Tuesday, September 26, 2017

'Atlanta' and 'Master of None' showcase diversity at the Emmy Awards


I concluded 'Veep' leads comedy series with five Emmy Awards with "I'm not done with comedy.  I plan on writing about the rest of the winners in comedy series tomorrow, then the variety winners beginning on Wednesday."  It's Wednesday, so I'm following up on two comedies that tied for second in their genre with two awards, "Atlanta" and "Master of None."  Both of them were cited by Wochit News, which I quoted first in "Fear the Walking Dead: Passage" contributes to diversity at the 2017 Primetime Emmy Awards and again in 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations.
The 69th Primetime Emmy nominees are the most diverse in the program's history.
25 people of color were nominated across 18 onscreen acting awards, while 22 were nominated in 2016. Last year, people of color represented 24.6 percent of the major acting nominees. In 2015, that percentage was 21.9. In 2014, it was 9.7. In addition to the acting nominees, "Atlanta," "black-ish" and "Master of None" received nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series. The shows' leads, Donald Glover, Anthony Anderson and Aziz Ansari, will compete for the Lead Actor in a Comedy category.
While "Veep" won the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series, Donald Glover won both Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and Outstanding Directing For A Comedy Series.  The Hollywood Reporter reports on that win in 'Atlanta's' Donald Glover Nabs Lead Actor, Best Director for Comedy Series at 2017 Emmys.

Donald Glover cleaned up at the 2017 Emmy Awards winning beast lead actor and best director for a comedy series for 'Atlanta.'
Glover thinks Trump may be responsible for his award.  Not entirely, as he won for Best Actor in a Comedy Series at the Golden Globes and the Critics' Choice Awards, both of which awarded him their statues before Trump was inaugurated.  Still, the Emmys cap a very good year for Glover.

It turns out I called one of Glover's victories and half-called another.  For directing:
Last year's winner, Jill Soloway ("Transparent") isn't returning, so this is an open field.  David Mandel and Dale Stern of "Veep" are returning nominees, as is Mike Judge of "Silicon Valley," so under normal circumstances I'd say they were the favorites.  I'm not sure this year is normal and it may not work in favor of "Veep." Instead, I suspect Donald Glover will pull an upset.
And he did.

I was less optimistic about his winning the acting award, as I wrote "The one wild card is Donald Glover.  I don't think he's ready to beat Tambor, even if it seems like his year."  I was wrong; it was Glover's year, but at least I acknowledged the possiblity that he could win.

The Hollywood Reporter also mentioned Lena Waithe and Aziz Ansari's win for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.  Ansari was a returning winner, so I called this win.  On the other hand, I did not expect "Master of None" to win Outstanding Single camera Picture Editing For A Comedy Series.  I thought that would go to "Veep" or "Silicon Valley."  Still, I'm glad to be pleasantly surprised with a victory for diversity instead.

Stay tuned for more about the Emmy Awards after another driving update.

Monday, September 25, 2017

'Veep' leads comedy series with five Emmy Awards


I promised I would return to the Emmy Award winners Friday at the end of Jeff Beal wins the only Emmy for 'House of Cards' this year, but that was a mistake from the get go.  First, even if I had stuck to my schedule, I would have returned Saturday, as Friday was the Autumnal Equinox.  Second, I found more pressing things to blog about, like Vox on nukes for another fake doomsday and 'Star Trek: Discovery' debuting on CBS.  It's not the first time I promised to write about something on this blog and ended up being late about it.  Just the same, it is time to return to the Emmy winners.

Today, I'm revisiting "Veep, which had more nominations than any other scripted comedy series.  It also ended up with more wins, five, for Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series, Outstanding Cinematography for A Single-Camera Series (Half-Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Program (Half-Hour or Less).  The first two were awarded on the final night and CBS posted both of the acceptance speeches on its YouTube channel.  First, Julia Louis-Dreyfus Wins Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series At The 69th Emmy Awards, which I called earlier this month, calling Dreyfus "a prohibitive favorite."  In between my composing this entry and it being posted, CBS took down its videos, so I'm substituting ones that are still up.  It's now 'Veep's' Julia Louis-Dreyfus Breaks Record With 6th Consecutive Emmy Win from The Hollywood Reporter.


'Veep' and Julia Louis-Dreyfus have done it again. The HBO series won for best comedy series at the Emmy Awards on Sunday and the show's star, Louis-Dreyfus, took home her sixth consecutive win for her role as ex-president Selina Meyer, a record run for any actor.
That was hysterical, although I suspect "House of Cards" will do the impeachment story line first, not the Trump White House (note that Dreyfus is sitting next to Kevin Spacey in the front row -- the two TV presidents together got VIP treatment).  It was also worthy of a record-setting string of wins for the same actress playing the same character.

The other was Veep Wins Outstanding Comedy Series At The 69th Emmy Awards, which I also called, declaring the now three-time winner the favorite.  CBS struck again, so I'm replacing it with 69th Emmys: Veep Press Room Interview from the Television Academy.

Norman Lear and Carol Burnett presented the award. The team from Veep give a press room interview after their Emmy win for Outstanding Comedy Series.
I'm glad to see the comedy legends of Lear and Burnett are still with us.  As for "Veep," if the producer is this funny, no wonder the show is a hoot.  I'm looking forward to the final season, which will air next year.  Until then, congratulations!

I'm not done with comedy.  I plan on writing about the rest of the winners in comedy series tomorrow, then the variety winners beginning on Wednesday.  Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 24, 2017

'Star Trek: Discovery' debuts today on CBS


I've posted the trailers for "Star Trek: Discovery" twice, first in May and again in July.  True to the every other month pattern, I'm posting something about it in September.  The difference is that the show is premiering tonight on CBS before it moves to CBS All Access.*  Therefore, I'm posting news stories instead of trailers.  I'm all in favor of corporate PR once removed as information.

First, The Hollywood Reporter introduces the characters in 'Star Trek: Discovery' Character Guide to CBS All Access Drama.

'Star Trek: Discovery' is plotting a game-changing new course. In addition to running on a digital platform, Discovery marks the first time a Star Trek series has been led by a woman of color as well as someone who isn't captain of the ship with The Walking Dead grad Sonequa Martin-Green having that distinction in her role as First Officer Michael Burnham. What's more, Discovery picks up at a time of rising tensions between Starfleet and the Klingon race.
The captain of Discovery is the most messed up Star Fleet commanding officer?  That I'll have to see; I can think of a couple from the original series that had serious issues and Chris Pine's Kirk is pretty damaged.  Also, Spock has a foster sister?  That makes me want to watch the series even more.

Next, KTLA is at the premiere of Star Trek: Discovery to get the reactions of the actors, both from the current series and the original one.

The next chapter of the Star Trek franchise is heading to CBS All Access. KTLA was at the red carpet premiere with the stars of Star Trek: Discovery.
I hope the actors from "Star Trek: Discovery" are right about their show.

Finally, since I'm a musician and love theme songs, I'm going to post corporate PR direct from the source: Star Trek: Discovery's Main Title Theme Takes A Cue From The Past.

When it comes to Star Trek, a dynamic main title theme is key. In this behind-the-scenes video for Star Trek: Discovery, composer Jeff Russo leads a 60-piece orchestra in recording the new series' theme. Star Trek: Discovery premieres in the U.S. on CBS All Access Sunday, Sept. 24, following a broadcast premiere on the CBS Television Network.
Here's to hoping this gets nominated for Outstanding Main Title Music at next year's Emmy Awards.  May it have a title sequence worthy of the franchise to accompany it.

*Here's to hoping it isn't delayed by football.  As for the show being on CBS All Access, I hope it doesn't interfere with growing the show's audience the way it seemed to with "The Good Fight."  That show was just as good as the last season of the "The Good Wife" but earned only one Emmy nomination in contrast to the four nominations the last season of "The Good Wife" earned.  I have a suspicion that the members of the Television Academy just weren't watching.  May that not happen to "Star Trek: Discovery."

Saturday, September 23, 2017

Vox on nukes for another fake doomsday


Today is yet another predicted doomsday and it would a dereliction of my duty as a doomer blogger to ignore it.  That doesn't mean I have to take it at face value -- quite the contrary.  This particular doomsday, like the Rapture and Judgment Day of 2011, the Fake Mayan Doomsday 2012 and Ragnorak of 2014, deserves my mockery.  Today's apocalypse not features both Biblical numerology and Nibiru, the Planet X of conspiracy theory.*  At least this end of the world idea is eclectic.

That doesn't mean that the possibility of the end of western industrial civilization isn't real.  It's just that it will happen as a result of natural causes explanable by science.  One of those, which I examined at the beginning of the year in Trump helps move the Doomsday Clock 30 seconds closer to midnight and Nuclear war and how to survive it from ASAP Science and ASAP Thought then more recently but less seriously in SNL mocks Trump for Presidential Joke Day and Colbert on the nuclear crisis with North Korea, is the threat of nuclear war, particularly between the U.S. and North Korea.  Follow over the jump for three videos from Vox on the Doomsday Clock and nuclear war.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Elephants and hobbits but no cars on the Autumnal Equinox


Happy Autumnal Equinox!  I've written enough about the astronomical reason for the season, so I'm celebrating three other holidays that share this day according to National Day Calendar and that have some connection to the themes of this blog.  Follow over the jump for them.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Jeff Beal wins the only Emmy for 'House of Cards' this year


I listed six nominated series in "House of Cards" leads contemporary American political dramas with six nominations with 20 nominations among them: "House of Cards" (6), "Mr. Robot" (4), "The Americans" (4), "Homeland" (3), "Orange is the New Black" (2), and "The Good Fight" (1).  Only one show earned one Emmy Award out of all that, "House of Cards" with Jeff Beal winning Outstanding Music Composition for a Series (Original Dramatic Score) for his work on "Chapter 63."  "Westworld," "Stranger Things," and especially "The Handmaid's Tale" crushed the competition in drama series.  I'm not surprised.  As I wrote last week, "Jeff Beal won this category for "House of Cards" in 2015.  Along with "Mr. Robot" not being renominated, that gives Beal and "House of Cards" an advantage."  Once again, I can say that I picked a winner, even though I was rooting for Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe to win for “Planet Earth II.”

To celebrate, I'm sharing two selections from the current season of "House of Cards."  First, House Of Cards, Chapter 63 "Saved My Life" by Jeff Beal, which is from the nominated episode.


Next, "Nothing to be Afraid of."


Congratulations!

That's all I feel like writing about today, as it's my birthday.  I'll return to the Emmy Award winners Friday, as tomorrow is the Autumnal Equinox, along with a couple of other holidays listed on National Day Calendar that I'll celebrate as well.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Emmy winners in animation and children's programming


Before I move on to Emmy winners that are about modern American politics (in contrast to politics in science fiction), I am taking care of the winners in animation and children's programming, which I touched on in Star Wars at the Primetime Emmy Awards, 'Gotham' leads superhero shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards with three nominations, and 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations.  Here they are from Wikipedia.

"Samurai Jack" earned four Emmy Awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation, one each for Bryan Andrews (storyboard artist), Scott Wills (production design), Craig Kellman (character design), and Lou Romano (background design).  "Wander Over Yonder" also won an Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation for Justin Nichols (character animation).  All of these are juried awards, so I had no comment on them in advance.  Just the same, congratulations!

"Bob's Burgers" won Outstanding Animated Program.  This came as a pleasant surprise.  I was expecting "Archer" to repeat.

I was also expecting "Adventure Time" to repeat as Outstanding Short-Format Animation.  It did, so I can brag that I picked the winner.

One category I missed was Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance, which I might have included in the post about "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" I was planning on writing before I was hospitalized.  Seth MacFarlane won that award for his work on "Family Guy" as the voices of Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Brian Griffin, and Glenn Quagmire.  The man is just as talented as a voice artist as he is a humorist.  Here's to hoping he can put those talents to good use in "The Orville."

I was rooting for "Star Wars Rebels" to win Outstanding Children's Program, but I expected "Once Upon a Sesame Street Christmas" to take home the statuette.  As predicted, the Muppets beat the rebels.  Maybe "Star Wars Rebels" will win for its last season, which is this year.

And now, two videos from the winner with the strongest claim to being science fiction, "Wonder Over Yonder" and "Adventure Time."  First, If You Wonder Over Yonder.


Next, Adventure Time Islands Theme Song.


Yesterday was Talk like a Pirate Day, but there is still a Jolly Roger flag for today.

Enough fantasy.  Time to move on to reality in the form of politics and news!

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Talk like a Pirate (of the Caribbean) Day to musical accompaniment


I mentioned Talk Like A Pirate Day yesterday.  That's today!  Arr, Mateys!

To celebrate, I'm posting a clip and some music from "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Here's the clip, which stitches together three previews.


Between 2:15 and 2:40, I heard bits of a familiar theme.  It's more easily heard from 0:48 and 1:08 of Kill the Filthy Pirate, I'll Wait.


As I wrote in the comments, "(Un)holy crap! It's the March to the Scaffold from Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz! Well, at least Jack Sparrow couldn't ask for more epic music to be executed to."*  Of course, Captain Sparrow escapes, along with Will and Elizabeth Turner's son Henry and Hector Barbossa's daughter Carina Smyth, or else there wouldn't be a movie.

*I recognized it because I played it in the Anaheim Kingsmen in 1978; it was the opening of the field show.  If I had a drum corps rendition of the piece, I'd play it.  I don't, but I have something better: Gustavo Dudamel conducting an orchestra playing it.  Listen for the motif in the opening.


Oh, my, from pirates to classical music in three clips.  I'd better stop before I go even farther afield!

Monday, September 18, 2017

'The Handmaid's Tale' sweeps last night of Emmys to win five awards


I finished 'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each with a wish for the speculative fiction nominees.
Good luck to "Stranger Things," "Westworld," and "The Handmaid's Tale" tonight, as they are all in competition with each other for Outstanding Drama Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  In addition, "Stranger Things" and "Westworld" both have performers nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series, "Westworld" and "The Handmaid's Tale" have nominees for Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, and "Westworld" has Anthony Hopkins nominated for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series.  Three to five awards down, five to seven to go!
Let's see how that went as USA Today asks Missed the 2017 Emmy Awards? Here are the highlights.

Just in case you missed the 2017 Emmy Awards, or if you want to watch it again: here are the highlights.
Turns out it went very well for "The Handmaid's Tale," as it won all five of the categories in which it was competing last night.  In addition to Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Actress in a Drama Series, the show won Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series, Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series, and Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series.  That tied it with "Big Little Lies" for number of awards last night as well as trophies overall with eight, as the adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel had already won Outstanding Guest Actress in a Drama Series for Alexis Bledel as Ofglen/Emily, Outstanding Cinematography for a Single-Camera Series (One Hour), and Outstanding Production Design for a Narrative Contemporary or Fantasy Program (One Hour or More).*

I didn't see this coming, although I should have, as I was rooting for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" in all five categories.  Then again, as I wrote last month and repeated just yesterday, "'I expect 'The Handmaid's Tale' of a theocratic dystopian America will win more honors at the Emmys than I expected just a week ago,' after winning two awards at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards, this is the kind of result I should have expected."  Congratulations!  I expect to see a lot of nominations for this series at next year's Saturn Awards.

As for "Westworld" and "Stranger Things," both were shut out last night.  Sterling K. Brown beat Anthony Hopkins for Outstanding Actor in a Drama Series and John Lithgow won for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series.  I found the former surprising (Brown beat Hannibal Lector!  I thought Kevin Spacey would do that) but I expected the latter.  Just the same congratulations to both, especially Brown.  In all seriousness, diversity!

"The Handmaid's Tale" was not the only speculative fiction program to sweep its categories last night.  "Black Mirror: San Junipero" won both of the categories it was nominated in last night, Outstanding Television Movie and Outstanding Writing For A Limited Series, Movie Or Dramatic Special.**  Adding its two wins with those of "The Handmaid's Tale" (8) "Westworld" (5), "Stranger Things" (5), "Gotham" (1), "Marvel's Luke Cage" (1), and "American Horror Story: Roanoke" (1), speculative fiction shows earned 23 Emmy Awards this season.  That's a good year for the genre in terms of mainstream recognition and I'm happy about it.

*Neither were the overall winner over all nights of the Emmys.  That honor belongs to "Saturday Night Live" with nine total, five last week and four last night.  I'll have more to say about SNL, "Veep," and "Last Week Tonight" in future installments, but only after Talk Like A Pirate Day.

**I was planning on writing a post about both "Black Mirror" and "American Horror Story: Roanoke," but I was hospitalized and missed a day of blogging then didn't have quite the energy to research and write that post.  If I had done that, I could had also said something about the other miniseries and movie nominees beyond what I wrote about "Genius" and my asides about "Big Little Lies."  Darn.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

'Westworld' and 'Stranger Things' lead drama series with five Creative Arts Emmy Awards each


I wrote "I'll be back with more winners in speculative fiction and politics" at the end of '13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards.  With the Primetime Emmy Awards tonight, I only have time for one, so for this week's Sunday Entertainment feature, I'm sharing the speculative fiction winners from last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, just like I did two years ago in 'Game of Thrones' already a big winner at the Emmy Awards and last year in Ten Emmy Awards for 'Game of Thrones' plus other speculative fiction winners.  Then I'll probably post the speculative fiction winners from tonight's show tomorrow, just as I did in 'Game of Thrones' wins Best Drama and three other awards two years ago and 'Game of Thrones' and 'Orphan Black' win Emmy Awards.  Sorry, political comedies, dramas, and variety shows, but I'm nothing if not predictable.  I'll get to you like I did last year in Last Week Tonight examines Clinton and Trump foundations after winning three Emmy Awards.  Be patient.

Follow over the jump as I report on the five Emmy Awards both "Westworld" and "Stranger Things" have already won as well as the three statuettes "The Handmaid's Tale" earned, all of which put them in the lead for drama series, along with all the rest of the live-action speculative fiction winners, including the first Emmy Awards for "Gotham" and "Marvel's Luke Cage."

Saturday, September 16, 2017

Goodbye, Cassini!


I mentioned that I might get to the Cassini spacecraft burning up in Saturn's atmosphere at the end of Seeker/DNews on bees recovering from colony collapse disorder.  Today is as good a day as any to say goodbye.  First, a serious farewell from NASA as the space agency says Goodbye Cassini.

NASA’s Cassini Spacecraft Ends Its Historic Exploration of Saturn.

A thrilling epoch in the exploration of our solar system came to a close today, as NASA's Cassini spacecraft made a fateful plunge into the atmosphere of Saturn, ending its 13-year tour of the ringed planet.

Cassini's plunge brings to a close a series of 22 weekly "Grand Finale" dives between Saturn and its rings, a feat never before attempted by any spacecraft.
Now, a silly goodbye as Robert Picardo of "Star Trek: Voyager" and the Planetary Society sings Le Cassini Opera.

Planetary Society board member Robert Picardo (Star Trek: Voyager) sings a very special goodbye to the Cassini mission at Saturn.
Addio per sempre, Cassini!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Seeker/DNews on bees recovering from colony collapse disorder


I concluded Seeker/DNews on the true cost of fossil fuels with a program note.
I have another video about bees I plan on sharing.  Stay tuned.
Here it is, After a Decade of Colony Collapse, Bees Are Bouncing Back! (Sort Of).

A new report shows bee populations are on the rise, but the hives are still facing major threats.
...
Honeybees Ravaged by 'Colony Collapse Disorder' Are Making a Huge Comeback
"The number of U.S. honeybees, a critical component to agricultural production, rose in 2017 from a year earlier, and deaths of the insects attributed to a mysterious malady that's affected hives in North America and Europe declined, according a U.S. Department of Agriculture honeybee health survey released Tuesday."
There are other events going on today, such as North Korea launching another missile over Japan, the Cassini spacecraft burning up in Saturn's atmosphere, and the celebration of Greenpeace Day, but I decided to celebrate some good news today instead.  As for the rest of the stories, I might get to them later, maybe even tomorrow.  Stay tuned.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Seeker/DNews on the true cost of fossil fuels


Just yesterday, I lectured on externalities in my environmental science class.  Fortunately for me, Seeker/DNews posted a video on the topic of externalities just the week before, which I included in my lecture.  Here's Here's How Much Gas Really Costs (If You Account for Global Warming).

The true cost of fossil fuels is hidden in subsidies, but a new study has estimated just how much they really are. And let's just say, fossil fuels are expensive.
That made the point I wanted to get across to my students.

I have another video about bees I plan on sharing.  Stay tuned.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

'13th' leads non-fiction programs with four Emmy Awards


Yesterday, I wrote "I'll have more about the other winners of non-fiction programs later this week."  I decided today would be that day, especially as it would mean I'd write about "13th" on the 13th.  I couldn't let that apt coincidence pass.

"13th" won more awards than any other nonfiction program with statues given out for four categories.  Variety lists them and quotes Ava DuVernay's acceptance speech.
“13th” won for documentary special as well as writing, motion design and original music and lyrics for “The Letter to the Free” by Common, Robert Glasper and Karriem Riggins. The Netflix documentary, which also collected a Peabody Award and an Oscar nomination this year, led the winners field with four trophies.
I was rooting for or predicted most of these wins.
Documentary or Nonfiction Special..."13th" is the clear favorite, given the reputation and quality of the director and the urgency of the movie's topic, but any of these shows could win.
...
Writing for a Nonfiction Program...Without "Planet Earth II" in the mix, I think "13th" is the favorite, even though I'm rooting for "Bill Nye Saves the World," even though I don't think it deserves it.
That's two.  Now for the third from 'Saturday Night Live' tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program, here's what I had to say about the odds of Common's song winning.
In its final nominated category, "13th" would be the winner of a game of "One of these things is not like the other" in this field.  All the rest are for comedies.  At least as the most serious, it would stand out.  That written, I'd actually have to listen to all of them to give an informed opinion.
I will say that Common wrote "Glory," the Academy Award winning song for "Selma."  That's a point in its favor. In addition, if the Emmy electorate wants to send a message, that might be even more effective, if less popular, than picking a Christmas song from SNL.
I count that as a half.  As for Outstanding Motion Motion Design, the nominees weren't listed and a jury picked the awards, so I didn't have a chance to say anything about its chances.  Still, calling two-and-one-half out of three is pretty good.

Now for a quote from the acceptance speech.
DuVernay was one of several winners who made emotional pleas for those in media to use their power to speak out on urgent issues, from criminal justice and prison reform to climate change.

“When all kinds of people are feeling aggressively demoralized and devalued, people of justice and dignity need to stand up and make our voices heard,” DuVernay said. “Our voices are stronger than those that try to silence us.”
I second this emotion.

Follow over the jump for the other winners in non-fiction television.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

'Planet Earth II' wins two Emmy Awards


I listed all ten nominations for "Planet Earth II" in Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
[C]omposers Jacob Shea and Jasha Klebe were nominated for Outstanding Music Composition For A Series (Original Dramatic Score) for the first episode, "Islands."  The other nine nominations include Documentary or Nonfiction Series, two nominations for Directing for a Nonfiction Program (Fredi Devas and Elizabeth White), two nominations for Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program (one each for the teams for "Islands" and "Cities," the final episode), two nominations for Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Dave Pearce and Matt Meech), Outstanding Sound Editing For Non Fiction Programming, and Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming.
It won two of them at last weekend's Creative Arts Emmy Awards, Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Series and Outstanding Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program for "Islands."  For the first award, it clearly stood out over a field of "30 for 30," "American Masters," "Chef's Table," and "The Keepers," so I consider that an easy win.  For the second, it was competing against a much tougher field including "13th," "O.J.: Made in America," “Anthony Bourdain Parts Unknown,” “Chef’s Table,” and itself as two episodes were nominated.  "Planet Earth II" managed to defeat an Oscar winner, an Oscar nominee, a former winner, and itself.  Congratulations!

As for the rest of the science and nature programs I lised in Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards and More nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards, none of them won.  I would say I'm disappointed except that I didn't expect that most of them would win.  In fact, I said of some that they should just be happy to be nominated.  In particular, I will note that I called the win for Meryl Streep as the narrator of "Five Came Back," an episode of "The Price of Victory," over all the nature shows.  Never underestimate the power of Hollywood voting for a good film or show about itself.

I'll have more about the other winners of non-fiction programs later this week.  In the meantime, enjoy these two clips from "Islands," one that was shown on air, the other a behind the scenes clip I've already shown to my students, both examples of the techniques explained in Vox on 'Planet Earth II'.

A pygmy three-toed sloth swims between mangroves on the island of Escudo.
Pygmy sloths are home to an unusually varied number of creatures.
How cute!

By the way, I'm back home from the hospital.  I might have more to say about that experience later this month.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Dinosaurs dancing to 'Jurassic Park' theme and more science fiction music on a football field


I'm still in the hospital, so nothing very complex today.  That's O.K., as I stumbled across something both fun and on-topic for this blog, the University of Michigan Marching Band playing John Williams music from science fiction movies, "Star Wars," "Jurassic Park," and "E.T."


The dancing dinosaurs got the attention of MLive, which posted T-Rex Perform During Michigan Football Halftime.

An army of Tyrannosaurus Rex invade Michigan Stadium during the University of Michigan Marching Band halftime performance on Saturday, September 9, 2017.
That was hilarious.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Vox on hurricanes, climate change, and storm surge


I know I promised that I'd post the third of three entries composed of comments I left at other blogs about zombies by tonight.  I'm not doing that because I'm still hospitalized and so I don't have either the access to my notes or the energy to edit them properly even if I did.  That's O.K., as something easier to post and more topical to write about -- hurricanes -- from a source I trust -- Vox.

Vox posted two videos about hurricanes in advance of the landfalls of both Harvey and Irma.  The first was How climate change makes hurricanes worse.

Here's what we know about climate change and hurricanes.
That's the climate side of the issue.  The second video, Why a storm surge can be the deadliest part of a hurricane, shows the weather side.

It can start before a hurricane even makes landfall.
...
What really concerns experts, though, are places that don’t experience a lot of hurricanes but are still vulnerable to storm surge.

This map shows that in the event of a big hurricane, based on the characteristics of the shoreline, the coasts of Northwest Florida and Georgia would be at comparable risk to the Gulf Coast.

These areas have shallow water, which means sea level can rise faster and water can reach further inland making the flooding worse. But they’ve seen fewer hurricanes than the Gulf Coast and they are likely to be less prepared.

So when a major hurricane like Irma hits low-lying areas like these, the storm surge can be the first and deadliest thing headed their way.
That's the natural disaster news for the day. With luck, the Sunday Entertainment feature will return tomorrow.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

R.I.P. Jerry Pournelle


I've gained a lot of readers since this blog's first post in which I explain the source of the name.  That's still part of this blog's description, which I haven't changed since I created it six-and-one-half years ago.*  One of the co-authors of "The Mote in God's Eye," where Crazy Eddie comes from, at least in science fiction, was Jerry Pournelle.**  He died yesterday at  the age of 84.
Former SFWA President Jerry Pournelle (b.1933) died on September 8.
Pournelle had a PhD in political science and worked with politicians throughout his various careers. He worked in the aerospace industry and consulted with various politicians on space related technology. While working towards his PhD, Pournelle published science fiction using the pseudonym Wade Curtis. In 1973, Pournelle served as the President of SFWA.

In the 1970s, Pournelle began publishing under his own name, starting with A Spaceship for the King. This began his long running military science fiction series. He collaborated with Larry Niven on The Mote in God’s Eye, Inferno, Lucifer’s Hammer, and other novels. While Niven was his most frequent collaborator, the two also collaborated at times with Steven Barnes and Michael Flynn. Pournelle also collaborated with Dean Ing, Roland J. Green, Charles Sheffield, and S.M. Stirling.

In addition to his solo novels and collaborations, Pournelle edited several anthology series including There Will Be War, Imperial Stars, and War WorldHe co-edited Nebula Award Stories Sixteen with John F. Carr.
I preferred Niven to Pournelle; the latter's politics were too right-wing for my taste.  Just the same, he was a brilliant man and a great writer.  I might have more to say except that I'm not feeling up to it.***  Instead, I'll let someone more in tune with his politics talk for me.  Take it away, Jeffrey McArthur!


I honestly couldn't have said it better.  R.I.P.

*Although I've been tempted.  One of the ideas, which shows up on the blog's Facebook page, is "A blog about sustainability with a science fiction slant and a Detroit perspective."  It certainly is still about science fiction and sustainability, but I'm writing for more of a national audience, so the Detroit perspective, while still there, isn't as strong.

**The real source was "Crazy Eddie" Antar, the infamous electronics retailer in New York, which the legendary figure was named after.  I once tweeted something about being a Crazy Eddie.  Antar's nephew liked it, thus completing the circle.

***I am in the hospital for diabetes and Grave's disease, which is why I didn't post yesterday.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Videos of Emmy-nominated episodes of 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver'

That's it for this planned series, although I'm feeling like putting together a post with embedded video of all the nominated "Last Week Tonight" episodes that I haven't used yet for an encore.  Stay tuned.
So ended 'Saturday Night Live' tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program.  After some thought and seeing that 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' leads variety talk shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards is the most popular entry so far this month with more than 2700 page views and counting, I've decided to follow through with this idea.

From the Television Academy (Emmy Awards) website, here are the nominated episodes and the categories in which they are nominated, beginning with Multilevel Marketing, which is nominated for Outstanding Direction for a Variety Series.

Multilevel marketing companies claim to be legitimate businesses, but some seem awfully…pyramid shaped. John Oliver and Jaime Camil demonstrate how they work.
Follow over the jump for videos of the other four nominated episodes.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

'Saturday Night Live' tied for most Emmy nominations with 22, 24 counting its web series and interactive program


I concluded 'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' leads variety talk shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards by writing "I have one last post about "Saturday Night Live," which will be mostly recycled.  Hey, I'm an evironmentalist!"  I will recycle later in this entry, but I begin with something new (at least here) from The Entertainment Factor blog.
Variety Sketch Series

“Billy On The Street” (truTV)
“Documentary Now!” (IFC)
“Drunk History” (Comedy Central)
“Portlandia” (IFC)
“Saturday Night Live” (NBC)
“Tracey Ullman’s Show” (HBO)
Neither of the previous winners in this category's short history ("Inside Amy Schumer" and "Key and Peele") were nominated because neither is on the air anymore, making this an open category.  I'd say "Saturday Night Live" is favored because of its number of nominations (22, tied with "Westworld"), number of previous nominations (2), and the general zeitgeist.  The two shows with the best but still slim chance of upsetting SNL are "Drunk History" and "Portlandia," the only other shows also nominated all three times the category has been offered.  Of the two, "Drunk History" has four nominations and "Portlandia" has three.  As for the rest, the next best bet is "Tracy Ullman's Show."  Other than that, this should be the beginning of the second part of an SNL near-sweep.

Follow over the jump for discussion of the rest of SNL's 22 nominations, 24 counting its web series and interactive program.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

'Last Week Tonight With John Oliver' leads variety talk shows at the Primetime Emmy Awards


I ended "House of Cards" leads contemporary American political dramas with six nominations by telling my readers to "at least one post about variety shows later this week."  Today, I offer the first installment on that promise by looking at the Emmy-nominated talk variety shows that discuss politics.  Given the times, that's all of them.

From The Entertainment Factor blog.
Variety Talk Series

“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee” (TBS)
“Jimmy Kimmel Live!” (ABC)
“Last Week Tonight With John Oliver” (HBO)
“The Late Late Show With James Corden” (CBS)
“Real Time With Bill Maher” (HBO)
“The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” (CBS)
The returning winner is "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which won three Emmy Awards, Outstanding Talk Variety Series, Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series, and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Variety Series.*  He's the favorite.  Who could upset him?  My friend Elisabeth Parker passed along the odds in the Inquisitor last month.*
Gold Derby says the odds for Full Frontal with Samantha Bee are 4-6. Although that puts her in second place behind last year’s winner John Oliver, these awards prediction experts also see a strong contender for Best Variety Special in her “Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” episode.
“Full Frontal with Samantha Bee Presents Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner” is in second place among talk variety shows with four nominations.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the nominees, which include "Stephen Colbert's Live Election Night Democracy's Series Finale: Who's Going to Clean Up This Sh*t?" which is the main competition for the "Not the White House Correspondents' Dinner" with three nominations, and the rest -- Conan ("Conan in Berlin"), "Late Night with Seth Meyers," "The Daily Show," and "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" -- with one nomination each.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Happy Labor Day from metro Detroit plus National Wildlife Day!


Happy Labor Day!  For today's holiday observance, I'm continuing the tradition of the past two years of sharing what metro Detroit is doing to celebrate the holiday, as shown by WXYZ.  I begin with an overview of the holiday weekend -- Labor Day weekend ushers in multiple events in metro Detroit.

The Labor Day weekend is rushing in a number of major events to the metro Detroit area. If youre looking for food, music, or a combination of the two 7 Action News has you covered! Ford Arts, Beats & Eats Friday is the first day for the annual Ford Arts, Beats & Eats in Royal Oak. Originally a staple in Pontiac, the festival moved to Royal Oak in 2009 and has taken off as a celebration of artists, musicians and food exhibits from throughout Metro Detroit. This year the festivities will run from 11 a.m. until 11 p.m. Friday through Sunday. The final day will kickoff at the same time, but wrap up at 9:30 p.m.
WXYZ posted a lot of videos about Arts, Beats & Eats, but I'm going to focus on a different event, 2017 Michigan State Fair to be held in Novi over Labor Day weekend

Huge crowds will gather at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi over the Labor day weekend to take in the sights, sounds, tastes and smells of the 2017 Michigan State Fair.
I bet Jennifer Ann Wilson won't forget that experience any time soon!

I chose the State Fair because I was hoping for a report including farm animals.  No such luck.  Too bad, as it would have made a good transition to National Wildlife Day.  Remember, I promised yesterday that I'd post a combination Labor Day/Wildlife Day entry for today.  Follow over the jump for more on this day.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

"House of Cards" leads contemporary American political dramas with six nominations


I opened and closed 'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations by explaining why I didn't follow through all the way with my earlier announced plans and what I intended to do about it.
I concluded Infidel 753 and I discuss zombies by telling my readers to "Stay tuned for the post about the Emmy nominees I promised in "13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards."  It was supposed to be "a post about the scripted comedies and dramas about poliitics, including shows starring two fictional presidents, Selina Meyer and Frank Underwood," but I decided to split the comedies and dramas into to posts.  To quote "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!"
...
That's it for scripted comedy.  Stay tuned for the political nominees in drama followed by the political nominees in variety.
While "Veep" may be more realistic, it's a comedy.  Today is for drama and the leading political drama that isn't also science fiction is "House of Cards," the other nominated series besides "Veep" that portrays a fictional past or present president.*  It is well behind "Veep" with only six nominations.  The other nominated drama series with political themes are "The Americans" and "Mr. Robot" with four nominations each, "Homeland" with three nominations, "Orange is the New Black" with two nominations, and "The Good Fight" with one.

Follow over the jump for the nominations of all the dramas with political or governmental themes.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

'Veep' leads nominated comedies at the Primetime Emmy Awards with 17 nominations


I concluded Infidel 753 and I discuss zombies by telling my readers to "Stay tuned for the post about the Emmy nominees I promised in "13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards."  It was supposed to be "a post about the scripted comedies and dramas about poliitics, including shows starring two fictional presidents, Selina Meyer and Frank Underwood," but I decided to split the comedies and dramas into to posts.  To quote "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," "tragedy tomorrow, comedy tonight!"

The leading comedy, political or otherwise, is "Veep" with 17 nominations.  It's won Outstanding Comedy Series the past two years in a row and its star Julia Louis-Dreyfus has won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series every year the show has aired, which makes for five consecutive wins.  Impressive.

What's also impressive is the number of Washington insiders who say that it is the most realistic portrayal of political life on American television, more so than "House of Cards," the subject of tomorrow's entry.  I'll begin with WYNC's quote.
According to Jess Mcintosh, a democratic operative who works in communications, “Our lives are not like 'House of Cards.' There is really nothing that 'House of Cards' presents other than the names of certain Washington locations that bear any relation to reality.”

“'VEEP' is sometimes so painful to watch because it is so close to things that have happened in my world. I’m aware that it is funny, but I can’t possibly laugh at it,” she continues.
The Wrap elaborates on what "Veep" captures that "House of Cards" does not.
“The funny thing about ‘Veep’ is, we as people who worked in the White House always get asked, okay, what’s the most real? Is it ‘House of Cards? Is it ‘West Wing’? And the answer is, it’s ‘Veep.’ Because you guys nail the fragility of the egos, and the, like, day-to-day idiocy of the decision-making,” [Tommy] Vietor said.
I finish the comparison with this passage from The Atlantic.
House of Cards does get some things right. Its set design is impressive, down to the decor of the congressional offices and the style of the nameplates on the doors. And it correctly captures a new media landscape influenced by Politico and Buzzfeed (er, Slugline) while only somewhat exaggerating the corrosive impact of money on modern politics.

But Veep gets much more of the total picture, and it does so more enjoyably by presenting the capital as folly, not awash in soul-crushing darkness.

It may not make Congress's approval ratings rebound from the gutter, but the truth that Veep captures is that the worst of the worst in Washington are more likely to be buffoons than monsters: Politicians and their aides are probably not killing people in D.C., but they often are shooting themselves in the foot.
There you have it.  To paraphrase what a Canadian politician said about the Canadian left, our politicians are more likely to be gauche than sinister.

There are two other comedies with a political slant, "Black-ish" with four nominations and "South Park" with one.  Follow over the jump for all the nominations of scripted comedies with political themes at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Infidel 753 and I discuss zombies


I framed Kunstler and I discuss zombies and bags of dog poop with an observation about my commenting habits.
I've been posting my saved comments other blogs to my Dreamwidth account and found three of them that are responses to the blogger or his readers about zombies.  Today, I'll post the shortest, which was a reaction to James Howard Kunstler on Death to All Zombies!...I'll get around to posting the other two later.  When?  Before "Fear the Walking Dead" returns next month.
Here's the second of the three comments, which I left at Horror movie legislation.  The quoted sentences are Infidel 753.
"These are the people who would survive a zombie apocalypse -- they wouldn't even qualify as snacks." Only if it's full of George Romero zombies who want brains. If those zombies ran into them, they'd walk in the other direction. If they're Walking Dead zombies, they don't care. They just want the flesh and these people would be among the first to die.

"I wonder if zombies can be poisoned?"  The original Haitian zombies probably got that way by being poisoned.  There is evidence that blowfish/pufferfish toxin can put people into comas that look like death, but that people can revive from with nerve damage.  Add a belief about zombies, and someone so poisoned might believe they died and came back as a zombie.  That's not really an answer to your question, as we're dealing with American science-fiction/horror zombies, not the original Haitian variety.

The answer is most likely not.  It would only work with the zombies that never died before changing, like the ones in "World War Z," "28 Days Later," and "I am Legend."  Those are alive but transformed by the disease agent, not undead.  Poison would likely work on them, just not fast enough (those are all fast zombies, too).  The ones that died first, like in "The Walking Dead," are almost certainly immune.  That's one advantage that slow zombies have over fast ones.

Yes, I know too much about zombies.

"Pinku: Well, it's nice to have the testimony of an expert.:-) "


I guess I am.  Too bad it's on a topic that only exists in fiction.

P.S. I've told "too dumb to be of interest to zombies" joke before in Next Media Animation on Canada leaving the Kyoto Protocol, plus a Rick Perry joke.  Stay tuned for the post about the Emmy nominees I promised in "13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

CBS News on hunting Pythons in Florida


I know I had promised "a post about the scripted comedies and dramas about politics" at the end of "13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards.  That's still going to happen, just not today.*  Instead, I am going to fulfill a promise I made in Hurricane Andrew: Student Sustainability Video Festival 75.**
Hurricane Andrew continues to have effects today, including invasive Burmese Pythons.  I have a video that I show my students about them that I plan on posting here.
Here is the clip, CBS News' Python hunters take on Florida Everglades' snake problem.

An invasion of Burmese python in the Florida Everglades is threatening the area's sprawling ecosystem. South Florida has hired 25 top hunters to capture and kill the snakes. Mark Strassmann gets a firsthand look at how the snake hunters are going high-tech.
I've shown this video to two classes this past summer and plan on showing it to another this fall.  So far, the students have been suitably impressed.

*Maybe as soon as tomorrow, which is only a few hours away.

**I'm wondering what kind of effects from Hurricane/Tropical Storm Harvey will last this long.  If the answer means I'll have to wait another 25 years to find out, I'm not optimistic I'll last that long.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

"13th" vs. "O.J.: Made in America" plus other non-fiction political programs nominated at the Primetime Emmy Awards


I told my readers to "Stay tuned for more posts of mine on the best in political television throughout the week" at the end of Part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? When SF novels became best-sellers.  It's time to resume the series that began with Lots of politics in nonfiction television at the 2017 Television Critics Awards and continued with Religion and politics at the 2017 Television Critics Association Awards as 'The Handmaid's Tale' wins two awards and 'Love Has No Labels' and 'Women's March' among 2017 Emmy nominations for Outstanding Commercial with this bit of foreshadowing from Nature and science at the Primetime Emmy Awards.
The other nine nominations [for "Planet Earth II"] include Documentary or Nonfiction Series, two nominations for Directing for a Nonfiction Program (Fredi Devas and Elizabeth White), two nominations for Cinematography for a Nonfiction Program (one each for the teams for "Islands" and "Cities," the final episode), two nominations for Picture Editing for a Nonfiction Program (Dave Pearce and Matt Meech), Outstanding Sound Editing For Non Fiction Programming, and Outstanding Sound Mixing For Nonfiction Programming.  I'm rooting for it in all categories, although it's competing with "O.J: Made in America" and "13th" in many of them.  The former won an Oscar; the latter was nominated for it.  That's a quality field.
...
"Bill Nye Saves The World"... earned two nominations for Outstanding Writing for Nonfiction Programming and Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Nonfiction, Reality, or Reality Competition Programming...As for it winning, I don't have much hope.  It's competing for the writing award with "13th."  In the production design, it's competing against "Saturday Night Live," one of the two most nominated shows this season.  Bill Nye and Netflix should just be happy to get the nominations.
Both of the leading nominated political non-fiction shows are about the politics of race relations in America.  They're not alone, as "United Shades of America" along with two shows about the 25th Anniversary of the L.A. Riots and another about the Obamas also appear among the nominees.  Given the racial motivation for the violence in Charlottesville, that remains an important topic.

Follow over the jump for the political nominees in non-fiction television at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? When SF novels became best-sellers


I left off Part I of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? What the critics think with a hypothesis and my plans to test it.
Having looked at some of the previous studies of when science fiction and other speculative fiction genres becoming mainstream, I now have an alternative claim from Greer's that the mainstreaming of speculative fiction genres started happening by the early 1970s if not by 1960.  Stay tuned for my testing that hypothesis by using another data series and a slighly different criterion.  On Tuesday, I plan to use the Publishers Weekly lists of bestselling novels in the United States and Lists of The New York Times Fiction Best Sellers to determine when science fiction and other speculative fiction genres became mainstream from the perspective of the book-buying public instead of the critics.
Before 1942, the New York Times Fiction Best Sellers list did not cover book sales outside of the New York City area.  On the other hand, the Publishers Weekly list of best sellers goes back to the 1890s.  Since it does not cover all of the last decade of the Nineteenth Century, I will examine it from 1900 to the present before also examining the New York Times list.

There are some false positives between 1900 and 1942, the first of which is "Mr. Britling Sees It Through" by H. G. Wells from 1917. Despite the author, this is not a science fiction novel.  It's a mainstream story about England during the early years of World War I.  Therefore, the author broke through, but not the genre he helped to create.  Another is "Seven Gothic Tales" by Henrik Ibsen from 1934 and "It Can't Happen Here" by Sinclair Lewis from 1936.  Even though the first doesn't claim to be science fiction at all, I mention this collection of spooky but not especially supernatural short stories because it because it foreshadows the taste for horror fiction that will become important at the same time science fiction breaks through to the mainstream.  The anti-fascist work of Sinclair Lewis is closer to the mark, as it is definitely speculative fiction, but not science fiction.  Even so, it has lessons that apply to the present day.  As Charlottesville's violence points out, it can happen here.

Actual science fiction first appears on the Publishers Weekly list in 1957  when two novels make the annual top ten, "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand and "On the Beach" by Nevil Shute.  The first is explicitly a work of science fiction as it uses the effects of not yet invented materials and technologies to help move the plot and poses the science fiction plot premises of "what if," "if only," and "if this goes on."  The second examines the effects of an already existing technology, the atomic bomb, and asks "what if?"  It also examines a post-apocalyptic world, a science fiction staple.  That written, it was not the science fiction elements that made either of them popular.  "Atlas Shrugged" is about Ayn Rand's political philosophy, not Reardon metal, while it was the examination of how the characters reacted to their situation that made "On the Beach" gripping, not the science of nuclear war.  In addition, both authors were established in mainstream literature, Rand for "The Fountainhead" and Shute for a myriad of works including "A Town Like Alice."  So, like Anthony Burgess writing "A Clockwork Orange," Rand and Shute found science fiction a reputable enough genre to write in and readers found the genre respectable and interesting enough to buy, so long as established mainstream writers were producing it.  As a breakthrough of genre authors writing genre fiction finding mainstream acceptance that both Greer and I are talking about, the success of "Atlas Shrugged" and "On the Beach" comes as a false dawn.

The Cold War formed the environment in which both "On the Beach" and "Atlas Shrugged" were written and received, the former explicitly and the latter implicitly, and the contest between the superpowers continued to inspire speculative works that reached the best seller lists during the next decade.  1962 saw both "Seven Days in May" by Fletcher Knebel and Charles W. Bailey II and "Fail Safe" by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler.  The former harkened back to "It Can't Happen Here" as a political cautionary tale while the latter echoed the nuclear war fears of "On the Beach."  Both ask "what if" and wonder what happens "if this goes on," so they are based on science fiction plot ideas.  However, neither is really science fiction, even though the first takes place a decade after it was written and the second settled a lawsuit by the author of "Red Alert," which became the basis for "Dr. Stranglove," which is definitely science fiction; the movie won the Hugo Award for Best Dramatic Presentation in 1965.  On top of which, both were written by mainstream authors like Burdick, who also wrote "The Ugly American."  The same is true of "The Shoes of the Fisherman" by Morris West from 1963. Again, a false positive.

The same can be said about 1964's "You Only Live Twice" and 1965's "The Man with the Golden Gun," both James Bond novels by Ian Fleming.  While I have said that the Bond movies are science fiction, the Bond novels, at least these two, are not.  Close, but no cigar.  However, that these particular Bond Novels show up on the bestsellers list shows another trend, that of movies prompting book sales.  I might have more to say about that later.

The real breakthrough for speculative fiction happened in 1967, but not for science fiction.  Instead, "Rosemary's Baby" by Ira Levin made horror part of the mainstream, at least as far as the book-buying public was concerned.  Horror, not science fiction or fantasy, eventually becomes the dominant speculative fiction genre on the bestsellers lists in the U.S.

As for science fiction by genre authors, 1969 saw a breakthrough with "The Andromeda Strain" by Michael Crichton.  He may have been a bit too mainstream for the science fiction fans and writers, as they never nominated him for his novels.  However, that didn't stop them from nominating the films and screenplays he co-wrote, as "The Andromeda Strain" was nominated for Best Dramatic Presentation at the 1972 Hugo Awards.  The original "Westworld" movie was nominated for both the Hugo and the Nebula Award for Best Script in 1974, and "Jurassic Park" won the Hugo in 1994.  That makes him genre enough for me.

Speculative fiction skipped 1970, but shows up on both the Publishers Weekly annual list and the New York Times Best Sellers list in 1971 with "The Exorcist" by William Peter Blatty, the first speculative fiction novel to appear at number one on the latter list.*  Remember, horror is the dominant speculative fiction genre on the U.S. bestseller lists.  If I count "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by Richard Bach as a fantasy, every year from 1971 on has at least bestselling speculative fiction novel on one or both of the bestsellers lists.  Even if I don't, it becomes every year since 1973 with Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast of Champions," at least nominally a science fiction book.  At least according to the book-buying public, science fiction went mainstream between 1969 with "The Andromeda Strain" and 1973 with "Breakfast of Champions."  That's definitely earlier than Greer's "late 1970s" although he could argue he's using a different criterion than I am.

I'll get around to a part III next month, after the Emmy Awards.  Stay tuned for more posts of mine on the best in political television throughout the week.

*I've referenced "The Exorcist" once before in May Pazuzu curse the Sith Jihad.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Hurricane Andrew: Student Sustainability Video Festival 75


The final installment of this series for now and the most popular video from a student talk presented during its semester is Hurricane Andrew.*



Hurricane Andrew Effects and real footage

Last Thursday was the 25th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew making landfall in Florida.  Just for that, I'm adding this bonus clip from CBS Miami: Hurricane Andrew: A Look Back 25 Years Later.



Gary Nelson Reports

Hurricane Andrew continues to have effects today, including invasive Burmese Pythons.  I have a video that I show my students about them that I plan on posting here.  In the meantime, stay tuned for part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream', which is already half-written, followed by more on the political nominees at the Primetime Emmy Awards.

*My wife and daughter survived Hurricane Andrew, although they weren't at any serious risk.  They were at Typhoon Lagoon, ironically enough, at Walt Disney World in Orlando.  They had to leave the water park, as the outer bands spawned severe thunderstorms.  My wife was more worried about her flight home.  Lucky for her and my daughter, they was able to fly out with no problem.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Garage sale prank: Student Sustainability Video Festival 74


For entertainment Sunday, I present a video that is entertaining, but has no sustainability value whatsoever: The Garage Sale Prank.

Hidden camera video short I made around '98. We stuck my brother Scott's head in a box and had a garage sale.
My student used this as an attention grabber about the value of garage/yard sales as the "reuse" part of "reduce, reuse, recycle."  It worked.  This was the second most popular talk with a video that semester.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Paper vs. plastic bags: Student Sustainability Video Festival 73


After yesterday's dismal video that made my students and me feel helpless, I offer a video that also depresses viewers but also allows people to do something by making a choice about what they consume: 7 Reasons to Say No to Plastic Bags and Move to Paper Bags.

It's time we started caring for our environment. Lets pledge to carry our own shopping bags. If not at least insist for a paper bag.
"Paper or plastic?"  Reusable.  My wife and I carry our own reusable bags in our cars all the time.

Friday, August 25, 2017

EWaste dumping in Third World: Student Sustainability Video Festival 72


Today I feature a video on shipping EWaste to developing countries for the locals to process them: How the west dump Electronic Waste in Africa and India.

Movie made by Greenpeace showing how e-waste sent as "charity" in reality turns out to be electronic waste.
Remember Commoner's Laws -- there is no away, everything is connected to everything else, and there is no free lunch.  As for nature knows best, this isn't it.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Why recycle: Student Sustainability Video Festival 71


Continuing on from yesterday's El Nino: Student Sustainability Video Festival 70, today's student-found video is about recycling:Why Recycle 101.

why we should reycle n save the world

anyone who wants to use this video for a presentation or other uses may so with my permission
And one of my students did.  Stay tuned for more videos from my students all the way until Monday.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

El Nino: Student Sustainability Video Festival 70


I decided to continue posting the videos my students used in their presentations.  Today's episode features El Nino - What is it?

What is El Nino and what does it mean? In this animated video, we explain what El Nino is and how it affects weather around the world.
As I wrote in Green Ninja: Student Sustainability Video Festival 69, posting a student video today means that part II of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream' will happen next Tuesday.  In the meantime, stay tuned for more videos my students found.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Green Ninja: Student Sustainability Video Festival 69


I know I promised to post part II of Part I of When did speculative fiction go 'mainstream'? What the critics think today, but I woke up a bit late and I have tons of papers to grade this evening after the last final of the summer semester, so I don't have time right now.  Instead, I'm doing what I usually do when I have final exams to grade, post installments of the Student Sustainability Video Festival, which I left off with episode 68, Butterflies last January.  Today, I'm resuming the series with Green Ninja: Footprint Renovation.

While a man sleeps, his feet grow to a gigantic size due to the carbon footprint of his home. The Green Ninja - a climate action superhero, is called in to help.
That was my favorite video among those my students showed me that semester, as it was both fun and informative.  My students liked other talks and their videos more.  I'll be showing them later this week and through the weekend to Monday.  As for speculative fiction becoming mainstream, the second installment is half-written.  I might get to it tomorrow, depending on how grading goes.  Otherwise, I'll post it next week.  Stay tuned.