Sunday, June 25, 2017

'The Handmaid's Tale,' 'Stranger Things,' and 'The Good Place' lead speculative fiction nominees at Television Critics Association Awards


I concluded yesterday's entry by telling my readers to "stay tuned for the Sunday Entertainment Feature.  I plan on writing about the Television Critics Association Awards."  I begin with Wotchit Entertainment's Atlanta, Handmaid’s Tale Lead TCA Award Noms.

The 2017 Television Critics Association award nominees have now been officially announced. FX's "Atlanta," NBC's "This is Us" and "The Handmaid’s Tale" had the most nominations with four. Those three shows are also up for the Program of the Year award. Five other programs had three a piece. HBO earned the most nominations for a single network with 12, followed by FX with 11, Netflix with ten, NBC with seven and Hulu with four.
In addition to "The Handmaid's Tale," "Atlanta," and "This is Us," three other shows are nominated for Program of the Year.  Two of them, "Stranger Things" and "The Leftovers," count as speculative fiction.  The third, "Big Little Lies," tied for the most honored television show at the Golden Trailer Awards, which prompted me to observe "I'll know to look for "Big Little Lies" among the Emmy nominees next month."  Its three TCA Award nominations just reinforce that feeling.  Just the same, I'm rooting for either "Stranger Things" or "The Handmaid's Tale."

Both "Stranger Things" and "The Handmaid's Tale" are also nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Drama and Outstanding New Program.  In the first category, they're competing against the past two years' winner, "The Americans," as well as "Better Call Saul," "The Crown," and "This is Us."  I'm rooting for "Stranger Things," but I expect either "The Americans" or "The Crown" will win.  In the second, both are competing against "The Good Place," which I first realized was speculative fiction when I saw it among the nominees for Best Fantasy Television Series at the Saturn Awards.  I'll have more to say about the show about the afterlife later.  The other nominees for Outstanding New Program include "Atlanta," "The Crown," and "This is Us."  I'd love for one of the three speculative fiction nominees to win, especially "Stranger Things," but I suspect one of the more conventional shows will instead.

Elisabeth Moss earned the fourth nomination for "The Handmaid's Tale" in Individual Achievement in Drama, the TCA's equivalent to Best Actor/Best Actress.  This is the same category in which Carrie Coon earned a second nomination for "The Leftovers" and "Fargo" combined.  Between the two of them, I am rooting for Coon, but I doubt either will win in a field that includes Sterling K. Brown for “This Is Us,” Claire Foy for “The Crown,” Nicole Kidman for “Big Little Lies,” and Jessica Lange and Susan Sarandon “Feud: Bette And Joan.”  Note the predominance of actresses in this field.  This reflects what I have been saying since December and repeated most recently last month, that the actresses this year are very strong, stronger than the actors.  I'm glad to see the TCA concurs.

The nominees for Individual Achievement in Comedy also show that the actresses are stronger than the actors this year.  The one speculative fiction nominee is Kristen Bell for “The Good Place.”  She's competing against four other actresses, Pamela Adlon for “Better Things,” Julia Louis-Dreyfus for “Veep,” Issa Rae for “Insecure,” and Phoebe Waller-Bridge for “Fleabag,” and two actors, Aziz Ansari for "Master of None" and Danny Glover for "Atlanta."  I'm rooting for Julia Louis-Dreyfus, but I wouldn't be upset if Bell won.  However, I expect Glover might instead.

Speaking of comedy, "The Good Place" is competing for Outstanding Achievement in Comedy along with "Atlanta," "black-ish" (last year's winner), "Fleabag," "Master of None," and "Veep."  I'm rooting for "Veep," just like I'm rooting for Louis-Dreyfus, but expect "black-ish" to win instead.

There is one last category with speculative fiction shows.
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN YOUTH PROGRAMMING
“Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood,” PBS (2016 Winner in Category)
“Doc McStuffins,” Disney Junior
“Elena of Avalor,” Disney Channel
“Odd Squad,” PBS
“Sesame Street,” HBO
“Speechless,” ABC
The one that looks like the most conventional fantasy is "Elena of Avalor."  All the rest have some degree of fantasy involved except "Odd Squad," which is science fiction, "Sesame Street," which is a fairly conventional educational program, and "Speechless," which is an innovative but reality-based sitcom.  The only one I'd watch would be "Speechless," which is as much for adults as for kids, but I'm rooting for "Elena of Avalor."

That's enough fantasy.  I might write about the reality and news and information program nominees later.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Driving update for June 2017: Dez


I mentioned my wife's car in Driving update for June 2017: Pearl plus Tesla worth more than GM or Ford.
I was hoping for fewer miles because of a week off and not having [to] make up for Dez not being in the shop, but apparently I managed to drive slightly more just the same.  However, I'll have to wait until Dez passes 55,000 miles to see what the total driving impact for the family really is.  That should happen late this month or very early next month.
Dez passed 55,000 miles on Wednesday the 21st, so it's time for another driving update.

It took my wife 85 days to drive Dez 1000 miles, which translates to 11.76 miles per day and 358.82 miles per standard month.  That's more than the average of 7.19 miles per day or 219.42 miles per standard month she drove Dez between November 2016 and March 2017.  The reason for the increased driving is the same one that I cited in March for Pearl not getting a third update since November before Dez got her first; my wife drove the car to Chicago and back to visit our daughter.  More of that trip accrued to this update than the last one.

As I mentioned above, the important statistic is how much both of us drove our cars.  During the same 85 days that my wife drove Dez 1,000 miles, I drove Pearl 1,650 miles for a total of 2,650 miles.  That translates to 31.18 miles per day and 950.88 miles per standard month.  That's more than the 26.26 miles per day and 800.90 miles per month we drove between November and March.  It's also more than the 24.93 miles per day and 760.4 miles per standard month we drove both cars over the comparable period last year.  It's amazing how much one trip to Chicago and back affects total miles driven.  Let's see if the next update shows us returning to last summer's baseline.

Speaking of baseline, it's time for a comparison of our driving habits to those of the rest of the country.  From Doug Short.
The Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Commission has released the latest report on Traffic Volume Trends, data through April.

"Travel on all roads and streets changed by 1.2% (3.3 billion vehicle miles) for April 2017 as compared with April 2016." The less volatile 12-month moving average was up 0.1% month-over-month and 0.8% year-over-year. If we factor in population growth, the 12-month MA of the civilian population-adjusted data (age 16-and-over) is up just 0.04% month-over-month and up only 0.2% year-over-year.

Here is a chart that illustrates this data series from its inception in 1971. It illustrates the "Moving 12-Month Total on ALL Roads," as the DOT terms it...The latest data point is another all-time high.

Looks like my wife and I are contributing to the trend of increased driving.  That might increase more, as oil and gas prices are down year over year, but that's a story for another entry.  In the meantime, stay tuned for the Sunday Entertainment Feature.  I plan on writing about the Television Critics Association Awards.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Icebergs and ants, two stories I tell my students


Seeker, formerly DNews, posted two videos recently about stories I tell my students.  The one that caught my eye first was The Insane Plan to Tow an Iceberg to the Middle East.

A United Arab Emirates company wants to tow an iceberg from Antarctica to the desert for drinking water, but is their plan feasible?
...
A United Arab Emirates Company Wants to Tow Icebergs From Antarctica to Combat Drought
"Desperate times call for desperate measures, and it doesn't get more desperate than the Emirates Iceberg Project - a new plan to lug giant ice cubes halfway across the world to combat drought in the United Arab Emirates."
I first encountered this idea back in the 1960s while I was reading the Time-Life book "Water."  Fifty years ago, it struck me as a science fiction project, complete with nuclear powered tugboats, but for at least the past decade, I've been telling this story as a way of illustrating the impracticality of using polar ice as a source of water.  After all, if the idea has been around for 50+ years, why hasn't anyone actually tried it?  It isn't better than the alternatives, such as desalinization, that's why.  Now that this video exists, I can show it to my students and say, "See, I'm not making this up."

The other video is one I could have used this week, as I lectured about fungal symbioses in the biodiversity class I teach in the summer.  Watch Ants Are Growing Food and They're Better at It Than We Are.

Believe it or not, ants started farming way before we did. How do they do it?
...
Ants Mastered Sustainable Agriculture 30 Million Years Ago
"Ants cultivated designer crops in controlled environments millions of years before humans figured out how to push seeds into the ground to grow food, scientists reported in a study Wednesday. It has long been known that dozens of ants species tend and harvest fungi in subterranean farms, mostly to feed a colony's larvae. A few species have taken that process to the next level, modifying fungi so thoroughly they can no longer survive in the wild, much in the way some genetically altered crops consumed by humans are not viable without pesticides or other inputs."

Dry habitats were crucibles of domestication in the evolution of agriculture in ants
"The evolution of ant agriculture, as practised by the fungus-farming 'attine' ants, is thought to have arisen in the wet rainforests of South America about 55-65 Ma. Most subsequent attine agricultural evolution, including the domestication event that produced the ancestor of higher attine cultivars, is likewise hypothesized to have occurred in South American rainforests."

Symbiotic adaptations in the fungal cultivar of leaf-cutting ants
"Centuries of artificial selection have dramatically improved the yield of human agriculture; however, strong directional selection also occurs in natural symbiotic interactions. Fungus-growing attine ants cultivate basidiomycete fungi for food. One cultivar lineage has evolved inflated hyphal tips (gongylidia) that grow in bundles called staphylae, to specifically feed the ants."
Unlike towing icebergs, which I really think is a cool (pun intended) but stupid and impractical idea, studying ant agriculture would be worthwhile.  As Barry Commoner said, "Nature Knows Best."  Speaking of worthwhile, I think I will show this video to my class next week.  I haven't tested them on the material yet, so my students can still use it.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

'The Grid' plus 2017 drum corps shows with speculative fiction themes


Today is the opening day of the competitive drum corps season and I have the same urge I had two years ago, when I posted An 'Out of This World' drum corps show.  Back then, I posted two videos of the previous season's space-themed show and then examined all the repertoires that had speculative fiction elements.  Today, I'm doing something very similar as I can't resist when drum corps overlaps with one of my other interests.

First, I present the science-fiction themed drum corps show from 2016, Legends from Kalamazoo, Michigan, playing "The Grid" with music from "Tron: Legacy" and "The Matrix Reloaded," two science fiction film sequels about cyberspace.


In case that gets taken down, here is a video of a rehearsal from earlier that month.  The corps may not be in uniform, but the sound is better.


I've always wanted to hear "Mona Lisa Overdrive" on a football field and last year I got my wish.

Legends continue to be inspired by science fiction, as this year's show is "The Signal" with music from "Wall-E" and "Stargate."  Not only are they exploring outer space, they're doing so with an environmental theme.  I like it!  Better yet, the corps is from Michigan!

Here are the rest of the shows with speculative fiction elements.
Blue Devils B    The World the Children Made - Saellite * Spiritual Planet * Pure Imagination * Original Works * Worlds
...
Boston Crusaders    Wicked Games - Full Moon Forest and Rising of the Sun – Moonlight Sonata * Full Moon Forest and Rising of the Sun – The Adoration of Veles and Ala (From Scythian Suite) * Whispers and Accusations - Whispers * Whispers and Accusations - Cortege Macabre (from Grohg) * Tortured – Wicked Game * Hunt for the Afflicted – Toccata (from Piano Concerto no. 1) * Trial and Execution – The Verdict
...
Heat Wave of Florida    Project Apollo - Olympiada * Enterprising Young Men (from Star Trek) * Twelve Seconds to the Moon * Fly Me To The Moon * Ride
...
Pacific Crest    Golden State of Mind - California Dreamin’ * Kaleidoscope of Mathematics (from A Beautiful Mind Soundtrack) * Arrival of the Birds * Alfonso Muskedunder * Moving On (from the Lost Soundtrack)
...
Santa Clara Vanguard    Ouroboros - Interplay for Piano Four Hands and Orchestra * The Triumph of Time * Song of Eight Unruly Tipsy Poets * Into a Virtual World * Remembering the Future from “Wait of the World”
...
Shadow    Atreyu - Selections from The Neverending Story
...
The Cavaliers    Men are from Mars - Also Sprach Zarathustra * Fanfare for the Common Man * Wine Dark Sea * Little Green Men * On the Nature of Daylight * O Superman * Sun's Gone Dim * Mars from The Planets * My Way
The shows with the strongest science fiction elements are Heat Wave's (science fiction) and Shadow (fantasy).  The Cavaliers and Santa Clara Vanguard have some science fiction elements scattered throughout their shows.  Pacific Crest only has a song from "Lost," which is definitely speculative fiction, but which kind I don't even want to think about now.  Boston Crusaders have the weakest speculative fiction theme, as their show is about the Salem Witch Trials.  Yes, really.  I never thought I'd see that on a football field.  That topic is historical, not speculative, but it makes for good real-life horror.

Here's to all the corps having a good season and to the speculative fiction elements working.

ETA: I forgot about Blue Devils B, whose show has a moderately strong fantasy theme with science-fictional elements.  It sits at the bottom of the upper half of the pack in terms of speculative fiction above Boston Crusaders, Pacific Crest, Santa Clara Vanguard, and The Cavaliers and behind Legends, Shadow, and Heat Wave.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

World Giraffe Day for the 2017 Summer Solstice


I opened Fossils for National Seashell Day plus bonus American Eagle Day by writing "I already have a celebration of Happy World Giraffe Day on the Summer Solstice planned."  Time to follow through and celebrate the longest necked animal on the longest day of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere) beginning with World Giraffe Day: Giraffe Conservation Foundation from Animalia Collective.

Our friends at Giraffe Conservation Foundation are getting ready to celebrate World Giraffe Day.
For a more relaxing tribute, here is USA Today's Celebrate World Giraffe Day with these gentle giants.

You don't have to strain your neck to check out fun clips of these tall animals in honor of World Giraffe Day.
Finally, Toys"R"Us (yes, the toy store with the giraffe mascot) celebrates the day by Looking Back at April the Giraffe on World Giraffe Day.

Toys"R"Us takes a look back at one of the most interesting internet viral sensations of the year, April the Giraffe.
It may have been cleverly disguised corporate PR, but it was cute and on-topic.

With that, I wish my readers a Happy World Giraffe Day and a Happy Summer Solstice!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Fossils for National Seashell Day plus bonus American Eagle Day


While National Day Calendar says tomorrow is National Seashell Day, I already have a celebration of Happy World Giraffe Day on the Summer Solstice planned.  So I'm going to take advantage of last year's National Seashell Day being held on the 20th to celebrate it today.  I'm a snail expert as well as a paleontologist, I'm using Seeker/DNews' This Famous Tongue Twister Is Actually About Dinosaurs to put my own unique spin on the holiday.

"She sells seashells by the seashore" isn't the whole story.
...
"Mary Anning found the fossils of prehistoric animals. Today many children like finding out about dinosaurs. When Mary Anning was a child, no one knew about these long-dead animals. Mary's fossil-hunting helped change the way people thought about the world."
I plan on showing this video to my geology class today.  Welcome to blogging as professional development.

There is another national day that actually happens today that I also want to celebrate, National American Eagle Day.  Follow over the jump for my blogging observation.

Monday, June 19, 2017

U.S. and U.K. set new solar and wind energy records


I have more good news about renewable energy, which is happening despite Trump pulling the U.S. out of the Paris Climate Agreement to widespread condemnation and ridicule.  Newsy reports US sets new record for wind and solar power use.

For the first time ever, wind and solar power generated 10 percent of U.S. energy for a single month.
Scientific American reported the above, as well as some projections into the future.
The EIA projects that wind and solar will generate 10 percent of U.S. electricity year-round by 2020. But scientists say the country’s power supply could see a larger share of wind and solar by then for at least part of the year.

“I believe that by 2020, we will see the first 15 percent month, possibly a little sooner,” Clack said. “This will partly depend on the weather patterns in the year, but I could see substantial (wind and solar plant) additions before 2020 that will increase production to those levels.”
Scientific American also included some veiled editorial comment as part of its analysis.
The renewables milestone comes amid actions by the Trump administration to turn back federal climate policies intended to cut greenhouse gas emissions by embracing wind, solar and other renewable energy. Trump, who has called climate change a “hoax,” has re-committed the U.S. to coal energy, which was the largest single source of climate pollution in the U.S. until being eclipsed by the transportation sector last year.

Though the federal government is doubling down on coal, electric power companies are embracing less-polluting natural gas, wind and solar power as the cost of generating electricity from those sources falls.

March’s milestone “says that the Trump Administration is living in the last century,” Firestone said.
I agree with this statement.

Follow over the jump for news from across the pond.

Sunday, June 18, 2017

It's Father's Day, so here's Stephen Colbert mocking Alex Jones over his custody battle


Happy Father's DayYesterday, I told my readers to "Stay tuned for a special Father's Day entry for Entertainment Sunday."  Today, I'm paying tribute to a special father, Alex Jones, who will be featured on Megyn Kelly's show tonight.  It so happens that Jones' ex-wife sued him for custody of their children in April, saying of him, “He’s not a stable person.”  That gave Stephen Colbert an opening to lampoon Jones, beginning with InfoWar's Alex Jones Has Nothing On Tuck Buckford.

Stephen opens the vault for an old clip from 'Brain Fight with Tuck Buckford,' the show that likely inspired fellow performance artist Alex Jones.
That's not all.  Follow over the jump for four more times Colbert mocked Jones and his legal issues as "Tuck Buckford."

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Back catalog for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


I concluded Comments and likes for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News by telling my readers to "Stay tuned" as "I have one more retrospective planned in this series, top posts from the back catalog."  I decided to post it today as a figurative way of celebrating National Eat Your Vegetables Day instead of waiting for Throwback Thursday or Flashback Friday next week.  I know I'll feel better posting this now and being done with the series.

The only entry from the year before last's top ten Trump thinks Sanders is the right enemy from October 16, 2015, which was the top post of the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  It was at 7107 page views, 7247 according to the raw counter on March 20, 2016.  Like most entries, it lost default page views over time, dropping to 7072, while slowing increasing its raw views to 7295.  That was enough to keep it in the all-time top ten at second.  As for the rest, I'll repeat my standard refrain, "Sic transit gloria mundi."

Two other entries from the back catalog earned enough entries that they would have made this year's top 40, both of them during July 2016.  I'll be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote for them, beginning with A picture of hope and innocence from 40 years ago from July 26, 2013.
The top post this month and the winner of the Revenge of the Back Catalog trophy is "A picture of hope and innocence from 40 years ago" from July 26, 2013.  It earned 1804 page views in July, almost all of them from being shared at the Coffee Party Facebook page.  The first 24 hours saw 1697 page views, 632 of them in the first two hours.  It, along with the two July 4th drum corps posts, helped attract 2061 page views for the blog in one day, 448 of them in the first hour after being shared at the Coffee Party Facebook page.
The second was Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews from July 3, 2015.
The final repeat from July 2015's top ten is "Bald Eagle facts for 4th of July weekend from DNews" from July 3, 2015.  Last year, it was the tenth most read post of the month.  This year, it came in second for the month.  It earned 1259 page views, 1245 most likely from being shared at the Coffee Party Facebook page, which contributed 1885 page views to the blog during July 4th-5th, including 623 the first hour after being shared.
That should look familiar, as I already reused it in Holidays for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  Some things can be recycled more than once.

With that, I'm done with this project for this year.  YAY!  Stay tuned for a special Father's Day entry for Entertainment Sunday.

Previous retrospectives about the back catalog.
Previous entries in this series.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Comments and likes for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News


It's a Flashback Friday, which reminds me that I left off the series of retrospectives of the previous year's blogging with Flint Water Crisis for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News where I made the following program note.
That concludes the retrospectives of the forty most read entries posted during the past blogging year.  The next one planned should be about the entries with the most comments and likes and shares on social media.  Stay tuned.
That was two months ago.  It's long past time I resumed, especially since this is the next to last entry I have planned for the series.

One of the two most commented on entries of the sixth year of this blog is a rare repeat champion, Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties from August 3, 2014.  It tied for most commented on entry for the fourth year of the blog with eight comments.  It repeated as the the most commented on entry of the fifth year of this blog with 46 more comments.  It tied for first again with 14 more comments left during current blogging year for a total of 68 comments.  The bad news is that all of those were the result of battles with persistent and recurring spammers.  The good news is that post retains its title as the most commented on entry in the history of the blog.

The other entry that tied for most commented on during the past month was Hundreds protest Trump in Willow Run for the Ides of March from March 16, 2017.  Here's what I wrote about it in The resistance for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.
Hundreds protest Trump in Willow Run for the Ides of March from March 16, 2017 did not make the top forty, falling short with 799 page views according to the raw counter as of March 20, 2017.  However, it was the most commented on entry actually posted during the sixth year of the blog and the most commented on for March 2017 with 14 comments, so it earned an honorable mention in this retrospective.  It maxed out its page views at 880, 992 according to the raw counter, on April 14, 2017.  Infidel 753 shared the link at Crooks&Liars, attracting 398 page views from that link alone.  It was the third most read entry of March and the most read actually posted during the month with 843 page views, 894 according to the raw counter, at the end of the month.
I like being an environmentalist by recycling and reusing.  It reduces my energy expenditure, so I don't refuse to blog.

Follow over the jump for the entries that got the best responses on Google+, Pinterest, and Twitter.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Riding the QLine for Dump the Pump Day


Today is National Dump The Pump Day.  Like National Autonomous Vehicle Day, it's both a holiday worth celebrating on this blog and one I found on National Day Calendar.  Here's what that site says about today.
On the third Thursday in June, National Dump the Pump encourages people to ride public transportation instead of driving and save money.

When gas prices are high and the economy is tight, riding public transportation is a good alternative and an economical way to save money.  Many Americans use local public transportation to commute to and from work, school, for shopping and errands, and even to make family visits.  This can save you money on fuel along with wear and tear on your car. It can also possibly reduce your commute time and help reduce road congestion.
I've been a big booster of public transportation on this blog, promoting the regional transit plan in a losing effort and cheering on the QLine/M1 Rail.  The latter, at least, has happened and I can count it as a success.  Follow over the jump for three videos from WXYZ on the first month of the light rail/21st century trolley's operation.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day


Happy Flag Day!  Two years ago, I put a drum corps spin on the holiday with Presenting the colors for Flag Day.  This year, I'm taking a more serious slant by examining the possibility of adding a 51st star to the flag.  Al Jazeera English examined the topic first in Puerto Ricans vote on US statehood.

On June 11, Puerto Ricans head to the polls in a referendum to decide the future of the US territory.

Voters will get to decide between statehood, independence or keeping the status quo as a commonwealth.

But the country's massive debt could make either choice difficult.

Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher reports from San Juan.
The result was Puerto Ricans vote for statehood in referendum.

Puerto Rico's governor announced the US territory voted for statehood in a non-binding referendum on Sunday, held amid an economic crisis that has sparked an exodus of islanders to the US mainland.

US Congress, however, has the final say in any changes to the island's political status.

Al Jazeera's Andy Gallacher reports from San Juan.
I'm in favor of Puerto Rico becoming a state and have been for decades.  Now that a majority of Puerto Ricans agree, I think it's time that happens.

Here's to a 51-star flag!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

R.I.P. Adam West


Kevin Robbins of Hometown, USA asked "What? No post on Adam West?" to conclude his comment to 'Simpsons,' 'Westworld,' 'American Horror Story' among Golden Trailer winners. That was a good question that deserved a response.
I was thinking of posting an obituary for West; he was, after all, my original Batman. Now that you've asked, I'm going to do it. Never say I don't respond to reader requests.
I've found that ABC News does a good job with celebrity obituaries, so it's to them I go for Remembering 'Batman' TV icon Adam West.

The original Batman, who appeared onscreen as the caped crusader 156 times, passed away at age 88.
What's Adam West's Batman without Burt Ward's Robin?  CNN provided the Boy Wonder's perspective in 'Robin' on Adam West: I miss him dearly.

Burt Ward, who played "Robin" on "Batman," remembers his co-star, Adam West.
I have just the image for this video.


To paraphrase what I wrote at the end of R.I.P. Roger Moore, Batman lives on, but his funniest actor has passed.*  R.I.P.

*Yes, I'm including Michael Keaton.  He could have played a funnier Batman, but he didn't.

Monday, June 12, 2017

'Simpsons,' 'Westworld,' 'American Horror Story' among Golden Trailer winners


At the end of 'Wonder Woman' is already winning awards — for its trailer, I told my readers to "stay tuned for more about the speculative fiction nominees and winners in movies and television later this week."  Monday is later, I may as well start making good on my promise with the television winners and nominees.

"The Simpsons" earned the most honors in advertising for television shows with three awards, only one of which was for a TV spot, Best Animation/Family (TV Spot/Trailer/Teaser For A Series).  The others were for Most Original Poster and Best Comedy TV Series Poster.  In the first category, it beat "BoJack Horseman," "Buddy Thunderstruck," "Home," and "Voltron."  Even in advertising, "The Simpsons" and "BoJack Horseman" contend for best animated series.  In the second, it defeated "Dark Tower," "Get Out," and "Split."  Damn, a TV comedy beat out three of the best horror films of the year (at least, I hope so for "Dark Tower").  As for the last, I won't bother, as I don't write about comedies unless they have a speculative fiction or political element, such as "The Last Man on Earth," "The Good Place," "Jane the Virgin," or "Veep."  Instead, I'll note that the longest running scripted show on television was also nominated for Most Original TV Spot/Trailer/Teaser For A Series (see below) and Best Trailerbyte for a TV Series/Streaming Series, losing to "Fargo."

As for the series that won the most awards for actual trailers, "Westworld" and "American Horror Story" earned two each.  "Westworld" won for Best Horror/Thriller and Best Music, beating "And Then There Were None," "Bates Motel," "Fear The Walking Dead," and "Penny Dreadful" for the former and "Bloodline," "Outsiders," "The Americans," and "The Get Down" for the latter.  "American Horror Story" won for Best Graphics and Most Original, defeating "Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown," "Feud," "Outcast," and "The Strain" for the former and  "Chelsea," "The Americans," "The Simpsons 600," and "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt " for the latter.  The FX horror anothology was also nominated for Best Horror/Thriller TV Series Poster along with "Fear The Walking Dead" and "Guilt," all of which lost to "Fight Of The Living Dead."

Two other speculative fiction shows won awards.  "Stranger Things," which won Best Fantasy Adventure over "A Series Of Unfortunate Events," "The OA," and "Game of Thrones," which was nominated for two different trailers.  That's a victory over worthy competition.  Speaking of which, the Netflix series was also nominated for Best Sound Editing along with "24: Legacy," "Black Sails," and "Pitch," all of which lost to the other speculative fiction TV series winner, "Legion," my pick for Best Superhero Adaptation Television Series at the Saturn Awards.  I'm glad to see it won an award already.

Finally, speculative fiction shows were nominated for other awards, but didn't win.  In addition to its two nominations for Best Fantasy Adventure, "Game of Thrones" was nominated for Best Action along with "Luke Cage."  Both lost to "Narcos."  "The Handmaid’s Tale" was nominated for Best Drama/Action TV Series Poster, losing to "Big Little Lies."  "The Last Ship" and "The Strain" were nominated for Best Opening Title Sequence or Closing Credit Sequence for a TV/Streaming Series, losing to "Big Little Lies."  No "Westworld" or "Stranger Things?"  I'm surprised.  On the other hand, I'll know to look for "Big Little Lies" among the Emmy nominees next month, as it also won for Best Drama TV Spot/Trailer/Teaser, tying "The Simpsons" for most honored TV show.  Why didn't I mention "Big Little Lies" at the top?  It's not speculative fiction and this is secondarily a speculative fiction blog.

I might delay my look at the speculative fiction winners among movies other than "Wonder Woman" until the end of the week.  Reality awaits.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

'Wonder Woman' is already winning awards — for its trailer


There is already some speculation about "Wonder  Woman" being nominated for Oscars, but the movie is already winning awards for its trailer.
After less than a week in theaters, Wonder Woman is already getting into the awards season flow. Of course, the real awards ordeal won’t kick off for several months—but there’s nothing wrong with getting ready a little early, right?

On Tuesday night, the DC action film about the Amazonian superheroine picked up top nods at the Golden Trailer Awards, winning the best in show prize as well as best fantasy/adventure trailer. Open Road Entertainment and the AV Squad were honored for the Warner Bros. film’s “What She Is” trailer. In addition, the studio walked away with about 26 awards in all, for the trailers for films, including Lego Batman.
Movie Trailer 21 has the complete rundown of the movies whose trailers won and had awards presented to them in Wonder Woman Wins Best of Show At Golden Trailer Awards.

The 18th annual Golden Trailer Awards were held Tuesday night in Beverly Hills, with current box office champion Wonder Woman taking home “Best in Show.” Every year, the awards honor the best in film and TV marketing. Nominees are broken down by genre, advertisement type, and technical aspects like sound editing and graphics.
In addition to winning Best in Show and Best Fantasy, "Wonder Woman" won Best Summer 2017 Blockbuster Poster and was nominated for Best Summer 2017 Blockbuster Trailer (won by "Atomic Blonde") and Best Fantasy/Adventure Poster (won by "Star Wars: The Last Jedi").  Three awards already, just for its advertising — not bad!

Speaking of winning, Wochit Entertainment reports ‘Wonder Woman’ Wins 2nd Weekend at the box office.

Not only will “Wonder Woman” hold on to the top spot at the box office for the second weekend in a row with an estimated $57.2 million, it’s also bringing in a holdover total higher than its DC predecessors, “Batman v Superman” and “Suicide Squad.” While “BvS” and “Squad” had much higher opening weekends than “Wonder Woman” when they were released last year — $166 million and $133.6 million, respectively — they both suffered a 67 percent drop-off thanks to poor critical and audience reception, with “BvS” making $51.3 million and “Squad” making $43.5 million.
I'm sure I'll have more to write about "Wonder Woman" being nominated for awards beginning with the Teen Choice Awards next month.  Until then, stay tuned for more about the speculative fiction nominees and winners in movies and television later this week.

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Macron to Trump -- 'Make Earth Great Again'


I concluded John Oliver mocks Trump over leaving Paris Accord by writing "I plan on posting all of Macron's response, including a promise to 'Make Earth Great Again.'"  That was the result of another commenter posting the image above to the Booman Tribune re-post of last week's Weather Channel entry.  My response showed my appreciation.
HAHAHAHA!  Perfect!

He used that sentence for the conclusion to his video response to Trump.

French President Emmanuel Macron responds to US President Donald Trump's announcement today that the country was withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement.
It worked there, too.
That wasn't the only response Macron had to Trump.  The Washington Post reported The French disliked a White House video on the Paris accord - so they changed it.
Now, a day after the Trump administration released a video laying out the case for president's decision on the climate change pact, Macron's government is following suit.

On Friday, France's Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs shared an edited version of the American video on Twitter that sought to highlight inaccuracies.

“We've seen the @WhiteHouse video about the #ParisAccord,” the tweet says. “We disagree — so we've changed it. #MakeThePlanetGreatAgain.”
Here's the video.

The French government released its own version of the White House video on the Paris climate accord Friday, complete with what it views as corrections to the Trump administration’s stance on the deal.
Once again, my reaction is "HAHAHAHA!  Perfect!"

Friday, June 9, 2017

John Oliver mocks Trump over leaving Paris Accord


First The Weather Channel, then Elon Musk.  Now it's John Oliver's turn to tell off Trump for leaving the Paris Climate Agreement.

Donald Trump plans to withdraw the United States from the Paris agreement on climate change. That's bad news for anyone who happens to live on this planet.
I'm not done with this subject.  Tomorrow, I plan on posting all of Macron's response, including a promise to "Make Earth Great Again."  Stay tuned.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Sylvia Earle's TED Talk for World Oceans Day 2017


Happy World Oceans Day!  To celebrate the holiday, I'm sharing a TED talk from the same sesson that produced Captain Charles Moore on the seas of plastic in 2009, which I embedded in Student sustainability video festival 11: Great Pacific Garbage Patch: Sylvia Earle: How to protect the oceans (TED Prize winner!).

Legendary ocean researcher Sylvia Earle shares astonishing images of the ocean -- and shocking stats about its rapid decline -- as she makes her TED Prize wish: that we will join her in protecting the vital blue heart of the planet.
That's inspiring.  If anything, I think her message is even more urgent than it was eight years ago.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Driving update for June 2017: Pearl plus Tesla worth more than GM or Ford


Pearl rolled over 34,000 miles on Friday, June 2, 50 days after it passed 33,000 miles in April, so it's time for another driving update.  I drove Pearl 20.00 miles per day and 601.00 miles per standard month since April.  That's more than the 17.86 miles per day and 544.64 miles per standard month I drove her between February and April.  However, it is only slightly more than the 19.61 miles per day and 598.0 miles/month it traveled during April through June 2016.  I was hoping for fewer miles because of a week off and not having make up for Dez not being in the shop, but apparently I managed to drive slightly more just the same.  However, I'll have to wait until Dez passes 55,000 miles to see what the total driving impact for the family really is.  That should happen late this month or very early next month.

I missed making a year-over-year comparison during the past two updates.  It turned out that Pearl reached multiples of 1,000 miles on February 17 during both 2016 (25.000 miles) and 2017 (32,000 miles) and on April 13 both years as well (26,000 and 33,000 miles, respectively).  In addition, the car passed milestones on June 3 last year (27,000) and June 2 (34,000) this year.  That means I have been driving 7,000 miles per year very consistently since February 2016.  That's an average of 19.18 miles per day and 583.33 miles per (actual not standard) month.  That's almost double the 4,000 miles per year I drove Yuki before I traded her in and then moved.  It's amazing what moving out of a walkable neighborhood does for one's driving!

Normally, I'd conclude a driving update with either a look at how my driving fits in with the driving patterns of the rest of the U.S. or a price update on oil and gas.  I'm going to include the first when I post Dez's driving update so that I can compare the household's driving and not just mine.  As for the second, I found something more interesting that fits with Pearl being a hybrid electric car, CNBC's report that Tesla Market Cap Tops GM & Ford.

CNBC's Phil LeBeau reports the latest from General Motors and Tesla's annual shareholder meeting.
Score another one for Elon Musk!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

'Pirates of the Caribbean' and 'Wonder Woman' news


I promised in yesterday's 'Wonder Woman' conquers the weekend box office plus Tina Guo playing the 'Wonder Woman' theme to include something about "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" in today's entry.  Here is Wochit Entertainment reporting Pirates 5 Crosses $500 Million At Global Box Office.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales crossed the $500 million mark at the global box office this weekend. Setting sail 14 years ago with Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl, the first four films in Disney’s Pirates series have been big moneymakers for the studio, earning nearly $3.7 billion worldwide. After eight years of chronicling the travails of the bumbling, drunken sea captain, Jack Sparrow (Johnny Depp), the Pirates series docked in 2011 – only to be revived last month with Dead Men Tell No Tales with Javier Bardem on deck as Captain Jack’s ghostly nemesis Captain Salazar.
"Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" is now the tenth highest grossing film of the year, knocking "Fifty Shades Darker," a movie sure to earn multiple Razzie nominations, down to 11th.  It will be 12th by the end of the week when "Wonder Woman" passes it.

Speaking of "Wonder Woman," it earned even more than estimated yesterday.  Wochit Entertainment reports 'Wonder Woman' Revised Earning Up To $103.3M.

"Wonder Woman" was even mightier than expected. Warner Bros. has revised the film's weekend haul up to $103.3 million. The studio on Monday said the tickets sold on Sunday turned out to be even higher than it estimated over the weekend. Warner Bros. previously had announced a $100.5 million North American estimate. The nearly $3 million swing, Warner Bros. said, was caused by an unusually small drop in audience from Saturday to Sunday.
I have only one explanation the higher gross from smaller than expected drop-off — good word of mouth.  That's always the best advertising.

Monday, June 5, 2017

'Wonder Woman' conquers the weekend box office plus Tina Guo playing the 'Wonder Woman' theme


I made a promise and a prediction in the footnote to The Weather Channel tells off Trump for leaving climate agreement.
I'll post about "Wonder Woman" on Monday instead.  I predict the movie will gross at least $90 million dollars over the weekend.  Check back then to see if that prediction comes true.
When I first typed out that sentence, I had the goal as $100 million and decided to lower it by $10 million just to be safe.  It turns out that I should have left it at $100 million, as Wochit Entertainment reports Wonder Woman Sets Box Office Record.

New York — Wonder Woman conquered milestones and movie myths at North American theatres, where the Patty Jenkins-directed superhero film powered its way to a $100.5m debut this weekend and became the biggest blockbuster ever directed by a woman. The well-reviewed movie easily surpassed industry expectations with one of the summer's biggest debuts, according to studio estimates on Sunday. Starring Gal Gadot as the Amazonian warrior princess, Wonder Woman is the rare — and most successful — female-led film in an overwhelmingly male superhero landscape.
Then again, maybe not, as I had only $500,000 to spare.

The video summarizes the significance of the film quite well, but if my readers want more, they should read The Hollywood Reporter's 'Wonder Woman' Is a Milestone, But It Shouldn't Be.  For once, DC/Warner Brothers gets ahead of Marvel/Disney with a critically acclaimed female-led superhero movie.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the weekend's top ten at the box office plus Tina Guo playing the "Wonder Woman" theme.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Zombies meet preppers on 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 3


The big entertainment news this weekend is the opening of the "Wonder Woman" movie, which I plan on writing about tomorrow, when the final weekend box office numbers come in.  Today, I am featuring another entertainment story more in keeping with the the general theme and tone of the blog, the return of "Fear the Walking Dead."

According to the previews, this season looks like it's going to explore what happens when zombies meet preppers, two labels that haven't been used on this blog for the same entry since Drink and drive with "The Walking Dead" five years ago.  It's about time they do so again.  Here's a clip from AMC's YouTube channel that is a parody of the kinds of ads one might see in the middle of the night on Fox News.  It asks "Are You Ready for TEOTWAWKI?"

Get to know the survivalist militia leader from the upcoming season of Fear the Walking Dead, Sundays at 9/8c.
This video is dripping with the reasons Greer and his readers think are behind the current zombie apocalypse craze, the rural-urban disconnect, the fear of urban hordes ravaging the countryside (explictly mentioned in the clip), a lack of faith in progress, a not so subtle racism, and a desire to shoot their fellow Americans.  I almost wonder if the producers read those two blogs of mine for inspiration.

Follow over the jump for more about the survivalists and the upcoming season.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Elon Musk dumps Trump over Paris Accord


Yesterday, I shared The Weather Channel telling off Trump for leaving climate agreement.  Today, as promised, I have more reactions from people who publicly disagreed with Trump.  Chief among them was Elon Musk, who warned that We'll Leave White House Councils If US Leaves Paris Accord as CNBC reported on Wednesday.

CNBC's Eamon Javers reports on Elon Musk's threat to leave White House advisory councils should President Trump exit from the Paris Climate Accord.
Follow over the jump for the reactions from Musk and other business leaders when Trump followed through.

Friday, June 2, 2017

The Weather Channel tells off Trump for leaving climate agreement


I had other plans for today, but Trump announcing that the U.S. was leaving the Paris Climate Accord took precedence.*

The news caused all kinds of reaction, some of which I'll post tomorrow, but the one I found most worthy of immediate attention came from The Weather Channel.  TMZ summarized it in one paragraph and posted the screen capture image above.
The Weather Channel devoted nearly all of its website's home page Thursday to a not-so-subtle shot. This is what it looked like moments after the Prez ended his announcement at the White House -- and ALL its top stories are dedicated to making Trump's decision look like total foolery.
It didn't even wait until Trump announced.  It prepared a video on the rumors and posted it as U.S. Quits Paris Agreement: What Happens Now?



The results could be disastrous.

After Trump spoke, it followed up with To President Trump: Regardless of Politics, Science Screams The Truth.

Weather Channel meteorologist Kait Parker addresses the decision to leave the Paris Climate Agreement.
As TMZ wrote, "There's nothing lukewarm about this reaction."

*I'll post about "Wonder Woman" on Monday instead.  I predict the movie will gross at least $90 million dollars over the weekend.  Check back then to see if that prediction comes true.   As for National Donut Day, the climate is more important.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

U.S. successfully tests ICBM interceptor to defend against North Korea


I've only featured North Korea and the responses to its actions in two posts, Dr. Evil airs his grievances for Festivus plus bonus cybersecurity news and North Korea tests fifth nuclear device.  It's time for a third look at its capabilities.

In addition to the Hermit Kingdom's cyberwarfare and nuclear weapons technology, the third member of the Axis of Evil also poses a threat through its missile program.  This week, the United States demonstrated its readiness to counter North Korea by testing an ICBM interceptor.  Newsy reports.

For the first time ever, the Defense Department has tested a ground-based missile system on an intercontinental ballistic missile.
That's not all.  TomoNewsUS has more details along with reports of other efforts to counter North Korea's missile program in US intercepts ICBM-class target in missile test in wake of North Korea threat.

VANDENBERG AIR FORCE BASE, CALIFORNIA — The Pentagon successfully shot down an intercontinental ballistic missile target using its upgraded long-range interceptor missile in a missile test on Tuesday.

The ground-based defense interceptor was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California while the ICBM-class target was launched 4,200 miles away from Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands.

A ground-based defense system flies into the path of an incoming missile target before releasing an Exoatmospheric Kill Vehicle. The kill vehicle destroys the target by sheer force of impact outside the earth’s atmosphere. CNN reported that the missile test is the first test of the interceptor using an upgraded Kill Vehicle.

“This system is vitally important to the defense of our homeland, and this test demonstrates that we have a capable, credible deterrent against a very real threat. I am incredibly proud of the warfighters who executed this test and who operate this system every day,” ABC News quoted Missile Defense Agency Director Vice Adm. Jim Syring as saying.

Tensions between North Korea and the U.S. are running high lately. North Korea has launched a series of missile tests recently, including a short-range ballistic missile that landed in the Sea of Japan on May 28.
Just as I did in Electron rocket launches in New Zealand, I'm finding TomoNewsUS's perspective useful in covering news.  It's not just for laughs anymore.