Henry Rollins: Happy Holidays or Else (LA Weekly)
Christmas has as many meanings as people you care to ask. For some, it's an opportunity to freak out and declare there's a war on the holiday and therefore the American way of life. That particular howl at the moon is now almost as traditional as the day itself, and my personal favorite whine when it gets rolled out every year.
Spaghetti Toes (Tumblr)
Welcome to Spaghetti Toes. I've dedicated this place to the absurd things I hear under my roof on a daily basis. Some are said by me, some by my wife, but most by my wonderful 2 year old daughter, Harper Grace. The name "Spaghetti Toes" comes from my wife saying to my daughter "Please don't put spaghetti between your toes" at the dinner table. I said to my wife, "Did you actually just say those words?" and Spaghetti Toes was born.
Santa Claus Caught On Camera! (YouTube)
"Evan is a curious seven-year-old boy who thought the security cams in the house would be the perfect way to document Santa's existence beyond the shadow of a doubt. On Christmas morning, he gathered his family to show them the footage. It's a good thing that Evan's so practical. He knows the camera never lies. Enjoy the magic while you can, little guy." - Neatorama
Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle (YouTube)
"Making the song scientifically correct doesn't take away its charm, not one bit. Why not learn a bit about the cosmos as you're singing? The song is from the children's book Astronomically Correct Twinkle Twinkle, written by Henry Reich of Minute Physics and Zach Weinersmith of SMBC Comics with illustrations by Chris Jones. It's sung by Henry Reich." - Neatorama
Latte Motion (YouTube)
"Here's a stop-motion animation created with over 1,000 cups of latte! The creamy cup tops are the medium for single pictures that are compiled to tell a short story -only about 90 seconds, then there's a half-minute on how it was done. This is part of a Japanese ad campaign." - Neatorama
Jake Heppner: 28 Times When Children Were Brutally Honest And It Was Amazing (Distractify)
Children have no filter. They're going to tell you like it is whether you asked for it or not.
Lauren Davis: Why Team America Suceeds As Satire Where The Interview Fails (io9)
The "Let's kill Kim Jong-un" move The Interview has drawn inevitable, and not always favorable, comparisons to another movie that skewers North Korea, Team America: World Police. But why do people hold up the South Park creators' often crudely funny film as a bar The Interview fails to reach?
Scott Burns: Fearless Forecast, 2015 (AssetBuilder)
Yes, folks, it's Captain Egregious, ready to step confidently into the future because I already know it. Here are my Fearless Forecasts for 2015. They are free, but worth ten times as much.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has approximately 50 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
From The Creator of 'Avery Ant'
from Marc Perkel
Hello Bartcop fans,
As you all know the untimely passing of Terry was unexpected, even by him. We all knew he had cancer but we all thought he had some years left. So some of us who have worked closely with him over the years are scrambling around trying to figure out what to do. My job, among other things, is to establish communications with the Bartcop community and provide email lists and groups for those who might put something together. Those who want to play an active roll in something coming from this, or if you are one of Bart's pillars, should send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bart's final wish was to pay off the house mortgage for Mrs. Bart who is overwhelmed and so very grateful for the support she has received. Anyone wanting to make a donation can click on this the yellow donate button on bartcop.com
But - I need you all to help keep this going. This note isn't going to directly reach all of Bart's fans. So if you can repost it on blogs and discussion boards so people can sign up then when we figure out what's next we can let more people know. This list is just over 600 but like to get it up to at least 10,000 pretty quick. So here's the signup link for this email list.
( mailman.bartcop.com/listinfo/bartnews )
from that Mad Cat, JD
In The Chaos Household
Had a wonderful time with some old Pepperdine pals at El Cholo, sorta in Koreatown.
Jennifer Lawrence, Chris Pratt Top List
The actors and actresses who generate the most money for Hollywood aren't always the ones with the highest salaries. Last week, Forbes magazine posted a list of the actors who provide the worst return on investment; this week the magazine tallied the highest-grossing actors overall according to figures from BoxOfficeMojo.
1. Jennifer Lawrence is the highest grossing actor in Hollywood with "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1? and "X-Men: Days of Future Past." The two films grossed a total $1.4 billion worldwide.
2. Chris Pratt, with his lead roles in "Guardians of the Galaxy" and "The Lego Movie," grossed $1.2 billion globally.
3. Scarlett Johansson grossed $1.18 billion worldwide with her roles in "Captain America: The Winter Soldier," "Lucy" and "Under the Skin."
'Game of Thrones' Tops List
Most Pirated TV Shows
Once again, Game of Thrones finds itself on TorrentFreak's list of the most widely pirated TV shows of the year.
The fantasy epic show - which achieved a milestone earlier this year as HBO's most popular series of all time - also reportedly edged out AMC's The Walking Dead and CBS' The Big Bang Theory for illegal downloads.
According to TorrentFreak, which compiles the annual list, Game of Thrones saw an estimated 8.1 million illegal downloads, which appears to far outpace the 4.8 million downloads for Walking Dead, 3.9 million for The Big Bang Theory and 3.5 million for How I Met Your Mother.
The top 10 list of most illegal downloaded TV titles of 2014 is available here.
Most Pirated TV Shows
2014's Top List
Most Pirated Films
There is some irony to a film about a guy getting busted for cheating becoming the most pirated film of the year.
Director Martin Scorsese's The Wolf of Wall Street, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as real-life stockbroker Jordan Belfort, was the most illegally downloaded movie of 2014, according to piracy-tracking firm Expicio.
Wolf was illegally downloaded 30.035 million times between Jan. 1 and Dec. 23, 2014.
Disney hit Frozen was the second-most pirated film of the year, followed by George Clooney-Sandra Bullock starrer Gravity at No. 3 and The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug at No. 4.
The remainder of the top 10 pirated films is as follows: Thor: The Dark World, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, The Legend of Hercules, X-Men: Days of Future Past, 12 Years a Slave and The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
Most Pirated Films
Genesis Ali Dean
Santa brought Alicia Keys a baby for the holidays! The Grammy winning singer gave birth to a baby boy on Saturday. Son Genesis Ali Dean was born at 1:52 a.m., weighing in at 6 lbs., 5 oz.
Keys announced the happy news on Instagram on Sunday. "The joy of joy is joy!! It's a boy!!" she captioned the below photo. "We are so grateful!! #blessings!!"
This is the second child for Keys, 33, and her husband Swizz Beatz, 36. They are parents to son Egypt, 3, who is ready for big brother duties.
Genesis Ali Dean
Retracted Science Papers of 2014
Publish or perish, that's the motto in academia. Or is that publish and perish? For researchers, the race to have their work printed in peer-reviewed science journals can be messy - and sometimes, some of them sacrifice integrity in the process. Later, they find they did this only to be embarrassed by a retraction of their work.
A study published in 2013 in the journal PLOS ONE found that retractions are on the rise, although the researchers couldn't determine why. The phenomenon may be due to a lower barrier to publishing; for example, so-called "predatory" online journals guarantee publication regardless of quality - for a price. But still, many recent retractions stem from fraudulent, rather than sloppy, science.
The fact that Maggie Simpson could get a scientific paper accepted for publication is remarkable for two reasons: She's only a year old, and she is also a fictional cartoon character.
Alex Smolyanitsky of the National Institute of Standards and Technology was the one who actually penned the articles, and he did so to highlight the ease with which scientists can publish their research, for a fee, in predatory journals. These journals spam scientists and offer to publish their work, regardless of the quality, without legitimate peer review.
Smolyanitsky in fact wrote the paper with a random-text generator. The abstract, in its entirety, reads: "The Ethernet must work. In this paper, we confirm the improvement of e-commerce. WEKAU, our new methodology for forward-error correction, is the solution to all of these challenges."
School Bans T-Shirts
'I Can't Breathe'
A high school basketball tournament on the Northern California coast has become the latest flashpoint in the ongoing protests over police killings of unarmed black men after a school was disinvited because of concerns its players would wear T-shirts printed with the words "I Can't Breathe" during warmups.
The athletic director at Fort Bragg High School informed his counterpart at Mendocino High School this week that neither the boys nor girls team would be allowed to participate in the three-day tournament hosted by Fort Bragg High starting Monday, Mendocino Unified School District Superintendent Jason Morse said.
The boys were reinstated after all but one player agreed not to wear the shirts inspired by the last words of Eric Garner, the New York man who died after an officer put him in a chokehold, while on the Fort Bragg campus during the Vern Piver Holiday Classic tournament, Morse said. Too few girl players accepted the condition for the team to field a tournament squad, he said.
Mendocino varsity teams first wore the "I Can't Breathe" T-shirts before a game with Fort Bragg on Dec. 16, according to the girls coach, Caedyn Feehan. The girls also wore them before games at two other tournaments and didn't receive any blowback, Feehan said.
"I didn't even know what it meant. I thought it was a joke about how I had conditioned them so hard," Feehan said. "None of the administrators knew what it was or that any of them were doing it in advance. This was entirely for their cause that they had strong feelings about."
'I Can't Breathe'
West Africa's fight to contain Ebola has hampered the campaign against malaria, a preventable and treatable disease that is claiming many thousands more lives than the dreaded virus.
In Gueckedou, near the village where Ebola first started killing people in Guinea's tropical southern forests a year ago, doctors say they have had to stop pricking fingers to do blood tests for malaria.
Guinea's drop in reported malaria cases this year by as much as 40 percent is not good news, said Dr. Bernard Nahlen, deputy director of the U.S. President's Malaria Initiative. He said the decrease is likely because people are too scared to go to health facilities and are not getting treated for malaria.
Figures are always estimates in Guinea, where half the 12 million people have no access to health centers and die uncounted. Some 15,000 Guineans died from malaria last year, 14,000 of them children under five, according to Nets for Life Africa, a New York-based charity dedicated to providing insecticide-treated mosquito nets to put over beds. In comparison, about 1,600 people in Guinea have died from Ebola, according to statistics from the World Health Organization.
Struggle With State Laws
For thousands of years, people have exchanged seeds to grow terrific tomatoes or produce the perfect potato, but a new effort to loan and borrow seeds has created a conflict between well-meaning gardeners and state agriculture officials who feel obligated to enforce laws restricting the practice.
Seed exchanges have sprouted up in about 300 locations around the country, most often in libraries, where gardeners can exchange self-pollinating seeds rather than buy standard, hybrid seeds. In spots like Duluth, Minnesota, the conflict with agriculture departments has surprised gardeners and library officials, who established exchanges to meet a growing interest in locally grown food and preserving certain varieties, never thinking to examine the intricacies of state seed laws.
Agriculture officials say they weren't looking for a fight but felt obligated as they became aware of the increasingly popular seed libraries to enforce laws, which are largely uniform across the country.
Intended to protect farmers, the laws ensure seeds are viable, will grow the intended plant and aren't mixed with unwanted seeds for weeds or plants. Even though most of the laws refer to "sales" of seeds, that term is defined to include exchanges - where no money changes hands.
The issue first arose last summer in Pennsylvania, when a state inspector became aware of a seed exchange at a public library in Mechanicsburg that appeared to violate the law.
Weekend Box Office
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
Audiences had their pick of genres over the Christmas weekend, but despite a host of fresh arrivals, splashy holiday fare like "Unbroken" and "Into the Woods" proved no match for "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."
The final installment in Peter Jackson's trilogy marched to the top spot once again with an estimated $41.4 million take across the weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday.
Universal's World War II epic "Unbroken," took second place with $31.7 million from the weekend, bringing its domestic total to $47.3 million from its first four days in theaters.
Disney's musical "Into the Woods," boasting a star packed cast and a PG rating, came in a close third with $31 million, and $46.1 million across the four-day. It replaced "Mamma Mia" as the biggest opening for a screen adaptation of a Broadway musical ever.
Other weekend debuts include Paramount's "The Gambler," which took seventh place with $9.3 million, and The Weinstein Company's "Big Eyes," which earned only $2.97 million across the weekend from 1,307 screens and $4.4 million from the four-day.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to Rentrak. Where available, the latest international numbers are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Monday.
1. "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies," $41.4 million ($89.2 million international).
2. "Unbroken," $31.7 million ($2.7 million international).
3. "Into the Woods," $31 million ($1.6 million international).
4. "Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb," $20.6 million ($30.3 million international).
5. "Annie," $16.6 million ($5.9 million international).
6. "The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1," $10 million ($7.9 million international).
7. "The Gambler," $9.3 million.
8. "The Imitation Game," $7.9 million ($400,000 international).
9. "Exodus: Gods and Kings," $6.8 million ($31 million international).
10. "Wild," $5.4 million.
"The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies"
Veteran British character actor David Ryall, who's best known to mainstream American audiences as "Harry Potter's" Elphias Doge, died on Christmas Day. He was 79.
The actor's career spans more than five decades and covers film, TV and theater. His movie credits include 2008's "City of Ember," 2004's "Around the World in 80 Days" and 1980's "The Elephant Man."
Ryall replaced Peter Cartwright as Elphias Doge in 2010's "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1." His character was a close friend of Albus Dumbledore in addition to being a Ministry of Magic jurist and an Order of the Phoenix member.
Most recently, he was perhaps best known on the small screen as Frank - the grandfather who suffers from dementia - in the BBC comedy "Outnumbered."
His television roles also include that of Britain's oldest man in BBC's "The Village" and Mr. Hall in writer Dennis Potter's "The Singing Detective." He appeared in Andrew Davies' adaptation of "House of Cards" (not the Netflix original series), the British sitcom "Goodnight Sweetheart" and ITV's "Midsomer Murders."
Ryall began his career on the stage before becoming a familiar face on British TV.
The actor joined Laurence Olivier's company with the National Theatre at a young age, during which time he was involved with several influential plays, including Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead." His work at the National Theatre also included "Guys and Dolls," "The Beggar's Opera" and "Animal Farm."
Ryall is survived by his son, music manager Jonathan Ryall, and two daughters, singer Imogen Ryall and actress Charlie Ryall.