Recently in Entertainment & Sports Category

My family has been using an Nvidia Shield TV on our main television for a few years. We paid around $200 for the device and have been generally pleased with it until now. A recent software update has inserted unavoidable ads onto the home screen that occupy half the screen. The ads are for shows and products on services we don't subscribe to, and what's worse, the ads themselves contain not-safe-for-work content that I don't want my children exposed to.

Many users are upset by the software update, and Nvidia support is looking into it.

We are getting a lot of user complaining that they do no like it and need to be removed. We have already escalated to the the developers team and they are working on this as soon as possible. Kindly accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you may have experienced.

I've updated my review of the Shield on Amazon to one star. If these are are removed I will update my Amazon review and this post.

Tom Hanks is portraying Fred "Mr. Rogers" Rogers in a new movie and says:

"We never make fun of Fred. We slow down to listen to him," Hanks said following the film's screening. "It was always going to be, I think, deconstructing the myth of it to show he was a regular guy who went out for Chinese food. At the same time, there is this mystery. What's his motivation?"

"One of the most wonderful things, too, is he was actually an ordained minister who never mentioned God on his show," Hanks said.

There are so many ways to interpret Hanks' sentiment. I will channel my inner Ann Althouse and share a few possibilities. What do you think?

1. It's wonderful that Rogers was able to share the love of God without turning unbelievers off by mentioning God.

2. Some people look down on Christianity, but those people should recognize that Christianity inspires wonderful goodness even though Rogers didn't go out of his way to mention it.

3. It's wonderful that Rogers kept his beliefs to himself so we didn't have to hear about them.

4. It's wonderful that I, Tom Hanks, don't have to portray an active Christian whose accomplishments and beloved-ness are directly tied to acting out his faith.

5. It's wonderful that Rogers' legacy isn't tarnished by explicit references to his faith, which would be unpalatable in the modern era.

I'm sure there are more possible interpretations. I'm sure Hanks chose his words carefully.

This amazing picture was taken by Nirmal Purja's Project Possible on 22 May 2019 near the summit of Mount Everest.

mount everest traffic jam.jpg

Hundreds of climbers line up to reach the summit.

Nirmal Purja, a former Gurkha and Royal Marine, posted the picture of the route to the 8848m (29,029ft) summit on Twitter on Thursday as he warned that the mountain can kill.

Mr Purja, who is making a world-record attempt to climb all 14 peaks of the Himalayas in seven months, estimated that there were 320 climbers in the queue.

Despite the clear blue sky, it was minus 25C as climbers, some described by experts as dangerously unprepared, waited for hours in the "death zone".

Deaths linked to overcrowding

The deaths of two adventurers the day before were linked to overcrowding. Donald Lynn Cash, 55, an American, collapsed on Wednesday while taking photographs at the summit. Anjali Kulkarni, an Indian climber who was also 55, died during the descent.

So the Season 8 of "Game of Thrones" was pretty bad -- but why? It didn't have to be. Why was it both slow and rushed? These paragraphs sum up my questions.

I don't pretend to understand the pressures of TV production -- logic suggests that with the episodes getting ever more technically complicated, they would take longer to shoot, which results in fewer of them per season.

But didn't the show already take as much time as it needed, with months and months between some seasons? Why not go ahead and take as much as it takes to get to 10 episodes for those last two? For that matter, why not break up some of these supersize installments from this season into two separate ones that let moments land and things develop less frantically?

It doesn't take a genius to write a good script, but it does take time. And it takes screen time to give complex plots and characters a chance to resolve in a satisfying manner. I don't get it.

I saw "Solo" yesterday with my family, and it was good. Apparently it isn't making as much money as expected, and many people are luke-warm towards it. However, it was light-years better than "The Last Jedi", and pretty much delivered exactly what I expected. The plot wasn't brilliant, but that has never been the point of Star Wars.

I grew up on Star Wars and love Star Wars, but let's be honest: the magic of those movies is inextricably dependent on the magic of our own youth. Nothing we see now as adults will elicit the same response.

The play "Her Opponent" sounds utterly fascinating, and I wish I had an opportunity to see the whole thing. Here's a 2-minute clip from a rehersal.

Guadalupe reached out to Joe Salvatore, a Steinhardt clinical associate professor of educational theatre who specializes in ethnodrama--a method of adapting interviews, field notes, journal entries, and other print and media artifacts into a script to be performed as a play. Together, they developed Her Opponent, a production featuring actors performing excerpts from each of the three debates exactly as they happened--but with the genders switched. Salvatore cast fellow educational theatre faculty Rachel Whorton to play "Brenda King," a female version of Trump, and Daryl Embry to play "Jonathan Gordon," a male version of Hillary Clinton, and coached them as they learned the candidates' words and gestures. A third actor, Andy Wagner, would play the moderator in all three debates, with the performances livestreamed. ...

Many were shocked to find that they couldn't seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton--or that Brenda King's clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they'd remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered.

Sony writes off $1 billion on its movie business, and Nick Bilton shows us why Hollywood is already over.

A few months ago, the vision of Hollywood's economic future came into terrifyingly full and rare clarity. I was standing on the set of a relatively small production, in Burbank, just north of Los Angeles, talking to a screenwriter about how inefficient the film-and-TV business appeared to have become. Before us, after all, stood some 200 members of the crew, who were milling about in various capacities, checking on lighting or setting up tents, but mainly futzing with their smartphones, passing time, or nibbling on snacks from the craft-service tents. When I commented to the screenwriter that such a scene might give a Silicon Valley venture capitalist a stroke on account of the apparent unused labor and excessive cost involved in staging such a production--which itself was statistically uncertain of success--he merely laughed and rolled his eyes. "You have no idea," he told me.

When I was in college I went to the theater 3-4 times per week. But now, the last time I went to the movies was to see "The Force Awakens", over a year ago. I intend to see "Rogue One", but haven't connected the dots yet.

Killer app for theaters? On-site babysitting.

Michael Buble pulls a 15-year-old boy up on stage to sing with him. It feels staged to me; maybe I'm cynical. Either way, Buble's reaction when Sam first sings is fantastic.

Scroll down the list of honest trailers for anything that catches your eye.

(HT: NC.)

Yep, it's finally here! Keep an eye out for a flying DeLorean.

Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015, is the day to which Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox), Doc Brown (Christopher Lloyd) and his dog, Einstein ("Freddie," according to IMDB), traveled through time from 1985 in the movie Back to the Future Part II.

We children of the 1970s and 1980s have anticipated this day for 30 years. Now, though, 2015 is a bust.

Back to the Future II promised weather control, but the best we've mustered is climate change. It promised power shoelaces, bionic implants, hoverboards and Mr. Fusion. We have none of that. I'm looking at you, scientists and engineers. What the heck have you been doing for the past three decades?

I'm a little disappointed, too. But the whole internet thing is pretty cool.

Says Ace of Spades, who advocates quitting the TV addition for personal and political reasons. I mostly agree, which is why I don't have cable, satellite, or broadcast TV. My wife and I probably watch five hours of TV a week on Netflix or the like. The kids watch more, but mostly educational shows and zero commercials.

It's hard to fill your time with productive and edifying experiences!

When we were kids, not a one of us thought about the lives we would live when we were adults and thought, "Some nights, I swear, I'm gonna just come home from work and then watch five hours of TV straight!! Whoopee!!"

TV is compromise, TV is defeat, TV is acceptance, TV is mediocrity.

And it's an industry held almost entirely in Enemy Hands, by the idiot descendants of carnival-barkers and pornographers who just happened to realize that every new technology which permits people to live less life will be a financial winner.

We can free ourselves and maybe, even, free this country.

We can Kill The Messenger.

The music and movie industries use scummy accounting to rake in huge profits, pay performers almost nothing, and evade taxes. Read both articles if you want to be shocked and appalled. Maybe Congress will crack down on this sort of scam?

If you follow the entertainment business at all, you're probably well aware of "Hollywood accounting," whereby very, very, very few entertainment products are technically "profitable," even as they earn studios millions of dollars. A couple months ago, the Planet Money folks did a great episode explaining how this works in very simple terms. The really, really, really simplified version is that Hollywood sets up a separate corporation for each movie with the intent that this corporation will take on losses. The studio then charges the "film corporation" a huge fee (which creates a large part of the "expense" that leads to the loss). The end result is that the studio still rakes in the cash, but for accounting purposes the film is a money "loser" -- which matters quite a bit for anyone who is supposed to get a cut of any profits.

And who is supposed to get a cut of the profits? Artists, actors, and the tax-man.

Daniel Greenfield explains why the Hollywood Left hates "American Sniper" -- mainly two reasons: it dismisses their Iraq-as-Vietnam worldview, and it is making a ton of money.

The most basic reason is the bottom line. Between Lone Survivor, Unbroken and American Sniper, the patriotic war movie is back. Hollywood could only keep making anti-war movies no one would watch as long as that seemed to be the only way to tackle the subject. Now there's a clear model for making successful and respectful war movies based around the biographies and accounts of actual veterans.

Hollywood studios had been pressured by left-wing stars into wasting fortunes on failed anti-war conspiracy movies. Matt Damon had managed to get $150 million sunk into his Green Zone failed anti-war movie before stomping away from Universal in a huff. Body of Lies with Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe had a real budget estimated at around $120 million, but had opened third after Beverly Hills Chihuahua whose titular tiny dog audiences preferred to either star and their political critiques.

But why spend over a hundred million on anti-war movies no one wants when American Sniper has already made over $120 million on a budget only half that much?

Money talks.

My wife and I just finished "How I Met Your Mother", and boy was the finale a downer.

I was prepared to dislike the Mother purely due to all the build-up over the course of the show, but she was actually pretty great. Oh, too bad she dies in the finale. What the what? As the Daughter told Ted, was the whole story about the Mother just an excuse to go on and on about Robin?

After multiple seasons building up to Barney and Robin's wedding, they get divorced 10 minutes later? All the character development Barney went through gets thrown out the window, along with his character. Sure, in "real life" Barney and Robin probably shouldn't have gotten married. But c'mon, this is a TV show! Can't they have a happy ending? Or at least spare us the dramatic build-up for zero payoff. Then Barney gets a filia ex machina dropped in his lap and has yet another conversion. That sticks? Who knows.

And finally... Ted and Robin? Seriously? Robin is Ted's true love? Blah.

If it weren't for Marshall and Lily anchoring the show it would have ended as total crap. Just pretend the last two episodes don't exist and make up your own ending.

My daughters have been watching a lot of "Frozen" recently (of course) and I dreamt an epilogue for the movie last night:

Prime Minister to Queen Elsa: We're all glad you're back, Queen Elsa!

Queen Elsa: Yep, everyone is fine again! Better than ever.

PM: Actually we're not... [one of my favorite lines from the movie -- MW]

QE: What's going on now?

PM: Well, we're all going to starve to death. All our crops died when you temporarily cursed the land with eternal winter. Do you think you can use your magic to bring the crops back to life?

QE: I don't think so.

PM: We'll have to dig into the royal treasury then. Maybe we can buy food from our biggest trading partner: Weselton.

QE: Um... actually I just banished that guy and promised we'd never trade with him again.

PM: Ok... what about the Southern Isles? Prince Hans was instrumental in protecting the kingdom while you were... "away". I'm sure his kingdom would help us out.

QE: Right... so, I banished him too. But on the plus side, I met a guy who runs an ice business. He's dating my sister now, so I'm sure he'll give us a discount.

PM: A discount on ice.

Since my wife turned me on to podcasts (yeah, I'm ten years behind) it seems like I've stopped listening to NPR in the car. Thanks to my revived interest in Dungeons and Dragons I'm currently listening through the back episodes of NPC Cast. D&D fifth edition is pretty cool, and I'm having a great time DM-ing two games, one with my wife and one with my brothers. We're playing through the Starter Set adventure, "Lost Mine of Phandelver", and everyone seems to be enjoying it.

AngryDM describes the "eight kinds of fun" and how they relate to role-playing games. My top enjoyments are fantasy, fellowship, discovery, and expression -- but in varying moods I can enjoy them all. Here's my summary of his take on the eight funs:

1. Sensory Pleasure: This is the pleasure you get from things you can see, hear, and touch. Physical books, art, dice, music, maps, diagrams, miniatures, terrain, and props all bring a tingle of joy to the sensory pleasure seeker.

2. Fantasy: Fantasy is the pleasure you get from losing yourself in an imaginary world and pretending you are someone you are not. It is escapism. It is immersion.

3. Narrative: Narrative seekers take pleasure from experiencing a well-told story as it unfolds. The better put-together the story is, the happier the narrative seeker is.

4. Challenge: Challenge seekers see the game as a series of obstacles to overcome and foes to be defeated. They want to test themselves and win. If they fail, they want to know the failure was fair and next time they will do better.

5. Fellowship: Those in search of fellowship view the game as a framework for social interaction and cooperation. They enjoy camaraderie and social interaction and working together with a team.

6. Discovery: Discovery seekers like to explore and learn new things. They like to uncover things. They view the game as uncharted territory and get a thrill every time they fill in another blank on the map.

7. Expression: Expression is the pleasure you get from expressing yourself creatively. This is the desire to create something that is unique to you, to say something about who you are and what you believe, or simply to impose your creative will on the world around you.

8. Submission/abnegation: Submission is the pleasure you get from turning off your brain and losing yourself in a task you don't have to think too hard about.

Neil deGrasse Tyson has always struck me as a blowhard, but maybe he he's also a serial fabulist (is that like a "liar"?).

According to Tyson, in the days following the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush uttered the phrase, "Our God is the God who named the stars." According to Tyson, the president made that claim as a way of segregating radical Islam from religions like Christianity or Judaism.


Neil deGrasse Tyson's story has three central claims: 1) Bush uttered that precise phrase, 2) in the days immediately after 9/11, 3) in order to distance American religion from that practiced by radical Muslims.

As you have probably already guessed, every single claim is false. Every one! Then there's Tyson's aside that Bush's quote was a "loose quote" of the book of Genesis. Yep, that's false, too. Add embarrassing biblical illiteracy to Tyson's list of accomplishments on his CV.

My first thought was that the story was about Mario Kart, but it's still amazingly cool that this son could race against his dad's ghost and have such a powerful experience. Video games have been ascendant for over a decade now, but they haven't peaked yet.

For me and my dad the experience isn't video games... he was never that into them. For me it's Star Wars, Indiana Jones, and old science fiction books.

"Well, when i was 4, my dad bought a trusty XBox. you know, the first, ruggedy, blocky one from 2001. we had tons and tons and tons of fun playing all kinds of games together - until he died, when i was just 6.

i couldnt touch that console for 10 years.

but once i did, i noticed something.

we used to play a racing game, Rally Sports Challenge. actually pretty awesome for the time it came.

and once i started meddling around... i found a GHOST.


you know, when a time race happens, that the fastest lap so far gets recorded as a ghost driver? yep, you guessed it - his ghost still rolls around the track today.

and so i played and played, and played, untill i was almost able to beat the ghost. until one day i got ahead of it, i surpassed it, and...

i stopped right in front of the finish line, just to ensure i wouldnt delete it.


(HT: PBS Game/Show and Yahoo News, where the comment section is full of people with similar experiences.)

If you haven't played Diplomacy then you aren't a serious board-gamer. Not to brag, but I've played a full game five times and been in the winning alliance three times. Since none of our players were proficient Diplomacy players my wins were probably due to luck and cunning more than skill. Diplomacy is a game I recommend for everyone to try, but it probably won't be a frequent selection for your game nights. Why? It requires seven players, it takes at least six hours to play and often more, and it is extremely emotional.

If you've ever heard of Diplomacy, chances are you know it as "the game that ruins friendships." It's also likely you've never finished an entire game. That's because Diplomacy requires seven players and seven or eight hours to complete. Games played by postal mail, the way most played for the first 30 years of its existence, could take longer than a year to finish. Despite this, Diplomacy is one of the most popular strategic board games in history. Since its invention in 1954 by Harvard grad Allan B. Calhamer, Diplomacy has sold over 300,000 copies and was inducted into Games Magazine's hall of fame alongside Monopoly, Clue, and Scrabble.

The game is incredibly simple. The game board is a map of 1914 Europe divided into 19 sea regions and 56 land regions, 34 of which contain what are known as "supply centers." Each player plays as a major power (Austria-Hungary, Turkey, Italy, England, France, Russia, Germany) with three pieces on the board (four for Russia) known as "home supply centers." Each piece can move one space at a time, and each piece has equal strength. When two pieces try to move to the same space, neither moves. If two pieces move to the same space but one of those pieces has "support" from a third piece, the piece with support will win the standoff and take the space. The goal is to control 18 supply centers, which rarely happens. What's more common is for two or more players to agree to end the game in a draw. Aside from a few other special situations, that's pretty much it for rules.

There are two things that make Diplomacy so unique and challenging. The first is that, unlike in most board games, players don't take turns moving. Everyone writes down their moves and puts them in a box. The moves are then read aloud, every piece on the board moving simultaneously. The second is that prior to each move the players are given time to negotiate with each other, as a group or privately. The result is something like a cross between Risk, poker, and Survivor -- with no dice or cards or cameras. There's no element of luck. The only variable factor in the game is each player's ability to convince others to do what they want. The core game mechanic, then, is negotiation. This is both what draws and repels people to Diplomacy in equal force; because when it comes to those negotiations, anything goes. And anything usually does.

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