Cafe Conversations | Rocker Tom Cruise in “Rock of Ages”

Tom Cruise/Twitter

Rockin’ the song  “Wanted Dead or Alive.”  What you say?  Yes, Tommy is looking good as he belts out a tune.   Tom has not looked this good since Rain Man or Mission Impossible.  Actually…he is Smoking Hot!  Long hair, mighty fine-looking abs and skin-tight jeans. Who could ask for anything more?  Maybe..Just more of Mr. Cruise.  Oh, by the way.  He has a few Tats on that hunky bod!

          This picture was tweeted by Tommy himself to his fans. Hmm!  Seems as though he is well pleased with his portrayal. This from the upcoming flick  “Rock of Ages.”  The film adaptation based on the enormously popular Broadway Play of the same name.  Cruise will play the character Stacee Jaxx.  An aging musician who has seen better days.  According to sources, that being Adam Shankman, Tom as always gets into his role with great intensity.  Alec Baldwin, who is also in the film, states that Tom Cruise will blow you away.  OK!

            Rock of Ages is the telling of a Love Story amidst the music from some of our favorite rock bands.  Styx, Journey, Bon Jovi and many more.  The film will showcase many of those songs from the 70s and 80s.  Other cast members include Julianne Hough, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Malin Ackerman and Mary J Blige.  Also rumored to appear are Anne Hathaway as a love interest for Tommy and Taylor Swift.  Already on board are Russell Brand and Alec Baldwin.  Photo below was tweeted by the director Adam Shankman.  Alec plays “Lonnie” who narrates the film.  While Russell plays “Dennis” the Club Owner.  Of course these 2 are destined to sing a duet at some point.   Appears that with this cast we should have a bit of humor and amazing music.

Alec Baldwin-Russell Brand/Twitter

Rock of Ages just began filming in May 2011 and is scheduled for release June of 2012.  The director is Adam Shankman who directed Hairspray in 2007.   Other films by Shankman include:  The  “Step Up” series,  “17 Again”  which I liked even when I could not think it to be so.  “Going the Distance”  and the forgettable “The Last Song”.  (Only because Miley Cyrus gave her best performance as a Kristen Stewart wannabe.  You know, surly and generally unlikable. It could have been so much better.  Sorry!)  Just read the book.

            With only a few reports on this production and being the movie nutt that I am, I was quite pleased the director is hip enough to share and promote the film via Twitter.  Ok! So maybe I shouldn’t be so tough on Twitter all the time.

            What do all of you think?  Good.   Not so Good.  Great.  Let me know.  What movie are you looking forward to seeing?


Cafe Conversations | That’s Another Fine Mess AARP

 AARP   says  Good Morning Retirees!

Pay No Attention to the Wall Street Journal Article.


         The nation’s most powerful senior’s group telling the Wall Street Journal it was ready to deal on cutting Social Security benefits. The AARP’s policy chief John Rother admitting “some of our members will no doubt be upset.”

         If AARP was supporting retiree benefits, then they would have no need to make this statement.  Something is afoot, eh!  Oh, yeah.  Maybe congress can just raise the retirement age to 85 and we are good to go for a long period of time with no effect on Social Security benefits. Really?

        So upset were it’s members that within hours, the AARP was insisting this was always their position.  Sure it was! And, I have a Bridge to sell you!!  I am not even sure AARP spokesperson, Betty White could pull this little tidbit out of the ashes.

Betty White with the AARP "LOOK"

   And, the Man Behind the Curtain now says – AARP has not changed its position.

Here is the explanation direct from the AARP blog.   Share how your thoughts about AARP’s position.

          I’m sure many of you have seen the Wall Street Journal article from this morning (“Key Seniors Association Pivots on Benefit Cut”). This is a misleading characterization. Read AARP’s CEO A. Barry Rand’s response below:
“Let me be clear – AARP is as committed as we’ve ever been to fighting to protect Social Security for today’s seniors and strengthening it for future generations. Contrary to the misleading characterization in a recent media story, AARP has not changed its position on Social Security.
        “First, we are currently fighting some proposals in Washington to cut Social Security to reduce a deficit it did not cause. Social Security should not be used as a piggy bank to solve the nation’s deficit. Any changes to this lifeline program should happen in a separate, broader discussion and make retirement more secure for future generations, not less.
“Our focus has always been on the human impact of changes, not just the budget tables. Which is why, as we have done numerous times over the last several decades, AARP is engaging our volunteer Board to evaluate any proposed changes to Social Security to determine how each might – individually or in different combinations – impact the lives of current and future retirees given the constantly changing economic realities they face.
       “Second, we have maintained for years – to our members, the media and elected officials – that long term solvency is key to protecting and strengthening Social Security for all generations, and we have urged elected officials in Washington to address the program’s long-term challenges in a way that’s fair for all generations.
“It has long been AARP’s policy that Social Security should be strengthened to provide adequate benefits and that it is sufficiently financed to ensure solvency with a stable trust fund for the next 75 years. It has also been a long-held position that any changes would be phased in slowly, over time, and would not affect any current or near term beneficiaries.
“AARP strongly opposed a privatization plan in 2005, and continues to oppose this approach, because it would eliminate the guarantee that Social Security provides and reduce benefits, and we are currently fighting proposals to cut Social Security to pay the nation’s bills.
       “Social Security is a critically important issue for our members, their families and Americans of all ages, especially at a time when many will have less retirement security than previous generations with fewer pensions, less savings and rising health care costs. And, as we have been for decades, we will continue to protect this bedrock of lifetime financial security for all generations of Americans.”
       So there you have it. We remain committed as ever to fighting harmful cuts to Social Security (and Medicare).

Cafe Conversations | Bean sprouts likely cause of Europe’s E Coli outbreak

       Hospitals in northern Germany struggle to provide enough beds and medical care for patients. Thousands of people infected in Europe. Many struggling to survive. Having had our own American version of this type of Outbreak, we know well the ramifications.  Restaurants lost a great deal of money and customers.  Vegetable growers lost millions, some went out of business when the CDC started their investigation.  We can only pray that we never experience the degree to what Germany and Europe have.

Bean Sprouts via AP

        German officials have narrowed the search to an organic sprout farm that served many of the upscale restaurants in Germany.  Not so surprising is that even some of those farm workers had been infected by the E Coli.  Now the farm has been shut down and all fruits, vegetables and even flowers have been recalled.

In the last 15+ years we have seen more than 3  dozen outbreaks of E Coli that were attributed to sprouts. I thought this was quite interesting itself. Saddest yet is, this strain just seems to be especially unforgiving and deadly, attacking the kidneys and eyesight of the young and strong.

    The terrifying E Coli outbreak in Europe appears to have been caused by vegetable sprouts grown in Germany, an agriculture official Sunday as the toll climbed to at least 22 dead and more than 2,200 sickened. Preliminary tests found that bean sprouts and other sprout varieties from an organic farm in the Uelzen area, between the northern cities of Hamburg and Hannover, could be connected to infected people in five German states, Lower Saxony Agriculture Minister Gert Lindemann said. “There were more and more indications in the last few hours that put the focus on this farm,” Lindemann said at a news conference.

     Many restaurants involved in the outbreak had received deliveries of the sprouts, which are often used in salads, Lindemann’s spokesman, Gert Hahne, told The Associated Press.

      In recent days, as health officials tried to pinpoint the source of the unusually lethal outbreak, suspicion fell on lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes, perhaps from Spain. Spanish farmers complained that the accusations were having a devastating financial effect.

      The German farm was shut down Sunday and all of its produce — including fresh herbs, fruits, flowers and potatoes — was recalled. Two of the farm’s employees were also infected with E Coli, Lindemann said. He said 18 different sprout mixtures from the farm were under suspicion — including sprouts of mung beans, broccoli, peas, chickpeas, garlic lentils and radishes. As for how the sprouts became contaminated, Lindemann noted that they are grown with steam in barrels — an ideal environment for bacteria to multiply.

       He said it is possible that the water had been contaminated with E Coli or that the sprout seeds — purchased in Germany and other countries — already contained the bacteria. He said the farmers had not used any manure, which has been known to cause E Coli outbreaks. Lindemann urged Germans to not eat sprouts until further notice. He said authorities could not yet rule out other possible sources and urged Germans to continue avoiding tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce for now.

*excerpts from Associated Press