Saturday, October 31, 2015

Halloween drinks from Tipsy Bartender for 2015

Happy Halloween from Crazy Eddie's Motie News!  To celebrate the holiday, I'm presenting this year's version of Halloween drinks from Tipsy Bartender.  A couple of years ago, the theme was zombie drinks inspired by "The Walking Dead."  This year, it seems to be pumpkins and bloody eyeballs.  I'll save the eye scream for later and start with the Halloween Pumpkin Cooler.

The world's most awesome Halloween beer cooler ever!
1 Big Pumpkin
24 pack of beer
Dry Ice
That's an impressive, artistic, natural, and functional centerpiece!

Enough of the decorations.  Follow over the jump for the actual drink recipes.

Friday, October 30, 2015

China ends one child policy

ODN (formerly ITV) has the story in China ends its decades long one-child policy.

All couples in China can now have two children as the country's ruling Communist party announced an ease of family planning restrictions. Report by Claire Mewse.
After 35 years, the "basic national policy" has served its purpose by dramatically restricting Chinese population growth.  It's about time for a two child policy for all Chinese, which will still keep China's population from outgrowing its economy.

This change comes just as I am about to start my lectures on human population, so it's very timely.  On the one hand, it will get the students' attention.  On the other, I'll have to update the lecture by replacing the NTDTV video in China's top six environmental problems embedded in the same slide as the poster above with the ODN video.  That's an easy fix. 

By the way, this news has prompted interest in relevant entries from my back catalog.  In particular, people were reading China's gender imbalance: Student sustainability video festival 45.  The change is policy should ease that problem, along with allowing its working age population to stabilize, both issues explored in Next Media Animation thinks low birth rates in the U.S. and China aren't all good.  Looks like China recognized that NMA was right.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Republicans on climate change and energy at the CNBC debate

CNBC asked only one candidate a question about climate change in last night's prime time debate.  Climate Eye on YouTube has the clip in Christie asked sole climate question at prime time GOP debate.

I'm going to be a good environmentalist and recycle what I wrote about Christie's response last time in Republicans vs. Democrats on climate change at the debates so far.
Here is a meme I posted at Michigan Liberal last year.

My comment at the time was "I think we're hitting stage three, with a few people transitioning to stage four.  So, how long before we get to stage five?"  Rubio has moved to stage four, while Christie is starting to move to stage five.  That's an improvement of sorts, but not much.  At least they recognize that climate change is real, but they [don't] prioritize it very highly.
With this answer, Christie has definitely moved to state five, except that his response is in the present tense, not the past tense.  At least he's recognizing climate change as a problem and renewable energy as a solution and doing so in a way that's consistent with his party's ideology.  I can live with a position like that.

While the main event had only one question about climate change, the early debate had three responses to the topic.  Follow over the jump for clips of George Pataki, Lindsey Graham, and Rick Santorum addressing the issue.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Halloween and Friday the 13th bring space visitors

I haven't posted about asteroids and the threat of asteroid collision since July.  Three months later, nature is providing me the opportunity, as two space objects will visit Earth over the next three weeks.

The first is the "Great Pumpkin" asteroid, which will pass by Earth with 300,000 miles on Halloween.  TomoNews US gives its slightly silly take on the story in Halloween asteroid flyby will 'narrowly' miss Earth at the end of October.

MAUI, HAWAII — Scientists at NASA's Pan-STARRS observatory in Hawaii say that an unusually large and fast asteroid will fly by Earth this Halloween. The asteroid, named 2015 TB145, came as a surprise to the scientists, who spotted it less than two weeks ago.

The asteroid's flyby is expected to happen on October 31st, when it will pass within 310,000 miles, or 1.3 lunar distances, from Earth at an "unusually" high velocity of nearly 78,000 miles per hour. 2015 TB145 has an "eccentric" and "high-inclination" orbit, which may explain its late discovery.

Estimated to be between 920 to 2,000 feet in diameter, the asteroid may seem far away enough, but actually it is flying by Earth dangerously close for an object of its size. According to NASA, if an asteroid of its size and velocity was to hit Earth, it would devastating our planet.

Scientists say the next time any celestial object this large will pass by this close to Earth will be in 2027 when the mile-wide AN10 asteroid passes within one lunar distance.
Fortunately, the fly-by will be an exciting near-miss.

The next scary day will be Friday the 13th, which brings its own visitor from space.  Unlike the asteroid, this one will collide with Earth.  Fortunately, it's much smaller and was originally from this planet in the first place.  Teletechnology brings the story of WT1190F, whimsically called "WTF."

WT1190F is predicted to crash into the Indian Ocean on 13 November. The object, dubbed WT1190F, is set to land in the Indian Ocean, around 40 miles (65km) off the southern tip of Sri Lanka, at 6:20 UTC on 13 November. It measures up to 7ft (2 metres) long and it could be a piece of rocket stage from a recent lunar mission, or even part of an Apollo program craft that has been in space for more than 40 years.
This will be much less dangerous than an asteroid impact, although I wouldn't want to be in a boat inside the expected debris field.  Pieces of metal falling at terminal velocity might be terminal for anyone in their way.  Just the same, this will provide a good opportunity for scientists to observe how spacecraft break up in the atmosphere and it will also remove one more piece of space junk.  Good viewing and good riddance!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Chewbacca arrested as Darth Vader campaigns for Mayor of Odessa, Ukraine

Last year, I reported on the aborted campaign of Darth Vader for President of Ukraine.
[S]omeone posing as Darth Vader ran for President of Ukraine on the Internet Party ticket this spring before his candidacy was rejected.  Too bad about that.  His campaign would have been more fun to report on that what actually happened in Ukraine this summer.
The Dark Lord of the Sith granted my wish, as he's now running for Mayor of Odessa.

Darth Vader is among the candidates vying for the post of Mayor in the Ukrainian port city of Odessa.  He joins Peking Duck and a man calling himself Putin in the leadership race.
Unfortunately, things are running about as smoothly as last time.  Follow over the jump for the Sith Lord's misfortunes.

Monday, October 26, 2015

'The Martian' returns to number one as most Halloween films bomb

The weekend held great promise for several scary films, two of which The Wall Street Journal profiled in Halloween Movies 2015: 'Crimson Peak' and More.

Halloween cinema releases this year include Guillermo Del Toro’s ‘Crimson Peak,’ and ‘The Last Witch Hunter’ starring Vin Diesel. Mark Kelly reports.
Unfortunately for the hype, both of them bombed, as Daily Variety reported via Reuters in Box Office Massacre: 'Last Witch Hunter,' 'Paranormal Activity 6' and 'Steve Jobs' Flop.
It was a pre-Halloween massacre at the multiplexes.

Four new films, including "Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension" and Vin Diesel's "The Last Witch Hunter," crowded into theaters this weekend and were swiftly pulverized and left for dead. Another, "Steve Jobs," expanded after a brisk limited run in a few key cities, only to be given the cold shoulder by the general public.

Their failures allowed a trio of holdovers -- "The Martian," "Goosebumps," and "Bridge of Spies" -- to retain the top three spots on the box office chart.
Congratulations to "The Martian" for being number one at the box office again.  Last week, "Goosebumps" was the top film, knocking off "The Martian" after two weeks on top.

As for the rest, "The Last Witch Hunter" was the only new release in the top five, coming in fourth ahead of "Hotel Transylvania 2."  "Paranormal Activity," which should have been a lock for Halloween as part of successful franchise, came in sixth, "Steve Jobs," which might still get some Oscar nominations for writing and acting, came in seventh, and "Crimson Peak," which might get some nominations for costumes and production design, came in eighth.  Honestly, it looked like a weekend where the teens stayed away from the theaters while adults and families with kids attended and not that many adults, as otherwise "Steve Jobs" might have had more viewers.

Despite the box office disappointments, last week was a good one for film topics.  I'm sure I'll see most of the new releases when they come to cable, although I might wait until they're free.  This week is another story.   The best film will be "Our Brand is Crisis."  After that, it's a sharp drop-off to "Scout's Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse."  That's a great title and concept, but I expect the film to be another dumb comedy.  I might pass on them and look ahead to Spectre, the next Bond film instead.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Final 'Star Wars VII' trailer and reaction

I've blogged about the trailers for "Star Wars: The Force Awakens" three times before, so for the sake of completeness, I'm going to write about the last one.  I begin with the video itself: Star Wars: The Force Awakens Trailer (Official).

Watch the official trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, coming to theaters December 18, 2015.
Never mind me.  I'm geeking out with Paul W..  May the Force be with us.

OK, that's over.  Follow over the jump for two reaction videos.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

John Oliver and 'Food, Inc.' explain chicken farming

A Happy Food Day to my readers!  This year, I'm blogging about the movie Food, Inc. to celebrate, just as I did in 2013.  Today, I'm answering questions about chicken farming from the "Food, Inc." worksheet, which my students worked on this week, the way I answered questions about corn and energy.  Follow over the jump for those as well as a video from "Last Week Tonight by John Oliver" on the indignities of contract chicken growing.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Driving update for October 2015: Pearl

When I wrote the driving update for Dez earlier this month, I already knew that I'd post another one for Pearl this month, too.  Yesterday, I said that the next entry would be that driving update.  So, here it is.

Pearl rolled over 23,000 miles on Wednesday Tuesday, October 20th.  That's 58 days since it hit 22,000 miles on August 23rd.  My driving has increased markedly since August, when I had been driving 14.1 miles per day or 430.1 miles per standard month of 30.5 days since I bought the car in July.  I'm now driving it 17.24 miles per day, which translates to 525.86 miles per standard month.  That's even more than the 16.95 miles per day and 516.95 miles per standard month I drove Ruby between May and July.  I'm not surprised.  I'm driving more because I'm teaching at two campuses instead of one and I'm attending an average of a committee meeting a week on top of the increased requirements of my more car-dependent neighborhood.  I expect to post a driving update for Pearl every other month from now on.

Of course, the important statistic isn't how much I drive my car; it's how much my wife and I drive our cars.  Adding Dez's 9.71 miles/day and 296.1 miles/standard month to my driving results in totals of 26.95 miles/day and 822.0 miles/month.  That's better than the 1000 total miles per month we were driving our cars in April, a statistic I did not use for a new baseline because of pair of one-time trips to Flint and Mount Pleasant.   Even so, it's more than the cumulative average of 22.52 miles/day and 686.86 miles/month from January 2015's update and much more than the previous cumulative update on December 28, 2013.  My wife and I are definitely adding to the trend of increasing miles driven since gas prices fell last year.  At least I drive a high-mileage car!

Stay tuned for a post about Food, Inc. starring John Oliver for Food Day.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Limbo Kitty returns as prices fall to new post-summer lows

When WXYZ passed along a gas price spike warning, the corner station was selling regular for $2.37 and the two stations down the street listed it for $2.33.  Since then, the price has fallen.  On Thursday of last week, all the stations in my old neighborhood were selling regular for $2.32.  When I drove through my old stomping grounds on Tuesday of this week, all outlets displayed $2.19 for regular.  The price spike is over.

Not only that, but prices have fallen below their previous post-summer low of $2.24 back in September.  I told my readers then to "watch for another return of Limbo Kitty."  Lo, and behold, Limbo Kitty is back!

GasBuddy shows that these prices are still holding.  In addition, the site shows that they are exactly where they should be given the Detroit average of $2.29.  Also, at least one station in the metro area is selling regular at $1.99.  That's not enough for me to say that gas has fallen below $2.00; that would take either the stations in my old neighborhood or the metro average to hit or fall below $2.00.  I'm still expecting that to happen between Halloween and Thanksgiving.  That should happen, as the local average has dropped 15 cents in the past two days and is still falling.

The data from Oil-Price.Net supports a continued price drop, as it shows WTI closing Tuesday at $45.55, five dollars below the $49.43 it was two weeks ago, while and Brent was at $48.71, more than four dollars below the $53.05 of two weeks ago.  In addition, RBOB is selling for $1.28, well below the $1.41 being quoted at the last report.  It looks like I'll be using Limbo Kitty to illustrate quite a few of my entries between now and Christmas.

Stay tuned for a driving update on Pearl.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Back to the Future Day!

Paul W. reminded me of a special science-fiction day Drinks for the Democratic debates: Bernie Sanders.
If he shouts out halfway through the debate "Great Scott!  It's almost October 21, 2015!  I need to go warn Marty about this!" and hops into a nearby DeLorean with a flux capacitor and flies off, take three drinks in honor of the Back to the Future trilogy.
That's today, so here's the Back to the Future Day official trailer to celebrate.

This 21 October 2015, Universal Pictures’ Back to the Future trilogy returns to the big screen internationally.

Marking the date when Marty and Doc travel forward in time in Back to the Future II, hundreds of cinemas internationally are celebrating this unique anniversary for a special one-day cinema release through Universal and Park Circus. 2015 also marks the 30th anniversary of Back to the Future.

Park Circus is releasing Robert Zemeckis' Back to the Future films across Latin America, Japan, New Zealand and the following territories in Europe: Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Hungary, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain and Sweden. Universal is handling the release in the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France and Australia.
So much for the fantasy of the day.  Now for the reality in Everything BACK TO THE FUTURE II Got Right (and Wrong)

In Back to The Future II, Marty McFly travels into the future to the year 2015, our present day. But how accurate were the film's predictions about the future?
Chris Demarais is expressing the disappointment I described in Where's my retro future?  Sorry, no flying cars or fusion power, either.  The best we can do are the four energy predictions Back to the Future 2 got almost right I quoted in SciFi is Now: Energy and other technologies for 2014.

As for one other prediction that didn't come true, no World Series win for the Cubs, either.  They'll be playing the fourth game of the NLCS instead.  At the rate they've been playing so far, it will be they're last game this year.  Too bad.  I'd really like that prediction to come true.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Record comments and 500,000 page views for September 2015 and other meta

September 2015 was a month of milestones.  I posted the 2500th entry, the blog surpassed 500,000 page views over its history, and it set a new record for comments during a month with 74.  The blog also earned 12,893 page views.  Time to review my page view goals from Record page views for August 2015 and other monthly meta to see how that stacked up with expectations.
I conclude with my readership goals for September, which aren't very high.  September 2014 saw only 11,785 page views.  To beat that will require 393 page views per day for 11,790, which is the minimum goal.  The low goal of ending a day ahead entails 406 page views per day for a total of 12,180 total.  The medium goal of a five percent increase over last year would be 12,390 total or 413 page views per day.  The high goal would be at least 13,000 page views to keep the streak going, which would mean 434 page views per day.  As of tonight, the blog is exceeding all these goals, but it's only the first week.  There are 23 days left in September.  Stay tuned.
While it was the first month since February not to exceed 13,000, it still met all other readership goals by increasing page views over September 2014 by 1108, 9.4%.  As a consequence, the blog earned 429.77 page views per day and 368.37 page views per post.  Those weren't records, but they were good.  On the other hand, the blog had an average of 2.47 comments per day and 2.11 comments per entry.  Those are records!

To celebrate both the 500,000th page view and 2500th entry, which was Happy Labor Day from Detroit!, I'm posting the theme song for this blog, (Nothing but) Flowers.

Also to celebrate the record number of comments, I'm sharing the most commented on entries last month.

Thanks to a battle with several persistent spammers, Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties, posted August 3, 2014, is now the most commented on entry in the history of the blog with 52 comments, half of them deleted.  It started off with eight comments.  Thirty more were posted during September 2015, making this the most commented on entry this month.  Fourteen more came in October, so it will likely be the most commented on entry this month as well.

The most commented on entry actually posted during September was Blog recommendation: You Might Notice a Trend posted September 25, 2015.  It earned seven comments thanks to a conversation with the writer of the blog that was recommended.  That wasn't enough to place it in the top ten, as it earned only 69 page views last month, 85 according to the raw counter.

Follow over the jump for the most liked and most read entries of September 2015.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Republicans vs. Democrats on climate change at the debates so far

With the first Democratic debate completed, it's time to compare the two parties on the issues the moderators thought were important.  One that I think is important is climate change as a proxy for all environmental issues.  However, that was not a subject at the first Republican debate, as the following graph from FiveThirtyEight shows.

Not a word.  Of course, the choice of topics reflects that of Fox News, who was more concerned about being a good gatekeeper for the GOP but failing at it when it came to keeping Trump in line.  Besides, comparing both parties and networks using the first debates introduces one variable too many for a good natural experiment.  Follow over the jump for a comparison of the second Republican debate and the first Democratic one, which were both on CNN.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Drinks for Republican candidates: Graham, Pataki, and Gilmore

Paul W. has posted the rules for the Mocktober Republican Debate drinking game, so it's time to finish the project I left off at There's a Santorum cocktail, too, coming up with drink suggestions for the remaining Republican candidates, Lindsey Graham, George Pataki, and Jim Gilmore.  If Drinks for "The Walking Dead" from Tipsy Bartender and Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates count as Entertainment Sunday entries, so does this.

I begin with Vinepair's suggestion for Lindsey Graham.

Poor Lindsey Graham, eternally single. Luckily, whisky is for the lonely. Drink up, Mr. Graham.
That's good for a joke, but it's not even the best hard liquor suggestion for Graham.  Country Living has a much better one from his home state.

Fans of ginger also shouldn't miss Virgil Kaine's ginger-infused bourbon. Heirloom ginger roots harvested on John Island, South Carolina, plus a hint of vanilla make for one smooth and balanced beverage.
Yum.  Now for a signature cocktail, the South Carolina Swizzle Cocktail - The Proper Pour with Charlotte Voisey - Small Screen.

Inspired by the delicious produce of South Carolina and Georgia, Charlotte created the South Carolina Swizzle Cocktail to celebrate one of her favorite regions of the United States. Served in a julep style, this refreshing libation is perfect as a summer sipper.

Remember, great cocktails start with measuring responsibly.
1 1/2 parts Hendrick's Gin - Watch The Unusual Times:
1/2 part Bitter Truth Apricot Liqueur
3/4 part fresh lime juice
3/4 part simple syrup
1/4 part Yellow Chartreuse

Shake ingredients with ice.
Strain over crushed ice into hurricane or tall glass.
Garnish with a mint sprig.
If one wants soft drinks, there's the South Carolina Foghorn Leghorn and Blenhiem Ginger Ale, although finding the second may be difficult in most places.

And now, the rules.  From July:
  • [I]f he argues for bombing half the Middle East as a means of convincing our enemies and allies of our manhood, take a drink, break out a map, and start crossing off the NATO allies that are going to stop taking calls from our State Department.
  • If Graham riffs off his earlier joke about drinking heavily to watch these debates, toast him for his sincerity at the least.
  • If Graham refers to this drinking game, finish the bottle, 'cause damn.
From August:
If Lindsay talks about her upcoming work schedule such as a new pop album and hopes of a Hollywood comeback, you've got the wrong Lindsey on your channel so switch it over from TMZ back to CNN [CNBC].
And now from this month's version:
  • If Lindsey openly whines about Steve Spurrier's sudden retirement from coaching the Gamecocks, openly shout back "Gator fans are feeling it too, you selfish bastard" and cry into your drink.
  • If Lindsey brags about using his Senatorial authority to threaten a government shutdown, shout back "Cruz and Paul are beating you to it" and take two drinks.
Follow over the jump for drinks and rules for Pataki and Gilmore.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Happy Sweetest Day!

Time to add another holiday to the ones celebrated at Crazy Eddie's Motie News, Sweetest Day.  I've only mentioned the holiday once before, in Sustainability news for the week ending 10/15/11.  I've avoided the day since, but I love holidays, so today I couldn't resist.

I begin the celebration with The History of Sweetest Day.

Was Sweetest Day really invented by the greeting card industry? Find out in this mini-documentary, which moves quickly and reveals the fascinating story of the holiday’s early origins.
I found that both educational and entertaining.  Now for something emotional and entertaining, Sweetest Day by Control Freq.

Happy Sweetest Day!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Trump thinks Sanders is the right enemy

I left this aside hanging in the middle of Clinton wins the news media while Sanders wins the Internet.
The Washington Post via TeleSUR showed that Sanders didn't just beat the Democrats on Google.
“What's more,” Washington Post added, “Sanders actually overpowered the long-term king of Google, Donald Trump. During the debate, Sanders continually attracted more Google interest than Trump."
Sanders beating Trump on Google is having an effect, but I'll save it for a future post.
Sanders may have beat Trump on Google, but he didn't beat The Penguin Donald on Twitter, as the following graphic shows.

Just the same, Sanders got Trump's attention and Trump turned his fire on him.  First, CNN reported on Donald Trump pokes fun at Bernie Sanders.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump continues to rise in popularity in key states. CNN's Sara Murray reports.
Then, The Associated Press reported Trump Calls Sanders A Maniac Following Debate.

Republican presidential front-runner Donald Trump has a new target for his barbs: Democratic contender Bernie Sanders. Trump went after the senator while speaking in front of about 5,000 people at a rally in Virginia Wednesday evening.
Tell us what you really think, Penguin, and don't mince words.  As for whether or not Sanders really is the right enemy for Trump, we'll see.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Clinton wins the news media while Sanders wins the Internet

According to the politicians, pundits, and journalists for the mainstream press, Hillary Clinton won the debate.  Daily Kos summarized that result in Hillary Clinton had the debate she needed, at least to shift the media narrative.
The media wanted a dramatic narrative—for Clinton to fall on her face or to dominate. Since she did well, she's getting what might be an exaggerated domination narrative. Reviews of Sen. Bernie Sanders' performance were more mixed, though generally on the positive side. And of course, he produced the most memorable line of the night—that "The American people are sick and tired of hearing about your damn emails"—though it's being chalked up more to Clinton's benefit than to his. But commentators were quick to note that Sanders struggled a bit on gun control ... and of course, he faced some creepily red-baiting questions from Anderson Cooper. In true Sanders fashion, he mostly swept aside Cooper's more personally directed questions to focus on the issues, but he wasn't able to redirect the media narrative in the way Clinton did.
That narrative was reflected in CNN's First Democratic debate: How did they do?

The five Democratic candidates took the debate stage -- how did they do? John Berman reports.
The order and time devoted to each of the candidates tells the order in which CNN ranked the candidates, even if the cable outlet didn't come right out and say so.  FiveThirtyEight was no different, ranking the candidates exactly the same as CNN's report, even as they skeptically declared The Media Underestimated Hillary Clinton, But Overestimated Her Debate.  Even I got that impression based on the candidates making the right enemies.  However, Clinton did not win over the Democratic voters willing to make their opinions known in the Internet.  Follow over the jump. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Democrats making the right enemies

Enough of drinks for Democratic candidates.  What about the debate itself?  I'll content myself tonight with how the candidates fared according to this quote from an anonymous commenter on an Economist article ten years ago--"There is only one thing more useful in politics than having the right friends, and that is having the right enemies."  I agree with this quote whole-heartedly.  Therefore, I'm sharing CNN asking the five candidates at last night's debates to name enemies they're proud of.

At the Democratic debate, candidates were asked which enemies they're most proud of making.
All of them picked good enemies except Webb; he basically threw that answer away to the point where I'm not sure he really understood the question.  However, that they named good adversaries didn't mean they picked the right ones.  Chafee didn't get a reaction from naming the Coal Lobby (he'd have been better off calling them "Big Coal"), so it wasn't the right enemy.  Too bad, as that was the one environmentally themed antagonist.  On the other hand, the NRA got named twice by O'Malley and Clinton, as did the pharmaceutical companies by Clinton and Sanders.  Wall Street also got mentioned by Sanders.  Clinton also named the Iranians and the Republicans.  All of those got cheers from the debate audience, so they all counted as "the right enemies."  Consequently, I scored the responses Clinton 5, Sanders 3, O'Malley 2, Chafee 1, and Webb 0.  Webb is lucky I didn't give him a negative number.  On the other hand, Clinton wins this round.  Take a drink.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Drinks for the Democratic debates: O'Malley, Webb, and Chafee

Before I get to the drinks, I'll let Tomo News US have its snarky take on tonight's debate.

There's blood in the water as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders prepare for the first democratic debate of the 2016 race. Three no-name candidates will also be on stage taking cheap shots at the frontrunners. Odds are we can say goodbye to Jim Webb, Lincoln Chafee and Martin O'Malley. Gosh, we hardly knew they existed.
I don't think that the snarky Taiwanese animators are right about O'Malley, Webb, and Chafee dropping out just yet, but just in case, I'm sharing drink recipes and suggestions for them to go along with those for Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and even Joe Biden to go along with Paul W.'s Democratic Debate Drinking Game for October 2015.

I'll start with Martin O'Malley.  According to Berniementum, "the signature cocktail of Maryland is the Black-Eyed Susan, and the signature soft drink is ginger ale."  Here is the recipe from

Black-eyed Susan Cocktail

This cocktail's name is taken from the flowers used to make the blanket that drapes the winning horse at the Preakness.


3/4 cup orange juice $
1/2 cup pineapple juice $
3 tablespoons vodka $
3 tablespoons light rum $
2 tablespoons orange liqueur
Crushed ice
Garnishes: lime slices, fresh cherries


1. Stir together first 5 ingredients. Fill 2 (12-oz.) glasses with crushed ice. Pour orange juice mixture over ice. Garnish, if desired. Serve immediately.
For readers who want something in between a cocktail and a soft drink, Vinepair has a beer suggestion.

[W]e find Martin O’Malley kind of boring mysterious. Luckily for him, he’s from Maryland, the home of one of our favorite beer bosses – Dogfish Head.
And now, the rules.
  • If anyone else quotes a line from the TV show The Wire to O'Malley's face, take a drink.
  • If the line is from Omar, mutter "A man gotta have a code" and take two drinks.
  • If O'Malley tries to hit Hillary on an issue, shout at the screen "Yo Bey you come at the queen you best not miss" and take a drink.
  • If O'Malley brings up his Irish background, refuse to drink.  Dammit, have some standards.
Follow over the jump for drink suggestions for Jim Webb and Lincoln Chafee.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving 2015!

Happy Thanksgiving to my neighbors across the Detroit River!  For my American readers, I'll let International Business Times explain Why Is Canada's Thanksgiving In October? All The Ways The Holiday Differs From America's Turkey Day.
While Thanksgiving is still over a month away in the U.S. and worries have already been raised over pumpkin shortages for all the pies that will be baked, America’s northern neighbor will be celebrating Thanksgiving Monday. So why is Canada's Thanksgiving in October?
The second Monday in October was selected as the date for the holiday in 1957, leading to complaints from farmers that this gave city folk a longer weekend when weather was still suitable for working outdoors. Not everyone takes a long weekend by celebrating Thanksgiving on Monday.
What else is different from the U.S. in Canada's Thanksgiving? The harvest in Canada tends to arrive earlier than in America, which is another reason for the October date and also a last push to get people outdoors.
As for why I celebrate it here, I'll repeat what I wrote last year.
On Facebook, I've been posting that I'm going to celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving instead of Columbus Day.  It looks like I'm not alone.  Vox has an article comparing the two, Why you should celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving instead of Columbus Day, that pretty much sums up why I feel this way.
Celebrating genocidal maniacs is never fun, and even less so when it's on the false pretenses of a discovery that they didn't quite make. So here's a better idea: on Monday, celebrate Canadian Thanksgiving instead!
I don't mind celebrating Thanksgiving twice.  Do you?
Once again, Happy Canadian Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Drinks for "The Walking Dead" from Tipsy Bartender

I finished "Happy Wester 2015 a week late" by telling my readers to "stay tuned for zombie drinks from Tipsy Bartender to celebrate the return of "The Walking Dead" as my Entertainment Sunday offering."  I've posted two of the older recipes before, the original Walking Dead Cocktail in The Archdruid and his readers on zombies and the Grave Denial in Drink and drive with "The Walking Dead."  Today, it's time for three more, beginning with The Walking Dead Halloween Cocktail.

"This cocktail is no different than the harsh realities that surrounded Rick and his men in the show. In creating this cocktail I wanted to keep the scene of the child among the cars intact and the predominant part of this drink. The innocence of a child is symbolized by the sweetness of the Peach Schnapps but the dead that she has become is symbolized by the curdling of the Irish Cream and potency of the Absinthe and Bacardi 151. The bitterness is brought upon by the Ginger Beer and the shot to the head by the Grenadine. Initially this cocktail appears very disgusting, but just as the Rick's original perception of the little girl prior to his realization of her being undead, you can't judge a book by its cover. Give this a good stir and you'll be in for a tasty treat. Who would've known the reality of the undead would taste so sweat."

½ oz. (15ml) Barcardi 151
½ oz. (15ml) Absinthe
1 oz. (30ml) Peach Schnapps
Tops with Ginger Beer
1 oz. (30ml) Baileys Irish Cream
Follow over the jump for two more recipes.

Happy Wester 2015 a week late

The Wester Squirrel

At the end of Drinks for the Democratic debates: Hillary Clinton, I wrote that I would wish my readers a Happy Wester.  In the meantime, I realized that Wester was last Sunday, at least according to the formula: "Wester is the first Sunday after the first Full Moon after the Autumnal Equinox."  The first full moon after the Autumnal Equinox was the blood moon two weeks ago.  I missed it.  As Rick Perry would say, "Oops."

Here's to hoping you had a Happy Wester anyway.

To make up for my miscalculation, I promise to dish on myself by telling a story that indirectly involves the person who first told me about Wester.  Not tonight, however.  Instead, stay tuned for zombie drinks from Tipsy Bartender to celebrate the return of "The Walking Dead" as my Entertainment Sunday offering.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Drinks for the Democratic debates: Joe Biden

I promised my readers recipes for Joe Biden-themed drinks twice, teasing them first at the end of Hillary Clinton's entry and again after Bernie Sanders'.  Even though Biden's not a declared candidate (yet),* Paul W.'s Democratic Debate Drinking Game for October 2015 Even Though The Election Is Still 2016 And All: The All's Fair In Love And Gwar Version has rules for him, so I'm including him for completeness.

Like Clinton, Sanders, Trump, and Santorum, Biden has a drink named after him, the Biden Beer Bomb.
.5 bottle of Sam Adams Cherry Wheat Beer (or beer of your choice. Wheat beer or hefeweizen works best)
1.5 oz. Woodford Reserve Bourbon
.5 oz. Cherry Brandy
.5 oz. simple syrup

Need a frozen beer mug or beer glass, then place bourbon, cherry brandy, and simple syrup in a Boston shaker with ice, and shake until cold. Pour mixture into the bottom of an ice-cold mug, then add beer.
As if that's not enough, there is a Vice President cocktail.
1 1/2     oz     Cuban rum, Havana Club AƱejo Especial
1     oz     Mandarin orange liqueur, Mandarine Napoleon
1/2     oz     Campari
Stir, strain, up.
The irony of these drinks is that Biden doesn't consume alcohol.  Instead, he prefers a cranberry mocktail like this Virgin Cosmopolitan.

    4 Parts Cranberry Juice
    1 Part Lime Juice
    1 Part Orange Juice
    1 Part Simple Syrup
    2 Dashes Orange Bitters
    1 Twist Orange

How to mix

Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with orange.
In any event, if Biden enters the Democratic primary contest, both my readers and Paul W.'s will be prepared.

Follow over the jump for the rules and the footnote.

Drinks for the Democratic debates: Bernie Sanders

I told my readers to "stay tuned for more" at the end of Drinks for the Democratic debates: Hillary Clinton as "I've already found a Vice President cocktail recipe for Biden."  I'll get to that, but since he's (so far) not in the debate, I'll save him for later.  Instead, I'm "feeling the Bern" and presenting the drink suggestions for Bernie Sanders.

Follow over the jump for two joke image suggestions and two very real recipes for Bernie Sanders.

Drinks for the Democratic debates: Hillary Clinton

My new blogging buddy Paul W. has given me a job I was going to do anyway as part of his Democratic Debate Drinking Game for October 2015 Even Though The Election Is Still 2016 And All: The All's Fair In Love And Gwar Version.
I will update this later to add links to any custom drinks or craft beers that my ally and co-conspirator Pinku-Sensei can put up on his Crazy Eddie Motie's News blog!
Thanks, Paul!  It's an honor.

Follow over the jump to read drink ideas for the front-runner, Hillary Clinton.

Friday, October 9, 2015

WXYZ issues gas price spike warning

I concluded yesterday's driving update by telling my readers that "local gas prices are about to become less cheap."  Here's the source of my information, WXYZ's New warning about gas prices.

There's a new warning that gas prices are going to spike.
Watching that clip promted me to fill up yesterday when I was passing through my old neighborhood.  When  I last drove past the stations, the corner station listed regular for $2.27 and the two stations down the street displayed $2.29 for regular.  This time, the corner station was selling regular for $2.37 and the two stations down the street listed it for $2.33.  It was at one of those that I filled up Pearl.  This tank should see me through until prices fall again.

As WXYZ reported, GasBuddy was the source of the price spike warning.  The site shows the Detroit average for gas at $2.48, so I got gas at quite a discount.  So far, there is no sign of an ongoing increase, as prices have been stable for the past week.

Oil-Price.Net, on the other hand, does indicate some upward pressure on prices in the near future, as it shows WTI closing yesterday at $49.43 and Brent at $53.05.  Both are up from $44.48 and $47.75 respectively during the last report and at their highs for the past 30 days.  In addition, RBOB is selling for $1.41, up from $1.38 at the start of fall.  Those prices are still historically low, but they will slow down the seasonal decrease.  I still expect that to happen, including gas below $2.00 between Halloween and Thanksgiving, but I now forecast that drop closer to Thanksgiving than I would have a month ago.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Driving update for October: Dez

My wife will roll Dez's odometer past 48,000 miles today, so it's time for the next driving update.  The previous update reported that Dez rolled over 47,000 miles on June 27, 2015.  That was 103 days ago, so my wife and I drove Dez an average of 9.71 miles/day and 296.1 miles/standard month during this time.  This is a lot less than the 12.99 miles per day and 396.10 miles per standard month we did between April and June of this year, which included part of a return trip from Mount Pleasant.  The closest comparable period was from November to February, when we drove the car 11.63 miles/day or 354.7 miles/month.  In fact, it's the least we've driven Dez since we bought it.  It's also very similar to the 9.62 miles/day and 293.27 miles/month we drove Ruby during May to September of last year.  It appears that the higher baseline since we moved to a more car-dependent neighborhood may not be as high as I expected, at least for Dez.  Pearl's driving may be another story.  Expect a driving update for her later this month.

It turns out that my wife and I contributed less to the continuing trend to drive more.  Bill McBride of Calculated Risk passed on the following from the Department of Transporation.
Travel on all roads and streets changed by 4.2% (11.4 billion vehicle miles) for July 2015 as compared with July 2014.

Travel for the month is estimated to be 283.7 billion vehicle miles.

The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for July 2015 is 264.4 billion miles, a 3.9% (9.9 billion vehicle miles) increase over July 2014. It also represents a 0.8% change (2.1 billion vehicle miles) compared with June 2015.
Here's the graph showing the rapid increase in miles driven over the past year.

McBride attributes most of this increase to cheaper gasoline.  I agree.

That written, local gas prices are about to become less cheap.  I'll have a report on that later.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Cracked on insects as a food of the future

Eating insects as the future of food has been a recurring theme on this blog for more than four years, so I couldn't resist sharing the following section from Crack's 5 Shocking Ways The World Is About To Change on the topic.
You'll Eat Bugs (And You'll Like It)

If you found a cockroach in your cereal, your whole year would be ruined. We have such a physical revulsion to bugs that the above headline probably sounds like a threat: "In the future, food will be so scarce that you'll scarf down a grasshopper! You know, right after cooking and eating your own diiiiick!"

But I've already told you this isn't about making you afraid of a nightmare future. I'm saying that bugs will slip seamlessly into our diets the same way high fructose corn syrup did, only this time the world will be much better for it. I'm going to prove it to you in five steps. Ready?
Follow over the jump for more from David Wong's Cracked article, along with my commentary.

Democrats write better than Republicans, according to Grammarly

Two months ago, Grammarly analyzed the writing skills of supporters of the Republican candidates on Facebook before the first Republican presidential debate and found that Trump's supporters had the worst writing skills.  Now that the first Democratic debate is a week away, the grammar website and app has done the same for the followers of the participants in next week's debate.  The result is the Democratic Primary Candidates Grammar Power Rankings.

The supporters with the best grammar were those of Lincoln Chafee.  Behind him were those of Jim Webb, Bernie Sanders, Martin O'Malley, and Hillary Clinton.  Oddly enough, the two candidates with the most literate fans used to be Republicans.  That's interesting and possibly a little perplexing, because all the Democratic supporters write at least as well, if not better, than even those of any Republican.

Follow over the jump for a side-by-side comparison in Grammarly's Presidential Debate Grammar Power Rankings.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

San Pedro's Sunken City: The final location of 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 1

The final location of the season finale of "Fear the Walking Dead" took place in a familiar location, the Sunken City of San Pedro.  Watch A Look at Season 2: Fear the Walking Dead and pay particular attention to the final shot, which shows the entire area.

The cast and creators of Fear the Walking Dead share their expectations for Season 2.
This location moved me.  First, I'm originally from Los Angeles and I've hiked through the area 30 years ago as part of a geology field trip, so it evoked memories of my experience.  Second, I use the location as an example of a slump in my lecture on mass wasting, so it gave me a new hook to get my students interested.  Finally, I found the location symbolic.  This is an area of Los Angeles that literally collapsed nearly a century ago.  It struck me as the perfect place to show a fallen L.A.  It had collapsed first and avoided the rush, much like the character of Chris, who had been living in his own private apocalypse for years before the zombie plague.  It serves as a way of not only depicting the present state, but of foreshadowing the future, perfect for a season finale.

Follow over the jump for three videos about the Sunken City of San Pedro, two informative and one just visually appealing.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Dish: Representative Conyers divorcing and a state representative in corruption scandal

I'm cashing in the rain check for some political gossip that I issued to begin Hurricane Joaquin as viewed from Michigan.  WXYZ provided two stories yesterday that fit the bill perfectly.  First, Monica Conyers files for divorce.

I must say that I'm surprised.  John Conyers, who became the longest serving U.S. Representative upon the retirement of John Dingell, comes off as a decent person.  According to Voteview, he's the most liberal member of the Michigan Congressional delegation, as well as one of the oldest.  That might be contributing to this situation.  Conyers almost didn't qualify for the ballot last year, as too many of his signatures were collected by paid petition circulators, which was illegal at the time (that provision of Michigan's election law was overturned in the process of getting Conyers back on the ballot).  That's a sign that Conyers has been losing control of his operation.  Along with other rumors about his age getting to him, it indicates that it might be time for Conyers to retire.  I'm sure that's contributing to his wife filing for divorce.  That she spent three years separated from him while serving time in prison for corruption didn't help, either.  Her criminal history is not helping her in the eyes of the public, either.  The comments on the video uniformly attack her over it.  She's not popular, unlike her husband.

Speaking of female Detroit politicians who have issues with corruption, WXYZ also posted Tinsley-Talabi's former chief of staff sentenced to its YouTube channel yesterday.

Alberta Tinsley-Talabi's former chief of staff has been sentenced in a corruption probe that his former boss has now been named in.
I've run into Tinsley-Talabi's name before, but I know very little about her.  I'll have to stay tuned to see if this scandal sucks her in, too.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

'The Martian' tops weekend box office while 'Maze Runner 2' stays in top five

Earlier today, I told my readers to "stay tuned for the second post of Entertainment Sunday, which I plan on being about 'The Martian' and other speculative fiction movies in theaters this weekend."  It's time for that second entry, beginning with the top five from Entertainment Weekly.
1. The Martian — $55 million
2. Hotel Transylvania 2 — $33 million
3. Sicario — $12.1 million
4. The Intern — $11.6 million
5. Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials  — $7.7 million
In addition to "The Martian," "Hotel Transylvania 2" (barely, as it's really a kids comedy with horror movie characters), and "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials," one other speculative fiction movie made the top ten, "The Visit," which earned $3,950,000 this week to land in eighth according to Cinema Blend.  That's a pretty respectable showing for speculative fiction, especially since all the three movies in this week's top five have all taken turns at number one and "The Visit" narrowly missed to "The Perfect Guy" to land at number two during its premiere weekend.  "The Visit" is getting the last laugh, as it's two places ahead of "The Perfect Guy" this weekend and has outgrossed it by over four million during the past month.

But enough of the horror films.  What about the two science fiction movies?  Follow over the jump for reports on "The Martian" and "Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials."

Plymouth-Canton Educational Park: WXYZ Band of the Week and Thoughtcrime

I wrote that I might be up for two entries today at the end of article on Chelsea mammoth.  So far, it feels like I am.

I hark back to my years as a marching band judge for the first post of Entertainment Sunday with WXYZ presenting last Friday's BAND OF THE WEEK: Plymouth-Canton Educational Park Marching Band.

I am not surprised at the anchors in the studio marveling at the symphonic quality of the PCEP marching band's sound.  I raved about the band four years ago.
The Plymouth Centennial Educational Park Marching Band was consistently the best marching band in the state when I was judging and I had the pleasure of being on the field evaluating its visual performance once during my last year with the Michigan Competing Band Association. It was an honor.
That's wonderful, but what does this have to do with this blog's theme?  Follow over the jump for PCEP's successful attempt at portraying dystopia, 1999's "Thoughtcrime," which earned the band a national championship.

Saturday, October 3, 2015 article on Chelsea mammoth

A woolly mammoth skeleton was recovered near Chelsea, Michigan, and may show signs of human butchering.
Mammoth remains could be oldest evidence for humans in southeast Michigan.
A mammoth whose skeleton was removed from a Washtenaw County field this week may have been butchered by humans, the University of Michigan announced in a press release issued Friday.  If the extinct elephant relative remains were indeed cut by humans and found to be older than about 12,000 years old, they could be the oldest evidence for humans in southeast Michigan.

The mammoth bones were recovered from a farm owned by James Bristle in Lima Township near the city of Chelsea, Michigan, about ten miles southwest of Ann Arbor.  A team of University of Michigan paleontologists led by Professor Daniel Fisher, along with excavator Jamie Bollinger of Bollinger Sanitation and Excavating in Chelsea, who donated his time, were able to recover about 20 percent of the animal's bones, including the skull and two tusks, numerous vertebrae and ribs, the pelvis, and both shoulder blades.

Fisher described the age of both the site and the animal. "It was an adult male, 40 to 50 years of age, and stood probably 10 feet tall at the shoulder," he told  The Detroit News.  The animal, likely a woolly mammoth instead of its larger relative the Columbian mammoth, died between 15,000 and 11,700 years ago.

In the University of Michigan press release, Fisher said that the site held "excellent evidence of human activity" associated with the mammoth remains.  "We think that humans were here and may have butchered and stashed the meat so that they could come back later for it," he continued.
Click on the link in the headline for more about the discovery and a Reuters video that is higher quality than the following clip from Wochit: Holy Woolly Mammoth!!! Michigan Farmer Unearths Prehistoric Skeleton.

A Michigan soy farmer made the astonishing discovery while he and a friend were digging in his soy field. James Bristle, from Lima township just south-west of Anne Arbor, told media that what he initally thought was a fence post turned out to be a rib bone and the first part of a woolly mammoth skeleton, including its skull and tusks.
Stay tuned for Entertainment Sunday.  I might be up for two posts.

Hurricane Joaquin as viewed from Michigan

I told my readers to "come back for a dish of either gossip or food, I haven't decided which" at the end of A 'Grand Canyon' crosses the surface of Pluto's moon Charon.  Sorry to disappoint them, but I'm serving neither this morning.  Instead, take a rain check, literally, as I write about the weather, specifically Hurricane Joaquin as viewed from Michigan.

First, WOOD-TV takes a serious view of the storm in More rain, flooding forecast along soggy East Coast.

Unrelenting rain across the East Coast showed little sign of let-up early Saturday, with record-setting precipitation expected to prolong the soppy misery that has been eased only by news that Hurricane Joaquin is no longer a threat.
Good news! The hurricane won't make landfall!  It will still soak the east coast.

Of course, what's really important to a lot of people in Michigan is what effect the storm will have on today's Michigan-Maryland game.  WXYZ reports on that in Game time changed for U of M vs. Maryland.

Game time changed for U of M vs. Maryland due to hurricane threat.
Americans demand their entertainment. Therefore, the game, like the show, must go on.

Friday, October 2, 2015

A 'Grand Canyon' crosses the surface of Pluto's moon Charon

I'll be back later today for a post more fitting this month's Dish theme.  Right now, I'm updating Cthulhu and Pluto plus Mordor and Charon with this report from ITN's ODN: New photos show Pluto's moon is covered in mountains and canyons.

New photos of Charon, Pluto's largest moon, show unexpected geological markers including mountains and canyons.  Report by Jennifer Cordingley.
Charon's "Grand Canyon" may be 1000 miles long and two miles deep, but it's still smaller than Valles Marineris on Mars, which is 2,500 miles long and seven miles deep.  Even so, it's larger in proportion to Pluto's moon than the Mariner Valley is to the Red Planet and that's not accounting for the unseen portion on the other side of Charon.

That's it for today's space news.  Come back for a dish of either gossip or food, I haven't decided which.

Thursday, October 1, 2015


The email makes this month's theme seem less than ideal for me.
October's NaBloPoMo Theme: DISH!

Let's dish on who does the cooking at your house, dreaded foods from childhood (that are still dreaded foods), and the people who created your favourite recipes this month with NaBloPoMo.

Food is definitely on the brain due to #BlogHerFood15 in Chicago on November 6th and 7th, but beyond that, colder weather means saying hello to favourite autumn dishes like chili and soups.

This is the perfect time to collect up recipes from your fellow NaBloPoMo'ers and to get your latest creations out there to the wider community.

You can read more about the new NaBloPoMo theme on our opening post.
Fortunately, the post on the website gives a spin I like better.  Follow over the jump.