Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Mark Wahlberg & Will Ferrell on the Street of NYC; Ralph Nader at Barnes & Noble

What's on the streets of New York today? Well, besides the motorcades filling the city streets and causing a lot of traffic jams (due to the United Nations General Assembly meeting) -- there are plenty of other important people in our city today. And no, I'm not writing about Obama. Today I saw -- Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and Ralph Nader. The first two were sighted on Park Avenue filming a new movie (The Other Guys), while the latter was sighted at Barnes and Noble promoting his new book - Only the Rich Can Save Us!

Coincidentally, I am writing this celebrity-like sighting shortly after I posted about the Stacy London sighting at the Pantene commercial yesterday. Is KARMA kicking in and wanting me to see all different sorts of film productions?? Hardly. But, celebrity sightings two days in a row does add a lot of girlish excitement! Um, do you hear the Lady Ga Ga song -- Papparazzi -- playing ? "need that picture of you... its sooo magical... I'm your biggest fan, I'd follow you until you love me... Pappa papparazzi." Ok, really, I'm not really like that, but just enjoy a good celebrity sighting!

Well, we all know about Mark Wahlberg or do we? Today you may know him as the Executive Producer of the HBO Series Entourage, but some may remember him from his Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch days. Yes, he recorded the song Good Vibrations in the 90's (I still remember the dance moves!). A very talented individual who first started out under the wings of his brother, Donnie Wahlberg from New Kids on the Block, then branched into his own rapping career to modeling underwear for Calvin Klein to acting in movies (Boogie Nights, The Italian Job, The Departed) and to producing film and television shows. He has made a name out of himself, but the interesting part about Mark Wahlberg is that he comes from humble beginnings and has done jail time. According to wikipedia, he is the youngest of nine children and was born in Boston to Alma Elaine, a bank clerk and nurse's aide and Donald E. Wahlberg, a Teamster who worked as a delivery driver. Wahlberg was implicated in several acts of violence and vandalism and was given a jail sentence of two years when he pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of assault (which, he only served 45 days). A lesser charge? He originally was tried as an adult and charged for attempted murder (woah!)! Yes, not a glamorous past, but really who has one? Now look at him -- At the age of 38 and without a high school diploma, he is a father of three (with another on its way) and has a prominent career. For more on his history, visit Wikipedia

Will Farrell gained fame and popularity from his seven year stretch on Saturday Night Live and since then has starred in many comedic films such as Zoolander, Wedding Crashers and Old School. He made a name for himself through his impersonations of individuals like - George W. Bush, Neil Diamond, Janet Reno - and acting as one of The Roxbury Guys on SNL (the night clubber scene with the head throbbing moves -- yeah, you can hear the music cue now -- "What is love? Baby don't hurt me. Don't hurt me... no more" -- throb throb throb -- thank you Haddaway for making that song!). Ah, those SNL skits always brought a chuckle to my life! Or what about his streaking scene in Old School? Did you know, in real life, he was part of a fraternity? Yup, Delta Tau Delta at the University of Southern California. So was he born a comedian? Funny thing is, he wasn't. As a teenager growing up in Orange County, he found suburbia boring and had to make life entertaining -- so he explored ways of being funny to break the boredom. Now look at him -- a comedian on stage and in his films bringing laughter to his friends and his fans.

Both Mark Wahlberg and Will Ferrell both had different pasts - one of violence the other of boredom that has both led them to the main stage -- interesting how our teenage years frames us into who we are today.

Lastly, Ralph Nader. To be truthful, I don't follow politics as closely as I should and the whole reason for posting this blog is to learn more about him (Yes, me trying to learn something new everyday!). I've heard his name several times before, but never knew what he stood for or what he was about. So what did I know? He ran for president a few times. That's it. So what did I find?
  • He ran for President of the United States four times -- twice as an independent candidate in 2004 and 2008 and twice as a Green Party candidate in 1996 and 2000. A friend said he cost the election for Al Gore in 2000 (but that's personal opinion; however, there was someone at Barnes & Noble shouting similar, but improper things).
  • He is a populist (a political philosophy urging social and political system change that favors "the people" over "the elites") who believes in grassroots democracy (political process where the lowest geographic level of organization is given much of the decision making authority).
  • Nader's involvement and concern for consumer protection, humanitarianism, environmentalism, and democratic government has led to the development of hundreds of public interest groups that have exposed problems and organized millions of people to advocate solutions. He was instrumental in the creation of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC), and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA)
  • His book, Unsafe at Any Speed, lashed out at the automobile industry for producing unsafe vehicles. The book led to congressional hearings and a series of automobile safety laws passed in 1966, including the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act. His book got seat belts in cars!
  • Nader was named by Time and Life magazines as one of the hundred most influential Americans of the twentieth century
  • Nader graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School
  • His parents were immigrants from Lebanon and his family's native language is Arabic; Family owned a bakery and a restaurant where father engaged customers in political discussions
  • He hosted SNL in 1977 (woah!) -- woah, everyone here is inter-related in some way!
  • He chose career over family and believed he couldn't have both -- according to Karen Croft (found in wikipedia commentary re: personal life)
  • The info above was gathered from wikipedia and his website. For more info, check wikipedia or his website
That was a mouthful (or an eye sore since you're reading this). Did I learn anymore from the book signing at Barnes and Noble? A little, but not much. His new book, "Only the Super Rich Can Save Us!" is a fiction based book where the likes of Warren Buffet and sixteen other rich people (Ted Turner, Barry Diller, Yoko Ono, and others) unite to fix or address today's most pressing issues (other than clean energy, you'll have to read it to find out what these issues are). With a series of "what if's?", the book appears to be an interesting spin on how seventeen people, all with their varied backgrounds, come together to build a better America. For a review about the characters in the book, check out The New Yorker or a review on the book check out the book's website.

SO that's all folks. Today's entertaining reading on three popular, celebrity-like people that I saw in New York City -- Mark Wahlberg, Will Ferrell and Ralph Nader.

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