Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Payless Shoes, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


I told my readers to "Stay tuned for the installment about Payless Shoes that I promised in Radio Shack, a tale of the retail apocalypse from Company Man and Retail Archeology" at the end of A belated World Population Day 2018.  That's not the first time I mentioned the chain; that was in last month's Business Insider on dead malls in the Retail Apocalypse with assistance from Dan Bell and Radiohead.  It's time to deliver another episode in my ongoing series, tales of the Retail Apocalypse.

I begin the story with Payless Closing Stores from WFLA News Channel 8.


That's a decent overview that places the chain's bankruptcy into perspective, as Payless was the ninth retailer to declare bankruptcy in the first four months of 2017, but it lacks personality and a sense of deeper history.  For that, I turn to Retail Archeology's Payless ShoeSource: Doesn't It Feel Good To Pay Less Anymore?

This episode features a video tour of 2 Payless ShoeSource stores. Payless ShoeSource filed for bankruptcy in April of 2017 and announced 400 store closures.
That 400 store number ended up being conservative.  As the following graphic from Business Insider on stores closing in the Retail Apocalypse shows, Payless ended up closing 800 stores by the end of 2017.


Looking at that graphic, I realize that I have quite a few more chains to write about.

Before I do, I am sharig what passes for a local angle on this story, Payless Shoes Closing it's Doors in Alpena Mall from WBKB-TV.


I wish the mall manager luck in finding a store to replace Payless.  When I checked the mall's website, I found three clothing stores, none of which were the ones he named.  On the other hand, I did see a JCPenney.  I might write about them next week.

In the meantime, stay tuned for a National Daiquiri Day follow up to The history of U.S.-Cuba relations drives one to drink on National Mojito Day 2018

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

A belated World Population Day 2018


Once again, welcome to another late celebration of World Population Day because I was writing about U.S.-Cuba relations on National Mojito Day 2018 for July 11 instead.  One of these days, I will celebrate it on time, which means I might just return to posting two entries on the same day, something I haven't done since July 4, 2016.

All that is in the future.  For now, I begin with WION (World Is One News) reporting World Population Day aims to raise awareness about reproductive health.

World Population Day aims to raise awareness about reproductive health. The world currently has more than 7 billion people. World Population Day was first observed in 1989.
Based on the number of videos I found on YouTube, World Population Day is big in India.  This one was the one with best balanced the presentation of the facts with comprehensible English.

Next, The Economic Times explains World Population Day: Watch how population density affects us.

Every year since 1989, July 11 is celebrated as World Population Day. It seeks to focus attention on the urgency and importance of population issues. The theme for this year is 'Family Planning is a Human Right'. Here's a look at people in numbers around the world.
That's a very good presentation of the largest and smallest cities in the world, which I could have used yesterday when I lectured about megacities.

Finally, Mr. Cool Creations made an earnest if flawed attempt to inform its viewers in World Population Day 2018 Facts | Top 10 Countries Population.

World Population Day 2018 is celebrated on June 11th to raise the awareness of global overpopulation issues.

The world population day 2018 theme is "Family Planning is a Human Right"

The event was established by the Governing Council of the United Nations Development Programme in 1989.
The Top 10 Population Countries in The World 2018 are:
1. China 1,415,158,817 (1.41 Billion)
2. India 1,354,356,630 (1.35 Billion)
3. U.S.A. 326,813,937 (326 Million)
4. Indonesia 266,852,421 (266 Million)
5. Brazil 210,900,269 (210 Million)
6. Pakistan 200,891,968 (200 Million)
7. Nigeria 195,978,247 (195 Million)
8. Bangladesh 166,402,941(166 Million)
9. Russia 143,964,199 (143 Million)
10. Mexico 130,791,803 (130 Million)
I also could use the information in this video for my classes, although I won't show this video; it made the mistake of using a Japanese woman to represent China.  Oops.

That's it for World Population Day for this year.  Stay tuned for the installment about Payless Shoes that I promised in Radio Shack, a tale of the retail apocalypse from Company Man and Retail Archeology.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Company Man explains Amazon's growth on Prime Day, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse


When I posted the following comment on When Collapse Goes Kinetic in response to Kunstler, I should have expected the responses.
"A freeze up of short-term lending would quickly lead to empty WalMart shelves" — Debt problems are already leading to thousands of stores closing including Toys R Us and Kmart.  The latter was WalMart's chief competitor.  Now, it and its sibling Sears are likely to finally go bankrupt in the next recession.  Welcome to the Retail Apocalypse!
FallenHero replied that "They closed because of amazon. When amazon starts closing maybe something will ‘happen’."  I told him that I didn't think that was the entire picture.
Amazon and the rise of online shopping are probably a necessary but not sufficient for the current travails of brick-and-mortor retail.  The chains that are failing are also victims of poor management and predatory financing.
FallenHero was not convinced.  In addition, two other readers at Kunstler's blog mentioned Amazon with one calling it a predator and another comparing it to the Soviet department store GOOM.  Oh, my, some people really don't like the tech retail giant.

They're not alone in blaming Amazon for contributing to the demise of the victims of the Retail Apocalypse.  I brought up Amazon in a reply to Kevin Robbins' comment Part 2 of Toys R Us in the Retail Apocalypse - Company Man in which he wrote "I suppose I can't blame Trump just because they ran the business like he would've."
As for not blaming Trump, that's true, as much as we'd like to. On the other hand, we can blame two of his rivals, Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Mitt Romney of Bain Capital. Bain was one of the companies that bought Toys R Us in a leveraged buyout and left it saddled with debt.
All of this makes for an elaborate lead-up to noting that Amazon Prime Day begins today.  Company Man just happens to have the perfect video to answer the question How Did Amazon Get So Big?

Amazon famously started in someone's garage, yet today they're massive. This video details the strategy they've been using to make it happen.
Company Man mentions that Amazon has played a part in his videos about the decline of other retailers, including the one I embedded in Part 2 of Toys R Us in the Retail Apocalypse — Company Man, but otherwise doesn't allude to the disruption it has caused to brick-and-motor retailers or how it plans to take advantage of it.  Even Retail Archeology explained how Amazon was planning on takig over vacant Toys R Us locations.

I'm not done with the Retail Apocalypse.  Stay tuned for the installment about Payless Shoes that I promised in Radio Shack, a tale of the retail apocalypse from Company Man and Retail Archeology after another late celebration of World Population Day.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Drink to France in the World Cup on National Ice Cream Day 2018

While I'm done with drum corps and booze for the holiday, I'm not done with celebrating things French, as France plays Croatia in the World Cup.  More soccer!  Also, vive la France!
So I concluded Drink to a drum corps Bastille Day 2018 with the Santa Clara Vanguard and so I begin today's entry.

In a continuation of Vox explains the state of U.S. men's soccer plus how TV created the modern soccer ball, I present Why France produces the most World Cup players by Vox.

France has had the most native players and coaches in the last 4 World Cups… and their dominance has been on the rise. Players like Kylian Mbappe and Paul Pogba are the children of immigrants and the product of the French soccer academy system. French- born players have played for Togo, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Argentina, Portugal, and many more.
I'm lucky Vox produced this video.  Not only does it work for today's championship match, it nearly makes up for my not posting the "more humorous, if equally informative, compilation of John Oliver videos on FIFA and the World Cup" I promised two weeks ago.  I'll make up for not doing so by writing about the nine Emmy nominations "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" just earned.  Stay tuned for that after following me over the jump for an observance of National Ice Cream Day.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Drink to a drum corps Bastille Day 2018 with the Santa Clara Vanguard


Happy Bastille Day!  For the third year in a row, I am celebrating today as another drum corps holiday.  Two years ago, I featured Phantom Regiment's "City of Light" show.  Last year, I shared Cadets and Cadets 2 playing "Les Miserables."  This year, I return to the well to retrieve 2013 Santa Clara Vanguard - Les Misérables.


For a complete show, watch Santa Clara Vanguard Rehearsal of Les Misérables.

Performed at Hawk Stadium on the PG High School Campus in Texarkana, TX on Wednesday, July 24th.
That's a video that's been up nearly five years and is not likely to be taken down.

I mentioned drinking to the day.  That's because today is also National Grand Marnier Day.  Follow over the jump for the explanation of the day from National Day Calendar along with two Tipsy Bartender recipes that use Grand Marnier.

Friday, July 13, 2018

A supermoon solar eclipse on Friday the 13th


BewareIt's Friday the 13th!  Since I can't resist spectacular astonomical phenomena that coincide with the day, I am sharing There’s a Supermoon Solar Eclipse this Friday the 13th from USA Today with my readers.  Here's hoping the video embeds.

It worked!  Awesome!

Superstitions aside, this won't affect any of us in the Northern Hemisphere.  As Tech Times wrote, "Indeed, the supermoon event over the weekend is an extraordinary one. Unfortunately, though, it is not going to be witnessed across the world and that's why it's a bad luck for most people."  Darn.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Vox explains why seeking asylum in the U.S. is so difficult


I have been exploring the issues the U.S. has with Latin America with a light touch the past two days, first using National Pina Colada Day to revisit Puerto Rican Statehood, then examining the history of U.S.-Cuba relations on National Mojito Day.  Today, I take a more serious tack on how the U.S. deals with people from south of the border with help from Vox.  Watch Why seeking asylum in America is so difficult.

Asylum [seekers] have pushed the system to a tipping point.
...
Asylum is one way that refugees come to America. If you’ve already fled your home country for fear of persecution, and come to the United States, but don’t have refugee status, applying for asylum is the next step you take. It’s a small subset of the American immigration system, but it’s the mechanism behind so much of the news about border.

Families recently separated from their children at the border came seeking asylum. People fleeing from Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador — an area known as the Northern Triangle — come to the United States seeking asylum. To even get a hearing before an immigration judge, potential asylum-seekers have to prove that they have what’s called “credible fear” of returning home. And this is where that backlog really begins.
While I'm not opposed to making asylum seekers jump through hoops to prove that they deserve to stay in this country, I am opposed to separating them from their children.  I also don't think that placing them in custody on military bases while their claims are being processed is a good idea, either.  Vox examines the rationale for doing so and finds it wanting in A new study blows up Trump’s “catch-and-release” myth.
President Donald Trump and other top administration officials have spent months railing against the release of immigrant families as a recipe for widespread lawlessness. They claim that once a family is released from immigration, they’ll simply abscond into the US, skipping their appointed court dates, to live as unauthorized immigrants. The administration makes it seem like this is a deliberate strategy — a known end-run around existing immigration law that takes advantages of extra protections afforded to children, families, and asylum-seekers.

But a new study, compiled by a pair of legal advocacy groups, shows that isn’t the case, and that the administration doesn’t have to choose between separating immigrant families (or detaining them indefinitely) and making sure they show up to court. The administration has identified a real problem, but misunderstands, or misrepresents, the cause.

The study confirms that families who cross into the US without papers often miss their court dates, but offers suggestive qualitative evidence — collected from families who were contacted by attorneys and notified that they’d missed their court dates — that many families aren’t deliberately absconding at all.

They’re trying to stay in the system. It’s just that the system makes it too hard for them, then punishes them with an order of deportation when they fail. The people whom the Trump administration is painting as lawless “absconders” are often just lost, confused, and overwhelmed families in a strange land, working as hard as they can to be allowed to stay here but faced with legal and bureaucratic obstacles that make missing a court date an understandable outcome.
That's a description of the problem, which includes asylum seekers having to update their addresses with multiple agencies, which they usually don't know to do and which results in them missing their court dates.  Vox offers a solution, but notes that the administration is unlikely to take it.
The administration could do a better job of coordinating between agencies so that migrants only needed to update their addresses once. It could adopt a case-management approach that assumed that people are trying to get through the system the right way and simply need a little help navigating it.

The Trump administration has not done that so far. It has instead adopted a blanket approach that assumes that any given family will evade the law if given the chance. It’s fighting in court to keep families under physical control in detention for as long as their cases take, while pressuring judges to speed up those cases so they can be deported more quickly, rather than ever getting released. And, when it fails, the administration is claiming that lawlessness is inevitable.

That’s the choice the administration has made. It’s the most punitive option available to them. It’s not necessarily the one best suited to the problem.
I am disappointed but not surprised that this administration has taken the most punitive approach possible.  It seems like punishment is the end, not just the means.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The history of U.S.-Cuba relations drives one to drink on National Mojito Day 2018


Happy National Mojito Day!  Just as the pina colada is a Puerto Rican drink, the mojito is a Cuban drink.  To celebrate, not only am I passing along drink recipes from Tipsy Bartender, I'm sharing A brief history of America and Cuba from Vox to educate my readers as well as entertain them.

150 years of tension may be coming to an end.
The key word is "may."  Vox posted that video in 2016 and relations have chilled since then.  I'll save that for part 2, which I'll post on National Daiquiri Day 2017.  Stay tuned, but first please follow over the jump for mojito recipes from Tipsy Bartender.


I begin with an updated version of the recipe I used in last year's Tipsy Bartender recipes for National Mojito Day, the Classic Mojito.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Drink to Puerto Rican Statehood on National Pina Colada Day 2018


Happy National Pina Colada Day, a celebration of the national drink of Puerto RicoLast year's observance was inspired by the success of A 51st star for Puerto Rico on Flag Day, so I will continue the tradition by examining the progress and prospects of statehood for Puerto Rico.

Fortunately, I have good news on that front, as Newsy reported Bipartisan bill would make Puerto Rico a state on June 27, 2018.

At least 20 Republicans and 14 Democrats have co-sponsored the bill.
Newsy mentioned Representative Stephanie Murphy.  Watch as she helps introduce the bipartisan Puerto Rico Statehood Bill.

Mr. Speaker:

I rise to express my support for bipartisan legislation to begin Puerto Rico’s transition to statehood.

There are over three million U.S. citizens in Puerto Rico, and over five million individuals of Puerto Rican heritage in the states. My central Florida district is home to more Puerto Ricans than nearly any other district in the country.

I care deeply about Puerto Rico because my constituents care deeply about Puerto Rico. But every Member of Congress should care because Puerto Ricans are our fellow citizens. We’re part of the same American family.

Puerto Rico has been a territory for 120 years. Its residents are treated unequally under key federal laws. This impairs economic progress and quality of life, spurring migration to the mainland.

In addition, even though Puerto Ricans serve in the military with distinction, they cannot vote for their President and commander-in-chief, have no senators, and have one non-voting delegate in the House.

The hard truth is that Puerto Rico’s lack of political power too often makes it an afterthought in Washington, as the federal government’s poor response to Hurricane Maria made painfully clear.

I support statehood because I support equality. The people of Puerto Rico deserve the same rights and responsibilities as their fellow citizens in Florida and every other state. Puerto Rico has earned its star on the American flag.

Thank you.
Murphy isn't alone among Florida politicians in thinking this.  On June 30, WPLG reported After Hurricane Maria, Sen. Nelson says Puerto Rico should move toward statehood.

Monday, July 9, 2018

Record heat scorches southern California and the rest of the Northern Hemisphere


It's time to get back to reality today with the climate and weather news I promised in 'Black Panther' rules movie and TV winners plus humanitarian honorees at the BET Awards.  I begin with PBS NewsHour reporting Global temperatures reach extreme highs, breaking records.

Heat waves broke records around the world this week. While Burbank airport in California touched 114 degrees, Montreal in Canada recorded a high of 97.9 degrees. In Glasgow, Scotland, the temperature was a record-breaking 89.4 degrees on June 28 and a new world record was set off the coast of Oman, where the temperature never dropped below 108.7 degrees for 24 hours. Hari Sreenivasan reports.
According to Guinness World Records, the town of Quriyat in Oman set the record for record high low temperature on June 26, 2018 with the 108.7 degrees Fahrenheit.  The high temperature that day reached 121.6 degrees Fahrenheit, which Guinness noted was the temperature at which road surfaces start to melt.  The record high temperature still belongs to Death Valley, California, with 134 degrees Fahrenheit, set more than a century ago in 1913.

Speaking of California, it was the record heat in the town where I grew up that attracted my attention to this story.  Follow over the jump for video from CBS Los Angeles about the record high temperatures and accompanying fires in southern California.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

'Black Panther' rules movie and TV winners plus humanitarian honorees at the BET Awards


For today's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm following through on my idea to write about the BET Awards that I proposed in Radio Shack, a tale of the retail apocalypse from Company Man and Retail Archeology.  Hey, I can't be all DOOM all the time!

Before I announce the winners of the movie, TV, and humanitarian awards with help from Deadline Hollywood, I'm sharing Jamie Foxx Praises Black Panther & Michael B Jordan from BET Networks.


That set up a great night for "Black Panther."  The only negative thing I will say is about something that hasn't happened yet, but will.  In Drink to 'Avengers: Infinity War' having the best opening weekend box office of 2018 so far, I forecast that it would not hold onto at least two of its box office crowns.
At this rate, both films will reach $700 million at the North American box office with "Infity War" supassing both that level and "Black Panther" by tens of millions of dollars. $750 million is not out of the question.
That should happen by the end of July.  It could happen even earlier, as I predicted "Jurassic World 2" would pass "Deadpool 2" at the box office by the end of July.  It managed to do that Friday.

Still, that hasn't happened yet.  Deadline reported on what did.
Breakout Tiffany Haddish and Chadwick Boseman won for Best Actress and Best Actor respectively while Black Panther was crowned with the Best Movie Award.

“The film is about our experience being African American and also being from Africa,” said director Ryan Coogler in his acceptance speech. “It was about tapping into that voice we always hear that tells us to be proud of who we are.”
Don't just read the words; watch and listen for yourself in #WAKANDAFOREVER - 'Black Panther' Takes the Crown for Best Movie.

Ryan Coogler speaks on the importance of connecting the present with the past as we move toward the future. Powerful words for an iconic film.
In addition to Chadwick Boseman, six other performers from "Black Panther" earned nominations for acting awards for a total of seven nominees from one film.  Angela Bassett, Lupita Nyong’o, and Letitia Wright lost to Tiffany Haddish for Best Actress and Daniel Kaluuya, Michael B. Jordan, and Sterling K. Brown joined Boseman as nominees for Best Actor.

While "A Wrinkle in Time" lost to "Black Panther" for Best Movie, Ava Duvernay managed to win another statuette for Video Director of the Year Award, making her the third speculative fiction winner.  Congratulations!

Other speculative fiction nominees included Daniel Glover from "Solo: A Star Wars Story" for Best Actor and Caleb McLaughlin from "Stranger Things" for the Young Stars Award.  Yara Shahidi of "Black-ish" and "Grown-ish" won that last honor.

Deadline also mentioned the winners in real life.
The Humanitarian Heroes include[:] James Shaw Jr. the man who disarmed Waffle House shooter; Naomi Wadler, the memorable 11-year-old March For Our Lives speaker; Mamoudou Gassama, the man who saved a child from falling from a building; Justin Blackman, the only student to walk out of his high school on National Student Walk-Out Day; Shaun King, journalist who has told untold stories in the Black community; and Parkland survivor Anthony Borges.
I need to write about all these people on days other than Sunday, when this blog is supposed to be about reality instead of fantasy.  At least I've blogged about  March For Our Lives, so that takes care of three of them.

That's it for this week's Sunday entertainment feature.  The next time I write about awards shows should be for the Teen Choice Awards, then the Emmy Awards.  Before then, I have some climate news.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 7, 2018

Vox explains the state of U.S. men's soccer plus how TV created the modern soccer ball


Yesterday, I told my readers to stay tuned"= because I would write about the World Cup.  Today is the first of at least two planned entries on the world's most watched sporting event, an informative post using videos from Vox.*

I begin with Why Americans suck at soccer (well, the men).

We’ve got a theory, and it involves the soccer wars.
...
In this episode of Vox Almanac, Vox’s Phil Edwards puts forth a theory about terrible American men’s soccer.

There are a lot of reasons Americans suck at soccer - but if you look at the history, you’ll find a surprisingly compelling explanation for why American soccer never took off. In the 1920s, soccer was a surprisingly successful sport in the US, with massive matches and a robust league. What went wrong?

American soccer and English football first diverged in the 1800s, when American colleges like Harvard and Yale started playing a more rugby-like game. But America quickly caught up with soccer in the 1920s, attracting large crowds and even stealing away European players.

Then the soccer wars happened. Constant battles in the 1920s between the ASL - American Soccer League - and USFA — United States Football Association — carved up American soccer’s cash, fans, and talent. By the time the depression hit, American soccer was so weakened that it couldn’t rebound as well as European and South American soccer culture did. The subsequent half-century of sports build up gave Americans a permanent handicap when it came to building a robust soccer culture.

It’s a theory — but the success of the US Women’s National Team bears out the idea that something is specifically wrong for the men. And it just might be the case that 1920s soccer wars are the reason.
Vox is right.  For the third most populous and wealthiest country on Earth, the United States has a really weak men's soccer team.  We should be doing better.

Next, How TV gave us the classic soccer ball.

The 2018 World Cup football is a nod back to an iconic design.
...
When you think of a soccer ball, you probably imagine a classic black-and-white paneled ball. It’s known as the Telstar ball, and it was created thanks to TV.

The 1966 World Cup in England was broadcast live across the globe and it was at this point that television became a huge part of the sport. Thanks to the BBC, it was seen by four hundred million people. But spotting the ball was a bit challenging.

Back then, soccer balls looked more like reddish-brown volleyballs. And on black-and-white TVs, it didn’t really stand out from the green field.

By the 1970 World Cup, the soccer ball had changed to that classic Telstar. The contrasting panels made it stand out on TV. Plus, the players loved it because the 32 panels brought the ball closer to an actual sphere.

This year’s World Cup ball is called the Telstar 18, a nod to the original design. While the panels have changed to just six propeller-shaped pieces to make the ball even more spherical, the black-and-white checkered design is back.
I had no idea that television had such a strong influence on the coloration of soccer balls.

Speaking of which, my old junior high school, which was named after an astronomer, had the Telstar (the first communications satellite) as its mascot.  When it became a middle school, it changed its mascot to the lion.  When I found out, I had a brief pang of nostalgia and moved on.  In the 1960s and 1970s, the Telstar had meaning.  Now, not so much.  At least the name lives on in the design of the soccer ball.

*The next one will be a more humorous, if equally informative, compilation of John Oliver videos on FIFA and the World Cup.  I might get to that Monday.  Stay tuned.

Friday, July 6, 2018

Radio Shack, a tale of the retail apocalypse from Company Man and Retail Archeology


I told my readers yesterday to "Stay tuned for another post about the Retail Apocalypse" today.  The subject of today's tale of business failure is Radio Shack, which I first mentioned as a subject of this series in Part 2 of Sears, a tale of the retail apocalypse a month ago.  Now that I'm done with Toys R Us, I can move on to this nearly extinct electronics chain.

I begin with Company Man, who also covered Toys R Us.  A year ago, he asked The Decline of RadioShack...What Happened?

RadioShack has been on a tremendous decline over many years. It's been much longer and more severe than I realized. But what exactly happened? What happened that turned the successful company RadioShack into what it is today?
It looks like another story of mismanagement, predatory financing, and lack of keeping up with the times.

Company Man provided a very good aerial view.  Follow over the jump to see what the decline of Radio Shack looked like on the ground from Retail Archeology.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Vox debates 'The Star Spangled Banner'


July 4th was yesterday, but I'm not done with patriotic music; as I wrote yesterday, I would write about the national anthem today.  To that end, here is Vox explaining Why the US national anthem is terrible — and perfect.

Vox's Estelle Caswell and Joss Fong debate "The Star Spangled Banner"...

When Francis Scott Key attached his poem about the War of 1812 to a popular British song called "To Anacreon in Heaven," he kicked off over 200 years of painfully bad singing by patriotic Americans. The Star Spangled Banner became the official national anthem of the United States in 1931, but it had been used by the Army and Navy for decades before that and was popular from the start. One big problem? The melody wasn't exactly written for the masses, but for trained soloists.

Commentators pointed out early on that it was exceedingly difficult for most people to sing, suggesting that "America the Beautiful" might be a better alternative. Critics have noted that the music requires a uniquely wide vocal range, it's full of tricky intervals, and the lyrics are confusing and uninspiring.

But if you look at the national anthem as a sport, where we get to watch performers at the top of their game tackle the gauntlet that is the Star Spangled Banner, you may come to appreciate it. In this video, we debate whether the difficulty of the Star Spangled Banner is a feature or a bug for a national anthem.
I'm not a big fan of "The Star Spangled Banner" for the reasons mentioned in the video, but I'm not so worked up over it that I am going to agitate for "America the Beautiful" to replace it.  Besides, it can be sung beautifully.  Listen to this rendition by the vocalists of The Cadets.



Happy Fourth of July from The Cadets!

In case that looks familiar, it's because I added it to last year's Drink to a drum corps 4th of July from The Cadets.  I couldn't avoid drum corps entirely on this holiday!

I also can't escape Tipsy Bartender.  Here is the drink I wrote that I had picked out yesterday, Jello Shot American Flag.


Now I'm done with the holiday!  Stay tuned for another post about the Retail Apocalypse tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Drink to America Sings for July 4th


Happy 4th of July!  This year, instead of a drum corps 4th of July with drinks, I'm featuring a gone but not forgotten patriotic attraction from The Happiest Place on Earth to celebrate America's Independence Day.  Here is Defunctland: The History of Disneyland's America Sings.*

Happy 4th of July! To celebrate, I discuss a patriotic addition to Defunctland, America Sings.
I couldn't get completely away from marching music, as "The Stars and Stripes Forever" played in the background.  Also, as I mentioned, this attraction is not forgotten.  Last year, Disney sold the following T-shirt to remember the ride (and take advantage of the current political mood).


Regardless of the inspiration, I agree with this sentiment.

Follow over the jump for the drinks to toast the holiday.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

'Twin Peaks' ties 'Better Call Saul' at the Saturn Awards


I told my readers to "Stay tuned" as "I'll be back with the television and home entertainment winners tomorrow" at the end of 'Black Panther' leads 'The Last Jedi' at the Saturn Awards.  As The Gorillaz sing "tomorrow comes today," so it's time for me to follow through.

As I did yesterday, I'll let Variety tell the tale.
In the TV categories, Vince Gilligan’s “Better Call Saul” won Saturns for best action/adventure/thriller series, best supporting actress (Rhea Seehorn), and best supporting actor (Michael McKean). “Twin Peaks” nabbed best presentation on TV, best guest star (David Lynch), and best TV actor (Kyle MacLachlan). “Star Trek: Discovery” was honored with best new media series and best TV actress for Sonequa Martin-Green, and “The Walking Dead” won for best horror TV and best younger actor for Chandler Riggs.
While I foresaw a big night for "Twin Peaks," I didn't foresee it happening exactly this way.  I also didn't expect "Better Call Saul" to do well at all.  I should have.

Both shows were examples of the Saturn Awards electorate voting like entertainment professionals.  Of the Best Actor on a Television Series nominees, I noted that "the highest rated of them was MacLachlan, who was nominated by four awards shows, so that would make him the establishment candidate among all the actual nominees."  For the Best Supporting Actor on a Television Series nominees, I observed that "McKean had the highest score with nominations from the Critics' Choice Awards, Gold Derby Awards, and Satellite Awards.  If I were definitely vot[ing] the establishment choice, it would be for him."  While I didn't pick Lynch as the professional favorite (that was Bryan Cranston), I did list him among the likely professional choices for Best Guest-Starring Performance on Television, so his win fit the pattern as well.

As for the rest of the multi-award-winning television programs, I correctly forecast that "The Walking Dead" would win both Best Horror Television Series and Best Younger Actor on a Television Series and that "Star Trek: Discovery" would win Best New Media Television Series, but not Sonequa Martin-Green winning Best Actress on a Television Series.  Three out of four isn't bad.

Out of all the multi-award-winning television programs, I found representatives of only one in an interview by Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV: Kenneth Mitchell & Mary Chieffo #StarTrek interviewed at the 44th #SaturnAwards Red Carpet


In case my readers don't recognize the actors, it's because they play Klingons.  It's difficult to see the person beneath the prosthetic make-up.

Now for the shows that won didn't win any acting awards.
Best science fiction series went to “The Orville,” best fantasy series to “Outlander,” best superhero adaptation series to “The Flash,” best animated TV series to “Star Wars Rebels,” and best new media superhero series to “Marvel’s The Punisher.”
I expected most of these and should not have considered "The Flash" winning to be a surprise.  After all, my entry on the superhero TV nominees read 'Supergirl' vs. 'The Flash' (again) and 'The Punisher' vs. 'The Defenders' at the Saturn Awards.

Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV caught representatives of two of the winning shows, "Outlander" and "Star Wars Rebels."  I begin with Diana Gabaldon #Outlander interviewed at the 44th Annual Saturn Awards Red Carpet #SaturnAwards.


I'm glad the author of the books was there to accept the third consecutive award for the television adaption of her series on her first visit to the Saturn Awards.

The final interview of a winner is a repeat appearance from last year's ceremony, Vanessa Marshall #StarWarsRebels interviewed at 44th Annual Saturn Awards Red Carpet #SaturnAwards.


Congratulations to all the winners!  Speaking of which Variety actually reported all of the television winners.  Considering that they did not mention the winners of seven movie awards in the article, that's an accomplishment.

On the other hand, they did not discuss the winners of the home entertainment categories, but they did list them.
Best DVD/BD Release: Dave Made a Maze

Best DVD/BD Classic Film Release: Lifeboat

Best DVD/BD Collection Release: Dracula Complete Legacy Collection

Best DVD/BD Television Series Release: American Gods (Season 1)

Best DVD/BD Special Edition: Night of the Living Dead (Criterion Collection)
Follow over the jump to see how my predictions fared against reality.  Let's see if I can improve on my 14 out of 22 record for the movie winners.

Monday, July 2, 2018

'Black Panther' leads 'The Last Jedi' at the Saturn Awards


I concluded My Saturn Award votes and predictions for 2018 by telling my readers "That's it for the Saturn Awards from me until July 2nd when I plan on covering the winners.  Stay tuned."  Today is July 2nd, so it's time for me to follow through with the winners from Variety.
Disney-Marvel’s blockbuster “Black Panther” reigned at the Saturn Awards with five wins, followed by “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” with three.
...
“Black Panther” was named best comic-to-film, along with best director (Ryan Coogler), best supporting actress (Danai Gurira), best production design (Hannah Beachler), and best makeup (Ken Diaz and Joel Harlow)...“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” won for best writer (Rian Johnson), best editor (Bob Ducsay), and best actor (Mark Hamill).
I thought it might be a big night for "Black Panther" and "Star Wars: The Last Jedi," and it was, although not as big as I expected nor with the awards I expected.  For example, I thought "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" would win Best Science Fiction Film.  Instead, that went to "Blade Runner 2049," which was more of an entertainment professional's choice than a fan favorite.  I also forecast that Carrie Fisher would win Best Supporting Actress, but I found myself pleasantly surprised that Danai Gurira won it instead.  On the other hand, I was expecting Mark Hamill to win Best Actor in a Film and "Black Panter" to win Best Comic to Motion Picture Release.  Both did.

Speaking of Hamill, the Associated Press caught him on the red carpet explaining his performance: Hamill: Playing jaded Skywalker was 'tough'.

Speaking at the Saturn Awards in California, actor Mark Hamill says playing a jaded, world-weary Luke Skywalker in "The Last Jedi" was tough as he had always been "the most idealistic character."
"Coco" ended up being the third most awarded movie, earning both Best Animated Film and Best Film Music.  The first I expected, the second I didn't, even though I was thinking seriously about voting for it, although that was based on its songs, not its film score.  Red Carpet Report on Mingle Media TV interviewed its star in Anthony Gonzalez #Coco interviewed at the 44th Annual Saturn Awards Red Carpet #SaturnAwards.


The rest of the winners only won one award each, including most of the genre movie winners.  Best Fantasy Film went to The Shape of WaterGet Out earned Best Horror Film.  "The Greatest Showman" won Best Action/Adventure Film.  Best Thriller Film went to "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."  The Best Independent Film was awarded to "Wonder."

"Baahubali 2: The Conclusion" winning Best International Film made the biggest splash of any of the single award winners, as the news spawned several videos for the Indian audience.  Most of them were in Telegu or Tamil, but one of them was in English: ‘Baahubali: The Conclusion’ won the best International Film of the year award.


Variety listed the remaining acting winners as "Gal Gadot for best actress in 'Wonder Woman,' Patrick Stewart for best supporting actor in 'Logan,' and Tom Holland for best younger performer in 'Spider-Man: Homecoming'"  The remaining technical film awards went to "Beauty and the Beast" for Best Film Costumes and "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" for Best Special Effects.

Follow over the jump for how the movie winners compared to my votes and predictions.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

A happy drum corps Canada Day 2018 on the second Souther


Happy Canada Day, the first of three patriotic holidays in July.  Today is also Souther, a holiday John Michael Greer and I co-founded that falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Summer Solstice, the mascot for which is a wombat, an Australian animal.   Now, how do I celebrate both at once?  Is there a Canadian corps that wears Aussie hats and plays "Waltzing Matilda?"  Yes, there is!

I begin today's festivities by reaching back into the archives for the 1959 Preston Scout House.


The first year of this series, I shared videos of the Oakland Crusaders and Seneca Optimists.  The next year, I featured their predecessors, the Toronto Optimists and De La Salle Oaklands.  It was only a matter of time before I kicked things off with the other famous pre-DCI Canadian corps, the Preston Scout House.

Follow over the jump for Canadian corps from the 1970s to the 2010s, along with some ice cream for Souther.