Brian Henson interview

Will Harris interviews Brian Henson for Bullz-Eye. Here’s an excerpt.

On the idea of “Farscape” having living starships: “That allowed us to go, ‘You know, this is pretty good, because we don’t need populations that know how to work their laser guns and know how to fly through space. We can populate this with characters that are not that intelligent.’ That allowed us to start to develop this very wild tone, where the characters are emotional and unpredictable and sometimes quite stupid, and they do things you don’t expect. It allows the stories to get a lot richer, and it allows the show to get much more passionate and primal and unpredictable than ‘Star Trek.'”


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Red Carpet Hotties – Penelope Cruz

Photo from fOTOGLIF

Penelope Cruz arrives on the red carpet for the premiere of “Nine” at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York City.

We’re pretty confident that “Nine” isn’t at the top of your list for holiday movies. But, if you’re heading out with your gal pal, the chances are good she’ll be dragging you to this one. Now, if you hate musicals, then avoid this one at all costs. On the other hand, the photo above and the trailer below gives you an idea of why this flick might not be so bad. The cast is loaded with beautiful actresses, from Penelope to Fergie to Kate Hudson to Nicole Kidman. The film is also set in the 60’s and shot in Rome, so the visual experience will probably be quite enjoyable. So keep that in mind when your date suggests “Nine,” though you should definitely check back for the Bullz-Eye review before committing to it.


Woodstock for Christmas?

Maybe not. “Taking Woodstock” had potential, but movie reviewer David Medsker wasn’t overwhelmed.

If this hadn’t been a true story, and not just any true story but one centered around the mother of all Boomer events, there is a good chance this movie doesn’t get made. Take Woodstock out of the equation, and you’re left with a premise that is all too familiar, the ordinary person who does something extraordinary. To make matters worse Elliot, despite a steady-Eddie performance by stand-up comedian Demetri Martin, is one of the least interesting characters in the movie. When the entire third act focuses on Elliot’s spiritual awakening (it also hints at his sexual awakening), the movie screeches to a halt.

The DVD might be a good gift for a baby boomer or a die-hard Woodstock fan, but you might want to check our DVD recommendations in our Holiday Gift Guide before settling on this one.


Strength and power have a positive influence on muscle endurance

Mike Furci explains this fitness tidbit in his latest “Did you know . . ” column.

Fernando J. Naclerio and fellow researchers performed a study using 14 firefighters to determine the importance of strength and power on a muscular endurance test. The physical test the firefighters were to perform for a job entry requirement was a maximum repetition test on the flat barbell bench press with 40 kg in 40 seconds.

The subjects performed a progressive test of eight sets of two to three repetitions during the first part of the study. The first and second sets were performed using a low load of 25 percent to 45 percent. The first set was always performed with a lower load than the second, which was performed using 40 kg. As subsequent sets were performed, the load was increased. The third and fourth sets were performed with a moderate load of 50 percent to 65 percent of their one-rep maximum (1 RM); the firth and sixth sets were performed with 70 percent to 80 percent of 1 RM; the seventh and eighth sets were performed with 85 percent to 100 percent of 1 RM.

To prevent fatigue from being a factor, the second part of the study (which was the max rep test) was performed 72 hours after the first part. Researchers found the 1 RM to have the greatest degree of influence in the firefighter’s performance on the 40 kg max rep bench press test. Interestingly, the degree of power produced in the progressive test using 40 kg had no correlation with the subject’s ability in the max rep test.(J Strength Cond Res.2009;23(5):1482-1488)

We’ll be writing more about this, but don’t wait until the holidays are over to start working out. Imagine how much better you’ll feel over the holidays if you’ve already started (or improved) your fitness and health program. Sure, you’ll be drinking and eating more than usual if you’re like most people, but at least you won’t regress too far.


Escaping the “Anywhere, USA” phenomenon

In his latest cigar review for Partagas – Spanish Rosado, Bob Hritsko addressed an interesting topic in the introduction.

Whether you travel a little or a lot, you can’t help but notice the “Anywhere, USA” phenomenon. This is the term that I have for the incorporating and franchising of Americas cities, where no matter what city you are in, it is getting more difficult to find something original, especially restaurants, bars or even retail stores. Whether I am in Dallas, Charlotte, Las Vegas or anywhere, there they are — McDonalds, Starbucks, Applebee’s, Chili’s, etc. They can usually be found near the suburban malls with all the stores you know, right across the street from the Holiday Inn, Marriott Courtyard, etc.

Many of you know that I will often seek out cigar-friendly bars and establishments in the cities I visit. The draw of doing so is simply to escape the boring, repetitive convenience of traveling to Anywhere, USA, at least once in awhile. I have found the cigar-friendly establishments to be often unique venues in themselves; all the big chains have to be politically correct and ban any type of smoking, so they don’t upset their mainstream client base. The other advantage of a cigar-friendly joint is that it tends to be a little more social in nature, as a smoke is a commitment of a chunk of your time. If you are in a hurry and want to be left alone, a cigar lounge is not the place for you. Chatting with the folks in these establishments will usually provide you with the local information about other original places to experience in town.

I recently had the pleasure of doing so recently in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., visiting one of the original cigar bars in Florida, Macabi Cigar Bar on Las Olas Blvd. Once inside this dimly lit, quaint bar, I knew I stepped off the beaten path. The founder/owner, “Pat” Patel, was on hand to greet me. The plentiful selection of cigars was presented openly along the walls of the bar, a concern at first, as I wondered if the cigars could be properly cared for and maintained in this atmosphere. I was assured that the humidity and temperature were monitored. I selected a Partagas cigar and settled in for an excellent selection of beers on tap.

We’ve lost quite a bit over the years as our country has become dominated by suburbs and strip malls. Like Bob, many of us appreciate it when you can find a unique spot. That’s why cities like New York and New Orleans still have so much charm – you don’t have to look hard at all.


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