Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Ezra Klein of Vox explains how third parties are the Underpants Gnomes of U.S. politics


I'm generally positive about minor parties, last expressing that sentiment in Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties.  However, they will not solve all political problems, as I described in On American political parties held captive by their interest groups and ideologies.  One of the problems I did not mention appeared in a video I used in a comment on Republicans Will Have to Make a Choice at Booman Tribune.
"I await a third party movement."

I'll let Ezra Klein of Vox answer that for me.
Here is Third parties are the underpants gnomes of American politics.

Could a third party fix the hellscape of fail that is the United States Congress? Ezra Klein explains.
My summary was "No, although that's not really what I think you're after." My response could have been more pointed.  I could have done for liberals what Pizza Man Cain wants a third party for conservatives, never mind three already exist did for conservatives, pointing out that the Green Party already exists and he could join them.  As it was, I trolled the person asking the question gently another way.
By the way, be flattered.  I was going to post this in response to Brodie, but I decided you were more deserving.  Besides, this comment will land directly below his anyway.
I can throw shade and still be civil.  I think that's a good skill to have.

Monday, November 20, 2017

'Putin's Revenge' on Frontline: Looking forward to next year's Emmys 3


Today I conclude the series that began with "Blue Planet II" and continued with "Beyond a Year in Space" by examining Frontline's follow-up to "The Choice 2016," "Putin's Revenge," which was mentioned in the acceptance speech for Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary at the News and Documentary Emmy Awards.*  Watch the trailer from "Frontline."

How did Russian president Vladimir Putin come to see the U.S. as an enemy, and why has he sought to sow distrust in America's democracy? From filmmaker Michael Kirk and the team behind "The Choice 2016" comes this epic, two-part documentary examining Putin's rise, rule and motivations, and the American responses.
Follow over the jump for three clips from the documentary itself.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

'Beyond a Year in Space': Looking forward to next year's Emmys 2


Today, I'm continuing looking forward to next year's Emmys with the follow up to A Year in Space, "Beyond a Year in Space."  Here is the Official Teaser Trailer for the program from PBS.

Beyond a Year in Space picks up where the first film left off: Scott Kelly’s last day in space and return to Earth. The final installment also introduces viewers to the next generation of astronauts training to leave Earth’s orbit and travel into deep space.
The central project of the mission, which I first blogged about in Twins on Earth and Space, was and still is The Twin Study.

While Scott Kelly spent a year on the International Space Station, his twin brother Mark spent a year on earth. By analyzing the differences between the two men, NASA researchers hope to gain insight into the effects of spaceflight on the human body.
As I wrote in Space, Ebola, volcanoes, stroke, and human expansion the topics of Science and Technology Documentary nominees, "Here's to it being nominated for an Emmy next year.  If so, I'm looking forward to blogging about it."  It just aired on November 15 and I'm blogging about it already!

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Home ownership rate and me, three years later


I made a programming note in one of the footnotes to November 2017 driving update for Pearl plus Tesla Truck and Chevy Bolt news.
Yesterday was also the third anniversary of putting an offer on my current home and having it accepted.  I plan on writing about that and my prediction that the U.S. home ownership rate would start going up tomorrow.
Here's what I wrote three years ago Thursday.
I showed my hand to Greer later in the entry, when I wrote, "Now to see about buying property as it struggles off the bottom."  Well, that time has arrived.  We've made an offer on a house and it's been accepted.  Wish my wife and me luck as we both get on board, just in time for the housing market to go back up.  Yes, it's a business as usual decision and I know these are not business as usual times, but as I'm fond of saying, I can't be all DOOM all the time.
It took just over a year and a half for the home ownership rate to rise, as the Washington Post managed to document the bottom in Why the decline of the homeownership rate is good news.
The U.S. homeownership rate has just fallen to its lowest level since the Census Bureau began tracking it in 1965.

During the second quarter of this year, only 62.9 percent of U.S. households were owner-occupied residences, down from the all-time high of 69.2 percent reached in the fourth quarter of 2004.

Contrary to entrenched conventional wisdom, however, the ongoing decline of the homeownership rate is actually good news.

Here’s why: Thanks to recovering real estate values, today’s homeowners as a group have the same equity in their property — roughly 58 percent — that the record-size cohort did back in late 2004, according to the Federal Reserve. Ergo, there’s now more equity, on a per- household basis; current homeowners’ tenure is that much more sustainable and secure.

“They are now more able to weather an economic disaster,” says Ralph McLaughlin, chief economist of Trulia.com, the online home-listing service.

To put it another way: The United States actually has more homeownership, in economic terms, than it did when the homeownership rate, a measure of mere legal ownership, was higher. Accordingly, the economy should also be less vulnerable to another real estate shock.

We’re still not back to the rock-solid days of 1983, when the homeownership rate was a hair under 65 percent and equity hit an all-time high of 70 percent.
The following graph from the St. Louis Federal Reserve shows that previous peak in home ownership rate and then some back to the 1960s.  It also shows how small and recent the rebound in home ownership rate is.


Just the same, I'm glad to have jumped on the trend just before it turned around, just like I did the last two times when my ex-wife and I bought in 1994 (not 1995, as I misremembered), which was a little ahead of the rapid rise in home ownership, or before it accelerated, like when I sold in 2006, a couple years after the peak but before the bottom fell out of both housing values and home ownership rates.  As I wrote three years ago, "I shouldn't be reassured by moving with the herd, but in in this case, I am."

Friday, November 17, 2017

November 2017 driving update for Pearl plus Tesla Truck and Chevy Bolt news

As for the next driving anniversary, that would be November 9th.  I'm fairly confident that Pearl will pass 37,000 miles weeks later than that, as I drove a lot last October and November for the election.  There is no election this year, so no driving around dropping off lawn signs.  That means I should be driving closer to 6.500 miles per year than 7,000 miles per year at the next driving update and it won't be because I was sick -- I hope.
That's how I ended September 2017 Driving update: Pearl on September 27.  I was at least partly right, as Pearl turned over 37,000 miles on Wednesday, November 15.  That's later than November 9, but only by a week.  Time for me to run the numbers to see how far off the rest of the predictions I came.

First, September 26, when Pearl turned over 36,000 miles, to November 15 is 50 days.  That means I drove an average of exactly 20 miles per day and 610 miles per month.  That's more than the 16.39 miles per day and exactly 500 miles per standard month I drove from July 27 to September 26 this year.  That's expected, as I had more meetings to drive to and a second work location that is farther from my home.*  What I was hoping was that I'd drive less both than the comparable period last year and year-over-year.  At first glance, it looks like I did achieve the first, as I wrote "it took me 41 days for me to drive Pearl 1,000 miles and my wife 44 days to drive Dez the same distance. That means I drove 24.39 miles/day and 743.90 miles/standard month while my wife traveled 22.73 miles/day and 693.18 miles/standard month over the past seven weeks."  However, I miscalculated last year, as September 21 to November 9 is really 49 days, so I actually drove Pearl 20.41 miles per day and 622.45 miles per standard month.  Even so, I still drove less this year than during the comparable period last year, although not by much.**

As for driving less than 7,000 miles per year, I managed that, but not by as little as I had hoped.  It took 371 days to drive 7,000 miles from November 9, 2016 to November 15, 2017 for an average of 18.87 miles per day and a total of 6886.8 miles per year.  Sorry, that wasn't closer to 6,500 than to 7,000.  However, at least I wasn't sick.


Just as I did for twice before for these updates, I have news from Tesla about the latest in electric vehicles plus a bonus report about the Chevy Bolt.  Follow over the jump for those.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

A belated World Diabetes Day


I missed a holiday when I posted 'Blue Planet II': Looking forward to next year's Emmys, World Diabetes Day.
Around the globe on November 14, World Diabetes Day raises awareness and provides education concerning a disease that affects over 400 million adults internationally.

According to the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), by 2040 approximately 642 million adults will have diabetes. With diabetes causing 5 million deaths in 2015, this projection is a source of concern. Awareness, education, action and research all can make a difference.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Visit www.worlddiabetes.org to learn more about both type 1 & 2 diabetes.  Find out how to get screened, to prevent type 2 diabetes and more about treatment.  Use #WorldDiabetesDay to share on social media.

HISTORY

The International Diabetes Federation & the World Health Organization created World Diabetes Day in 1991 to raise awareness of the rising threat of diabetes around the world. In 2006, the day became one of the official United Nations Days.
Since I've recently been diagnosed as a Type I diabetic and my youngest cousin died earlier this year because of complications from diabetes, this day now has extra meaning for me.  While I've posted about diabetes 34 times on this blog starting in 2011 (35 counting today), I've rarely made it a featured story, I suspect that will change beginning with observing World Diabetes Day from now on.

Today, I'll close by posting this video about the international symbol for diabetes, the blue circle.

HIV/Aids has the red ribbon. But what is the international symbol for diabetes?
I'll be happy to wear a blue circle pin to increase awareness starting next year.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

An animated 'Star Trek' PSA for America Recycles Day 2017


Happy America Recycles Day!  For today's celebration of a holiday I first (and last) observed in 2013, I'm sharing StarTrek Keep America Beautiful PSA.

As we celebrate Keep America Beautiful Month, let's throwback to the mid-1970s when Captain Kirk, Spock, Sulu and the rest of the StarTrek crew supported our work. #DoBeautifulThings #TBT
It's not just Keep America Beautiful, it's keep the universe beautiful, too.

While the above certainly fits several of the themes of this blog, especially as it has evolved over the years, it's not a conventional America Recycles Day message.  The City of Lake Forest, California has one of those, complete with lots of good tips.

On November 15, join the City of Lake of Forest in making a#BeRecycled  pledge for America Recycles Day and demonstrate how it's #Easy2bGreen!
All that advice means today is not just America Recycles Day, but also America Reuses and Reduces Day as well.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

'Blue Planet II': Looking forward to next year's Emmys


I changed my mind about writing more about this year's News and Documentary Emmy winners.  Instead, I've decided to look ahead to shows that might win at next year's Emmy ceremonies.

The first is "Blue Planet II."  Like "Planet Earth II," it's a sequel to a famous BBC series from a decade ago.  Also like "Planet Earth II," it has great music, beginning with Radiohead & Hans Zimmer - (ocean) bloom.

Radiohead, one of the world’s most acclaimed rock bands, and Hans Zimmer, one of the planet’s most successful movie and TV composers, have joined forces to produce an exclusive track for BBC America’s upcoming natural history series, Planet Earth: Blue Planet II, coming to BBC Ameria in early 2018.

Radiohead and Hans Zimmer’s orchestrally reimagined version of the Radiohead song ‘(ocean) bloom’ from their 2011 album sees Radiohead’s Thom Yorke rerecord the vocals and produced by Russell Emanuel of Bleeding Fingers Music, the company which also crafted the BAFTA & Emmy-nominated score to BBC America's Planet Earth II.

Thom Yorke of Radiohead shares our excitement for the project: “Bloom was inspired by the original Blue Planet series so it’s great to be able to come full circle with the song and reimagine it for this incredible landmark’s sequel. Hans is a prodigious composer who effortlessly straddles several musical genres so it was liberating for us all to work with such a talent and see how he wove the sound of the series’ and Bloom together.”

In turn, Hans Zimmer says: “Bloom appears to have been written ahead of its time as it beautifully reflects the jaw-dropping lifeforms and seascapes viewers are introduced to in Blue Planet II. Working with Thom, Jonny and the boys has been a wonderful diversion and it’s given me an interesting peek into their musical world. They’ve been incredible to work with and I hope everyone likes the track.”
Vox has more on the song in How Hans Zimmer and Radiohead transformed "Bloom" for Blue Planet II.

Radiohead's "Bloom," remixed for the ocean.
...
If you listen closely enough to Radiohead and Hans Zimmer’s rework of “Bloom” for Blue Planet II, you can hear a really fascinating orchestral trick at work. They call it the “tidal orchestra” — it’s a musical effect created by instructing each player to play their notes only if the person next to them isn’t playing. The result is a randomly swelling and fading musical bed for the entire series that captures the feeling of ocean waves. It’s a captivating way to score a soundtrack for the ocean — but it also fits in with a long history of capturing randomness in music composition.
While this song in this form is only being used in this promotional clip, which itself might be nominated for Best Commercial or Promo, its melody does make it into the main theme.

Blue Planet II: Hans Zimmer Theme Live Recording - BBC Earth
We take an exclusive look at how the Blue Planet II music score from Hans Zimmer has been recorded at the Synchron Stage in Vienna.
I fully expect this series' score to be nominated along with more nominations for Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program -- but my readers and I won't know that until next summer.  Stay tuned.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dance for World Kindness Day


Happy World Kindness Day!
On November 13 as part of World Kindness Day, we are encouraged to spread kindness like an infectious cold. We want to share it more than usual because studies show when others observe kindness in action they are more likely to carry out an act of kindness, too.

So, imagine if you head out for the day and your neighbor’s garbage can has tipped over. Instead of ignoring it and letting the wind make a mess, you pick it up and return it to the corner. Three other neighbors notice and give you a smile and a nod on their way to work.

One of those neighbors notices a stranded driver on the side of the road on his commute to work. He remembers your thoughtfulness and offers assistance to the stranded driver. Several passersby take notice.

At a business office, a woman struggles with a paper jam. She’s had a horrible day. The customer has been waiting, but she remembers the stranded driver she passed earlier in the day. The customer lets the office worker know to take her time. Everyone has a bad day.

We each have the potential to improve each others lives through understanding and kindness. Whether it’s a friend, family member, coworker or stranger, our ability to show our humanity should have no limit.

HOW TO OBSERVE

On World Kindness Day, let your compassion shine brightly.  Get caught showing as much kindness as possible.
To celebrate, there has been a World Wide Dance for Kindness since 2012.  KTVU documented the preparation for this year's event in Bay Area dancer choreographs flash mob for World Kindness Day.

People in over 50 countries will perform the routine. KTVU's Claudine Wong reports.
For all of last year's finished product, portions of which were included above, watch the official Dance for Kindness 2016 Worldwide Montage from Life Vest Inside.

Every year Life Vest Inside organizes Dance for Kindness (DFK), a worldwide event, in honor of World Kindness Day - showing that regardless of the differences in race, religion, ethnicity, culture and background - the common thread that unites us all is kindness.

In 2016, DFK took place in over 120 cities, 50 countries with over 15,000 participants.
It turns out that yesterday was Dance for Kindness 2017 and videos are already being posted, such as this one from Sudbury, Ontario, Canada.

CMHA and Spotlight Dance Company hit the downtown for a flashmob for World Kindness Day.
Cute.

As for the message, I think kindness won't be sufficient to solve our problems, but I think it will be necessary.  Be kind today.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yet another attempt at a 'Ringworld' movie/miniseries plus bonus 'Snow Crash' from Amazon


For the Sunday entertainment feature, I'm recycling what I wrote on Dreamwidth.
Four years ago, I wrote Finally, a Ringworld movie!
That's the one in which I repeated my twenty-year-old grousing about how I wrote an adventure for Chaosium's Ringworld table-top RPG, but lost all that effort because the movie rights to the book were sold and the movie production company asserted that they had the game rights, too.  To add insult to injury, there was no movie.  Apparently, that will change, as SyFy announced that they will develop the book into a four-hour miniseries.
The good news was that it became one of the two most read posts of that year.  The bad news is that no "Ringworld" movie or miniseries came of it.

Not all is lost, as io9 reported this week Amazon Is Developing a Bonanza of Genre Titles: Ringworld, Snow Crash, and Lazarus.
Amazon just announced a virtual land grab of genre titles that it’s putting into development: Larry Niven’s scifi classic Ringworld; Neal Stephenson’s cult classic Snow Crash; and Greg Rucka’s acclaimed comic Lazarus. In a perfect world, we could be seeing all three made into drama series.

As Deadline reports, the announcement comes as the streaming network is hoping to land a “big-scope genre drama series in the mold of Game Of Thrones and The Walking Dead.” There aren’t too many details yet, but the standout points include: the Ringworld project will likely draw not just from Niven’s 1970 original, but other books in the series; Rucka will be adapting Lazarus himself from page to screen; and Snow Crash will be co-produced by Joe Cornish, who at one time had the project on his own feature-directing slate.
I'm a lot more confident in Amazon pulling off "Ringworld" than I was about SyFy, so I'm looking forward to it.  The other project I want to see is "Snow Crash."  It may not be the best of Stephenson's novels, but it is the best-known and it's a lot of fun.  Here's to both of them reaching the small screen before the decade is out!
Here's to getting that "Ringworld" movie I was promised 33 years ago, even if it ends up being a series streaming on Amazon!

Saturday, November 11, 2017

'The Commandant's Own' for a drum corps Veterans Day 2017


Happy Veterans Day, everyone!  Three years ago, I wished my readers a drum corps Veterans Day, in which I featured corps from all branches of the armed services.  This year, I'm featuring just the U.S. Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps, AKA "The Commandant's Own."  Not only is today Veterans Day, yesterday was the Marine Corps Birthday and the Marine Corps Drum and Bugle Corps was founded on November 4, 1934.  A triple celebration for a single organization!

Without any further ado, I present "The Commandant's Own" at the 2016 DCI World Championships.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Vox on how biomimicry demonstrates that Nature knows best


Here's what I wrote in the comments to The world is poorly designed. But copying nature helps.
Barry Commoner's Third Law of Ecology states "Nature knows best."  One of the corollaries of Commoner's Second Law of Ecology is "There is no 'waste' in Nature."  This video demonstrates both of them.
It also touches on Commoner's First Law: Everything is connected to everything else.  Watch and see that I'm right about the use of Commoner's Laws in biomimicry.

Japan’s Shinkansen doesn’t look like your typical train. With its long and pointed nose, it can reach top speeds up to 150–200 miles per hour.

It didn’t always look like this. Earlier models were rounder and louder, often suffering from the phenomenon of "tunnel boom," where deafening compressed air would rush out of a tunnel after a train rushed in. But a moment of inspiration from engineer and birdwatcher Eiji Nakatsu led the system to be redesigned based on the aerodynamics of three species of birds.

Nakatsu’s case is a fascinating example of biomimicry, the design movement pioneered by biologist and writer Janine Benyus. She's a co-founder of the Biomimicry Institute, a non-profit encouraging creators to discover how big challenges in design, engineering, and sustainability have often already been solved through 3.8 billion years of evolution on earth. We just have to go out and find them.
Benyus also touches on Commoner's Fourth Law, there is no free lunch, in the following quote.


I think she is absolutely right.  So do a lot of viewers, as this video is currently #14 on YouTube's trending list.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Vox explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties


I was originally planning on writing about the Virginia and New Jersey election results today, but Vox's How to break the two-party hold on American politics struck my fancy instead.  Watch as it explains how proportional representation can solve gerrymandering and help minor parties.

Replacing our current system with proportional representation will make more room for the wide range of views in US politics.
Matthew Yglesias expands on this video in The real fix for gerrymandering is proportional representation.
Creating majority-minority districts to ensure racial representation can look a lot like “packing” Democratic voters into lopsided seats. Aiming at fair fights sounds nice but will end up violating communities of interest. Aiming for partisan fairness will necessarily involve some odd squiggles, since neighborhood-level partisanship can be very disparate.

So I asked this scholar: “What about proportional representation?”

She said that when she teaches redistricting law, she does proportional representation last because it solves all the problems and the point of the class is for the students to work through the different complexities and legal doctrines governing the American system. That seems smart as a pedagogical approach, but as an agenda for political reform, solving all the problems is a good idea.
This is a solution that would address several issues I've explored here, redistricting/gerrymandering, Duverger's Law, and minor parties.  It would make the first essentially irrelevant, it would eliminate the conditions for the second (single-member districts with first past the post winners), and would allow people to cast votes for minor parties without "wasting their vote."*  It's also a really radical solution by U.S. standards, but a Crazy Eddie like me might just approve of a radical solution to preserve and improve democracy.

*I disagree with this characterization.  To me, the person who wastes a vote is the one who stays home.  At least people voting for the Libertarians, Greens, or Constitution Party are making a point.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Duggan re-elected as Detroit mayor plus local election news from across Michigan


Here's news so expected I wrote the first half of  this post's title of on Sunday: Mike Duggan wins re-election, beating Coleman Young II for Detroit mayor from WXYZ.


Congratulations to Mayor Mike Duggan!  I agree with him and the overwhelming majority of Detroiters that Detroit is moving in the right direction.  I also would like to agree with Duggan as he says "This is the year we put us-versus-them politics behind us forever," as MLive reported.

"This is the year we put us-versus-them politics behind us forever," says Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan after winning reelection, Nov. 7, 2017.
I hope that's true, but I'll have to wait to see if it is.  Until then, "One Detroit!"

The other Detroit contest I was watching was for Detroit City Clerk.  The Detroit Free Press reported Janice Winfrey re-elected Detroit clerk in tight race.
Incumbent Janice Winfrey has won re-election as city clerk in a race that went down to the wire.

With all 590 precincts reporting, Winfrey was ahead by roughly 1,400 votes, with 49,882, (50.5%). Challenger Garlin Gilchrist II had 48,400 votes (49.0%) in what election watchers predicted would be a race down to the wire.
I live out in the suburbs, not in Detroit, but I was still rooting for Gilcrist.  That should come as no surprise after what I wrote in The party starts as Michigan recount begins as ordered.
That a third of precincts in Detroit may be ineligible for a recount is not good news for anyone having their hopes up that this recount will change the result of the election.  If anything, Trump's lead may increase because of it.  It also makes me even less enamored of both Janice Winfrey, the Detroit City Clerk, and Cathy M. Garrett, the Wayne County Clerk.  Neither one of them appears to be running a tight ship, or otherwise these kinds of irregularities would happen so frequently.  If either ever is up for nomination at a Michigan Democratic Convention for Secretary of State, I'm not voting for them and might just see if I could join a group to recruit another candidate.  Barb Byrum in Ingham County or Lisa Brown in Oakland County, the first two counties to participate in the recount, would be my choices.
Winfrey deserved that scare and I hope it makes her run the Detroit City Clerk's office better.  As for the Democratic nomination for Secretary of State, I doubt either Byrum or Brown will be running next year.  Jocelyn Benson, who ran for the office in 2010, is running again.  I already plan on voting for her, both at the convention and in the general election.

Follow over more election news from across Michigan.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is voting on Tuesday still a thing?'


Today, many Americans across the country are going to the polls to vote in municipal elections, including here in Detroit where Mayor Mike Duggan is up for reelection.  In addition, residents of New Jersey and Virginia are voting for Governor and other state (or Commonwealth, in the case of Virginia) offices.  As I wrote yesterday, I plan on reporting on the results throughout the rest of the week, starting tomorrow.  Today, I join Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in asking Voting On Tuesday - How Is This Still A Thing?

Tuesday voting is highly inconvenient, so why do we still do it?
I've had to answer questions from my immigrant friends about why Americans hold elections on Tuesdays before, and I'm relieved to see that I gave them the right answer.  As for what to do about Tuesday elections, I favor the Puerto Rican solution; declare election day a holiday.  I even have an image for that.

Monday, November 6, 2017

'The President and the People' wins Outstanding News Special

I have one more Emmy winner to post that features a President, one that covered a town hall with then President Obama.  I have that planned for Monday.  Stay tuned.
That's what I promised my readers at the end of 'Trump University Fraud' wins Outstanding Business, Consumer, Economic Report.  Watch Clarissa Ward announce the winner for Outstanding News Special and notice how many of the nominees would have fulfilled that promise.


ABC News has the trailer for the winner, America in Black and White: The President and the People.

President Obama took on the issue of race and policing in a town hall moderated by ABC News' David Muir.
Just as I did for Frontline's "The Choice 2016" wins Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary, I am sharing the entire special -- President Obama and the People Town Hall: A National Conversation.

President Barack Obama has a national conversation with the people of the United States on race relations, justice, policing and equality by the members of the community. ESPN's Jemele Hill will join David Muir as the host of this ABC News special.
This show demonstrates some of the many reasons I miss Barack Obama as President.  His calmness, reasonableness, and compassion helped to manage the conversation in order to bridge the two sides.  That's not happening now.  America badly needs to examine the intersection of racism and what I grew up calling police brutality (back then, that referred as much or more to beatings and other forms of "unnecessary roughness" than police shooting and killing suspects, but that was before the militarization of police).  Unfortunately, the election of Trump has derailed the conversation.  Hillary Clinton might have been better able to manage it, but she will never have the chance.  Americans will have to wait, most likely until the next decade, for someone else at the highest levels of government to resume a productive conversation.  Sigh.

That's it for the News and Documentary Emmy winners I plan on examining -- for now.  I might look at the awardees that examine terrorism and the civil wars in the Middle East, but not until after I report on the municipal and state elections happening tomorrow.  I'll see how I feel after that.  Until then, stay tuned.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?'


I've become increasingly skeptical about the benefits of Daylight Saving Time since I first mentioned in on this blog in 2012.  I'm not alone, as two-and-one-half years ago, Last Week Tonight asked Daylight Saving Time - How Is This Still A Thing?

Daylight saving time doesn’t actually benefit anyone. Strangely, it’s still a thing!
All of that applies most strongly to springing ahead, not falling back, but falling back has its own perils.  The Skit Guys demonstrate one of them in Left Behind! Daylight Savings Reminder.

The life of Henry Lovegood was simple. There was a routine and Henry loved routines. Wake up. Shower. Prepare breakfast. Read a bit. Drive to Church. Until it wasn’t. Watch as Henry Lovegood’s life is turned upside down by forgetting to set his clocks back one hour.
Don't be Henry.  Fall back so you don't get left behind.

Saturday, November 4, 2017

'Trump University Fraud' wins Outstanding Business, Consumer, Economic Report


"Tomorrow's entry will also be about an Emmy winner that examined Trump.  Stay tuned."  That's what I promised to end Frontline's "The Choice 2016" wins Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary.  Watch Katty Kay present the award for Outstanding Business, Consumer, Economic Report for the payoff.*


Yes, the winner really was "Trump University Fraud," a segment on CNN's Anderson Cooper 360.  CNN has all of the clip used in the awards ceremony: Trump University instructor: What I did was sales.

As Donald Trump's Trump University lawsuit moves forward in court, CNN's Drew Griffin sits down with a former instructor and real estate expert who said he was the best salesman at the school.
The most damning part of the interview was used again in New motion filed in the Trump University case.

President-elect Donald Trump faces three lawsuits surrounding Trump University. CNN's Drew Griffin investigates.
Judge Curiel advised the parties in the case he's overseeing to settle the suit.  That happened a few days later, as Trump University lawsuits settled for $25M.

New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced his lawsuit against Trump University will be settled for $25 million, calling it a "stunning reversal" of President-elect Donald Trump's position. Two class action lawsuits are also covered by the settlement.
That should have taken care of the suit except that Sherri Simpson is appealing the settlement so she can sue independently.  This case is not over.

I have one more Emmy winner to post that features a town hall with then President Obama.  I have that planned for Monday.  Stay tuned.

*The "60 Minutes" report on "AgroMafia" is another one I should have mentioned last month.  I might look at it and blog about it later.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Frontline's "The Choice 2016" wins Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary


I concluded 'Thank You For Playing' wins Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary by telling my readers to "Stay tuned for the two other winners, which are about last year's presidential election."   Today's entry is about the winner of Outstanding Politics & Government Documentary, Frontline's "The Choice 2016."  Watch as Byron Pitts announces the winner and presents the trophy.


Yes, Omarosa sounded ridiculous then, but she doesn't sound quite as mockable now.  It doesn't help that I used to be a big reality competition show fan, enough so that I was a moderator on a reality TV discussion forum back in 2005 and 2006, so I became familiar with her as a villainous contestant on "The Apprentice."  That made it difficult for me to take her seriously.  I'm sure I'm not alone.  Now, Americans have to take her much more seriously, which is a frightening thought.

Speaking of Omarosa, here she is along with Roger Stone and others in the full trailer for "The Choice."

FRONTLINE’s dual biography investigates Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, and what has shaped them.

FRONTLINE’s acclaimed series "The Choice" returns this fall with a two-hour film investigating what has shaped Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, where they came from, how they lead and why they want to take on one of the most difficult jobs imaginable. From veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk, "The Choice 2016" premieres Tues., 9/27 on PBS and online at pbs.org/frontline.
That made me want to watch the whole program, even though it wouldn't be a useful now as it would have been a year ago.  In case my readers and I ever do, Frontline has it on YouTube and has allowed it to be embedded.  Here is The Choice 2016 (full film) | FRONTLINE.

The dueling stories of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump as they battle for the presidency.

Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two of the most polarizing presidential candidates in modern history. Veteran FRONTLINE filmmaker Michael Kirk goes beyond the headlines to investigate what has shaped these two candidates, where they came from, how they lead and why they want one of the most difficult jobs imaginable.
While it will no longer influence the election, this documentary can still help people understand what happened and why, as well as gaining greater insight into Trump, who is still the President of the United States, whether my readers and I like it or not.

On another note, this is the sixth winner from PBS I've profiled.  The other five are:
Along with "The Choice," these six are half of PBS's 12 winning shows, the most of any outlet.  That high level of quality tells me I really should support public broadcasting more, especially since funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting was threatened in Trump's initial proposed budget.  Fortunately, Congress retained funding in the current budget, but the potential threat still lurks.

Tomorrow's entry will also be about an Emmy winner that examined Trump.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

'Thank You For Playing' wins Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary


I told my readers "I may have at least one more winner to post about next month" at the end of 'The Rachel Maddow Show' wins an Emmy for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis.  As of now, I have three, but I'm only writing about one of them today, "Thank You For Playing."

When I compiled the nominees for 'Body Team 12' and 'Extremis' both nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary plus other science, health, and environment nominees, I really should have included "Thank You For Playing."  Like "Extremis," it's about end-of-life care, although at a more leisurely pace than seen in an emergency room.  Like the Science and Technology Documentary nominees, it's about technology, in this case, video games.  Like "Sonic Sea," "Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places," and the rest of the nominees for Outstanding Graphic Design and Art Direction, it's about graphics, again for a video game.  It wasn't nominated for any of those categories.  Instead, it was nominated for Outstanding Arts & Culture Documentary, so I missed it the first time around.  The National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences didn't, giving me a chance to redeem myself.  Watch Katy Tur present an Emmy to "Thank You For Playing."


I can tell that filming the documentary was an emotional experience and she was only the director.  For the parents' perspective, particularly the father's, watch the trailer for Thank You For Playing from POV on PBS.

When Ryan Green, a video game programmer, learns that his young son Joel has cancer, he and his wife begin documenting their emotional journey with a poetic video game. Thank You for Playing follows Ryan and his family over two years creating "That Dragon, Cancer," which evolves from a cathartic exercise into a critically acclaimed work of art that sets the gaming industry abuzz.
I found that moving, but not nearly as much as "That Dragon, Cancer" Feature Film - "Thank You For Playing" Documentary from Family Gamer TV.

We talk to film makers David and Malika, directors of “Thank You For Playing” the film about the video-game That Dragon, Cancer.
The film may have won for arts and culture, but it's also a worthy examination of health and technology.  It's also very emotional.  My eyes are still moist as I write this.

Stay tuned for the two other winners, which are about last year's presidential election.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Good-bye Dez. Hello Snow Bear! A driving update


This past Saturday, my wife and I traded in Dez for a new white Tiguan, which my wife has named Snow Bear.  That means its time for a final driing report on Dez, which turned over 55,000 miles on June 21st.  Between June 21 and October 28, my wife and I drove Dez 813 miles over 129 days.  That's an average of 6.30 miles per day and 192.2 miles per month.  That's slightly more than half the 11.76 miles per day and 358.82 miles per standard month she and I drove the car between March and June and still less than the 7.19 miles per day or 219.42 miles per standard month we drove the car between November 2016 and March 2017.  It's also much less than the 22.73 miles/day and 693.18 miles/standard month she drove it during the second half of the comparable period last year.  Not visiting our daughter in Chicago will do that.

During that same time, I drove Pearl more than 2,000 miles.  In the first update, Driving update: two years of Pearl as Tesla begins deliveries of Model 3 today, I reported that I drove an average of 18.18 miles per day and 554.55 miles per standard month between June and July.  My calculations for the second update, September 2017 Driving update: Pearl, showed that I drove an average of 16.39 miles per day and exactly 500 miles per standard month.  The average of the two is 17.29 miles per day and 527.28 miles per month.  Added to Dez's final miles and rounded to the same decimal points, my wife and I drove a combined average of 23.59 miles per day and 719.5 miles per month.  That's less than the 31.18 miles per day and 950.88 miles per standard month we drove between March and June.  It's also less than the 26.26 miles per day and 800.90 miles per month we drove between November and March.  It's still less than the 24.93 miles per day and 760.4 miles per standard month we drove both cars during the first half of the comparable period last year.  My wife and I are reducing our carbon footprint both by driving less overall and by having a higher proportion of the miles on Pearl the Prius.

As for Snow Bear, she had 264 miles when we bought her.  That means we will have driven her 736 when she rolls over her first 1,000 miles.  That's when I expect to post the next overall update on our driving.  Speaking of which, Pearl should roll over 37,000 miles around Thanksgiving.  Stay tuned.

Finally, Dez, farewell and may you be as good a car for your next owner as you were for us!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Toast the 'Drum Corpse Bride' for a drum corps Halloween


Happy HalloweenLast year, I asked my readers there "which angle I should use for Halloween, drinks or drum corps."  They unanimously voted for drinks.  This year, I didn't bother to ask and decided to do both.  So in the spirt of Drink to a late drum corps Earth Day, I present a post about booze and bugles.

This year's featured corps is The Academy, which made DCI Finals in 2016 with "Drum Corpse Bride."*



Tempe, AZ - 11th Place 86.100

For more of the show, here's a high camera smartphone video: The Academy 2016 Semifinals Highlights.

Took some footage from The Academy's semifinals run and put it together! The Academy is a drum and bugle corps based out of Tempe, Arizona. They are presenting their show "Drum Corps Bride". The Academy advanced to Finals for the first time in the corps history with a score of 87.225. For more information about The Academy or information on how to audition you can find it on their website here: https://arizonaacademy.org/programs/t... Most of the footage is focused on the guard. I was mainly trying to record my girlfriend who is part of the guard so some other moments might have been missed.
Follow over the jump for Halloween drinks from Tipsy Bartender to toast the bride and groom.

Monday, October 30, 2017

Candy corn pizza for Candy Corn Day


Happy National Candy Corn Day!
National Candy Corn Day is observed annually on October 30th.

Candy Corn was created by George Renninger of Wunderle Candy Company in the late 1800s. He created this sweet treat to represent the bright colors of corn kernels.   Originally, Candy Corn was yellow, orange and white, but it has become popular in other colors as well.

This confection was originally made by hand using corn syrup, sugar, water, marshmallows, fondant and carnauba wax (a wax made from the leaves of a palm tree), but it is now produced using machines.  The original ingredients are still used in the recipe.
The biggest candy corn trend going on this year is Candy Corn Pizza.  Based on the following two videos, I think it's something of a troll.  Just watch We Tried The Candy Corn Pizza Trend from BuzzFeed Video to see why I think so.

Based on a viral tweet, we decided to taste test the candy corn pizza (literally a pizza topped with candy corn and then cooked).
"Candy Corn Pizza -- it's not as bad as you think" sums up the positive reactions by the candy corn lovers.  At least it didn't make them hate candy corn.

I don't know if the same can be said about the celebrities in Giada, Al Roker And Curtis Stone Try Candy Corn Pizza So You Don't Have To from The Today Show.

Celebrity chefs and our very own Al Roker taste test a pizza with candy corn melted on top – and their reactions are hilarious.
Giada and Al said worse things about it than the candy corn haters BuzzFeed rounded up and Curtis Stone wasn't far behind.

Follow over the jump for candy corn pizzas one can actually eat.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dancing American witches for Halloween


I mentioned Dancing German witches for Halloween in yesterday's Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween.  Today is the anniversary of that musical post, which earned 1000 total raw page views on March 20, 2017 to become the 38th most read entry for the sixth year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News.  It currently has 1694 raw page views, so it still has viral staying power.

To celebrate both the anniversary and the Halloween weekend, I'm sharing two of the more original and better executed American witch dances inspired by Die Wolfshäger Hexenbrut/The Wolfshaeger Witches Brood dancing to "Schüttle deinen Speck"/"Shake Your Bacon."  First, Witches Dance by Gypsy Tribal Dance.


Next, Sand Witches at Nokomis Drum Circle.


I think the first was better executed with more original additional choreography, while the second was danced with more showmanship and enthusiasm, but both worked for me.  Congratulations to both groups and Happy Halloween to them and my readers!

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween


Infidel 753 and Ranch Chimp introduced me to another musical act for Halloween, Broken Peach.  Here they are singing "This is Halloween."

Song written by Danny Elfman for "The Nightmare Before Christmas film" directed by Henry Selick!
That song got an enthusiastic reaction from me, which I left as a comment at Infidel 753's blog.
The singers certainly put the Gothic in Gothic Lolita!

I found two other Halloween songs on their YouTube channel, "Your Own Personal Jesus," which they credit to Marylin Manson (the song is really by Depeche Mode) and Hocus Pocus, which they just put out yesterday. I plan on using "This is Halloween" and "Hocus Pocus" on my blog. Last year, it was Dancing German Witches. This year, it's Singing Spanish Witches!
I already used "This is Halloween."  Now it's time for Broken Peach to sing "Hocus Pocus -- I Put a Spell on You."

"I Put a Spell on You" is a 1956 song written by Jay Hawkins, whose recording was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 1993, Bette Midler starred with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in the Walt Disney film, Hocus Pocus. The Sanderson Sisters covered the song & this is our humble tribute!
Go get 'em, singing Spanish Witches!

I would have stopped here, but then I saw their rendition of "Your Own Personal Jesus" and couldn't resist posting that here, too.

Song written by Martin Gore (Depeche Mode), released on 28 August 1989. Since its release, the song has been covered by numerous artists including Marilyn Manson or Johnny Cash. This is our Halloween Tribute about that song.
This appealed not only to the horror and rock fan in me, but also the marching arts geek -- uniforms, marching, and equipment work.  Now, if only they could have stayed in step the whole time, it would have been perfect.

Before I leave my readers for today, I note that Broken Peach also sings Christmas songs.  Maybe I'll post one of them for Yule this year.  Stay tuned.  In the meantime, Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Two Rose Parade marching bands playing 'Thriller' for Halloween


For the first of five Halloween posts I promised yesterday, I'm sharing videos of two marching bands that will be participating in next year's Rose Parade playing "Thriller," the dance theme for all zombies.*

First, one of the best, if not the best, high school marching bands in Japan, Kyoto Tachibana Senior High School playing "Thriller" as they march and dance down the street.


I'm always amazed at what a good sound they get while they move around so much.

Next, one of the top high school marching bands in Southern California, the Bands of Santiago Sharks playing "Thriller" at the Los Angeles County Fair.

Santiago High School, The Pride of Santiago, Sharks Marching Band (B.O.S.S. - Bands of Santiago Sharks) performing to Michael Jackson's Thriller at the Los Angeles County Fair High School Marching Band Parade Competition on Wednesday, September 23rd 2015.  Leading the BOSS are military style drum majors Jory Dali and Naveed Zaman.
Not only did the B.O.S.S. play "Thriller" on parade, they made it the theme of their field show the year before.

Santiago High Marching Band and Color Guard performed their Thriller halftime show on October 24, 2014.  It featured songs by Michael Jackson.  The field show is great, but the best moments happen at 5:16 in the video.  You won't want to miss it!  AWESOME JOB, Santiago!  Video provided by B. Park.  Band directed by Kris Parish and Joe Dudek.  Color Guard directed by Corkie Keys.
That was fun.  I'm looking forward to seeing both bands in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day.

Stay tuned for more Halloween entries through the end of the month.

*Listen to how many marching bands in Marching bands of the zombie apocalypse and Marching bands of the zombie apocalypse, the sequel played both "Thriller" and "The Walking Dead" and be convinced of that claim.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

'The Rachel Maddow Show' wins an Emmy for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis


I promised I would get to Maddow, the Emmys, and Flint today.  With no further ado, here is the paragraph I wrote about the nomination in 'Body Team 12' and 'Extremis' both nominated for Outstanding Short Documentary plus other science, health, and environment nominees.
The Rachel Maddow Show's "An American Disaster: The Crisis in Flint" from MSNBC makes for a perfect transition from health to the environment with dashes of politics and crime to spice it up.  It is nominated for Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis along with three other MSNBC news segments, which collectively account for four of MSNBC's five nominations, the fifth being Rachel Maddow's interview of Kellyanne Conway.  Analysis and interviews are the two things MSNBC does well.  I've written a lot about the Flint Water Crisis, but nothing since April.  A trial of at least one of the officials responsible is going on now, so I should probably cover that.
Watch Katy Tur present the award to her colleagues at MSNBC for Outstanding News Discussion & Analysis.


It's time for a look at the awarded show.  First, here is the promotional segment on the Andrea Mitchell Show to introduce the town hall.

The contamination of the water supply in Flint, Michigan has sparked outrage across the country. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow is holding a town hall Wednesday night to discuss this problem. She joins Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC.
Follow over the jump for three segments from the town hall Rachel held in Flint.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Whew! Kid Rock is not running for U.S. Senate


I know I promised "a report on "The Rachel Maddow Show" winning two News and Documentary Emmy Awards, one for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis" for today, but I also promised "I'll keep an eye on it and report updates as events unfold" at the end of Kid Rock for Senate?  I made the latter promise first, so I'm keeping it today.  I'll get to the Maddow, the Emmys, and Flint tomorrow.

First, the Los Angeles Times reports Kid Rock says, '... no, I'm not running for Senate' in Michigan.

"... no, I'm not running for Senate," Kid Rock said. Turns out that all the while he was promoting — surprise, surprise! — his forthcoming album. With Kid Rock's would-be run now over, he will likely focus on his craft.
So it was just a publicity stunt.  Even though that means I'll have a less entertaining time blogging about next year's congressional elections here in Michigan, I have to say I'm relieved.  He would have caused a lot of disruption, both in the Republican primary and the general election and he would likely have been a joke as a Senator.  I'm now much more confident that Senator Debbie Stabenow (who I've met) will defend her seat successfully next year.

Just the same, Republicans are still having a competitive primary.  Both Robert Young and John James have filed and are raising money, with James raising more.  As I wrote two months ago, Young looks better on paper, but James looks better in person.  Speaking of "in person," here he is in I'm Running.


Impressive.  The man has a future in politics, even if it won't be in the U.S. Senate.

As for Lena Epstein, she is now running for Republican nomination to the 11th Congressional District, so she's no longer a candidate for U.S. Senate.*  That's a good thing for her, as first Kid Rock and now John James sucked the oxygen out of the room in the Senate race.  Someone else could do it in the near future -- U.S. Representative James Upton from the 6th Congressional District.  MLive reports that he is considering getting into the race as well.  If so, he'd immediately be the front runner, although I don't think he has what it takes to beat Stabenow, either.  If he gets in, I'll post an update.  Stay tuned.

*On the other hand, it will make the Republican primary for the 11th Congressional District more entertaining, although not as wacky as it was in 2012, when I posted about my volunteering experience in A-10s on parade.  I don't expect any candidates to be either LaRouchies or Bad Santas!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Joel Salatin from 'Food, Inc.' for Food Day


A Happy Food Day to my readers!  Today, I'm continuing what I did last year in For Food Day, a guide to entries with answers to 'Food, Inc.' by discussing the worksheet for "Food, Inc."

When I showed "Food, Inc." to my students last week, I asked them which questions they had the must difficulty answering.  The ones that stumped them that I hadn't already answered involved Joel Salatin, owner and operator of Polyface Farms.  I can understand that.  The man has a complex and effusive way of speaking that throws out a lot of concepts in a short period of time.  It doesn't help that he also misuses words.  He says "spacious" instead of "specious" and "mystique" instead of "illusion."   The irony is that he has an English degree.

Watch Sustainable Solutions to Food Production, which puts together two of the three segments in which Salatin appears, then follow along as I use it to answer the questions below.

Is this the smartest man in the USA, or just a farmer with common sense? Please check out the documentary film "Food Inc.", and read Fast Food Nation. You deserve to know what you're eating. Note: for those who may be squeamish, please realise that the chicken you eat is no longer alive. This is a humane and relatively painless way of killing the animal.
Now time for the questions.

19. How does Joel Salatin, owner-operator of Polyface Farms, describe the advantages and disadvantages of industrial agriculture?

The advantages, which Salatin breezes through sarcastically, are that industrial agriculture grows food "bigger, fatter, faster, cheaper."  That's exactly what industrial agriculture is supposed to do.  The disadvantages are that it creates a lot of inefficiencies and externalities and removes the people who make decisions from the consequences of their decisions.  As a result, "no one is thinking about E. coli, Type II diabetes, and the ecological health of the whole system."  This also serves as an example of "There is no such thing as a free lunch," although there are better examples elsewhere in the movie.


20.What advantages does he give for his methods of organic farming?  He’ll explain more after you watch the material for questions 21-23.

Salatin describes how his pasture raised cattle handle food and waste a lot more efficiently than cattle on feedlots.  Salatin does not have to pay for the food and he does not have to pay to dispose of the manure.  Instead, the natural way of doing thing takes care of both.  As I sometimes tell my students, he manages to screw up a perfectly good explanation of "Nature knows best."

21. What ethical effects does he think the treatment of pigs as “a pile of protoplasmic material” would have on the treatment of people and other countries?

He thinks the people who do not respect "the pigness of the pig," will treat other people and other countries in the community of nations as disdainfully as they do the pigs and will try to control them the same way.  The film then jumps to a segment about Smithfield Farms that supports Salatin's contention.

24.How do the views of the owner of Polyface Farms and that of the former owner of Stonyfield Farm differ when it comes to growth and selling to Wal-Mart?

Salatin says he absolutely won't sell to Wal-Mart.  He thinks he will lose his integrity if he does, as he'll have to change what he thinks about his business, his product, and his customers.  On the other hand, Gary Hirshberg of Stonyfield Farms thinks he absolutely has to sell to Wal-Mart for his ideas to have any effect.  Watch him in Food, Inc. – Walmart's Going Organic.

What AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH was to the energy industry, Robert Kenner’s Academy Award-nominated documentary is to big agriculture. Based on Michael Pollan’s bestselling book of the same name, FOOD INC. examines the outrageously unhealthy practices of corporations like Monsanto and Perdue, exposing how little we really know about what we put on our plates. A must-see for proponents of sustainable and organic farming movements and anyone concerned about the future of our planet.
Both Salatin's refusal and Hirshberg's eager collaboration are examples of "A value expressed and a decision made based on that value."  It's a contrast I set up early in the semester, when I use Salatin as an example of someone who follows an ecological economics model and Hirshberg as someone who follows an environmental economics model.  Both agree about the importance of sustainability in economics, but they disagree about how to achieve it.  Salatin is setting up his own food distribution system, while Hirshberg is trying to reform the existing one.  I'm on Hirshberg's side; if the system can be improved, then it should be.  At least Salatin isn't doing what James Howard Kunstler advocates -- letting the system collapse first and hoping that something more sustainable will grow out of the wreckage.

That's it for today's observation of Food Day.  Stay tuned for a report on "The Rachel Maddow Show" winning two News and Documentary Emmy Awards, one for its coverage of the Flint Water Crisis.

Monday, October 23, 2017

National TV Talk Show Host Day


Happy National TV Talk Show Host Day!
On October 23rd get ready to go live before a studio audience on National TV Talk Show Host Day!  Created to pay tribute to TV talk show hosts and appreciate their unique form of humor, entertaining stories, spontaneous wit and timely political jokes. 

Talk shows come in a variety of platforms.  Daytime talk shows provide a combination of current events, health updates, technology news, and entertainment. The later the hour, the more comedy the TV talk show host dishes out. From practical jokes, impersonations, and sketches to games, sidekicks and audience participation.  Guests usually star in an upcoming film or made headlines for a stunt, good deed or unusual invention.

Each day we watch our favorite talk shows, and we laugh, cry, listen and learn. It is these great hosts that make the shows ones that we want to watch.

HOW TO OBSERVE

Watch your favorite TV talk show host and use #TVTalkShowHostDay to post on social media.

HISTORY

National TV Talk Show Host Day was chosen to be celebrated on The King of Late Night Television’s birthday.   John William “Johnny” Carson was born on October 23, 1925.  Carson was the host of The Tonight Show for thirty years (1962 – 1992).
To celebrate, I have recent clips from all the variety talk shows nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards, beginning with "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver," winner of four Emmy Awards.  Follow over the jump!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

More from the Archdruid and his readers on zombies, part 2


To celebrate the return of "The Walking Dead," I'm finishing up the series that began with Kunstler and I discuss zombies and bags of dog poop and continued with Infidel 753 and I discuss zombies with a conversation Greer the Archdruid had with his readers and me about zombies in the comments to Men Unlike Gods.*  It's also a continuation of a series I began three years ago with The Archdruid and his readers on zombies and More from the Archdruid and his readers on zombies, part 1.  I wrote in the second "That was probably the first time zombies made an appearance on Greer’s blog, but it wasn’t the last" and then told my readers to stay tuned for more.  Here it is, even though it took three years.

The story begins when one of Greer's readers asks a question about the zombie apocalypse that Greer ignores.  I decide to answer for him.
Me: Steve T asked "On archetypes that emerge in the fantasies of a civilization– What do you make of the ridiculous popularity of the Army of the Dead/Zombie Apocalypse archetype?"  That's a topic that popped up at least twice on the old blog.  I saved the comment threads on the zombie apocalypse in two posts on my blog.  I summarized most of the reasons in Zombies meet preppers on 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 3: "the rural-urban disconnect, the fear of urban hordes ravaging the countryside, a lack of faith in progress, a not so subtle racism, and a desire to shoot their fellow Americans."  I almost wonder if the producers and writers read those two blog entries of mine for inspiration.
Greer could have been annoyed.  Instead, he expressed gratitude.
Greer: Vince, thanks for this. I find zombies dreary beyond words, so am probably the last person to ask why they’re popular!
I continued the conversation with Greer (I don't remember Steve T acknowledging me).
Me: You're welcome.  You may find the American media conception of zombies boring, but I was converted years ago to paying attention to the phenomenon, enough that I have an entire category of posts devoted to the zombie apocalypse on my blog.  Your readers seem to be interested in the topic, too.  Just like the two other times I documented conversations in your comments section, once the subject came up, your readers ran with it.  I am very tempted to respond to them, but I think I will learn more by reading (listening) than I will by typing (talking).  In particular, the connections to poverty and famine are new ones to me.  Instead, I will merely note that the person most responsible for the idea of the zombie apocalypse, George Romero, died on Sunday.  May he rest in peace and not rise from the dead to eat us.
Greer repeated that he found zombies boring, then changed the subject to George Romero and Christopher Lee.
Greer: Vince, oh, I know. I just find them so very dull! I was amused by the response to George Romero’s passing, though. It was reminiscent of what happened when Christopher Lee died — I heard a lot of jokes about how he’d be back from the grave in no time flat, having done so all those times before…
His tactic worked.  I started changing the subject with him.
Me: I can see why people would make those jokes about Christopher Lee, but my friends were hoping that his war record would finally be unsealed so they could find out all the operations against the Axis in which he participated.  No such luck -- still a secret.
That was it for my conversation about zombies, but it wasn't the end for the other readers leaving comments.  Follow over the jump for them.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Happy Sweetest Day 2017!


Happy Sweetest Day!  Despite what the image says, I do consider Sweetest Day to be a real day worth celebrating, especially since it has proved to be a very popular
holiday here at Crazy Eddie's Motie News.*  In addition, it turned 100 last year and it was born in Detroit.  Here's the story from National Day Calendar.
Just in time for its 100th Anniversary, National Sweetest Day encourages everyone to be generous even in the smallest ways.  From its inception as Candy Day in 1916, this day reminds us that even small tokens improve the lives of those around us who are suffering or going without.  While the day may have begun with candy and sweets, encouraging us to take home sweets to our sweethearts and friends, it is a day full of lessons in persistence, resilience and doing small things in greatly.
...
National Sweetest Day found its beginnings in a holiday founded by the National Confectioners’ Association in 1916 called Candy Day.  On October 14, 1916, candy shops around the country filled newspapers announcing their sweetest treats and delights.  Originally designated to be celebrated the second Saturday of every October, the confectioners’ convention in Detroit in May of 1916 made the final resolution. Walter C. Hughes, the secretary of the National Confectioners’ Association, encouraged Americans to patronizes their local candy shops, bakers, and druggist for the highest quality confections.

The earliest mentions of the “Sweetest Day of the Year” were in several advertisements found in Indiana, Minnesota, and Texas newspapers.  It was not the official name of the day – not yet.

In 1917 with war raging in Europe, many retailers encouraged patrons to “Get one for yourself and one for the boys overseas!”

By April of 1918, the United States officially entered the war in Europe and with that came rationing.  Sugar, as well as many other commodities, became scarce.  The holiday that was starting to see such success was shelved.

With the end of the war in 1919, sweetness returned to October.  So sweet in fact, Candy Day became an entire week.  Then in 1923, the day kicked into the full charitable swing.

Sweetest Day’s theme of charity and giving became apparent in 1921 when the Detroit Retail Confectioners, Detroit Wholesale Confections Club, Detroit Jobbing Confectioners Association and the Michigan Confectioners Club joined forces with the Red Cross to distribute thousands of bags of candy to hospitals, orphanages, shelters and homes across Michigan. The celebration also included 100 regulation army target balloons which dropped coupons worth a box of candy.

In 1929, Sweetest Day settled into its current home, the third Saturday in October.
Yes, it's a very Michigan holiday.  No wonder I had never heard of it until I moved here from California.

I conclude with the song that I've associated with this day ever since I first heard of it, "Sweetest Day" by Control Freq, a Detroit area band.
 

Once again, Happy Sweetest Day!

*The 2015 post was the sixteenth most read entry of the fifth year of the blog and the 2016 post was the eighth most read entry of the sixth year of the blog and reached sixth on the all-time list.

Friday, October 20, 2017

TPM's readers on gun owners and the zombie apocalypse


Last week, Talking Points Memo published three letters from its readers about guns and gun culture.  Two of them deal with guns in a post-apocalyptic world, one of them specifically about the zombie apocalypse.  The first was Readers on Guns #2, which deals directly with a theme I explored in Zombies meet preppers on 'Fear the Walking Dead' Season 3 -- racism as a motivation behind prepping for the zombie apocalypse.
I know that a lot of the rhetoric from the pro-gun crowd revolves around “protection from tyranny,” but my sense is that the “tactical situation” they are mostly thinking about is more lurid than that. You sometime hear them talking about the “zombie apocalypse” or more generally some sort of “social breakdown,” where their stockpiles might form the basis of a protective arsenal. Are they really worried about zombies? Of course not. That’s just a wink-wink, nod-nod.
Follow over the jump for the rest of this letter and all of the next.