Saturday, December 31, 2016

Farewell to 2016 on social media for New Year's Eve

I interrupt the latest installment of the Student Sustainability Video Festival for something that should already be an annual tradition here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  In 2014, I combined that year's YouTube Rewind with the year on social media and posted a second entry about the year in social media.  I forgot to do it last year, although I did post the 2015 rewind a bit late.  So to say goodbye to 2016, here's the year on social media, beginning with Facebook's retrospective.

Facebook's Year in Review 2016 from Facebook on Vimeo.

Google - Year In Search 2016 showed most of the same stories along with others that ranked high on the search engine.

See what the world searched for in 2016.

As for Twitter, the graphic at the top says it all.  Good riddance 2016!  John Oliver has the right idea about you.



That was therapeutic.  Stay tuned for a New Year's Day post that contains more joy and hope both about last year and for the new year that has already arrived on half of the planet.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Ocean acidification: Student Sustainability Video Festival 65

I've already mentioned Fukushima as a subject students revisit.  Another one is ocean acidificationACE Science Short: Ocean Acidification was the video from last August's talk on this topic.

Learn about how climate change is impacting our oceans. Alliance for Climate Education educates young people on the science of climate change and empowers them to take action.
To repeat what I wrote in August, this video "is a scary reminder that climate change isn't the only outcome of too much carbon dioxide in the atmosphere."

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Whale evolution: Student Sustainability Video Festival 64

As I wrote yesterday, I'm moving on to videos from August's student presentations.  Before I share clips from talks the students liked, I'm posting some of my favorites.  The first of these is Evolution of the Whale from Green TV.

In this short animation, produced for primary school children by Green.TV, supported by the Wellcome Trust, we look at the remarkable evolution of the whale from a land-based dog-like animal to the marine mammal that became the world's largest ever creature.
It's a bit too simple for my students, but it's a fun, informative video just the same.

Stay tuned for more videos from my students.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Japanese tsunami: Student Sustainability Video Festival 63

Yesterday was my favorite from April.  Today, I'm sharing videos from the students' favorite talk, which was about the 2011 tsunami that hit Fukushima, a topic they revisit from time to time.  First, Japan Tsunami 2011 Street View.

Watch as the March 2011 Tsunami floods a city. The videographer is on the street as the tsunami makes landfall.
Next, 2011 Japan Tsunami Caught on CCTV cameras.

This tsunami footage was recorded on CCTV cameras that were placed along Route 45 in Iwate Prefecture. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) published it in the sped-up form, because the original videos were in very low frame rate.
Both of these videos show that tsunamis are more flood than wave, at least away from the shoreline.

That's it for last April's videos.  On to August's presentations!

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Entomophagy: Student Sustainability Video Festival 62

The extended Christmas weekend is over, but it's still holiday season, so I'm going to take it easy for the rest of the year and into the new year by resuming where I left off this August with Lionfish: Student Sustainability Video Festival 61.  Time for videos from my students' presentations!

Today's clip is my favorite from the videos my students used as visual aids in April, ASAP Science's Should We All Be Eating Insects?

Could these creepy crawlers be the future of food?

I couldn't resist.  I haven't posted an eating bugs entry since Cracked on insects as a food of the future in October 2015.

Stay tuned for more videos from my students.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Drink to 'Rogue One' being a force at the box office

It's time to check the forecast I made to conclude 'Rogue One' has third-highest opening weekend of year, second highest for December.
I'll make another prediction and say that "Rogue One" will be in tenth at the end of Christmas weekend, passing "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."  While I was right to predict that "Jason Bourne" would not remain in tenth, I was wrong about which movie would knock it out of the top ten.  That kind of mistake doesn't bother me; at least I was half-right.
It turned out that the movie made that goal on Friday, as Forbes reported in Box Office: 'Rogue One' Ends Week One With $222M Domestic, $420M Global.
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story ended its first week of domestic play with a solid $16.7 million Thursday gross. To wit, that’s a 12% jump from yesterday, and it brings the Walt Disney blockbuster’s week-long cume to $221.9m. That puts it above Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them ($211m) as the 10th-biggest hit of the year in North America. It will presumably be passing Doctor Strange ($227.6m) sometime today for ninth place, but Suicide Squad ($325m) may have to wait until maybe Monday or Tuesday.
It did pass "Doctor Strange" on Saturday, as Box Office Mojo currently has it in ninth.  I wasn't optimistic enough about the movie's performance at the box office!

As for this weekend, Wochit Entertainment has the story in ‘Rogue One’ Runs Christmas Box Office With $140 Million.

Box office experts knew “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” would remain at the top at the box office, but its dominating margin above other films is something to behold on the holidays. The “Star Wars” prequel starring Felicity Jones and Riz Ahmed is now expected to complete its second weekend with nearly 140 million dollars over the six-day holiday. The Lucasfilm hit should make more than 80 million dollars over Christmas Sunday and on Monday alone. "Rogue One" opened to rave reviews, with an 85 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.
As for the other prediction I made, that it would end up in the top five movies according to domestic box office, Forbes continues to project that still looks good.
It is now inevitable that the Star Wars story will end up being one of the biggest domestic and worldwide hits of the year, joining Finding Dory ($486 million domestic/$1.027 billion worldwide) and Captain America: Civil War ($407m/$1.15b) in the top three or surpassing them in one arena or both. Oh, and along with Zootopia ($341m/1.02b) and The Jungle Book ($364m/$966m), it’ll give Walt Disney all five of the top global blockbusters of the year. Regarding just domestic, Moana and Doctor Strange will give Walt Disney seven of the top 12 biggest hits.
Time to drink to the continuing success of "Rogue One."  I have just the drink for the movie, Rogue One Darth Vader Shots by Tipsy Bartender.

1 oz. (30ml) Black Absinthe
1/2 oz. (15ml) Black Vodka
Splash of Vodka
Splash of Tequila
Splash of Rum
Splash of Gin
Splash of Grenadine
Splash of Strawberry Liqueur
Corn Syrup
Black Sugar

1. Rim a shot glass with corn syrup and black sugar.
2. Add grenadine and strawberry liqueur to the shot glass.
3. In a mixing glass without ice add black absinthe, black vodka, vodka, tequila, rum, and gin. Stir.
4. Layer this black mixture on top of the red layer using a spoon.
5. Garnish with a cherry spear.
Add this to The Jedi and The Dark Side recipes in 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' blasts to new U.S. box office records and the Han Solo and Greedo shots (drink the Han Shot first!) in Star Wars drinks for Star Wars Day and Skyy now has five drink recipes for "Star Wars."  That beats not having any two years ago!

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Seasons Greetings from NASA plus NASA on 'Passengers' and 'Hidden Figures'

Merry Christmas from Crazy Eddie's Motie News!  I usually share a greeting from NASA for the holiday and today is no exception: Season's Greetings from NASA!

To you and yours, the NASA family sends our warmest wishes for a wonderful holiday season.
Since today is also Sunday, I'm sharing some entertainment stories from NASA over the fold about two movies now in theaters, "Passengers" and "Hidden Figures."

Saturday, December 24, 2016

President Obama celebrates Hanukkah for the last time in the White House

Happy Hanukkah!  For this year's celebration of the first night of the Festival of Lights, I'm going to be a good environmentalist and recycle the concept behind Eight years of President Obama pardoning turkeys with this video of last week's Evening Hanukkah Reception.

Farewell, Mr. President.  I will miss you in the White House.

For more on Hanukkah, please read Vox's article about the history of the holiday.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Keith Olbermann airs his grievances about Donald Trump for Festivus

Happy Festivus, time for airing of grievances and feats of strength!  A year ago, I thought I might do something with the aluminum Festivus pole.  That's not happening.*  Instead, I decided yesterday to return to airing of grievances.  I can think of no one better at it right now than Keith Olbermann.  GQ uploaded two videos of Keith ranting this week to the magazine's YouTube channel.  Trump and Putin's Bad Bromance and Trump's Cabinet of Deplorables play supporting roles in both.  The star, of course, is Trump himself.

First, Keith's response to Trump's winning the vote in the Electoral College: So What Are We Supposed to Do Now?.

The Electoral College has affirmed Donald Trump as our 45th President. Here’s what you can do about it.
Next, How Our New Corporate Overlords Plan to Thrive.

The part-time president and the plot to pilfer Social Security.
That's quite an airing of grievances.

Stay tuned for three more holiday posts over the weekend.  Until then, I'll repeat Keith's closing, "Resist.  Peace."

*I originally put the idea of featuring the aluminum pole in the context of a drum corps Festivus.  It turned out three drum corps, the Santa Clara Vanguard, Mandarins, and Oregon Crusaders, all used fake trees, either aluminum or fiberglass, in their shows this year.  I'll be a good environmentalist and use them for May Day.  I don't just recycle; I conserve my resources and reuse them, too.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump and climate change

In the middle of Rick Perry nominated to lead department he wanted to eliminate but couldn't name, I noted that I should have been more upset.
I should be more appalled at what Perry's policies are likely to do to the environment, but I can't help but laugh at the sheer irony of Perry as Energy Secretary.  Given what the rest of Trump's Cabinet of Deplorables looks like, Perry looks relatively reasonable, if in a conventionally awful way.
Last night, Seth Meyers examined more of Trump's Cabinet of Deplorables and their effect on the enviroment in What Trump's Presidency Means for Climate Change: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the affect [effect] Donald Trump's cabinet picks might have on climate change.
Of course Meyers made fun of Rick Perry, as quoted by The Huffington Post.
Citing a Daily Beast story, Meyers noted that while in college Perry apparently got two C grades, a D and an F in chemistry, a C in physics, and a D in “Meat.”

“How do you get a D in Meat?” Meyers asked. “Are you a Chipotle?”

No, he's an Aggie, one who lives down to the stereotype lampooned in Aggie jokes.*

Salon's story featured more serious quotes.
“Trump confirmed everyone’s fears by scouring the country to find the worst possible choice to head the Environment Protection Energy: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt,” Meyers said.
As I wrote, a Cabinet of Deplorables.  As for Trump himself...
“Trump’s past statements on climate change have not been promising, like his infamous claim that the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese, as opposed to Trump, who was created by and for the Russians,” Meyers noted.

I might have more on Trump and Putin's Bad Bromance in tomorrow's celebration of Festivus.  It's perfect for an airing of grievances.  Stay tuned.

*I first became acquainted with my ex-wife by telling Aggie jokes.  She went to the University of Texas, so she had lots of them.  The odd thing is that, other than Perry, all of the Texas A&M alums I've met were nice, intelligent people who didn't deserve the jokes told about them.  Perry does, though, so expect me to tell Aggie jokes from now on when I write about him.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

For Winter Solstice 2016, the Archdruid and I discuss Discordianism and fake holidays

Happy winter solstice, everyoneYesterday, I promisted I would have something special planned for the occasion.  Instead of the usual scientific explanation for today's astronomical event and pagan holiday, I'm sharing another conversation with The Archdruid for the Solstice.  This time, it's one that took place in the comments to The Fifth Side of the Triangle.  Halfway through the essay, Greer finally got to its main topic.
This is where we move from orthodox Hegelianism to the quirky alternative I have in mind. It didn’t emerge out of the profound ponderings of serious philosophers of history in some famous European university. It first saw the light in a bowling alley in suburban Los Angeles, and the circumstances of its arrival—which, according to the traditional account, involved the miraculous appearance of a dignified elderly chimpanzee and the theophany of a minor figure from Greek mythology—suggest that prodigious amounts of drugs were probably involved.

Yes, we’re talking about Discordianism.

I’m far from sure how many of my readers are familiar with that phenomenon, which exists somewhere on the ill-defined continuum between deadpan put-on and serious philosophical critique. The short form is that it was cooked up by a couple of young men on the fringes of the California Beat scene right as that was beginning its mutation into the first faint adumbrations of the hippie phenomenon. Its original expression was the Principia Discordia, the scripture (more or less) of a religion (more or less) that worships (more or less) Eris, the Greek goddess of chaos, and its central theme is the absurdity of belief systems that treat orderly schemes cooked up in the human mind as though these exist out there in the bubbling, boiling confusion of actual existence.
While I had orginally planned not to comment on Greer's blog this month, as I hadn't left a response there since Retrotopia: The Only Way Forward in early September, but I couldn't resist the subject matter.
Hail Eris!

Oh, I'm familiar with Discordianism.  I'm single-handedly keeping alive a fake holiday called Wester, which is the first Sunday following the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox.  When I first posted about it, my Discordian friend claimed it for Discordianism.  As far as I'm concerned, it's still a Discordian holiday.

Now, would you like to play catch with this golden apple inscribed with "Kallisti (To the Fairest)?  I got it to commemorate The Original Snub.

Greer did play catch with me.
Pinku-Sensei, yes, I thought I remembered you were a closet Discordian. Wester is funny; presumably that was the day that some messiah or other descended from the living?
Toss, catch, toss!
Yes, I do worship Discord in my own way.  My time on USENET had that effect on me.  It also made me familiar with the Church of the Subgenius.  I absorbed their attitude, which is more misanthropic than the Discordians, but not much else of their beliefs.
I'm actually not a Discordian; they're a little too silly for my taste.  However, I do like an environment with a certain level of conflict.  In those kind of environments, I've found it's more important to have the right enemies than the right friends.  If you have the right enemies, the right friends will come to you.  Just the same, there is such a thing as too much conflict and discord; it becomes too dangerous and chaotic.  That's where the Crazy Eddie in me comes out, trying to forestall the decline and collapse.

Follow over the jump as for the rest of the conversation.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Gravity waves and other top science stories of 2016

I promised to return to reality today after a three day weekend devoted to entertainment.  I was planning on blogging about the Electoral College or the Flint Water Crisis, but I decided to write about something positive about the past year instead, the year in science.  Following my own adage of "if it moves, it leads," here is New Scientist's  The 12 biggest science stories of 2016.

Gravitational waves, humming gorillas, a new neighbour and more: here are New Scientist's stories of the year.
Science News, Gizmodo, and Newsweek have their own reviews of the top science stories of the year about to end.  Every one of them included the discovery of the gravitational waves predicted by Albert Einstein, so it's the top science story of the year by consensus.  Planet Nine and Proxima B showed up in three of the four.  The remaining stories that showed up in half the lists were human gene editing, a three-parent baby being born, Google's A.I. beating a human Go master, and Zika.  No single environmental story showed in more than one list, although two different climate change stories were mentioned in different articles.  Also, no one story about fighting aging made more than one list, but several different ones also were mentioned, so I'm giving climate change and anti-aging breakthroughs honorable mentions.

The New York Times had its own science, environment, and health year in review articles, but I found them next to useless.  The science summary mentioned none of the above stories, the environmental review was all about climate change, and the health one only mentioned Zika.  I suppose that reinforces my awarding climate change an honorable mention and allows me to break the tie among the third place stories in favor of Zika, but that's about it.  Still, it's enough to convince me to blog about Zika; today's entry is the first time I've mentioned the disease here.

Tomorrow is the winter (hibernal) solstice.  I have something special planned for the occasion.  Stay tuned.

Monday, December 19, 2016

'Westworld' leads speculative fiction television shows at the Golden Globes with three nominations

On Saturday, I wrote about thespeculative fiction movie nominees at the Golden Globes.  Today, as I promised in yesterday's post about 'Rogue One,' it's time for me to write about the television nominees.  USA Today has a rundown of most of the nominees in The 74th annual Golden Globe nominees are here.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced nominations for the Golden Globe Awards Monday in Los Angeles. The 74th annual awards air Jan. 8 (NBC, 8 p.m. ET/5 PT). Here are the contenders.
I know, that's the video I should have embedded in Saturday's entry.  Better late than never.

Once again, the same three speculative fiction shows nominated for Best Drama Series at the Critics' Choice Awards returned for the Golden Globes.
Best Television Series – Drama:
“The Crown”
“Game of Thrones”
“Stranger Things”
“This Is Us”
"Game of Thrones," "Stranger Things," and "Westworld" also showed up among the Favorite Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy Series nominees at the People's Choice Awards, and "Stranger Things" was also nominated for Favorite TV Show, so there appears to be critical and popular consensus both on which speculative fiction shows are best, but also that they are among the best shows on television right now.  This year may suck in other ways, but it's a great time for fans of speculative fiction on television.

As for which show I'm rooting for, it's still "Westworld."  I'm not alone, as Wochit Entertainment reports that George R.R. Martin Suspects ‘Westworld’ May Beat Out ‘Game Of Thrones’ At The Golden Globes.

The nominations for the 2017 Golden Globes are out and it’s no surprise that Game Of Thrones is once again up for some big awards. The show landed itself in the Best Television Series – Drama category, while Lena Headey is up for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Television Series. “Being an HBO guy, I’m thrilled that to see that both GAME OF THRONES and WESTWORLD have been nominated for the big prize… though WESTWORLD is going to be some tough competition.
Follow over the jump for the acting nominations.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

'Rogue One' has third-highest opening weekend of year, second highest for December

In my response to Infidel 753's comment to Reactions to 'Rogue One' from critics and stars, I made a prediction.
I fully expect "Rogue One" to have one of the three biggest opening weekends of the year, right up there with "Captain America: Civil War" and "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice."
According to Box Office Mojo, that prediction came true as "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" had the third largest opening weekend of the year, right behind the two big superhero movies.  Wochit Entertainment's headline on the film's opening is too good to pass up: ‘Rogue One’ Goes Rogue At The Box Office.

Disney’s Lucasfilm prequel “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” easily took first place at the box office during its opening weekend, earning an estimated $155 million domestically — just ahead of expectations. Counting international returns, the hotly anticipated “Star Wars” movie earned $290.5 million globally as it opened in all major territories abroad, except for China and South Korea...Disney dominated the weekend as returning animated hit “Moana” came in second place with $11.7 million.
Forbes puts the opening in perspective with details in 'Rogue One' Box Office: 'Star Wars' Nabs $155M Weekend For $290.5M Worldwide Bow.
It’s the 12th-biggest debut weekend of all time, the 17th if you want to play the “adjusted for inflation” game. It’s the third-biggest opening weekend of the year, behind Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice ($166m) and Captain America: Civil War ($179m).

It sits right alongside the likes of The Hunger Games, Spider-Man 3 and Furious 7. But of course, those (and the various Twilight Saga sequels and the last two Dark Knight films that opened in the $138-$160 million range) went out as straight 2D releases. I don’t mean to sound like a grinch. This is a terrific debut weekend and will probably lead to an obscene domestic final.
The debut is (obviously) the second biggest opening ever in December, coming in 83% higher than the $84 million debut of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Heck, it almost topped The Desolation of Smaug’s whole debut weekend ($73m) in a single day. If you count it as a prequel to Star Wars, as opposed to a sequel to Revenge of the Sith, it’s the biggest debut ever for a prequel.
That's an impressive roster of films that "Rogue One" has outgrossed in its opening weekend.

I'm not the only one who can point to a solid prediction.  Infidel 753 made one in the comments to 'Suicide Squad' leads Grammy nominations in music for visual media followed by 'Stranger Things' when he cast his ballot for the topic of the next day's entry.
The vote's a tough one, but even though I'm not much of a Star Wars fan, it might be interesting to see how well "Rogue One" does since the most toxic elements of the wingnutosphere are calling for a boycott of it. I'm guessing they'll have zero effect.
I think the alt-right boycott had as much effect as it did when 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' blasted to new U.S. box office records -- none.  Good call, Infidel!

I made another prediction about "Rogue One" in the comment I quoted to begin this entry.
I also expect it to finish in the top five movies of the year. In fact, if it brings in only half the gross of "The Force Awakens," it would still be the second highest grossing movie released this year, right behind "Finding Dory." I think it might just barely come in first with $600M.
Forbes made a simliar forecast.
If it plays exactly like The Force Awakens from here on out, and this is just "fun with math" at the moment, we’re looking at $584m domestic and $1.135 billion worldwide, which would make it the biggest domestic grosser and second-biggest worldwide grosser (behind Captain America: Civil War's $1.15b) of the year.
Since my predictions are for the domestic (North American) box office and not the global one, it looks like I'm good.  As it is, Box Office Mojo lists "Rogue One" as the fifteenth highest grossing movie of the year so far, right behind "X-Men: Apocalypse," which completed its run in July, and it's only the opening weekend.  I'll make another prediction and say that "Rogue One" will be in tenth at the end of Christmas weekend, passing "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them."  While I was right to predict that "Jason Bourne" would not remain in tenth, I was wrong about which movie would knock it out of the top ten.  That kind of mistake doesn't bother me; at least I was half-right.

Enough about "Star Wars" for today.  Stay tuned for the speculative fiction nominees at the Golden Globes tomorrow.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

'Deadpool,' 'Arrival,' 'Moana' lead speculative fiction movie nominees at the Golden Globes

Yesterday, I promised "a weekend of entertainment entries concentrating on awards shows and Star Wars."  I'm saving "Star Wars" for tomorrow, when the weekend box office comes out.  Today belongs to the Golden GlobesVariety has the full list of nominees, from which I'm pulling the categories with speculative fiction contestants, beginning with the movies.
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
“20th Century Women”
“La La Land”
“Florence Foster Jenkins”
“Sing Street”
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy:
Colin Farrell – “The Lobster”
Ryan Gosling – “La La Land”
Hugh Grant – “Florence Foster Jenkins”
Jonah Hill – “War Dogs”
Ryan Reynolds – “Deadpool”
"Deadpool" and Ryan Reynolds won both categories at the Critics' Choice Awards but neither the movie nor the actor were competing directly against "La La Land" and Ryan Gosling in that film at that awards show.  Here, they are and so I expect "La La Land" and Gosling will win instead.  Reynolds has better odds than "Deadpool," as Reynolds did beat Gosling playing another role as one of the detectives in "The Nice Guys."

Competing against both Gosling and Reynolds is even worse news for Colin Farrell in "The Lobster."  Against this field, he doesn't stand a chance.

"Arrival" did not receive a nomination for best Motion Picture - Drama, but it did get recognized in two other categories, tying "Deadpool" for nominations.
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama:
Amy Adams – “Arrival”
Jessica Chastain – “Miss Sloane”
Isabelle Huppert – “Elle”
Ruth Negga – “Loving”
Natalie Portman – “Jackie”
Best Original Score – Motion Picture:
Nicholas Britell– “Moonlight”
Justin Hurwitz – “La La Land”
Johann Johannsson – “Arrival”
Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – “Lion”
Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – “Hidden Figures”
Congratulations to "Arrival" for its nominations, but I think those will be as far as it goes at the Golden Globes.  I expect the winners from the equivalent categories at the Critics' Choice Awards will repeat themselves, Natalie Portman for Best Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama and Justin Hurwitz for "La La Land."  "Arrival" will have to wait until the Saturn Awards for the recognition it deserves unless Felicity Jones and Michael Giacchino get wins for "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" instead.  Given that electorate, which gave Harrison Ford Best Actor over Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon, I wouldn't be surprised if that happened.

I conclude with two categories that usually share nominees.
Best Motion Picture – Animated:
“Kubo and the Two Strings”
“My Life as a Zucchini”

Best Original Song – Motion Picture:
“Can’t Stop the Feeling” – “Trolls”
“City of Stars” – “La La Land”
“Faith” – “Sing”
“Gold” – “Gold”
“How Far I’ll Go” – “Moana”
Again, I expect repeats of the Critics' Choice Awards, "Zootopia" for Best Motion Picture - Animated and "City of Stars" for Best Original Song - Motion Picture."  The dark horse would be "Moana" and either "How Far I'll Go" or "Can't Stop the Feeling," as former tied "Arrival" and "Deadpool" for nominations and the latter also earned a nomination at the Grammy Awards.

That's it for the Golden Globes for today.  I'll return with the speculative fiction nominees on television on Monday after reporting on the opening weekend for "Rogue One" tomorrow.  Then again, I might reverse the two.  Either way, stay tuned.

Friday, December 16, 2016

U.S. life expectancy falls prompting Russian analogies

On the collapse and decline beat in the real world, Al Jazeera English reports US life expectancy declines for first time in two decades.

The average life expectancy in the United States has fallen for the first time in more than two decades.

Researchers blame the drop on a rise in preventable diseases.

Al Jazeera’s Kristen Saloomey has more.
Vox noted that the increased rates of death resulting in lower life expectancy are not the result of one cause in one part of the country.
What complicates the overarching narrative of despair — that a lack of economic prospects is leading people to self-harm and substance abuse — is that it simply can’t apply to the whole country. Different geographic regions are experiencing extreme variations in despair-related outcomes like suicides, drug overdoses, and heart disease, said Abraham Flaxman of the University of Washington, one of the authors of the new JAMA paper.

"If you look at geographic patterns, you can say it’s despair that’s leading people to drink and do drugs. But then why wouldn’t that apply to leading people to overeat and become obese and diabetic? These trends are happening in different places."

To be more specific, today’s cardiovascular disease problems (which are linked to nutrition and obesity) largely plague the South, while the substance abuse and mental health issues are more concentrated in Appalachia, and the rise in self-harm and interpersonal violence is happening in the Southwestern part of the country.
New York Magazine was less sanguine.
“I think we should be very concerned,” Case told Lenny Bernstein of the Washington Post. “This is singular. This doesn’t happen.” When Case and Deaton released their finding, they argued that it was largely attributable to disturbing upticks in various forms of addiction — opioids, most importantly — as well as suicide. The new statistics get more granular, and they suggest the misery is well-dispersed: There were increases in just about every major cause of death between 2014 and 2015, and the death-rate increases centered on whites and black men — they remained flat for Latinos and for black women. People are dying for a lot of reasons, but drugs stand out as a particularly devastating part of the problem: In fact, one key to the racial divide may also come from numbers released yesterday, these from the CDC: For the first time ever, more people died from heroin overdoses than from gun homicides in 2015.
Eep!  That's an alarming statistic on a topic I haven't blogged about here.  No wonder opioid addiction has been a big topic in the news!  On the other hand, it reinforces a point I've been making off and on all year, that it was not likely that gun deaths would pass traffic deaths in the U.S. last year.  Now I'm even less sure that will happen as long as Americans continue to increase the miles they drive and other causes of death are gaining on those from firearms.  As seen on the graph at the top, accidents of all kinds, including both traffic deaths and overdoses, are now the third leading cause of death for all Americans.

Both Vox and New York Magazine compared the current increase in mortality to that of post-USSR Russia, but New York Magazine was more colorful.
We don’t know how bad the United States’ burgeoning mortality crisis is going to get. Russia provides a disturbing worst-case scenario. “Sometime in 1993, after several trips to Russia, I noticed something bizarre and disturbing: people kept dying,” wrote Masha Gessen in New York Review of Books in 2014. “I was used to losing friends to AIDS in the United States, but this was different. People in Russia were dying suddenly and violently, and their own friends and colleagues did not find these deaths shocking.” She went on to explain that “In the seventeen years between 1992 and 2009, the Russian population declined by almost seven million people, or nearly 5 percent — a rate of loss unheard of in Europe since World War II. Moreover, much of this appears to be caused by rising mortality,” with alcohol a prime culprit. This is what happens when the insides of a developed country begin to rot.

The United States isn’t Russia. Probably. But wherever this trend goes, what we’re seeing is the end result of decades of slow-burn economic decline and decay, with no end in sight. You can only make it hard for people to work and pay rent and buy necessities and live so long, you can only have them living right on the brink of bad-break ruin for so long, before there will be serious consequences. And we’re seeing those serious consequences in every new set of shocking mortality statistics.
I mention the Russian experience after the fall of the Soviet Union in class regularly as an example of how government and civilization work to increase and maintain carrying capacity and how their decline and fall causes carrying capacity to fall, increasing mortality dramatically.  It's right up there with the fall of Rome.  I hope I don't have to use the U.S. as an example as well.

Enough DOOM from the real world.  Stay tuned for a weekend of entertainment entries concentrating on awards shows and Star Wars!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

'Inconvenient Truth 2' being released next year

I mentioned a sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth," at the end of "Westworld" wins two acting honors at the Critics' Choice Awards.  Wochit Entertainment has the story: 11 Years After its Premiere, 'An Inconvenient Truth' Gets a Sequel.

Al Gore's climate change documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," is getting a sequel. Paramount Pictures said Friday the follow-up to the Oscar-winning original will premiere at next January's Sundance Film Festival. In a statement, Gore called for a re-dedication to solving what he called the climate crisis and said there are reasons to be hopeful. He met this week with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss the topic and termed the meeting productive. Several days later, Trump picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, a climate-change denier, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency.
I just finished showing my students "An Inconvenient Truth" last week.  It's a very good movie, and it's holding up better than "The End of Suburbia," which I've really had enough of for reasons beyond the age of the film.*  Just the same, it's also getting out of date so I've been looking for a replacement such as "Chasing Ice."  Maybe I can just wait until the sequel comes out on DVD and show that instead.  I know, I'm lazy, but it might just work.

*I've become more and more disenchanted with Kunstler.  He's developed a terrible case of "Get off my lawn" over the past couple of years.  I'm less inclined to give his ideas a captive audience in my students.  I'm also fed up with a lot of his commenters, to the point where I am not posting comments at his blog for the rest of the year.  Yeah, that's only two more weeks, but still.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Rick Perry nominated to lead department he wanted to eliminate but couldn't name

Five years ago, this happened.

As I wrote at the time, "Sorry, Governor, the correct answer was 'What is the Department of Energy?'"

Yesterday, this happened: Rick Perry once wanted to abolish the Energy Department. Trump picked him to run it.
That brain fart ended Perry’s presidential aspirations in 2012. But it wasn’t the end of the story: Donald Trump has reportedly picked Rick Perry to lead the Energy Department, the very agency he once kinda sorta wanted to get rid of. And while it’s not clear that Perry still wants to abolish the DOE, the climate-denying, fossil fuel–loving former governor from Texas is likely to usher in major changes to this key agency.
Donald Trump’s transition team, for its part, has generally signaled that it wants to tilt the Energy Department’s focus away from renewables and back toward programs that support oil and gas drilling (and possibly nuclear power). And Rick Perry — an inveterate climate denier who was governor for 15 years of one of America’s most important oil and gas states — is a natural fit to do just that.
I should be more appalled at what Perry's policies are likely to do to the environment, but I can't help but laugh at the sheer irony of Perry as Energy Secretary.  Given what the rest of Trump's Cabinet of Deplorables looks like, Perry looks relatively reasonable, if in a conventionally awful way.  Besides, Ex-Governor Goodhair is a good stuck clock, so he's right twice a day.  After all, he said this about his boss-to-be.

And this:

He's still right about both things he said about Trump.  I just hope he remembers them.  I will.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

"Westworld" wins two acting honors at the Critics' Choice Awards

"Stay tuned for the speculative fiction winners on television tomorrow."  So ended yesterday's entry on the Critics' Choice Awards.  It's tomorrow, so I'll begin with the big winner among the speculative fiction nominees, "Westworld," which earned two awards for Evan Rachel Wood as Best Actress in a Drama Series and Thandie Newton for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.  Here is Wood accepting her award.

Evan Rachel Wood accepts the award for Best Actress in a Drama Series for her work on "Westworld," presented by Ty Burrell, at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
When Wood mentioned the other actresses in the category show won, she meant it.  That was an impressive field that included Viola Davis and Tatiana Maslany, the past two Emmy winners in this category, and Caitriona Balfe, the defending Favorite Sci-Fi/Fantasy Actress at the People's Choice Awards.  Thandie Newton's accomplishment was no mean feat, as she beat two actresses from "Game of Thrones" along with the rest of a talented field.  I'm just as impressed.

"Game of Thrones" may have been shut out of the acting awards, but it beat its fellow HBO show for Best Drama Series.  Here is Hodor's actor accepting the award.

Kristian Nairn accepts the award for Best Drama Series on behalf of the cast and crew of "Game of Thrones," presented by Kaley Cuoco, at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
Yes, he's the DJ, and true to form, he didn't say anything.

As for Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who plays Negan on "The Walking Dead," he won Best Guest Performer in a Drama Series.  This is only the second Critics' Choice Award the show has won and the first voted on by the critics.  The other was Most Bingeworthy two years ago, which was voted on by the fans and not awarded this year.  Congratulations to the actor playing the character I love to hate.  Just for that, here's Norman Reedus on the red carpet.

"Walking Dead" star Norman Reedus talks about the mania surrounding the show at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
Finally, the Best Animated Series went to "BoJack Horseman."

That completes the report on this year's winners.  Stay tuned for reports on the Golden Globe nominees, a sequel to "An Inconvenient Truth," and the opening weekend of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," along with brief excursions to reality.

Monday, December 12, 2016

'Deadpool' wins three awards at Critics' Choice ceremony with 'Arrival' earning two

Speculative fiction did well at last night's Critics' Choice Awards, winning a total of eight movie awards.  The most honored was "Deadpool," which earned two Critics' Choice Awards for Best Comedy and Best Actor in a Comedy for Ryan Renolds plus a bonus award for Reynolds as Entertainment Weekly's Entertainer of the Year.  Here is Reynolds accepting that last trophy, which actually happened very early in the evening.

Ryan Reynolds accepts the Entertainment Weekly Entertainer of the Year Award, presented by T.J. Miller and Jess Cagle, at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
Reynolds returned to the stage to accept Best Actor in a Comedy.

Ryan Reynolds accepts the award for Best Actor in a Comedy for his work in "Deadpool," presented by Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Nia Long, at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
He returned to the stage a third time for the presentation of the Best Comedy award, but this time he didn't say anything.

Simon Kinberg and Ryan Reynolds accepts the award for Best Comedy on behalf of the cast and crew of "Deadpool," presented by Jim Parsons, at the 22nd Annual Critics' Choice Awards (December 2016).
That was better than I expected for "Deadpool," as I made no predictions about the movie's chances last week.  The best I can say was that I expected "Hacksaw Ridge" to win Best Action Movie, which it did.  Just the same, congratulations to "Deadpool" and Ryan Reynolds.  Everyone drink in their honor!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the winners in speculative fiction on both the big and small screens.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Reactions to 'Rogue One' from critics and stars

I called for a vote at the end of 'Suicide Squad' leads Grammy nominations in music for visual media followed by 'Stranger Things'.
Should I blog about the opening weekend of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," the speculative fiction nominees for the Writers Guild of America Awards, or the politics and crime nominees for the Critics' Choice Awards?
I got one vote on Facebook for the Writers Guild Awards and another at yesterday's entry for "Rogue One," so I cast the tie-breaker for "Rogue One."  I did so even though it's not really the opening weekend; that starts this Friday.  However, the movie did have its Hollywood premiere last night, as Wochit Entertainment reports in What Are The First Reactions To Rogue One?

Stars and fans who were lucky enough to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story took to Twitter right after the premiere let out in Hollywood on Saturday night to share their thoughts. I can't wait… — Dane Cook (@DaneCook) December 11, 2016 So much cheering during the movie. Audience loved it — Aaron Couch (@AaronCouch) December 11, 2016 ROGUE ONE WAS AMAZING #StarWarsRogueOne — Veronica Merrell (@veronicamerrell) December 11, 2016 I FREAKIN LOVE STAR WARS OMG ROGUE ONE WAS AMAZING — Vanessa Merrell (@VanessaMerrell) December 11, 2016 ROGUE ONE = excellent.
That's from the audience.  For a more critical reaction, pun intended, Wochit passed along Reuters' judgment that Rogue One Ushers In Gritty Star Wars Era.

With a new band of rebels and a high-stakes journey, "Star Wars" ushered in a new chapter on Saturday by bringing a galaxy far, far away to the heart of Hollywood for the "Rogue One" premiere. Directed by Gareth Edwards, "Rogue One" is the first standalone film in Disney's "Star Wars" reboot. But for the sake of 'Star Wars', I was prepared to do it," she said. The movie explores the journey preceding the events that launched George Lucas' intergalactic saga with 1977's "Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope". The diverse cast boasts Mexican actor Luna, British-Pakistani actor Ahmed, Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen and Chinese actors Donnie Yen and Wen Jiang.
USA Today had more on the grittiness of the film.
[Director Gareth] Edwards says the biggest risk he took was creating realistic battle scenes that took the audience right into the trenches as the Rebels and Imperial forces tussle, whether in the streets of Jedha City or the tropical shores of the planet Scarif.

The result is a more brutal and grittier Star Wars movie than seen before, says Ben Mendelsohn, who stars as the villainous Imperial officer Director Orson Krennic. “It really is a muscular, tough film.”

When developing Rogue One, Edwards took old World War II photography and Photoshopped Rebel helmets on soldiers’ heads. When passersby would check out the artwork in the Lucasfilm offices, their reactions were all the same, Edwards says: “That looks amazing. I want to see that film.”

So he threw his actors right into battle, including filming in extreme heat in the Maldives for one of the Rebellion's more epic showdowns with the Empire.
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie later this month even more.

Speaking of looking forward, Wochit has more good news in Disney CEO: There Will Be Star Wars Movies Past Episode 9.

When The Walt Disney Company purchased Lucasfilm back in October 2012, it was quick to announce not one, but two series of Star Wars films: The expected sequel trilogy, consisting of Episode VII: The Force Awakens and two follow-ups, and the unexpected “anthology” films, of which this month’s Rogue One: A Star Wars Story is the first. That means audiences will be getting one new movie a year up until 2020. Or, at least, it would’ve meant that, if director Josh Trank hadn’t been fired and his proposed spinoff, a Boba Fett anthology story, hadn’t been shelved.
This is exactly what I hoped and expected would happen, given how Disney puts out at least one Marvel film a year.

I'll cover the box office for the movie's actual opening weekend next week.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

'Suicide Squad' leads Grammy nominations in music for visual media followed by 'Stranger Things'

I made the following prediction about "Heathens" by Twenty One Pilots from "Suicide Squad" and "Sledgehammer" by Rihanna from "Star Trek Beyond" to conclude One last People's Choice nominees entry about songs in speculative fiction movies.
I fully expect one or both songs to be nominated at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards.  I wouldn't be surprised if other songs from "Suicide Squad" are also nominated.  The movie probably has the best compilation song soundtrack of any live-action movie this year.
It's too early to test either prediction, as the Golden Globes nominations come out next Monday and the Oscars not until next year, but the Emmy Awards nominations made my prognostication look good as "Heathens" earned three nominations, another song from "Suicide Squad" got another nomination, and the compilation album earned a fifth.  Here are the relevant categories from Billboard.
Best Compilation Soundtrack For Visual Media:

Amy — (Various Artists)
Miles Ahead — Miles Davis & Various Artists)
Straight Outta Compton — (Various Artists)
Suicide Squad (Collector's Edition) — (Various Artists)
Vinyl: The Essentials Season 1 — (Various Artists)
I may still be right about the movie having the best compilation of songs of any film released this year, as the only other film released this year whose soundtrack was nominated was "Miles Ahead" ("Vinyl" was from a TV show on HBO that was canceled).  The rest were from movies released last year.  However, I am not optimistic about its chances in this field, as "Suicide Squad" is the only movie nominated that is not about the music business.  It's the musicians voting for this award and they might just go for "Amy," which won Best Feature Length Documentary at the Oscars and Best Music Film at the Grammy Awards last year, or "Straight Outta Compton."
Best Song Written For Visual Media:

"Can't Stop The Feeling!" — Max Martin, Shellback & Justin Timberlake, songwriters (Justin Timberlake, Anna Kendrick, Gwen Stefani, James Corden, Zooey Deschanel, Walt Dohrn, Ron Funches, Caroline Hjelt, Aino Jawo, Christopher Mintz-Plasse & Kunal Nayyar), Track from: Trolls
"Heathens" — Tyler Joseph, songwriter (Twenty One Pilots), Track from: Suicide Squad
"Just Like Fire" — Oscar Holter, Max Martin, P!nk & Shellback, songwriters (P!nk), Track from: Alice Through The Looking Glass
"Purple Lamborghini" — Shamann Cooke, Sonny Moore & William Roberts, songwriters (Skrillex & Rick Ross), Track from: Suicide Squad
"Try Everything" — Mikkel S. Eriksen, Sia Furler & Tor Erik Hermansen, songwriters (Shakira), Track from: Zootopia
"The Veil" — Peter Gabriel, songwriter (Peter Gabriel), Track from: Snowden
This is only one of three nominations for "Heathens," the others being Best Rock Performance and Best Rock Song.  I'd say it's the favorite, as the other songs were only nominated in this category.

"Heathens" is joined by my second favorite song from the movie, "Purple Lamborghini," which features Jared Leto as the Joker.  He looks like he came right out of "Batman: The Animated Series."  That's appropriate, as that's where Harley Quinn got her start.

The official video for Skrillex & Rick Ross - "Purple Lamborghini"
Featured in "Suicide Squad" movie & official soundtrack
Three other speculative fiction movies have songs in this field, "Alice Through the Looking Glass," "Trolls," and "Zootopia," along with a song from the political documentary "Snowden."  Based on the movies alone, this is a great field.  Speaking of which...
Best Score Soundtrack For Visual Media:

Bridge of Spies — Thomas Newman, composer
Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight — Ennio Morricone, composer
The Revenant — Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto, composers
Star Wars: The Force Awakens — John Williams, composer
Stranger Things Volume 1 — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers
Stranger Things Volume 2 — Kyle Dixon & Michael Stein, composers
Four of these are for films released last year, one of which, Ennio Morricone's for "The Hateful Eight," has already won the Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Original Score.  Personally, I'd prefer John Williams' score for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" to win, but I'm not optimistic.  Personally, I think the odd nominees out have a better chance, the two CDs for "Stranger Things."  I've seen song compilation albums from TV shows nominated before, but I can't remember if the score for a TV show ever has been.  That by itself is quite an accomplishment.  Since I've already written that this is the year for "Stranger Things," I wouldn't be surprised if it pulled off an upset.

Since I mentioned the show, here is its opening theme song.

I fully expect both the theme song and the opening title sequence to be nominated for an Emmy.  I also expect it to be competing in both categories against "Westworld."  Be patient about those predictions coming true, as the nominations won't come out until June.

As for the subject of tomorrow's entry, it's time for another vote.  Should I blog about the opening weekend of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story," the speculative fiction nominees for the Writers Guild of America Awards, or the politics and crime nominees for the Critics' Choice Awards?  Leave your vote in the comments below at this blog or at this blog's Facebook page.  I also accept write-in votes, but only for entertainment topics.  Hurry, as I'll close nominations at Noon EST Sunday the 11th.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Godspeed, John Glenn and R.I.P.

In the comments to Party's over as judge orders Michigan recount halted, I changed my mind about the subject of today's entry.
[T]omorrow's post looks like it won't be any of the ones I suggested. Instead, it will be a video tribute to John Glenn. While I post a lot about politics and entertainment lately, this was originally a science, technology, and environment blog and one of the recurring topics has been space exploration and the fear that it might go away. Senator Glenn's death fits right into those themes.
Without any further ado, I'm sharing ABC News' John Glenn Dead at 95 | Remembering the First American To Orbit Earth.

John Glenn, the first American astronaut to orbit the earth and a legendary figure in the American space flight program, has died, the Ohio governor has said. He was 95. Glenn was one of America's first and most celebrated astronauts and had a long public career that included two space flights, 24 years as a U.S. Senator from Ohio, and a run for the presidency. He was born July 18, 1921. Glenn will go down in history as the first American to orbit the earth, one of the original seven Mercury astronauts. On Feb. 20, 1962, he climbed into his Friendship 7 capsule, lifted off from Cape Canaveral in Florida, circled the earth three times in five hours -- and became a national hero.
His time as a Mercury astronaut became part of a movie, "The Right Stuff."  Here is the fictionalized version of his first mission from the movie, which has an appropriate title for today: The Right Stuff. Godspeed Ed Harris - I mean, John Glenn.

One last time, Godspeed, Senator Glenn.  Say hello to fellow Ohioan Neil Armstrong once you get to your destination.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Party's over as judge orders Michigan recount halted


I told my readers at the end of Dueling rulings mean Michigan recount continues for now "All parties involved (pun intended) will be back in the same federal court that ordered the recount to begin on Monday to argue their cases.  Stay tuned."  That happened and WOOD-TV reported the result was Federal judge agrees to end Michigan recount after 3 days.

A federal judge who ordered Michigan to start a second look at presidential votes has dropped his decision, effectively ending the recount.
Well, phooey.  I was hoping to see it finished, although I worried that the party might end prematurely.  Still, it served its purpose, as the Detroit Free Press as reprinted in USA Today passed along the following from Jill Stein's campaign.
But attorneys for Stein argued the recount must continue, stressing that thus far it has shown numerous voting problems across the state, particularly in Detroit, where more than half of the precincts' ballots cannot be recounted due to problems that have not been disclosed. They also argued that Stein is an aggrieved party if she participated in an election that was plagued with mistakes or fraud. And the voters of Michigan have a right to know that, too, they said.

"There is no way of knowing whether fraud occurred without conducting the recount," Stein's attorney, Hayley Horowitz, told Goldsmith during the hearing, arguing it is "way to early" to know if fraud was an issue.

After the hearing, Stein told the Detroit Free Press that so far, the recount appears to be exposing problems with Michigan's election process, particularly in low-income, minority communities.

"It is revealing some really troubling aspects of how elections are run here," Horowitz said of the recount. "We think that's part of the reason the recount should continue — to continue revealing those problems so that the people of Michigan can see how their election operates."
It also got some people's votes counted properly, as the Detroit Free Press reported in Clinton gains 65 votes in Ingham County recount.
Ingham County completed its presidential election recount Wednesday, with Hillary Clinton gaining a net increase of 65 votes over President-elect Donald Trump.

Clinton’s vote total increased by 138 in Ingham County, while Trump gained 73 more votes than were recorded on Election Night, according to the county’s recount report.

Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate who requested Michigan’s statewide recount, lost two votes in Ingham County in the recount. Libertarian Gary Johnson gained two votes, according to the report.
Only 23 of 208 precincts in Ingham County were not recountable.  Meanwhile, Oakland County also finished its recount of Election Day ballots and was working its way through absentee ballots when the order to stop came down.  It found only 26 of 520 precincts not recountable.  Both of those are more acceptable than potentially one-third of Wayne County's precincts.  As I wrote, both Barb Byrum, Ingham County Clerk, and Lisa Brown, Oakland County Clerk, run tight ships, and I'd support either one for Secretary of State in 2018, especially over Janice Winfrey, the Detroit City Clerk, and Cathy M. Garrett, the Wayne County Clerk.

Since I started this week with a song, I'll end it with one, Peggy Lee - The Party's Over.

Regular programming resumes tomorrow.  I might have something on the Michigan Legislature's lame duck session, Al Gore meeting with Donald Trump about climate change, or I might start writing about entertainment awards early.  It depends on how I feel and what material is available.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Dueling rulings mean Michigan recount continues for now

I concluded The party starts as Michigan recount begins as ordered with "As for the hearing in Lansing and the appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, stay tuned.  This party might end prematurely."  WXYZ has news on both court hearings in Dueling rulings confuse recount.

Dueling court rulings are confusing the current status of the Michigan presidential recount.
Mark Brewer is right, the federal courts have primacy over state courts, so the recount continues, as WOOD-TV reports in Presidential election recount underway in West Michigan.

Throughout the state, local clerks are keeping one eye on the recount and one eye on the courtroom.
All parties involved (pun intended) will be back in the same federal court that ordered the recount to begin on Monday to argue their cases.  Stay tuned.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The party starts as Michigan recount begins as ordered

Yesterday, I wrote "get this party started!"  It did, as Fox 47 in Lansing reported in Ingham County presidential recount is underway.

Ingham was the first county to start recounting presidential ballots on Monday, finishing the day with about a fourth of precincts counted.
Oakland County also started hand-counting ballots yesterday, which WXYZ mentioned in Presidential vote recount begins today in Wayne and Macomb counties.

That a third of precincts in Detroit may be ineligible for a recount is not good news for anyone having their hopes up that this recount will change the result of the election.  If anything, Trump's lead may increase because of it.  It also makes me even less enamored of both Janice Winfrey, the Detroit City Clerk, and Cathy M. Garrett, the Wayne County Clerk.  Neither one of them appears to be running a tight ship, or otherwise these kinds of irregularities would happen so frequently.  If either ever is up for nomination at a Michigan Democratic Convention for Secretary of State, I'm not voting for them and might just see if I could join a group to recruit another candidate.  Barb Byrum in Ingham County or Lisa Brown in Oakland County, the first two counties to participate in the recount, would be my choices.

As for the hearing in Lansing and the appeal to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals, stay tuned.  This party might end prematurely.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Federal judge orders Michigan recount to begin today

When I promised that I would return to reality today, I didn't expect this news on the Michigan recount happening over the weekend: Decision pending on Michigan election recount from WXYZ.

The result of that hearing was Judge orders immediate start of Michigan recount from the Detroit Free Press via USA Today.
A federal judge early Monday morning ordered a recount of Michigan's presidential ballots to begin at noon on Monday, and for the state to "assemble necessary staff to work sufficient hours" to complete the recount by a Dec. 13 federal deadline.

Lawyers for Green Party candidate Jill Stein urged the action in an emergency request, and U.S. District Judge Mark Goldsmith held a rare Sunday hearing in federal court. It lasted three hours, and Goldsmith issued a written opinion just after midnight Monday morning.

Goldsmith said a state law requiring a two-business-day waiting period to start the recount probably violates voting rights. Stein has shown "a credible threat that the recount, if delayed, would not be completed" by Dec. 13 — the federal "safe harbor" deadline to guarantee Michigan's electoral votes are counted when the electoral college meets Dec. 19.

"With the perceived integrity of the presidential election as it was conducted in Michigan at stake, concerns with cost pale in comparison," Goldsmith said in his opinion.

In ordering the recount to begin at noon Monday, rather than Wednesday morning under the two-day waiting period the state planned to observe, Goldsmith ordered the recount, once started, "must continue until further order of this court."
I have two reactions to this news.  First, it makes me more optimistic that Stein moving her legal efforts in the Pennsylvania recount to federal court might work.  Newsy reports on this part of the story.

The campaign said the state court system is "ill-equipped to address this problem."
Second, I'd normally post Professor Farnsworth, but I think that would be premature.  Instead, I'm going to echo Dame Shirley Bassey covering Pink, "Get This Party Started!"

I'll keep my readers updated on the progress of the recounts.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Speculative fiction in the movies for 2016 at the Critics' Choice Awards

I made the aside that "the Critics' Choice Television Awards don't recognize speculative fiction shows separately from other scripted shows (the movie awards do, but that's a story for next time)" in the introduction to Speculative fiction on television for 2016 at the Critics' Choice Awards.  It's next time, so I'm starting today's entry about the Critics' Choice Movie Awards with the films nominated in the main speculative fiction category.
10 Cloverfield Lane
Doctor Strange
Don’t Breathe
Star Trek Beyond
The Witch
I'd say the favorite in this group is "Arrival."  Not only was it nominated in this category, it was nominated in nine others, including Best Picture, Best Actress (Amy Adams), Best Director (Denis Villeneuve), Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Production Design, Best Editing, Best Visual Effects, and Best Score (Jóhann Jóhannsson).  If a picture is nominated in a genre category and it's also the only also nominated for Best Picture, that's a clear sign the critics love it.  However, it probably won't win Best Picture, as it tied with "Moonlight" and has two nominations fewer than "La La Land."  One of those two, probably "Moonlight," will likely walk away with the trophy next Sunday.

As for the second most nominated movie in Sci-Fi/Horror, it was also the second most nominated movie in the next category.
Captain America: Civil War
Doctor Strange
Hacksaw Ridge
Jason Bourne
Yes, "Doctor Strange" received double nominations for Sci-Fi/Horror and Action.  It also earned consideration in four other categories, Best Actor In An Action Movie (Benedict Cumberbatch), Best Actress In An Action Movie (Tilda Swinton), Best Hair & Makeup, and Best Visual Effects.  While it may not be my favorite in this category (that's "Deadpool"), it's the superhero movie the critics most enjoyed.  Unfortunately, it won't be the nominee most likely to win.  That honor will probably go to "Hacksaw Ridge," which was nominated for seven awards including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actor in an Action Movie for Andrew Garfield.  "Doctor Strange" and Benedict Cumberbach won't be able to beat that.

Speaking of "Deadpool," both the film and its star Ryan Reynolds were double nominated in both Action and Comedy for a total of four nominations.  Not even "Central Intelligence" and Dwayne Johnson could pull that feat off, earning one nomination each in Comedy.

Follow over the jump for more speculative fiction films among the Critics' Choice Awards nominees.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Speculative fiction on television for 2016 at the Critics' Choice Awards

I originally concluded Michigan recount still on as Trump fails to stop it while Schuette still trying with my plans to make the entire weekend about entertainment.
Enough reality for now--time for fantasy.  Stay tuned for two entries on the Critics' Choice Movie and Television Awards over the weekend.  I promise to return to reality on Monday.
Unlike Teen ChoiceAwards and the People's Choice Awards, the Critics' Choice Television Awards don't recognize speculative fiction shows separately from other scripted shows (the movie awards do, but that's a story for next time), instead considering them as either drama or comedy.  Usually, that means fewer of them are recognized and they have stiffer competition.  That written, this year's crop of speculative fiction shows did well with the critics, as evidenced by the drama nominees.
Better Call Saul – AMC
Game of Thrones – HBO
Mr. Robot – USA Network
Stranger Things – Netflix
The Crown – Netflix
This Is Us – NBC
Westworld – HBO
Three of the Premium Sci-Fi/Fantasy nominees from the People Choice Awards, "Game of Thrones," "Stranger Things," and "Westworld," showed up here, too.  So did the "sci-fi adjacent" "Mr. Robot, which was nominated for Favorite (Basic) Cable TV Drama at the People's Choice Awards.  All of those prove that quality shows can be popular and critics will recognize popular favorites.  All that would be needed to make me really happy would be if "Outlander" were included.  While the Showtime series didn't get recognized in this category, it did in the next two.  Follow over the jump.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Michigan recount still on as Trump fails to stop it while Schuette still trying

I promised to keep my readers updated on the Michigan recount yesterday.  I mentioned one development in the comments to The Michigan recount is on!
Trump and the Republican Party have objected. Let's see if they prevail, in which case my optimism was premature.
WXYZ had the first word on this part of the story in Trump objects to Michigan recount.

Donald Trump and the Michigan Republican Party have filed an objection to a recount of the Michigan vote.
That was yesterday.  The Detroit Free Press reported today Deadlock: Board vote means Michigan presidential recount may proceed.
Michigan's Board of State Canvassers deadlocked 2-2, along party lines, Friday, on President-elect Donald Trump's objection to Green Party candidate Jill Stein's request for a recount of all presidential ballots cast in Michigan.

State election officials said earlier that a tie vote would mean a hand recount of all of the roughly 4.8 million ballots would proceed. But lawyers for Trump have asked the board for a stay of its decision, and the board has not ruled on that request. The board was also still deliberating Friday on whether a hand recount should be conducted, as requested by Stein, or a machine recount, recommended by Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, who said it would peed the process, save money, and reduce the chance for error.

A recount can't start until Tuesday at the earliest, and Friday's court challenge filed by Attorney General Bill Schuette puts even that start date in doubt.
Trump failed to stop the recount.  However, he's not alone.  In an earlier Detroit Free Press story on the Board of Canvassers meeting, the other part of the story intruded.
But the Michigan Board of State Canvassers declared a one-hour recess just as the 9:30 a.m. meeting began, as news broke that Attorney General Bill Schuette had filed a lawsuit asking the Michigan Supreme Court to halt the recount before it began. Shortly before 10:30 a.m., the board voted to go into closed session to consider the Schuette legal action.
Follow over the jump for that part of the story.