Thursday, June 30, 2016

Asteroid Day 2016

I concluded Monthly meta for May 2016 with the following program note.
Stay tuned for the final post of the month, which should be about Asteroid Day the more widely recognized, if more more recently inaugurated, version of Apophis Day.
That's today.  Here's what Wikipedia says about the day.
Asteroid Day is an annual global awareness movement that brings people from around the world together to learn about asteroids and what we can do to protect our planet, our families, communities, and future generations. Asteroid Day is held on the anniversary of the June 30, 1908 Siberian Tunguska event, the largest asteroid impact on Earth in recent history.
That's what I have been hoping my observance of Apophis Day would do since 2012, when I declared April 13th to be Apophis Day, the date of two future close encounters of the asteroid Apophis with Earth, the second of which was originally forecast as a possible collision.  However, I'm not Brian May, astrophysicist and guitarist for Queen, so I don't have the connections or star power to get that day go viral like he does.  Oh, well.  What's important is that the message gets out, and Queen and his fellow scientists and celebrities are doing just that.

Speaking of scientists and celebrities getting the message out, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, a celebrity scientist narrates Scientists Rock - an Asteroid Day series | Episode 1, which I'm sharing to celebrate this year's Asteroid Day.

Episode 1: Launching Asteroid Day introduces us to the people and vision behind Asteroid Day, a growing global awareness movement where people from around the world are coming together to learn about asteroids, the hazards they may pose, and how we can do to protect our planet, families, communities, and future generations.
Click here to watch the playlist with all seven episodes.

Happy Asteroid Day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Monthly meta for May 2016

May 2016 was the second best month on the blog, surpassing April 2016 with 20,967 page views and 37 comments for 33 posts over 31 days.  That translates to 676.35 page views per day, 635.36 page views per post, 1.19 comments per day, and 1.12 comments per entry.  For the second consecutive complete month of the new blogging year, I'm still meeting or exceeding my goal of between 16,500 and 17,500 page views per month for the current blogging year.

I begin with the most pinned entry on Pinterest last month, "Drink recipes for July 4th from Tipsy Bartender" from July 4, 2015 with 10 pins and 2 likes.  It also earned 105 page views, including 38 from Pinterest.  A total of 90 page views came from Pinterest last month, 68 on the last week of May.

Two entries earned honorable mentions.  The first was "Happy Star Wars Day from North Star and NASA" from May 4, 2014 with 174 page views, enough to sneak it into the top at the end of the month and place it 13th overall.  It earned its readership from being shared at the drum corps groups and community on Facebook and Google Plus.

The second entry to earn an honorable mention was "Darth Vader on Dubstep" from May 4, 2013.  It earned 189 page views, enough to place it 11th overall by the last day of the month, by being shared at the Star Wars groups on Facebook and being retweeted several times on Twitter by someone else.

Follow over the jump for the top ten posts for May, both posted during the month and overall.  These included the most liked on Google Plus and the most commented on entry.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Detroiters celebrate summer at fireworks show

Four years ago, I predicted that the suburbs would pitch in to save the Detroit fireworks show.
Based on what I think motivates Americans to act and the presence of the Michigan State Police and Wayne County Sheriffs at the show, I'm sure that the fireworks and parade will continue. People want their entertainment, especially if it comes in the form of an annual civic ritual to celebrate the seasons, and messing with America's entertainment is the one guaranteed thing that will get Americans to act.
Sure enough, the show carried on.  WXYZ reported on this year's festivities in Fireworks light up the night over Detroit river.

The annual Detroit fireworks show was tonight.
Detroiters demanded their entertainment, and last night, they got it.  I used to deride this as an example of Americans' screwed up priorities.  After blogging about five shows, I'm now seeing it as people celebrating the return of another year in a reviving city.  May Detroit's current return from the ashes continue.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Michigan considering banning drone-mounted guns--SciFi is Now and 21st Century crime scene

While I expressed disgust, skepticism, and cynicism about the possibility of gun control in the wake of the combined hate crime and lone wolf terrorist attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this month, progress might occur on a peripheral issue.  Fox 47 in Lansing reported last week about a bill that would ban drone-mounted guns in Michigan.

A bill in the Michigan legislature would ban weaponized drones.
It turns out this law isn't entirely necessary, as John Counts of MLive reported in Ban flying guns and hovering flamethrowers? Probably a good call.
The laws on drones are continuing to evolve. For the most part, it's been a privacy issue: keep your drone out of my yard, don't use it take my picture. But the federal law is no longer fuzzy on firearms, according Elizabeth Corey with Federal Aviation Authority.

It's been against FAA rules to arm personal aircraft like planes for years, but just Tuesday it released a finalized version of rules for unmanned aircrafts, Corey said.

"Firearms are not allowed, and careless and reckless operation would be a regulatory violation," Corey said in an email.

Hoadley said while it's against federal regulations, it's still good to put something on the Michigan state books so it can dealt with by local prosecutors, who might be more vigilant than federal prosecutors, which I think is a good point.
This is a different legislative response than the City of Ferndale's.  A year ago April, it was considering an ordinance that would ban drones inside city limits.  The City Council decided to wait for the FAA to issue regulations before acting.  Now that the FAA has done so, it looks like the State of Michigan might act, making weaponized civilian drones a 21st Century crime scene.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

'Star Wars' and 'The Walking Dead' were big winners at the 2016 Saturn Awards

Last Wednesday the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films gave out the Saturn Awards, which I wrote about during May.  Variety has the story in ‘The Force Awakens’ Rings Up Eight Saturn Awards
Disney-Lucasfilm’s “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” dominated the film categories at the 42nd Saturn Awards in Burbank. The series revival scored honors for top science fiction film, actor Harrison Ford, supporting actor Adam Driver, script, editing, music, makeup, and special effects.
I suspected there would be a "Star Wars" sweep and it almost happened as the film earned eight awards.  It only missed Actress in a Leading Role (as I had been hoping, that went to Charlize Theron for "Mad Max: Fury Road"), Actress in a Supporting Role (it went to Jessica Chastain for "Crimson Peak"--see my comments below), and director (Ridley Scott got it for "The Martian').  A lot of those weren't my choices, but they were what I expected the electorate for these awards to pick, so I was not surprised by any of them.
“Crimson Peak,” which was not a commercial success but is approaching cult status, was the second-most honored film, taking three awards: best horror film, supporting actress Jessica Chastain, and production design.
It deserved all of these, even supporting actress, although just barely.  Alicia Vikander may be a better actress overall and "Ex Machina" would not have worked without her subtle performance, but the Saturn voters are not about subtle.  Chastain was much more flamboyant in her role as Lady Lucille Sharpe and that appealed to the Saturn electorate.  The only surprise was that "Crimson Peak" didn't win Best Costuming; that went to "Avengers: Age of Ultron."  Superheroes beat a period piece.
In TV, the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films continued to honor “The Walking Dead” (best horror TV series, supporting actress Danai Gurira and younger actor Chandler Riggs); “Hannibal” (action/thriller series, supporting actor Richard Armitage) and “Continuum” (science fiction TV series). “Outlander,” a new entry, took honors as top fantasy series and for actress Caitrionia Balfe.
That wasn't quite a sweep for "The Walking Dead."  Bruce Campbell won for Actor in a leading role ("Ash Vs. Evil Dead") and William Shatner for Guest Star ("Haven").  I'll let Campbell describe the Saturn Awards electorate.
Bruce Campbell summed up the vibe of the Saturn Awards — and the emotions of the audience — from the podium: “All the A movies are B movies now,” said Campbell. “If you dress up like a bat, and fly around a city called Gotham, that’s a B movie. If you’re bitten by a radioactive spider, that’s not only a B movie, that’s a cheesy ’50s B movie. So thank you, B movies, for leading the way so A movies finally understand what entertainment is.”
If chins could kill, Campbell would be dangerous.

I'm not done with the television season just ended.  The Emmy Awards will be announced July 14.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Oil falls after Brexit vote, pushing prices even lower

I concluded All Hell breaks loose after the U.K. votes to leave the E.U. with a note about a silver lining of the vote.
In the short term, the only good news out of all this is that oil will become cheaper.  When the dollar rises, oil nearly always falls.  I'll cover that in tomorrow's entry.
When I last looked at the oil markets in WXYZ on rising gas prices for May, I reported WTI at $47.75 and Brent at $48.72 on May 20 after peaking on May 18, when WTI hit $48.95 and Brent hit $49.85.  WTI stayed below $50 until June 3, when it broke above $50 before setting its high for the year so far at $51.84 on June 8.  It promptly fell, dropping below $50 on June 10 and staying there until Thursday, when it closed at $50.11.  Then Leave won Thursday's vote.
Oil prices dropped Friday but erased some overnight losses after the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union triggered a selloff across markets.

U.S. oil prices settled down $2.47, or 4.9%, at $47.64 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange, after falling as low as $46.70 a barrel in overnight trading. Brent, the global benchmark, had traded as low as $47.54 a barrel but settled down $2.50, or 4.9%, at $48.41 a barrel on ICE Futures Europe.

Both contracts posted their biggest one-day percentage declines since February.
For this weekend, at least, both crude oil futures are below where they were a month ago.

All of this is happening while the price at the pump is already going down, as WXYZ reported two days ago in Falling gas prices across metro Detroit.

As the video reported, Gas Buddy listed the Detroit average at $2.51 and the Michigan average at $2.52 on Wednesday.  Today, those numbers have fallen to $2.49 for Detroit and $2.48 for Michigan.  True, they are higher than the previous report's $2.35 even with oil essentially the same or lower, but that's the effect of driving season, which always pushes prices up.  On the bright side, local retail prices are lower than they were on June 11, when the Detroit average peaked at $2.72 and the Michigan average fell off a plateau at $2.76.  They're also cheaper than this time last year, when regular was selling between $2.93 and $2.97.

As for what the future holds, Oil-Price.Net lists RBOB at $1.52, which is not only down 5.15% from Thursday's close, but also more than a dime lower than its $1.64 last month.  I expect retail gas prices will continue to drop this coming week before rising during the 4th of July weekend.  Then they'll start their long slide down for the rest of the year.  Maybe I'll break out Limbo Kitty next month.

Friday, June 24, 2016

All Hell breaks loose after the U.K. votes to leave the E.U.

In Brexit vote today, I hoped that the British voted to remain.  They didn't.  As Krugman phrased it, they had a choice between bad and worse and they chose worse.  Two of the headlines from Reuters I read when I woke up this morning explain the reaction.

First, 'Explosive shock' as Britain votes to leave EU, Cameron quits, which is the number one story on the site right now.
Britain voted to leave the European Union, forcing the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron and dealing the biggest blow to the European project of greater unity since World War Two.

Global financial markets plunged on Friday as results from a referendum showed a 52-48 percent victory for the campaign to leave a bloc Britain joined more than 40 years ago.

The pound fell as much as 10 percent against the dollar to touch levels last seen in 1985, on fears the decision could hit investment in the world's fifth-largest economy, threaten London's role as a global financial capital and usher in months of political uncertainty. The euro slid 3 percent.
Reuters has a strong financial slant to its coverage, which explains the third paragraph.  It also explains the headline to the next story, which is currently the third most read there: World stocks routed as Britain votes for EU exit.
World stocks saw more than $2 trillion wiped off their value on Friday as Britain's vote to leave the European Union triggered 5-10 percent falls across Europe's biggest bourses and a record plunge for sterling.

Such a body blow to global confidence could prevent the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates as planned this year, and might even provoke a new round of emergency policy easing from all the major central banks.

Risk assets were scorched as investors fled to the traditional safe-harbors of top-rated government debt, Japanese yen and gold.

Almost $1 trillion had been lost from European share prices ahead of what is expected to be a nearly 4 percent fall on Wall Street ESc1 when it opens later.

London's FTSE .FTSE dropped almost 5 percent while Frankfurt .GDAXI and Paris .FCHI fell 6 to 8 percent. Italian FTMIB, Spanish .IBEX and European bank stocks .SX7P all headed for their sharpest one-day drops ever.

Worries that other EU states could hold their own referendums were compounded by the fact that markets had rallied on Thursday, seemingly convinced the UK would vote to stay in.
The Dow closed yesterday at 18,011.07 with the S&P 500 ending the day at 2,113.32.  Those are very high numbers, and if the UK had voted to remain, both might have continued on to new highs, beating the record close of 18,312.39 on May 19, 2015.  Instead, expect the Dow dropping to 17,290 and the S&P falling to 2029 by today's close.  In fact, that's already happening, as Wall St. plunges at the open after shock Brexit vote.
U.S. stocks plunged at the open on Friday, with the Dow Jones average falling more than 500 points, after Britain's vote to quit the European Union delivered the biggest blow to the global financial system since the 2008 financial crisis.

Investors worried about the outlook for the world economy sought refuge in the dollar and other safe-harbor assets such as gold and U.S. Treasury bonds, while dumping riskier shares. The yield on the U.S. 10-year bond hit its lowest since 2012.

Banks and tech stocks were among the biggest losers.
If this continues, and the Dow goes into a correction over the next few months that takes it to below 14,650, it makes both Mike Alexander's prediction of a 10,000 point decline in the Dow by the end of 2018 more likely and my prediction of a recession beginning by the end of 2017 more likely to come true.

All the above is just the financial fallout.  Follow over the jump for the political responses.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Brexit vote today

As I write this, voters all over the United Kingdom are voting on whether to remain in or leave the European Union.  John Oliver explains the issues and offers his pro-remain opinion in Brexit.

Britain could soon vote to leave the European Union. John Oliver enlists a barbershop quartet to propose a smarter option.
Oliver isn't the only public supporter.  Krugman is, too.  However, he's less enthusiastic about it, calling it a choice between bad and worse.  Still, who am I to disagree with both John Oliver and Paul Krugman in a topic that I'm not a bigger expert in than than they are?  So, I hope the British vote to remain.  I'll have to wait until tomorrow to see if they do or choose to leave.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Miss Michigan on diversity and #BeingAmerican

I blog very little about beauty pageants, here or elsewhere.  I've only mentioned the phrase "beauty pageant" once on this blog in a passage I quoted in 'Divergent' and other teen dystopias, which means that I didn't even write it.  I did write about Miss USA in Univision to Trump: "You're Fired!"  That was in the context of Donald Trump's offensive comments that I covered in Trump is Penguin for President.  Other than that, nothing.  I have to go back six years to a LiveJournal entry to read something from me about beauty pageants and their contestants.*

That written, this year's Miss Michigan has moved me to blog about her here.  I'll let her speak for herself in Day with Miss Michigan 2016 from MLive.

The recently crowned 2016 Miss Michigan, Arianna Quan talks with MLive reporter Brandon Champion at the Holiday Inn on Sunday, June 19, 2016 in Muskegon, Mich.
Three paragraphs in particular from the accompanying article stand out, along with the headline: From China to Miss Michigan: Arianna Quan says America must embrace its diversity.
Her multicultural heritage is also a point of pride. As Miss Michigan, Quan will advocate for her platform, "Being American: Immigration & Citizenship Education," in an effort to help Americans realize the true diverse dream that is the United States of America.

"During this election year I realized how important it was for immigrants and naturalized citizens especially to speak out about their experiences in this country," she said. "We are so diverse and it's so important for all of us to embrace that. That's why my platform is what it is and hopefully going to Miss America in this election year I can raise awareness about what it means to be an American."

Her timing is pretty good, too. Since June is Immigrant Heritage Month and July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. Both month-long initiatives should provide plenty of opportunities for Quan to speak on issues that have affected her directly.
Quan has an entire page on her website devoted to her #BeingAmerican campaign.  She also has this message on her site's home page.
My name is Arianna Quan and I am currently attending the College for Creative Studies in Detroit studying Transportation Design. When I am not drawing cars or using power tools I am out and about promoting my platform through the Miss America Organization; Being American: Immigration and Citizenship Education.

As the first Asian-American Miss Michigan and to be a naturalized citizen, I find it absolutely imperative to speak out on subject matters that so many immigrants and foreign born citizens face in our ever polarizing society. Obstacles like sexual assault, mental health, gender inequality and beyond are ubiquitous yet exacerbated from the marginalized perspective of a minority. As this election year has revealed some sobering and enlightening perspectives, the time is now to step forward as a first generation American and encourage fellow foreign and US born citizens to engage and learn from one another.

Along with my personal cause I am a strong supporter for MAO’s national platform: promoting women in STEM – Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. With the automotive industry in serious need of young ladies, I aim to use my education as an extension and focus while talking about STEM and the arts to young girls.
A beauty pageant contestant promoting progressive causes and STEM education for women.  I support all of this, so I support her.  Good luck in Atlantic City, Miss Michigan!  I'll be rooting for you this September!

Follow over the jump for the footnote.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Happy World Giraffe Day 2016!

Last year, I missed World Giraffe Day, not only because I didn't know about it until a few days later, but also because it fell on a Sunday which was also Father's Day and the Solstice--three holidays in one!  This year, the holidays fall on consecutive days, Father's Day on Sunday, Summer Solstice on Monday, and World Giraffe Day today.  How convenient!

Enough meta.  Watch and listen to Radiowavenews explain World Giraffe Day 21 June.

The longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere and longest night of the year in the southern hemisphere is a perfect day to celebrate the world's tallest animal!
Happy World Giraffe Day!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Full Strawberry Moon on Summer Solstice 2016

Happy Summer Solstice!  Enjoy this video about the celestial event!

Summer solstice 2016 is a once in a year event when you will find that days will be much longer as compared to the night or summer solstice will be the longest day of the year.  Solstice means stopping the sun so that it will attain a constant position but this event is wildly celebrated and welcomed by the people.  This year you will find the summer solstice 2016 on the 20th of June.
For more, read Brad Plumer's The summer solstice is Monday: 7 things to know about the longest day of the year on Vox.
The summer solstice is upon us: Monday, June 20, will be the longest day of 2016 for anyone living north of the equator. If pagan rituals are your thing, this is probably a big moment for you. If not, the solstice is still pretty neat. This year’s even includes a "strawberry moon," the first time that’s happened in 70 years.
Oh, yes, about that Strawberry Moon...
According to the Old Farmers’ Almanac, full moons in June were traditionally referred to as "strawberry moons" by Native Americans because that was the month strawberries were picked. In Europe, where strawberries aren’t native, full moons in June were known as "honey moons" or "full rose moons."

In 2016, the strawberry moon will happen to coincide with the summer solstice — the first time that’s happened in 70 years. This may strike you as a meaningless cosmic coincidence, but if you get a kick out of this stuff, the Slooh Observatory is hosting a strawberry moon viewing party.
First a full moon for Christmas and now this.  Cool.

For more full moon names, read The Wolf Moon, the first full moon of 2012, is tonight, which was the eighth most read entry of the first year of this blog.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

'Star Wars' baby names for Father's Day

Anakin: Baby Name of the Day

I concluded article on Chamber of Commerce endorsements by telling my readers "Stay tuned for a parent-themed entertainment entry on Father's Day.  Right now, I'm planning on following up on Baby names inspired by fandom for Mother's Day with Star Wars names."  I concluded that post with "I would bet on a lot of Finns, Poes, and Reys over the course of the next six years."  Why do I expect that?  Look at the following graphs from Quartz's After each Star Wars film come the Star Wars babies.

(Anakin and Padme)

Yes, after the prequels, both names became more common.  Anakin has staying power as it rose in popularity rose 48 spots from 960th in 2014 to 912th in 2015 according to the Social Security Administration.
Anakin        +48     912     960
Arya           +15     201     216
Khaleesi     -60     816     756
Here is the rank popularity of the name updated to 2015.

What does Anakin mean?

The power of "Star Wars" began with the first film in 1977, as the following graphs from Quartz show.

(Luke and Leia)

It even worked for minor characters.

(Han and Lando)

If Lando got a boost as a name, imagine what will happen to Finn, Poe, and Rey over the course of the next five to eight years while the sequel trilogy plays out.  I can and that's why I made my prediction.

With that, I wish my readers a Happy Father's Day!

Saturday, June 18, 2016 article on Chamber of Commerce endorsements

Donna Lasinski, wearing red in this photo of her and other local politicians in Ann Arbor, was endorsed by the Michigan Chamber of Commerce for state representative Thursday.
Credit: State Representative Gretchen Driskell (with permission)
Lasinski endorsed by Michigan Chamber of Commerce in state house primary
Donna Lasinski of Scio Township earned an endorsement in her campaign Thursday to replace Gretchen Driskell of Saline in the Michigan House of Representatives.  The Michigan Chamber of Commerce endorsed the Ann Arbor School Board member along with twenty-two other candidates for State Representative running in open primaries.

"Today, we are pleased to announce the Michigan Chamber's endorsement of 23 outstanding individuals for the State House," Michigan Chamber President and CEO Rich Studley said in a press release. "All of these candidates have demonstrated a commitment to free enterprise and a sincere desire to make Michigan the best state in the country to live, work, raise a family or build a business."

Lasinski is competing for the Democratic nomination for the Fifty-Second Michigan House District, which covers western and northern Washtenaw County, including Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Saline, the southern portion of Whitmore Lake, and the surrounding rural townships.  She is running against Barbara Ryan Fuller of Sharon Township in the Democratic primary election.  The winner will face Randy Clark of Salem, who has no primary opponent for the Republican nomination.
More at the link in the headline, including a thumbnail biography of Lasinski, another endorsement of her, and two statements of non-endorsement; despite the photo coming from Driskell, she has not endorsed Lasinski.  Also, the Michigan Chamber of Commerce has not endorsed any candidates for the primary in two other open State House seats in my beat.

What's not there is this video from MLive:

Donna Lasinski of Scio Township announces her run for the 52nd State House of Representatives seat on Oct. 21.
Right now, I think she's favored, but being endorsed by the Chamber of Commerce might induce some progressives to support her primary opponent.  That should make for a more interesting primary to cover.

Stay tuned for a parent-themed entertainment entry on Father's Day.  Right now, I'm planning on following up on Baby names inspired by fandom for Mother's Day with Star Wars names.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Drink to candidates for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

I concluded Silly candidates, real and fictional, for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News with the following warning.
I'm far from done with the presidential election.  Prepare to follow the advice of Bluto from "Animal House" and drink heavily at the prospect of Donald Trump becoming President.

Appropriately enough for a Flashback Friday as well as the anniversary of my first entry on Trump's candidacy, I begin with Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates published August 2, 2015.  It ended the year as the tenth most read entry of the fifth year of this blog with 973 page views and 12 comments, which made it the most commented on entry posted during the fifth year of this blog.  It was not, however, the entry that got the most comments during the blogging year just past.  That honor goes to Science fiction speaks to our current anxieties, which had 46 of its 54 comments posted during last year because of a battle with a gaggle of spammers.  That is a story for another entry; time to return to drinks for Trump.

Like my other entries in this retrospective series, I'm being a good environmentalist and recycling what I've already written about how the entry earned its page views, beginning with this passage from Record page views for August 2015 and other monthly meta.
The second entry I shared at both Greer's and Kunstler's blogs as well as all the political groups on Facebook was "Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates" published August 2, 2015.  This was the most read of both the Trump entries and the drink entries last month, earning 317 page views, 346 according to the raw counter.  It was the third most read overall and either the second according to the default counter or the first according to the raw counter among all entries posted during August.  It earned another honor, being the most commented on entry with 10 comments.
Here's my comment on Where Candidates Fear to Tread at Kunstler's blog.
I agree with you that Trump is a clown who exposes the lack of seriousness among both the politicians and their constituents, although the latter are quite serious in their rage, if not in the policies they'd liked enacted to satisfy it.  That's why I decided to have some fun with Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates.  The viewers aren't going to get any serious responses to the issues you listed, so they may as well enjoy themselves getting blotto to the candidates.
I wrote less about the entry at Greer's blog and more about related ones.  Read my comment on "The Suicide of the American Left" for yourself and see.
"There’s Donald Trump, whose campaign is shaping up to be the loudest invocation of pure uninhibited führerprinzip since, oh, 1933 or so..."

And whose candidacy has been the best thing for a media driven by page views and clicks so far this campaign season.  When my wife watched his announcement, she remarked that Trump looked and sounded like The Penguin running for Mayor.  Both of them are cartoons of what a working stiff thinks a rich person should be.  Then his campaign picked up steam and an article I wrote for about his coming in second in a Michigan poll has been the most read story for the past year.  Now that he's in first, the best thing to do about him is to play a drinking game for his campaign appearances and the debates.   Time to stock up on booze.
That wasn't the only time the entry made the top ten.  The Monthly meta for February 2016 also had a paragraph about it.
Two actions propelled "Drinks and drinking games for Donald Trump and the GOP debates" back into the top ten--tweeting the link before every Republican debate and sharing it at The Archdruid Report.  The latter happened when another reader asked what was in a Trump Sandwich.  I responded "I have no idea, but I can tell you six different recipes for Trump cocktails."  Those were enough to earn the entry 156 page views, making it the eighth most read entry of the month.
I also shared it at the political groups on Facebook before every Republican debate.  I expect, if there are debates between Clinton and Trump, I'll be sharing the link then, too.

Trump wasn't the only candidate I wrote a drink recipe for last year.  Follow over the jump for something brown and frothy.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Silly candidates, real and fictional, for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News

It's a Throwback Thursday, so it's time to resume where I left off at Alignment charts for the fifth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News and continue the retrospective of the top posts of the previous blogging year.

The ninth most read entry of the fifth year of this blog was Obi-Wan Kenobi for President and Darth Vader beats Trump.  I could have included it with 'Star Wars' alignment charts for a "Star Wars" themed retrospective, but I already had a history of retrospectives about alignment charts, so I continued with the tradition.  To explain how the entry got its page views, I'll be a good environentalist and recycle what I wrote in Monthly Meta for December 2015.
The third most popular of the four entries I shared at the Coffee Party USA Facebook page in December was also the third most read of the month (notice a pattern here?)  "Obi-Wan Kenobi for President and Darth Vader beats Trump" from December 17th earned 968 page views, 981 according to the raw counter, by the end of December.  I also shared the link at Kunstler's blog.  By March 21, 2016, the post had 1048 page views by the raw counter to put in ninth among all entries posted during the fifth year of the blog.
Behold the power of the Coffee Party's Facebook page!

Follow over the jump to read about an entry that earned its page views in a more traditional way for my blog.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Monthly meta for April 2016

I haven't posted a monthly retrospective since Monthly Meta for December 2015 so it's time to catch up.  I'm skipping over January and March to post April.  Why?  Because it was the most complete draft available.  Hey, sometimes I'm lazy.

April 2016 was the second best month in the history of the blog with 18,084 page views.  That works out to 602.8 page views per day and 548.0 page views per entry (there were 33).  The blog also passed 600,000 total page views for its history on April 1, just over six months since it passed 500,000 page views late in September 2015.  Since this is the first full month since my statistics entry for the fifth year of this blog, I can say that I'm meeting or exceeding my goal of between 16,500 and 17,500 page views per month for the current blogging year.  Yay!  Finally, the blog earned 44 comments, an average of 1.47 comments per day and 1.33 comments per post.

I'll mention the most liked on Google Plus over the jump, so I'll begin with this blog's activity on Pinterest.  The most pinned entry for last month was "Drink recipes for July 4th from Tipsy Bartender" from July 4, 2015 with one pin and one like.  It was a slow month for this blog on Pinterest.

The most commented on article during the month was "Springtime for Trump" from March 2, 2016 with 8 comments during April.  It now has 9 total. It earned 88 more page views during the month for a total of 483.  It got the additional page views and all the comments from being shared at Greer's blog.

Two entries received honorable mentions by tying for most commented on entry posted during April with four comments.  The first was "Drum corps for the Wyoming Democratic Caucuses" posted on April 9, 2016, one of four entries connecting drum corps with the election.  These came thanks to Robin of Your Daily Dose and Paul W. of You Might Notice a Trend.  It also landed in twelfth for page views among last month's posts with 121.

The other entry earning an honorable mention for most commented on entry posted during April was "2016 Saturn Awards for Television" posted April 3, 2016 with 4 comments, again thanks to Paul and Robin.  It also came in eleventh for page views with 144.

Follow over the jump for the ten (actually twelve) most read entries for the month.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Life imitates 'Seinfeld' in Michigan recycling scam

Yeah, I know today is Flag Day, but after this past weekend, I need something funnier to cheer me up.  Fortunately, the Detroit Free Press delivered with yesterday's story about a man busted with 10,000 bottles in return scam.  Seriously.
A Genesee County man was arraigned in Livingston County for trying to return more than 10,000 non-returnable bottles.

Brian Edward Everidge, 44, of Columbiaville pleaded not guilty to one count of beverage return of non-refundable bottles, which carries a penalty of up to five years in prison.

Everidge, who is free on a $5,000 personal bond, returns to 53rd District Court on June 22 for a preliminary exam conference. The preliminary exam is tentatively set for June 29.
In case this sounds familiar, it the basis of a Seinfeld episode: The Michigan Deposit Bottle Scam.

Newman tries to do what Kramer never could.

HAHAHAHA!  That's exactly what my "I can't be all DOOM all the time" mood needed -- a funny recycling crime story of life imitating art!

Monday, June 13, 2016

Grumpy Cat rates this past weekend

I was planning on posting something light-hearted today along the lines of Garfield disapproves of Monday the 13th.  Then I woke up yesterday to find out that more than 100 people were shot and 50 killed at Pulse in Orlando overnight.  That hate crime/act of terror was bracketed by the shooting death of Christina Grimmie, also in Orlando, and the arrest of a man from Indiana in Santa Monica just before the L.A. Pride Parade.  The only good news is that last one averted another attack.  All of these stories drove the idea of making fun of the day right out of my mind.

On the other hand, I'm not up to posting something as substantial as Doctors to Congress: Fund gun violence research at the CDC and NIH, which was the sixth most read entry of last year.*  Too bad--the topic deserves one.  Instead, I'm going to quote two tweets from the Boston Herald's Mass killings in Orlando spark spirited debates on social media.
Northeastern University terrorism expert Max Abrahms seemed to encapsulate a predominant sentiment by tweeting “Was the #OrlandoNightclubShooting terrorism? Was it a hate crime? Was it a mass shooting? Yes.”
Yes, it was all those things.
“I literally never want to hear again that LGBT people in the bathroom are a threat to public safety,” tweeted freshman U.S. Rep. Jeremy Moss (D-Mich.).
Same here.  However, I have to correct the attribution.  Jeremy Moss is a freshman state representative from Michigan, not a U.S. Representative.  That written, I'm proud to write that he is my state representative.  I'll be happy to cast a vote for him twice this year, first in the August primary and again in the November general election.

*I'm still in favor of this action.  As for other measures, such as banning gun sales to people on the terrorism watch list or people convicted of domestic violence, I may be in favor of them, but I don't know if either would have stopped any of these crimes.  They do make for great wedge issues, so expect them to be proposed again.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

'Star Trek' coins and stamps for the show's 50th anniversary

Yes, Canada has beaten the U.S. to the punch, at least with money.  Nerdist notes the irony of using "Star Trek" on money.
There may not be money in the United Federation of Planets, but there’s now legal Star Trek currency in Canada, courtesy of the Royal Canadian Mint. Although some of these financial arrangements sound like they were made by a Ferengi.

Via The Trek Collective, the Canadian Mint has announced its plans to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Star Trek by releasing a line of coins that can actually be used in financial transactions…if you were so inclined. Some of them are even reasonably priced. The $10 colored coins featuring Kirk, Spock, Uhura, and Scotty are only being sold for slightly over the face value, while the $20 silver coins featuring the Enterprise are being sold at face value.
Not only is Canada issuing coins, the country is also issuing stamps: Star Trek™ 50th anniversary – Canada Post Stamp Sightings.

The Canadians aren't having all the fun.  Follow over the jump for more.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Solar Impulse 2 lands at JFK Airport

I concluded Solar Impulse 2 in Allentown with this addendum.
Since I wrote the above, CBS in New York reported Solar-Powered Plane Set To Arrive At JFK Airport.  That should happen this evening, possibly after a flyover of the Statue of Liberty.  I'll have an update tomorrow or the day after.
That ended up not happening for nearly two weeks.  Apparently, the final leg of the plane's trip across the U.S. was delayed because of weather.  It finally happened early this morning, when Euronews reported Solar plane sets down in NYC as round the world trip continues.

Solar Impulse 2 has landed in New York after crossing the United States in its historic bid to circle the globe.

The single-seat solar-powered airplane flew over the city and the Statue of Liberty in the Big Apple before touching down at JFK airport at around 4 a.m local time.

The Swiss team flying the aircraft in a campaign to build support for clean energy technologies hopes eventually to complete its circumnavigation in Abu Dhabi, where the journey began in March last year.
Congratulations and good luck on the next leg flying across the Atlantic.  Be ready for the Lucky Lindbergh comparisons.

Friday, June 10, 2016

A tale of two endorsements

Hillary Clinton received two endorsements yesterday.  The first came from President Obama.

While this was released on Thursday, it apparently was recorded on Tuesday based on the President's tie.  That's the same day that I wrote that "this Sanders supporter is now ready for Hillary."*  Clinton just waited until Obama met with Bernie Sanders to release it.

The second came from Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Rachel Maddow Show.

Senator Elizabeth Warren offers her endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president of the United States, and talks with Rachel Maddow about the Democratic primary and her objections to Donald Trump.
Nice scoop, Rachel!  As for me, I'm not surprised.  Two years ago, I wrote this about Warren's ambitions.
I did not join in the calls for Elizabeth Warren to run.  I can understand why the conference attendees want Warren to contest the Democratic nomination, but she's not going to run so long as Hillary Clinton appears likely to.  At this stage in the game, the nomination is Clinton's to lose and the best that Warren could hope for is to audition to be Vice President.  That might not be a bad idea, but I suspect Warren thinks she can serve her state and her country more effectively in other ways.  If so, I agree.
Warren may still audition for Clinton's Vice President.  Vox thinks so, too, and suggests Clinton has few better choices.  I know I'd be happy with a Clinton-Warren ticket.

*I posted a similar sentiment ("I'm taking my Bernie magnet off my car tomorrow. I'm ready for Hillary") on my Facebook page and got 63 likes and other reactions, 54 comments, and a share, which is the most I've received for a Facebook post since I had my prostate removed for cancer.  Most of the people simply liked my statement, but those leaving comments attacked my action.  Most of those came from the left, but a few came from the right.  One of the other Bernie supporters even unfriended me! Apparently, many of Bernie's supporters aren't quite as ready to move on as I was.  They've downrated both of the videos I embedded and left lots of negative comments as well.  The same is true on Warren's Facebook page.  Sigh.  Good thing there are five more months until the election for them to get over it.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

World Oceans Day 2016

Apparently National Donut Day isn't the only holiday I'm celebrating late this year.  I also didn't realize today was World Oceans Day until the 11th hour, literally.  However, this entry will post when it's still June 8 between Chicago and the International Date Line, so I haven't completely missed it.

I begin this year's observance with 2016 World Oceans Day Focuses on Eliminating Plastic Pollution from News Beat Social.

This year's World Oceans Day (June 8) urges individuals and organizations to help keep plastic out of the planet's seas.
For a calmer message, The Weather Channel shared We Celebrate World Oceans Day.

Today we celebrate #WorldOceansDay, their beauty and vital role they play in weather and climate around the world, let's keep them clean.
For more about plastics in the ocean, I recommend clicking on the links to entries about the Pacific Garbage Patch, banning plastic bags, and shoes from marine plastic.  Happy World Oceans Day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Bill Kristol's bad joke

I made an aside about Bill Kristol in 2016 could be a good year for minor party candidates.
The Atlantic wrote There's Still Time for a Serious Third-Party Presidential Run.  Yes, if it's the Libertarians or Greens, who will have ballot access in a majority of states; the Libertarians might have ballot access in all of them.  No, if it's William Kristol's quixotic crusade to draft someone like Romney as an Establishment alternative to Trump; the deadline to get a true independent on the ballot in Texas has already passed.  Besides, any idea Kristol favors is likely to be a bad one.
Earlier this month, Kristol proved me right when his search turned up--David French?
Over Memorial Day weekend, Bill Kristol of the Weekly Standard hinted that anti-Trump forces were poised to mount a major candidate to run as an independent. Last week, news broke that the candidate Kristol had in mind was French, a writer for the National Review who served in Iraq and was awarded a Bronze Star.
Really?  He couldn't get Jon Huntsman?  Fortunately, that news turned out to be too bad to be true.
In an article posted on the National Review’s website Sunday night, French said he opposes both Trump and Hillary Clinton but determined after “serious study” that he would not be the right candidate for the job.

“[G]iven the timing, the best chance for success goes to a person who either is extraordinarily wealthy (or has immediate access to extraordinary wealth) or is a transformational political talent. I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve my country, and I thank God for the successes I’ve had as a lawyer and a writer, but it is plain to me that I’m not the right person for this effort,” he wrote.
Heath Ledger's Joker best summarizes my reaction to both announcements: and I thought my jokes were bad.

For more laughs, read Wonkette on the subject.

As for Kristol, he should give up on his quixotic quest, as I wrote in CNN and MSNBC interview Libertarian candidates William Weld and Gary Johnson.
[William] Weld running with Johnson [is] a very serious ticket should the Libertarians actually choose both. They are serious about being the alternative to Trump and whoever he picks (please, let it be either Gingrich or Palin--the laughs will keep coming all the way to Election Day!) Too bad neither will meet the approval of William Kristol; the Libertarians are insufficiently hawkish and interventionist for his taste. He'd be better off with Hillary Clinton, but he'll never admit it. No wonder liberals call him "Captain Always Wrong."
Well, he isn't always wrong; he's right in this tweet: "Official position of the leadership of the Republican Party: Trump is an inexcusable bigot, and Trump must be our next president."  Even a stuck clock is right twice a day.  My advice is to wait another 12 hours to listen to him again.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Drum corps for the California primary

"I'll see if I can put together a post featuring California corps for tonight" closed out Drum corps for the New Jersey Primary.  It turned out to be a bigger task than I expected, and it was a large enough undertaking that I separated the California corps from the New Jersey corps already!

Before I share the corps' performances, I will add to the analysis in the previous entry.  I forgot North Dakota, where the Democrats are holding a caucus.  FiveThirtyEight notes that Sanders is favored.  Added to expected wins in both South Dakota and Montana, and Sanders will at least break even in numbers of states tonight, although he'll likely be way behind Clinton in delegates, both on the night and certainly for the primary season.  As I wrote, I'm now ready for Hillary and I'll be taking my Bernie magnet off Pearl tomorrow.

Now that I've dispensed with the political analysis, it's time to present the corps so my readers can enjoy the marching music.  I begin with last year's DCI champions, the Blue Devils.

The encore performance above probably won't be taken down (the video of Carolina Crown's victory run from three years ago is still up), but just in case, here's the official clip.

Concord, CA – 1ST PLACE 97.650
George Zingali Best Color Guard Award, Fred Sanford Best Percussion Performance Award, John Brazale Best Visual Performance Award

The story of "Ink" was stories, exploring children’s storybook characters popping out on a drum corps field. Electronic sounds of typing and a pen scratching on paper accompanied numerous characters who brought a child’s imagination to life. Keep an eye out for the “Z” in the “A b C” and “X y Z” drill forms which is backward, as a child might have drawn it. There are dozens of little details like that throughout this production, all which helped the Devils ink their 17th DCI title.
“Dark Forest” by Dave Glyde © The Blue Devils; “Opening Title” from Sweeney Todd by Stephen Sondheim © Rilting Music Inc. C/O Hal Leonard Music Publishing; “The Giant Attack” from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim © WB Music Corp OBO Rilting Music, Inc.; “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” by Gordon L. Goodwin © Wingood Music Productions Inc.; “Children Will Listen” from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim © Rilting Music Inc. C/O Hal Leonard Music Publishing; “The Last Midnight” from Into The Woods by Stephen Sondheim © WB Music Corp OBO Rilting Music, Inc.
Now the other great California drum corps, the Santa Clara Vanguard with a show that fits this blog, The Spark of Invention.

In case that gets taken down, here's the official clip of the show.

Santa Clara, CA – 5TH PLACE 93.850

The genius of Nikola Tesla was fed through the prop Tesla Coils that turned on "The Spark of Invention." Check out the color guard’s use of flashlights as sparks and costumes printed with x-rays of each performers’ respective genders. In the closing number, the coils, uniform sashes, and flagpoles were lit with battery-powered LEDs, creating possibly the most photographed moment of the year. The fully illuminated corps members left streaks of light in their wake as they marched at top speed to the finish.
“Concerto For Piano And Orchestra” by John Corigliano © G. Schirmer, Inc.; “Invention No. 13 in A Minor” by J.S. Bach, Arr. J.D. Shaw © J.D. Shaw; “Pure Imagination” by Leslie Bricusse, Anthony Newley © Taradam Music, Inc.; “Virus Attack” from Virtuality by Amin Bhatia © Amin Bhatia Music
Yay, Tesla coils and a Theramin!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the California corps.

Drum corps for the New Jersey Primary

I concluded Drum corps for the Oregon primary by telling my readers "The big finale will come on June 7, when I feature corps from California and New Jersey, two great drum corps states."  That's today!

I begin with the political forecast.  FiveThirtyEight has predictions for both California and New Jersey.  Both show Hillary Clinton likely to win, in California with a 90% chance according to the polls-plus and 86% chance according to the polls-only, while she has more than a 99% chance of winning New Jersey.  Even without the Associated Press announcing yesterday that Clinton has enough delegates to win the nomination, I expected that today would be Bernie Sanders' last stand.  Just the same, he has a chance to go out on a high note with at least one victory tonight, as Montana and South Dakota, two likely Sanders states, and New Mexico, a likely Clinton state, also vote today.  He could go on a very high note if he upsets Clinton in California.  Whatever the outcome, this Sanders supporter is now ready for Hillary.

Enough analysis.  It's time for the drum corps to entertain my readers while they are waiting for the election returns.  In this first installment, I feature the corps from New Jersey, beginning with the Hawthorne Caballeros - 6.20.15 Wildwood, NJ.

I'm not done with the Cabs.  Here is the previous year's performance at the DCA championships: Hawthorne Caballeros 2014 Finals (Quality Audio).

Follow over the jump for more New Jersey corps.

Monday, June 6, 2016

Good news, bad news from jobs report

Last month, I showed the above graph showing the relationship between education and unemployment to my students* and I pointed out out to them that the recent pattern of a spike in unemployment for those with less than a high school diploma along with a flattening of unemployment for high school and college graduates looked a lot like the period right during late 2006 and early 2007, a year or less out from the onset of the Great Recession in December 2007.  I then repeated my prediction that I first made in 2014, updated twice in 2015, and twice early this year of a recession beginning late this year or early next year and no later than the end of 2017.  They gasped in apprehension at the prospect.

Friday, news came that gave a little more confidence in that prediction, the May Employment Report: 38,000 Jobs, 4.7% Unemployment Rate.  The good news was that unemployment fell.  In addition to the headline rate dropping, it fell among all educational classes with Jobsanger reporting the following:
Less than HS diploma...............7.1%
HS graduate...............5.1%
Some college...............3.9%
Bachelor's degree or more...............2.4%
All of those are at record post-recession lows except for those with less than a high school diploma.  Those are still above the post-recession low of 6.8% in December 2015, which is consistent with the pattern.  Even convincing so was the low number of jobs created along with the high number of people leaving the labor force.  That looks like the kind of change in the labor market that would happen in advance of a recession.

Now, the r-word didn't pass the lips of the reporters from the Wall Street Journal in Hilsenrath: What Jobs Report Means for the Fed, but other worries certainly did.

The U.S. added only 38,000 new jobs in May, the slowest pace since September 2010. How will the report be interpreted by the Federal Reserve? WSJ's Jon Hilsenrath discusses with Tanya Rivero.
The jobs report had a lot of other outlets worried, too.  FiveThirtyEight posted Hiring Really Is Slowing Down.  Vox published The economy just got its worst job report in years.  New York Magazine connected the poor economic performance to the election in Hillary Clinton Should Be Worried About This Lousy Jobs Report.  Yes, she should, but only if it persists.  After all, she is still leading Trump and Johnson in Michigan, Trump is attacking the judge in his case while his supporters were getting beat up in San Jose, and Clinton beat up on Trump's lack of foreign policy experience, among other things.  Last week was not a good one for Trump.

The people who aren't panicking are the economic bloggers, although they aren't happy about them, either.  Bill McBride called it disappointing, but pointed out that this has happened in the middle of expansions before, then repeated his prediction of 2 million new jobs by the end of the year.  New Deal Democrat over at the Bonddad Blog described the pattern as pre-recessionary, bragged a bit that he had been calling for something like this to happen beginning a year ago, but then said to expect "more reports of 1xx,000 to come. But at the same time, it is nowhere near as negative as it has been in the past at the onset of recessions."  In his next entry, he then reassured his readers "Despite the punk jobs report, the high frequency data is almost all positive or neutral.  There are very few negatives."  I'm with him.  I don't expect a recession to hit until next year now.

*If they look familiar, it's because I posted earlier versions in 2011 and 2015.  Despite the fulminations of Greer and Kunstler, the positive relationship between education and employment still holds.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

'Star Wars' attack ads

In a year when polls show Obi-Wan Kenobi and Yoda beating Clinton and Darth Vader beating Trump and Darth Trump is a thing, it should come as no surprise that Star Wars is getting the same treatment as Game of Thrones--being turned into parodies of attack ads.  So for today's Sunday Entertainment feature, I'm showcasing a few of them, beginning with one post last week on the official Star Wars YouTube account--Princess Leia: What Is She Trying to Hide?.

There’s a lot you don’t know about Princess Leia. A lot she doesn’t want you to know. Find out more in this damaging Star Wars: Bloodline attack ad, first seen on The Star Wars Show.
Of course, this is really an ad for "Star Wars: Bloodline," not a political ad, but it works very well as a parody.

It turns out that this isn't a completely original concept, even if the execution is original.  Follow over the jump for an earlier attempt at an attack ad on Princess Leia.

Saturday, June 4, 2016

1968 has arrived with a Weimar moment in San Jose

I made the following historical allusions to open and close The torches and pitchforks came out for Trump last night.
Last night, my wife and I watched as Donald Trump's rally on the University of Illinois-Chicago campus was "postponed" in the face of massive protests.  They were at least one step above calls to 'Dump Trump' and 'Arrest Snyder' at the Detroit Republican Debate.  My wife said that "the torches and pitchforks came out for the Trumpenstein monster last night."  Yes, they have, but a different image came to my mind.  The protests and the conflict afterward stuck me as just one step short of Reichsbanner Schwarz-Rot-Gold fighting with the Stahlhelm, Bund der Frontsoldaten during the Weimar Republic.*  The mainstream media's came off as less alarmed, but not by very much.
As for ABC News' comparison of today to the summer of 1968, I think it's a better analogy than Weimar Germany.  We're not at either place yet, but 1968 is only blocks away and we're headed right for it. Weimar Germany, on the other hand, sits way out on the horizon where one can make it out with sharp eyes.  Let's hope we're not headed there.  Otherwise, it's welcome to Weimar America, where it's Springtime for Trump.

*The sides aren't as extreme as Sturmabteilung vs. Roter Frontkämpferbund--yet.
We've now arrived at 1968 and it's only June.  ABC News has the story in Trump Protesters Attack Supporters At San Jose Rally.

Supporters of the presumptive Republican nominee were sucker punched and pelted with eggs.
That's definitely a significant escalation from what happened in Chicago last March.  Then, tensions were high and there were a lot of confrontations that threatened violence, but I don't recall seeing any blood flowing.   This time, the crowd went from protesting to rioting.  Welcome to 1968.

As my readers can figure out, I consider this to be a bad development.  I understand why the protesters are reacting the way they are, but I also think it's dangerous and counterproductive.  Follow over the jump for people who agree with me.

Belated National Donut Day 2016!

Last year, I added another holiday to the list I celebrate here, National Donut Day.  The day was yesterday, and ABC News marked it by posting Nuts for Donuts | International Donut Day 2016.

Of all the made-up national food holidays, National Doughnut Day may be the best. Find out the history behind the tasty treat and don't forget to celebrate by visiting your local donut shop!
At least the video sticks to the history of the holiday itself without going too much into that of the donut, which I have a family connection to.  Time to be a good environmentalist and recycle.
I'm descended from the brother of Johnny Fry, the first Pony Express rider out of St. Joseph, Missouri.  He's connected to the origin of donuts.
Fry quickly gained a reputation for never failing to deliver the mail, regardless of weather or danger, and was a fast rider, averaging a speed of 12.5 miles per hour, including all stops. Local lore says that the donut was invented as a cake for Fry to eat while speeding by young girls homes near Troy, Kansas.
This is also family lore.  My father told me that the girls would try to give him cakes and cookies, but he rode so fast that when they tried to give them to him, they would just crumble.  The solution was a fried cake with a hole in the middle, which he could hook like a ring on a carousel.  Thus the donut was invented.

That's a really cool story.  Unfortunately, it's not the accepted one.   Smithsonian Magazine gives credit to someone else a couple of decades earlier in The history of the doughnut...Johnny Fry and his female admirers are not mentioned at all, not even to debunk the legend.  Darn.  Just the same, Happy National Donut Day!
And a belated Happy National Donut Day to my readers!

Friday, June 3, 2016

Driving update for June 2016: Pearl

Fifty-one days ago, I turned Pearl's odomenter past 26,000 miles, which I documented in Driving update for April 2016: Pearl plus bonus gas price report.   Today, the car passed 27,000 miles, so it's time for another driving update.

I drove Pearl an average of 19.61 miles/day, which translates to 598.0 miles/month.  That's considerably more than the 17.86 miles per day or 544.6 miles per standard month I drove her between February and April.  I wasn't expecting that.  As spring turns into summer, I stop driving to the more distant campus to teach, I attend fewer meetings, and I walk more, all of which should reduce my driving.  However, Dez has been in the shop for the past week, so Pearl has had to take up the slack, including driving to the shop and back three times.  Apparently, all that was enough to increase the miles I drove her over the baseline.

I wasn't alone in driving more.  Late last month, Doug Short quoted the U.S.D.O.T.'s March 2016 Traffic Volume Trends.
Travel on all roads and streets changed by 5.0% (13.0 billion vehicle miles) for March 2016 as compared with March 2015.
Travel for the month is estimated to be 273.4 billion vehicle miles.
The seasonally adjusted vehicle miles traveled for March 2016 is 268.2 billion miles, a 4.0% (10.3 billion vehicle miles) increase over March 2015. It also represents a 0.7% change (1.8 billion vehicle miles) compared with February 2016.
Cumulative Travel for 2016 changed by 4.2% (29.8 billion vehicle miles).
The cumulative estimate for the year is 746.0 billion vehicle miles of travel.
He also posted the following graph:

Looks like I'm not alone among Americans in driving more.  Let's see if the mileage for Dez really does drop because of a week of Pearl doing both cars' work and if I return to my usual decreased driving for the rest of the summer. article on Clinton leading Trump and Johnson in Michigan

Hillary Clinton, seen here campaigning in New Jersey, has a more than four percent lead over Donald Trump in Michigan according to the latest poll.
Poll shows Clinton leading Trump and Johnson in Michigan
Late Tuesday evening, WDIV released the results of a poll it and the Detroit News commissioned.  It showed likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton leading presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump by 4.5 percent in a two-way contest.

Clinton also led Trump in a three-way contest including Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson.  Her lead shrank to 4.1 percent when Johnson was included, indicating that the Libertarian candidate drew from both Republicans and Democrats.  Both leads were barely outside the margin of error, which was four percent.

“It appears that right now the support (for Johnson) comes equally from both sides,” pollster Richard Czuba of the Lansing-based Glengariff Group Inc., which conducted the poll, said to the Detroit News. “It’s kind of that middle that’s intrigued with the Libertarian option.”
Johnson got 11.5 percent when his name was included.  It's already a good year for minor party candidates, including the Michigan Libertarians.

More at the link, including good news for Bernie Sanders and a video of Clinton and Trump attacking each other over their legal problems.  May Clinton get the better of that exchange.

Thursday, June 2, 2016 article on 2016 Michigan Libertarian nominees

Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, seen here at the Free and Equal Debate in 2012, will head the Libertarian ticket as the party's nominee for President again.
Michigan Libertarians announce 2016 candidates from President to Park Commission
Wednesday morning, the Libertarian Party of Michigan released its list of nominees for offices from U.S. President to Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner.  The candidates for state and local office had been nominated at the party's state convention in Lansing the weekend of May 14 and 15, while the nominees for President and Vice President were nominated May 29 at the Libertarian Party national convention in Orlando, Florida.

Two former two-term Republican Governors earned the Libertarians' nominations for President and Vice-President, Gary Johnson of New Mexico at the top of the ticket and William Weld of Massachusetts as Johnson's running mate.  Combined, the two of them have more executive experience than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton.
It looks like CNN and MSNBC got the Libertarian ticket they were hoping for.
Although it will be the second time Johnson has run as the Libertarian's nominee, it will be the first time he will be on Michigan ballots.  In 2012, Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson, no relation, disqualified him under the state's sore loser law.
I told that story in Michigan Secretary of State attempts to screw over Libertarians.  She succeeded, too.

Now for the state party's nominees.
A nearly full slate of nominees for Congress will join Johnson and Weld on Michigan ballots with candidates in all districts except the Third.  In Washtenaw County, the Libertarian candidates are Ken Proctor of Charlotte in the Seventh District and Tom Bagwell of Wyandotte in the Twelfth.
All the rest of the Libertarian candidates on the ballot in Washtenaw County, Michigan, along with a video of Gary Johnson's and William Weld's nominations, at the link.  Read and watch there.

The most interesting in terms of practical effect are running for the lowest offices.
Finally, the Libertarians nominated three candidates for Ypsilanti Township Park Commissioner, Elizabeth Ceader, Lawrence W. Johnson, and Kalyn Sterzik.  Of this group, Johnson had previously run for Ypsilanti Township Trustee in 2012 and lost.  He and the rest may have more success this year.  There are currently four Democratic candidates on the August primary ballot for seven slots with no Republican candidates.  Unless another party nominates candidates or an independent files for the office, all three appear likely to be elected, serving as the opposition to the Democrats.
Even if these three are the only Libertarians elected in Michigan this year, 2016 would still be a good year for minor party candidates.