August, 2012

Sports Thread

August 31st, 2012 at 2:37 pm by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

  Whew, Michigan got thumped!  41-14 Alabama.  Tigers win 5-1.  Scherzer rules! One game back now. Interesting Fact:  The Green Bay Packers will travel the fewest miles to their away games this season, 5,774 miles.   Michigan State wins!  …a 17-13 victory over Boise State! None of the usual wimpy pre-season openers for the Wolverines and Spartans this year.  #8 Michigan is taking on #2 Alabama in Arlington, Texas right now.  You can watch that game on WOTV4.    Notre Dame scored 50 points in their game against Navy in Dublin, Ireland.  Brian Kelly’s has a tough schedule this year, but the Fighting Irish were rockin’ today.  An estimated 35,000 people from the U.S. went to Ireland for the game.  That game started at 9 AM EDT.    Dublin is a cool place in the summer.  The warmest high temperature this summer in Dublin has been 75.  On the other hand, the coolest temperature last winter was 21.  Western Michigan was in Champaign-Urbana to take on the Univ. of Illinois, my wife’s alma mater.  The rain temporarily tapered off, but they had 1.28″ of rain this morning and the dewpoint there is 74.  Illinois won that game 24-7. WMU had negative rushing yards and four turnovers.  North Park visited Hope College.  Hope comes away with a 42-24 victory.   GVSU made a long trip to Western Oregon for a 4 PM game, which they won 48-20 (I watched that game when the Wisconsin game ended).  The teams played close in the first half, then GVSU took over in the second half.     The Whitecaps are out of the playoffs now.  They finish up with 3 home games Sat., Sun., Mon.  Also, don’t forget the annual Muscular Dystrophy Telethon on WOTV4 Sunday evening (link has station list for those of you who read the blog but are not in our TV viewing area).

New in theaters/ on DVD 8-31-12

August 31st, 2012 at 8:15 am by under Entertainment

Four new movies in West Michigan theaters this weekend, and once again some of them opened on Wednesday to get an early jump on the box office for the Labor Day weekened…
New in theaters (Friday 8/31): “Lawless” (released Wednesday 8/29), “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure” (opened Wednesday 8/29), “The Possession”, “Celeste and Jesse Forever” (limited), “The Queen of Versailles” (limited)
(I’ll add the video version later from this week’s EightWest segment 8-31-12)
(video version from last week’s EightWest segment 8-24-12)

Plot: Set in Depression-era Franklin County, Virginia, a bootlegging gang is threatened by a new deputy and other authorities who want a cut of their profits.
Rated: R for strong bloody violence, language and some sexuality/nudity
Genre: Crime/Drama/Western
Stars: Tom Hardy, Shia LaBeouf, Guy Pearce, Jason Clarke, Jessica Chastain, Mia Wasikowska, Dane DeHaan, Chris McGarry, Tim Tolin, Gary Oldman
Director: John Hillcoat ["The Road" (2009), "The Proposition" (2005)]
Runtime: 1 hour, 55 minutes
More info: described during casting as “Goodfellas” in the woods
Release: Wide – all theaters Wednesday 8/29

  “The Possession

Plot: A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl’s father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child.
Rated: PG-13 for mature thematic material involving violence and disturbing sequences (re-rating after re-cut/appeal)
Genre: Horror/Thriller
Stars: Natasha Calis, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Kyra Sedgwick, Jay Brazeau
Director: Ole Bornedal
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
More info: originally rated R, filmmakers appealed to MPAA, but lost, so it was re-cut to earn the PG-13 rating
Release: Wide – all theaters


 “The Oogieloves in the Big Balloon Adventure

Plot: The Oogieloves — Goobie, Zoozie and Toofie — set out to find five magical balloons that will make their good friend Schluufy’s surprise birthday party extra-special.
Rated: G
: Family
Stars: Jaime Pressly, Cloris Leachman, Christopher Lloyd, Chazz Palminteri
Director: Matthew Diamond
Writers: Ken Viselman (creative mind behind “Thomas the Tank Engine” and “Teletubbies”) and former Michigan resident Scott Stabile
Runtime: 1 hour, 28 minutes
More info: Movie includes audio and visual cues for kids to get up and move around during movie
Even more info: Filming locations included Windmill and the Tulip Festival in Holland, Oakland County Airport, Stony Creek Metropark, and restaurant in Canton, Michigan
Release: Wide

  “Celeste & Jesse Forever

Plot: A divorcing couple tries to maintain their friendship while they both pursue other people.
Rated: R for language, sexual content and drug use
Genre: Comedy/Drama
Stars: Rashida Jones, Andy Samberg, Elijah Wood, Ari Graynor, Eric Christian Olsen, Rob Huebel, Emma Roberts, Chris Messina, Will McCormack
Director: Lee Toland Krieger
Runtime: 1 hour, 32 minutes
More info: Writers: Rashida Jones, Will McCormack
Release: Limited – playing at Celebration! North, AMC Star Grand Rapids, Rave Cityplace 14 Kalamazoo in West Michigan


 The Queen of Versailles”
Plot: A documentary that follows a billionaire couple as they begin construction on a mansion inspired by Versailles. During the next two years, their empire, fueled by the real estate bubble and cheap money, falters due to the economic crisis.
Rated: Rated PG for thematic elements and language
Genre: Documentary
Directors: Lauren Greenfield
Runtime: 1 hour, 40 minutes
More info: Made its Midwest Premiere at Waterfront Film Festival in Saugatuck
Release: Limited only playing at the UICA (Grand Rapids)

Moving to $4.00 Woodland Mall this week :
“The Amazing Spider-man” (2D & 3D)(7.5/10), “Ted” (8.0/10)
Playing in limited release in Grand Rapids market:

“The Queen of Versailles” playing at the UICA (Grand Rapids)
“The Apparition” playing at Celebration! North, Celebration! Rivertown
“2016: Obama’s America” playing at Celebration! North, Celebration! Rivertown, Celebration! Benton Harbor, Celebration! Crossroads, Celebration! Mt. Pleasant, Celebration! Carousel, AMC Star Grand Rapids, Rave Cityplace 14 Kalamazoo
“Trishna” playing at the UICA (Grand Rapids) through September 6th
My Picks for watching in theaters or at home
In Theaters“The Avengers” (9.5/10)
Rentals: “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” (2005) (9.0/10)
Click here for previous “My Picks”
Next Week in theaters (Friday 9/7): “The Words”, “Branded” (limited), “Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry” (limited)

New this week on DVD (Tuesday 8/28): “Battleship”, “The Lucky One”, “Pirates! Band of Misfits” (7.0/10), “Think Like a Man”, “Darling Companion”, “Apartment 143″ (limited), “Citizen Gangster” (limited), “Headhunters” (limited),
“L!fe Happens” (limited), “Lovely Molly” (limited), “Monsieur Lazhar” (limited), “The Moth Diaries” (limited), “A Beginner’s Guide to Endings” (straight-to-video)
Next week on DVD (Tuesday 9/4): “The Five-Year Engagement” (filmed in MI), “Piranha 3DD”, “Safe”, “High School”  (limited)(filmed in MI), “Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day” (limited)

Kent St. Football player runs the wrong way after fumble recovery!

August 31st, 2012 at 2:20 am by under Bill's Blog, Sports, Weather

Check this out.  Kent State’s Andre Parker looked pretty foolish Thursday night.  Kent St. was playing Towson.  A Towson punt grazed a Towson player.  Parker then proceeded to pick up the muffed punt and run with it, 58 yards down the field…in the opposite direction!   To add to the bizarreness of the play, he was then tackled by a pair of Towson defenders (why would they stop him from running toward your endzone???).  Since no words can really ever do this series of events justice, you can just view the video HERE.  Fortunately for Parker, Kent State would go on to beat Towson 41-21.

However, you can’t advance a muffed punt, in any direction, so the ball was returned to the 7-yard line. Reminds us old guys of Jim Marshall of the Minnesota Vikings, who scooped up a fumble and ran the wrong way into the end zone, giving a safety the San Francisco 49ers!  Here’s video of that.

Blue Moon

August 31st, 2012 at 1:35 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

blue moon   First, an appropriate tune.  We have a full moon tonight. The 2nd full moon in a given month is called a “Blue Moon“.   Here’s a video on the subject from NASA.  We had a full moon on August 1.  A “blue moon” isn’t any bluer in color than any other full moon. It’s just a name, like the “Harvest Moon”. A full moon comes around every 29.5 days, so…on average, every 2.7 years, we get two full moons in a calendar month. The last time this happened was December 2009 and the next time will be July 2015. The “blue moon” depends on your place on the globe and your time zone.  You cannot have a blue moon in February.  However, on very rare occasion (about every 25 years), there is no full moon in February (in 1961, 1999, 2018 and 2037.   Because this is something that is a rare phenomena, hence the phrase “Once in a blue moon” to highlight something that happens rarely, like a Detroit Lion playoff appearance.  In Dec. 2009 we had a blue moon on New Year’s Eve. That happens only roughly every 19 years.  So, you could say that the Detroit Lions winning a playoff game is a “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve” event.  No….wait, that’s only happened once since 1957, and 2009 minus 1957 is 52 years. Hmmm…how about the Lions winning a playoff game is a “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve AND all the socks match coming out of the dryer” or “once in a blue moon on New Year’s Eve AND they don’t start playing Christmas music on the radio until after Thanksgiving” or “once in a blue moon AND the price of gasoline goes DOWN before a holiday”.  Also, it’s on average every 91 years that there is a blue moon and an eclipse on New Year’s Eve…that’s not even as long as the time between Chicago Cub World Series wins!  ADD:   there are no flyovers of the Intl. Space Station thru Sept. 13th.  Here’s this week’s Sky at a Glance and more from Spaceweather.   We can have a blue-colored moon, if it’s shining thru particles from volcanic dust or the smoke from a forest fire (only if the particles are the right size.).  Also, here’s a neat pic. of the Northern Lights from Lake Superior on Aug. 20th.

Satellite pictures of Tropical Storms and Michigan

August 30th, 2012 at 5:51 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Click the picture or click here to enlarge.  The picture shows Isaac on the left side, Hurricane Kirk, center left – Category 1 and Tropical Storm (soon to be hurricane) Leslie, bottom right.   Kirk will eventually head toward Ireland and the United Kingdom as a windy, wet low pressure system.  Leslie could pass east of Maine into the Canadian Maritime Provinces.  On the right we have a MODIS Satellite image centered over Lake Michigan.  Despite the drought, the land is basically green.  You can easily pick out Chicago, Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo – also the sand dunes at Silver Lake, Mason Co. and Sleeping Bear.  Here’s the MODIS picture of Lake Huron, Lake Erie, Lake Ontario and Lake Superior (yesterday).

Friday update – Isaac and W. Michigan Weather

August 30th, 2012 at 5:49 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  As you can see some very significant flooding going on in LA and MS.  (click the pics. to enlarge).  Up to 20″ of rain has already fallen.  So far, 2 fatalities.  There were also 2 injuries with an Isaac-related tornado at Crandall, Mississippi.   With the storm not moving much, you can see the “training” of heavy rain as the bands set up over the same area.  One levee has been topped, but most levees and the N.Orleans pumps are still holding fine.  Nearly 2,000 people have been rescued – many of those were in mandatory evacuation areas, but refused to leave (very frustrating).  The Louisiana state and city government seemed to be more ready for this hurricane than Katrina and as I write this.  14 Billion was spent on levee repair.  93% of Gulf oil production has been shut down by Isaac.  Isaac is now a Tropical Depression.  It’s drifting slowly northward and it’s slow movement will continue to bring heavy rains (see links in thread below).  The National Guard has been called out in SE Louisiana, where at least 12 have been arrested for looting.  Approximately 700,000 customers have been without power.  That includes nearly half of the state of Louisiana and another 150,000 in Mississippi.   There were a handful of relatively small tornadoes spun off by the storm in S. Mississippi and S. Alabama.   Isaac also left heavy rain (up to 10″) in Florida.

Here in Michigan, we stay dry…upper 80s to low 90s tomorrow.  What’s left of Isaac could still produces a few showers/isolated t-showers in extreme S. Michigan (south of I-94), but don’t hold your breath.  It looks like the rain will pretty much stay down in Illinois and Indiana.  The NAM (Caribou) model is dry Saturday for G.R. and Kalamazoo.   The European has us dry over the weekend with a weak front stalling out and giving us a chance of a thundershowers on Monday.  It only gives G.R. 0.01″.   There’s an Air Quality Alert for the lakeshore counties and Kent Co. for Friday, though it’s iffy whether we can reach the Air Quality Threshold with a west wind.

Gayle and I went to Gun Lake to kayak Weds. and the wind was calm much of the time we were there…nice day, we had a picnic – watched several deer come back through the water from an island east of the State Park peninsula and saw the full moon come up in the east.  At Lake Michigan there’s a moderate chance of pier/breakwater currents.  Grand Rapids is 0.3 degree cooler than average so far this month and we’re starting with a low at least down at 57 this Thurs. AM (average high/low is 79/59), so despite two warm days, we may not be able to make that up.  Sept. 2011 was the last month that was cooler than average in G.R.  The average wind speed in G.R. this month has been only 6.3 mph.  The average wind speed for Weds. was 3.1 mph and we had 100% sunshine.  We’ve now had 9 days with an average wind of less than 4 mph.  Here’s more coverage of Isaac from WWLTV, WGNO, WSDU, and NOLATropical Storm Leslie will be named soon – it should become a hurricane but stay east of the U.S.

Hurricane Isaac – severe flooding

August 28th, 2012 at 12:22 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

TC Activity  10:30 PM -  Audubon Park reports 18.70″ of rain as of 7PM local time.  However, the airport reported only 7.41″ and the lakefront in N.O. reported 8.4″ of rain.  With the strong winds, it’s hard to get an accurate read, and the 18.7″ may be high.  …levees and pumps holding up well so far – areas south of N.O. have taken a real beating.  10 PM observations show 40-50 mph gusts from Baton Rouge to the south and along the Mississippi Coast.  The Waveland MS Yacht Club reported a gust to 65 mph around midday.  Look at rainfall forecast from GFS model – 6-9″ south of Chicago?!  Rain to the Michigan border.  We’ll see.  The Coast Guard confirms that around 1 a.m. a barge broke loose in Chalmette, hit and sunk a 47-foot crew boat.  Isaac is pretty much stalled just northwest of Houma, Louisiana along the coast.  The eye of the storm is still well intact and around 35 miles wide.  The main threat continues to be heavy rain and significant flooding.  A levee has been topped near Belle Chasse and there are evacuations and rescues in progress there.  One father-son team has already rescued 23 people. The town of Braithwaite has been  inundated with 10-12 feet of water, chasing those that stayed behind to their attics and rooftops.  Rescues continue in Plaquemines Parish (over 75 already), where people are huddled on levees waiting for boats to get them out.  What’s frustrating to emergency workers was that this area was under a mandatory evacuation – yet so many refused to leave.  The Woodlawn Fire Station is under five feet of water.  “Widespread and significant flooding” is reported in downtown New Orleans.  Official says:  “”So much more damage than Katrina here in Plaquemines Parish”.      Here’s rainfall totals up to 7 AM CDT.   Many streets are impassible due to downed trees and flooding.  The New Orleans Airport has had 9 hours with wind gusts of 60-70 mph and they are still getting gusts of 55-60 mph.  The Federal Government spent 14 Billion Dollars repairing and replacing levees after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.  A weather station at the ferry dock at Belle Chasse measured a wind gust of 113 mph!  A Gust to 110 mph was reported at Bayou Gauche.  Over 653,000 customers are without power.  Here’s New Orleans webcams.  A Tornado Watch continues for SE Louisiana, S. Mississippi and extreme SW Alabama.  Peak winds:  Southwest Pass reports the sustained (steady) wind at 69 mph with gusts to 85 mph,  77 mph at Galliano, 75 mph at Boothville…earlier:  85 mph at Grand Isle.  Grande Isle mayor says “All Hell is breaking loose” ( his words).  St. Bernard Parish reports many trees blocking roadways, making driving nearly impossible.  Video here.  Note the hurricane on the U.S. Wind MapGlobal satellite image.  Tweet from actress Ruth Buzzi:  “James Carville laughed about it hitting Tampa & the RNC so now Hurricane Isaac‘s strolling down Bourbon Street. Never mess w/ Mother Nature.”  Video from Reed Timmer of 11-foot storm surge at Waveland MSIsaac has shut down 93% of U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and 67% of natural gas production.  Mississippi storm surge.  I-10 is blocked by floodwaters near LaPlace.   Tweet from Senator Vitter (R-LA):  “Drive to 17th St. Canal: saw lots of downed trees, debris. Persistent wind & rain continues. Almost no electricity in homes visible”  Tweet from Rep. Ted James of Baton Rouge:  “Isaac has the potential to have a greater impact on BR than Gustav. We have never experienced sustained winds for this long a period of time.”  Isaac from the Intl. Space Station.

New Orleans observation at 12 Midnight Weds. EDT:   N.O. LAKEFRONT HVY SNOW N/A N/A N/A NE53G69 29.34F VSB 1/4     HUH?   SNOW????  The visiblity is 1/4 mile in rain (and blowing rain).  The sensor thought it was snow!   A buoy east of the mouth of the Mississippi River (KMIS) reported a gust to 92.1 knots – that’s 106 mph.   Two Humane Society Shelters evacuated all of their animals before the storm hit.  There have been animal rescues, but far fewer than with Katrina.  Dogs in particular are very resilient and usually find a way to survive hurricanes.  More links:  New Orleans Radar, Mobile AL radar, Jackson MS radar, Gulf Regional Radar, current weather observations from Louisiana (67 mph at Boothville – near the mouth of the Mississippi River – before the weather station failed).  Both stations had sustained (steady) winds of over 45 mph).  Here’s storm reports from SE LouisianaHere’s where you can get weather data from dozens of buoys in the Gulf of Mexico.    New Orleans has already had 8.45″ of rain this month, so there will be significant runoff.  The remnant moisture from Isaac will move north and then northeast up into Indiana over the weekend.  Combined with a weak front coming down, this will give Southern Lower Michigan a chance of showers/t-showers Saturday (too early to tell for sure).  Keep coming back to this thread to use the links below.   We now have Tropical Storm KirkTyphoon Bolaven has left 16 dead in Korea. (more…)

Gas Prices – update Weds.

August 27th, 2012 at 11:44 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Here’s the latest from Ed:  “Monday, August 27, 2012, 9:50PM:  On Friday, you could have bought a share of Apple Computer for $657.  This morning, you needed $680 for the same share.  That’s $23, or almost 4% higher, and that’s how the stock market works sometimes.  The rise in Apple was connected to the Samsung smartphone ruling.  Gasoline is also traded on a market, and for the past several years, it has often behaved like Apple.  (Regulators, take note!)  Today, for instance, traders are treating Hurricane Isaac like Apple’s legal ruling, and Chicago wholesale prices are soaring.  I don’t see how we won’t get a hike tomorrow to over $4 a gallon, and I am going to fill up in the morning before it hits.”  -Ed A.           Isaac has shut down 93% of U.S. oil production in the Gulf of Mexico and 67% of natural gas production.

N. Orleans Prepares, Michigan Dry

August 27th, 2012 at 11:42 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

   Pictures from New Orleans show workers closing the Bonnabel flood gates and shops boarded up on Canal Street in advance of Isaac (see Isaac thread).  Here in Michigan we’re looking at sunshine and pleasant temperatures in the low-mid 80s over the next several days.  The 00Z Tuesday AM run of the Caribou NAM gives G.R. highs of 82 on Tue., 84 on Weds. and 90 on Thurs.  I’ll write more in the AM.

Sunday PM/Night Showers/Chc. T-Storm

August 26th, 2012 at 1:33 pm by under Bill's Blog, Weather

Local     I’m off Monday to play golf in the Warren Reynolds Classic at Blythefield Country Club.  I’ve only played 9 holes this year so far, and still use a set of clubs I bought off the Channel 35 Auction sometime around 1980.  The PM GRR NWS discussion is very good.  Here’s WOOD-TV Interactive Radar, looping radar. Check out the current conditions, regional radar, GRR radar, northern Indiana radar, Chicago radar and Milwaukee radar. Here’s the College of DuPage Radar Map, Storm total rainfall, the local warning/advisory map and the National warning/watch/advisory map. You can checkout the latest Grand Rapids NWS discussion, the Northern Indiana NWS discussion (includes the Michigan Counties that border Indiana), the discussion for Northern Lower Michigan, and Eastern Lower Michigan. Here’s the Spyglass Condos Weather Station the S. Haven GLERL station, the Muskegon GLERL station, the Grand Haven Steelheaders webcam and weather station, and the weather station at Holland State Park. Check out the WOOD lightning tracker and U.S. lightning and links to webcams. Here’s the infrared satellite loop (night) and the visible satellite loop (daytime). Here’s Lake Michigan water temperatures. Here’s storm total rainfall for W. Michigan and E. Michigan. Here’s data from the mid-lake buoy.

We did make 90 deg. in G.R. Sunday, 91 in Kalamazoo and Lansing, 85 in Muskegon.  That’s the 32nd 90-degree day in G.R. this summer.  We have a shot at 90 again later this week.  We should be dry for much of the work week, with a chance of a shower/t-shower long about  Fri. or Sat.