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Thursday, January 1, 2015

THE SHAPE OF THINGS OF TO COME IN 2015: Part 2

Scroll down to Part One of what "will" happen on Planet Earth in 2014.  I could only get down to February 1, the 49th Superbowl.  Mind you, these are not necessarily predictions, but some, nevertheless, are:
  • February 13:  Fifty Shades of Grey will open.  You don't know any performers, but the movie should do well, for more than 100 million copies have been sold of the book by E.L. James of the UK, featuring a 27-year old billionaire, Christian Grey, and Washington State University student Anastasia Steel.  You can mostly wonder how explicit will be the bondage, sadism and such.  So I hear, anyway, for I haven't read the books.  There are three novels thus far, so that means at least two more sequels.
  • February 19:  Chinese New Year, the Year of the Goat or Sheep or Ram.   While, scientifically, goats, sheeps and rams are different species, some consider a Ram to be a male goat or sheep.  In China, it is known as the Spring Festival.  Don't think of taking a train to another city in China at the beginning and end (the official holiday period extends to February 25 in China).  The Lunar New Year has a 4000 year history.  
  • There is, for NCAA basketball purists, March Madness, which actually ends in April.  In the USA, only March and August have no holidays and observances. A total solar eclipse occurs on March 20, though you need to be on Svalbard and Faroe Islands:

  • There is always April Fool's Day on April 1, which is also the first day of the year in Japan; a partial lunar eclipse takes place on April 4; Major League Baseball begins on April 5, which happens to be Easter this year; and the Thai New Year, or Songkran, from April 13-15, which is a nationwide water fight.  NASA's half a billion dollar Dawn, launched in 2007, arrives near dwarf planet Ceres this month.  Why bother for that cost?  The 45th Earth Day is observed on April 22.  I can actually remember back to 1970 and the leadership of Denis Hayes, who went on to become an adjunct professor at Stanford and director of the Solar Energy Research Institute, now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.
  • The next Expo begins in Milan, Italy on May 5, and goes on to October 31.  I have attended most of the World Expositions, so now need to plan my next world adventure for the Fall.  Kenji's safari almost alway golfs in California on May 5, which is Cinco de Mayo, when we have more than our share of tequila and many things ethanolic.  The American exhibition has notoriously been embarrassing, especially at the 2010 Shanghai Exposition, and our next fiasco will focus on FOOD.  David Letterman will have his final show on Mar 20:
  • Lonely Planet has a list of festivals in England for June, led by Stonehenge, Notting Hill and the country's biggest musical festival at Glastonbury.  Jurassic World will be released on June 12, starring Chris Pratt and...well, that's it, no one else you know.  No reviews yet, but 99% of Rotten Tomatoes audiences loved it.  This is the fourth in the series, 14 years after #3, taking place 22 years after the original Jurassic Park theme park.  Filming actually began at the Honolulu Zoo in the Spring of 2014.  Kauai was also a setting, and I wonder if Spielberg will use clips of Hurricane Iniki when he was there filming in 1992.
  • July has Canada Day on the first, America celebrates Independence Day on the fourth, and France, Bastille Day on the 15th, with  the end of Muslim Ramadan on the 16th.  Otherwise, NASA's and the European Space Agency's Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA)  Pathfinder will launch in July, is expected to cost around three-quarters of a billion dollars, which automatically means more than a billion, and will measure something called geodesic motion.  Why?  Also this month, New Horizons will fly by Pluto, at a cost of more than half a billion dollars.  Why?  Hint:  the military-industrial complex lobbies well for these "peace/scientific/PR" diversions.   Comic-Con in San Diego  unfolds from July 9-12, and The Big Bang Theory no doubt will organize something.
  • The Edinburgh Festival is held in August, and this is an event worthy of your consideration.  Just one facet, the Fringe Arts Festival, is the largest of its kind anywhere.  In 2013 there were 2,871 different shows (stage, film, etc.), and there seems to be no limits to what shows.  The Fringe is one of, perhaps, a dozen or two different other festivals, where much of it is free on the streets.    
    • A highlight is the military tattoo (right), which has nothing to do with skin art:
    • I have spent several Augusts in Edinburgh, and also golfed at St, Andrews a few times.  The final two weeks of August are best, for it's colder before and after that period.
  • In the Orient, Singapore on August 9 will celebrate their Golden Jubilee, for they gained independence from Malaysia 50 years ago.  In Japan, August 6 and 9 mark the 70th anniversary of the Atomic Bomb destructions of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  It is remarkable how well these cities have recovered.  My recent Fall adventure included visits to each peace park.  Here I am with Fat Man, the device that exploded over the grandest cathedral in Asia.
  • On September 13 you will be able to experience a partial Solar Eclipse from Johannesburg, South Africa.  Then on September 28 there will be a Lunar Eclipse, not viewable from Hawaii:
  • Everyone should go at least once to Munich's Oktoberfest, which is mostly in September:  September 19 - October 4.  This is the 182nd gathering, said to be the largest fair in the world with 6 million visitors.  Pearl and I went and somehow failed to drink any beer.  Worse, it was raining and very cold.  Basically, there are huge beer barns and tents at a fairground outside of Munich.
  • The Rugby World Cup takes place in Newcastle, UK on October 3,9, 10.
  • It was 1989, in Back to the Future II, when Marty McFly and Doc Brown fly to the future in a DeLorean time machine, landing in Hill Valley (an oxymoron and mythical city in California...mostly the backlot of Universal Studios) on 21 October 2015.  It's amusing to view the various concept cars like the Ford Probe and Pontiac Fiero as representative of today, and more too, the Jaws 19 hologram.  Note:  18th sequel.
  • November has Peanut Butter Lovers Month and National Sleep Comfort Month, plus some bizarre days, including those featuring, devil eggs, housewives, sandwiches, King Tut, Guy Fawkes, Veterans, Chicken Soup for the Soul, National Indian Pudding, Sadie Hawkins,Clean Your Refrigerator, Buttons, World Peace, Cranberries, Thanksgiving and Stay at Home Because You Are Well...30 of them in all.
  • The next exercise in hopelessness occurs from November 30 to December 11 in Paris, known as the United Nations Climate Change Conference.  This will be #21 or #11, depending on what you are counting.  The 1997 Kyoto Protocol was monumental, except that the USA, China and India refused to participate.  Since then, the effort has maintained a course of meaningless somnambulism.  
  • Star Wars, episode VII, the Force Awakens, the American epic space opera, opens on December 18.  Here, it's eleven months away, but Rotten Tomatoes audiences already have rated it at 99%.  Many of the originals (Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Mark Hamill, for example, and Chewbacca is back) reprise original roles.  The previous six films have earned almost $4.5 billion.
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