Franchise fatigue hits Transformers: The Last Knight. Opens at $69 million.

The summer movie box office has not been kind to a lot of familiar franchises and sequels. The two big hits of this summer so far have been Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (now at $380 million domestic) and Wonder Woman ($318 million). Most of the others have ranged from mildly underperforming, to big flops in terms of gross. 

Just now, I read a report in Variety that said Transformers: The Last Knight opened in first place this weekend with a haul of $69 million. Normally, any studio ought to be pleased with a haul like that, but this is the worst domestic opening for this franchise in years, maybe even ever if this number holds up, after opening hauls around $100 million for previous efforts. 

The Variety article was blaming franchise fatigue, yet again, which doesn’t surprise me. Surely, people have got to be tired of this god-awful series by now. Others are blaming poor word of mouth due to bad Rotten Tomatoes scores, which would be the first time in human history that a bad Rotten Tomatoes score made any negative impact at all on ticket sales for any Transformers movie. 

Oh, well, it sounds like the international box office will save this particular effort and give the folks at Paramount enough reason to serve up Transformers 6. 

There’s no excuse whatsoever to not go to the Argos CFL games!

It was a sorry sight on TV this weekend at BMO Field. Today the Toronto Argonauts were playing their home opener of the Canadian Football League season against their fiercest rivals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. Except there was hardly anyone at this game! The attendance was a crummy 13,583!

Folks, the Saskatchewan Rush lacrosse team regularly does better than that. In fact, half the National Lacrosse League does better than that! That’s how far the Argos have fallen in Toronto, folks.

And once again, everyone is coming up with the excuses for why they didn’t draw better. Last year, there were weather-related excuses and the competition from Duran Duran concerts and Blue Jays games and Indycar races and what have you. 

The big excuse I am hearing about this weekend is that it was Pride Weekend in Toronto, so that was the reason why people didn’t show up. This has surely got to be the most creative excuse I’ve heard yet.

Bottom line is, if there were football fans in Toronto, they wouldn’t care about any of the multitude of other stuff that goes on in the city, they wouldn’t even care about the gridlock traffic. They would find a way to be at the effing games, dammit! And they would surely be at a game involving the Tiger-Cats! 13,583 for the home opener against your arch-rivals is sad, ladies and gentlemen. 

And I don’t want to hear about how people in Toronto would rather enjoy the good weather than go to the CFL game. You can enjoy the good weather while sitting there in the seats, drinking a beer! But clearly, not enough people took advantage of that opportunity today at BMO, because there was row after row of empty red seats, on television.

You know what’s even sadder? It looks like the Argos might be fielding a better team than the Saskatchewan Roughriders this year, in spite of the fact that it took the Argos all offseason to find a coach (Marc Trestman.) Yet even if they have a winning season, the Argos will probably be a drag on the attendance for this entire league, and create more bad publicity about how poorly the CFL is doing — all because people in Toronto don’t care and won’t show up. Last fall’s Grey Cup in Toronto was also a debacle, by the way, with tickets practically being given away, and it turned out to be one of the best games in history with Ottawa winning in OT!

Come on, Toronto people, get with it. Give the CFL and the Argos a chance — especially after this game today. There, that’s my soap-box rant for this week.

Hey, NHL, is Vegas hot enough for you yet? 117 degrees Fahrenheit today!

Wednesday in Las Vegas is the NHL Awards and the expansion draft for the new Vegas Golden Knights. I hope Gary Bettman and all these NHL players in town for the awards are enjoying sweltering in the Nevada desert as we hit the first day of summer.

I was reading this piece in the Daily Mail saying how the streets were deserted because people were hiding out from the 117 degree F heat! That other great hockey town Phoenix, Arizona hit an even worse 120 F today as well. 

This heat is so bad that planes cannot take off, and you’d fry your hands by simply opening the doors outside! As a Canadian, I simply cannot get my head around this sort of extreme temperature. (To think that I once thought Toronto was a hot place.) Anyway, I hope these new Golden Knights players enjoy getting fried to a crisp while walking the streets in Las Vegas.

Cars 3 races to $53.5 million on Father’s Day weekend!

Box office news: Cars 3 has halted Wonder Woman’s two-week reign atop the domestic box office. Lightning McQueen and the rest of the race cars finished with $53.5 million to the DC superheroine’s $40.8 million.

You’d think Disney would be pleased. Unfortunately, this is the worst opening ever for a Cars movie. The first Cars opened to a little over $60 million and then the sequel Cars 2 got $66 million! Maybe people are finally believing the many critics of this series, who have continually showed little enthusiasm for this Pixar line of animated movies compared to others from the studio. Then again, maybe people are simply bored with sequels in general. Or maybe people are bored with all things NASCAR. I dunno what the deal is. 

Anyway, it could’ve been better. That’s all for the moment.

France Election, Part II: parliamentary vote results today

Today, the second round of voting finishes in the French parliamentary election. Yes, that’s right, folks; their presidential vote wasn’t the end of it, they had to go through yet another vote for parliament, too.  

The expectation, based on how the first round turned out last week, is that Emmanuel Macron’s party En Marche! will will a massive majority in excess of 400 seats, an incredible showing for a new political party. 

It’s also looking to be a historically awful showing for the other mainline parties, in particular the once-powerful Socialists, who are being reduced to rubble. Here’s an article from Politico Europe on what to expect today if you’re not all that familiar to French politics. (Update: results are here.)

And as for those people who want to read whatever they want to read into Marine Le Pen’s parliamentary results, keep in mind that her party always does very badly in parliamentary elections. Yet another dismal result is just par for the course for her movement.

In other news from France, Porsche won Le Mans again, and I guess the surprise for me was finding out that Audi isn’t competing there anymore; instead, they’re focusing their effort on Formula E. 

Mistrial declared in Bill Cosby case

It’s on! Thoughts on Floyd Mayweather Jr. vs. Conor McGregor 

August 26 has been set as the date for boxing’s next Superfight! It is indeed Floyd Mayweather Jr. versus Conor McGregor, in Las Vegas.

But I dunno if boxing fans are all that impressed. I notice a lot of them on social media have flat-out blasted this fight. They used words such as “joke,” “farce“, “pointless”, a “circus”, and even “dogsh!t” to describe this contest. 

A lot of people think Mayweather will win easily. But no matter who wins, honestly, does it matter? 

Here’s the question I have: is there even a title on the line with this thing? Mayweather is a former champ who vacated all his belts when he retired, as far as I know. Meanwhile, McGregor is a UFC champ but not a pro boxing champ! In fact, I read this will be his first boxing match, ever. 

So, if there is no real title on the line, what’s the point? Then again, maybe some sanctioning body will invent one for these two.

Anyway, this fight is on, and the interest is insane, and it is supposed to be a $1 billion dollar fight. We shall see. 

Bad News Roundup dominated by Steve Scalise shooting, blaze in London 

Welcome to Bad News Roundup, on what is typically the worst news day of the week, Wednesday. Wow, was it ever a bad day, right from the moment you woke up. 

Let’s run down what has happened:

Bad news No. 1: House third-ranking Republican Congressman Steve Scalise among several people shot by a crazed Bernie Sanders supporter today at a practice for tomorrow’s congressional baseball game. For his part, Sanders has denounced what has happened. Scalise is in critical condition.

Bad news No. 2: A massive inferno at a London apartment highrise has killed at least a dozen people.

Bad news No. 3: A shooting at UPS facility in San Francisco kills three people.

Bad news No. 4: Legendary Canadian Football League coach Don Matthews has died of cancer

Bad news No. 5: Here is one of those stories that is sure to end as “bad news” regardless of what the final outcome is. I am talking, of course, about the Bill Cosby verdict watch.

Bad news No. 6: Sears.

Bad news No. 7: Finally, a story that really counts as bad news for only one individual: Donald Trump. Mueller investigating Trump for obstruction of justice, Washington Post reports.” 

Now that I have thought of it, this probably counts as yet more bad news for the people watching at home. The gong show continues.

I think that is all the bad news that fits for tonight.

Still waiting for a verdict on Bill Cosby

Folks, I am still waiting like the rest of you for a verdict on this Bill Cosby sexual assault trial, with Cosby accused of drugging and then having sex with his victim years ago. If convicted, Cosby could spend what is left of his life behind bars.

Day two of deliberations are over; back again, tomorrow.

I haven’t really followed a lot of this trial; in fact, this trial has been very hard to follow, period, because coverage has been so restricted. Not only did the judge throw out all the television cameras, but live tweeting of the proceedings by reporters has been banned, too. They might be trying to prevent another O.J. Simpson media circus situation. If that was the goal, it worked, because it doesn’t sound like much of a circus atmosphere there in Pennsylvania at all for the Cosby trial. Instead, the media has been going hog wild today covering Jeff Sessions. Really, D.C. is where the Big Top is these days.

In any event, this trial has been really short, lasting just six days, and the defence didn’t even call up Cosby to testify in his own defence. Their whole defence lasted just six minutes!

Cosby’s main defence strategy has seemingly been to simply crossexamine witnesses and try and discredit the prosecution’s entire case. They’ve tried to paint this whole relationship between Cosby and the victim as somehow consensual. Good luck with that one. We’ll find out soon enough what happens with Cosby.

Box office: The Mummy gets lassoed by Wonder Woman

Not an enormous surprise, ladies and gentlemen: Wonder Woman dropped a bit from its opening weekend but still easily buried Tom Cruise and  The Mummy, which opened to $32 million while the DC superheroine took $57 million domestic. 

This is obviously a huge blow to Universal who was counting on launching a “dark universe” series of movies to counter all of Marvel and DC’s comic book heroes. What Universal wanted to do was resurrect all its old scary characters from out of its fault, bringing back the likes of Frankenstein and The Invisible Man. That ain’t gonna be such a great plan if The Mummy can only scare up $32 million. 

Anyhow, that is the box office report for this week. Also, my Cairns on Cinema column on Wonder Woman is now up.

Sports in Sask.: Riders open New Mosaic, while Rush lose the Cup to Georgia

Now, a post about the sports scene in Saskatchewan. Last night was one of the more significant nights of pro sports in our province in a long time. 

The Saskatchewan Roughriders were playing their very first game at the new Mosaic Stadium, and it seems the stadium is getting a lot better reviews than the team is! At the same time, the Saskatchewan Rush were playing game two of the National Lacrosse League Champions Cup finals against the Georgia Swarm. 

For those outside SK, these teams may say “Saskatchewan” but they are in two different cities. As the sign on the highway says: it’s South for the ‘Riders (Regina) and North for the Rush (Saskatoon). 

The fact that both games were going at the same time surely impacted the Rush’s attendance: they didn’t even sell out their Cup finals game. No doubt, it was because so many fans opted for their usual drive to Regina to see the ‘Riders, who dominate sports media and sports interest in Saskatchewan so totally that it is insane. 

Check out the media coverage from this past week and it’s been something like 90 percent ‘Riders, with the Rush getting the table scraps from Saskatoon media over the past couple of days. It actually gets to be kind of boring after a while — it’s all Riders all the time, basically.

Most of the media coverage has been on the quarterback battle. But with the much-touted Vince Young pulling a hamstring, that put his comeback on hold and people in Regina lost an opportunity to see him in action at the new stadium. Instead, the main battle Saturday was between Brandon Bridge and Bryan Bennett for a roster spot in a game that ultimately ended in a 25-25 tie.

Now, a big bone of contention for everyone in Saskatchewan last night was the lack of television coverage of both these games. Here was a pre-season game which was the historic first-one-ever at the new Mosaic Stadium, and yet TSN was showing French Open tennis and UFC Fight Night from New Zealand! Which is fine, but they have five channels. Couldn’t at least one of them have shown this game? There wasn’t even a live stream, either, for anyone to watch anywhere.

If you think that’s bad, what went down with the coverage of the NLL Cup finals game in Saskatoon was absolute bush league. First of all, there was no TV coverage of it at all, unlike last year when TSN showed it. There was not even local SaskTel MaxTV coverage like there was in previous games!

Okay, fine, then: there was still live streaming of the game on Twitter. Except when we all tried to tune in the game from Saskatchewan, we got geoblocked! We got stuck with a message claiming that due to “licensing restrictions” Twitter couldn’t show us the game. This made absolutely no sense, though, because Twitter had shown their past NLL games here, no problems. 

I spent the whole first half tuning in an online radio feed of the Rush game while watching the UFC fights on television, and boy was I fuming. I was thinking maybe I should tune in the UFC more often and just say to hell with the NLL. 

Finally, after half time, the NLL opened up their pay NLLTV stream to Canada free of charge, and so that was how we were finally able to see the Rush blow the game in the final seconds and then lose the Cup in OT, 15-14.

Honestly, this was terrible. Two big games of major importance to sports fans in Saskatchewan, meanwhile TSN and Sportsnet have 11 channels between them and not a single one showing either of them anywhere. No wonder these channels are referred to as “Toronto Sports Network” by people here. The Saskatchewan audience was not served at all Saturday night; our sports teams are being completely ignored. Why, again, are we paying big money on cable TV subscriptions? Why?

That’s my rant, now excuse me as I tune in the coverage of the Grand Prix race. From Montreal.

Batman is dead! Adam West was 88.

Now watching hair-raising British election coverage

I notice the entire British media is already freaking out over the prospect that Prime Minister Theresa May’s early election may produce a total hung parliament now. 

James Comey testifies before the Senate

This week the American news media has been going all hog wild over fired FBI director James Comey and his testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee hearings regarding President Donald Trump

Personally, I have not been paying too much attention. I am tired of all things Trump and am more excited about British election coverage happening later this evening. I get the impression Comey is handing partisan ammunition to both sides with what he has been saying this week.

Moreover, I want to take some time over the next few days to figure out my summer vacation plans, since it is that time of year again. And I plan to spend the coming few days goofing off. Really, the last thing on my mind today is the news, but I will be Tweeting British election night as it happens.

Wonder Woman saves the summer box office to the tune of over $100 million!

Trump, ISIS, Kathy Griffin, and more News from Nowhere

Welcome to another depressing News from Nowhere with the world going mad again, and as usual President Donald Trump is in the thick of it. 

Honestly, I’m getting tired of him and his insane Tweeting, and I’m also tired of all of his opponents obsessing about Trump all the time and telling us how awful he is. “We know, we know.”

After this latest terrorism attack in London, which ISIS has claimed responsibility for, Pres. Trump took the opportunity to promote his travel ban, on Twitter. That got the masses fired up, as usual.

Meanwhile, people are still mad over the other big news of this week: Trump’s pullout of the USA from the Paris Accord on climate change. So yeah, it’s been that sort of week.

It has also been the week of Kathy Griffin. She held her big press conference the other day, supposedly begging forgiveness again for that revolting Trump bloodied-head stunt that got her fired from CNN. But instead, she took the opportunity to blame Trump for it, accusing Trump of trying to ruin her life

Um, wait a minute: Trump kind of had nothing to do with this. This stunt was entirely Kathy Griffin’s doing. Griffin has no one to blame but herself for her own self-immolation. When I say I’m tired of Trump’s opponents, it is this sort of thing I am talking about. (Update: Jerry Seinfeld has now weighed in on Griffin and doesn’t see what the big deal is.)

In other news, this has been a big week for comedians self-immolatingBill Maher has apologized for using the N-word on TV. 

On to the weather — it is starting to get a little too wild for my liking. There was a big tornado that touched down in central Alberta the other day near Three Hills. Yikes, that’s just one province over! We don’t need any of those here, too, we have enough problems. 

That’s about all the news I can stand. Coming up next, the box office report.

This time, it’s London hit by the terrorists

I have London on the brain already after watching Wonder Woman last night, in which it was featured prominently, but now the city is all over the news right now with reports of attacks at London Bridge and the Borough Market. Terrorism is suspected

Coverage here from BBC News

Drama in BC politics, and in TV news, dominates the News from Nowhere

Welcome to News from Nowhere where we have a lot of stuff to talk about, including in Canadian politics.

Fresh off the heels of the national Conservative leadership vote comes major developments in British Columbia politics. After an indecisive election night, followed by recounts and absentee ballot counts that confirmed a “Hung Legislature”, yesterday the Greens leader Andrew Weaver signed a deal to hand power to John Horgan and the NDP.

That means Horgan likely becomes Premier, but not before the legislature comes backs into session and votes on a confidence motion to formally kick Premier Christy Clark and the BC Liberals out. All in all, I don’t like what is going on, this looks like a “palace coup” and the new government’s policies look positively scary for the economy, with all this talk of scrapping the Kinder-Morgan pipeline. 

The same day this was happening, Nova Scotia was having an election, which took all evening to count before it was determined the Liberals got back in.

To other news now, this time from the USA where life continues to be unhinged. Kathy Griffin was fired as co-host of the CNN New Years show after posing with a bloody severed head of Donald Trump. How low can you go?

Meanwhile, it was a bad day for media people in general. It was announced that Scott Pelley is out as anchor of the CBS Evening News, demoted to a correspondent role at 60 Minutes, presumably because of lousy ratings. 

In weekend auto racing news Takuma Sato won the Indy 500 and Austin Dillon won the Coca-Cola 600, and Sebastian Vettel won the Monaco Grand Prix

And in perhaps the biggest sporting news of the week, Tiger Woods‘ life is in the sink again after he is charged with DUI after being found asleep at the wheel with his car damaged. For his part, Woods is saying this is NOT alcohol-related. Still, this is just sad to watch, seeing the great golfing career of Tiger Woods go down in flames like this.

That is all I feel like doing for now. 

Franchise fatigue to blame for latest “Pirates of the Caribbean” crummy numbers

The box office results are coming in for this Memorial Day weekend and it looks as if Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales came in lower than anticipated. Their weekend haul is $62.2 million domestic with a four-day haul of $75 million. 

While the international numbers are quite a bit better, Deadline Hollywood points to this as evidence of franchise fatigue. Also, the new Baywatch movie has completely gone under water coming in at $22 million over four days and $26 mil for five days. 

I notice they are blaming the bad Rotten Tomatoes scores for the lousy numbers for these two movies. Maybe Hollywood should blame “word of mouth” instead, because honestly, that’s what it is. No one particularly wanted these movies made. While I thought there would be an appetite for another Pirates movie, that is clearly not the case. And not even the fans of the TV series wanted this Baywatch piece of junk.

The thing is, every year, people say they want to see something original at the movies. The fans want originality! And yet every summer, Hollywood turns around and churns out the “same old crap”.

Opening later this coming week: Wonder Woman. Maybe this will do better, but I notice right now that some theatres don’t want male paying customers at screenings of this movie. 

That’s it for now; now back to my annual Memorial Day weekend auto racing TV binge-watching.

And the winner is… Andrew Scheer

Well, it was indeed a long day, just as I expected it would be. It went 13 ballots, by far the most in Canadian political history, and in the end it was a razor-thin result as Andrew Scheer finally caught and passed Maxime Bernier on the final ballot to win the Conservative leadership, with just under 51 percent of the vote. 

People are calling his win a huge surprise. But the surprise for me was how strongly the social conservatives in the race did. In particular, I was blown away that Brad Trost finished as high as he did, in fourth place. Together with Pierre Lemieux, those two got roughly 15 percent of the vote between them on the first ballot. When I saw those numbers I thought “holy cow, Scheer could catch Bernier,” because I knew Scheer would scoop up a lot of their votes in the later ballots as second and third choice votes.

The other thing that surely cost Bernier the leadership were the votes of all these angry dairy farmers who didn’t like Bernier’s plan to scrap “supply management.” In the end, that really was the defining issue of this race. All those debates between Bernier and his opponents, especially Steven Blaney, on that particular issue really did turn out to be important, after all.

So, that’s it for this leadership vote. Next up: the federal NDP.

Maxime Bernier favored as the Tories count the votes today for leader

Today, I plan to stay tuned to my iPad as the results come in for the Conservative leadership race. 

Of course, I’m not there at the Toronto Congress Centre today, but I plan to follow along on Twitter and tune in the live streams online. I wrote this piece previewing what to expect, but quite honestly I have been in the dark on a lot of things about this race, such as how many rounds of counting they are planning on doing. It looks like we could have as many as 12 ballots, which is an insane number, but it sounds like the vote count should actually go pretty quickly because it’s going to be all digitized and so on.

We are also largely in the dark about how many votes these candidates are expected to get, and I blame that on what seems like a lack of news media interest in this whole race. Trust me, if this were the United States, their media would’ve been going hog wild covering this vote and doing mounds of polling for it, so that we all had an idea what was actually happening. Unfortunately, we live in Canada, where no one cares, so the coverage has been basically consigned to cable. And most of what we are getting is pure speculation from these analysts as to what they think will happen. 

Personally, I’ve preferred CPAC’s coverage — they actually seem to have people on there who actually know what they’re talking about, unlike these other channels. Anyway, enough of that. 

A lot of people think it is going to come down to Maxime Bernier and Andrew Scheer, and I’m inclined to think that will be the case. A lot of people think Bernier just about has it wrapped up. We shall see.

As for possible surprises or upsets today — watch out for Pierre Lemieux. I’m seeing quite a few predictions out there that he could make it as high as third or fourth place on the first ballot. Which would be a surprise to a lot of people, but his campaign really has picked up momentum just in the last few weeks. When I asked Lemieux at the all-candidates in Lloydminster about how his campaign was doing, he sounded very confident, and he seemed to make a big impression on the people there with his social-conservative positions. So keep an eye on his vote totals.

Anyway, I may not be there at the convention today but I don’t feel deprived. I’ve had plenty of opportunity to cover this race, even while situated here in sunny Saskatchewan. Interesting thing about this race is that there are two candidates from Saskatchewan in the running, and that has given this particular leadership race more local relevance than usual. 

Here are links below to my stories from throughout the campaign.

That is it for now.

Some links to Tories leadership convention coverage

It’s official: the new Baywatch movie is garbage

I didn’t expect this new Baywatch movie (opening Thursday) to get good reviews, as most film critics are uptight snobs about this sort of fare and the TV series it is based on was absolute cheese. Yet, even by the usual low Baywatch standards the reviews are really awful. It’s running at 20 percent at Rotten Tomatoes! (Update: they’ve dropped to 18 percent as of Friday!)

Word on the street is this is an unfunny, gross-out type of movie that not even Dwayne Johnson can save. I guess no one ought to be surprised.

And this is not the only new movie getting pelted. The film critics are already blasting away at the new Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, due to open Friday, which is running currently at 31 percent

Oh, well, maybe this is a good week for moviegoers to stay home and save their money.

More bad news: Sir Roger Moore has died.

Several people killed at Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, U.K. tonight.

Good grief. There was an explosion at the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena in which 19 people were killed and 50 injured. It’s suspected to be terrorism. 

The world just keeps on being awful these days. Coverage here from the BBC.

Box office — Alien: Covenant beats out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

The weekend box office totals are in for what turned out to be the tightest, closest race of the summer blockbuster season so far. According to the numbers, Alien: Covenant has beaten out Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 with a haul of $36 million, a difference of about $700,000.

But this could hardly be called a fabulous showing for the Alien franchise, and my guess is that my prediction that this,would be in the top 10 for the whole summer is already up in smoke. I’m thinking now that Dunkirk gets there instead. Anyway, the analysis and post-mortems for this flick are now on.

A big week of releases is ahead as Baywatch opens Wednesday followed by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales on Friday.

TV news: new shows overshadowed by Tim Allen’s big cancellation

Last week was the annual “upfronts” previewing the new fall lineups for the major US television networks, and you can see the stories about what went down here, and here

I guess the biggest TV news of the past while is that ABC intends to bring back American Idol in 2018, which ruffles the feathers of the folks at FOX who thought they had sent this show off into the sunset already. 

Honestly, folks — why is this piece of junk coming back? Everyone is sick of American Idol; it produced a few stars during its first incarnations but descended immediately into total “who-cares-TV” after Simon Cowell left. Besides, there is a glut of other music and reality-show competitions on TV. This show ought to rest in peace.

Anyway, the big news is not the shows that are coming on the air, but the ones that are being cancelled. Of those, there are a few surprises. I notice ABC is in particular hot water for its decision to axe the still well-watched Last Man Standing starring Tim Allen. There are petitions going around protesting the cancellation, with accusations that this show is being booted off the air simply because Allen is a conservative. 

For his part, Allen says he is “stunned and blindsided“. People on the right are really taking this hard. Anyway, it looks as if 20th Century Fox is going to try and find a new home for it. 

Of the other cancelled shows, the one I found particularly notable was 2 Broke Girls, which had been on the air for years. I didn’t think it was in any sort of danger, but I suppose whenever a sitcom hits the six-year mark, it’s usually time to go. 

For those keeping track, here is the list of which network shows are dead or alive.

The news is that Roger Ailes has died

I was all set to go off on a riff about the appointment of a special prosecutor re: Trump/Russia investigation, but that has been “trumped” today by the news that embattled former Fox News boss Roger Ailes has died.

It seems the Drudge Report broke the news before Fox News did, which some people find sort of interesting. Anyway, it surely is a sad ending.

Latest Trump WH chaos: all these Kimberly Guilfoyle press secretary rumors

The Donald Trump White House is a gong show. The Comey firing and all these neverending Russia allegations are dragging down his entire administration and are surely leading to an early impeachment exit. What’s made it worse has been the hyper-partisanship of his staffers and advisers, and all these attacks on the press and their credibility. That, in turn, is simply adding fuel to all the “Trump Derangement Syndrome” you are seeing in the media nowadays. Basically, all the problems are self-inflicted. 

Now, the latest set of rumors circling the swamp in D.C. have to do with the hapless Sean Spicer and whether he will be turfed as press secretary, in the wake of all this disastrous media his boss has been getting lately. Stories have been floating that Kimberly Guilfoyle, of Fox News’s The Five fame, might replace him. The word was that Guilfoyle was up for the press secretary job, but now there are stories that it’s not happening anyway and that the Trump administration doesn’t want her and thinks she is using the White House for herself. 

What is interesting is that Guilfoyle’s background isn’t so much the media, but the legal profession! She was a prosecutor for years in the great state of California. (California: worst bar exam in the country etc. etc.) Honestly, though, I don’t know why she would even consider this job. It’s working for Trump, people. Most sane folks would run like hell. 

Anyway, this whole story is yet one more distraction for this administration, on top of all the rest of them. No doubt, though, they need a complete re-set with the media, because constantly being at war with them all the time is no way to go. 

WSOP Main Event November Nine is now, ahem, the July Nine.

So, you die-hard poker players/fans out there surely have heard the news by now about the big changes at the World Series of Poker.  

Poker Central has taken over rights to the World Series of Poker, which will continue to air on ESPN. As part of the changeover, the final table for the $10,000 Main Event, which for years had been nicknamed the “November Nine” because it was held every November at the Rio’s Penn & Teller Theater in Las Vegas, has been moved up to July.

Common sense has prevailed, finally! Seriously, look at all these other poker tournaments out there, like these various PokerStars Championships, the Aussie Millions, and the WPT tour. These big tournaments typically hold several different events over a number of days, all building up to their final Main Event with their “final table.” 

But with the WSOP, what they’d do is have several weeks of events starting in late May, one after the other, all of which are supposed to build up to the $10,000 Main Event during the month of July. Except, once the Main Event is down to nine players, every year they call a halt to it! Everyone goes home, and the players don’t come back to play the final table for another three or four months! 

Non-poker fans probably look at this setup and think this is crazy, and you know what? They’re right. At least now, all the WSOP events will all be together, and the Main Event will play to a conclusion in July. Plus, these final nine players won’t be spending three or four months reading up on their opponents’ strategies and hand histories for the final table, like they did before.

Big breaking news: the California bar exam is absolutely awful

I have been reading with some morbid fascination about the California bar exam pass rates, as reported by Above the Law

According to their report, the most recent overall test scores are pathetic. The latest pass rate was a lousy 34.5 percent, and for first time takers it was 39 percent! 

Now, the whole process of going through with a bar exam is supposed to be brutal. I went through it myself in a jurisdiction where the vast majority of people passed the first time, including myself. But it was still a harrowing process for everyone involved, with everyone killing themselves studying for it. We had to write three exams over three days, if you can believe that. If that’s what goes on here in frozen Canada, where the bar exam is supposed to be semi-reasonable, then you cannot even imagine what people go through trying to pass California’s awful exam.

I almost wonder what these bar examiners are trying to prove! Couldn’t they come up with something that people are actually capable of passing the first time, without them having to waste their time and money retaking it over and over again? (Among other things, the bar-prep study courses alone cost something like $3,000.) Or maybe they simply want to keep the unwashed masses out of California and make them go to Montana or North Dakota instead.

What’s especially sad is that of all the jurisdictions where I personally would be the most interested in being admitted as a lawyer (if I ever decided to go back to it), California would rank right up there, simply because I’d want to live the “Entourage” lifestyle and enjoy the sunny weather and the beach.

Well, there’s that, plus there is the potential number of rich celebrities who might make up your clientele if you were to practice divorce law or something like that (ie. Laura Wasser). 

Then again, I also hear practicing law in California is just as lousy and cutthroat as in any other jurisdiction, anyway. In fact, I know of a couple of people from my own law school class who, no joke, actually went down there and got admitted to the bar in the state of California! How they managed to get through that state’s lousy bar exam, I don’t know, because to me it sure looks like climbing Mt. Everest is easier.

First big flop of the summer season is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword

Every year, it is usually around week two or so of the Summer Blockbuster Season that the first big bomb shows up at the domestic box office. This time, and right on schedule, it is King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, which only made — what, $14.7 million? And the budget was reported to be $175 million? 

This, my friends, is horrendous. It’s hard to think of any other upcoming release that could possibly be this big a flop for the rest of this summer.

Of course, the director was Guy Ritchie, who I still haven’t forgiven for what he did to The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which was another big fat flop under his watch. But by all accounts U.N.C.L.E. was still a better effort than this, running at only 27 percent at Rotten Tomatoes. 

As for this weekend’s domestic No. 1, it was once again Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, coming in at a cool $63 million.

White House engulfed by post-Comey fallout, and more News from Nowhere.

“If it’s Sunday, it’s News from Nowhere”. Happy Mother’s Day! 

Actually, I don’t feel much like doing individual posts about all these news stories, which is why they are all going up here. It is the same old nonsense we have come to expect, particularly when it involves the Donald Trump administration. 

Trump clearly has one foot out the door of the White House after his firing of FBI director James Comey. Trump says he fired Comey because everyone’s lost confidence in him, but of course all his opponents are now saying this is “obstruction of justice” because of all the FBI investigations still going on into the Trump links to Russia. People are comparing this firing to the Saturday Night Massacre that eventually did in Nixon.

Whether firing Comey was justified or not, this move has simply added more fuel to the partisan fire that has engulfed Washington, D.C. lately. The Democrats are suffering from full-on “Trump Derangement Syndrome” and will stop at nothing to get rid of Trump, preferably by impeachment. If the Dems take over Congress and the Senate in 2018, Trump’s as good as gone. You heard it here. 

I think Trump’s biggest problems are political and PR-related right now. And those issues are all internal. Trump needs to fire people, all right — folks in the White House.

Other news from the week: the big story was this massive ransomware attack on Windows operating systems that took down the National Health Service in the U.K. and computer systems in about 100 other countries, with the Russians apparently hard-hit. As bad as it was, it sounds like our side of the world was spared. It also sounds like the worst of it might not yet be over

Another story is that North Korea test-fired a missile again, but it’s almost getting to the point where this sort of thing isn’t really news anymore. What would be news is if one of these missiles hits somewhere and touches off World War III.

In political news, South Korea elected a new President this week. Also on the same day, BC held a provincial election and the final result is still uncertain, pending recounts. The BC Liberals under Premier Christy Clark won the most seats at 43, one short of a majority, but there is a recount going on in one seat that the NDP won by nine votes. As well, there is a lot of absentee votes still to be counted, so this really isn’t decided yet,

The other story has been the flooding situation across Canada, with Ontario and especially Quebec hard hit. They are also seeing a flood threat in Kelowna, but the latest I am hearing from there is that it’s not a bad situation there, yet.

A reminder to myself to tune in the Miss USA Pageant, tonight. From Las Vegas.

In sports news, Chelsea clinched the Premier League on Friday.

And finally, I have come to the rather sad conclusion that my taste in sports is rather gruesome. My favorite sports really are the ones loaded with violence and lots of death and destruction, with a lot of blood and guts being spilled. Such as: auto racing.

Last night, I tuned in the TV to see a big fiery wreck in the NASCAR race in Kansas, involving Joey Logano, Danica Patrick and Aric Almirola, with Almirola taken to the hospital! Yikes. Well, anyway, at least he wasn’t killed. 

And that is that for that.

Broadcasting in Israel is in chaos as plug is pulled on the IBA

I like to stay informed about broadcasting news going on in the world (probably a holdover from my many years listening to shortwave radio). I was quite surprised to learn that Israel’s Knesset had decided to shut down its public broadcaster IBA and replace it with a new, leaner organization called KAN. The shutdown happened rather suddenly this week with the national newscast being yanked off the air, with one news anchor finding out about the closure while she was still on the air (above). 

My understanding is that the reason IBA is being closed down is because it has become a big bureaucracy, and Israelis were fed up having to pay massive license fees for broadcasts they don’t tune in to. Also, there are stories the Netanyahu government had it in for IBA over their lousy news coverage. Still, this is a big shock to viewers and listeners there.

The biggest controversy to come from this, I guess, surrounds the impact of this decision on Israel’s annual participation in the Eurovision Song Contest, which actually turned out to be the final show on Channel 1 last night before it left the air. This is a big deal for people in Israel, because they’ve entered and won that contest three times. Anyway, it looks like Israel might not be competing anymore, due to the IBA closure. 

This, folks, is bizarre, because you would think this new broadcasting organization would want to be able to air the show and send an entry to compete. The bottom line is there is a lot of confusion today about what is happening, but then again, there is a lot about this story that makes no sense. 

Pres. Trump tells FBI director James Comey: “You’re fired!”

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 kicks off blockbuster season with a $145 mil domestic weekend haul!

Results in France: Macron 65%

This is it! Macron v. Le Pen to be decided Sunday

We will know who the new President of France is soon enough. I am just posting this to remind myself that the winner of the presidential election will be announced on TV on Sunday.  

This wraps up a frantic final week of the election race, one in which Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen faced off in an insult-filled final debate, and which also saw a major hacking of the Macron campaign just the other day. Gee, I wonder who was behind that one. Is it the same group of people who hacked the DNC? It would not surprise me. 

By the way, this result is going to end up being one of the all-time blowouts, similar to what happened in the Canelo Alvarez-Julio Cesar Chavez Jr. fight in Las Vegas. Macron is going to win by a landslide, simply because Le Pen is too big a lunatic and the people of France know it. Don’t listen to anyone in the media trying to tell you that somehow this race is in doubt or that the polls might be wrong. This talk is surely “fake news.” 

And don’t believe anyone who will call Macron’s win a “victory for the EU.” Folks, this vote is not a referendum on the EU! In fact, a lot of people are voting for Macron in spite of his EU policies, or any of his policies for that matter. The only reason they are voting for Macron is because he’s not Le Pen! That’s it! Anyway, these commentators in the media once again know nothing. That is all I have to say for now.

Trump skips his own WH Correspondents Dinner, and more News from Nowhere

Welcome to News from Nowhere for this Sunday, the final day of April. I guess the big news this weekend is that the White House Correspondents Dinner happened last night with the Commander in Chief President Donald Trump conspicuous by his absence. Then again, how unpleasant must it be, eh, to have to sit and listen to all these biased media people, trashing and ridiculing your administration? I didn’t hear much of this dinner, but during the portion I tuned into they were making a joke of Steve Bannon being a Nazi. You get the picture. 

Anyway, in typical Trump fashion, he held a counter-event — a rally in Pennsylvania celebrating 100 days in office. Take that, all you fake-news people in DC. He also took the opportunity to invite Philippine president Duterte to the White House! The Correspondents may have had their Dinner on Saturday, but once again, Trump eats the press.

In other news from the week, the left-wing protesters were at it again at Berkeley, trying to prevent yet more people they disagreed with from speaking. What happened there was that Ann Coulter’s speech was first cancelled, then it was rescheduled, and then it was cancelled again, all at the urging of these protesters. 

All in all, this is pathetic. 

Free speech is taking a beating at college campuses across America and the world, but especially at Berkeley. And every time something like this happens, where some protest is staged over a speech by someone right-leaning, the left’s credibility takes another blow, because conservatives are incensed and won’t put up with being silenced like this anymore. Most definitely, Ann Coulter is incensed

In fact, I read that Laura Ingraham and Sean Hannity are talking about teaming up and going on a college campus speaking tour, just for the heck of it. This is bound to attract all these “Alt-Left” people, as Hannity likes to call them. And of course, these protesters will all look like fascists again, as usual, trying to shout down the people they disagree with.

What they don’t realize is they have lost the public. Folks, it’s exactly this sort of mayhem, this shutting down of dissenting opinions, that led to Trump being elected President  — and which will surely lead to his re-election, while we are at it. 

Other news:

Sadly, we are into tornado season in the United States. Four people lost their lives to a tornado in north Texas and 11 people died in the South overall from the storms that hit this weekend. 

There is still a lot of concern about North Korea, there are a lot of war preparations going on there and more failed missile tests, and people are really worried that their unhinged leadership will ignite World War III. I guess the good news is nobody has been nuked — yet.

In music news, a total fiasco happened at the Fyre Festival. This was a music festival in the Bahamas that had been heavily promoted by all these supermodels like Emily Ratajkowski, Kendall Jenner and Bella Hadid, but which ended up being poorly organized and a total mess, including lousy food that looked like something served right out of a really bad school cafeteria. And apparently people paid thousands upon thousands of dollars to go to this. 

In sports: Stanley Cup playoffs are still on, and to show you how bored the people of Canada are, the big controversy earlier this week was that hockey fans were all upset at Ottawa for not selling out the Ottawa Senators playoff game

Could it be, folks, that maybe Canadians simply can’t afford the tickets anymore to this ridiculously overpriced National Hockey League? 

Finally, I notice that it’s not just me who is interested in Baywatch actress Donna D’Errico, because the Daily Mail tracked her down and got some photos of her in a red swimsuit on the beach in Malibu, at age 49. Oh, Donna!

That is all for now.

The news today is the UFC is coming to Edmonton, Sept. 9!

Well, the big announcement was made today. After years of rumors and waiting, the UFC has announced it is finally having a show in Edmonton! It is UFC 216, happening Sept. 9 at Rogers Place. 

This pay-per-view is the first event under the UFC banner in Edmonton, although it should be noted there was a WEC 49 event in the city back in June 2010. WEC were owned by the same company, Zuffa, that owns UFC.

No cards have been announced for this latest event yet. I’d be interested in finding out who’s fighting before I shell out for tickets. If this card is any good, I’m thinking I ought to maybe make the drive there myself to see the fights (assuming I’m still living here in Sask.).

All in all, these are exciting times for a city still enjoying the Edmonton Oilers playoff run in their brand new, major-league arena downtown. 

As an aside, this news is yet another example of why ESPN is failing! They are ignoring the interests and tastes of a wide range of sports fans. If you are a fan of sports like mixed martial arts, or hockey, or NASCAR or horse racing or other sports like that, then good luck finding coverage anymore on ESPN! I guess ESPN still shows soccer games occasionally, but these others? Tough luck! I am willing to bet a big reason why so many people aren’t watching ESPN anymore is because they are disenfranchised fans of these very same sports. For them, ESPN truly is a waste of money nowadays. So, that’s my rant.

That’s that for that news, and I look forward to tuning in tonight to coverage of the NFL Draft.