Monthly Archives: July 2012

Cullen Jones – Olympic Swimmer

Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones is a U.S. competitive swimmer and Olympic gold medalist who specializes in freestyle sprint events. As part of the American team, he holds the world record in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay (long course). He is a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team and is expected to compete in the 50-meter and 100-meter freestyle events at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. He picked up a silver medal in the 4×100-meter freestyle relay today.

In a recent interview regarding swimming he described the pool as feeling like “home,” but it wasn’t always that way. After nearly drowning as a 5-year-old child, Jones learned to swim and has made it his mission to reduce the startling number of drowning deaths among African-American children each year.

“I remember what it feels like to be underwater and I remember what it feels like to be helpless,” said Jones of the time he nearly drowned at a water park. “I was underwater, I couldn’t breathe…and then I completely passed out.”

Now 28 years old, the freestyle sprinter is gearing up for the London Olympics after winning a gold medal four years ago in Beijing. While Jones’ swimming talent is remarkable, his near drowning experience is not. A study by the University of Memphis and the USA Swimming organization showed that around 70 percent of African-American children don’t know how to swim, compared to about 40 percent of white children. African-American children between the ages of five and 14 are three times more likely than other children to drown, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

When the African-American Jones first learned these numbers a few years ago, he was shocked.

“I am also one of the statistics, because I almost drowned. It seems like everything in my life was written on that page

Jones still vividly remembers the moment he almost died. He and his parents had left their New Jersey home for a day of fun at Pennsylvania’s Dorney Park and Wildwater Kingdom. But at one point, his inner tube flipped over and he was underwater for 30 seconds.

“So I was holding on to this inner tube and I’m, like, flailing,” he said.

“My parents told me I was clinically dead,” Jones said. “My mom was in tears. My dad was trying to console her and the lifeguard was giving me CPR.”

Lifeguards performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation to bring Jones back to life. Jones’ mother, Debra, watched in horror. She couldn’t swim and was unable to help her son. After nearly losing her only child, she decided to put Jones in swim classes within the week.

Jones now travels the country with the Make a Splash Initiative, recounting his story to minority kids in hopes that he can raise the number of minority swimmers and consequently reduce the amount of drowning deaths.

You can find out more about the Make A Splash Initiative by clicking on the USA Swimming logo.

The Newsroom

This is the series opening theme for “The Newsroom” It is arguably in my opinion, one of the best TV themes ever. It was composed by Thomas Newman, who is a composer and conductor, best known for his many film scores. Newman has composed music for other television shows as well, including theme music for the series Boston Public and the miniseries Angels in America. His theme music for the television show Six Feet Under won two Grammy Awards in 2003, for Best Instrumental Composition as well as Best Instrumental Arrangement.

I could listen to this music all day. Brilliant piece of music.

Spoilers With Kevin Smith | Aurora’s Dark Knight

On his Hulu’s summer movie appreciation show Spoilers, Kevin Smith usually hosts a lively, free-wheeling discussion about that weekend’s big movie with a live studio audience that had just seen the film. This week’s episode was supposed to be about The Dark Knight Rises; instead, Smith chose to spend the entire half hour talking with his audience about the deadly shooting at a midnight screening of the film in Aurora, Colo.

“This is a show about loving movies,” says Smith in the introduction. “Movies mean the world to us. This thing that happened, this shooting, it’s not only offensive to us as human beings, it’s offensive to us as movie fans.” The thoughtful, somber discussion, held on Friday night, provides a poignant snapshot of the thoughts running through many moviegoers’ heads this weekend. Check it out in its entirety below:

Aurora Colorado

“The Dark Knight Rises” composer Hans Zimmer has composed a song dedicated to the Aurora, Colorado shooting victims.

Zimmer posted the track “Aurora” on his Facebook page Friday. Zimmer said he recorded the song in London in the days after the theater shooting last week. All proceeds are being donated to a fund for victims of the shooting that killed 12 people.

The 8 1/2-minute song is being sold for donations from 10 cents to $2,500.

“Aurora” is dedicated to those who lost their lives and were affected by the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado. I recorded this song in London in the days following the tragedy as a heartfelt tribute to the victims and their families. 100% of the proceeds will be donated to Aurora Victim Relief organization. The track is available on iTunes shortly and you can donate here:

Aurora – Hans Zimmer

2012 Olympic Games

At the Olympic Ceremony being held in London, the head of the British monarchy, Queen Elizabeth II arrived in style. She parachuted in with actor Daniel Craig as James Bond

The stunt began with a pre-recorded skit directed by Danny Boyle in which Her Majesty notified 007 that his new mission (should he choose to accept it?) has to launch the Olympiad.

Then the two leapt onto a helicopter as the Queen’s Corgis barked below and made their way to the Olympic Stadium where Craig and the Queen (in the form of stuntmen) parachuted to the ground to the James bond theme. Their parachutes were, of course, made from huge Union Jacks.

In my opinion probably one of the best opening parts of any Olympics.

London Olympics 2012 James Bond escorting the Queen

Sherman Hemsley

Sherman Hemsley, a comic actor who vaulted from a supporting role on Norman Lear’s groundbreaking 1970s sitcom “All in the Family” to a lead role as George in the spinoff “The Jeffersons,” was found dead Tuesday in El Paso. He was 74.

As George Jefferson, Hemsley bantered with his neighbors Archie and Edith Bunker in Queens on “All in the Family.” On “The Jeffersons,” Hemsley showed sparkling chemistry with Isabel Sanford, who played his wife, Louise, as the African American family began “movin’ on up to the East Side” of Manhattan.

The series was the first to feature an upscale African American couple in prime time. It was also the first to cast an interracial couple. Hemsley earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for his role as the irascible business owner. Sanford, who died in 2004, was his foil as the strong-willed and level-headed “Weezie.”

The spinoff ran on CBS from 1975 to 1985 and when it was canceled it was the longest-running prime-time series on the air.

Hemsley later starred as Deacon Ernest Frye on “Amen,” which aired from 1986 to 1991, and made other TV appearances during a long acting career.

He was born Feb. 1, 1938, in Philadelphia, where he trained at the Philadelphia Academy of Dramatic Arts.

He was a gifted actor and a brilliant comedian, and always made me laugh out loud. Mr. Hemsley you will be missed.

RIP Sherman Hemsley

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