Saturday, March 17, 2018

St. Patrick's Day food, drink, and dance from WXYZ

Happy St. Patrick's Day!  This year, I'm taking a break from Tipsy Bartender to share food and drink ideas from WXYZ.  I just needed a change of pace and ideas from local sources fit the bill for a Detroit-based sustainability and entertainment blog.  Fortunately, WXYZ had four food and drink clips just from this week.

I begin with St. Patrick's Day Drinks.

Whiskey drinks, of course, including Irish Coffee.*

Follow over the jump for the food and dance.

Friday, March 16, 2018

R.I.P. Stephen Hawking 1942-2018

CNN has sad news; Physicist Stephen Hawking has died.

World renowned theoretical physicist, cosmologist, astronomer and mathematician Stephen Hawking has passed away at age 76.
I'm sad but neither surprised nor disappointed.  Hawking managed to live a full accomplished life while being paralyzed from ALS for more than 50 years.  That's extraordinary.

Here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, I mentioned him in the following entries, listed in reverse chronological order:
I'm sure I won't be done writing about Hawking, as I expect Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places 2 is almost certain to be nominated for a couple of News and Documentary Emmy Awards, so I will write about the show in the fall.  Here is its trailer.

Stephen Hawking is back in episode two of our Emmy® Award-winning original series. This time, he's searching for the single idea than can explain the nature of reality, where it all came from, and why we exist at all:  the theory of everything.  Spoiler alert: he thinks he's found the answer.
I'm looking forward to its nomination(s) already.  Too bad Hawking won't be around to see it.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Two songs about Pompeii and a volcano drink for the Ides of March

"Beware The Ides of March!"  That's how I concluded Three pie songs and a pie drink for Pi Day 2018.  Over at Booman Tribune, I told my readers there what form today's doom would take, writing "I'll return tomorrow with songs and drinks inspired by the destruction of Pompeii" in the comments there.  More death and destruction in the Roman World for the Ides of March!

I begin the festivities with Siouxsie & The Banshees - Cities In Dust [Music Video].

That's a 20th Century song inspired by the disaster.  For a 21st Century take, here's Bastille - Pompeii.

Music video by Bastille performing Pompeii.

Those are the songs for today.  Now for the drink, the Lava Flow from Tipsy Bartender.

The most awesome blended drink ever...THE LAVA FLOW! Cocktails are mighty personal things, and people can have vastly different preferences for what kind they like. But we're going to go out on a limb here and say that EVERYONE will love this drink! Fruit and rum is already a badass combination, and with the extra sweetness of cream of coconut, this drink is unbeatable. Close your eyes as you take a sip and it's easy to imagine that you're laying on a tropical white sand beach. Mmm!
1oz Light Rum
1oz Coconut Rum
2oz Strawberries
1 Banana
2oz Pineapple Juice
2oz Cream of Coconut
I'm an environmentalist and I recycle, which is why I beg my readers' forgiveness by not reusing the recipes in Drink a Flaming Volcano for Jindal.  I decided to do something new today, even if the readers of Booman Tribune haven't seen my old material before.  Surprise!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Three pie songs and a pie drink for Pi Day 2018

Happy Pi Day!  To celebrate, I'm previewing the songs and drink I'll post later today at Booman Tribune for this week's edition of Midweek Cafe and Lounge #56, a weekly music feature there.  In keeping with the last two Pi Days, the songs and drink share a pie theme.

I begin with Madonna's cover of Don McLean's iconic American Pie.

Go get 'em, local girl!

Next, Jay & the Techniques with their 1967 hit Apples Peaches Pumpkin Pie.

That was a fun discovery on YouTube.

The final song on a pie theme is I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) by The Four Tops.

I enjoyed working backwards in time with these songs.

Now for the drink, Flaming Pumpkin Pie Shots from Tipsy Bartender, of course.

Here's the recipe:

1 part Coffee Liqueur
1 part Irish Cream
1 part Goldschl├Ąger
Pumpkin Pie Spice
1. Pour coffee liqueur into the base of a shot glass before layering on Irish cream
2. Carefully top with a layer of goldschl├Ąger.
3. Ignite the top of the drink and sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.
When I post the Booman Tribune version, which will be modified and expanded, I'll post the link here.  In the meantime, Happy Pi Day and Beware The Ides of March!

ETA: Booman Tribune version, Midweek Cafe and Lounge, Vol. 56, has been posted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

How did my Oscar predictions fare? Pretty well, actually

I opened and closed Diversity, representation, inclusion, and fantasy all winners at the 90th Academy Awards with a summary report and a promise to expand on it later.
I want to get fantasy out of the way.  The big winner was "The Shape of Water" with four Oscars, Best Picture, Best Director, Original Score, and Production Design.  Two speculative fiction movies won two awards each, "Blade Runner 2049" earning Cinematography and Visual Effects and "Coco" winning Animated Feature Film and Original Song.  Two other speculative fiction films won one Oscar each, "Get Out" for Original Screenplay and "Dear Basketball" for Animated Short Film.  That's a total of ten awards out of the nineteen categories in which speculative fiction films were nominated.  That's definitely better than the six wins out of sixteen nominations speculative fiction films earned last year and better in an absolute sense than the nine wins out of fifteen nominations in 2016, most of which went to "Mad Max: Fury Road."

I'll discuss the speculative fiction movies more later.*
*I plan on writing about the political implications of "Icarus" winning Best Documentary Feature, the political themes in some of the Live Action Short Films and Documentary Short nominees, and finally comparing my predictions from 'The Shape of Water' and 'Blade Runner 2049' lead speculative fiction nominees at the Oscars and other entries with reality.  Stay tuned.
I took care of the first two goals with 'Icarus' wins Best Documentary, making a political point at Putin's expense and Politics and diversity among Oscar nominated short subjects, so it's time to follow through with the third.  Follow over the jump for my Oscar predictions with reality.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Seeker/DNews tells its viewers to chill about Fukushima

Yesterday marked the seventh anniversary of the Fukushima triple disaster.  When I looked for graphics and videos to observe the occasion, I ran into so many conspiracy theories that I decided to look for calmer sources.  I found one in Seeker/DNews, which has been telling its viewers not to panic for at least five years.  Here are the channel's videos on the topic, all with Trace Dominguez as the host.

I begin with 2013's Fukushima Radiation: What You've Heard are LIES!  Despite the sensational title, it's not denouncing what the professionals and authorities are saying, but what the sensationalist amateurs are shouting.

You may have seen that image purportedly showing the alarming spread of Fukushima radiation across the Pacific. But dig deeper, and you'll find that's not the case at all. And that's not the only piece of false information spreading about this scary nuclear disaster. Trace dispels the rumors and tells us what's really going on.
The next year, Trace and DNews told their viewers to Stop Worrying About Fukushima Radiation!

Since the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster, people have been quick to blame radiation levels across the Pacific on the deteriorating power plant. Is the radiation spreading that far, and is there any way to tell if it's actually from Japan? Trace explains why even with the best technology, we can't make Fukushima the culprit. So stop worrying!
Last year saw two videos, the first under the old DNews label, the second as Seeker.  Here's the earlier one, The Internet Is Overreacting About Fukushima's Radiation, Here's Why.

Over 6 years later, new readings from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant show that radiation levels are still very high, but should you be worried?
Yes, DNews is still telling its viewers to chill.

As Seeker, the channel became a little more concerned, but at least it had a scientific basis.  Watch A New Source of Fukushima Radiation Was Just Found, Now What?.

Researchers found radioactive particles from Fukushima on beaches miles away, but how did it get there? And should we be worried?
Make no mistake, things are bad, but there is no need to make them worse than they really are.  I'm glad DNews and now Seeker does not exaggerate for views and just tells the truth.  May I continue to follow its example.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Spring ahead for Daylight Saving Time even if you hate it

Daylight Saving Time starts in two hours.  Watch USA Today's video that means it's time to "get ready for clock confusion."

This Sunday at 2 a.m., your clocks will jump ahead one hour, the start of more evening sunlight for months to come.
Ever since I first mentioned Daylight Saving Time on this blog in 2012, I've become increasingly skeptical of its benefits.  Wochit News summarizes many if not most of my concerns in There Are So Many Reasons To Hate Daylight Savings Time!

If you live in an area that engages in daylight savings, prepare to lose an hour of sleep Sunday morning. Daylight saving time has been linked to a host of mental and physical health issues. It can put people at greater risk for cardiovascular conditions. It's also the reason why some individuals experience Seasonal Affective Disorder. Even worse, it costs us money! Although it was invented to save energy, people use more electricity once DST starts!
All of this has made "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" ask how is this still a thing?"  I myself observed "I used to like Daylight Saving Time, but I'm beginning to wonder if the dozen states considering getting rid of it have the right idea."  John Oliver and I are not alone, as WGRZ in Buffalo asks Should New York Get Rid of Daylight Saving Time?

In the unscientific survey of viewers, 78% responded yes.  John Oliver is right.  How is this still a thing?

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Politics and diversity among Oscar nominated short subjects

I made an observation and a promise at the end of Diversity, representation, inclusion, and fantasy all winners at the 90th Academy Awards on Monday.  The observation was "Sex, ethnicity, race, gender, and disability -- that's a pretty thorough examination of diversity, representation, and inclusion.  It's also a big improvement from 'Oscars so white' just two years ago," while the promise was to examine "the political themes in some of the Live Action Short Films and Documentary Short nominees."  It's time for me to follow through with the promise by noting that the observation applies just as much to the nominees in both categories as it does to the winners, something that struck me as I watched the nominees being announced Sunday night.

I noted that "The Documentary Short winner, 'Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405,' told the story of an female artist who struggled with mental illness" and "'The Silent Child,' the winner of the Live Action Short Film, was about the struggles of a deaf girl."   All the other nominees in both categories had social issue themes as they examined political or diversity issues with some examining the intersection between the two.

Indiewire has a better summary of the nominees for Documentary Short than I could write.
The Oscar-nominated documentary shorts program has always been a chance for the Academy to highlight urgent social issues, and this year is no different. Sticking close to home during a year of political unease, all five of the nominated films hail from the United States, and clearly the country has plenty to examine. Ranging in topic from police brutality to mental illness to the opioid crisis, each nominee uses human stories as an entry point. Clocking in between 30 and 40 minutes, this crop of films offers a deeper dive beneath the headlines — revealing the personal toll a crisis exacts from real people.
The reviewer picked out two films as "standouts," "Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405" and "Traffic Stop," giving both of them an A-.  Both of them stood out to me, too.

As soon as I saw the clip of "Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405" when its nomination was being announced, I knew it would win.  That's because it's a film about Hollywood, which is enough to get the Motion Picture Academy members to vote for it if all other factors are equal, an observation I made about "Birdman," "La La Land," and "O.J.: Made in America" last year.  That was before I found out that the film's subject, Mindy Alper, was known to show business people in Los Angeles.  According to Wikipedia, she was a friend of Catherine Coulson, the "Log Lady" on "Twin Peaks," and a consultant on "Benny & Joon" about how to play a mentally ill woman.  Of course the Oscar electorate would vote for a film about her.  Watch Frank Stiefel's Oscar 2018 Acceptance Speech for Documentary Short Subject and notice the shout-out to Mindy, who is in the audience.

Watch Frank Stiefel's Oscar 2018 acceptance speech for Documentary Short Subject for HEAVEN IS A TRAFFIC JAM ON THE 405 at the 90th Academy Awards.
Enough people know her that one can hear the applause for her, as much as for Stiefel and his wife.

The other thing that struck me was how violent the clip from "Traffic Stop" appeared and how topical the subject was.  Variety had a concise summary explaining the violence.
“Traffic Stop” is lauded documentarian Kate Davis’ first short. (She previously won a Sundance Documentary Grand Jury prize for “Southern Comfort.”) An Austin, Texas, traffic stop leads to the brutalization of driver Breaion King, an African-American school teacher with no record. The short, which will air on HBO in early spring, tackles questions about racism, law enforcement and gender.
In the era of Black Lives Matter, which I've mentioned on this blog only once before, this is a very important film.  Given an electorate that looked like America and not like Hollywood, it might have won.

Moving down the list from Indiewire, which is arranged by the critic's grade, is "Heroin(e)," a film about the opioid crisis in West Virginia.  The critic at Indiewire found it to be the most imaginatively named of the nominees and appreciated its focus on women who are trying to help the addicts, a judge, a fire chief, and a volunteer at a religious charity.

The film that at first looked least like a social-issues documentary was "Knife Skills," which on the surface is about the restaurant business.  What makes it about social issues is that all of the cooking staff are recently released ex-convicts.  That's an angle that fits in with "The Work," one of the most feature-length documentaries of 2017 that I examined about prison life.

Finally, "Edith+Eddie" examines the life and love of the oldest interracial couple in America.  Despite the billing, it is more the broken elder care system and about how adult children use legal guardianships to control the assests of their elderly parents than about race.  It was also the lowest rated of the nominated short documentaries by the critic at Indiewire.

Follow over the jump for my observations on the live-action short subject nominees.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Coffee Party Entertainment Awards movie nominees for 2017

While I have been blogging about the Academy Awards, I've been running another awards program for the Coffee Party, The Coffee Party Entertainment Awards AKA The Golden Coffee Cups.*  The volunteers of Coffee Party USA and I have been voting on which awards to give and which movies and people to recognize for the past two months and last week we finally came up with nominees in four categories showcasing the best in movies about politics and government from 2017.

Here are the nominees in the first category, Best Drama or Comedy about Politics or Government of 2017 (Best Political Scripted Movie for short).

Darkest Hour
Molly's Game
The Post
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

To go along with the movies, the volunteers of Coffee Party USA also chose the following performers for Best Portrayal of a Government Official in a Film during 2017.

Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI in "Darkest Hour"
David Strathairn as FDR in "Darkest Hour"
Francis McDormand in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill in "Darkest Hour"
Judi Dench as Queen Victoria in "Victoria & Abdul"
Woody Harrelson as Chief Willoughby in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri"

Yes, there was a tie, so there are six nominees.  In addition, Francis McDormand's character in "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri" is not a government official, but an activist.  However, activists in movies deserve to be recognized as well, so I decided to let this nomination stand in this category.  Next year, there will be a separate category for activists in film.

There are also two Golden Coffee Cup categories for documentaries.  The first is Best Documentary about Politics or Government of 2017 (Best Political Documentary for short).

Abacus: Small Enough to Jail
An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power
Chasing Coral
LA 92
Last Men in Aleppo
Saving Capitalism
Strong Island

This time, there was an eight-way tie, so there are eight nominees.  Considering the strength of last year's documentaries, I'm not surprised.

Just as there is a category to recognize actors playing politicians and activists in scripted films, there is also one to recognize actual politicians and government officials in documentaries, Best Appearance of a Government Official in a Documentary during 2017.

Al Gore in "An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power"
Hillary Clinton in "Dolores"
Maxine Waters in "LA 92"
Robert Reich in "Saving Capitalism"
Ronald Reagan in "The Reagan Show"

This time, there was no tie, so like Best Political Scripted Movie, there are only five nominees.

The volunteers will vote the nominees this week and next.  I plan on announcing the winners here on March 18.  Stay tuned.

*There is another blog that has presented Golden Coffee Cup Awards to movies, The Morning After...The Movies.  However, the blogger hasn't presented those awards since 2014.  I've asked him (I think it's a him, since the blogger goes by Cooper) if the Coffee Party and I can use the name.  So far, no response.

Also, the volunteers of the Coffee Party plan on doing the same for television shows aired during the 2017-2018 season this coming July.  Stay tuned for that, too.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Record numbers of women running for office on International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day!  To celebrate this year, I'm expanding on something I reported last year, record numbers of women running for office.  Last year, it was CNN.  This year, it's CBS Evening News.

A record number of women are running for office this year, including nearly 500 who have their sights set on the nation's capital. CBS News' Meg Oliver tells us about two female candidates who are hoping for big wins in Texas, which holds its primary elections Tuesday.
ABC News included a similar story on Nightline that focused even more on women running for Congress in Texas, noting the record numbers.

ABC News' "Nightline" met with three women, who were first time candidates and could make history if they won.
That's what the picture looks like in tight focus.  What about the entire picture?  NPR lists the total numbers of women running for the Senate, House of Representatives, and Governor across the country.
At latest count, 431 women were running for or were likely to run for the House nationwide — 339 Democrats and 92 Republicans. At this point in 2016, there were fewer than half that: 212. Likewise, 50 women are running for or likely to run for Senate, compared with 25 at this point in 2016. Many have not officially filed for office yet — filing deadlines have not occurred in many states. But thus far, this year is on track to break records.
In addition, the article has a graphic showing that 82 women are running for governor this year, up from ~28 four years ago.  One of them is Gretchen Whitmer, who is running for Governor in Michigan.

Democratic Nominee for Governor, Gretchen Whitmer stopped by WBKB to discuss her campaign and the bright future of Michigan.
I'm already planning on voting for her in the August primary so she can get the nomination.  I also plan on voting for other women running for office, so I'll be doing my part to make the political leadership here in Michigan more equal.