The moon passed in front of the sun today creating a partial solar eclipse. It wasn’t a particularly spectacular eclipse with only 8.7% of the sun obscured by the moon.
In fact, the eclipse is a little hard to see on this picture. Look for the semicircular indentation on the right side of the sun.
On August 21st, 2017, we’ll likely see a more spectacular eclipse (if it isn’t cloudy). A TOTAL eclipse is predicted that day for most of North America.
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer for The Boxtrolls.
The Boxtrolls is a stop-motion animation family adventure from the creators of “Coraline” and “ParaNorman”. Both of which I thoroughly enjoyed…. Can this one stack up?
The Boxtrolls themselves are a quirky, weird group of creatures living in a world of their own creation located under the streets of a Charles Dickens-esque town called Cheesebridge. The leaders are driven by their love of cheese! And who doesn’t love cheese!?
The Boxtrolls are a mischievous lot who clearly do have a heart — raising an orphaned boy they named Eggs (voiced by Isaac Hempstead-Wright). In fact, all of them are named for the image or word on the garbage box they wear for clothing. So Eggs — is wearing… an old egg box!
Of course all family movies like this have to have a bad guy — and the villain here is none other than Archibakld Snatcher — voiced by the Academy Award-winning actor Ben Kingsley. His end game is to be one of the leaders of Cheesebridge and to do that, he must rid the town of the theiving Boxtrolls.
Enter Winnie (Voiced by Elle Fanning). She’s the priviledged daughter of one of the white-hatted leaders of Cheesebridge. After she discovers that Eggs is living among the Boxtrolls and Mr. Snatcher’s plan, Winnie hatches a plan of her own that’s sure to save everyone (and the cheese).
It begins with a grand ball that unravels into an action/adventure of the grandest scale. It’s a fantastic watching the dancing at the ball and the crazy chase antics — realizing this is all STOP-MOTION ANIMATION!!! This is movements done by hand in fractions of milimeters, strung together to create these scenes. The attention to detail is just so far above par it’s crazy.
Kingsley is superb. His dastardly voicing of Mr. Snatcher brings the character to life in a big way! But the star of the movie is the animation coupled with the art direction. Directed by Graham Annable and Anthony Stacchi, The Boxtrolls delight and scare, tickle your funny bone and warm your heart. The importance of family is front and center but underhandedly presented — which is perfectly on point. The Boxtrolls is EGGS-alent family fun.
FOUR OUR OF FIVE COOKIES!
Rated PG for action, some peril and mild rude humor.
Another great year of food, fun, and an auction to benefit the March of Dimes. The Signature Chefs event was held Sunday, October 12 at the Founders Inn and Spa in Virginia Beach.
Local chefs whipped up a variety of dishes and donated culinary and travel packages to the live auction.
Chris Reckling, co-host of the Hampton Roads Show was the emcee. I’ve emceed this event for the past several years, but attended as a guest with my dad and sister. The March of Dimes did ask me to fulfill a favor and participate by introducing a special honoree.
I was honored to tell the guests about Brian Winfield. With the blessing of his lovely wife of 41 years, Carol, he has worked hard to volunteer and raise money for the organization.
Over the past three decades, Brian convinced people to participate in walks in Virginia Beach and Norfolk, volunteer and help raise funds for the organization so the research can continue to help premature babies and their mothers.
He told the guests his healthy children and grandchildren inspired him to do his part to make sure other children stood a chance. Mr. Winfield’s family was there to cheer him on for this honor.
Susan Smith from the March of Dimes told me they raised $100,000! Special recognition to Chef John Maclure from Tradewinds Restaurant in Virginia Beach for “Most Outstanding Presentation” and Chef Melinda Wilkins from Culinary Institute of Virginia won “Best Dessert”.
The food was great, the music was good and there was such a wonderful spirit in the air. It’s an event I always look forward to!
If you want to help the March of Dimes, check out their webpage for volunteer opportunities and to donate money.
(Special thanks to Wayne Pellenberg, Neptune Video Creations LLC for the professional pictures from the night of the event.)
The weeks continue to fly by and I continue to learn more. I’ve gotten another shot at being on set and I corrected some things but I’m glad I keep seeing the small things. That attention to detail is definitely something I’ve grown fond of. I make mistakes, which are so infuriating but when everyone’s so supportive it makes it easier to keep pushing forward and learning!
The camera is definitely becoming a friend of mine. I used to think it was super heavy but now it’s like carrying a suitcase, just a little more pricier . That’s kind of how the whole internship goes; you’re overwhelmed and nervous at first, but after awhile and some reps, you start to feel a lot more confident in the things you’re doing week in and week out.
I do think being 100% comfortable in front of the camera is a ways away, but I think the progress being made is good. Nate and Brian always tell me reps are going to make you more comfortable when the cameras on you.
The newsroom is full of energy! Everyone works long hours yet they still find ways to bond and have fun with each other (even if you get hit in the head with some over-sized hackey sack).
Once again, it’s a new week, with new goals. Can’t wait to cross them off the list.
What would you do? I was driving through a neighborhood and saw a man, lying on the street. In those few seconds- as best I could determine from a moving vehicle- he didn’t move. First thought- “keep on going. He’s sleeping ‘it’ off.” Second thought: “Uh oh. What if he just collapsed from some other health problem and was dying; or maybe he was a victim of a hit-and-run, or, he just got ‘jacked’?” I ran through a bunch of other “What If’s” by the time I’d gotten two blocks away. My answer to one of those questions was – DO SOMETHING.
This happened Saturday evening along busy Warwick Boulevard in the “trendy” Hilton area of Newport News. Who knows how long he’d been there? I’m guessing – dozens of other drivers passed him by, too, as I had to wait a traffic light cycle or two to make my U. As I doubled back, I realized I was just a couple of blocks away from the GOODWILL and CHKD second hand stores. U-turn complete and… he was still there. Still not moving. I pulled over, parked and headed for him.
If he’s unresponsive, or obviously hurt, of course I’m going to dial 9-1-1. But what if he’s just “sleeping it off” or mentally ill, and he’s “clingy” or violent, what do I do then? (Don’t know KARATE- I watched for 3 years as my son trained for his black belt. It’s been ’bout 50 years since my last STREET FIGHT. Hey, I can still run!) Those thoughts- and the standard one from my wife: “CALL 9-1-1.”
No. I had to personally get involved.
I reach the guy. He looked like a younger Tommie Lee Jones, but with white hair. “Hey, brother, you alright?” He actually looked kind of comfortable on the manicured edge of a bank’s property. He jerked in reaction to my voice, then said: “Who the f— wants to know?” Back and forth for about a minute- I’m asking him obligatory questions- he’s cussing me out for disturbing him. And, as we go at it, I notice both his lower legs are metallic. And his 3rd leg, a cane, is on the ground, just out of reach. His eyes are glazed, but not quite bloodshot. He’s angry at the world, still cussin’. And then he loudly proclaims: “I’M GOING STRAIGHT TO HELL! I KNOW IT!” And then he gives me an exaggerated, wide-eyed look as if he’s trying to scare the h— out of me! I am scared, but I’m not running. He said his name was THOMAS. He quickly corrected that and then called himself “Doubting Thomas.”
I’m now “Paralyzed Don.” What do I do now? I’ve engaged him, he’s in need of some kind of help; he’s angry, possible drunk; I’ve got no answers, and, I’m not going to just walk away. I make the cliched offer: “Can I get you something to eat?” And then I step across my wife’s line – “Want a ride to the shelter?” He answers “No! I’ve had a ‘couple’- and the Mission won’t take you if you’ve been drinking.”
So now what? Thomas says someone ripped off his bag with all his stuff. Coat’s gone, too, and it’s going to be cold again tonight. Aha! There is something I CAN DO. But, what’s my exit strategy? THOMAS needs help. He doesn’t want me to do anything but to get out of his way so he can got to H—. Now, standing on his tennis-shoe-wrapped metalic feet, I guess he saw how hopeless I looked. I wasn’t preaching, or offering him any money. And he wasn’t going to stick around for the 9-1-1 guys.
I let him go, got in my car and u-turned toward the GOOD WILL. They had a nice peacoat onsale for ONLY 8.99. Now, to find him. THOMAS perched himself between two dumpsters behind a 7-11. He seemed surprised I found him. Thomas reminded me he was on his way to H—. But he doesn’t have to be cold along the way. Thomas saw what was in my hand and rejected it. I told him I’d leave the coat on the side of the dumpster incase he changed his mind. As I walked away, he said… Thanks. He’s probably still out there. What should I have done? How about you? And, one more thing: On the day I’m writing this, I just happened to find this post on my facebook page- a homeless guy named RONALD, telling his story. Tell me what you think, here, or on my facebook page. Thanks.
My most dreaded time of year is January-February. Hardly any films are released and usually I’m not dying to see them if they are. But FALL!!!! Fall is when we get the good ones! Most films nominated for fancy awards are released in the fall.
Plus – we are looking for date nights… and family time… and fall 2014 really has some stuff for us to put on our must see movies list. Starting with September.
Skeleton Twins – Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as an estranged brother and sister back together after he tries to commit suicide. Luke Wilson and Ty Burrell also star in this awesome cast. It’s a dark DRAMEDY — but it did garner a Best Screenplay win at the Sundance Film Festival. That means it’s at the top of my list.
This is Where I Leave You – More sibling movie fun – and SNL alum love with Tina Fey playing the sister to Jason Bateman, Adam Driver, and Corey Stoll’s characters — all brought back together by their father’s funeral. Jane Fonda plays their mother. It’s based on the 2009 novel by Jonathan Tropper.
More films to add to your list —
No Good Deed –stars Taraji P Henson and Idris Elba… This role is a far cry from his last role — as Nelson Mandela in that BIO-PIC. He plays an escaped convict who terrorizes a wife and mother when he breaks into her home.
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: THEM — Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy star in a film that shows both sides of the end of a marriage.
Jimi: All is by My Side — Jimi Hendrix BIO-PIC … John Ridley wrote and directed …. took some heat for hiring OutKast frontman Andre Benjamin -AKA Andre 3000 — because of his lack of much acting experience. I’m hip to see this and what they made together.
The Box Trolls – if you’re a fan of STOP-MOTION animation maybe this one is for you. It comes from the makers of Coraline and ParaNorman. And I like both of those. Features voices of Ben Kingsley and Elle Fanning.
And then we have October…
Gone Girl - Directed by David Fincher (Fight Club, Social Network). He actually hired Gillian Flynn — who wrote the novel it’s based on– to write the screenplay (her first ever screenplay). Ben Affleck stars in this murder mystery as the husband of a woman gone missing on their fifth anniversary. Also stars Neil Patrick Harris and Tyler Perry.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner star as the parents in this movie version of a the beloved 1972 children’s book by Judith Viorst. The 11-year-old title character is played by newcomer Ed Oxenbould. As Alexander says — Sometimes life just gives you a wad of gum in your hair. Can’t wait to see this one.
More films to add to your list in October—
Annabelle — spin off from my favorite scary from last year… It’s a pre-quel to The Conjuring.
The Judge — Robert Downey Jr and Robert Duvall star in a legal drama about a father and son conflict.
Fury — WWII tank movie from Director David Ayer stars Brad Pitt, Logan Lerman, Shia LaBeouf, Jon Bernthal, and Michael Peña
St. Vincent — Bill Murray plays a old man in Brooklyn who bonds with the kid next door. Also stars Chris O’Dowd and Melissa McCarthy.
And then we have November…
Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 1 — The long awaited arrival on November 21st.
Interstellar — Director Christopher Nolan; starring Matthew McConaughey.
Rosewater – This is Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s directing debut! It’s based on the 2011 memoir of an Iranian-born journalist.
More films to add to your list in November — Penguins of Madagascar, Dumb & Dumber To, and Horrible Bosses 2.
And then we have December –
Into the Woods – The Broadway musical about sarcastic and cynical fairy tale characters changes colors and becomes a family-friendly Disney film this holdiay season. Director Rob Marshall weaves together the adventures of Cinderella, Rapunzel, and Little Red Riding Hood, among others, for the screen. The big bad Wolf (Johnny Depp), the Baker’s Wife (Emily Blunt) and Cinderella’s Prince (Chris Pine). Marshall says he was surprised by some of the actors’ singing chops, but he expects audiences will really be talking about about Meryl Streep’s vocal performance as the Witch.
More films to add to your list for December –
Exodus: Gods and Kings — Christian Bale as Moses, directed by Rdley Scott.
The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies — The last in the trilogy.
Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb — Ben Stiller is back at the museum!
Annie — Quvenzhané Wallis, Jamie Foxx, Cameron Diaz star in this new take on the 1977 Broadway musical.
Paddington — The stuffed animal and children’s book character comes to life this holiday season.
And a preview of 2015: Selma – Oprah Winfrey teams up with relatively unknown female director (Ava DuVernay), and a British actor (David Oyelowo), for the a Martin Luther King Jr. biopic. Selma chronicles the civil rights leader during three months in 1965, from the ”Bloody Sunday” assault on protesters to the historic march through Alabama… The film will have an Academy run in December before rolling out nationwide by MLK weekend in January,
School’s back in session, high school football games have started and students, teachers and staff are ready to show their pride. And it’s a tradition to have me kick off the season for Friday Night Flights. After writing some stories for the newscasts and wavy.com, and anchoring the 5 and 6pm news on WAVY, I changed clothes and got buckled up in Chopper 10 with photographer Chris Omahen (seen below) and pilot Steve Decker.
It’s always a beautiful flight over Hampton Roads and tonight was no different. We landed at Lake Taylor High School first for their game against Phoebus.
You could see the sea of red from up above and we received warm greetings from the second we landed.
The cheerleaders helped me toss out the WAVY footballs to the crowd. They certainly have a better arm than I do! They are excited about what the new school year holds. The Titans have a lot to be proud of as they start the new school year. They have a new field house for the visiting team which just opened up tonight.
But principal Dr. Reba Jacobs-Miller is most proud of the students’ academic achievements and honors heading into this new year. She told me, “We had the highest graduation completion index of all of the schools in Norfolk so we are very excited about that. We were recognized at our convocation. It actually has the students who are seniors now excited about graduating because they know we will provide the assistance that’s needed to be successful.”
From Lake Taylor we headed to Chesapeake and Western Branch High School. They won their game with Bethel. They have some of best fans in Hampton Roads. It was a theme of school spirit and family support at the game. When we flew in range, we realized it was halftime and the band was taking the field. Once we landed, they entertained us and we saw a sea of neon green in the stands. It’s actually a show of support for a former P.E. teacher and J.V. coach Stuart Baiza who was recently diagnosed with cancer.
Student Alex Abbey told me, “We were actually already doing neon night but we wanted to come out here and his cancer color is green and we wanted to support him and his family by wearing green.”
It was a spirit-lifting for Mr. Baiza who told me, “It just lets me know I don’t have to go through it alone these kids have been great. Being a teacher of theirs and to have them come through in my time of need. It’s a big honor.” He was at the game with his wife and little girl. What a great show of support!
UPDATE: Stuart’s mom Colleen Rees emailed me a heartwarming email full of gratitude after seeing our report. She gave me permission to share some of it which read, “Stuart was concerned that the focus be on the kids accomplishments and I think you tied the two issues together beautifully. Stuart was diagnosed on the 19th of August – nearly 3 months after his son Leighton was born – we have been in a spiral since then. The whole night was very special – not only was it wonderful to see the kids come up to Stuart and wish him well but also from a nostalgia perspective. Stuart is an Alumni of WBHS. He was inspired to become a PE teacher from his coaches. Coach Lew Johnson was one, he helped Stuart move on to college where he made the CNU Team in their maiden season. “
She also emailed me a picture of the ribbons her sister designed for his cause. Several people were wearing them at the game.
She said the family is hopeful doctors will tackle the tumor, get him in remission and find a cure. She says the community support really helps the family cope.
I love doing Friday Night Flights for all of the fun- but also for getting important messages out about the schools, the students and staff and the community. This is an awesome example of that. We wish Mr. Stuart Baiza well with his treatment and recovery.
“CINDY”- was SO excited about her first day of school, she got up early, dressed quickly and was practically ready to JUMP on the bus before it stopped rolling. Little did CINDY know she would be riding into a nightmare. When it was time for lunch, a teacher placed CINDY at a small table, alone, and facing a wall. Her back was to her new classmates and all the other children in the cafeteria. And that’s how CINDY’S mother and grandmother told me they found her when they arrived to join CINDY for lunch. CINDY was near tears and, needless to say, the two adults were practically breathing fire.
CINDY has food allergies. For most of her five years, she’s reacted badly when exposed to dairy, nuts, and wheat. She’ll break out in hives, swell severely and experience potentially life threatening conditions- if not treated quickly. Usually, a shot from an E p i P e n will do the trick.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, food allergies among children jumped 50 percent between 1997 and 2011. A Richmond TV Station, W T V R, aired a report on child allergies- quoting a fascinating blog called “Butter Nutrition.” It’s writer raised the question, “Why your grandparents didn’t have food allergies, but you do.” The blog spelled out several theories on what could be the trigger behind the spike in children’s allergies.
Dr. Bob Call with Richmond Allergy & Asthma Specialists, called the theories non-scientific, but hard to ignore. He said his practice has seen allergy cases double over the last 10 years. Sixty percent of (his) practice are children, the youngest patient is just three weeks old.
“There are many more additives,thickeners, all of these different proteins that are added to food- even chemicals can become an allergen,” Dr. Call said about the theory that the food we eat these days contains more preservatives, thus causes more allergies.”
A spokeswoman for Newport News public schools say the elementary school staff wanted to err on the side of caution. Michelle Price told me the first day of school is always a bit awkward and there’s some confusion. But, the staff also didn’t know the severity of CINDY’S allergy. Price said the staff had not yet determined what the other children had brought to school,(PB&J, nuts, yogurt) in addition to how they would act. Still, sitting a child at a table- facing a wall- seems drastic and insensitive, to say the least. I questioned why the school wasn’t better prepared to deal with a student/allergy case- after having met with the parent and child several times prior to the first day. Certainly, one has to consider the larger picture. Here’s Price’s whole statement for the record:
“Newport News Public Schools’ child nutrition and nursing staff works directly with families to meet the special dietary needs of our students. Families are asked to complete a special dietary needs form (see attached) with their child’s physician and return it with any other medical forms to the school office. If a student has severe food allergies, the school nurse and the cafeteria manager will meet with the family to develop a plan to address the students’ health and safety needs in conjunction with peer interaction.
“The school principal, the nurse and the cafeteria manager met with the student’s parents yesterday and developed accommodations that met with everyone’s approval. The student in question has a severe food allergy that her mother has stated could lead to anaphylactic shock. To ensure the student’s well being, her teacher temporarily sat her at another table during lunch while the teacher sought to make seating adjustments to make sure that the student could be seated with classmates whose lunches did not contain the allergen.”
Day -2 for CINDY was much better. CINDY’s mom told me an assistant principal called her to apologize and to inform her of seating adjustments, and other arrangements made for CINDY’s safety, in addition to helping her feel welcomed. CINDY told me, herself, that she had a great (second) day, she’s made new friends. And- she’s sitting at a table with other children!
“To continue to fight through the months ahead for my personal vindication would almost totally absorb the time and attention of both the President and the Congress in a period when our entire focus should be on the great issues of peace abroad and prosperity without inflation at home.
Therefore, I shall resign the Presidency effective at noon tomorrow. Vice President Ford will be sworn in as President at that hour in this office.”
Richard M. Nixon August 8, 1974
Those words coming through our 19 inch Magnavox echoed relief for my father. To say he never cared for Richard Nixon was kind at best. The television images revealed a blank, defeated look in the president’s brown eyes. A sheaf of papers in the foreground seemed to provide a thin wall between a fallen leader and the people whose trust was betrayed. A wall that no longer could hide the truth. I don’t recall what dad said during that primetime speech, but I remember he was elated over the president stepping down. It’s not hard to imagine, being that he was a union carpenter, who always pulled the lever for Democrats. “Tricky Dick,” that pejorative often used towards Nixon by his detractors, could often be heard from the lips of my father, who like many in 1974, thought the country was on the wrong track. I, at 12 years old, was more concerned about the Pittsburgh Pirates making their run at another division title, and the girls who frequented the baseball fields watching us play on those muggy summer days. But that speech left me with an empty feeling about what nation I would inherit. The President of the United States had just announced he was leaving– a watershed moment for a decade that marked a turning point in America. Our dinner conversation in the 1970′s often centered on high inflation, something called the “energy crisis,” and Watergate–the scandal that led to this television view of a tired looking man; the most powerful leader in the world exiting the White House under a cloud of shame.
WAVY-TV News Director Jim Gilchriest, who was just 11 at the time, took his cue from his parents as they watched this historic broadcast.
“When he said, ‘I shall resign the presidency, effective at noon tomorrow’ my mother gasped and, in reaction to her, I started crying.”
WAVY Sports Director Bruce Rader worked for a Washington TV station during that summer of 1974. He recalls spending the night in a station truck on Pennsylvania Avenue next to Lafayette Park near the White House.
“That night all three networks did live cut ins while thousands of young people celebrated behind us on Pennsylvania Avenue. I asked a couple of DC police officers if they would help us with the rowdy kids during our lives shots, and the cops told us we were the reason the President was being forced to resign and they were not going to help us at all. As soon as we turned off our lights at 11:30, the DC police lined up in riot gear on Pennsylvania Avenue near the executive office building and started marching down Pennsylvania Avenue swinging their billy clubs hitting the demonstrators. Many of the young people were taken to the hospital, some with serious injuries.”
Rader also remembers a seeing a young Tom Brokaw, who had become the NBC White House Correspondent just a year before, and “couldn’t imagine he would be covering the Gerald Ford White House.”
America was winding down it’s involvement in Vietnam, and a deep recession was hurting families across all income levels. To this 12 year old, it seemed the world was coming apart. Our once beacon of hope for the free world, seemed to be descending into darkness. WAVY’s Chief Meteorologist Don Slater recalls the climax and resolution of Watergate with a sentiment shared by millions,
“Once the end happened and the President resigned, it was a scary moment. Whoa! This has never happened before. What happens now? What is the future of my country?”
The next day provided the resolution to this national drama. From the vantage point much closer to history, Bruce Rader recalled a tragic figure making his final walk from the White House after passing the torch to Vice President Gerald Ford. This scene would transform Rader’s choice of career in television.
“Nixon got on his helicopter waved to his staff and took off. I had been at the White House for over 24 hours, I went back to the office and they sent me to RFK Stadium because we were broadcasting a Redskins preseason game that night. It was at that point I decided once and for all I did not want to cover news I was more comfortable in sports. At least in sports somebody wins.”