Wednesday, August 31, 2022

President Biden on banning assault weapons and funding police in first of three visits to Pennsylvania

I haven't written about guns since 'Teenage Dream' and 'The Lost Class' — two PSAs about gun violence nominated for Outstanding Commercial at the 2022 Emmy Awards a month-and-a-half ago, but the topic is in the news again as CNBC reported in Pres. Biden announces 'Safer America Plan'.

CNBC's Kayla Tausche joins Shep Smith to report on President Biden's unveiling of his 'Safer America Plan, and his challenge to GOP lawmakers who claim to back police, but refuse to condemn the insurrection.
This was a big enough story that France 24 English also covered it in Biden zeroes in on Pennsylvania ahead of midterm elections.

US President Joe Biden will travel three times over the next week to Pennsylvania, including for a speech in Philadelphia Thursday on "the continued battle for the Soul of the Nation," the White House has said. Biden is zeroing in on the northeastern state, where he was born, ahead of midterm elections in November in which his Democratic party will fight to keep control of Congress.
I wish President Biden luck and skill in getting his agenda, whether it's banning assault weapons, funding the police, or keeping Democratic control of Congress. He'll need it.

That ends August's blogging. Stay tuned for the first post of September.

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

'Arcane,' 'Love, Death & Robots,' and 'Big Mouth' — animation favorites at the Emmy Awards

I'm deferring to the judgment of Gold Derby editors Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng for animation as well as their picks for all the other categories I've already covered in Emmy Experts slugfest: Our 2022 Creative Arts predictions -- Night 1.

Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng share their predictions for the first night of the 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmys on Saturday, Sept. 3, which is all about unscripted and nonfiction fare. Will RuPaul seven-peat in Best Reality Host? Can Sir David Attenborough hold off Barack Obama in Best Narrator? (Night 2 predictions coming on Aug. 30.)
I generally agree with Rosen and Eng on the winners and I'm not even going to bother making my own picks for live and recorded variety specials. I'll just concur that "Arcane" will win Outstanding Animated Program, "Love, Death & Robots" will take home the statuette for Outstanding Short Form Animated Program, and Maya Rudolph will three-peat for Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance. In anticipation, here's the Twitter image promoting her nomination.

By the way, both "Arcane" and "Love, Death, and Robots" have already won juried awards for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Animation. "Arcane" earned three and "Love, Death & Robots" took home one. Joining them are "The Boys Presents: Diabolical" and "The House" with one each. Congratulations!

I'll be back with the Night 2 video to wrap up my coverage of the 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Stay tuned.

Previous posts about the 2022 Emmy Awards

Monday, August 29, 2022

Comedy and tragedy in television movie nominees at the 2022 Emmy Awards

The fall semester begins today, so instead of continuing with the Saturn Awards, I'm covering the nominations for television movies from the 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Television Movie
Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+)
Ray Donovan: The Movie (Showtime)
Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon (Paramount+)
The Survivor (HBO/HBO Max)
Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas (The Roku Channel)
The nominees are a mixture of serious and silly. Normally, I'd say the serious movies such as "The Survivor" and "Ray Donovan: The Movie" would have the advantage, but I expected the serious "Oslo" would win last year yet "Dolly Parton's Christmas on the Square" won instead. Based on that, I shouldn't count out "Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas."

Based on the Hollywood Critics Association Television Awards, the contest is between the serious "The Survivor," which won Best Broadcast Network or Cable Live-Action TV Movie over "Ray Donovan: The Movie," and "Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers," which won Best Streaming Movie over "Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas" ("Reno 911!: The Hunt for QAnon" was not nominated). Between the two of them, I'll pick "The Survivor." Watch The Survivor | Official Trailer | HBO.

Barry Levinson’s biographical drama stars Ben Foster as boxer Harry Haft, who looks to carry on after fighting to survive in the Holocaust. When the Nazis invade Poland, Harry Haft is sent to the Auschwitz extermination camp. He is a powerfully built man, so a charming but sadistic Nazi officer offers him an impossible deal: fight fellow prisoners in the boxing ring for the amusement of his captors, or die. The winner of the bout survives to fight again. The loser is shot or sent to the gas chamber. How far will Harry’s will to live take him? What will he do to escape the death all around him?
If the Emmy voters want to recognize a serious work of art, this looks like it.

0 Gold Derby interviewed Director Barry Levinson [who] explains why Ben Foster was the only choice for 'The Survivor'.

Director Barry Levinson explains why Ben Foster was the only choice for 'The Survivor.' The Oscar winner for 'Rain Man' discusses the HBO film about Harry Haft, who survived the Holocaust by fighting prisoners to the death. Gold Derby editor Christopher Rosen hosts this webchat.
That helped me understand the movie and its significance.

Gold Derby interviewed one of the creators of "Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas" as well. I'm sharing it over the jump, but first here are the promotional images from Twitter for the other three nominees.

Follow over the jump to read about the second nomination for "Zoey's Extraordinary Christmas."

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Part 1 of superhero nominees at the 2022 Saturn Awards — movies

I open today's post with the paragraph that closed 'RuPaul's Drag Race' leads competition shows with eight nominations plus three more for its spinoffs.
For tomorrow's Sunday entertainment feature, I plan on taking a break from the Emmy Awards to begin my examination of the Saturn Awards nominations. Stay tuned.
I'm beginning the series with superhero film nominees, which Deadline highlighted in the second and third paragraphs of Saturn Awards Nominations: ‘The Batman’, ‘Nightmare Alley’, ‘Spider-Man’, ‘Better Call Saul’ Top List.
Warner Bros/DC’s The Batman, directed by Matt Reeves, is the top-nominated film with 12, featuring in categories including Best Superhero Film, and acting noms for Robert Pattinson, Zoe Kravitz, Paul Dano and Colin Farrell.
Marvel Studios dominated this year’s noms in the Film and Streaming categories with movies like Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Thor: Love and Thunder, Sony’s Spider-Man: No Way Home, as well as Disney+ series like Loki, WandaVision, Hawkeye, Moon Knight, What If? and Ms. Marvel.
I'll get to the television superhero nominees in part 2. Today is for movies.
Superhero Film

The Batman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony Pictures / Marvel)
The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Thor: Love and Thunder (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
In addition to the twelve nominations for "The Batman" that Deadline reported, "Spider-Man: No Way Home" earned nine nominations, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" received seven nominations, "Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness" and "The Suicide Squad" both have four nominations, and "Thor: Love and Thunder" has only three nominations. Based on that criterion, the contest is between "The Batman" and "Spider-Man: No Way Home" as the preview image suggests and I agree. Right now, I'd vote for "The Batman," but I'm going to try to stream "Spider-Man: No Way Home" before the voting window closes to confirm my choice. That written, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if "Spider-Man: No Way Home" wins. As I've written about the Saturn Awards before, they are more about entertainment than art, and "Spider-Man: No Way Home" was the top-grossing movie of 2021. I think that counts for something with the Saturn electorate.

Actor in a Film

• Timothee Chalamet, Dune (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Tom Cruise, Top Gun: Maverick (Paramount Pictures)
• Idris Elba, The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Tom Holland, Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony Pictures / Marvel)
• Daniel Kaluuya, Nope (Universal Pictures)
• Simu Liu, Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
• Robert Pattinson, The Batman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Four actors from superhero films snagged nominations in this category, more than half the field. I watched three of them and rank their performances as Robert Pattinson, Idris Elba, and Simu Liu. I have a feeling that the acting committee snubbed the best actor in a Spider-Man suit in "No Way Home," Andrew Garfield. That written, I'm not planning on voting for any of them. Instead, I'm voting for Timothee Chalamet as Paul Atreides in "Dune."

Actress in a Film

• Cate Blanchett, Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures)
• Emily Blunt, A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount Pictures)
• Zoe Kravitz, The Batman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Keke Palmer, Nope (Universal Pictures)
• Emma Stone, Cruella (Walt Disney Studios)
• Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
• Zendaya, Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony Pictures / Marvel)
The lead actresses from both of the most nominated superhero films earned nominations here. Since I haven't seen Zendaya's performance yet, I can't say who's better. I can also say that I'm not likely to vote for either. Right now, I'm voting for Emma Stone in "Cruella," but that could change after I watch "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "Nightmare Alley," both of which have excellent nominated actresses. That written, it wouldn't surprise me if either Zoe Kravitz or especially Zendaya wins.

Supporting Actor in a Film

• Paul Dano, The Batman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Colin Farrell, The Batman (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Ethan Hawke, The Black Phone (Universal Pictures)
• Richard Jenkins, Nightmare Alley (Searchlight Pictures)
• Alfred Molina, Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony Pictures / Marvel)
• Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
• Benedict Wong, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
Like Actor in a Film, nominees from superhero films earned four nominations, the majority of the field. Other than Benedict Wong, they're all villains, Paul Dano as Riddler and Colin Farrell as Penguin from "The Batman" and Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus in "Spider-Man: No Way Home." Pending my watching "No Way Home," "Nightmare Alley," and "Everything Everywhere All at Once," I'm voting for Paul Dano. I'll revisit my choice after I stream the other three films.

Supporting Actress in a Film

• Awkwafina, Shang-Chi and the Legend Of the Ten Rings (Marvel / Walt Disney Studios)
• Jodie Comer, Free Guy (20th Century Studios)
• Carrie Coon, Ghostbusters: Afterlife (Sony Pictures)
• Viola Davis, The Suicide Squad (Warner Bros. Pictures)
• Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once (A24)
• Diana Rigg, Last Night in Soho (Focus Features)
• Marisa Tomei, Spider-Man: No Way Home (Sony Pictures Marvel)
Three actresses from superhero films earned nominations in this category, Awkwafina, Viola Davis, and Marisa Tomei. While I think Viola Davis is the best actress of the three, my favorite performance I've seen so far is Awkwafina's. I'm not voting for either. Instead, my choice is Jodie Comer from "Free Guy." That written, I wouldn't put it past the rest of the Saturn voters to pick Marisa Tomei.

Follow over the jump for the nominees behind the camera in superhero films.

Saturday, August 27, 2022

'RuPaul's Drag Race' leads competition shows with eight nominations plus three more for its spinoffs

I closed 'Queer Eye' leads structured reality programs with six nominations at the 2022 Emmy Awards by telling my readers "Stay tuned as I return with the nominations for competition shows as "RuPaul's Drag Race" again leads competition program nominees at the Emmy Awards while modeling diversity and acceptance." Without any further ado, I'm sharing the show's nomination at the 74th Primetime Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Competition Program
The Amazing Race
Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls
(Prime Video)
Nailed It!
RuPaul's Drag Race
Top Chef
The Voice
I'm going to update what I wrote last year. "RuPaul's Drag Race" has won this award four years in a row, so I consider it the favorite on that criterion as well as its leading in nominations among competition programs with eight for the main show as well as one each for "RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars," "RuPaul's Drag Race Whatcha Packin' with Michelle Visage," and "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked." Its closest competition is "Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls" with six nominations, which replaced "Dancing with the Stars" in this category, but the latter still earned three nominations at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards. Congratulations, Lizzo, Time's 2019 Entertainer of the Year. "Top Chef" almost ties Lizzo's show with five nominations for the show proper and a sixth for spinoff "Top Chef: Last Chance Kitchen." The rest of the field consists of "The Voice" with three nominations, followed by "The Amazing Race" and "Nailed It!" each with two.

Before I re-examine the categories I already featured in previous installments of this series and categories recognizing competition programs not nominated in this category, I'm sharing Gold Derby's interview of Tom Campbell ('RuPaul's Drag Race,' 'Untucked' executive producer): 'Tenacity of the human spirit'.

Tom Campbell ('RuPaul's Drag Race' and 'Untucked' executive producer): 'It's really about the tenacity of the human spirit.' The show put 14 queens through comedy roasts, game shows, challenges, musical numbers, soap opera spoofs and lip-sync smackdowns. Gold Derby senior editor Rob Licuria hosts this chat as part of a 'Meet the Experts" panel.
"I make a political statement every time I bat my false eyelashes" — well-said and a perfect quote to support why I cover this show.

Follow over the jump to read about the other nominations for competition shows.

Friday, August 26, 2022

Sir David Attenborough and Judy Woodruff at the 2022 News & Documentary Emmy Awards

"Sir David Attenborough, Lifetime Achievement in Documentary Television"

I'm taking a break from the Primetime Emmy Awards by returning to the News & Documentary Emmy Awards. I begin this this passage from this year's nominations press release.
In addition to celebrating this year’s nominees in 64 categories, the National Academy is proud to honor two giants in the news/documentary world with Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Judy Woodruff, anchor and managing editor, PBS NewsHour for news. She has covered politics and other news for five decades at NBC, CNN and PBS.

Sir David Attenborough, biologist, humanist and filmmaker for documentary. He is one of the world’s leading natural history filmmakers, making many landmark series including Life on Earth, The Blue Planet and Planet Earth.
Congratulations, Judy and Sir David! I can't think of two more deserving recipients.

Here is the promotional Twitter image celebrating Woodruff's honor.

"Judy Woodruff, Lifetime Achievement in Television News"

In addition to his lifetime achievement award, Sir David also earned two nominations.
Outstanding Interactive Media Alchemy Immersive Oculus TV
Kingdom of Plants with David Attenborough
Alchemy Immersive Oculus TV
David Attenborough's First Life
CNN Visuals CNN
Assault on Democracy: Paths to the Insurrection
Re-Educated The New Yorker
The New York Times Opinion Video The New York Times Postcards from a World on Fire
Good luck to you, Sir David!

I plan on returning to the Primetime Emmy Awards tomorrow with the nominations for competition shows. Stay tuned.

Previous entries in this series

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Hurricane Andrew 30 years later

Yesterday was the 30th anniversary of Hurricane Andrew making landfall in Florida. I begin my observance of the event with the Today Show's Hurricane Andrew, 30 Years Later: NBC's Kerry Sanders Looks Back.

As the peak of hurricane season nears, NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports for TODAY on the 30-year anniversary of Hurricane Andrew. Survivors of the storm reflect on catastrophe that destroyed 65,000 homes and left 175,000 homeless.
NBC2 News in Fort Myers, Florida mentioned the improvements in forecasting as part of its retrospective, Looking back at 30 years since Hurricane Andrew.

In the absence of a video description, I'm poiting out one of the lasting effects of the storm that these videos ignored: "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." I shared that in CBS News on hunting Pythons in Florida. I still show that to my students.

Fox 13 Tampa Bay took a more personal perspective in Hurricane Andrew 30 years later: South Florida woman recounts story of survival.

Hurricane Andrews hit South Florida 30 years ago and changed everything from building codes to evacuation plans to insurance.
I have my own personal story about Hurricane Andrew, once removed, which I recounted five years ago.*
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.
I wish all the survivors had such happy endings. They didn't. That leads me to ask, "are you scared enough by climate change?"

*Speaking of my wife, she remarked last night that she hadn't heard anything about hurricanes this year. I told her that's because we haven't had any Atlantic hurricanes so far. I don't know if we will continue to be so lucky.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Catalytic converter theft, 'The Crime Wave We Can Blame on… Neutron Stars?'

PBS Digital's Be Smart has a uniquely geeky take on catalytic converter theft, calling it The Crime Wave We Can Blame on… Neutron Stars?

There’s a crime wave sweeping the world right now. A new kind of theft that takes just minutes to carry out. These criminals are on the hunt for something that fetches big bucks on the black market. Numbers are skyrocketing, and public officials are scrambling for answers. Turns out, we can blame it all on neutron stars and some oddities of the periodic table.

When it comes to neutron crime, it's hard to get a charge to stick… heh heh
This video combines several stories I tell my students: why catalytic converters are being stolen, why they are important, and what an element's periodic table location means. It also contains a story I haven't told since 2006, when I last taught astronomy, how the processes inside stars create elements. Joe Hanson's telling of that last tale included information about how elements form that I hadn't encountered before, that neutron star collisions also create heavy elements, not just the supernova explosions that produce neutron stars. As I've written before, it's a good day when I learn something new. I hope my readers think so, too.

Tuesday, August 23, 2022

'The Daily Show' examines floods and drought

I'm correcting final exams today, so I only have time to post a video: 'Megaflood' Warning Issued In California | The Daily Show from Comedy Central UK.

The US is hit with floods as Europe faces historic drought

Yikes! That's scary. Good thing Trevor is presenting it as comedy, so I can laugh instead of weeping because I can see the dire message on the hunger stone.

Back to work!

Monday, August 22, 2022

PBS Terra shows how past redlining leads to heat wave deaths in the present and future

I opened Vox and PBS Terra examine planting trees to fight climate change with a story I tell my students.
I tell my students that income inequality is visible from space. That's because of the relative density of trees, with wealthier neighborhoods having more tree[s] and poorer ones having fewer, which satellites can photograph from orbit. That has important environmental effects...
Among them, wealthier areas with more trees are cooler than poorer areas with fewer trees. That has important consequences for human health, such as more heat-related deaths in poorer areas. PBS Terra explores that, along with the lasting and pernicious effects of redlining, in As Heat Waves Worsen, THIS Policy Predicts Where People Will Die.

With extreme heat waves in Europe, Asia, the United States and beyond, it’s clear climate change is making summers more dangerous and deadly. Urban areas are feeling the worst effects; a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. 2022 saw high temperatures in Kansas, Spain, Portugal, England (especially London), and India. But even within cities, the warming is not distributed evenly. During the Pacific Northwest heat dome of 2021, the region's most extreme heat wave ever, this temperature difference reached a staggering 25°F between neighborhoods in Portland, OR. And new research is illuminating how a century of racist housing policies known as redlining have contributed to this often deadly inequality.

The 2022 heat waves are not single events. They are another data point during years of escalating extreme weather. Previously, the 2019 European heat wave, the 1980 US heat wave, 1995 Chicago heat wave and many more are part of this trend.

In this episode we are going to dive into this unjust history of housing discrimination and see what it can teach us about how to keep cities cooler and save lives. We’ll visit Richmond, Virginia and Portland, Oregon to understand the problem and solutions. Innovative solutions are being carried out at the Science Museum of Virginia and by the Portland organization, Friends of Trees.
I can add this to the story I tell my students that "income inequality is visible from space." It works as an example of the intersection between the social environment (people) and natural environment (planet) being a bearable built environment, as shown in the diagram below.

It also works as an example of "everything is connected to everything else" and "nature knows best," other key concepts I teach my students. Welcome to blogging as professional development.

Sunday, August 21, 2022

'Queer Eye' leads structured reality programs with six nominations at the 2022 Emmy Awards

For this week's Sunday entertainment feature, I'm taking my cue from 'Cheer' returns, earning three Emmy nominations: "I'll return with this year's structured reality program nominees. Stay tuned." Here are the relevant nominations at the 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.
Outstanding Structured Reality Program
Antiques Roadshow (PBS)
Fixer Upper: Welcome Home (Magnolia Network)
Love Is Blind (Netflix)
Queer Eye (Netflix)
Shark Tank (ABC)
I'm recycling my analysis from last year's 'Queer Eye' leads structured reality program nominees again at the Emmy Awards while 'preaching love, acceptance, pride, and compassion'.
The favorite for Outstanding Structured Reality Program is three-time [now four-time] returning winner "Queer Eye," which, as the promotional image from Twitter shows, has a total of six nominations, including Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, Outstanding Directing for a Reality Program, Outstanding Casting for a Reality Program, [Outstanding Production Design for a Variety, Reality or Competition Series replacing Outstanding Cinematography for a Reality Program], and Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program. I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling last year's description of the returning nominees.
"Queer Eye" preaches "love, acceptance, pride, and compassion" and, as I wrote last year, "'Queer Eye' [is] not only...a fun show that helps people be more fashionable, but [is] example of diversity, inclusion, and acceptance. Keep up the good work!" It did...The other returning nominees are "Shark Tank," which...features diverse guests and hosts, and "Antiques Roadshow," which I praised last year for its educational content.
A new version of "Fixer Upper" has rotated into the home improvement slot that had "Property Brothers: Forever Home" last year, "A Very Brady Renovation" the year before that, "Tidying Up with Marie Kondo" squatted in three years ago, and the previous edition of "Fixer Upper" held two years before that. "Love Is Blind" returned, kicking out "Running Wild with Bear Grylls." Although this exact field has not competed in this category before, the nominated shows look very familiar.

I'm recycling my handicapping of the category as well.
"Queer Eye" won this category last year [and the three years before that] and I expect it will win again. Its main competition is "Shark Tank," the winner of this category in 2014–2017 and Outstanding Reality Program in 2012 and 2013.
I think that's still true, as "Shark Tank" is the only other nominee with nominations in other categories, including Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program, which I'm covering next, after embedding the trailers for the two most nominated shows, beginning with Queer Eye: Season 6 | Official Trailer | Netflix.

Grab a Texas-sized box of tissues y’all because the Fab 5 are bringing love and light to the Lone Star State. Watch as they work their life-changing magic yet again and transform the lives of deserving Texans. Queer Eye returns December 31st, only on Netflix.
Next, "Shark Tank" - Season Premiere FRIDAY OCT 8 8/7c on ABC.

The pandemic definitely had an effect on both shows.

Since these are the only nominations for "Fixer Upper: Welcome Home" and "Love Is Blind," I'm sharing their promotional images from Twitter.

Sorry, I couldn't find one for "Antiques Roadshow" by itself. Maybe PBS and its shows' producers should promote the public network's shows at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards as much as it does for the News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Now onto the other category featuring both "Queer Eye" and "Shark Tank."

Outstanding Host for a Reality or Competition Program
Bobby Berk, Karamo Brown, Tan France, Antoni Porowski, and Jonathan Van Ness – Queer Eye (Netflix)
Nicole Byer – Nailed It! (Netflix)
Mark Cuban, Barbara Corcoran, Lori Greiner, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O'Leary – Shark Tank (ABC)
Padma Lakshmi – Top Chef (Bravo)
Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman – Making It (NBC)
RuPaul – RuPaul's Drag Race (VH1)
RuPaul won this award last year, and has since since 2016, a string of six consecutive years. I expect this year will be the seventh. In consolation, I'm embedding 'Queer Eye' hosts Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness on latest Emmy nominations from Gold Derby.

'Queer Eye' hosts Bobby Berk, Antoni Porowski and Jonathan Van Ness on the special relationships they formed in Texas. Along with Tan France and Karamo Brown, they are nominated for a third consecutive Emmy Award for Best Reality Host. Gold Derby's Sam Eckmann hosts this webchat.
That was a fun, emotional, and informative interview. While I don't think the Fab Five will beat RuPaul, I enjoyed watching and listening to them and wish them all well.

Now for the last category I haven't yet examined this year.
Outstanding Picture Editing for a Structured Reality or Competition Program
Lizzo's Watch Out for the Big Grrrls: "Naked" – Deidre Panziera, Hannah Carpenter, Brian Murphy, and Jeanie Phillips (Prime Video)
Queer Eye: "Angel Gets Her Wings" – Nova Taylor and Sean Gill (Netflix)
RuPaul's Drag Race: "Big Opening #1" – Jamie Martin, Paul Cross, Ryan Mallick, and Michael Roha (VH1)
RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars: "Halftime Headliners" – Michael Lynn Deis, Mary DeChambres, Katherine Griffin, Laurel Mick Ostrander, and Michael Roha (Paramount+)
Top Chef: "Restaurant Wars" – Steve Lichtenstein, Ericka Concha, Tim Daniel, George Dybas, Eric Lambert, Anthony Rivard, Jay Rogers, Sarah Goff, Matt Reynolds, and Clark Vogeler (Bravo)
"RuPaul's Drag Race" won this award the past two years, but "Queer Eye" has taken home the statuette twice before, so I think the two shows are the front runners with "RuPaul's Drag Race" favored.

Follow over the jump for the three categories I've already covered.

Saturday, August 20, 2022

Emmy nominee 'My Garden of a Thousand Bees' for World Honey Bee Day

Happy World Honey Bee Day! As I promised yesterday, I'm writing about award-nominated television documentaries today. I begin with My Garden of a Thousand Bees | PBS Nature Trailer (2021), which my mom told me about and has earned a nomination for Outstanding Nature Documentary at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards.

Taking refuge from the pandemic a wildlife filmmaker sets out to record the incredible variety of wild bees in his small garden, finally developing a close relationship with an individual bee that he has followed over its entire life.

Martin Dohrn is an expert at exploring the macroscopic world; his last project on ants with David Attenborough won awards around the world. This time, he unravels a bee filled universe inhabited by winged creatures of every size and shape. From giant bumblebees to scissor bees the size of a mosquito, he has seen over 60 species of bee in his backyard. As he gets sucked into this world, he narrates with the charm and informative voice of a man obsessed. Filmed with one-of-a-kind lenses forged on his kitchen table, this film illuminates its audience with unique natural history insights, and depths of behaviors never recorded before.
In 'The Beatles: Get Back,' 'We Need to Talk About Cosby,' and 'Stanley Tucci: Searching for Italy' all nominated for five Emmy Awards in nonfiction series, I wrote "Who knows, maybe revisiting the archives was the best thing to do in isolation." For a nature videographer, the best thing to do in isolation was record the nature in his own yard. Considering that wildlife became bolder and more visible during the pandemic, the timing was fortuitous.

The "Nature" episode's page on PBS's website has more.
The documentary, which kicks off Nature’s 40th season on PBS, follows Dohrn during the COVID-19 lockdown of spring and summer 2020, as he becomes bee obsessed and develops relationships with individual bees. Filming more than 60 species of bees, from Britain’s largest bumblebees to scissor bees, which are the size of a mosquito, Dohrn observes how differences in behavior set different species apart from each other. Eventually, he gets so close to the bees, he can identify individuals just by looking at them.

Viewers will marvel at moments timely captured in My Garden of a Thousand Bees, such as bees laying tiny eggs preparing for the next generation, green-fanged spiders feasting on male flower bees and a female yellow-faced bee attacking a Gasteruption wasp to protect her nest. Other fascinating behavior featured in the program includes two male bees fighting each other over a female, different species of bees competing over territory and one busy bee building a nest with a shell and hundreds of sticks. Intrigued by the intelligence of one particular wood-carving leafcutter bee, Dohrn dubs her “Nicky” and sees life at her level as she leaves a lasting legacy in the garden.
That's impressive, but today is dedicated to honeybees, which Seeker examined at the same time "My Garden of a Thousand Bees" was airing, in The Threat to Bees and Our Food Supply.

The European honey bees are crucial to our food systems, but they may soon be under threat from a microscopic pest. So what exactly is this threat?

To learn more about other types of bees, make sure to check out the documentary, "My Garden of a Thousand Bees," streaming now on @Nature on PBS...

It’s no secret, bees are super important. And it’s not just for food sources; bees also keep the health of wild ecosystems in check by pollinating wildflowers, which in turn maintains biodiversity and a thriving terrestrial biomes.

And while all bee species are helpful pollinators, honey bees are CRUCIAL to our own food supply, pollinating close to 90 commercially grown crops in the U.S. But bee populations have been under extreme stresses, from pesticides to the climate crisis, to parasites and diseases.

We are currently losing between 30% and close to 50% of our honeybee colonies every single year. What would be worse in a situation where the balance is already kind of teetering is to add a parasite that we know has a dramatic impact on honeybees.

Unfortunately, that’s exactly the situation all bees are facing. Dr. Sammy Ramsey, a scientist at the USDA, focuses on protecting bees from an emerging threat.
Even Seeker told its viewers to watch this episode, just like my mom told me to. Good for them!

Follow over the jump for its News & Documentary Emmy nomination along with the nominations for other nature documentaries at this year's awards.

Friday, August 19, 2022

Using biotechnology to eliminate and control mosquitoes for an early celebration of World Mosquito Day

A happy early World Mosquito Day! I'm celebrating early because tomorrow is also World Honey Bee Day and I thought both days deserved their own entries and the post I am planning for tomorrow is already big enough.

I begin today's early observance with DW Planet A asking We could kill all mosquitoes (but should we?).

Malaria-carrying mosquitoes kill hundreds of thousands of people every year. Scientists have found a way to get rid of them by spreading a gene to wipe out mosquito populations. But is it a good idea?
The experts interviewed by DW Planet A expressed ambivalence about the prospect, although I doubt humans would ever get around to all the thousands of mosquito species. As for using genetic modification on mosquito species that carry diseases other than malaria, that's already happening in the U.S., as Wired reported in Inside the Plan to Release Life-Saving Mosquitoes two months ago.

The Florida Keys Mosquito Control District is turning towards a novel tool to combat harmful insecticide-resistant mosquitoes like the Aedes aegypti. What are they doing exactly? They're releasing millions of genetically modified male mosquitoes engineered to reduce the population of Aedes aegypti. How exactly does this work? We'll break it down.
Not only is Aedes aegypti a disease vector, it's also invasive in the Florida Keys, so eliminating it could restore balance to the ecosystem instead of disturbing it. Good riddance!

One of the goals of the Gates Foundation is the elimination of malaria and parasitic diseases. Bill Gates (or at least the people who run his YouTube channel) uploaded The Mosquito Factory this week, showing a biological control method other than genetic modification.

Inside a two-story brick building in Medellín, Colombia, scientists work long hours in muggy labs breeding millions and millions of mosquitoes. They tend to the insects’ every need as they grow from larvae to pupae to adults, keeping the temperature just right and feeding them generous helpings of fishmeal, sugar, and, of course, blood. Then, they release them across the country to breed with wild mosquitoes that can carry dengue and other viruses threatening to sicken and kill the population of Colombia. This might sound like the beginnings of a Hollywood writer’s horror film plot. But it’s not. This factory is real. And the mosquitoes being released don’t terrorize the local population. Far from it. They’re actually helping to save and improve millions of lives.
Using one parasite that doesn't affect humans to reduce the ability of an insect to spread a parasite harmful to humans — clever! It's also not forever in the same way genetic modification is. Fine by me.

That concludes this year's celebration of World Mosquito Day. Stay tuned for an entry about award-nominated television documentaries for World Honey Bee Day.

Thursday, August 18, 2022

IUCN declares Monarch butterflies endangered and adds species to Red List

This past May, I asked Should the American Bumblebee be placed on the Endangered Species List for World Bee Day and Endangered Species Day? Now I'm going to ask if the Monarch butterfly should be, too. The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) thinks it should be and added it to the organization's Red List as endangered last month.*
The migratory monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus plexippus), known for its spectacular annual journey of up to 4,000 kilometres across the Americas, has entered the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM as Endangered, threatened by habitat destruction and climate change...

The Endangered migratory monarch butterfly is a subspecies of the monarch butterfly (Danaus plexippus). The native population, known for its migrations from Mexico and California in the winter to summer breeding grounds throughout the United States and Canada, has shrunk by between 22% and 72% over the past decade. Legal and illegal logging and deforestation to make space for agriculture and urban development has already destroyed substantial areas of the butterflies’ winter shelter in Mexico and California, while pesticides and herbicides used in intensive agriculture across the range kill butterflies and milkweed, the host plant that the larvae of the monarch butterfly feed on.

Climate change has significantly impacted the migratory monarch butterfly and is a fast-growing threat; drought limits the growth of milkweed and increases the frequency of catastrophic wildfires, temperature extremes trigger earlier migrations before milkweed is available, while severe weather has killed millions of butterflies.

The western population is at greatest risk of extinction, having declined by an estimated 99.9%, from as many as 10 million to 1,914 butterflies between the 1980s and 2021. The larger eastern population also shrunk by 84% from 1996 to 2014. Concern remains as to whether enough butterflies survive to maintain the populations and prevent extinction.

It is difficult to watch monarch butterflies and their extraordinary migration teeter on the edge of collapse, but there are signs of hope. So many people and organisations have come together to try and protect this butterfly and its habitats. From planting native milkweed and reducing pesticide use to supporting the protection of overwintering sites and contributing to community science, we all have a role to play in making sure this iconic insect makes a full recovery,” said Anna Walker, member of the IUCN SSC Butterfly and Moth Specialist Group and Species Survival Officer at the New Mexico BioPark Society, who led the monarch butterfly assessment.
LiveScience was one of many outlets to report the news, uploading Call to Action: Save the Monarch Butterflies!

Monarch butterflies teetering "on the edge of collapse," added to endangered species list. The migratory monarch is threatened by habitat loss, pesticide and herbicide use, and climate change, but "there are signs of hope!"
"Warranted but precluded" — maybe the IUCN listing will change the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's mind. In the meantime, people are taking action independent of government, as shown by two videos. The first comes from CBC News, Monarch butterflies now an endangered species.

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has added the migratory monarch butterfly to its list of endangered species.
The Canadian government has not yet listed the Monarch as endangered, either. Maybe the IUCN listing will change its mind, too.

The second comes from KARE 11 in Minnesota, Beloved monarch butterflies now listed as endangered.

The monarch butterfly fluttered a step closer to extinction Thursday, as scientists put the iconic orange-and-black insect on the endangered list because of its fast dwindling numbers.
That was a popular title and description, as WXYZ used both for its own video. Sorry, no embed, as WXYZ disabled it.

Stay tuned, as I will have more about insects for World Honey Bee Day and World Mosquito Day on Saturday.

*The same press release had bad news for sturgeons, all species of which are now on the Red List, and cautiously optimistic news for tigers.

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

'Cheer' returns, earning three Emmy nominations

As I promised three times, I'm continuing my series on the Emmy nominations. I'm moving on to Outstanding Unstructured Reality Program, which "Cheer" won two years ago and "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked" won last year. Both returned this year, earning nominations along with returning nominees "Below Deck" and "Selling Sunset." "Love on the Spectrum U.S." joins the four returning nominees, tying "Cheer" with three nominations, so while I think "Cheer" and "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked" are the co-favorites with the edge going to "Cheer" because of its three nominations to only one for "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked," "Love on the Spectrum U.S." could upset both in this category.

Watch Cheer Season 2 | Official Trailer | Netflix.

The Emmy-winning breakout sensation is back and the stakes have never been higher. As Season 2 opens and the buzz around their newfound stardom threatens to alter the dynamic of Navarro Cheer, the team finds no amount of press frenzy could compare to the challenges they must face when COVID-19 upends the 2020 cheer season and a serious criminal accusation is levied at one of their teammates. Against that dramatic backdrop, the 9-episode season expands to showcase Navarro’s fiercest rival: Trinity Valley Community College. As with the Navarro team, TVCC has a charismatic coach and breakout stars whose struggles, triumphs and stories extend far beyond the mat. As both teams push for the 2021 championship in Daytona, familiar faces take compelling detours and new contenders make a name for themselves. Cheer Season 2 is directed by Greg Whiteley (Last Chance U) and produced by One Potato Productions and Boardwalk Pictures.
For my reaction, I'm repeating what I wrote two years ago.
"Cheer" "follows the cheerleaders of Navarro College as they prepare for the biggest moment of their lives." Navarro College "is a public community college in Texas," so it takes place at a local government institution. Again, public education is a function of government.
As someone who marched in drum corps and still follows the activity, I can relate to their experience, at least in terms of practice and judged competition. I wonder if my fellow drum corps alumni would agree. I'll have to ask.
I asked on Facebook and my fellow drum corps alumni agreed with me about "Cheer." They loved it!
Since this is the only nomination for "Selling Sunset," I'm sharing its promotional picture from Instagram via Twitter here.

I think they're selling something in addition to real estate.

This is also the only nomination for "RuPaul's Drag Race: Untucked," but I'll share its promotional image when I cover the main show.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the unstructured reality program nominations at the 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

Happy National Roller Coaster Day from National Day Calendar, Vox, and CNBC!

Happy National Roller Coaster Day and National Rum Day! I begin today's double celebration with National Day Calendar's video for today, National Roller Coaster Day | August 16.

For years, history has believed the first roller coaster in America opened at Coney Island on June 26, 1884. However, tracing J.G. Taylor’s patent and newspaper articles tells us a different story.

According to the Providence Evening Press dated June 1872, Taylor’s elevated railway at Rocky Point, Rhode Island extended 400 feet and gave nine passengers a ride. It all started with a shove, allowing gravity to do the rest.

What do you enjoy most about the thrill of rollercoasters?
I like the drops and turns, but some people like loops. Vox examines those as it asks and answers Why roller coaster loops aren't circular.

The G forces were out of this world.
If you’ve ever been on a modern looping roller coaster, you’ve probably experienced a thrilling, safe, and mostly comfortable ride. But this wasn’t always the case. Just over 100 years ago, loop-the-loops were painful, not sturdy, and much more dangerous than they are today.

Between the 1840s and early 1900s, loops on roller coasters were perfectly circular — meaning riders would go from traveling in a fairly straight line to immediately moving into a curve. This rapid onset of curvature caused extreme G force spikes that rattled passengers to their core.

The first looping roller coaster in North America — Coney Island’s Flip-Flap Railway — could exert up to 14 G's on a person. For reference, astronauts in a spaceship launch experience 3 G’s. Fighter pilots with very special equipment and training can handle 10 G’s for short periods of time. 14 G’s was (and still is) tremendous.

More people paid to watch others ride these early coasters rather than ride themselves. Without sustained success, most looping coasters closed down within their first decade of operation.

Looping coasters wouldn’t find success again until the 1970s with a new loop shape, new materials, many more cars — and, thankfully, fewer G’s. In this video, we break down all the advancements that helped make looping coasters the popular ride they are today.
Whee! And some history, science, and engineering, too!

CNBC asks a more serious question, Are Roller Coasters Actually Safe?

While amusement parks have been around since the 1550s, rides are not federally regulated. State-regulation only began in 1981. At Six Flags, and most other theme parks, the company spends millions on safety while following international safety standards and other independent examinations. And while rides are becoming faster, taller, and bigger, according to the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, ride-injuries are becoming increasingly rare. In 2019, there were .8 injuries per million rides.
The answer is yes, especially compared to transportation outside of the parks.

Since today is also National Rum Day, I'm going to celebrate with a rum drink recipe from a theme park. Take it away, Theme Park Bar with Captain's Mai Tai | How to Make Disney World's Best Rum Drink | Walt Disney World Bars!

Learn how to make Walt Disney World's most popular drink, the Captain's Mai Tai. This fruity drink is the best rum cocktail in Disney World Resorts! Inspired by the original recipe by Trader Vic this magical rendition brings in some pineapple juice and a splash of grenadine to bring up the sweetness and make the drink "instagram ready"[.]

1.25oz Spiced Rum
.5oz Amaretto
.5oz Lime Juice
4oz Pineapple Juice
.25oz Dark Rum
That was fun and informative enough that I subscribed to the channel. Look for more from it during Halloween, Christmas, and St. Patrick's Day.

Monday, August 15, 2022

'Last Week Tonight' examines monkeypox

Change of plans, again. Instead of writing about entertainment today, I'm returning to monkeypox. Watch Monkeypox: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

John Oliver discusses the recent monkeypox outbreak in the U.S., how we’ve fumbled our response to it, and some aspirations for this coming autumn.
I've been alternating between serious and silly posts about monkeypox, so it was about time I examined the disease through comedy. On another note, I wrote "Here's to hoping that Oliver gets along with Discovery better than he did with AT&T!" at the end of April's John Oliver on data brokers and OAN. That's not looking good, as it only took him four months to begin criticizing the new ownership and management.

I'm going to postpone writing about one of Emmy nominations, Saturn Awards nominations, or the Gold Derby TV Awards winners until Wednesday at the earliest. Instead, stay tuned for a celebration of Roller Coaster Day and Rum Day tomorrow. Whee!

Sunday, August 14, 2022

'Abbott Elementary' wins four Television Critics Association Awards, including Program of the Year

I teased my readers at the end of Happy International Left Handers Day!
Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which could be about Emmy nominations, Saturn Awards nominations, or the Gold Derby TV Awards winners. I don't know yet, so return tomorrow to find out!
The answer is none of the above! Instead, I'm blogging about the winners of the Television Critics Association (TCA) Awards. Deadline reported ‘Abbott Elementary’ Leads TCA Awards With Four Wins, Including Program Of The Year earlier this week.
ABC’s first-year public school sitcom Abbott Elementary made the grade as the night’s top winner with four victories. The series took home some of the TCA’s highest honors, including Individual Achievement In Comedy for series creator, producer, writer, and star, Quinta Brunson; as well as Outstanding Achievement In Comedy, Outstanding New Program, and the Program Of The Year Award.
One of the reasons I chose today's topic is that "Abbott Elementary" is about public education and, as I wrote most recently in 'Soul' wins Original Score and Animated Feature, "public education is part of government," so it's on-topic for this blog.

Here are the rest of the Twitter images advertising the show's TCA Awards.

The show has seven Emmy nominations in Outstanding Comedy Series, Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series for Brunson, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series for Tyler James Williams, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Janelle James, who also earned a TCA Award nomination for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Comedy, and Sheryl Lee Ralph, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series for Brunson, and Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series. I think these four wins at the TCA Awards have definitely improved the odds of the show winning its categories, but I currently think the only categories where that might push it into the winners circle are for writing and casting, although the competition is stiff for those, too. That didn't stop Gold Derby from asking Emmy Experts slugfest: Can 'Abbott Elementary' take down 'Ted Lasso'?

Gold Derby editors and Experts Christopher Rosen and Joyce Eng discuss whether "Abbott Elementary" can upset reigning Best Comedy Series champ "Ted Lasso" at the Emmys on the heels of the ABC sitcom's sweep of the Television Critics Association Awards.
Joyce Eng doesn't think that the TCA Awards will affect the Emmy voters, but Christopher Rosen thinks they might because the TCA Awards were announced before Emmy voting began. I'm on Joyce's side. As I keep writing about entertainment awards, electorates matter. I'll have more to say when I blog about the nominations for Outstanding Comedy Series.

Now for the rest of the winners.
Other winners include This Is Us star Mandy Moore, who earned the award for Individual Achievement In Drama after being snubbed by the Emmys; acclaimed Disney+ rock doc The Beatles: Get Back, which won the Outstanding Achievement In News And Information Award; CBS’ globe-hopping The Amazing Race, which shared Outstanding Achievement In Reality Programming with HBO Max’s glam Legendary; the surreal Netflix comedy I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson, which left with Outstanding Achievement In Variety, Talk, Or Sketch; Hulu’s opioid epic Dopesick, which scored the award for Outstanding Movie, Miniseries Or Specials; HBO’s dynasty hit Succession, which took home Outstanding Achievement In Drama; and the Netflix adaptation of The Baby-Sitter’s Club, which pocketed Outstanding Achievement In Youth Programming for the second-consecutive year.
If Chris R. is right, maybe "I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson" has a better chance of winning Outstanding Short Form Comedy, Drama or Variety Series and Outstanding Actor in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series, especially the latter. Now if Tim Robinson wins, it would come as less of a surprise.

In conclusion, congratulations to all the winners!

Stay tuned for more entertainment tomorrow, as I plan on writing about one of my choices I listed at the top of the post then.

Saturday, August 13, 2022

Happy International Left Handers Day!

Happy International Left Handers Day! I begin today's celebration with Left-Handers Day is Aug. 13! Here are some fun facts about lefties from We Are Iowa Local 5 News (WOI-TV).

Only 10% of the world is left-handed. So lefties, August 13 is YOUR day to celebrate!
National Day Calendar has more.

International Left Handers Day on August 13th recognizes all those individuals who have mastered using their left hand in a right-handed world. We take our hats off to you – left-handed!

Approximately 10% of the population are southpaws. Scientists don’t know why a person develops left-handedness. But it’s more likely a child will be left-handed if one parent is a lefty, too. Parents of left-handed children used to force them to use their right hands. In the eyes of right-handers, the predominant use of the left hand seemed evil. Parents feared their communities would shun their children. While we accept left-handedness more readily than days gone by, its occurrence hasn’t increased.
Famous Lefties
Many lefties seek to blend in because they will stand out soon enough. Their unique quality makes them feel awkward. They bump elbows or seem like a klutz. However, in a world designed for the right-handed, those who are other dominant adapt quite well. For example, eight United States presidents were left-handed, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Would the Sistine Chapel and the Mona Lisa stand the test of time if Michaelangelo and Leonardo de Vinci had been right-handed?

Uncommon Individual
Left Handers Day recognizes the uncommon individual who throws, catches, writes, and uses a fork with their left hand. They view the world just a little differently, too. At a restaurant, they seek out the seat that will place their dominant elbow on the outside of the booth. Right-handed athletes groan a bit when the southpaw shows up as an opponent on the roster. They present a challenge right-handers aren’t always sure how to handle due to lack of practice. And yet, lefties square off against righties all the time.

Don’t be shy on Left-Handers Day. Show the world how brilliant and unique you are!
I'm not left-handed, but my father was and my son is. I'm surprised the trait skipped over me!

Stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which could be about Emmy nominations, Saturn Awards nominations, or the Gold Derby TV Awards winners. I don't know yet, so return tomorrow to find out!

Friday, August 12, 2022

Average gas price falls below $4.00, a driving update

I begin today's driving update with a report on falling gas prices. The Today Show is up first with Gas Prices Fall Below $4 But Housing, Food Prices Continue To Climb.

The national gas average dipped below $4 for the first time since March on Thursday, signaling record inflation could be cooling off. NBC’s Tom Costello reports for TODAY.
That was good news for the consumer on gas prices, but bad news about other goods, indicating continuing high inflation. That's a topic I'm very likely to return to.*

Newsy dug deeper into the reasons for the fall in gas prices along with a warning that the drop might not last in Gas Prices Have Dropped, But The Relief Might Not Stick.

Though gas prices are going down, the war in Ukraine, higher demand or hurricanes could impact the trend.
The U.S. has been lucky, as NOAA predicted another above average Atlantic hurricane season for 2022 but no named hurricane has formed yet, just three tropical storms. Don't worry, or do worry, as the case may be, as the heart of hurricane season is yet to come and the various forecasting agencies are still predicting a more active than average season.

The guest in CNBC Television's Cinquegrana: There's still a little more downside for gas prices before it pauses and maybe reverses expressed both relief that no hurricane has hit the oil-producing and refining part of the U.S. Gulf Coast and worry that one could.

OPIS chief oil analyst Denton Cinquegrana discusses the move in retail gas prices below $4 a gallon for the first time in months, and what risks lie ahead for the energy market.
I'll be sure to keep an eye on the weather for this reason and others.

Follow over the jump for my personal driving update.

Thursday, August 11, 2022

Colbert having fun with Biden and Trump for National Presidential Joke Day

Happy National Presidential Joke Day! Let's recognize some of "the humor often found and yet not so appreciated in the highest office in the land."  Both the current and former President were the subjects of Tuesday's monologue, Librarians Come For The Former President | Joe "Dark Brandon" Biden Is More Powerful Than Ever.

The FBI's raid of the former president's home is apparently part of an ongoing investigation by the National Archives and Records Administration. Meanwhile, the current president's recent accomplishments are being celebrated online with "Dark Brandon" memes.
When Stephen said the librarians came for TFG, I couldn't help but think of these guys.

Now, that would be an interesting episode, except that I doubt there's anything paranormal in the documents seized by the FBI.

Stephen's writers did the next best thing by making a "National Treasure" joke in last night's monologue, "Civil War" Trended On Twitter After Mar-A-Lago Raid | IHOP And Applebee's Attract Wealthy Customers.

Right wing media personalities and their fans are taking the raid of T****'s home pretty hard, while the spike in food prices is prompting the well-to-do to flock to lower priced chains like IHOP and Applebee's.
Again, Stephen delivered more bad news for the former guy and even some good news on inflation for President Biden.

Follow over the jump for this week's cold opens, which expanded on the themes for this week's presidential jokes.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Prehistoric lions of Eurasia and North America for World Lion Day 2022

Happy World Lion Day! Do any of my readers know that lions used to roam across nearly all of Eurasia and North America during the Ice Ages? They did, so I'm putting my own paleontological spin on the day by featuring two videos about two extinct lions from the Pleistocene, beginning with The Curious Case of the Cave Lion from PBS Eons.

A mysterious, large feline roamed Eurasia during the last ice age. Its fossils have been found across the continent, and it’s been the subject of ancient artwork. So what exactly were these big cats?
Watching this video reminds me of a conversation Infidel753 and I had about World Lion Day three years ago.
"Genetics has reached the point where it tells us a lot more than fossils can." Do remember you're talking to a paleontologist. :-) That written, they can, as fossils usually only preserve the hard parts of an organism.
The frozen mummies of cave lion cubs are ideal in preserving both soft parts and DNA and the latter proved able to solve a question that the bones alone couldn't, were modern lions and cave lions the same species or not. They turned out to be separate species.

PBS Eons mentioned the relationship between cave lions and American lions. SciShow examined the latter in The Mysterious *Gigantic* Lions That Used to Roam North America about the cave lion's sister species last year.

North America used to be home to a cat so large, it may have taken down some of the biggest prey of the last Ice Age.
I agree with Hank; one of the points of paleontology is to learn from the past and apply the knowledge gained to the present. In this case, it could help prevent the extinction of modern lions and other big cats.

Stay tuned for National Presidential Joke Day.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

VP Harris casts the tie-breaking vote on Inflation Reduction Act for Veep Day 2022

Happy National Veep Day! ABC News reported the latest news involving Vice President Kamala Harris in Senate passes landmark Inflation Reduction Act.

Vice President Kamala Harris cast the tie-breaking vote.
The Hill has more on Harris's tie-breaking vote and its significance.
Vice President Harris cast her 25th tiebreaking vote with the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act on Sunday, moving her within six votes of the almost two-century-old record held by former Vice President John Calhoun.

The Constitution stipulates the vice president also serves as president of the Senate and has the authority to break ties, which has occurred with some regularity over the past year and a half given the 50-50 makeup of the upper chamber.

Harris has already cast more tiebreakers than almost any other vice president, except for John Adams and Calhoun, who served from 1825 to 1832.

Calhoun has held the record of 31 tiebreaking votes since his tenure as vice president under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. John Adams, who served as vice president for nearly eight years under George Washington, cast 29 tiebreakers.

Harris, however, has cast more tiebreakers than Adams or Calhoun at the equivalent times in their vice presidencies.
Whether she will pass Adams or break Calhoun's record depends on how long the Senate remains tied at 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats, along with the independents who caucus with the latter. Right now, FiveThirtyEight forecasts that the Democrats have a 59% chance of retaining the chamber, which includes 8% probability that the chamber continues to have a 50-50 split with the Vice President breaking the tie. If that's the case, I expect Harris will set a new record for tie-breaking votes.

I already shared some of what the bill will do in Colbert examines Manchin agreeing to the reconciliation bill that would fight climate change. I promise to examine it again when the House passes it and President Biden signs it. In the meantime, stay tuned for World Lion Day and National Presidential Joke Day.

Monday, August 8, 2022

Desi Lydic, an Emmy-nominated performer, Foxsplains the January 6th Committee Hearings

I closed 'Saturday Night Live' earned ten Emmy nominations plus looks back at the 2021-2022 season by admitting a mistake.
There are actually seven nominations for "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and its three spinoffs. I'll get to the one I missed in the next installment of this series. Stay tuned.
The nomination is of Desi Lydic as herself in "Desi Lydic Foxsplains" for Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series. Here is the most recent segment, Desi Lydic Foxsplains: The January 6th Hearings | The Daily Show.

We made Desi Lydic watch 439 hours of Fox News so she could explain what the January 6 hearings are REALLY about.
On the one hand, that's hilarious. On the other, that's about all I can take of Fox News opining on the January 6th Committee hearings, even as satire. No wonder a study found Fox News viewers less informed than people who watch no news at all.

Enough of that for now, although I think I will embed more of Lydic's videos in the future. It's time for the nominations for acting in short form comedies and dramas from 74th Primetime Creative Arts Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Actress in a Short Form Comedy or Drama Series
Jacinte Blankenship – Intersection as Jenaya (YouTube)
Patricia Clarkson – State of the Union as Ellen (Sundance TV)
Desi Lydic – Desi Lydic Foxsplains as Desi Lydic (YouTube)
Rhea Seehorn – Cooper's Bar as Kris Latimer (AMC)
Sydnee Washington – Bridesman as Judith (YouTube)
Out of all the nominees, I'd say the favorites are the Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning Patricia Clarkson and Emmy-nominated Rhea Seehorn. These are the only Emmy nominations ever for Lydic, Jacinte Blankenship, and Sydnee Washington and the only award nominations period for Blankenship and Washington. Lydic at least has a Webby Award for Video - Best Web Personality/Host, but she may have to be happy with that this year.

Now that I've covered Lydic's nomination, I can share the following image from #ShareSouthAfrica on Twitter, who correctly counted the number of Emmy nominations for "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" and its three spinoffs as seven, not six, as I carelessly did. Oops.

With that, "The Daily Show with Trevor Noah" has the lead among talk variety shows, beating both "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" and "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert," both with six including "Tooning Out the News" for the latter. Congratulations!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the short form nominations.