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Rolling Stones: ¡Hola Cuba!

How much do the Rolling Stones appreciate Cuba? Here's their message in Spanish.

At their historic free concert in Havana tonight, they opened with Jumpin Jack Flash. Cuban officials expected 500k to attend. The stage the Stones shipped to Havana for the concert was the length of a city block. Then there's the gear (which included 10 huge video screens by the stage):

Organizers told Billboard that the high-tech production meant importing gear in 61 sea containers and a packed Boeing 747.

The Cuban contribution to the technical side of the concert was decidedly lower-key. As nearly everywhere else in Cuba, there was no wifi signal at the sports complex, and as the crowds grew even cellphones stopped working.

No wonder there's been few live updates on Twitter -- few Cubans can access it, given their limited internet access.

The Pope, meanwhile, wanted the Stones concert halted because it was Good Friday. I'm glad he didn't prevail. (The article has the video of their plane landing and them disembarking. Pretty cool.) [More...]

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Nancy Reagan Dies at Age 94

Former First Lady Nancy Reagan has died at age 94 of congestive heart failure.

No personal attacks on her in comments please. We don't speak ill of the dead here on the occasion of their death.

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Rupert Murdoch and Jerry Hall Wedding

What an odd coupling: 84 year old Rupert Murdoch and 59 year old Jerry Hall (former Texas model and mother of 4 children with Mick Jagger) have gotten married. All ten of their children from prior relationships participated.

Murdoch, the Chairman of News Corp, the parent of Fox News, is reportedly worth more than 12 billion. Her net worth is reportedly 15 million.

Hall and Jagger were married in a ceremony in Bali in 1990 but it was later ruled invalid. (They split in 1999.)

The Rolling Stones are performing in Peru this weekend.

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2016 Oscars Open Thread

Final Update: Here is a transcript of Chris Rock's opening monologue.

The Oscars are about to begin. Who looked great on the Red Carpet? Lady Gaga and Charlize Theron are getting lots of press. I agree, they both looked terrific.

Will Leonard DiCaprio take home Best Actor?

I haven't seen most of the films, but that won't stop me from commenting on the show.

This is a thread for all things Oscar and movie related. Updates below: [More...]

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Oscar Nominees in List Format

It's not easy to find a list of the Oscar nominees in text format -- who wants to watch a video to see the list of nominees, or view a list in photospread format? Not me. I want text. I know how to read. Whoever designed this year's Oscars site should be fired. It's horrible. Here's a list of the nominees in the major categories.

Best Picture
  • The Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight
Best Actor
  • Bryan Cranston, Trumbo
  • Matt Damon, The Martian
  • Leonardo DiCaprio, The Revenant
  • Michael Fassbender, Steve Jobs
  • Eddie Redmayne, The Danish Girl


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Film from South Africa About Toll of Executions: Shepherds and Butchers

Shepherds and Butchers premiered this month at the Berlin Film Festival. It's about the death penalty in South Africa, and the country's notorious Pretoria Prison, which houses its Death Row. The film is adapted from the book by a former South African defense lawyer, Chris Marnewick, who moved to New Zealand. Marnewick says the film's message isn't the same as the one he wanted to portray. He may not want to see it. The book earned several awards. You can get it here or read the first chapter here. [More...]

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Grammy's 2016

The Grammy's started at 6 pm here -- way too early, I missed the first 45 minutes. I tuned in during a Lionel Ritchie segment.

At least I didn't miss the Glenn Frey tribute.

Why did "Girl Crush" get a standing ovation?

This is a thread for all things Grammy's and music related. Updates below [More...]

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Halftime Superbowl Show

I caught the last two songs of the Superbowl halftime show. The last song was my favorite, with Coldplay flashing photos of Mick Jagger, Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen, Whitney Houston and others, and later being joined by Beyonce, Bruno Mars and hundreds of others, I presume were non-famous typical folks.

Haven't Beyonce and Bruno Mars already performed at the Superbowl? Why the encore? Did ColdPlay show the Who, Tom Petty, Madonna or Katie Perry? I may have missed it, the images went by fast and I was typing. Did Bon Jovi ever perform at halftime?

This is not an open thread, please keep your comments related to Superbowl -- either the game (which I'm not watching) or Superbowl Media (music, commercials, past and present, commentary, production value, etc.)

How was Lady Gaga's national anthem?

I think Denver is ahead 13 to 7, but I can't tell what the numbers flashing on the screen mean -- hopefully it's not some other statistic. There's not that much street noise coming through my windows. I do want Denver to win, just not enough to watch the game. Time for dinner -- an authentic Italian meatball sandwich on some great, crusty bread with plenty of sauce.

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Tina Fey Back as Palin on SNL

The cold open from last night's Saturday Night Live. Tina Fey, as usual, nails Sarah Palin. She mostly uses Palin's own words.


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Tributes and Open Thread

Other than work, the only thing I've thought about today is Glenn Frey's untimely passing. Keith Urban posted this really heartfelt tribute on his Facebook page. Love the piano. It's already been viewed 12 million times. And Bruce Springsteen played a live tribute to him in Chicago. The audience sings along, and check out all the lights in the audience starting around the 3'15" mark.

The comment I see repeated the most, at so many sites, "The Eagles wrote the soundtrack to my life." They certainly wrote mine in the 70's.

RIP, Glenn Frey. I think this is the only time in the 13 year history of TalkLeft I've written two RIP posts for one person. I won't be surprised if I write a third tomorrow, I'm just so, so shocked by his death and feel terrible he suffered so much pain for so many years.[More...]

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R.I.P. Glenn Frey

R.I.P. Glenn Frey. I read this hours ago and I am still shocked and so very sad. He was 67. I'm also upset to think that despite his access to the best medical care, medicine couldn't save him. He suffered for for a long time.

He and the Eagles were such a huge part of my early adult life -- as they were to millions of other Americans coming of age in the 70's. I've been writing this all night and keep adding more. At some point I need to stop and publish, and this is probably as good a place as any. Here is the announcement on the Eagles' website: [More...]

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Sean Penn on "60 Minutes"

Sean Penn's interview with Charlie Rose airs on "60 Minutes" tonight. Here's a recap from Variety.

Penn believes he failed to accomplish his goals, which was to talk about the U.S. government’s was on drugs. “We all want this drug problem to stop. And if you are in the moral right, or on the far left, just as many of your children are doing these drugs, just as many of your brothers and sisters, your mothers and fathers, the teachers at school, are doing these drugs. Just as many,:” he said. “And how much time have they spent in the last week since this article come (SIC) out, talking about that? 1– 1%? I think that’d be generous.”

Even so, Penn said he has no regrets about his actions, and was simply trying to offer readers a look at a hard-to-reach figure in order to illuminate discussion around a heated issue. “I’m really sad about the state of journalism in our country,” he told Rose. “It has been an incredible hypocrisy and an incredible– lesson in just how much they don’t know and how disserved we are.”


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Unimas Begins Airing "Ruta 35"

Ruta 35: The Escape Valve is finally airing on Unimas (with English captioning.) It's about the snitches recruited by the DEA and ICE to rat out the drug cartels in exchange for leniency for their own misdeeds, and is based on the career of long time ICE agent Dylan Wilkins .

This dramatic series is the story of Dylan Wilkins and the criminals he recruits to assist him in his relentless pursuit of drug lords and other wanted felons. These criminals become informants for ICE and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in exchange for reducing their charges and avoiding prosecutions.

However, Wilkins’ informants are not your typical criminals- he introduces an array of men and women who, all driven by different motives such as fear and revenge, risk their lives everyday on a dark and risky mission. Among his informants are a 75-year-old grandmother who transports drugs, an IT engineer who has close ties and unparalleled access to a Mexican cartel, a “professional” informant who has been living a perilous double life for years, and the cousin of a ruthless mafia king, thirsty for the reward over her cousin's head.


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Top Media Internet Peeves of the Year

Worst Media Internet Practices of 2015 (Worthy of a Boycott of Sites That Use Them)

1. Auto-playing videos on news sites that slow or hang my computer. I continue to refuse to link to any site that has auto-play video and I close the window as soon as I see it. Worst offenders: CNN, ABC and local news, but almost everyone is doing it now. Fewest might be Reuters and NY Times, but even they do it sometimes.

2. News articles republishing unconfirmed facts without doing any independent investigation to verify. There's no excuse for lazy. San Bernadino is this year's best example.


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Weekend TV Binge-Watching

I've only binge-watched one series so far this weekend -- Netflix' Frankie and Grace with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda. They play two 70 year olds who are married to law partners. In the first episode, the law partners announce they are leaving their wives to marry each other, and reveal they've been secretly having an affair for 20 years. There are 13 episodes. It has many recognizable stars. Parts of it are very funny. Lily Tomlin has been nominated for a Golden Globes award for her performance and it's been renewed for a second season. Jane Fonda looks terrific.

The beach house where most of it was filmed is very nice (although not as nice as Diane Keaton's beach house in the Hamptons in "Something's Got to Give."

I'm not finding much else to watch despite all the offerings. What are you binge-watching on this weekend? Are you using Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, or your cable service?

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