Pixel Scroll 5/11/18 The Seventh Sealion

(1) SHELDON AND AMY. Some say it’s a bigger wedding than the one coming up across the pond: Yahoo! Entertainment has video — “‘The Big Bang Theory’ wedding gives Mark Hamill the feels”.

Wil Wheaton was originally going to officiate the wedding. But after Howard called in a favor, Mark Hamill replaced him. It was the least Mark could do after Howard found his dog, Bark Hamill.

…Mark Hamill was so taken aback by the touching vows that he was almost too emotional to continue, but he did. Choking back tears, he said, “Then by the power vested in me by evenyoucanperformweddings.com, I now pronounce you husband and wife.”

(2) EXPANSE GETS AXED. Syfy has cancelled The Expanse, however, it may be picked up by another network: “‘The Expanse’ To End On Syfy With Season 3, Will Be Shopped Elsewhere By Alcon”.

The current third season of The Expanse will be the space drama’s last one on Syfy. The cable network has decided not to renew the show for a fourth season, with the last episode slated to air in early July. Alcon Television Group, which fully finances and produces the critically praised series, plans to shop it to other buyers.

The Expanse transported us across the solar system for three brilliant seasons of television,” said Chris McCumber, President, Entertainment Networks for NBCUniversal Cable Entertainment. “Everyone at Syfy is a massive fan of the series, and this was an incredibly difficult decision. We want to sincerely thank The Expanse’s amazing cast, crew and all the dedicated creatives who helped bring James S.A. Corey’s story to life. And to the series’ loyal fans, we thank you most of all.”

(3) DINO DAZE. Universal’s “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom ‘A Look Inside’ Featurette” explains the new movie’s connection to the series.

It’s been four years since theme park and luxury resort Jurassic World was destroyed by dinosaurs out of containment. Isla Nublar now sits abandoned by humans while the surviving dinosaurs fend for themselves in the jungles. When the island’s dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event. Owen is driven to find Blue, his lead raptor who’s still missing in the wild, and Claire has grown a respect for these creatures she now makes her mission. Arriving on the unstable island as lava begins raining down, their expedition uncovers a conspiracy that could return our entire planet to a perilous order not seen since prehistoric times.


(4) THIS POISON COMES RECOMMENDED. NPR’s Glen Weldon says: “New ‘Rocky And Bullwinkle’ Is Something We Hope You’ll Really Like”.

Nostalgia is a paralytic toxin.

It’s killing us slowly, steadily: Every time an old, smarmy sitcom, or a pallid network drama, or a toy ad that masqueraded as a cringeworthy children’s cartoon gets dredged from the feculent muck of history’s lake bed and rebooted for a contemporary audience, our cultural blood pressure incrementally drops, our collective pulse grows that much threadier, our soft tissues go just a scosh more necrotic. That’s because these properties exude nostalgia’s deadly poison — they’re sticky with it — and there is no antidote….

Nostalgia is no longer a part of our culture. It has become our culture. And the toxin it carries has leached into the groundwater. It riddles the food chain. It’s airborne. We are lost.

Now: All of the above is true. (Resolutely so. Fundamentally so. Incontrovertibly so.)

And here is another thing that is equally true: This new Rocky and Bullwinkle is pretty good!

(5) SOLO EARLY REACTIONS. The BBC says “Solo: A Star Wars Story praised by first to see it”.

The first reactions to the new Star Wars film Solo have come out, after its premiere in the US.

And the verdict? While some said it was clunky in parts, most loved it – describing the movie as fun, epic and “a blast”.

There was particular praise for Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, in her role as droid L3-37.

(6) TRIVIAL TRIVIA. The first time a hologram was filmed in a movie was in the 1976 theatrical release of Logan’s Run.  Because of this achievement it won a Special Achievement Academy Award Oscar.

Wikipedia:  “For the scene where Logan is interrogated by the Deep Sleep central computer, it was decided genuine holograms would be most convincing, with Saul David advocating a new hologram effect be created.”


For more history, see the American Cinematographer article “The Use of Holograms in ‘Logan’s Run’”.


  • Lise Andreasen learned from Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal that Smaug isn’t very smart.

(8) A HEAP OF WATER. Hilbert Schenck should have seen this, says Chip Hitchcock: “Massive wave is southern hemisphere record, scientists believe”.

Scientists in New Zealand have documented what they believe is the largest wave ever recorded in the southern hemisphere.

The 23.8m (78ft) wave was measured by a buoy on New Zealand’s Campbell Island in the Southern Ocean on Tuesday, the country’s weather authority said.

It eclipses a 22.03m wave that was identified south of the Australian state of Tasmania in 2012.

Larger waves have been recorded in the northern hemisphere.

The Meteorological Service of New Zealand (MetService) installed its solar-powered buoy in March. The area is known for big storm activity, but waves had been previously difficult to measure.

(9) PROGRESS REPORT. The Ray Bradbury Experience Museum in Waukegan has a website. They plan to open in 2020.

(10) JDA AND FOGCON. Jon Del Arroz’ version of his experience attending Bay Area convention FogCon (see March 13 Pixel Scroll (item #8)) did not suggest the impression he made would lead to this —

JDA responded in a new blog post [Internet Archive link] by reminding everyone he is already suing the Worldcon:

“It can’t happen to our team, we control the cons,” they might think. Or perhaps they may not think at all. But this is what happens when the path of silencing dissenting ideas is taken. In California, I’ll remind, that there are civil rights laws to address this kind of behavior by organizations. It’s called the Unruh Act, and FogCon, in their attempt to appease a few bullies trying to hate popular conservatives out of fandom, would be good to remember that not applying standards equally to all is very illegal in this state.

(11) GAS LIGHT. Science headline: “Trump White House quietly cancels NASA research verifying greenhouse gas cuts”.

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. The adage is especially relevant for climate-warming greenhouse gases, which are crucial to manage—and challenging to measure. In recent years, though, satellite and aircraft instruments have begun monitoring carbon dioxide and methane remotely, and NASA’s Carbon Monitoring System (CMS), a $10-million-a-year research line, has helped stitch together observations of sources and sinks into high-resolution models of the planet’s flows of carbon. Now, President Donald Trump’s administration has quietly killed the CMS, Science has learned.

…The agency declined to provide a reason for the cancellation beyond “budget constraints and higher priorities within the science budget.” But the CMS is an obvious target for the Trump administration because of its association with climate treaties and its work to help foreign nations understand their emissions, says Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. And, unlike the satellites that provide the data, the research line had no private contractor to lobby for it.

The cancelation saves only $10 million/year; which seems well below the rounding error; NASA’s budget is about $20 billion/year.

[Thanks to Martin Morse Wooster, Lise Andreasen, Chip Hitchcock, JJ, John King Tarpinian, Cat Eldridge, Mike Kennedy, Carl Slaughter, and Andrew Porter for some of these stories. Title credit goes to File 770 contributing editor of the day Tintinaus.]

76 thoughts on “Pixel Scroll 5/11/18 The Seventh Sealion

  1. I’ve seen a clip from the new Rocky and Bullwinkle. I’m not particularly optimistic, but as it says it’s on today, I’ll go look and see if it’s any less painful in context. I don’t remember the original saying Frostbite Falls was in Minnesota, but I see that this is widely believed on the net.

  2. 11) That “savings” is akin to taking the change out of your car’s ashtray due to “budget constraints”.

    Why am I not surprised?

  3. 10
    I’m putting JDA in the category of “will never learn to behave”. He’s too self-centered to be worth having around.

  4. He’s too self-centered to be worth having around.

    JDA falls under the category of “being more trouble than he’s worth.” Some people just don’t want to be around you, dude, whether you’ve “done” anything or not. That is their right. Grow up, go to the Dragon Awards, and enjoy yourself.

  5. Okay. Well. First the good: Tara Strong is almost okay as Rocky, and Rachel Butera is a good Natasha. I seem to recall that there was an okay joke at one point.

    Then, everything else: Frenetic, obnoxiously ugly (seemingly based off the “Rocky and Hoodwinkle” parody from “The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse”), and everybody’s out of character, including the narrator. Seemed to go on forever, and the timing was poor.

    I get the concept of “super zany reboot,” but this was a comedy to begin with. Gilding gold, painting the lily… it just seems like they had no confidence in anything that wasn’t hyperactive, constantly self-referential (ironic!), and not so much off-model as it was changing the model in every shot.

    Not a fan. I can watch the original any time, with its flaws and limitations, and still enjoy it. If I wanted more, I’d go for something in the spirit of the original and less agonizingly hip. I guess I’m not the audience they are looking for. Too old, maybe.

  6. (10) I was at FOGCon, in the Con Suite, when the call went out about JDA being at the bar.

    I will admit to being curious about him and whatever was happening, but decided I much preferred relaxing in the Suite and talking with the others there.

    JDA did show up again on Sunday, but I never saw him. I consider myself lucky.

  7. A Meredith Moment:

    Harlan Ellison’s 1972 anthology AGAIN DANGEROUS VISIONS. $1.99 at Kindle store and maybe others. Goodreads says 1 day left on the offer.

    Personally this is one of the top five SF books of my childhood. Includes Ursula Le Guin “The Word for World is Forest” and Joanna Russ “When It Changed”

  8. re: 2) Gah. I hope another network will pick it up.

    re: 10) This space intentionally left blank.

  9. @10 “not applying standards equally to all is very illegal in this state.” This is me not holding my breath waiting for him to produce an a*****le of his caliber who has been allowed into a California convention.

    edit: double fifth!

  10. JDA falls under the category of “being more trouble than he’s worth.” Some people just don’t want to be around you, dude, whether you’ve “done” anything or not. That is their right. Grow up, go to the Dragon Awards, and enjoy yourself.

    He doesn’t care that people don’t want to be around him. On the contrary, that’s a bonus feature. He wants to force his imagined enemies to have him in their midst.

  11. (10) JDA AND FOGCON.

    I wonder what happened that made FogCon feel compelled to post this statement.

  12. 6) The Logan’s Run holograms look very much like the first holograms I saw exhibited at the local autumn fair (yes, holograms were literally a fairground attraction) in the early 1980s. At the time, I was a bit disappointed that these holograms were not like the ones in Star Wars (I hadn’t yet seen Logan’s Run at that point). Ten to fifteen years later, holograms had become so common that they showed up on comic book covers and bank cards.

    10) It seems that it is JDA’s life goal to get himself banned from every convention in the Bay Area in order to sue all of them. Which sounds pretty frustrating, not to mention expensive, as far as life goals go, but who am I to judge?

  13. For the Expanse, I’d be pretty happy to see either Netflix or Amazon pick it up. They’ve both got a good track record with such things.

  14. 10) If they’re rebooting all the old stuff, can we get a reboot of the sealions, too? I kinda feel like a new bad actor could bring something to the role. This guy just feels like a placeholder.

  15. Dear JJ,

    My take on it, based on absolutely no inside information, but simply reading the postings linked to here, is that Fogcon, knowing our favorite PLA’s penchant for seeking attention by creating kerfuffles, might well have seen his postings as the prelude to a round of “Let’s You and Him Fight,” with PLA getting to be the center of attention. They decided to preempt that by making it clear that what Worldcon (or any other convention) does around PLA’s attendance is their business and Fogcon has no interest in expressing an opinion on it nor judging other conventions.

    Given PLA’s history, a smart move.

    pax / Ctein

  16. Ctein: My take on it

    FogCon was two months ago, and JDA posted then about it, and FogCon said nothing. My perception is that 1) they wanted to offer support to Worldcon 76 rather than let themselves be used as an example of what W76 should be doing, and 2) they have received feedback from some members who were unhappy about being subjected to the presence of a well-known harasser, who made it clear on social media that he was there to try to provoke others into reacting to him.

  17. I have finally resigned myself to the admission that I now spend a significant part of each day catching up on The Chicken Saga by Kevin Sonney and Ursula Vernon on Twitter, accompanied by photos and a chicken video channel.

    Day 1: There’s a chicken which hangs out in our yard. I think it belongs to the neighbor, but it spends most of its time hanging out in our yard.
    Week 2: You know, if that chicken is going to hang out here all of the time, we might as well provide snacks for it.
    Week 3: It turns out that the chicken is the lone survivor of a raccoon attack on the neighbor’s flock. It hangs out in our yard because it has PTSD and can’t bear to go back home where all of its friends were slaughtered.
    Week 4: We have christened the chicken Strong Independent Chicken, because she just hangs out, surviving.
    Week 5: We’re getting a chicken coop and one chicken as a friend for SIC, because if she’s going to be here all the time, she might as well be safe and comfortable.
    Week 6: Coop has been constructed. Kevin is installing a heater and an automatic door opener/closer on a timer.
    Week 7: Okay, we’ve got 3 new chickens.
    Week 8. Kevin is installing Chicken Cam.
    Week 9:

    Ursula: You’re not going to cry when it’s time to eat one of the chickens, are you?
    Kevin: No, as long as it’s not Strong Independent Chicken, because she has a real personality.
    Ursula: Oh, you sweet summer child.
    Week 10: When we apologize, neighbor says he considers SIC as adopted, rather than rustled, by us.
    Week 11: Strong Independent Chicken decides the coop is a better place to sleep at night than the woods. Yay!
    Week 12: Hound gets out and chases the chickens. Trauma, clucking, and flying feathers ensue. Chickens are eventually mollified with treats.
    Week 13: We buy a cast-iron gate for the porch, to keep the dogs from getting out without supervision and terrorizing the chickens.
    Week 14: The chickens have decided that the top bar of the dog gate is the best place ever to hang out.
    Month 4: All the chickens have names and personalities.
    Month 5: Random Twitter followers constantly post fan art of Kevin and Ursula’s chickens.
    Month 6: We are now giving eggs away to the neighbor, the mailperson, the feed store owner, and random passersby.
    Month 7: Random Twitter followers are posting copious amounts of fan fiction featuring Kevin and Ursula’s chickens.
    Month 8: We bring home 3 more chicks. Little Goth Hen gets broody, so we stick one of the chicks under her in the nest. She adopts Babygoth chick, starts teaching it chicken things, and evicts all of the other chickens from the coop, totally upturning the Chicken Pecking Hierarchy.

    Okay, now you’re all caught up on The Chicken Saga.
    Follow along here:

  18. @JJ
    Month 1,Day 1. A chicken wandered into my yard and appears to be staying.
    M1, D2: The chicken is still there. I think it’s a mean old nasty chicken. It pecks violently at everything.
    M1, D3: The chicken is still there. I think it’s watching me.
    M1, D4: That chicken is still there. I KNOW it’s watching me.
    M1, D5: The chicken is now wearing a t-shirt. Where does a chicken get t-shirts? There’s writing on the shirt. I’ll try to get closer to see what it says.
    M1, D6: Every time I get close to the chicken, it attacks me. I can’t really make out detail, but the shirt appears to be a promotional one for a chicken publishing company. Chicken publishing?
    M1, D7: I’ve checked town ordnances. It is illegal for me to have chickens in my yard, whether they are wearing t-shirts or not as I am not zoned for agricultural pursuits. I’ll be calling the game warden or animal control to get rid of the damn thing.
    M1, D9: Animal Control arrived and escorted the chicken from my yard. Thank goodness that’s over.
    M1, D14. There are now TWO chickens in my yard. One of them is carrying a briefcase.

  19. 10: it’s just more of the same, trying to leverage more attention out of his lawsuit, keep his ‘base’ frothed up (all 17? of them) and further the conspiracy theory idiocy.

  20. The Expense is not the only series of genereintrest that has been chancelled.
    Inhumans and Lucifer have been chancelled, too.
    (I don’t think that many people are said because of Inhumans)

  21. (I don’t think that many people are said because of Inhumans)

    Black Bolt has no comment on the situation.

  22. @RedWombat

    10) If they’re rebooting all the old stuff, can we get a reboot of the sealions, too?

    Ooh, yes, something – darker and edgier… maybe with Edward James Olmos in a leading role?!?


    The Sealions were created by man.

    They caviled.

    They derailed.

    They look and feel civil.

    Some are programmed to think they are civil.

    There are many copies.

    And they have a plan.


  23. (2) Brooklyn Nine-Nine was picked up by NBC, so there’s a chance we’ll see The Expanse elsewhere. Especially as I’ve seen rumors that several streaming services are trying to put in bids for it.

  24. 4) There’s a joke in there somewhere about nostalgia not being what it used to be, except that I suspect that it is pretty much exactly what it always has been, despite Weldon’s rantlet.

    On the other hand, just about everything in our culture has been market-optimized and monetized to the point of being weaponized, so it’s not just nostalgia that can have a toxic side. (Might there be pathological neophilia?)

  25. @rochrist —

    He doesn’t care that people don’t want to be around him.

    Actually, I think he cares very much. He, like the Orange One and so many other wannabe petty dictators, believes that he deserves to be beloved by all.

  26. @JJ – I’ve been following that story, too, though not as closely (didn’t know Kevin has an Instagram, f’rinstance). I also tell people I meet that story if conversation has suddenly turned grim (politics or whatnot) and I can tell one or more of the people in the conversation are the type who prefer to keep conversations light or positive.

    Some of my details differ a bit, though. I remember Kevin being anti chicken-keeping and Ursula being meh about chicken-keeping, before the arrival of SIC, and then after SIC had been coming around for a while, Ursula posting a picture of Kevin surreptitiously feeding SIC from some feed that he obviously had to have purchased for that purpose. And then the coop going up all stealth-like… My brain has a way of arranging facts to make stories with the lot devices I enjoy, so I’m probably editing actual events.

    Regardless, I love the story of the Strong Independent Chicken, and was delighted all over again when I saw Little Goth Hen had not only gotten broody (as a goth is wont to do), but then adopted a little goth chick. I must now go read up on these new details (the fence, the pecking order upended…).

  27. (5) Still fail to get exited by Solo. Don’t know… Im not really interested in Han Solos freshman year, I guess.
    (10) I get the expression, JDA thinks the cons should cater to him, instead of the con visitors. And of course he grossly overestimate his own importance. But I guess, bridges burn well and light the way for his followers (that Im sure he has).

    @StefanB I did not know that Lucifer is doing so badly. I kinda liked the first two seasons, but it was one of those series that would have been improved by less, not more, episodes per season.

  28. kathodus: Some of my details differ a bit

    I don’t guarantee that my recollection is 100% accurate or in the right order, but it should be mostly so.

    It’s pretty hilarious, because the moment Ursula caught Kevin feeding Strong Independent Chicken using her birdseed supply, you could pretty much see the inevitable course this would take.

    This search won’t catch all of the tweets, but it should catch most of them. (The saga started last September.)

    There are also some spectacular photos of Ursula’s gardens in her Twitter feed.

  29. @JJ –

    the moment Ursula caught Kevin feeding Strong Independent Chicken using her birdseed supply

    That’s one of the moments I loved and (turns out) slightly misunderstood (I thought he’d bought the seed). Yes, it’s one of those turning points that makes the saga so enjoyable.

    ETA: Oh, and thanks for the link.

  30. I had already read Logan’s Run when I saw the movie of the same name (I hesitate to call it an “adaptation”) in 1976. Despite the Saul David quote above, it’s always seemed to me that the special effects were developed first, and the movie constructed around them, altering the entire concept as needed to fit – in particular Carousel (the effect of which is unforgivably stated as “fact” in the opening text: “Life must end at thirty unless reborn in the fiery ritual of Carousel”).

  31. @steve davidson
    The Expense: Accountants in Space?
    Charlie Stross’ Neptune’s Brood features forensic accountants in space.

  32. I see Eurovision has incorporated this chicken theme into the night’s entertainment.

  33. Dear JJ,

    And, we could both be right. When it comes to “crisis management,” fandom, as a whole, has not demonstrated that it is especially adept… nor fast on the uptake.

    Happily, NOT our problem!

  34. Dear StefanB,

    I found Lucifer to be wearing a bit thin this season, although I still enjoy it for the actors and the interplay. The whole “starcrossed lovers” thing is becoming tedious; the producers don’t seem to have anywhere interesting nor imaginative to take it. Nonetheless, I will miss the show. One of the few I look forward to every week.

    But… Hearing that it will end on a cliffhanger… Confirmed pacifist that I am (and I am), I will happily take every goddamn producer who pulls that stunt and line them up the wall and direct the firing squad myself! Unless a cancellation comes unexpectedly out of thin air, there is no excuse for fucking over your viewers like that. Yet, so many of them do.

    With some precious few exceptions. When Pushing Daisies got canceled, Bryan Fuller figured out how to tack on a five-minute voiceover at the end that produce a sense of closure. More impressively, when Charmed was on the bubble, their producers came up with a script that worked perfectly to close off the series, and at the same time allowed them to continue it for another season if they got renewed (which they did). I can’t recommend Charmed as anything but a (very) guilty pleasure, but they were brilliant about this.

    – pax \ Ctein
    [ Please excuse any word-salad. Dragon Dictate in training! ]
    — Ctein’s Online Gallery. http://ctein.com 
    — Digital Restorations. http://photo-repair.com 

  35. steve davidson on May 12, 2018 at 3:43 am said:
    M1, D6: Every time I get close to the chicken, it attacks me. I can’t really make out detail, but the shirt appears to be a promotional one for a chicken publishing company. Chicken publishing?

    Chicken house books has a new rep, I guess. 😛

  36. Two more radio discoveries from archive.org, both originating from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. First up, thirty half-hour episodes of an early 80s horror anthology, “Nightfall,” (no relation to a story by Asimov), in fairly good (but clipped) sound.

    Then, a one-hour 1949 CBC adaptation of Dracula, with the count played by an actor better known to my generation as Pa Cartwright, also seen on Battlestar Galactica, Alpo commercials, and heard in two 1965 singles, “Ringo,” and “Ol’ Tin Cup.” (“Ringo” may have been a bigger hit, but my hometown station played “Ol’ Tin Cup” as well, and I still remember it. Odds are good I’ll go look for it on YouTube after I post this.)

  37. Re: chickens, I strongly recommend a delightful YA with some fantasy elements: _Unusual Chickens for the Exceptional Poultry Farmer_ by Kelly Jones. A bright 12-year-old of my acquaintance adores it, and I like it too.

  38. 2) SyFy are as bad as Fox for cancelling great shows. Glad in this case that they don’t own it so it has a chance to survive, especially as it was already on streaming with the network only having had first showing rights.

    Went to see Infinity War earlier, solid. Looking forward to Solo, Deadpool and Antman & the Wasp.

  39. (2) Noooooo! Nobody else is gonna pick it up, let’s face it. Sigh. OTOH I’ll be biting my tongue less — the Mr. hasn’t read the books.

    Everyone’s happy that Inhumans was canceled as soon as it finished. They’re only sad it ever got on the air. It looks like “Timeless” is going to actually be canceled this time, also with cliffhanger.

    (4) I got through the first new episode. It’s terrible.

    The updating is fine (Natasha’s better), but Moose and Squirrel are mean to each other and I just can’t even. Rocky is as dumb as Bullwinkle, YELLS all.the.time. and his jaw moves really weird. Announcer not stentorian enough. No jokes for grown-ups to get. Gonna pass.

    (5) I’m still waiting for a lot more reviews (though ignoring the pissy fanboys who hate everything).

    (10) How does he know it’s about him? Oh, right, overweening conceit. He’s probably pissed that he showed up and nobody threw him out, so he couldn’t gin up more outrage among his hundreds dozens ones of followers and had to repeat the old fake outrage. Honestly, Jon-boy, it’s not all about you as much as you wish it was. Especially 2 months late.

    I started writing this like an hour ago, but then there were chickens.

  40. Contrarius:

    He, like the Orange One and so many other wannabe petty dictators, believes that he deserves to be beloved by all.

    Which I find utterly incomprehensible. When you’re an elite quantity like myself, you are beloved only by a small, superior coterie, not the unwashed commonality. Mumble mumble spiritual promiscuity mumble mumble.

  41. I’m so glad you’re enjoying the chicken saga! I confess, I worry occasionally that my Twitter feed has become wall-to-wall chicken photos, but…well…given most of the news…

  42. RedWombat:

    I’m so glad you’re enjoying the chicken saga!

    I’m still waiting for the ugly chicken sighting.

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