Sunday, March 26, 2023

'Everything Everywhere All at Once' earns seven Academy Awards at a history-making ceremony

For the final Sunday entertainment feature of March, I'm belatedly examining the performance of "Everything Everywhere All at Once" and "RRR" at the Academy Awards, along with other diverse winners. I begin with ABC News ‘Everything Everywhere’ dominates history-making Oscars | Nightline.

The mind-boggling multiverse comedy took home seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win Best Actress.
I'm glad the clip mentioned the second Oscar for Ruth Carter, the first African-American to win two Oscars, Angela Bassett being the first acting nominee for a Marvel movie, and the lack of female director nominees. True, the Motion Picture Academy awarded Euzhan Palcy an honorary Oscar, but it's not the same thing, although I am counting her among diverse honorees. The highest competitive award a woman won behind the camera was Sarah Polley winning Best Adapted Screenplay for "Women Talking." As good as this month's ceremony was for diversity, there is still room for improvement.

"Good Morning America" had a more positive spin in Many celebrating Asian representation at the 95th Academy Awards.

Many are celebrating Sunday night's history-making wins and nominations for Asian actors at the 2023 Academy Awards.
Don't forget Daniel Kwan, who co-produced the "Everything Everywhere All at Once" along with Jonathan Wang, and co-directed and co-wrote the movie with Daniel Scheinert. That four Asians and Asian-Americans winning five of the film's seven Oscars, a record breaking performance.

It was also a good night for Indian films, as "RRR" won Best Original Song and "The Elephant Whisperers" won Best Documentary Short. That's nine Oscars won by Asians and Asian-Americans.

Finally, "Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio" took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature to make Guillermo del Toro for ten awards won by diverse nominees. Congratulations to all the winners!

Follow over the jump for how my predictions fared.

Saturday, March 25, 2023

Earth Hour 2023 asks 'Could an Hour change the world?'

Happy Earth Hour, which will happen at 8:30 P.M. local time in Europe, Africa, and the Western Hemisphere and has already happened in Asia, Australia, and the part of Oceania in the Eastern Hemisphere as I type this. I begin my observance with a video from Earth Hour, which asks Could an Hour change the world?

Imagine an Hour inspiring millions to act for our planet. An Hour that unites cities, countries, and continents. An Hour reminding us to make all other hours count.

That’s no longer just an hour…that’s the spark we need for change. That’s the #BiggestHourForEarth.

We can make it happen - together. Join us for #EarthHour on 25th March at 8:30 pm local time by switching off and spending 60 minutes doing something - anything - positive for our planet.

Learn more:
By itself, no. As I wrote for the first Earth Hour I blogged about in 2011: "I personally think this is a fun publicity stunt, and I'm going along with it, but by itself, it's just a publicity stunt." But it becomes yes if it changes attitudes and leads people to "go beyond the hour. Take action to make our world a better place and share your act with the world." I'm all in favor of that.

My readers might have noticed that the logo for the event has changed. Earth Hour explains that and more in Earth Hour 2023: Breathing new life into our movement and mission.

Since our beginnings in 2007, Earth Hour has been known for the “lights off” moment – a symbolic event to show our collective support for the planet. But this year, we're stepping things up, breathing new life into Earth Hour, our work, and our mission, creating the #BiggestHourForEarth.

How? By inspiring our supporters across the globe - from Asia and Africa to North and South America, Oceania and Europe - to give an hour for Earth, spending 60 minutes doing something - anything - positive for our planet.

Together, we can turn a single Earth Hour into thousands and millions of hours of action and impact for our one shared home, a unifying moment to remind the world just how important our planet is, and why we all can (and must) play a part to protect it.
Watching the explanation of the logo change reminded me of the Doomsday Clock. That's probably not an accident.

I close with a message from the United Nations: UN Chief on Earth Hour: The Biggest Hour for Earth 2023 | Sat, Mar 25, 2023 8:30 PM - 9:30 PM.

Video Message by António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations, on Earth Hour 2023.

The United Nations is joining in the global effort to mark Earth Hour again this year. On Saturday, March 25th at 8:30 p.m. local time, join WWF, the United Nations and other partners in switching off your lights and giving an hour for Earth. For ideas on positive actions you can take for our planet, see
Nothing like being supported from the very top.

See you tomorrow for the final Sunday entertainment feature of March. Until then, lights out for the planet tonight!

Friday, March 24, 2023

Randy Rainbow sings 'Life's a (bleep)ing Fantasy for Santos' on Flashback Friday

Happy Flashback Friday! For the first retrospective of the twelfth year of this blog's top posts, I'm examining the most read entries examining George Santos and featuring the song and dance of Randy Rainbow with his latest, Life's a F***ing Fantasy for Santos - A Randy Rainbow Parody.

Parodies: "Jolly Holiday" from Mary Poppins (Richard M. Sherman and Robert B. Sherman)
"Georgy Girl" by The Seekers (Tom Springfield)

Parody lyrics: Randy Rainbow

Vocals: Randy Rainbow

Song Produced, Orchestrated, Mixed, Mastered by: Michael J Moritz Jr

Arrangement/Vocal Arrangement - Joel Waggoner

Piano/Orchestral - Michael J Moritz Jr
Guitar/Engineer - Jakob Reinhardt
Bass/Drums - Ryan Saranich
I'm recycling my reaction from Weekend Update on 'SNL' reports on Tucker Carlson, rats carrying COVID, and the Oscars: "My prediction that, as long as George Santos remains in the news, he will be an inspiration for comedy continues to come true." I can think of few people better equipped to mock him than Randy Rainbow.

Follow over the jump for the stories of how the top posts about George Santos and those featuring Randy Rainbow got their page views.

Thursday, March 23, 2023

Stats for the 12th year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News on Throwback Thursday

It's time to review the statistics for the twelfth year of this blog.

As of 11:59 PM EDT March 20, 2022, this blog had a lifetime total of 3,821,974 page views, 5,418 total posts, and 3,979 comments. Minus the 3,402,674 page views, 5,039 total posts, and 3,857 comments as of March 20, 2021, that means this blog earned 419,300 page views and 122 published comments on 379 posts between March 21, 2022 and March 20, 2023. Blogger shows 168 comments, but the 46 comment difference almost certainly comes from unpublished comments that the spam filter caught and I didn't release. They can stay there. On the other hand, Blogger displays ~418,000 page views, less than my calculations. I've guessed before that Blogger's counter starts at the beginning of the oldest complete month, so it cuts off the last ten days of March 2022 and begins with April 1, 2022, no fooling. The things I learn when I dig through the data.

Speaking of digging through the data, it's showing a concerning trend. While the 419,300 page views easily exceeded the 306,129 page view goal (306,235 if I strictly stick to 839 page views per day) I set for the blog last year, it's less than the 532,981 page views the blog earned between March 21, 2021 and March 20, 2022. I also missed a monthly page view goal for the first time since November 2019 when the blog earned only 19,772 page views during February 2023, when my goal was 23,492. Also, the blog nearly missed its page view goal of 26,000 for January 2023, passing it between 10:00 and 11:00 A.M. on January 31, 2023, ending the month with 32,173 page views, thanks to my German and Swedish readers, who provided 6.62K and 1.58K page views respectively on the last day of the month, which had the most page views of the twelfth year of the blog with 10,566. Wow and whew! Unlike the past few years, when I wrote "I'm not worried" about reaching my page view goals, I am a little worried now. I'd be more worried if the blog weren't already five days ahead of my page view goal for the month so far. I need only four more days at 839 page views per day to reach March 2023's page view goal. That's reassuring, but I feel like knocking on wood.

Follow over the jump for the rest of my analysis of the past year.

Wednesday, March 22, 2023

John Oliver on water for World Water Day

Happy World Water Day! For this year's observance, I sharing Water: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

John Oliver discusses the water shortage in the American west, how it’s already impacting the people who live there, and what God has to say about it.
In addition to being a particularly American perspective on the 'World's Water Crisis' and 'What Will Life Look Like as MAJOR Rivers Run Dry?', it's also an update on Western drought likely worst in a millennium and may be the beginning of 'aridification', Vox asks and answers 'Who's really using up the water in the American West?', Wall Street Journal on 'Las Vegas: A Water Conservation Trailblazer Amid the Worst Drought in 1,200 Years', and PBS NewsHour on Great Salt Lake shrinking during the current drought. After all my posts examining the problem from a serious news perspective, it was time for some comedy.

Speaking of comedy, I thought Bryan Cox's guest starring performance as G-d was hilarious. Not only was it an appropriate response to the Governor of Utah asking people to pray for rain, it reminded me of three things. First, the Emmy-winning Cox will be returning in "Succession" this Sunday. Second, "Succession" is an HBO series that will lead into "Last Week Tonight." As I mentioned most recently in 'Navalny,' 'All the Beauty and the Bloodshed,' and 'A House Made of Splinters' — three political and social issue documentaries nominated at the Oscars, "my readers should keep that relationship in mind when watching the clip above. It's not just news value that's driving it." Finally, as I wrote in 'SNL' sends up Trump's visit to the train derailment site in Ohio in its cold open and Weekend Update, "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" has been moved out of variety talk to a new variety scripted category, where it will compete against "Saturday Night Live." Maybe that will mean that Cox would be eligible for an Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series nomination for this performance to go along with his likely third Emmy nomination for "Succession." I can hope.

I'll return to this and other water stories presently. In the meantime, stay tuned as I continue my celebration of completing another year of blogging and starting another with statistics followed by retrospectives on (Wayback) Wednesdays, (Throwback) Thursdays, (Flashback) Fridays and selected Sundays through the rest of this month and probably all of April.

Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Happy International Day of Nowruz 1402 (2023) and happy 12th birthday to Crazy Eddie's Motie News

Nowruz Mubarak! Happy International Day of Nowruz AKA Persian New Year and happy 12th birthday of the blog! As I have the past two years, I'm sharing a video from KFMB Channel 8 to begin the celebration, CBS 8 explains the traditions of Nowruz, Persian New Year. One of those traditions on my blog entails embedding CBS 8 San Diego's videos!

CBS 8's Neda Iranpour explains how Persians celebrate Nowruz also known as the New Year. The celebration involves gathering around a table known as a Haftseen an elaborate sight, prepared several days in advance with "Haft" or seven items that start with "Seen" or the letter "S."
Foozool Khan left a comment reminding the station and its viewers that other people outside of Iran celebrate Nowruz.
I am an Iranian-American, thanks for celebrating Norooz and educating your audience. However, please be mindful that Norooz is not just celebrated by Iranians. Kurds in Turkey, Iraq and all around the world, people of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and many more, all are celebrating Norooz. Let's not exclude them from these great traditions.
Thanks for the reminder! Also, the Wikipedia entry for Nowruz lists even more countries that celebrate today.

By the way, not only is today Nowruz, it's also the start of the astrological year.* 8SA covered that in Astrology Day (March 21), Activities and How to Celebrate Astrology Day.

Astrology is a system of beliefs and practices that seeks to interpret and influence the positions and movements of celestial bodies in relation to human affairs and natural phenomena. It is based on the idea that the positions of the planets, the sun, and the moon at the time of a person's birth can have a significant influence on their personality, character traits, and life events.

Astrology has been practiced for thousands of years in many different cultures around the world. It is often used as a tool for understanding oneself, relationships, and the world around us. Astrology can be used to gain insight into various aspects of life, such as career, love and relationships, finances, health, and spirituality.

There are many different types of astrology, each with its own unique traditions, techniques, and beliefs. Some of the most commonly practiced forms of astrology include Western astrology, Vedic astrology, Chinese astrology, and Mayan astrology.
The narrator shows less respect for astrology in the video, calling it a pseudoscience. That fits with my official positions on astrology, "astrology is bunk, but it's fun bunk" and "harmless but fun nonsense that I'm presenting for entertainment purposes only."

Finally, it's the twelfth anniversary of my posting First post: Why this blog? I have a new birthday song to celebrate, Happy Birthday from Stevie Wonder.

I'm surprised it took me this long to find and use this. It's been up for almost five years. I might also re-use this for MLK Day next year.

I'll continue my celebration of completing another year of blogging and starting another with statistics followed by retrospectives on (Wayback) Wednesdays, (Throwback) Thursdays, (Flashback) Fridays and selected Sundays through the rest of this month and probably all of April. Those will start after I observe World Water Day tomorrow. Stay tuned.

*This is not a coincidence. From the Wikipedia entry for the Solar Hijri calendar: "Each of the twelve months corresponds with a zodiac sign; their names are the same as ancient Zoroastrian names from the Zoroastrian calendar – in Afghanistan on the other hand, the names of the zodiacal signs are used instead."

Monday, March 20, 2023

1987 Cadets 'Appalachian Spring' for a drum corps Vernal Equinox

Happy Vernal Equinox! Instead of science lessons from Neil deGrasse Tyson or WDIV and TODAY, I have decided to turn this into another drum corps holiday. Watch and listen to Garfield Cadets 1987 Full Show Multicam (Appalachian Spring) HQ Audio 1st Place.

1st Place - 97.90 Appalachian Spring by Aaron Copland
This is much better quality than the first of two official clips I'm sharing in the very likely case this video is taken down, Cadets History - 1987 from The Cadets official YouTube channel.

Cadets 1987 - Selections from Appalachian Spring

Finished 1st - 97.90
Next, the official clip from Drum Corps International, DVD Spotlight: Garfield Cadets 1987, which features a later part of the show.

Both this clip and the one before will still be here when the first video is taken down. As I write repeatedly about unofficial uploads, enjoy them while they last.

I included a food video instead of a drink video in The history of the Irish in America for St. Patrick's Day and Irish American Heritage Month, so I'm making up for it by embedding Common Man Cocktails' 5 Great Spring Cocktails To Learn & Master...Fun Spring Cocktails!

Here are five great spring cocktails that you can learn and master for your next spring fun times. Party loud with some fresh berries, fruits and other spring time ingredients to impress your friends and your face.
"Crit happens" — as a former D&D player, I appreciate that. I also found it appropriate that Derrick was wearing it when he dropped something, as that's what usually happened when my friends and I rolled a 1.

That concludes the 12th year of Crazy Eddie's Motie News. Stay tuned for Nowruz, which is also this blog's 12th birthday, followed by World Water Day.

Sunday, March 19, 2023

Vox explains how Ozempic works and why a shortage developed

I'm taking a scientific tack on the Sunday entertainment feature today by examining Ozempic, which the FDA originally approved it as a diabetes treatment but has become popular in Hollywood as a weight-loss drug, enough so that Jimmy Kimmel opened his Oscars monologue with a joke about it. That piqued my curiosity, as I'm a diabetic and my doctor has recommended that I see if my insurance will cover it and similar drugs like Mounjaro and Wegovy. I haven't done that yet, since I'm controlling my blood sugar and losing weight on Farxiga while using less insulin. I decided I would hold off on following through with his suggestion until I stopped losing weight on my current drug regimen. Seeing all the buzz around the drug made me curious, so I watched when Vox uploaded Ozempic is a game-changer. Here’s how it works. Now I'm sharing it with my readers.

This diabetes drug could be the future of weight management.
Ozempic, a medication developed to manage type 2 diabetes, has been in the news a lot lately because of one of its signature side effects: drastic weight loss. Both Ozempic and Wegovy, Ozempic’s counterpart approved specifically for weight loss by the FDA, are brand names of a drug called semaglutide. Semaglutide is one of several drugs that mimics a crucial digestive hormone called glucagon-like peptide 1, or GLP-1. It amplifies a process our bodies perform naturally.

GLP-1 is released in our intestines when we eat, and there are receptors for the hormone in cells all over the body. In the pancreas, GLP-1 promotes the production of insulin and suppresses the production of glucagon. This helps insulin-resistant bodies, like those with type 2 diabetes or obesity, manage blood sugar levels. In the stomach, GLP-1 slows gastric emptying, extending the feeling of being full. In the brain, GLP-1 suppresses appetite, which also promotes satiety and curbs hunger, so we eat less.

In late 2022, a rush to use Ozempic off-label for weight loss, likely prompted by its sudden rise in popularity in social media, led to a shortage of the drug for people who need it. But more drugs like semaglutide are currently in the process of being approved by the FDA to be prescribed for weight loss, likely signaling an end to the shortage and a promising new generation of medical treatment of obesity.
There's a lot about Ozempic we didn't have time to get into in this video, including more about medical discrimination around obesity and more context around recent drug shortages. This article from our website, written by Julia Belluz, provides more info:
Mila "The Hangry Woman" responded in the comments.
Mila here! Thanks to everyone for your supportive comments and Vox for letting me share my experience. When I started Ozempic for diabetes management, few people talked about the effects, so I decided to document my progress.

I'm so grateful that it has made diabetes management easier for me but disheartened that vanity weight loss has made it out of reach for patients who need it. Jimmy Kimmel even made a joke about it at the Oscars – that's what I meant by vanity weight loss and trivializing the medication.

I hope this is a good solution for people living with diabetes and obesity, but even more so, that the long-term effects don't cause additional health challenges. That remains to be seen, and I'll be documenting it for as long as I need it (or can afford it or access it).
First, I found this to be an informative video that helped me understand how the drug works and make me more interested in taking it. I also think my students would appreciate it. I had just lectured about hormones and the endocrine system a couple of weeks ago, but I'll be lecturing on the digestive system during the next two weeks and this would fit in there, too. This means that blogging about the video makes for good personal development, but also professional development.

Second, the effects of GLP-1 on various organs in the body and the drug's side effects both work as examples of "everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch" (the drug's cost might work for that as well). I'm not sure about it being an example of "nature knows best."

Third, there is something to be said about inequality of access to health care, celebrity culture, and attitudes about weight and weight loss, but I think the articles I linked to say them better, so read them.

Finally, it's always a good day when I learn something new. I hope my readers feel the same way.

Stay tuned for the Vernal Equinox tomorrow, the last post of the current blogging year, followed by Nowruz, which is also this blog's 12th birthday, and World Water Day. Holidays galore!

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Wall Street Journal and CNBC explain the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank

I've already shared a comedic closer look at the reactions to the failure of Silicon Valley Bank, so it's time for a serious examination of the bank collapse, beginning with The Wall Street Journal explaining How Silicon Valley Bank Collapsed in 36 Hours | What Went Wrong.

Silicon Valley Bank collapsed in less than two days when FDIC regulators seized control. In that time, the bank’s stock price fell over 60%, a $42 billion bank run was sparked and a liquidity crisis ensued.

Here’s how SVB’s collapse became the second largest U.S. bank failure ever, and what it means for customers in the future.
I mentioned that increasing interest rates, which is inverting the yield curve, work by reducing demand in Vox asks 'Why is everything getting so expensive?' They also disrupt investment strategies, like SVB's, when they change rapidly. That led to a chain reaction ending in SVB's collapse, a demonstration of "everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch." However, it might not end there, as CNBC asked Did Silicon Valley Bank Start a Banking Crisis?

Silicon Valley Bank is no more. The question now, though, is whether the collapse of this tech-friendly regional bank is the start of something more serious — or just what happens when higher interest rates give companies less room for error.
So will we be partying like 1929? Or will the FDIC, Federal Reserve, Treasury Department, and "too big to fail" banks contain the damage? I hope for and expect the latter, but stay tuned to find out. At its core, this blog is still about collapse and this is exactly the kind of story I created this blog for.

Speaking of staying tuned, come back tomorrow for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will not be about "Saturday Night Live" — no new show until April First, no fooling!

Friday, March 17, 2023

The history of the Irish in America for St. Patrick's Day and Irish American Heritage Month

Happy St. Patrick's Day! Instead of Tipsy Bartender drink recipes for St. Patrick's Day, I'm sharing educational content like 2021's PBS Digital's Storied tells the tale of leprechauns for St. Patrick's Day. I begin with the History Channel's Why America Loves/Hated the Irish.

Today, Irish traditions are seamlessly embedded in American culture. But once upon a time, the American people rejected—even hated—those immigrating from the Emerald Isle.
National Day Calendar featured more history in March is Irish American Heritage Month.

Criss-crossing the country, Irish-American Heritage holds rich traditions and an unmistakable can-do spirit. Their infectious character and indomitable personalities have brought us 22 presidents including Ulysses S. Grant, John F. Kennedy, Ronald Regan, and Barack Obama to name a few. From inventor and businessman, Henry Ford to journalist Nellie Bly, author F. Scott Fitzgerald and dancer Gene Kelly, their endless talents fill many roles.
As an Irish-American, I'm proud to be among this company.

I'm breaking with tradition by not embedding a drink recipe. Instead, I'm sharing a food video from National Day Calendar, as today is also National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day.

To “corn” something is simply to preserve it in a salty brine (the term corn refers to the coarse grains of salt used for curing).

Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product. Traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage recipes used salt pork or a bacon joint instead of corned beef. However, sometime in the mid-1800s when the Irish immigrated to America, they found Jewish corned beef very similar in texture to the bacon joint (pork).

As a result, they used corned beef as a replacement for the bacon when preparing corned beef and cabbage meals. Soon after, Irish-Americans began having Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.
Between watching that video and smelling the brisket cooking, I'm getting hungry. That means it's time to stop writing. I hope my readers enjoyed viewing this post as much as I did writing it. I also hope they learned something from it and share my sentiment that any day I learn something new is a good day.

Thursday, March 16, 2023

Seth Meyers takes closer looks at Silicon Valley Bank

While I've been busy celebrating minor holidays, the federal government has been rescuing Silicon Valley Bank, which failed late last week because of an old-fashioned bank run. I don't think I've blogged about one of those since I posted Ten years ago, we were partying like it was 1929. Are we about to do it again? That was five years ago and was a call back to Four years ago, we were partying like 1929--what a difference today! Both of those were actually about 2008, fifteen years ago. Wow, it's been a while!

Since it's easier for me to approach a topic through comedy (and my readers seem to like it better, too), I'm sharing two closer look segments from Seth Meyers, beginning with last night's DeSantis and GOP Blame "Wokeness" for Bank Crisis After Gutting Dodd-Frank: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the Republican Party going all in on the pathetic claim that Silicon Valley Bank collapsed because it was "woke," while they also desperately try to prop up Ron DeSantis with glowing profiles and easy interviews on Fox News.
I'm repurposing my reaction from Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Republicans reacting to the Ohio train derailment so I can recycle it here.
[B]laming [economic] problems on liberal social policy looks like changing the rationale for attacking the same targets the GOP is aiming at already. They're more interested in beating up on the recipients of their ire than actually solving the problems.
All I had to do was change environmental to economic. I continued by writing that "It also comes off as hypocrisy and projection." That ties into Monday night's segment on Silicon Valley Bank's failure, Trump Blamed for Gutting Financial Rules After Silicon Valley Bank Collapse: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at the Biden administration trying to stem the fallout from the sudden collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, which has put a spotlight on efforts by the Trump administration to weaken financial rules that could have prevented the crisis.
"Oh, no, our economic policies couldn't have caused an economic crisis. Our opponents' social policies had to." When all a party has is culture war, then every issue becomes part of the culture war, even when social policy has nothing to do with it. It's enough to drive one to drink, but I usually save that for St. Patrick's Day. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

2016 Cadets 'Awakening' for a drum corps Ides of March

Beware the Ides of March! For this year's celebration, I'm recycling the concept behind 'Pines of Rome' for a drum corps Ides of March with 2016 Cadets | Awakening | Allentown, PA from Drum Corps International.

Selections from from Ottorino Respighi's "Pines of Rome" performed as part of The Cadets' 2016 production, "Awakening." Recorded August 6, 2016 at the DCI Eastern Classic at J. Birney Crum Stadium in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
DCI had already uploaded this video when I posted Courtney Coulston reacts to Phantom Regiment's Spartacus for a drum corps Ides of March, but I saved it for this year. It (usually) pays to conserve one's resources. That's the environmental lesson for today, which has been about death and destruction in the Roman world and other dire warnings, leavened with drum corps shows inspired by ancient Rome.

Stay tuned for a non-holiday post tomorrow, followed by St. Patrick's Day, the Vernal Equinox, Nowruz, which is also this blog's 12th birthday, and World Water Day. Holidays galore!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

'The Infinite Life of Pi' for Pi Day, International Day of Mathematics, and Science Education Day!

Happy Pi Day and International Day of Mathematics! To celebrate, I'm embedding The infinite life of pi - Reynaldo Lopes from TED-Ed.

The ratio of a circle's circumference to its diameter is always the same: 3.14159... and on and on (literally!) forever. This irrational number, pi, has an infinite number of digits, so we'll never figure out its exact value no matter how close we seem to get. Reynaldo Lopes explains pi's vast applications to the study of music, financial models, and even the density of the universe.

Lesson by Reynaldo Lopes, animation by Igor Coric.
That's a ten-year-old math lesson that I can't believe I haven't seen before. As I have written before, it's a good day when I learn something new.

Speaking of learning something new, I learned that today is also Science Education Day. Take it away, 8SA!

Science Education Day (March 14) - Activities and How to Celebrate Science Education Day

Science Education Day is celebrated on March 14th of every year. Science is all around us, and we could notice it in every walk of life. Most of us are introduced to the science subject in our school classrooms.
I'm a science educator, so every day I work is Science Education Day. Just the same, it's nice to know that there is an actual day for it and it's one I observe already.

I end with a warning about tomorrow: Beware the Ides of March!

Monday, March 13, 2023

John Oliver on Tucker Carlson, a blast from the past

Happy Monday the 13th! For today's observance of Garfield the cat's least favorite day, I'm following a recommendation to myself in Colbert and Meyers take closer looks at Tucker Carlson and Fox News: "'[Y]our comment reminds me that I should post John Oliver's video about [Carlson]'...That's on my to-do list." There's no better day than today, so here's Tucker Carlson: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) from March 15, 2021. Beware the Ides of March!

Tucker Carlson is admired by white nationalists, elected officials, and maybe some of your relatives or coworkers. Given that he has the ear of so many Americans, John Oliver explains where Tucker came from, what his rhetorical tactics are, and what he represents.
I hadn't watched this before today and I'm struck by how well this segment holds up and how consistent Carlson has been about whitewashing the January 6th insurrectionists. I'm also struck by how well Carlson has learned the wrong lessons from other right-wing media figures. MSNBC's Chris Hayes examined one such lesson in The Tucker Carlson villain origin story.

Chris Hayes: “That video right there—Tucker getting booed at CPAC—might as well be his villain origin story.”
I'm not the least bit surprised, so I'm reiterating what I last repeated in Colbert examines Rupert Murdoch's deposition, DeSantis's book, and Sedition Panda's arrest.
I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling what I first wrote in 2011, "America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainm­ent." I'm also recycling what I wrote yesterday: "Telling the Fox News audience a truth they didn't want to hear messed with their entertainment, they reacted to get it back, and Fox gave it back to them."
The clip Hayes showed of the 2009 CPAC audience booing Carlson showed that was true even before he was on Fox News. Some things haven't changed other than to become worse.

Enough politics. Stay tuned for a string of holidays, beginning with Pi Day and International Day of Mathematics, the Ides of March, and St. Patrick's Day 2022.

Sunday, March 12, 2023

Weekend Update on 'SNL' reports on Tucker Carlson, rats carrying COVID, and the Oscars

"Saturday Night Live" more than lived up to my expectations to be part two of the Sunday entertainment feature as the show opened with a send-up of Oscars red (but not this year) carpet coverage and Weekend Update: Tucker Carlson's Texts About Trump, Biden's Billionaire Tax included a joke connecting Volodymyr Zelenskyy with the apparent snub of Viola Davis.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Tucker Carlson releasing edited footage from the January 6 capitol attack.
I'll return to the Oscars at the end of the post. Right now, I'm glad that 'SNL' gave its own take on Tucker Carlson and Fox News, along with other stories I should write about, like Biden's tax plan. The next segment I'm embedding features one of those stories, Weekend Update: New York City Rats Carry COVID, Berlin's Topless Pools.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like a man's plan to live underwater for 100 days.
I'm not the least bit surprised that rats carry COVID-19. Deer carry COVID, so why not rats?

One bit of silly political news deserved its own segment, Weekend Update: Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally on Gay Instagram Thirst Traps.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (Molly Kearney) stops by Weekend Update to address getting caught commenting and liking on gay thirst traps on Instagram.
*Snork* As the meme says:

Also, projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism.

Follow over the jump for two more segments that qualify this as part two of the Sunday entertainment feature.

Nominees for Original Song plus my borrowed predictions of the Oscar winners

For part one of the Sunday entertainment feature, I am making good on my promise at the end of 'Fox & Friends' won't say anything about the Dominion lawsuit, so 'SNL' says it for them in its cold open before it turns into a pumpkin: "I guess I'll have to make my own Oscar predictions when I write about 'Everything Everywhere All at Once' and 'RRR.'" The two movies are only competing against each other in one category, Best Achievement in Music Written for Motion Pictures (Original Song), along with "Black Panther: Wakanda Forever," "Tell It Like A Woman," and "Top Gun: Maverick." Fortunately, I found a compilation video of all five songs with exactly the preview image I wanted, BEST ORIGINAL SONG NOMINEES - OSCARS 2022 - 2023 from Scores & Soundtracks.*

00:00 “Lift Me Up” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler & Ludwig Göransson, Lyric by Tems & Ryan Coogler)
02:52 “This Is A Life” from Everything Everywhere All at Once (Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne & Mitski, Lyric by Ryan Lott & David Byrne)
05:10 “Naatu Naatu” from RRR (Music by MM Keeravaani, Lyric by Chandrabose)
08:28 “Applause” from Tell It like a Woman (Music & Lyric by Diane Warren)
11:26 “Hold My Hand” from Top Gun: Maverick (Music & Lyric by lady Gaga & Bloodpop)
I was prepared to find fault with this field, but I liked every one of the nominees. "Lift Me Up," "Applause," and "Hold My Hand" are very pretty and emotional songs, while I found "This Is a Life" to be exactly as interesting and quirky as I expected from David Byrne. This is Byrne's second Oscar nomination, but his first for Original Song. He shared an Oscar win for Best Music, Original Score in 1988 for "The Last Emperor." In contrast, Diane Warren has 14 Academy Award nominations, but will only receive an honorary Oscar this year. She's not winning Original Song this year, either. Instead, I'm pretty sure that "Naatu Naatu" will take home the little gold man as the only Oscar for "RRR." Unlike all the other nominees, "Naatu Naatu" made me want to get up and dance. I didn't care that it's in Telegu, not English; the rhythm and enthusiasm are that contagious.

Follow over the jump for my borrowed predictions, which I'm taking from Gold Derby.

Saturday, March 11, 2023

Three years of COVID-19 arriving in Michigan and being declared a global pandemic

I closed The pros and cons of permanent Daylight Saving Time by telling my readers "I'm hoping to see more videos about three years of COVID-19 in the U.S. tomorrow, which is the actual third anniversary of the WHO declaring it a global pandemic. Stay tuned to see if that happens." It did. ABC 13 in Grand Rapids observed the anniversary by uploading Saturday, March 11 marks 3 year anniversary of COVID-19 pandemic.

On March 11th, 2020, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic.

What followed, were travel bans, stay-at-home orders and mandatory masking.

1.[1] million Americans have died from the virus the most of any country in the world and among them, more than 42,000 Michiganders.
Officially, the U.S. has the most deaths from COVID-19 with Worldometer listing 1,148,765, followed by Brazil with 699,310 deaths, and India reporting 530,780. I suspect all of them have under-reported deaths from the disease, but especially India, as I wrote last May: "I was always a little skeptical that India had fewer deaths than the U.S. from the pandemic. An estimate of 4.7 million may be higher than I expected, but I really do think India had more deaths than the U.S.'s 1 million." Still, that's merely a suspicion, not a fact.

WOOD-TV also observed the two anniversaries, concentrating on the third anniversary of the first cases in the Great Lakes State, in COVID-19 in Michigan 3 years after first cases.

On March 10, 2020, Michigan health leaders confirmed the state's first two cases of COVID-19. Three years later, the chief medical executive is reflecting on the pandemic, what has been learned and where we stand today.
I'm glad vaccines and more effective treatments exist to make COVID-19 less dangerous and scary. My wife and I are the beneficiaries of both, as I mentioned in 'The First Wave' wins three News & Documentary Emmy Awards. While we haven't had any lingering symptoms besides modestly lower energy levels and some slight brain fog, there are lots of people who are suffering from worse syndromes. The economy has also not fully recovered, either. Follow over the jump for two reports from outside Michigan about both.

Friday, March 10, 2023

The pros and cons of permanent Daylight Saving Time

Change of plans — instead of observing the third anniversary of the pandemic reaching Michigan, I'm blogging about Daylight Saving Time, which Colbert says "is not helpful and has no upside."* I begin with Efforts to make Daylight Saving Time permanent return from WOOD-TV.

I'm being a good environmentalist by reycling what I wrote in PBS NewsHour examines Daylight Saving Time last November.
I like this summary of the issue, including the history of changing the clocks and "locking the clock" and the controversy over which time to stay on, standard or daylight saving time. It's the latter that is keeping the House from passing the Sunshine Protection Act. Which would my readers prefer? Answer in the comments, either here or on Facebook.
The previous House of Representatives never did act on the Sunshine Protection Act. Maybe the current Republican House majority might pass it, that is, if they make time for agenda items beyond Twitter hearings and other grievance-driven grandstanding.

The disagreement over which time to settle on, standard time or Daylight Saving Time, stems from competing concerns over health, economics, and personal preference. The science usually supports staying on standard time, as "NOVA" on PBS explains in Why Experts Say Permanent Daylight Saving Time is Unhealthy.

The misalignment of our internal clocks and the sun could result in a handful of heath concerns, experts say.
WDIV/Click On Detroit offers a contrary view in Daylight Saving Time starts this weekend: How it benefits your health.

Springing forward may be annoying for some, but the extra daylight we have during Daylight Saving Time can be great for your health and the community. Here's why.
I just want the twice a year time changing to stop. I'll go with whatever the rest of you decide. Just make a decision!

*I found more and better videos for Daylight Saving Time than for the third year of the pandemic today, which is also why I posted ABC News asks 'Who is Perry Johnson?' I'm hoping to see more videos about three years of COVID-19 in the U.S. tomorrow, which is the actual third anniversary of the WHO declaring it a global pandemic. Stay tuned to see if that happens.

ABC News asks 'Who is Perry Johnson?'

I featured two presidential candidates, Marianne Williamson and Nikki Haley, on International Women's Day. I'm examining another who hails from Michigan today. ABC asks and answers Who is Perry Johnson?

Republican Perry Johnson kicked off his 2024 presidential campaign at CPAC last weekend.
Yes, Perry beat Nikki Haley, coming in third to Donald Trump and Ron DeSantis in the CPAC straw poll. That means that he should be taken at least as seriously as Haley, despite his lack of experience in government.

On the other hand, he does have some experience in politics, but it's not good. He was one of the best-polling candidates running for the Republican nominations for Michigan Governor, but he didn't have enough valid signatures, so he was kicked off the ballot, resulting in Tudor Dixon earning the nomination instead. WDIV addressed this in Michigan millionaire Perry Johnson sets sights on presidency.

Michigan millionaire and failed candidate for governor is setting his sights on the White House. Johnson is running nearly $200,000 worth of ads during the Super Bowl in three Iowa TV markets. In an interview Friday from his office in Troy, Johnson took aim at the Democratic party’s decision to move their first primary to South Carolina.
Perry sounds like he's not worried about history repeating. As long as he meets each state's filing deadlines, he should be on their ballots. Let's see if that happens.

Enough politics. Stay tuned for a post about the third anniversary of the pandemic reaching Michigan and much of the rest of the country.

Thursday, March 9, 2023

Colbert and Meyers take closer looks at Tucker Carlson and Fox News

While I was busy celebrating Purim, Holi, and International Women's Day, the late-night talk show hosts were busy with the Fox News-Dominion lawsuit and especially Tucker Carlson. I begin with Stephen Colbert's monologue from last night, Tucker Carlson Is The Biggest Hypocrite At Fox News | Oklahoma Loves Marijuana.

The Dominion lawsuit against Fox News has revealed that Tucker Carlson publicly supported the former president while privately despising him. Elsewhere, Oklahomans rejected an effort to legalize recreational use of marijuana.
Not a bad parody of "Oklahoma," although that's not why I'm sharing this video. I'm here to share the mocking of Carlson's selective editing of the January 6th footage and his hypocrisy over "The Big Lie," which Seth Meyers also examined in Tucker Carlson Said He Hates Trump "Passionately" in Bombshell Court Filing: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at new bombshell text messages that reveal what Fox News hosts like Tucker Carlson really say about Trump in private.
Both Colbert and Meyers pointed out Carlson's hypocrisy. They also reinforced a point I've been making since 2012, when I posted Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism. Fox News is and was doing exactly what it accused its competition of being and doing, a major media company lying to its viewers.

I returning to Colbert for the previous night's monologue, Tucker’s Transparent Jan 6th Propaganda | Feds Nab Spider-Nazi | Kari Lake May Be T****’s VP Pick.

Tucker Carlson used the Jan 6th footage he got from House Speaker Kevin McCarthy to cherry-pick innocuous clips in an attempt to rewrite what we all saw happen with our own eyes that day. Elsewhere, federal authorities arrested their 1000th insurrectionist, and failed Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake may be the former president’s running mate in 2024.
I must not leave out Kevin "Pickled Tongue" McCarthy's role in making Carlson's whitewashing of January 6th possible, which even Mitch McConnell objected to. He's certainly living down to my nickname for him.

These videos remind me of my response to my friend Nebris's comment to Jon Stewart examines the problem with Fox News.
BTW, your comment reminds me that I should post John Oliver's video about [Carlson]. Also, did you know that his dad was head of the Voice of America during the closing years of the Cold War? Broadcasting propaganda runs in the family.
That's on my to-do list. In the meantime, stay tuned for anniversaries of the pandemic arriving in Michigan, the Fukushima triple disaster, Daylight Saving Time beginning, the Razzies winners, and highlights of this week's "Saturday Night Live" episode. Busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

Marianne Williamson and Nikki Haley, two women running for President on International Women's Day

Happy International Women's Day! For this year's celebration, I'm returning to the themes of 2018 and 2019, women running for high office. Unlike 2019, when a record six women were running for President, only two have announced their candidacies so far, Marianne Williamson challenging Joe Biden and Nikki Haley challenging Donald Trump (and probably Ron DeSantis, who is almost certainly running but hasn't announced his candidacy yet). Both face steep uphill battles in their quests to earn their parties' nominations. Follow over the jump as I cover both of them.

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Happy Purim and an early happy Holi!

Happy Purim and Holi to my readers! To celebrate, I'm sharing this video about both holidays, India and Israel’s Craziest Festivals -- Holi and Purim.

The Jewish Festival of Purim and the Indian Festival of Holi have an amazing connection!
As I first wrote eight years ago, "I don't celebrate Purim anywhere else but on this blog, but I'm all in favor of fun holidays and this one certainly qualifies." So does Holi. Happy Purim and happy Holi! Now stay tuned for International Women's Day.

Monday, March 6, 2023

John Oliver discusses Ron DeSantis

I had something else planned today, but then I saw the notification for Ron DeSantis: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO). Change of plans!

John Oliver discusses Ron DeSantis, his track record as the governor of Florida, the pitfalls of comparing him to Donald Trump, and the supposed dangers of “woke math.”
While I can think of several people as deserving of the "Last Week Tonight with John Oliver" treatment, I can't think of anyone more deserving than Ron DeSantis.

Stay tuned for a combined celebration of Purim, which begins at sundown tonight, and Holi, which is Wednesday, but I'm celebrating it early because of International Women's Day.

Sunday, March 5, 2023

'Fox & Friends' won't say anything about the Dominion lawsuit, so 'SNL' says it for them in its cold open

I telegraphed the subject of this post at the conclusion of 'The Martha Mitchell Effect,' 'Stranger at the Gate,' and 'How Do You Measure a Year?' — three Oscar-nominated short documentaries.
That's part one of the Sunday entertainment feature. Stay tuned for the highlights of last night's "Saturday Night Live" episode, which will serve as part two.
I begin, like the show, with Fox & Friends Cold Open: Dominion Lawsuit.

The hosts of Fox & Friends (Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang) discuss the news that Fox News is being sued for lying to viewers about the 2020 election.
This is the fourth comedic take on the Fox News-Dominion lawsuit, including Rupert Murdoch's deposition. I suppose I should write something serious about it, but like George Santos, as long as the story is in the news, it will be an inspiration for comedy.

Speaking of Representative Santos, his name came up in Weekend Update: Tennessee Bans Public Drag Shows, Trump Lashes Out at DeSantis.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like the House Ethics Committee opening an investigation into George Santos.
I think The Former Guy attacking Ron DeSantis over Social Security and Medicare is an example of a stuck clock (and is TFG ever a stuck clock!) being right twice a day. Other than that, I'll let the following meme express my opinion of the spat.

Weekend Update had more about Scott Adams and Dilbert, which I'll get to over the jump.

'The Martha Mitchell Effect,' 'Stranger at the Gate,' and 'How Do You Measure a Year?' — three Oscar-nominated short documentaries

I ended 'The Elephant Whisperers' and 'Haulout' - two Oscar-nominated short documentaries for World Wildlife Day with a program note: "Factual America has a video about the other three nominees for Best Short Documentary, which I promise to share. When I do, I'll probably handicap their odds." Here's that video, Oscar Nominations 2023 | Three Short Docs, Three Compelling Stories.

The Martha Mitchell Effect Martha Mitchell, wife of John Mitchell, Attorney General of the US under President Richard Nixon, was not afraid to speak ‘truth to power’. She was so influential that President Nixon would go on to say that without her, there would have been no Watergate scandal.

Despite her important role, Mitchell has, in the years since Watergate, become a forgotten figure. Co-producer of The Martha Mitchell Effect, Judith Mizrachy states that this is a result of a successful gaslighting campaign against her. The film aims to give Mitchell the credit she is due.

How Do You Measure A Year?
Jay Rosenblatt started filming conversations with his daughter, Ella, when she was just two years old. He continued to do so every year on her birthday until she turned 18. In How Do You Measure A Year? we see those conversations evolve as Ella goes from being a ‘toddler to [a] young woman’.

How Do You Measure a Year? represents Jay’s desire to learn and help Ella grow up, to empower her, and, as Jay says, help her to be herself.

Stranger at the Gate
A US Marine returns home from active service filled with hatred towards Muslims. He builds a bomb, intending to blow up his local mosque. But then, he meets the Muslims who worship there. They treat him with kindness and love. And that’s after they discover what he intended to do.

For director Joshua Seftel, Stranger at the Gate comes out of his wider The Secret Life of Muslims project, which is his attempt to counter the hatred Muslims received after 9/11. Stranger is an extraordinary story of friendship, forgiveness and reconciliation.

Joshua notes how divided people have become today but also how we can ‘build impossible bridges between each other’ so that strangers may become friends.
Last year was Martha Mitchell's year in media. Not only is she the subject of this short documentary, she was the subject of her own Emmy-nominated limited series on Showtime, where Julia Roberts played her. Unfortunately, it won no Emmys, which I why I didn't mention it in 'The White Lotus' leads limited series nominees at the 2022 Emmy Awards. Darn.

While I don't write about my children much here, I do have two daughters and a son, so I think I would appreciate "How Do You Measure a Year?" It's just a shame that it's not available to stream at home. Speaking of which, it's a common theme among archival documentaries like "Summer of Soul," "Good Night Oppy," and "Fire of Love" that they got their starts while filmmakers were staying at home during the pandemic.

My reaction to how the congregants on the Muncie mosque treated the ex-Marine who wanted to kill them in "Stranger at the Gate" is to quote my favorite Bible verse, Romans 12:20, itself a quote of Proverbs 25:21 and 25:22: “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.”  The movie shows it can work.

Now for the handicapping. Based on the number of awards and nominations, "Haulout" has the most with seven wins and seven nominations, followed by "How Do You Measure a Year?" with two wins and seven nominations, "Stranger at the Gate" with two wins and three nominations, "The Elephant Whisperers" with four nominations, and The Martha Mitchell Effect with three nominations. Based on that criterion, "Haulout" should be favored, but nearly all of those honors are from European film festivals, which do not have the same electorate at the Academy Awards. As I repeat in nearly all my awards show coverage, electorates matter. The same is true of "How Do You Measure a Year." That written, I think it would be favored if distribution were equal, as this is Jay Rosenblatt's second Oscar nomination, so the Academy voters know him. Those who went to the theaters to watch his documentary may vote for it. What will work against his winning is that Netflix has been spending money on its nominees, "The Elephant Whisperers" and "The Martha Mitchell Effect." I know; I've been seeing Netflix's promoted tweets about the two films. Also, both "Haulout" and "Stranger at the Gate" are on YouTube, and so are easily watched at home. The lack of a distributor may hurt "How Do You Measure a Year?"

That's part one of the Sunday entertainment feature. Stay tuned for the highlights of last night's "Saturday Night Live" episode, which will serve as part two.

Previous entries about the 2023 Academy Awards

Saturday, March 4, 2023

Tuesday Morning filed for bankruptcy again, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

It's time for another tale of the Retail Apocalypse from Erik of Retail Archaeology, Tuesday Morning: Bankrupt Again!

In this episode of Retail Archaeology we take a look at a Tuesday Morning store liquidation sale and discuss their second bankruptcy filing.
I embedded Erik's earlier video in Chuck E. Cheese, GNC, and Tuesday Morning all file for bankruptcy, tales of the Retail Apocalypse during the pandemic. I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling my reaction.
Erik's video shows that the company had likely had issues even before the crisis hit, just like Chuck E. Cheese and GNC. As I wrote in April, the pandemic is just accelerating existing retail trends. Companies that were already in trouble are the ones to succumb first.
It looks like Tuesday Morning never got out of trouble. That doesn't mean that it didn't have fans and that the closed stores won't be missed. Watch Tuesday Morning closing 16 Colorado stores from KUSA News9 to see a couple of news anchors mourn for their local stores closing.

Home goods store Tuesday Morning plans to close 265 stores as part of a bankruptcy filing, including 16 locations in Colorado.

The sixteen Tuesday Morning stores include locations in Denver, Colorado Springs, Littleton, Castle Rock, Fort Collins, Longmont, Wheat Ridge, Johnstown, Sheridan, Grand Junction, Silverthorne, Parker, Northglenn, and Pueblo.

Dallas-based Tuesday Morning filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday. The 265 closures are more than half of Tuesday Morning's stores.

According to Business Insider, the closures target the company's least profitable stores while it attempts to reorganize itself.

Tuesday Morning also filed for bankruptcy in 2020, when its store count went from 700 to its current 487.

Tuesday Morning posted to its website the 16 stores it plans to close in Colorado saying "everything on sale."
That was the most comprehensive description. Here's the video with the most informative preview image, WFAA's Dallas-based Tuesday Morning files for bankruptcy, some stores to close.

The Dallas-based home decor retailer is set to close stores in "low-traffic regions."
This won't be the end of the company, as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and plans on keeping more than half of its current stores, but I'm with Erik; its days may be numbered.

Stay tuned for the highlights of tonight's "Saturday Night Live" episode, which may or may not be the Sunday entertainment feature. I could post a second entry tomorrow, just as I did today.