Advertisements

NORAD’s Crazy Santa Cause 

An inside look at the single largest public outreach program for the Department of Defense — and the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

But the number printed in the newspaper in December 1955 had a digit wrong — and was instead the direct line into the secret military nerve center in Colorado Springs, Colo., where the Pentagon was on the lookout to prevent nuclear war. The Air Force officer and World War II fighter pilot who took the first call that day for Father Christmas thought it was a crank — and Col. Harry Shoup sternly said so.

“The little kid started crying,” Shoup’s daughter, Terri Van Keuren, recalled in an interview. “So Dad went into his ‘Ho ho ho’ and got the kid’s list.”

Sixty-two years later, the Continental Air Defense Command is now the North American Aerospace Defense Command, and its interactive NORAD Tracks Santa has become the largest single public outreach program for the Defense Department. It’s also, you might say, the Pentagon’s most elaborate propaganda operation.

Air Force Lt. Col. David Hanson, of Chicago, takes a phone call from a youngster in Florida at the Santa Tracking Operations Center at Peterson Air Force Base near Colorado Springs, Colo., on Friday, Dec. 24, 2010. Volunteers take as many as 80,000 phone calls from youngsters and adults around the world with questions about Santa and his travels. Lots of military secrets are hidden behind the gleaming walls of NORAD’S headquarters building, including this one: Just how do they get Santa’s flight path onto their computer screens every Christmas Eve?Tracking Santa’s travels is a celebrated tradition at the North American Aerospace Command, and it unfolds Friday for the 55th year. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

On Christmas Eve, while monitoring the heavens for North Korean missile launches or Russian military aircraft flying too close to the U.S. or Canada, NORAD will also be reporting the progress of Santa and his reindeer as they travel from the North Pole around the world delivering presents and holiday cheer. It will correlate the jolly elf’s journey with its network of 47 radar stations, spy satellites in “geosynchronous” orbit 22,300 miles above the earth, fighter jets and a suite of special high-tech “SantaCams.” Or so the publicity stunt’s plan goes.

“The moment our radar tells us that Santa has lifted off, we begin to use the same satellites that we use in providing warning of possible missile launches aimed at North America,” says NORAD’s detailed 14-page internal handbook for the operation, which is replete with Santa stats (first flight believed to be Dec. 24, 343 A.D.) and even talking points for that uncomfortable question many parents also confront: “Is there a Santa Claus?”

[Read the full story here, at POLITICO]

It’s all part of the ornamented script that more than 1,500 volunteers — including the four-star general in charge of defending North America — are using to field an anticipated 150,000 calls and an avalanche of emails and social media posts (2 million Facebook followers so far) who are all seeking to locate Ole St. Nick on his starlight odyssey.

“As soon as you’re hanging up there’s another kid wanting to talk to you,” Preston Schlachter, NORAD’s Track Santa program manager and its director of community outreach, said of the 23-hour period leading up to Christmas when volunteers work in two-hour shifts, backed up by dozens of sponsors ranging from Microsoft to the National Defense Industrial Association, Taco Bell and the local Amy’s Donuts in Colorado Springs.

In the past, VIPs like former first lady Michelle Obama have also taken a turn at the phones.

“It is the best two hours you’ll ever experience,” Schlachter added in an interview. “You are getting these calls from all over the world. One of the coolest things I like about the program is the multi-generational aspect of it. We are seeing feedback on social media, people who call in and tell us they tracked Santa when they were kids and they’ve introduced it to their kids and now they’re introducing it to their grandkids.” Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

‘Woke Barbie’ Torches Mattel Profits, Company Anticipates ‘Margin Deterioration’ During Disappointing Christmas Holiday 

Chloe Aiello reports: Mattel anticipates “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.

Struggling to stay afloat, Mattel released updated full year and fourth quarter guidance, anticipating a disappointing holiday season. The toy maker predicts “gross margin deterioration,” during what is typically the biggest shopping season of the year.

“The unfavorable year-over-year gross margin experienced during the first nine months of 2017 is expected to continue throughout the fourth quarter of 2017, as a result of unfavorable product mix, higher freight and logistics expense, and lower fixed cost absorption,” the company said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. “In addition, continued negative trends in top line performance for the balance of the year could result in additional gross margin deterioration as a result of higher inventory write-downs and discounts offered to clear inventory.”

Mattel said it expects its fourth quarter operating income margin to be significantly lower year-over-year, and anticipates 2017 full-year gross sales will decline by the mid-to-high single digits compared to 2016.

The revised guidance hints at worsening conditions within Mattel, which has watched its margins suffer for years from cheaper imports, competition from big box retailers and the impact of technology on toys.

“Based on preliminary quarter-to-date data for the fourth quarter, Mattel currently anticipates its gross sales during the fourth quarter of 2017 will continue to be negatively impacted by key retail partners moving toward tighter inventory management and by challenges in the Toy Box and certain under performing brands,” Mattel said in the filing. Read the rest of this entry »


Matt Labash: Millennials Have Officially Killed the Holiday Office Party 

Thanks Vox.com.

Matt Labash writes: As we celebrate this Christmas season (or this “holiday,” for Christ-haters), I don’t wish to be a killjoy to the world. But reflecting on the year gone by, it’s hard not to notice that we have lost a few of our favorite things: Tom Petty, political moderation, our dignity.

And yet, as we’ve hunkered down throughout 2017 to weather every storm from Hurricane Harvey (the tropical cyclone that nearly destroyed Houston) to Hurricane Harvey (the film producer/sex-criminal who has all but destroyed famous men), there seems to be another death that has barely registered—that of the open-bar office Christmas party.

It is a time-honored tradition, and in Dilbert-ified America most cubicle monkeys know the drill: Don your smart-yet-festive sweater vest. Show up to your company’s voluntary holiday gathering, where absences are informally noted by supervisors who will passive-aggressively punish the missing come January. Pretend you enjoy socializing with colleagues that you wouldn’t invite over to your house on a dare. All while drinking until your liver cries uncle, or until Jones from purchasing miraculously transforms into a sparkling conversationalist.

[Read the full story here, at The Weekly Standard]

But the already-ailing patient might have died on the table last week, when news broke that Vox Media, after an internal sexual-harassment scandal that saw editorial director Lockhart Steele get fired, announced of their holiday party in a staff memo: “At the request of many of you, we will ramp up the food and cut down on the drinks.” According to accuser Eden Rohatensky’s Medium post, after an apparent drinking bout, the man eventually revealed as Steele caressed her hand and kissed the back of her neck in an Uber.

Vox Media, in case you don’t read the Internet, is, as they put it with characteristic modesty, “a prestigious modern media company .  .  . [that is] shaping the future of journalism and entertainment.”

The parent company’s myriad media outlets—or “brands,” as modern media companies now insist on calling themselves—include everything from tech-news site the Verge to foodie site Eater to the flagship itself, Vox. Read the rest of this entry »


[VIDEO] Queen Elizabeth II Rocks The House; Celebrates Sapphire Jubilee

8245996-1x1-700x700

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, celebrates her Sapphire Jubilee.

Queen Elizabeth II, the world’s longest-reigning living monarch, has celebrated her Sapphire Jubilee as Britain commemorates 65 years since she ascended the throne.

The 90-year-old monarch, who became the kingdom’s longest-reigning sovereign in 2015, did not publicly mark the occasion herself, but a 41-gun royal salute was fired in a central London park to honour the landmark.

“Today’s Sapphire Jubilee marks yet another remarkable milestone for our remarkable Queen,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement.

“It is a testament to her selfless devotion to the nation that she is not marking becoming the first monarch to reign for 65 years with any special celebration, but instead getting on with the job to which she has dedicated her life.”

Elizabeth became Queen aged 25 on February 6, 1952, following the death of her father George VI.

She is the 41st monarch in a royal line that traces its origin back to Norman King William the Conqueror who claimed the throne in 1066.

When she overtook her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria’s record of 63 years on the throne, she remarked it was not something to which she had ever aspired.

Buckingham Palace said she would spend Monday at her residence in Sandringham, eastern England, as was usual. Read the rest of this entry »


The Evolution of the Japanese Ego: Part I 

under-the-wave-off-kanagawa

Michael Hoffman writes: When Adam and Eve defied God, creator and master of the universe, and ate the fruit of the tree of knowledge, what did they learn? To say “I.”

They learned that they were “naked” — they were selves, egos. As such, there was no place for them in paradise. Their expulsion was “the fall of man,” narrated in the biblical Book of Genesis.

This seems a long way from Japan. It is. Japanese myth records no “fall,” no defiance of the undefiable, no primeval descent into selfhood. The Japanese ego evolved very differently from the Western one.

This is the introductory installment of a four-part series examining what the Japanese mean when they say “I.”

A peculiarity of the Japanese language gives it many first-person pronouns, varying with circumstances, rank, age and gender, but comparatively few occasions to use them. Japanese often leaves sentence subjects
unspoken. You can speak of yourself without emphasizing and reinforcing, as Western languages force you to do, your “I-ness.”

cs2317598-02a-big

Japanese tradition denigrates not only selfishness but selfhood. To Buddhism it was a delusion; to Confucianism, an object of “self-cultivation” whose ultimate object is self-denying, society-dedicated “benevolence.” Bushido, the “way of the warrior,” was especially hard on the self. “The way of the warrior is death,” declared the grim 18th-century military treatise known as the “Hagakure.” “This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death.” The self that instinctively protests51e9jgsshl-_sl250_ its death sentence must be rigorously suppressed: “Every day without fail one should consider oneself as dead.”

[Check out Michael Hoffman’s book, “In The Land of the Kami: A Journey Into The Hearts of Japan at Amazon.com]

The first “I” in Japanese literature is identifiable but not nameable — her name is unknown. A noblewoman and poetess, she lived in 10th-century Kyoto and left posterity a diary — the “Kagero Nikki” (“Gossamer Diary”). It’s a brilliant portrait of a soul in torment. Her “I” is her suffering; her suffering forces her into the black hole of selfhood. Hers is no plea for individualism; if anything she pleads for release from it. She would be anyone other than herself, if only she could. Other people were like other people; only she was different, condemned to the morbid isolation of selfhood by an insufficiently attentive husband and the perversity (which she admits) of her own feelings. Sharing a husband was gall to her. Polygamy among the aristocracy was the norm. Other noblewomen resigned themselves to it, more or less graciously. Why couldn’t she? Why did she alone torture herself over slights and neglect that others shrugged off? Because she was she. She wanted a husband “30 days and 30 nights a month,” and, knowing she demanded the impossible, refused to settle for less. “If only the Buddha would let me be reborn in Enlightenment,” she prays. In other words: If only the Buddha would release me from the agony of selfhood. It never happens.

gossamer

Between the long peace of her time and the long peace of the Edo Period (1603-1868) stand 500 years of war — civil war, mostly — in which bushido prevailed. Life was nothing, death everything, the self a mere sacrifice to be laid on the altar of loyalty. Read the rest of this entry »


Wonder Woman’s Homemade Hot Chocolate Mix recipe 

ww
YIELD
8 servings (1 1/2 cups mix)
ACTIVE TIME
10 minutes
TOTAL TIME
10 minutes

INGREDIENTS

  1. For the hot chocolate mix:
    • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
    • 1/2 cup high-quality cocoa powder
    • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
    • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
    • 1/8 teaspoon fine sea salt
    • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
  2. For the hot chocolate:
    • 1 cup whole milk
    • Whipped cream, marshmallows, and cocoa powder (for serving)

Read the rest of this entry »


Why would hey steal presents from a child?

tumblr_mrymtxv5bs1s2wio8o1_5001

Source: kinasin


‘Santa Claus’ Night in Chicago’: Original Newspaper Strip by Stanley Smith

smith-xmas

Original newspaper strip by Stanley Smith, source unknown

[Click to enlarge]

Source: 


Forgotten masterpiece: Original hand-colored printer’s proofs of ‘The Night Before Christmas’ from Panic #1

will elder Christmas


‘Santa Claus Visits The Moon Base’, Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine, December 1954

tumblr_oikfey7cii1r9qhhio1_1280

Source: rogerwilkerson


[VIDEO] Watch Santa Claus Shoot a Silenced Machine Gun

 writes: It’s almost time for Santa Claus to make his annual trip around the globe to deliver presents for all the good little boys and girls. However, before he gets started, he’s blowing off some steam at the range with a bunch of silenced rifles, shotguns, handguns, and machine pistols.

santa-silencer

“Unfortunately, the ATF have regulated them so much I can’t give them out to all the good little boys and girls.”

Or, at least, that’s how the latest ad from SilencerCo depicts things.

The video features Santa and Rudolph shooting a variety of silenced firearms out in the snowy North Pole.

Colt-Firecrackers

“I used to have some pretty boring hobbies like whittling, baking, but then in the 9th century a magical thing happened: the Chinese invented a little thing called gun powder.”

“My name is Saint Nicholas,” Santa says in the video. “Most of you know me as Santa Claus. My job definitely comes with a lot of stress, but we all have our own ways of relieving that stress.”

[Read the full story here, at freebeacon.com]

“I used to have some pretty boring hobbies like whittling, baking, but then in the 9th century a magical thing happened: the Chinese invented a little thing called gun powder,” he says. Read the rest of this entry »


Have a Strange Christmas!

strangetv


GRAPHIC: Anti-Gun Activists Send Grotesque Gun Victim Christmas Cards

betsy-riot-640x479

Conservatives, gun store owners, and Second Amendment activists are receiving ‘Christmas Cards’ from anti-gun advocates that include graphic photos of victims who have received gunshots to the face.

Lana Shadwick writes: The Christmas card includes the Bible verse, “The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked. And the one who loves violence His soul hates.”

The card also bears the inscription:

The NRA gives the gift of nonfatal gunshot wounds like these to 100,000 Americans per year. Your continued support of ‘guns everywhere’ legislation is directly responsible for this health epidemic. In your heart, do you honestly believe this is what Jesus wants? Shame on you for dishonoring Jesus Christ with your support of gun-pushing legislation.

The Christmas card is signed from “The Betsy Riot” which describes itself on the card as “a decentralized movement that nonviolently opposes gun culture.”

The post on Facebook bears a graphic warning that must be clicked on before the photos can be seen.

[Read the full story here, at Breitbart.com]

The photos can also be found on the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health and the National Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery, Official Publication of Maxillofacial Society of India. These sources do not tell how both of these victims sustained their wounds. The male victim can be found under a case report for “self-inflicting gunshot injury.” Read the rest of this entry »


Movie Poster: ‘White Christmas’, 1954

tumblr_oicxtoucth1qdpulbo1_1280


[VIDEO] ‘Baby It’s Cold Outside’ Will Ferrell & Zooey Deschanel

descha

 


Cornell Students Hold ‘Cry In’ Over Trump Victory

Student: ‘I’m quite terrified, honestly.’

The Cornell Daily Sun reports that students hosted a “Cry In” on the quad Wednesday in the wake of the presidential election results.

“I’m quite terrified, honestly,” one student told the campus newspaper as she took part in the event. “It’s saying that people are really given into fear-mongering. They are willing to put people down based on their identity just so that they would feel vindicated that they would be getting rid of ‘Crooked Hillary.’”

132189-crying-baby

Another participant told the Sun many are in “shock” as she sipped on a Starbucks coffee cup, sitting cross-legged in the institution’s Ho Plaza.

“I am concerned how this is validating the behavior of a lot of people,” she said. Read the rest of this entry »


Ron & Nancy Christmas

Ron & Nancy Christmas


The Queen’s Christmas Message

via , who else? 


[VIDEO] Duet: Dean Martin & Scarlett Johansson, ‘I’ll Be Home for Christmas’

This duet between the infamous Rat Packer and the voluptuous actress would still be weird if it happened when Martin was still alive…Surprisingly, posthumous Christmas duets aren’t unusual, with Kelly Clarkson and Martina McBride teaming up with Elvis for I’ll Be Home For Christmas and Baby It’s Cold Outside,” respectively.

Source: TIME.com


[VIDEO] Bing Crosby & David Bowie Sing ‘Peace on Earth’, ‘Little Drummer Boy’, 1977 

Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy is a Christmas song with an added counterpoint performed by David Bowie and Bing Crosby. “Little Drummer Boy” is a Christmas song written in 1957, while the “Peace on Earth” tune and lyrics were added to the song especially for Bowie and Crosby’s recording.

The song was recorded on 11 September for Crosby’s 1977 television special, Bing Crosby’s Merrie Olde Christmas. The pair exchanged dialogue about what they do for Christmas before singing “Little Drummer Boy” with a new counterpoint with original lyrics written for the special, “Peace on Earth”. Bowie’s appearance has been described as a “surreal” event, undertaken at a time that he was “actively trying to normalise his career” Crosby died on October 14, just over a month after recording the special. In the U.S., the show aired on 30 November 1977 on CBS.

h/t AceofSpadesHQ


[VIDEO] Favorite Sentimental Holiday Movie: Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’

“This is one job he wishes was all a dream.”

Source: mashable.com


[PHOTO] President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree

KN-C19677  13 December 1961 President and Mrs. Kennedy with the 1961 White House Christmas Tree. White House, Blue Room.  Photograph by Robert Knudsen, Office of the Naval Aide to the President, in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, Boston.


Greeting Christmas Carolers: Charles Addams

addams-carolers


Record Numbers of Americans Traveling by Car this Holiday Season

tumblr_nz1xarIuly1ti4wako1_540

The vast majority of holiday travelers — more than 90 million — will be driving, and much cheaper gas prices will drive the costs of the holiday trips down.

At a rest stop in Ridgefield, New Jersey, the Wolfe family of six from Brookhaven, Mississippi, told CBS News that they’ve already logged 18 hours on the road.

Dad Nick Wolfe says their final stop is Vermont.

“Everybody is doing great. We had a DVD installed in the van, so we have been watching a lot of movies. It’s been great.”

For Alex Sphere and his family from Boston, highway driving has been great for the wallet, even if it means nearly running out of gas.

“We tried to make it to New Jersey without stopping so we could get the cheaper gas prices in New Jersey than New York, so we are running on just about empty,” Sphere said. According to AAA, the record 91 million people hitting the road is nearly 2 million more than last year.

Cheap gas may be fueling the increase. They are at an average $2 a gallon, down 37 cents from last year. A family of five driving a minivan from New York to Miami is paying just $130 one way — a savings of $80 compared to just two years ago. Read the rest of this entry »


Wonder Woman Christmas Card, 1943

ww


Ramirez Cartoon: ‘And The Star Shone Brightly…’

CW9qsaeWYAAx8Zk


Alessandro Allori: ‘The Body of Christ with Two Angels’, c. 1600, Szépmûvészeti Múzeum

Body of Christ with Two Angels

ALLORI, Alessandro
The Body of Christ with Two Angels
c. 1600
Oil on copper, 45 x 39 cm
Szépmûvészeti Múzeum, Budapest


‘Suddenly I Have a Dreadful Urge to Be Merry’

addams


[VIDEO] Cruz Christmas Classics 

cruzobamessiah


World Illustration Awards 2016

WIA

Image © The Beekeeper by Dan Des Eynon

The Directory of Illustration and the Association of Illustrators (AOI)  bring you the World Illustration Awards 2016 – a truly global competition that honors the most creative and inspiring commercial illustration from around the world.

Work entered by February 8 will be reviewed by a jury of distinguished international industry professionals. The competition shortlist reflects exceptional work by illustrators currently making an outstanding contribution to visual culture and is published in full on theaoi.com, which receives over 100,000 hits per month, many of these from commissioners looking for the perfect candidate for their next job.

  • Announcement at a prestigious awards ceremony in London’s major arts and cultural center.
  • Selected works on exhibit in the spectacular Terrace Rooms at Somerset House as part of a touring show reaching approximately 40,000 visitors throughout the UK.
  • Publication in an accompanying exhibition catalog that will be circulated to all major illustration buyers.

MORE INFO


Another Day in Obama’s America: Man Shames Panhandlers Who Refused His Job Offer

Facebook Mobile Uploads – Michael Wooldridge | Facebook

Standing next to two panhandlers in Iowa, one man held a sign that read, “Don’t give money.”

He had apparently offered them a job at his business and they refused.

“My Uncle Mike offered these guys a job said he was busy right now could use the help they said no so he did this!!”

“I said, You’re hired,’ and they said, ‘We’re not from around here.’ I said, ‘Well, you’re here,’ and then they just smirked and turned around,” Mike Pothoff told  WQAD-TV.

A photo posted by Michael Wooldridge, who says Pothoff is his uncle, on Dec. 12 on Facebook has since gone viral with over 24,943 shares.

creen-Shot-2015-12-16-

Wooldridge wrote, “My Uncle Mike offered these guys a job said he was busy right now could use the help they said no so he did this!!”

Pothoff told WQAD that the job offer is still valid. He shared his reason for shaming them with the station.

“There’s a lot of women and kids that aren’t going to have a lot for Christmas – might not have anything – and it upsets me that we have younger kids, or people who can work, that are doing that,” Pothoff said….(read more)

Source: USAToday


[VIDEO] ‘All I Want For Christmas is a Goat’: Choir of Goats Sing Classic Christmas Carols

The Swedish branch of ActionAid, an international charity working to fight poverty and further human rights, just released an album entitled “All I Want For Christmas is a Goat.” It’s one of the funniest things we’ve heard all year.

A cacophanous choir of goats sing eight classic Christmas carols including “Jingle Bells”:

Source: Archie McPhee’s


[VIDEO] ‘Baby it’s Cold Outside’, 1949

The original from Neptune’s Daughter

Neptune’s Daughter is a 1949 musical romantic comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer starring Esther Williams, Red Skelton, Ricardo Montalbán, Betty Garrett, Keenan Wynn, Xavier Cugat and Mel Blanc. It was directed by Edward Buzzell, and features the Academy Award winning song ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside by Frank Loesser.


[VIDEO] Muslim Religious Leader: ‘Saying Merry Christmas is Worse than Murder’


[VIDEO] Dad vs Step-Dad in Will Ferrell & Mark Wahlberg Comedy ‘Daddy’s Home’

It’s dad vs. step-dad as Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg reunite in the upcoming comedy Daddy’s Home.

Ferrell and Wahlberg, who previously teamed up for the 2010 action-comedy The Other Guys, will once again be at odds, as they hilariously attempt to outmaneuver one another while competing for the affection of two children.

Ferrell portrays Brad, a amiable radio executive who aspires to be a dad. Brad’s dream comes true when he marries Sarah (Linda Cardellini) and becomes the step-father to her two kids. But conflict arises in the form of the children’s biological father, Dusty, an outgoing special-ops agent played by Mark Wahlberg. Read the rest of this entry »


At Least 8 People Injured After Shooting at Shopping Mall in Goteborg, Sweden

shooting

[Also see – Sweden: Several Dead at Gothenburg Pub, Criminal Gangs in Biskopsgaarden Suspected]

At least eight people have been injured and taken to hospital after a shooting at Hisingen in Gothenburg. It confirms SOS Alarm for SVT News . Eight people have been hospitalized after a shooting at Vårväderstorget on Hisingen in Gothenburg, says SOS Alarm.

“First we got into it was five injured , then it turned out that there were three more. We sent a total of ten ambulances to the scene. Right now , I can see that five of them are at the hospital and unload injured.” 

 Jack Soderberg at SOS , Expressen

Ten ambulances and a large number of police were sent to the scene. The alarm came to the police at 22:23.

The shooting took place inside a restaurant on Vårväderstorget says Jenny Widén, spokesperson for the police Western Region. Damage State of the shot is still unclear , according to police. Read the rest of this entry »


Hong Kong’s Top 10 Box Office Hits of 2014

BN-GG040

Dean Napolitano and Joyu Wang report: The blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction” topped Hong Kong’s box office in 2014, a year in which big-budget Hollywood tentpoles again dominated local cineplexes.

The fourth installment of the “Transformers” franchise pulled in HK$98.2 million (US$12.7 million), according to Hong Kong Box Office Ltd. That far outpaced “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” which came in second and earned HK$56.6 million.

Rounding out the top five were other effects-filled Hollywood movies: “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” came in at No. 3, followed by “Interstellar” and “X-Men: Days of Future Past.”

Sandra Ng with Anthony Wong in a scene from ‘Golden Chickensss.’ Treasure Island Production Ltd

Sandra Ng with Anthony Wong in a scene from ‘Golden Chickensss.’
Treasure Island Production Ltd

Director Michael Bay’s “Transformers: Age of Extinction” was something of a hometown film: A major part of the action takes place in Hong Kong, including the movie’s climax, in which much of the city is destroyed in a battle between giant robots

The movie held its world premiere at the Hong Kong Cultural Centre, with stars Mark Wahlberg, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer and Nicola Peltz hitting the red carpet while admiring the city’s dramatic skyline.

The cast also included popular Chinese actress Li Bingbing in a co-starring role, while other Hong Kong and Chinese actors took minor roles. Still, the movie failed to match 2013’s top hit, “Iron Man 3,” which made HK$106.4 million….(read more)

Top 10 Films by Box-Office Receipts in Hong Kong in 2014

  1. “Transformers: Age of Extinction” – HK$98.2 million
  2. “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” – HK$56.6 million
  3. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” – HK$54.7 million
  4. “Interstellar”* – HK$51.1 million
  5. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – HK$50.8 million
  6. “Golden Chickensss” – HK$41.3 million
  7. “Maleficent” – HK$40.9 million
  8. “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes” – HK$36.97 million
  9. “Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb”* – HK$36.5 million
  10. “From Vegas to Macau” – HK$33.6  million

Read the rest of this entry »


The Party’s Over: Detail from cover of Saturday Evening Post, January 2, 1960

The Party’s Over, detail from cover of Saturday Evening Post January 2, 1960.  Art by Ben Kimberly Prins

The Party’s Over, detail from cover of Saturday Evening Post January 2, 1960.  Art by Ben Kimberly Prins

rogerwilkerson


New Years’ Illustration by Harrison Cady, from an Unknown Issue of Boy’s Life Magazine

New-Years-Boys-Life

This “bird’s-eye view” illustration by Harrison Cady is from an unknown issue of Boy’s Life magazine.


Strange Fruit: Iran Hangs Seven on Christmas

Iraq-hangs-seve11227

 reports: The Iranian regime hanged seven citizens on Christmas morning and at least 12 others in the days before and after the holiday, according to Iranian dissidents monitoring the human rights situation.

Seven prisoners being held in Iran’s Abdelebad prison were hanged “at dawn on Christmas day,” according to the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), an Iranian opposition group.

Iran-Hanging-ap

The latest round of state-sanctioned killings—which have hit an all time high in the past year—came just days after President Barack Obama praised Iran in an interview at the White House and said that it could be a “successful” member of the international community. Read the rest of this entry »