Thursday, December 29, 2016
One of the Top Ten and most iconic episodes of Star Trek, the original series, Trouble with Tribbles, first aired December 29, 1967. The tribbles made additional appearances in the animated series, More Tribbles, More Troubles and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Trials and Tribbile-ations.
According to imdb.com, tribbles had cameos in Star Trek III: Search for Spock, Star Trek: Into the Darkness and Star Trek: Enterprise.
Busy little things!
Wednesday, December 28, 2016
Trump and Trumpsters have an unhealthy, inexplicable love affair with the coal industry and the GOP sees itself as its savior. During his campaign, Trump maligned President Obama, Hillary Clinton and the EPA by stating they had declared war on the coal industry. Trump promised to repeal “all the job-destroying Obama executive actions”. In his America First Energy Plan he actually said the difference is between wealth and poverty.
What does Trump know about poverty?
It’s obvious he and his cabinet know nothing about science, either. Or reading.
At the Republican National Convention, the GOP listed coal’s wonderful quality and vowed to dismantle Obama’s Clean Power Plan, which limits emissions from coal-fired power plants. GOP Activist David Barton, who has absolutely no background in science, convinced delegates, who approved unanimously to add the adjective ‘clean’ to the platform’s statement:
“The Democratic Party does not understand that coal is an abundant, clean, affordable, reliable domestic energy resource.”
What the Republican Party does not understand is that Democrats are not as stupid as the GOP is. Democrats base their energy platform on facts, not personal beliefs. Coal can be made less harmful but it cannot be made clean.
Barton’s wording comes from the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). In a July 11, 2016 posting, the ACCCE set about to debunk ‘myths’ about coal fired power plants. Addressing the ‘myth’ that coal-fired plants are dirty, the site references an EPA article from 2016.
This is where the GOP and the ACCCE lied to mislead the public. The first citation claims the EPA states the total tonnage of three major pollutants (SO2, NOx and PM) has been reduced by 83% since 1970.
The article, National Air Pollutant Emission Trends, 1900-1998 does NOT say that. Yes, some air pollutant levels have declined but due to the EPA’s Clean Air Act, which the GOP promises to eliminate! And the reductions are nowhere near what ACCCE claims the EPA said.
Sec. 3.4.1, page 54 states:
“As a result of the EPA’s regulations SO2 and PM10 emissions from coal-fired electric power facilities fell by 8 and 85 percent, respectively.” Note the ACCCE quote does not differentiate between PM10 (particulate matter less than 10 microns in diameter) and PM2.5 (particulate matter less than 2.5 microns in diameter).
The numerous data tables also show the coal-fired industry is not as rosy as the GOP would have you think. The ACCCE ignored coal’s contribution to carbon monoxide which has soared since 1970 (Table 3-1). Coal emitted NO2, which ACCCE said had been reduced, has also increased since 1970 (Table 3-2).
I could continue but I'll let you read the reports for yourself. Links are below.
The GOP has been outspoken in criticizing NOAA and NASA, accusing them of falsifying data. But they have no data of their own to support their claims. They lied and they knew it and they don’t care.
Just as long as you voted for them.
Nichelle Nichols, born December 28, 1932, is beloved by billions as Lt. Nyota Uhura from Star Trek. Her role was one of the first, if not THE first, non-stereotypical role for an African-American. She and William Shatner shared the first inter-racial kiss on television, which drew overwhelming positive reaction although a friend of mine told me his father almost made him stop watching Star Trek because of it.
While at NASA, she recruited astronauts Guion Bluford (first African-American astronaut) and Ronald McNair (another African-American astronaut lost in the Challenger explosion). She was the inspiration for Mae C. Jemison to become the first African-American female astronaut.
Nichelle even has an asteroid named in her honor: 68410 Nichols discovered August 16, 2001.
Tuesday, December 27, 2016
Beautiful Carrie Fisher, who, as Princess Leia, stole the plans to the Death Star and our hearts, has passed away. She has been one of my favorite actresses since Star Wars: A New Hope, even when she played a bitchy sister-in-law in Sibling Rivalry. It was so good to see her in the latest film, Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
She will always be remembered as the beautiful, feisty Leia.
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes, The Ring-a-Ding Girl aired December 27, 1963. Celebrity Bunny Blake (played by Maggie McNamara), known as the Ring-a-Ding Girl, receives an anonymous gift, a ring. It begins issuing strange warnings to her as she flies across country, passing directly over her hometown Howardville, during the flight.
She appears unannounced in Howardville the day of the Annual Founders' Day Picnic. After more warnings, she decides to perform her one-woman show across town at the same time as the picnic. It causes arguments between her and her sister Hildy.
Here is the opening scene. No spoilers though. :)
Monday, December 26, 2016
Following its success with Godzilla, Toho went with using prehistoric monsters as a winning formula and released Rodan in Japan, December 26, 1956. The original name of the monster was Radon, an abbreviated word from 'pteranodon' but was changed to Rodan for American audiences.
He was meant to be a stand-alone monster with his own franchise but was incorporated in the Godzilla franchise.
Saturday, December 24, 2016
The third successful landing of a probe on the Moon was the Soviets' Luna 13, which touched down December 24, 1966. It followed Luna 9 and the US's Surveyor 1. It landed in the Ocean of Storms and transmitted successfully for four days until its batteries ran out of power.
Thursday, December 22, 2016
Pruitt has raised millions from the oil and energy sectors, organizations opposing EPA regulations.
The outgoing administrator of the EPA Gina McCarthy had more experience in environmental science and issues prior to her appointment by President Barack Obama. Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, nominated by Trump to head the EPA, has no environmental background other than suing the EPA.
McCarthy said in an interview with the Independent: "Science is everything. Almost every action we take is bounded by what the science tells us. It’s based on a factual record of where the world is today and what is our obligation under our mission. Science needs to be protected. Any effort to undermine that science in a way that would give undue influence to folks that aren’t scientists is a really big problem."
Yet Pruitt still denies climate change is real, despite the overwhelming evidence that our planet is warming up.
If you need any convincing, just go to the NASA website:
I mean, it's not like they have rocket scientists there.
Trump has been quoted: “For too long, the Environmental Protection Agency has spent taxpayer dollars on an out-of-control anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs, while also undermining our incredible farmers and many other businesses and industries at every turn.”
Understood, but what has made it out of control? Is it anti-energy or is it anti-big business? Give us specifics, Pruitt. Talking in generalities suggests you have no idea what you are talking about.
Bachelor degree Social Anthropology - Umass (1976)
MS Environmental Health Engineering and Planning and Policy - Tufts University (1981)
Political Science/Communications - Georgetown College, KY (1990)
Juris Doctor - University of Tulsa (1993)
Pruitt does not have the necessary education needed to understand environmental science, required to head an agency whose policies are based on ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE!
1. Administrator of EPA 2013-present
2. Assistant Administrator of EPA 2009-2013
3. Commissioner of the Connecticut Dept. of Environmental Protection 2004-2009
4. Undersecretary for policy for Massachusetts Executive Office of Environmental Affairs 1999-2003
I suppose since Trump has had no experience in public office, he feels no one else needs experience either.
1. Finalized rule under Clean Water Act
2. Finalized Clean Power Plan under the Clean Air Act seeking to reduce coal use
3. Developed environmental issues at state and local levels developing policies on economic growth, energy and the environment.
One of the questions that is always asked of me in a job interview is: "What can you do for our organization?"
Again, this does not apply in a Trump regime.
1. Sued EPA to block its Clean Power Plan and Waters of the United States rule – Failed
2. Sued EPA on behalf of Oklahoma utilities unwilling to take burdens for their own coal-fired plants – Failed
3. Wrote in National Review “global warming has inspired one of the major policy debates of our time. That debate is far from settled. Scientists continue to disagree about the degree and extent of global warming and its connection to the actions of mankind.” No proof or citations provided.
4. Disbanded Oklahoma’s environmental protection unit charged with probing illegal pollution cases.
Now we're seeing some activity and it's not good.
Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Earthrise, Christmas Eve 1968
Apollo 8, launched December 21, 1968 with Commander Frank F. Borman II, Command Module Pilot James A. Lovell, Jr. and Lunar Module Pilot William A. Anders, marked the first time man Earth's gravity and orbit the Moon. They were the first people to see the whole Earth, the far side of the Moon and Earth rise.
It took the crew three days to reach the moon. They orbited the Moon ten times in the next twenty hours and made a Christmas Eve broadcast, reading from the Book of Genesis, Chapter 1, verses 1-10.
L-R: James Lovell, William Anders, Frank Borman
They returned to Earth December 27 and were named Time magazine's "Men of the Year" for 1968.
Tuesday, December 20, 2016
So much is put into that one statement. Mayor Jason Buelterman of Tybee Island, Georgia admits that Republicans are sticking their heads into the ground when it comes to global warming. Still seen as a hoax, fellow Republicans such as Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt are suing the Environmental Protection Agency over their clean air plans.
Since when do we need to be saved from clean air?
Tybee Island is suffering the effects of rising sea levels caused by rising temperatures across the globe, to the point their city council voted unanimously in April to accept a plan that addresses the risks from rising seas over the next 50 years. Buelterman may find himself excommunicated from the Republican party.
According to NOAA, Tybee Island has experience a sea-level rise of 10 inches. And the community is a low-lying barrier island (which means it protects Savannah from hurricanes) and is especially vulnerable to flooding.
Congress has turned a deaf ear to communities asking for help in guidance and funds to pay for pumps and road improvements to buy some time. In a New York Times post in September, reporter Stephen Morton said that Congress has even tried to block military plans to combat the problem at numerous bases, naval bases most importantly.
With the new Republican regime about to sit upon the throne, it doesn't seem likely that anything in Washington will change. At least not until the Chesapeake Bay is lapping at the door.
Ghidorah, the Three-Headed Monster was released in Japan December 20, 1964, coming off the success of King Kong vs Godzilla. It's the first movie to feature King Ghidorah, the first where Godzilla isn't destroyed or defeated and the first to portray Godzilla as a 'hero.'
It is the last movie to feature the Ito Sisters as the Cosmos and the final appearance of Takashi Shimura in a Godzilla film.
Monday, December 19, 2016
Invasion of Astro-Monster (Godzilla vs Monster Zero, Invasion of Planet X or The Great Monster War, among many others) was released December 19, 1965 in Japan. U.S. audiences had to wait another 5 years before they could see it in American theatres.
Aliens from Planet X, from the dark side of Jupiter, come to Earth to ask if they can borrow Godzilla and Rodan to rid their planet of the hideous Monster Zero (Astro-Monster, etc.) Of course, the humans, being glad to get rid of the G-Man and Rodan, agree. Then they find out the aliens have an ulterior motive. Chaos ensues.
We've seen this before but the one that sets this movie above the others is the Godzilla Dance!!
Here's the trailer:
Friday, December 16, 2016
Godzilla vs Megaguirus, released December 16, 2000, is one of my favorites. New big monster, strong female lead, Godzilla kicking butt!
Also, they will never learn! You can't keep Godzilla down! Not even with black holes!
Thursday, December 15, 2016
Anyway, the movie has some great battle scenes. I've only managed to sit through this one twice.
Gemini VI-A crew: Pilot Thomas P. Stafford, Command Pilot Walter M. Schirra, Jr.
Gemini VI-A launched December 15, 1965, just eleven days after Gemini 7 lifted off December 4. The original launch for Gemini VI-A had been scheduled for October 25. The mission was to rendezvous and dock with the Agena Target Vehicle. But shortly after the unmanned Agena was launched, a catastrophic failure occured and it exploded over the Atlantic Ocean. Walter M. Schirra, Jr and Thomas P. Stafford were already in Gemini VI-A when the mission was scrubbed.
After looking at the situation, NASA decided to alter the mission, and have Gemini VI-A rendezvous with Gemini 7. The spacecraft would not actually dock, since they were not designed for such a maneuver but would 'rendezvous' which meant they would come close to each other.
The vehicles came within one foot of each other while talking over the radio.
Before returning to Earth, Schirra noticed a UFO moving south in a polar orbit:
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Time travelers from the 23rd century appear in Japan and promise to rid the country of Godzilla forever. (It isn't as though the Japanese have heard this line before.) With the help of three people, the Futurians travel back even further to 1944 to remove a dinosaur from Lagos Island which became Godzilla after exposed to radioactivity.
From the "why didn't we see this coming?" department, the time travelers release King Ghidorah to destroy Japan so they can rebuild it in their own image.
Robert Scott Field gives an Oscar-worthy performance in his role as Android M-11. Here is a scene from the movie where Field is at the top of his game!
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
Randy Owen, lead singer for Alabama and silver fox, was born near Fort Payne, Alabama December 13, 1949. He and his cousins Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook formed Alabama back in the late 60's but reached stardom and immortality in the 1980's and are still rockin' the country music scene!
I found a live performance of Christmas in Dixie. He was much younger then but he has aged very well! :)
In 2002, Toho released Godzilla against Mechagodzilla in which the mechanical Godzilla was fashioned from the bones of the monster that attacked in 1954. What could go wrong? Unfortunately, that version went beserk and wasted Tokyo worse that the G-Man ever did.
December 13, 2003, Toho released Godzilla: Tokyo S.O.S, in which the Japanese government has "repaired" Mechagodzilla. The Cosmos warn the people they must return the bones to the sea or face a terrible wrath.
Silly humans. They never learn.
Godzilla returns and Mothra and Mechagodzilla must combine forces to defeat him before he destroys Tokyo (again).
Monday, December 12, 2016
Scientists in Australia reported back in June 2016 that the Bramble Cay melomys, a rodent found only on Bramble Cay, a tiny atoll in the northeast Torres Strait, between the Cape York Peninsula in the Australian state of Queensland and the southern shores of Papua New Guinea is now extinct, thanks to human-made global warming.
Rising waters and changing weather patterns have killed off their food source, plants which rely on fresh water. The melomys have been starved or or drowned by rising sea levels and extreme weather events. The tiny creature was already on the endangered list. In 2014, scientists set traps and cameras to find evidence the rodent was still there, but nothing has been seen.
One of my favorites, Godzilla and Mothra: The Battle for Earth, was released December 12, 1992 in Japan. American audiences would have to wait until 1998 to catch it on video.
A meteor carrying the monster Battra hits in the Pacific Ocean. Archaeologists on Infant Island learn from the Cosmos that Battra is there to act out revenge on humans for destroying the Earth's environment. So it gets confusing when the Cosmos say that Battra was to stop another meteor from destroying the planet. Is Battra a good guy or bad guy?
Godzilla gets into the mix and finally Mothra joins the fray to bring some sense to the madness.
Saturday, December 10, 2016
When Mothra went into space to stop a meteor from destroying Earth, she accidentally took cells from Godzilla with her and they were scattered throughout the universe. Some of those cells were sucked into a black hole and created a new monster, SpaceGodzilla!
Godzilla vs SpaceGodzilla was rushed into production and released December 10, 1994 in anticipation of the American version of Godzilla, which was to be released in 1994, but production delays pushed its release back to 1998.
Friday, December 9, 2016
Handsome Michael Dorn, who played Lt. Woof...er, I mean Worf on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space 9, was born December 9, 1952 in Luling, TX.
He is an avid pilot and owns several aircraft. He has flown with the Thunderbirds and the Blu Angels, and is a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association.
Thursday, December 8, 2016
John Glenn, the first American to orbit the Earth, has passed away. He flew on the Friendship 7 in February 1962 making three orbits of Earth in just under 5 hours. President John F. Kennedy presented him with the NASA Distinguished Service Medal.
At 77, he flew on the Space Shuttle Discovery in 1998 as a Payload Specialist, making him the oldest man to go into space.
Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Reuters is reporting that Trump is going to appoint Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency. WTF? He is an opponent of President Obama's push to curb global warming, i.e. Pruitt believes it is a hoax. That means the EPA is going to be stripped and gutted like a catfish. Oil and gas companies will be able to drill with impunity, regardless of the cost to the environment or the public.
Corporate greed. Pollution. Fracking. Thanks for making America 'great' again, Trump.
Apollo 17 crew (L-R): Lunar Module Pilot Harrison H. Schmitt; Commander Eugene A. Cernan (seated); Command Module Pilot Ronald E. Evans
December 7, 1972, Apollo 17 began its trip to the Moon, the last manned mission of the Apollo program. Eugene Cernan became the last man to walk on the lunar surface, just three years after Neil Armstrong became the first man on the moon.
Cernan and Schmitt spent about 3 days on the Moon, longer than any previous crew, and logged over 22 miles on the Lunar Roving Vehicle (LRV), traveling almost 5 miles from the lunar lander.
They splashed down in the south Pacific Ocean, December 19.
Tuesday, December 6, 2016
Teddy Bears is an appropriate title to Brandon Witt’s new Christmas story, although Beauty and the Nerd would have worked as well. The tale opens with loner and full-time geek Brian working at a popular bathhouse in Denver and just existing. During his off-hours, he is either gaming or recreating Buffy the Vampire Slayer scenes with his hamsters to post on Youtube.
A few weeks before Christmas, a big, muscle bear comes into the bathhouse. Brian can hardly breathe, much less complete the checking-in transaction because he is so taken with the huge daddy James. Brian is even more surprised when James asks him out on a date.
Although Brian is ecstatic, his own insecurities begin to gnaw at him. Where James is masculine, attractive and sexy to everyone, Brian is not.
I typically avoid reading stories like this since I can totally relate to Brian but, in actuality, nerds don’t ever get the good-looking bears, especially the muscular ones. However, I still enjoyed reading how the geek gets the hunk. The story remains light-hearted, doesn’t take itself too seriously and is a satisfying romance.
One of the most talented actresses ever, Agnes Moorehead, born December 6, 1900, was nominated for four Oscars, all for Best Supporting Actress but never took home the statue. Their loss because she was fantastic. She died of uterine cancer, a consequence of filming The Conqueror in Nevada in 1954 close to where the US Government was conducting nuclear tests. The radiation fallout also resulted in the deaths of John Wayne, Susan Hayward and Dick Powell.
She did win two Golden Globes, one for her role in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte! for which she SHOULD have won the Oscar.
Another of my favorite performances, besides Endora on Bewitched, was her Twilight Zone episode, The Invaders. In this performance, she does not utter a single word throughout the entire episode. Now that's awesome acting!
Be warned: This clip contains spoilers!
Monday, December 5, 2016
The end of an era: The last episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus aired December 5, 1974. John Cleese had left the show before the fourth (and last) season, saying the show had become repititious and had run out of ideas. He did collaborate with the other members and even appeared in one episode in the last season.
TV Guide has ranked it the 5th in the Top 25 Cult Shows Ever! and imdb.com has it ranked as #35 of the Top 250 TV shows.
Graham Chapman passed away in 1989, but the rest are still alive and kicking!
Sunday, December 4, 2016
December 4, 2004, Godzilla: Final Wars was released in Japan. Due to the poor performances of the previous three movies, Toho announced this would be the last Godzilla movie for at least ten years. The American version Godzilla was released in 2014.
This film brought back past enemies of the G-man, such as Gigan, Anguirus and Hedorah. Mothra appears as an ally of Godzilla, the first time since Destroy All Monsters!.
Friday, December 2, 2016
China launched their lunar lander/rover Chang'e 3, December 2 (local time), 2013 and it became the first soft landing on the moon since the Soviet Union's Lunar 24 in 1976. Chang'e is the Chinese goddess of the moon and the rover is named Yutu, which is Chang'e's pet rabbit.
Yutu stopped sending signals in March 2015, but as of that time, the Chinese stated that the lander still had working instruments.