An Icon At 90: Marilyn Monroe

I never wanted to be Marilyn—it just happened. Marilyn’s like a veil I wear over Norma Jeane—Marilyn Monroe

June 1 is a pretty unremarkable day. It’s the 152-day of any given year, except leap year. It has no special or distinguishing events to mark its passing. This otherwise dull day has nothing going for it. However, that all changed 90 years ago with the birth of Norma Jeane Mortenson, better known as Marilyn Monroe.

It’s safe to say that no other American actress has captured the imagination of a nation quite like she did. Her beauty quickly took Hollywood by storm and caught the eye of men and women alike.

Monroe Birth CirtificateBorn Norma Jeane Mortenson. She came into this world as the third child of a troubled woman; who was later diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia. The future star eventually wound up a ward of the state.

As a young girl, Norma Jeane bounced from foster home to foster home. She would often dream of becoming a famous actress. It’s easy to imagine the life she fantasized about must have seemed out of reach, but destiny would come calling a few short years later.

A lucky encounter with a photographer, a few “breaks”, and an ability to market herself catapulted Norma Jeane to fame. She famously took on a new designation: Marilyn Monroe. The name is an amalgam of a 1920s Broadway starlet named Marilyn Miller, who ironically passed away in her mid-thirties too due to alcohol and other health issues, and her birth mother’s last name (Monroe).

Marilyn Monroe quickly rose within the industry. Her stardom was due to a rare combination of raw sexuality, vulnerability, sensuality and innocence all beautifully rolled up into one larger-than-life persona. That would ultimately take on a life of its own.

Carey Grant once said, “Everyone wants to be Cary Grant. Even I want to be Cary Grant.” The sentiment behind this statement surely applied to Marilyn Monroe. During her life she routinely hung out with Hollywood A-listers, married a sport’s legend, and was linked to political royalty. Her life seemed to be going perfectly. Vastly removed from the lifestyle of the orphan Norma Jeane.

But celebrity can be a double edge sword. At one point–in what may have been a veiled cry for help­–Monroe exclaimed, “Fame is fickle, and I know it. It has its compensations but it also has its drawbacks, and I have experienced them both.”

Following her death on Aug. 5, 1962, details about her private life painted a picture of a troubled woman spiraling out of control. Personal issues contributed to her slipping into the miasma of depression, alcohol, and prescription drugs. All of which contributed to her death.

The ensuing years since her passing Marilyn Monroe has never left the public eye. Fascination about her life and death has spawned multiple conspiracy theories detailed in books, documentaries, and movies. The public’s infatuation with Monroe has never waned, in fact its only grown over the years.

In life Marilyn Monroe struggled to earn as much as her costars, while in death her estate’s income consistently tops the charts for deceased celebrities.

Little Norma Jeane, who came into the world on the humdrum day of June 1, went from an orphaned childhood, to troubled Hollywood starlet, to an international icon. Her life may have been short, but she made a far greater impact than her contemporaries.

As for June 1, it’s no longer a day marred by indistinction. For more than half a century fans around the globe mark June 1 on their calendars to celibate Marilyn Monroe’s birth. This year the iconic actress would’ve seen her 90 birthday. Imagine that!

Happy Birthday Marilyn.

Marilyn Monroe Website


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Good Bye Mr. Nimoy

"Change is the essential process of all existence."



"Star Trek: TOS"


"Let That Be Your Last Battlefield"

A Crow's View is saddened by the passing of Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps no other actor has ever captured the hearts and minds of fans like Nimoy's portrayal Spock.

Screen Shot 2015-02-27 at 2.05.16 PM

The pointy-eared half-Vulcan half-Human emotionally suppressed character debuted Sept. 8, 1966 on CBS. The role of Mr. Spock was a risky move for an actor struggling to make a name for himself, but it paid off. Shortly after "

Star Trek's"

cancellation, Nimoy wrote that, “Six years after having completed the role, I am still affected by the character of Spock."


Nearly fifty-years later, the impact Spock has had is undeniable. For example, the word "Vulcan" is universally identified as a fictional alien race, instead of its Greek mythological origins, and the "Live Long And Prosper" slogan is an easily recognized hand gesture. Further validation of Spock's influence includes being listed in

TV Guide's

50 greatest TV characters of all time.

In a recent interview with Pharrell Williams. Nimoy candidly reflected on his role of Spock, "The Spock character…opened up my life personally and creatively, created great opportunities for me to do work I chose to do, not had to do."

Nimoy's career is evidence that he successfully parlayed his role of Spock into other creative outlets. He directed two

"Star Trek"

feature films, as well as the hugely popular box office smash

"Three Men and a Baby"

(staring Tom Seleck, Steve Guttenberg, and Ted Dansen); he also worked as an executive producer, wrote numerous screenplays, authored several books and became an accomplished photographer.

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After formally retiring from acting, Nimoy did accept acting gigs and projects that suited him. He was a welcomed guest star on TV series and feature films. His work on


as William Bell was wildly popular among the show's fan base, and his role as Spock Prime in the 2009 reboot of

"Star Trek"

reintroduced his character to a whole new generation of fans.

One of Spock's greatest lexicons in his vocabulary was exclaiming "fascinating" when he faced a perplexity.  Spock once said, “fascinating is a word I use for the unexpected, in this case I would think interesting would suffice" ("

Star Trek


"The Squire of Gothos"

). The raised eyebrow and the deadpan stare followed by Spock's timely remark unquestionable sums up Nimoy's life.

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston on March 26, 1931 to Ukrainian Orthodox Jewish immigrants Max and Dora Nimoy. His father was a barber. Thirty-five years later this obscure actor that grew up from humble beginnings would be introduced to the world as Mr. Spock.


In his 1975 autobiography

"I Am Not Spock,"

Nimoy addresses the affect playing Spock had on him personally, “Of course, the role changed my career. Or rather, gave me one… It also affected me very deeply and personally, socially, psychologically, emotionally." Nimoy continues, "To this day I sense Vulcan speech patterns, Vulcan social attitudes, and even Vulcan patterns of logic and emotional suppression in my behavior."  This sentiment can easily sum up the affect Spock has had on society and pop-culture as a whole.

Lowen Liu's article

"How Leonard Nimoy Left Us With the Best Scene in Star Trek"

argues that "Star Trek II not only has the honor of the best Star Trek film ever—a tight revenge plot whose special effects hold up today—but it not coincidentally contains the best and most powerful scene in the franchise’s expansive oeuvre…. In it, Spock dies."

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Spock's death scene in

"Star Trek ll: The Wrath of Kahn"

arguably the greatest death scene ever made in film history. A lesser character, played by a lesser actor, would not have had the profound impact it had on audience members during its 1982 release. That scene is responsible for launching Nimoy's directorial career and solidified him as an actor's actor.

The coverage of Nimoy's (and Spock's) death from major news sources is a remarkable testaments to the iconic actor's life; however, the buzz surrounding Nimoy's passing

that is manifest

ed on

multiple hashtags throughout Twitter, Facebook, and other social media outlet


s more impressive.

A Crow's View 
sees the outpouring of love from family, friends, co-stars and fans as the best demonstration of a life well-lived.

Nimoy's last tweet says it best, "A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory.  LLAP." As a lifelong Trek fan, I wish to extend my condolences to Mr. Nimoy's family. Live long and prosper.


Leonard Nimoy

NYTimes Article

“Jane The Virgin”: A Breath of Fresh Air

CW Network’s breakout new comedy “Jane The Virgin” is delightfully charming and entertaining. Its strong writing and well-constructed plots are breathing a breath of fresh air into television sets across America.  In fact, “Jane” may be energizing the CW Network.

Unlike most CW programs, “Jane the Virgin” isn’t based on comic book superheroes or supernatural entities (a staples of the network’s lineup), but a 23-year-old virgin set in present day Miami, Florida. 

Don’t let the show’s name fool you. The title character is far from an ingénues prude. Jane–played by the talented Gina Rodriguez–is a complex individual who is extremely goal-oriented. She meticulously plans her life to the tiniest detail, including maintaining her virtue to keep a promise she made to her “La Abuela” (Grandmother). Otherwise, Jane lives a normal lifestyle.

When Jane is inadvertently impregnated during a routine doctor’s visit; her life is turned upside down. In the melee that follows, Jane’s long-term plans are rocked, she learns her new boss is the baby’s father, and her long-lost dad is a famous Latino actor she idolizes.

If this sounds like a Spanish telenovela, well, it’s because it is, but with an infusion of comedy.

The CW Network’s departure from its modus operandi of providing action-type programming is proving to be a wise decision. “Jane The Virgin” is finding an audience and receiving fawning praise from entertainment pundits.

Until now, critical acclaim was a rarity for CW. In its inaugural season, “Jane the Virgin” received two Golden Globe nominations. One nod went to Rodriguez for Best Lead Actress in a TV Comedy or Musical, which she won, and a second nomination for Best TV Comedy or Musical. actress-gina-rodriguez

“Jane” is receiving recognition from more than just the Golden Globes. The American Film Institute listed “Jane the Virgin” among the 10 best TV programs of 2014.

It only takes one episode to understand why the show is gaining notice. The casts’ chemistry is absolutely stellar. The dichotomy between Jane and the surrounding characters is fascinating; her personal growth through the pregnancy, attempts to follow through with her established goals, and the balancing act to keep her promise brings an interesting, if not comical, dynamic to the series.

It might be presumptuous to say, but “Jane the Virgin” may deliver legitimacy to the CW Network. Winning a Golden Globe is a great start to making it as viable as the big four broadcasters (CBS, NBC, ABC, and FOX). Only time will tell if CW will become a juggernaut, but “Jane the Virgin” is putting it on the right track to become the “fifth network.”

Jane the Virgin

AFI Programs of the Year

Golden Globes Awards

Mariota Wins The Heisman!

A new day dawned for fans of the Oregon Ducks. A decade and a half of building a winning program culminated in the schools first Heisman trophy winner.

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Marcus Mariota’s talent has been no secret at Oregon, and now the world knows just how talented the Hawaiian native is. This year’s Heisman winner received the second highest vote totals (90.9%) in the trophy’s 80-year history.

Another first for Mariota is that he is the first man from Hawaii, and the first Polynesian, to win the Heisman trophy.

The next step in Oregon’s history will be to bring home a national championship, but for now. Duck fans should all be celebrating this historic moment because years of hard work and sacrifice have paid off.

Congratulations to Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks.

More information on the vote and the trophy’s history can be found at the official Heisman website:



Netflix Gains Legitimacy….Again

Let's be honest, Netflix has stepped up its game up. It seems to have a lot more of an assortment of stuff–Tony Oller

netflixLast year Netflix’s original series House of Cards won three Emmys, including one for director David Fincher. This year could be an even bigger year for the video-streaming firm.

Netflix received 31 nominations, with House of Cards and Orange is the New Black receiving more than 10 each. Many of the nominations are in major categories such as Outstanding Actor and Actress In A Drama Series (Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright), Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series (Taylor Schilling), and Outstanding Drama Series (House of Cards).house-of-cards-final-poster

Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, stated, “Our brand at Netflix is really focused on movies and TV shows.” Based on the recent successes his strategy is paying off because no other online video distributors, Hulu and Amazon, have received any nominations.orange_is_the_new_black

A Crow’s View has commented on Netflix’s success before (Hemlock Grove Paradigm Shift) and believes that if the streaming giant has a big night at this year’s Emmy Awards. Then look for other entertainment outlets to follow Netflix’s template for success.

For now it’s safe to say that Netflix has gained the respect of Hollywood and, in turn, legitimacy of its programing. Furthermore, the recognition of its high quality shows, which is equal to what broadcast and network television offers, may again shift the entertainment paradigm.





Oscar Pistorius: When Role Models Fall

Success and failure are equally disastrous–Tennessee Williams

ImageThe 2012 London games hosted some amazing achievements: Usain Bolt’s historic back-to-back victories, David Rudisha winning the 800m in World record time of 1:40.91, and the United States women’s baton all-star team’s stellar performance, which shattered the record books by posting a time of 40.82, in the 4x100m race. But the high point of the Olympic Games for many people was the performance by double amputee Oscar Pistorius in the 400m and the 4 × 400m relay races.

The fact that Oscar Pistorius (aka the “Blade Runner”) competed with able-bodied athletes, on the World’s biggest stage, is nothing more than inspirational, if not miraculous. Just qualifying for consideration is a testament to his athleticism and drive; this achievement undoubtedly made him the sentimental crowed favorite at the games.

Unfortunately, what stood out during his races were not his performances, but the fawning coverage he received from the media. A Crow’s View is always suspicious when announcers jump on bandwagons for various teams and individuals; with the “Blade Runner” they were in overdrive.

One NBC correspondent spent an entire segment (leading up to a race) criticizing the Olympians who had concerns about a competitive advantage Mr. Pistorius might have with his blades. The issue they had was based on a concern that the blades’ spring may minimally increase race time for Mr. Pistorius. Right or wrong, I thought they had a valid concern because in the world of sports success is decided by fractions of a second. A few tenths of a second can mean the difference between a gold medal or “missing the podium.”

Those who compete at the Olympic level are truly a breed apart. The men and women of this world are freaks of nature. For instance, they have an ability to push their bodies to limits that would severely damage most people. When athletes get injured; they heal much quicker than the average person. To us mere mortals, it seems incredible how quickly they bounce back from injury.

With respect to the differences between athletes and average people, A Crow’s View easily sees that their dedication to win is extremely high. Understanding this fact allows a person not to get caught up in any emotional hype. As much as A Crow’s View is sympathetic to seeing Mr. Pistorius do well, a fair and equal race is paramount.

The reporting about the “Blade Runner” became so biased that your humble author quickly became sickened by the coverage. An NBC reporter covering Mr. Pistorius was obviously caught up in the hype of his amazing achievements. I marveled at the reporter’s lack of objectivity, even though I confess it would be quite easy to do.

When the race started the NBC correspondent was solidly in the corner of Mr. Pistorius. What A Crow’s View really found obtuse was the reporter’s comment following the race. The “Blade Runner” finished ninth overall, and the announcer screamed out, “he didn’t win, but we’re all winners for watching this!”

Since that race, A Crow’s View often wonders what that correspondent thinks about the issues facing Mr. Pistorius? During the Olympics the reporter was sycophantic over the “Blade Runner,” he was actively promoting Mr. Pistorius as a universal role model. What does he say now? Does he regret his loss of objectivity? Is he distressed by Oscar Pistorius’ fall from grace? I don’t know, but it is a sure bet that reporter will jump on the next bandwagon athlete who comes along.

A Crow’s View wants to remind people that athletes are just ordinary people with extraordinary talent. Their private lives are not perfect. In fact, they pay lots of money to enhance their image.

A role model should not be a famous person. Interesting lives such as Steve Jobs, Wayne Gretsky, or Georgia “Tiny” Broadwick (see Apocryphal Bravery) are not realistic measuring sticks. True, their lives can be a source of inspiration to millions of people. How they faced challenges, overcame obstacles, and became successful in their respective fields is a great narrative, but they also won life’s genetic lottery and benefited from exceptional timing to help them along.

On the flip side, it is upsetting when famous individuals fail miserably, such as Lance Armstrong and Oscar Pistorius. Their flaws overshadow any successes they achieved and wipes away their legacy. This can have devastating consequences to their sport and (more importantly) to the legion of fans they have inspired.

Mathew McConaughey got it right in his Oscar speech. When asked as a child who his hero is he stated, “it’s me in ten years.” A Crow’s View isn’t enthralled with Hollywood, but this statement hit the nail on the head. Don’t measure your success to that of athletes, actors, or entrepreneurs. You can draw motivation from them, but your goals should be based on what you want to achieve in ten years. Then use your own drive to make it happen.






Super Bowl XLVIII: The Super Bust

I believe that a bad Super Bowl halftime show is still better than a soccer game–Ron White

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 10.51.34 AMAs an average red-blooded American, I love to watch the Super Bowl. The event is highly anticipated and hyped. And when Super Sunday arrives, the entire viewing experience usually makes for a great afternoon. All aspects of the Super Bowl’s programming are worth watching. The pre-game show, the commercials, halftime show, and the game are all entertaining. However, this year’s Super Bowl event fell flat on all fronts.

Unless you’re a diehard Seahawks fan, the game was boring. The teams seemed deflated and unable to compete at a high level. Seattle’s defense is the lone exception. The two offensives were incompetent and lacking clarity. The Seahawks failed to put the game away early by settling for field goals inside the red zone. If their offense was firing on all cylinders, they would have scored 60-points.

The Denver Broncos were offensively inept, which made the Seahawks’ performance look even more dominate than it was. I will admit that much of the incompetence on Denver’s side was due to Seattle’s play, but the Broncos made no adjustments. Their team seemed out sync from the opening snap. Ultimately, a tip-of-the-hat goes to Seattle for showing up and taking advantage of the situation. It was nice to see a team that has never won a Super Bowl come out victorious.

Since the game was a bust, I figured the halftime show and the commercials would take up the slack. The problem was the halftime show and the commercials were lackluster as well. The Entertainment was just a rehash of past shows. All it did was cart out a big name performer or two, and then sing a medley of hits. This show wasn’t any different than the last ten-halftime performances. It was a huge waste of time. I would rather watch game highlights, interviews, or anything other than the entertainment the NFL has dredged up for the Super Bowl in recent years.

My last gasp for enjoying this year’s game rested with the commercials. That is usually a safe bet. In many cases, people who don’t care about the NFL will tune into the game just for the Super Bowl ads. Unfortunately, this year they missed the mark too. I can only recall one or two that were decent. In years past, I bet, those commercials would have been below average by Super Bowl standards.

It’s hard to believe a Super Bowl match up that had the makings to be a truly great championship game fell flat. I can’t blame the blowout because that happens regularly in sports, so does poor halftime performances and bad commercial programming. But rarely does all three happen during one Super Bowl. Each phase of this year’s Super Bowl event was ensnared in mediocrity. The NFL needs to address its formula for success because if this occurs again. Soccer may take a huge step towards overtaking the NFL’s limelight.