has to her credit  two X-Games gold medals, four AMA Women’s National Motocross Championship titles, garnered a shelf of racing trophies, has been featured in Vogue magazine, made a few appearances in film and on television, and published her first book, Kicking up Dirt.

We’re proud of Ashley and what she has accomplished, and we’re especially proud of her parents. 

Despite her obstacles and challenges, Ashley Fiolek just won’t say no.  She is determined to succeed, hitting life at full throttle and riding to the top of her game.

 

~Via Red Bull, AshleyFiolek.com, Vimeo,
Dirt Rider, Honda, and Chris Bloxom

 

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The Man Who Turned Paper Into Pixels

 

Claude Shannon:  Founding Father
of the Digital Age

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

He’s the man you never heard of, but should have. 

He was more important to our digital age than the familiar names of  Bill Gates or Steve Jobs. 

He was responsible for what we know today as the digital revolution.  If you’re reading this, you have him to thank.  He’s the guy who started it all.

Claude Elwood Shannon saw the change that no one saw coming:  the idea that we could take a book, a painting or a song, and send it through cables and wires or even thin air to the other end of the world– and it would be identical on the other side.  And that was back in 1948.

How did we make such a mind bending transition into the digital world?  And how does it work?  It turns out it was all based on Shannon’s concept that is surprisingly beautiful in its simplicity.  

The short video above tells us what that idea is in a nutshell,
and about the man who figured it all out.

Considered the founding father of electronic communications age, Claude Shannon was a mathematical engineer whose work on technical and engineering problems in the communications industry laid the groundwork for both the computer industry and telecommunications.

After he noticed the similarity between Boolean algebra and the telephone switching circuits, Shannon applied the principles to electrical systems at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1940.

While working at Bell Laboratories in 1942, he formulated a theory explaining the communication of information and worked on the problem of efficiently transmitting information. Shannon’s profound mathematical theory of communication— binary code– was the climax of his mathematical and engineering investigations.

The concept of entropy– a degree of uncertainty– was an important feature of Shannon’s theory, which he demonstrated to be equivalent to a shortage of the information contained in a message.

The entire science of information theory grew out of one electrifying paper that Shannon published in 1948, when he was a 32-years-old.

Shannon showed how the once-vague notion of information could be defined and quantified with absolute precision.  He demonstrated the essential unity of all information media, pointing out that text, telephone signals,
radio waves, pictures, film and every other mode of communication could be encoded in the universal language of binary digits, or bits– a term that his groundbreaking article was the first to use in print. 

In short, Shannon saw the move from analog information to
a digital one, and with great vision and clarity.

Shannon laid forth the idea that once information became digital, it could be transmitted without error. This was a breathtaking conceptual leap that led directly to such familiar and robust objects as computers, modems, CDs, MP3s, and even HDTV.  Without Shannon, computers and computer science could have been very different.

Shannon made many more discoveries and received a slew of prestigious awards, citations, honorary degrees and plaques, including the Nobel Prize, that filled an entire room of his house. 

He didn’t care to publish much, had a great sense of humor, and invented a mathematical model for juggling, a juggling unicycle, a device for solving Rubik’s Cubes, a chess playing machine that spit out wry comments along with its moves, a 600 foot stair lift to take his kids down to the lake, and a mechanical mouse capable of using stored information and artificial intelligence for navigating mazes and considered to be the first artificial learning device ever
created.  And that’s the short list.

Almost as important, as an MIT professor, Shannon taught scores of the nation’s brightest students his theories and applications of communication, electric relays, circuits and switches, and applied engineering and electrical mathematics.  His students revered him, and in turn, futhered his ideas by creating and  developing scores of the digital inventions and devices we use and enjoy today.

By1985, however, he and his wife began to notice certain lapses and eccentricities in his behavior.

He would go for a drive and forget how to get home.  In 1992, when the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers was preparing to publish his collected papers, Shannon was disturbed to realize that he couldn’t remember writing many of them.  

By mid-1993, with his condition becoming apparent to everyone, the family confirmed what many had begun to suspect.  The once-brilliant genius, inventor, and renowned professor Claude Shannon had Alzheimer’s disease.  Later that year, his family reluctantly placed him in a nursing home.

Claude Shannon, the founding father of the information age and the digital revolution, died in 2001.

 

A fascinating man, his bio can be found at the New York University site here.

Curious?  You can read more about him here or in the Wikipedia entry here.

Even more interested?  Spend a few minutes on this lively piece in Technology Review.

Super interested?  Find out more in this very personal account.

 * * * * * * * * *

 

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Follow Your Fears

 

And Hold Onto Your Dreams

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Instead of trying to eliminate problems or avoid fears, run towards them.  They’re your first stepping stones
to greatness.

Consider Brad O’Neal.

O’Neal always had the dream since the age of 12 to be the first person to jump from level ground and off a ramp with his dirt bike– and then base jump on the way down as his bike crashed to the terra firma below.

That’s scary stuff for a 12-year-old.  But for O’Neal, it’s all about holding onto your childhood dreams when you encounter what seem to be impossible obstacles.

Now 26, he made the attempt becoming the first person to jump a motorcycle high enough to parachute from.  He built the ramp and completed the jump you see here– and successfully walked away from it safe and sound. 

He also set a world record by doing so, jumping 150 feet into the air before tossing out his chute.

Creating the dream was a beautiful struggle filled with much planning and many unexpected hurdles.  For O’Neal, he poured his heart out without hesitation and put everything on the line to make it happen.  

Witnessing his jump and describing the process reminds us that obstacles
don’t exist to stop you;  they only test how badly you want it.

Have fun …or die.

 

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Meet the Hoverboard in Real Life

 

Skating Above Air & Water

 

**VIRAL VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

It’s as awesome as it sounds.

If you have ever seen the second or third movies in the classic Back to the Future movie trilogy, then you know how cool the idea of a Hoverboard is.  

If you haven’t, the idea is simple.  It’s like a skateboard without wheels, allowing the rider to almost magically hover above the surface.

Devin Graham, a popular YouTube personality known for his extreme sports videos, got his hands on the slick water-based hoverboard in Cancun, Mexico.  Created by Zapata Racing, the hoverboard uses a 59-foot hose attached to a watercraft and can surprisingly jam up to heart-pounding speeds of 23 mph.

There have been various attempts over the years to create a Hoverboard, but nothing happened that was of any real use until now.  While it isn’t quite the same as in the movies, the water Hoverboard shown in this video grabbing a whopping 2.5 million views over the past two weeks is about as good as it comes for the time being.

We’re still waiting for a real-life air Hoverboard to hit the streets near us sometime soon.

Below is the behind-the-scenes look of how Devin made this video:

 

 

Devin would want us to include this for your extreme sport curiousity: 

Sponsoring the filming and production, Rocky Mountain Flyboard is the largest Flyboard operation in the US, selling Hoverboards, Flyboards, parts & accessories.  They have a Business Quick Start package for people who want to open a business and get up and running fast.

If you’re down in Mexico, check out AquAXtreme for Flyboard rentals in Cancun.  You can try one out and they’re the ones who hooked up Devin’s team with the equipment and logistics for the making of the viral video here.

Happy Hovering.

* * * * * * * * *

 

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Friday Night Funnies

 

Have a Laugh on Us

 

Two-Chuckle Hee-Haw
Award-Winning **VIDEOS**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Thank goodness it’s Friday. 

Take a break, have a libation, relax and enjoy some slightly twisted humor right up our alley.  Or guttery curb.

In Shaun Higton‘s short film, What’s on Your Mind?, Scott Thomson uses Facebook status updates to embellish his life– offering some not-so-nice karmic outcomes.  It’s a pitch-black parable about life sinking into a tailspin and wanting the world to think otherwise.

If other people like our lives, does it matter that we don’t?   Our hero doesn’t seem to think so, and continues to use Facebook to delude his friends and ultimately himself.

As many of us can attest, validation on social media can be incredibly addictive.  Likes, Comments, Retweets, and Follows have become a kind of drug for the Millennial Age, so consider this a cautionary tale for the digital times.

Gunfighter, the surreal short film below seen best on your large screen setting for its superb production value, shows how life in a western setting can change dramatically– thanks to the malicious influence of one smart-ass narrator.  The voice reveals all the thoughts from the villagers, dragging them from happy times at the saloon watering hole into a true ballet of death.

Eric Kissack’s Django Unchained-like film features the voice of Nick Offerman.  And if you never thought of this before, it truly highlights why a world without secrets would end up very, very badly for everyone. 

Except, of course, for “Sally, the itchy…”  Well, let’s just use the word hoochie coochie tainted fallen angel here.  Life is like that.

Enjoy.

 

The Gunfighter from Eric Kissack on Vimeo.

 

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Building Choppers: Born Free and Born Again

 

Tom Fugle’s Story

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

 

People build all kinds of things for as many reasons. 
But what’s the obsession about motorcycles?

If you ever had one, you would know.  The graceful beauty of the bike.  The roar of the engine, the ride of the road, the wind and world and a breath of timelessness whipping into your face and soul.  The independent freedom and motion and glide, the power and carefree excitement.  The mundane reality of an otherwise humdrum life turned upside down, making the spirit come alive feeling real and present. 

Although Tom Fugle isn’t a household name regarding choppers, his bikes and general way of life have been going on for well over four decades.  A living legend starting with his first builds in the early ’60s, it’s evident Tom was one of the first
and true pioneers of custom Harley motorcycles.

Working to complete his customized chopper for the Born Free motorcycle show, the 72-year-old long-time bike builder truly loves what he does, telling about his lifelong passion for choppers in the above video by Scott Pommier. 

After years of toiling in relative obscurity and near poverty, Tom’s work is finally getting some of the recognition it deserves, and after lovingly building customized bikes for a long, long time.

Tom is all about the love of old motorcycles, and like-minded individuals having a good time tinkering away in their own machine shops rebuilding the old bikes of the past– with the meditative art of creating new ones from the inspirations springing forth.

 

…For CJ Bowling and fellow bikers, with love and appreciation.
    Via Vimeo, Street Chopper, and Inner View

 

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Living on the Edge

 

Simply Do the Best You Can Do

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Thomas Bennett is a deeply personal documentary with a universal message about how we approach life.

Director Nathan Honnold’s captivating short film is a touching portrait of a man we’re probably more apt to ignoring.  Providing an insight into the Thomas’ life and mind, we take a journey through his upbringing, his collections, his home and his health.

Honnold described the film in his own words:

“Diversity is very important to me as a filmmaker, as long as the same thread weaves the stories together.

I have a fascination with “underdog” characters, certain characters who aren’t expected to succeed and live on the fringes of society.  When approaching a new filmmaking endeavor, the first thing is the struggling empathetic character, and then the world built around it.

I came to know Thomas through his voice.

One day while walking through the park with my camera, I heard a voice singing hymns through the trees.  As I followed the voice I found myself face to face with Thomas Bennett.  Immediately I knew I had found my character.

After he was done singing he informed me that he had already won an Emmy and an Oscar.  He told me being in a movie was one of his favorite things in the world and at that moment I knew we met for a reason.

Working on the film with Thomas was a great way to build our friendship.  We shot for about a year.

Every week during production I would bring my camera and let Thomas decide where he wanted to go.  Since Thomas doesn’t have a car, I would pick him up and we were able to visit faraway places that he had not been to in years.  The film became a documentation of our weekly hangouts.

There were certainly moments during production when I had conflicts between being a friend and being a filmmaker.  Those moments mainly happened when Thomas was having health issues.  Being a friend and a filmmaker in moments like those caused questions of exploitation and ethics, but I had to push through and still capture the moment.

The last time I saw Thomas Bennett was 2 days ago.

We still see each other often, and try to hang out each week. Currently his pin, and trophy collection is larger than ever, and he has a new award from the film winning the Atlanta Film Festival.

We still hang out at McDonalds and he orders the Big Mac, his favorite food, while proudly wearing tiaras and medals.

I hope after watching Thomas Bennett people see persons around them in a different way. Instead of overlooking someone, think about their story.

The last words Thomas speaks in the film are what I want people to walk away with:  “I just do the best I can.”

This is ultimately the best we can do.  And if Thomas is making
it work, anyone can.”

~Via Vimeo, Nathan Honnold, Thomas Bennett, Director’s Notes

 

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The Vanishing Island

 

Bayou Life and Memories
Slowly Sinking Into the Abyss

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

They’re sinking– their way of bayou life literally
collapsing under the water.

Vanishing Island is a short documentary profiling the residents of the Isle de Jean Charles, as they confront a future threatened by sinking shorelines and rising seas.

Known locally in Louisiana French as Isle à Jean Charles, the place is a narrow ridge of land between Bayou Terrebonne and Bayou Pointe-au-Chien in Terrebonne Parish, Louisiana.

It was once home to many members of the Biloxi-Chitimacha tribe and the community of Houma people. Currently, however, the island’s population has dwindled— shrinking from about 250 families to about 25 households due to the constant flooding, hurricanes, and rising sea levels taking its wearisome toll on the
land and people.

The isle has been affected by the induced and natural subsiding of the land in South Louisiana.  Some blame natural conditions, others the oil pipeline. 

Whatever the case, they all agree Isle de Jean Charles is gradually disappearing into the mud-choked channels of Terrebonne Bay.  

The island unfortunately lies past the 72-mile authorized levee alignment
holding back the rest of the rising water.  No hope lingers in sight for those
families who choose to remain– or those having nowhere to go. 

They and their land will soon be lost forever; vanished and vanquished.

The trees that used to be abundant in the area are long since gone, succumbing to the rising waters drowning their roots and a distant memory for the children who used to play in them years ago.

Film director Benh Zeitlin has said in interviews that Isle de Jean Charles was the geographical inspiration for the strikingly stark setting of his Oscar-nominated move ”The Bathtub”, the fictional mysterious bayou island depicted in Beasts of the Southern Wild.

 

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Who Are You?

 

Portraits of Gods and Beasts

 

Award-Winning **VIDEO**

 

Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel

 

Remi Chapeaublanc is quite the rugged individualist.

He’s the French photographer who set out solo to traverse Mongolia astride a motorcycle for 17,000 miles, carting camera equipment along with his food, tent, and toothbrush to go find himself amid the primitive wilderness.

The renowned photographer stumbled upon a wild and sparsely inhabited place where men and animals are mutually dependent on each other for survival.  He returned back to his native Paris four months later, capturing many unique and wonderful images.

Chapeaublanc is known for distilling an enigmatic environment down to the basic two fundamentals:  its people and its animals.  His raw portraits, made outside the studio, leave the viewer to judge the man, the animal, and the divine.

By exploring their rugged visual relationship, Chapeaublanc marries portraiture with documentary to create striking images that are so beautiful, so sparse, so real, you’ll swear you can still hear the wind whistling through the barren Mongol wilderness.

 

Gods & Beasts — English teaser from Remi Chapeaublanc // LeCrapo on Vimeo.

 

We suggest seeing these two videos on your large-screen settings.

 

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