Happy Fourth of July to those of you who are celebrating today! If you are and you do plan on shooting off fireworks, be careful out there!
When I was a kid, I lit a firecracker in my hand because I wanted to throw it and watch it explode in the air! Well, I lit it and that fuse went fast and blew up in my fingers! Luckily it didn’t blow my fingers off, but it sure did scare the living hell out of me and I never did anything stupid with fireworks again.
Anyway, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has put together and released a somewhat amusing but extremely serious safety video about the proper handling of fireworks. This was released a few years ago and it features test dummies being blown up in deadly scenarios involving the misuse of fireworks.
Many Americans will not get to see the grand, professional fireworks displays this 4th of July given the cancellations of public celebrations and stay-at-home orders across the country. As an alternative, people are purchasing their own fireworks in an effort to recreate that tradition at home …The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) wants consumers to know the risks of handling fireworks at home, and how to prevent serious injuries and deaths.
Check out the video and I hope ya’ll have a fun night!
Steve Martin is easily one of my favorite comedians of all time. I’ve always enjoyed his stand up comedy and it’s always fun when he busts out his banjo during one of his routines and starts playing some tunes. The guy is one hell of a talented banjo player!
Well, he shared a new video in which he plays an original banjo song titled “Ofice Supplies” which he performs virtually with The Philadelphia Orchestra:
Grammy-Award winning musician and actor Steve Martin appeared in a unique collaboration with The Philadelphia Orchestra as part of the HearNOW: At-Home Gala event with Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin. Accompanied by members of The Philadelphia Orchestra, Martin performed a boisterous version of his song “Office Supplies,” from his most recent recording, “The Long-Awaited Album.”
Enjoy the show!
NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory has shared an astonishing time-lapse of the Sun that was shot over the course of ten years! What you’re about to watch are 425 million high-resolution images that have been gathered from over a decade of observation from its orbit in space.
With a triad of instruments, SDO captures an image of the Sun every 0.75 seconds. The Atmospheric Imaging Assembly (AIA) instrument alone captures images every 12 seconds at 10 different wavelengths of light. This 10-year time lapse showcases photos taken at a wavelength of 17.1 nanometers, which is an extreme ultraviolet wavelength that shows the Sun’s outermost atmospheric layer — the corona. Compiling one photo every hour, the movie condenses a decade of the Sun into 61 minutes. The video shows the rise and fall in activity that occurs as part of the Sun’s 11-year solar cycle and notable events, like transiting planets and eruptions. The custom music, titled “Solar Observer,” was composed by musician Lars Leonhard (https://www.lars-leonhard.de/).
The video is over an hour long. I know some of you may not sit and watch it for that long, but if you do you’ll see some cool big solar flares and sunspots. At around the 12:23 mark, you can see Venus travel in front of the sun. I love this stuff and if you do too then you’re sure to enjoy this.
Here’s an interesting video that focuses on the rise and fall of Blockbuster Video from 1986 to 2019. It features where and when all of the locations popped up and where and when they started to close down.
I may be one of the few that misses the days of going to Blockbuster to rent movies! I spent so much time there with my friends back in the day!
The video comes from V1 Analytics and they shared the following information:
Between 1985 and 2010, Blockbuster Video opened thousands of stores across the US. This map shows the locations of US Blockbuster Video stores over time.
Blockbuster opened their first store in Dallas in October of 1985. They weren’t the first video rental company, but they did have the largest selection of movie titles, over 6,500, which was more than any of their competitors at the time. Their first store was a huge success and throughout 1986, they opened three more stores in Texas.
While Blockbuster’s store concept worked really well, it wasn’t unique enough to be patentable. They knew that other companies would likely start copying their business model. To overcome this, their strategy was to grab as much market share as quickly as possible to stay ahead of any potential competitors. Throughout 1989, they purchased another four established rental chains and by 1990, they had opened over 1000 stores.
Through 2005, Blockbuster began closing their most unprofitable stores while they struggled to return to profitability. By this point, in addition to Netflix, they were also facing competition from Redbox which pretty much offered the same product as Blockbuster, just as a vending machine instead of an entire store.
In 2010, they continued downsizing and closing stores and by the end of the year, they filed for bankruptcy. Blockbuster was eventually acquired by the television provider Dish Network. Dish initially had plans to keep around 1,500 stores open and launch their own streaming service to rival Netflix, but these plans never ended up happening.
The last surviving store is located in Bend Oregon, it’s not only the last store in the US, it’s the last one left in the entire world. They’re a small owner operated store which is supported by loyal local customers as well as tourists stopping by to experience the nostalgia of visiting a Blockbuster store.
In the end, Blockbuster’s competitors simply had a better product and Blockbuster was just too slow to innovate.
CG Artist Mariano Tazzioli is a huge fan of Superman and to pay tribute to the fan-favorite DC character, he created this great design for the character. As you can see, it kind of has a Pixar feel to it. Speaking of Pixar, I bet that they would make a spectacular animated Superman movie!
Here’s what the artist said:
SuperMan is my favourite Character of all time. I’ve grown up with him, I know him since I have sense of memory, he has always inspired me and for me he will always be a symbol of Hope and Justice. I feel in debt with this character thats why I wanted to pay tribute to him by doing a 3D version of it. Want to give a huge thanks to @oscar_j_vargas he did this great and glorious design of The last son of Krypton. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did doing it
Check out the art below.
Star Wars fan Dan Flesher has created a fan-made modern trailer for Lucasfilm’s Ewoks: The Battle of Endor. Those Ewok films may not be considered by fans to be one of the best things to come out of Lucasfilm, but this trailer makes the movie actually look really good!
The year was 1985 and audiences were still reeling with excitement from Ewok’s: Caravan of Courage. The smashing critical success of that film (notwithstanding the demand from fans) convinced Lucasfilm to conclude the saga with Ewoks: The Battle for Endor. This recently unearthed trailer mostly focused on recapping the events from Courage but gave a tantalizing look at Endor in its final act.
But in all seriousness I remember seeing Battle for Endor in the early 90s and enjoying it. Perhaps a new generation of fans will discover it.
The story for the film centers on Marauders raiding the Ewok village to “steal a power supply they believe to be magical. Wicket helps Cindel escape the evil witch Charal, and they befriend a hermit who may help them save the village.”
It’s been years since I’ve watched these Ewok films, but it might be fun to revisit them!