Sunday, November 28, 2010

Another Big Supporter of Aki Ra

Valley business aids one of
CNN's ‘Heroes'

Debra Gruszecki •
The Desert Sun • November
25, 2010

America is thankful for its heroes.

And tonight when CNN televises its “Top 10
Heroes,” Debby Alexander, proprietor of Peabody's
Café & Bar, will quietly celebrate the good works of
Aki Ra and the role the Palm Springs restaurant
played to help his cause.

Ra, a former child soldier for the Khmer Rouge, has
dedicated his life to detonating and dismantling the
landmines he once placed in Cambodia.

For Alexander's part, Peabody's held three separate
fundraising events — at which Cambodian art and
donated items from Palm Springs businesses and
small hotels were sold — with longtime customer
Bill Morse to raise $22,000 for the landmine relief

When CNN taped its all-star annual tribute in the
Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, Alexander was
one of 13 people to get an invitation from Ra and
Morse to attend the red carpet event featuring
Jessica Alba, Renee Zellweger, Marisa Tormei, Aaron
Eckhart, Demi Moore and Halle Berry as presenters.

“It was a real thrill,'' she said.

“When Renee Zellweger came out and introduced
Aki, he spoke before this big crowd with limited
English,'' Alexander said.

“He spoke about his wife dying last year, and how
much she had helped him. It got emotional.”

Alexander was able to see Morse for a few minutes
as well.

He and his wife, Jill, moved to Siem Reap, Cambodia,
last year to help Ra get international certification
and a license from the Cambodian government to
legally remove landmines that once were deactivated
with a stick.

Morse also helped Ra get a $100,000 grant to buy a
truck and assemble a rapid response team that can
respond to villagers who find mines.

Ra, who sometimes placed up to 1,000 landmines a
day in the 1980s, has not only cleared more than
50,000 of the estimated 6 million explosives the war
left behind. Ra has also cared for dozens of children
who have been maimed by mines.

“I got to see Bill for a minute before he and Aki Ra
flew back to Cambodia,'' Alexander said.

“I got to meet other people who have helped the
landmine relief fund. While at the taping, I also got
to meet Richard Fatoussi, who is making a film
about Ra.”

Alexander said that film, “The Perfect Soldier,'' has
just been presented to judges of the Palm Springs
International Film Festival.

The CNN show will be televised at 5 p.m. today.

Peabody's Cafe, 134 S. Palm Canyon Drive, will be
closed tonight for the holiday and this simple
reason: Alexander has a date with the TV.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CNN Heroes Broadcast Schedule

CNN – Domestic (U.S)

Thursday 11/25/10
Showbiz Tonight @ CNN Heroes (Pre-Show)
7pm ET / 4pm PT
12am ET (Sat) / 9pm PT

(CNN ONLY - All Airings)
8pm ET / 5pm PT
10pm ET / 7pm PT
1am ET (Sat.) / 10 pm PT

Friday 11/26/10
Showbiz Tonight @ CNN Heroes (Pre-Show)
3am ET / 12 am PT

4am ET / 1 am PT

Saturday 11/27/10
8pm ET / 5pm PT
11pm ET / 8 pm PT
2am ET (Sat) / 11pm PT

Sunday 11/28/10
8pm ET / 5pm PT
11pm ET / 8 pm PT
2am ET (Mon) / 11pm PT

CNN International

Thursday 11/25/10
(Initial Global Broadcast)

ET Buenos Aires GMT & London Europe/Africa
8pm 10pm Fri 1am Fri 2am

Abu Dhabi New Delhi Hong Kong
Fri 5 am i 630am Fri 9am

Friday 11/26/10
(CNNI Exclusive airings)

ET Buenos Aires GMT & London Europe/Africa
5am /4pm 7am/6pm 10am/9pm 11am/10pm

Abu Dhabi New Delhi Hong Kong (PT)_____
2pm/Sat 1am 330pm/ Sat 230am 6pm/Sat 5am 2am/1pm

CNN Espanol

Thursday 11/25/10
(Initial Global Broadcast)
8pm ET

Saturday 11/27/10
7pm ET

Sunday 11/28/10
9pm ET

Friday, November 19, 2010

Update From LA

Aki Ra and I landed in LA exactly 24 hours from the time we left Siem Reap. A long long trip, but worth every minute.

Wednesday we went shopping and Aki Ra bought some things he couldn't get in Cambodia....mainly a good pair of jungle boots. He's breaking them in now for the taping thursday nite..

This evening CNN had a private party for the 10 Heroes and a few of us 'extras'. What an amazing group of people CNN chose. With a very small staff, they started reading the nominations the day after last year's show ended. From over 10,000 they chose 25. A Blue ribbon Panel chose the Top 10. I refuse to say finalists because this not a competition.

Tomorrow is rehearsal and Saturday the big day.

Aki Ra is having fun. But he does miss the kids. I had my wife, Jill, gather Amatak, Mine and Metta together and call Papa this evening from the Museum. When he left and told Metta (almost 3) he was going to America, she said...'the mine field'?

Well, outa the mouth of babes..............

Gonna try and get some sleep.....

Babu from the jungle.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Aki Ra and I leave in 8 1/2 hours for the CNN Tribute Show filming in Los Angeles.

Gonna be a lloonngg trip:

5 hours from Siem Reap to Seoul
9 hour layover in Seoul
11 hours from Seoul to LA

We get in Wednesday morning. CNN was good enough to get us there a bit early so we could recoup some.

Aki Ra doesn't know it yet, but the kids from the Museum are coming to the airport to see him off. They spent the day making a big sign that says

He still doesn't quite know what he's in for. But I've told him he doesn't need to do anything, this is all being done for him and the other 9 Heroes.
Don't forget to vote, again. Voting continues until the 18th.
Be sure and watch us on CNN on Thanksgiving nite (Thursday 25 November) at 8pm EST/PST.
Wish him luck and learn from him and all the other Heroes that it doesn't make any difference who you are, what you have, or how old you are....YOU can make a difference.
More from Hollywood......
Babu in the Jungle