Here’s How A Cancer Treatment Can Leave People With “Night Vision”

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People who receive photodynamic therapy to treat certain cancers often report an unusual side effect. Along with seeing strange shapes and silhouettes in the dark, many people also claim they gain a slight sense of “night vision”. 

Just recently, researchers in France have explained how this superhero-like effect occurs on an atomic level, the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) reports. It has to do with the way rhodopsin, a light-sensitive protein in the retinas of our eyes, interacts with chlorin e6, a photosensitive molecule used in this type of cancer treatment.

First things first: photodynamic therapy is a treatment that involves light-sensitive medicine that is activated through a light source. Depending on the part of the body being treated, the photo-active agent (chlorine e6) is either put into the bloodstream through a vein or put on the skin, eventually making its way into the cancerous cells. Once a specialized light is beamed onto the affected area, the drug is “switched on” and it forms a chemical that kills the rogue cells.

It’s also well known that this process increases the photosensitivity of the eyes. Some of the photoreceptors in your retina, known as rods, contain large quantities of rhodopsin, a photosensitive pigment that can absorb visible light thanks to an active compound called retinal. Retinal in the rhodopsin molecules react to visible light, a process that is eventually translated into visual information by our visual cortex.

Under low-light levels, most of the light exists at the infrared level, not visible light, which explains why we cannot see in low-light like some other species. However, it appears the introduction of chlorine e6 makes the rhodopsin react in the same way to infrared as it does when it receives visible light, explaining the “night vision” effect. 

“Thanks to experiments carried out by biologists in recent years, we now know that under infrared light the chemical structure of retinal is modified after the injection of chlorine (isomerization) in the same way as when it receives visible light. This explains the increase in night-time visual acuity,” chemist Antonio Monari, from the University of Lorraine in France, told CNRS.

“However, we did not know precisely how rhodopsin and its active retinal group interacted with chlorine. It is this mechanism that we have now succeeded in elucidating via molecular simulation.”

Reported in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters last year, the researchers used algorithms and molecular simulations to model how exactly this complex biochemical process occurs. As per their findings, chlorine e6 interacts with the oxygen present in the tissues of the eye after being “hit” with infrared radiation and transforms it into singlet oxygen, an electronically excited state of molecular oxygen. This singlet oxygen enters the rhodopsin molecule and accumulates alongside the retinal, sparking isomerization as if it was receiving “normal” visible light. 

“Our super-calculators ran for several months and completed millions of calculations before they were able to simulate the entire biochemical reaction triggered by infrared radiation. This reflects the extreme complexity of these phenomena, which occur within a few hundreds of nanoseconds,” Monari added.

[H/T: Science Alert]

Read more: https://www.iflscience.com/chemistry/heres-how-a-cancer-treatment-can-leave-people-with-night-vision/

Kathy Bates: ‘I told Clint that after 50 years, I feel like I’ve hit the big time’

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With her fourth nomination for an Oscar, Kathy Bates talks about overcoming brutal criticism about her looks, her pride at playing real women and why she loved working with Clint Eastwood

Oh, Im a bumper! says Kathy Bates as I reach out to shake her hand. A small fist comes towards me with a large, round, pink-rose ring on the middle finger. We bump and laugh and one of the truly unique American acting powerhouses of the past half-century beams back at me. She has a splendid smile, full of mischief and wisdom: a small and compact woman buoyed by that straight-up, unfeigned southern warmth that abides no matter where you encounter it. She fusses over me kindly, offering drinks a world away from the nervous, shy, deeply rattled and easily hurt woman I have just watched in Clint Eastwoods new movie, Richard Jewell.

Bates plays Bobi, the mother of the eponymous character, a security guard at the 1996 Olympics in Centennial Park, Atlanta, who discovered a backpack full of pipe-bombs, laid by white-supremacist terrorist Eric Rudolph, minutes before it exploded. Although one person died and 111 were injured, Jewell saved countless lives by clearing the area before the bombs exploded. But within days he found himself under a nationwide spotlight as the FBI focused on him as their chief suspect.

For 88 days, he and his mother endured a press siege outside their shared apartment and a vicious feeding-frenzy in the national media until the FBI halfheartedly admitted he hadnt planted the bomb. Almost a decade later, Rudolph confessed in a plea bargain to avoid the death penalty. Jewell enjoyed only a brief vindication though, dying of heart failure aged 44 in 2007.

Bates
Bates with Sam Rockwell and Paul Walter Hauser in Richard Jewell. Photograph: Claire Folger/AP

Eastwoods movie is about enormous pressure being brought to bear on people unable to handle it, and Bates and Paul Walter Hauser do sterling work to delineate the suffering the pair underwent. Hauser is a good-natured fool, a fantasist deluded about his security-guard role, claiming he is law-enforcement even as the FBI laugh in his face. Bates Bobi is all nerves and near-hysteria, absorbing every blow like a woman on the verge of collapse. But her final speech, the true emotional climax of the movie, burns with a righteous fury, even as the tears fill her eyes. Eastwood needed an actor of commanding stature to deliver weakness, then rage, then fragile strength, and Bates has deservedly earned the lions share of the movies acclaim.

On Monday, it earned her a fourth Oscar nomination; today she is pleased, and nostalgic for her first one, for Misery, back in 1991, which translated into a win. I arrived home two days before the ceremony. Literally only had enough time to put on the dress. Thank God it fit. The night was a dream come true. My fiance was worried I would lose, but when Daniel Day-Lewis had the envelope in his hands, in my mind I saw my name in it. Heard him say it. Sailed up the steps and forgot to thank my fiance and my mother, who deserved all my thanks sitting at home.

This time is different, she says, because Richard Jewell is based on a true story. All we wanted was for Bobi Jewell to feel the film vindicated her son. I wanted her to like my portrayal of her. Shes waited 23 years for justice. Ive never felt quite like this before. Whatever happens now, Im just grateful the film will get more eyeballs.

Bates voice breaks and her breathing shortens when she speaks about the woman she plays, and with whom she made contact long before shooting started. It was my birthday the day we met. She baked me a pound cake. She had the Vanity Fair article the movie is based on, and the script, which shed annotated with things like: Id never do this, Id never call him that. She was very meticulous. It was obvious shes still absolutely raw from this, even 25 years later. It still affects her, and its never going to change.

Everybody loves Bates, but the movie with its Trumpish overtones has not escaped criticism. The enemies are the media and the deep state. The guy who gets off scot-free is Rudolph I tell Bates that particularly disappointed me and she seems to partly agree: Rudolph was just evil, obviously.

She also appears sympathetic to disquiet over Olivia Wildes character, Kathy Scruggs, the journalist who put Jewell in the headlines in the most negative way and is the most venomous portrayal of a woman in an Eastwood movie for many years. Scruggs died of a drug overdose aged 42, which means she cant defend herself against the films claim that she slept with an FBI agent (Jon Hamm) for the scoop.

I was a little uncomfortable with her character, says Bates, though I think Bobi sort of balances that out in the movie. She and Wilde didnt share any scenes, which was frustrating, because shes Irish and Im Irish, and I think Irish people make the best actors. Bates looks for the positive. I loved Booksmart [Wildes directorial debut]. Shes a brilliant director and that counts for a lot.

This season, Bates has also admired Joker, Jojo Rabbit (unique, heart-rending and so relevant as is Parasite) and Little Women. It was absolutely delightful in every way. I adored it. Im sick Greta Gerwig didnt get a directing nomination. Her adaptation was incredible, but her vision as a director is on that screen in every word and moment of those performances.

She has also been trading larky congratulations and commiserations with Uncut Gems star Adam Sandler, who played her son in The Waterboy. You was robbed!! But Mama loves you!!! You da GOAT!! she told him on Twitter. She expands, a touch more soberly: Adam is a kind and gentle man. Friends and family are very important to him. Hes in this business, but not of it, if you get my drift.

Still, Bates admiration for Eastwood beats all. I remember telling him on the set: Ive been in this business half a century but working with you, I feel like Ive hit the big time!

Bates
Bates in Misery, 1991. Photograph: Allstar/COLUMBIA

In truth, she hit that some time back. Bates made her movie debut in 1971, in Milos Formans Taking Off, as a singer in a crowd scene, for which she was paid $50. Her next screen role wasnt for another seven years, but she established herself as an exciting new presence in landmark stage productions which, when they were adapted for cinema, routinely traded her for other actors: Michelle Pfeiffer, Sissy Spacek, Diane Keaton.

She also received a barrage of sexist and appearance-based criticism from male critics, particularly the late Playbill critic John Simon, whose most benevolent remarks included that she was enormously overweight and unattractive. She remembers a particularly brutal British press conference for a bad movie I was in probably 1991s At Play in the Fields of the Lord.

One guy was so nasty that I went up to my room and I cried like a kid out of kindergarten. Our producer came in and said: Kid, youve gotta get tough. And in the middle of everything I got on a plane and I went home. It was so cruel, so unnecessarily cruel.

Bates is circumspect in hindsight. The thing is, you remember those moments for ever, she says. Even if you dont remember the exact words, its a dart through the heart. But as Harold Clurman said something it took me a long time to accept Youve gotta have the manure, youve got to take all the shit to really grow.

I remind her that when she was 41 and promoting Misery, she said: A woman, a character actress, in her 40s Ill be very interested to see how Hollywood treats us over the next 10 or 15 years.

Wow, she says, 29 years later, I said that? Holy crap. I didnt know I was such a smart cookie back then! It was my first big movie and I was stunned by the press. The very first question I got asked at a round table was: Youre not Michelle Pfeiffer. And I was like: No, Im not! Her face collapses into incredulity. I was still very serious about things back then.

Bates
Bates in Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Photograph: Allstar/20 CENTURY FOX/Sportsphoto Ltd.

Bates position as a female actor who has long dealt with many of the issues in play, post #MeToo, gives her an unusual and sometimes difficult insight into how the industry has, and has not, evolved.

About people like Weinstein and the casting couch and all of that, she says, I have a confession. In my day, if you went up to a guys hotel room, you knew exactly why you were going and in those days it was consensual. Times were different, but I really support the women who are coming forward now and Im not happy about the men who are being accused falsely but the ones who deserve all theyre getting, my feeling is hey, go for it.

That she wasnt a classic starlet didnt insulate her from misogynys pigeonholing right? I hate to complain about it, but never being considered the romantic lead which is fine, Im over that, been there, done that means they look at me in a different way. But then I look at my friends who are beautiful girls but not working after 40 very few of them. Well, Nicole Kidman is

But Im so grateful that television is providing all these great roles for us, with people like Ryan Murphy around [the producer of American Horror Story, which has cast Bates several seasons running] weve been given a second life. I give Ryan a lot of credit. That shows like being in a repertory company. Oh yes, horror has been veeeery good to me! She chuckles like a fiend.

Her movie career took off after Misery, in which she imbued her Nurse Ratched-meets-Medea character with a surprising degree of sweetness and vulnerability. So memorable and lauded was her performance, people have tended to conflate her with her character Annie Wilkes, even as she was busy building a gallery of richly detailed, multifarious and moving other performances, including the warm-hearted new money Molly Brown in 1997s Titanic. She puts the films enduring appeal down to the wealth inequality at its centre: The murder of the third-class passengers being locked below decks revealed the brutality of class struggles around the globe. That, too, is perhaps why raft-gate persists as a debate: We all wanted Jack to survive, and there did seem to be enough room for him to squeeze on.

Kathy
Kathy Bates in About Schmidt. Photograph: Claudette Barius/AFP/Getty Images

Five years later, another indelible turn: opposite Jack Nicholson in Alexander Paynes About Schmidt. A nude hot-tub scene went a long way to shake off the memory of Misery. I think a lot of women in that audience were thrilled to see a real woman up there on the screen in all her glory, she said at the time. Stripped of its nudity context, I suggest, that almost sounds like a proud rallying cry for the kinds of characters she takes on.

It does, doesnt it? she nods. And if Im proud of anything, its leaving behind me such a wide range of interesting, real women.

Not that she would rule out supernatural women, she adds. I would love to play a character with magical abilities. I enjoy superhero movies as long as the story is well written and the characters have wit and heart, like Iron Man and Star Wars. Otherwise soulless characters in a plastic universe dont appeal.

LOS
Kathy Bates photographed for the Guardian. Photograph: Philip Cheung/The Guardian

Today, at 71, Bates looks chipper and fit. She came through ovarian cancer in 2003, but in 2012 had a double mastectomy after being diagnosed with breast cancer. After, she suffered lymphedema a condition that makes the arms rock-solid as lymphatic fluid drains out under the fingernails, and which, she discovered, was barely understood by medical professionals.

I dated a guy who had melanoma in his armpit and they took everything out and as a result his arm was like wood. I pleaded with my surgeon not to take any lymph nodes out. He ignored her. Since then she has been raising awareness of lymphatic edema: more people have it than MS, muscular dystrophy, ALS and Aids combined and nobody knows about it.

She is the spokesperson for the Lymphatic Education & Research Network. I spoke before the American Society of Breast Surgeons and its so hard to convince them Nobel laureates! I gave them these statistics and there were gasps in that room. Though she likes Twitter, she mostly uses it for getting the word out about the condition. I joined in 2011 and initially used it to engage with fans and then it got to be so time-consuming that I had to cut back. Then after a couple of unpleasant experiences with fans I rarely use it and I dont get sucked into provocative tweets.

She worries about a general climate of hate thats getting stronger in my opinion, particularly when it comes to LGBT rights; in 2016 she was involved in a video telling the stories of victims in the Orlando shooting. Viciousness is bred in the bone and will take generations to reverse. I worry about my gay and transgender friends.

But Bates remains a bumper to the end. Next month is going to be mostly about awards ceremonies, and one Oscar victory and two losses have left her a perennial optimist. I learned you always think youre going to win, the moment they announce your name.

Richard Jewell is released in the UK on 31 January

This article was amended on 17 January 2020 because an earlier version misspelled Harold Clurmans last name as Klurman. This has been corrected.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jan/17/kathy-bates-richard-jewell-i-told-clint-after-50-years-i-feel-like-ive-hit-the-big-time

The New Mutants: what should we expect from the cursed X-Men horror film?

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After a delayed release, reshoots and controversial casting choices, the youth-centric scary movie is finally coming out three years after it was shot

The X-Men horror The New Mutants has had quite the mutated journey to the screen: several scrapped release dates, abandoned reshoots, a new character who never materialized, issues around colorism in casting, and finally, a corporate acquisition that nearly shelved the project altogether. Now that the dust has settled, a release date has been firmly set for 3 April and this week, a new trailer launched, does the final product have any hopes of being any good?

Back in October 2017, everything seemed on track when Fox released the first trailer online. After 10 films, X-Men fatigue was settling in, but The New Mutants was pitched as something different. Not only would it be the first scary movie in the universe but it would introduce a host of never-before-seen-on-screen characters Magik (Anya Taylor-Joy), Wolfsbane (Maisie Williams), Cannonball (Charlie Heaton), Sunspot (Henry Zaga), and Danielle Moonstar, AKA Mirage (Blu Hunt) and trap them in a haunted asylum, a juicy prospect that was enough to pique interest. The director Josh Boone pitched the story, based on the Demon Bear arc by the writer Chris Claremont and the relatively avant-garde artist Bill Sienkiewicz, as the start of a trilogy, one that would later introduce characters like Karma and Warlock. The movie was scheduled for release on 13 April 2018.

But by January, the cracks started to show. The film was pushed way back to February 2019 and then to August 2019 to make space for Deadpool 2 and Dark Phoenix, respectively. Per the Tracking Board, the studio wanted the film reworked to be even scarier, to capitalize on the new horror wave started by Get Out and It. By February 2018, the Hollywood Reporter claimed that The New Mutants was undergoing an additional round of photography, and would include a new character changes that appear now to have never occurred.

Boone told Creative Screenwriting that navigating the politics of studio film-making was its own special beast that led to a constantly morphing script (that was repeatedly torn apart and put together by four other scriptwriters and a six-person writers room). Tracking Board said Boone felt a bit neutered by Fox, as the company couldnt decide if it wanted New Mutants to be a YA drama or an all-out splatterfest. Disney acquired Fox in March 2019, and New Mutants got lost in the shuffle until Boone re-emerged in December 2019 to confirm Disney would be releasing the film as originally shot.

Boone finally seems to have regained creative control of his project, but elsewhere the film stumbled under the studios direction in more profound ways. Fans noted that both the casting of Alice Braga as Dr Cecilia Reyes and Henry Zaga as Sunspot erased their identities as Afro-Latinx characters and perpetuated issues of colorism already oft spoken about in regard to Storm. Comparing character redesigns and colorings across comic book runs can be fraught, but canonically all three have been portrayed as darker-skinned in their earliest incarnations. This seems like an unfortunate misstep that goes against the nature of the story itself, as Stan Lee told the Guardian in 2000 that the X-Men were a direct metaphor for what was happening with the civil rights movement. (Lets lay it right on the line, Lee wrote in the comics in 1968. Bigotry and racism are among the deadliest social ills plaguing the world today.)

So whats to be done? Can The New Mutants climb out of this pyre to become, if not the most progressive, at least a passably good comic book film?

Considerable baggage aside, one angle to consider is the potential novelty of the story: unlike the world-ending stakes that comic book films often shoehorn in, the Demon Bear saga has a focused scope. In the comics, the demonic bear that killed Danis parents stalks and nearly kills her, and when the bear comes to finish the job, the New Mutants throw down in a hospital. Its a horror story that is, at its core, about the importance of friendship, family and the ties that bind and arent the best horror tales often about that? With rumors that New Mutants will feature a romance between Dani and Wolfsbane, its easy to see how Boone (who directed The Fault in Our Stars) could ground a more nightmare-inducing adaptation in a tale of young love. Does that make The New Mutants automatically good? Not necessarily, but itd mark the film as more unique than the vast majority of city-leveling X-Men films, and put it more in line with standalones like Logan and Deadpool.

Maisie
Maisie Williams in The New Mutants. Photograph: Marvel

The New Mutants also has the benefit of a cast of fresh faces. A rather thorny issue with the X-Men films as a whole is how poorly theyve juggled their vast stable of characters, focusing primarily on the same white, often male, leads. While the original 2000 X-Men had a unique, gritty, indie quality to it terrified loner Rogue meets gruff father figure Wolverine the subsequent films got lost in the sauce, repeatedly centering Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, and then to a lesser extent, Jean and Mystique, to the detriment of literally everyone else in the X-verse. Rogues powers went mostly unexplored; Jubilee is never named on camera; the omega-level Darwin was easily killed; Kitty Prydes comic book role was handed to Wolverine in Days of Future Past; Storm and Emma Frost were underutilized; the list goes on. To put it frankly, the core X-Men films suffered from a profound lack of imagination, and though theyre ensembles, not a single one of their 12 films can boast a character of color as the primary lead. Isnt it disappointing that the franchise that was built on the importance of being different was too afraid to be different itself?

This is what The New Mutants, warts and all, has going for it: Blu Hunts Dani Moonstar is the first Native American to lead a comic book film, a fact thats gotten buried in all the scheduling conflicts and reshooting drama. Though Hunts casting also fueled some concerns of colorism, it remains a notable leap forward. Theres an opportunity a hope that Boone and the other writers on the film also fixed the problems of the original Demon Bear story (Dani turns into a damsel in distress, and the Demon Bear inexplicably turns two white characters into Native Americans) and let Dani be the true lead in her own tale.

That the sun will set on this entire Fox franchise right as the studio landed on Dani as a lead feels particularly tragic. Despite being fantastical tales of aliens, monsters, superhumans and robots, nearly all comic book films have issues around primarily favoring the stories of white characters, and/or casting light-skinned or white-passing actors. The New Mutants, at the very least, foregrounds an indigenous woman of color, who literally wrestles with her heritage and legacy, all while developing a newfound family at Xaviers school. It stands a good chance of being a fun one-off film, but the brass tacks of it all is that Dani Moonstar deserved better, as all the X-Men of color deserved better.

Hopefully Disney will see the value in Danis story and keep her around, or at least greenlight future X-Men projects focused on lesser-seen characters from the get-go. If Disney ends up rebooting with Professor X and Magneto again, while pushing off all the characters of color until a third phase (a la Black Panther), The New Mutants will forever be remembered as a landmark casting, but also a tragic example of too little, too late.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/film/2020/jan/08/the-new-mutants-x-men-horror-film

Lou Ferrigno, TV’s Incredible Hulk, to be sheriff’s deputy in New Mexico

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The actor and former bodybuilder will be sworn in on Thursday to recruit officers for the department and the county

As the Incredible Hulk, Lou Ferrigno brought the bad guys to book with his famous thunderclap, a signature superhero move as loud as a sonic boom or a hurricane.

But the actor most famous for bringing the Marvel Comics legend to life in the long-running 1970s CBS television series will have to rely on more traditional crime-fighting tools in his latest role, as a sheriffs deputy in the New Mexico desert.

The 68-year-old former bodybuilder will be sworn in on Thursday as the newest recruit of the Socorro county sheriffs department.

As a deputy, Ferrigno will continue a journey in law and order that began as the ferocious green alter ego of Dr David Bruce Banner on the small screen and progressed to real-life spells as a reserve deputy in two California counties and as a member of notorious Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaios volunteer posse which targeted illegal immigrants.

According to Socorro county sheriff William Armijo, Ferrigno will be instrumental in recruiting officers for the department and the county. The actor, Armijo says, will be bringing decades of law enforcement experience.

Expected to perform mostly office-bound duties, Ferrigno will be on call to assist patrol officers where needed, though will wear the neat beige uniform of the sheriffs department rather than the torn shorts and pea green body make-up of the giant Hulk.

Since stepping back from an acting career that still sees him accepting occasional roles, such as voice-overs in the Avengers series of movies, Ferrigno has enjoyed success as a fitness coach and motivational speaker.

In an interview on his website, he explained the parallels between life as a fictional crime-buster and his time with the San Luis Obispo sheriffs department in California.

This is not a costume, he said. This is the real thing because Ive played sheriff over the years in different films. This I take very seriously and Im very excited, very proud to be a deputy because my whole life Ive always wanted to be a sheriff.

People assume its just an honorary thing. It isnt, because Im certified and I have police powers which Im very proud of. I went through all the driving, the shooting, the studying and it changed my life and Im very happy to be a real-life hero, protecting life and property.

During an appearance on The Celebrity Apprentice in 2012, Ferrigno struck up a friendship with Donald Trump. In 2018 Trump appointed Ferrigno, a former Mr Universe, to his presidential council on sports fitness and nutrition.

Ferrigno is among a number of celebrities to have had careers in law enforcement. They include the actor Steven Seagal, who partnered his duties as a reserve deputy in Louisiana and Arizona with a reality TV series that was halted when he became embroiled in a sexual assault lawsuit, and the retired basketball star Shaquille ONeal.

An honorary federal deputy marshal, ONeal attended police academy and served as a reserve officer for police departments in California, Arizona and Florida.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/11/lou-ferrigno-televisions-incredible-hulk-to-join-new-mexicos-sheriffs-deputies

20 things to look forward to in 2020

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Welcome to the 2020! Other than being a numerically auspicious date that stands at the gateway of a fresh new decade, the year 2020 will probably be like any other year: Full of confusing and depressing events that will make you wish Earth had some sort of eject button.

1. The 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo

Everyone loves the Olympics! When else can you and your fellow citizens get genuinely, collectively excited about beach volleyball? The 2020 games will feature five new sports: Karate, baseball/softball, skateboarding, sports climbing and surfing, as well as a mess of new events in already established categories. And in a tech-savvy, culturally rich city like Tokyo, the games are bound to be particularly festive.

2. A medley of new movies

If watching other people running around and being athletic is too taxing for you, rest assured it will be another eventful year at the box office. Do you like superhero deep cuts? Boom: “Wonder Woman 1984.” “Black Widow.” Franchises that refuse to die? Rev up for “Fast and Furious 9” and a new “Fantastic Beasts” movie. Franchises you thought weren’t franchises because it’s been so long but — surprise — now they are apparently? “Top Gun: Maverick” will look great on you. The remake train continues at full speed as well, making stops at “West Side Story” junction and “Mulan” city. Oh, and don’t forget about “Sonic the Hedgehog!” After what those graphic designers went through, it’s basically your civic duty to see it.

3. The elections

Right, so not many well-adjusted people would call elections “fun.” But this isn’t a list of fun things, it’s a list of things to look forward to. And no matter how many ulcers the 2020 Presidential race will give you, it’s still an important time in US history and it will affect us all. So, do your part by getting more political or learning about voting history or just practicing a few deep, democratic breaths in preparation for November. Other than the main event, 11 states will be holding gubernatorial elections this year, so there’s a chance the fabric of our country could change significantly in a very short period. Haha … fun!

    4. The Mars 2020 mission

    In case the year really does go to hell and you want to launch yourself into space, maybe you can hitch a ride on the new rover headed for Mars in late July or early August. The Mars 2020 rover will join the Curiosity rover on the Red Planet, which hopefully means Curiosity will have a friend to sing Happy Birthday with instead of doing it all alone. Any time scientists get to be rock stars is a time worth celebrating, and the Mars 2020 rover is fully tricked out and ready to roll. It has 23 cameras and two microphones to capture the sounds of the rover landing as well as the haunting, desolate Martian winds that follow.

    5. A newly opened Washington Monument

    Under normal circumstances, tourists can go up to the top of the 555-foot obelisk at the heart of our nation’s capital and gaze out like kings at the tidy grid of humanity below. However, for almost three years, the Washington Monument has been closed to the public while it gets a new security screening area and elevator system. It seems like a long time, but when it comes to elevators, it’s always good to err on the side of caution. Everything should be back up and running for tourists in September.

    6. TV like you’ve never seen it (or paid for it) before

    It’s truly the dawn of a new television era. Not only will 2020 see the launch of several new streaming services like HBO Max and Peacock, there will be innumerable new shows, reboots and spinoffs in which to invest your time. “Lizzie McGuire” is getting the reboot treatment on Disney+, “Riverdale” is spawning a spinoff with the CW’s “Katy Keene,” and a “Clueless” reboot is floating around the schedule (Yes, we said reboot. A TV show inspired by the movie ran for a few years in the 1990s). If you’re more dramatically inclined, Stephen King’s “The Outsiders” is sure to please on HBO, and an adaptation of the Lane Moriarty novel “Nine Perfect Strangers” is coming to Hulu. “Westworld” fans, your long wait is over: Season 3 will premiere on HBO in the spring.

    7. The opening of the Yahoo! Time capsule

    In 2006, Yahoo invited people to place digital artifacts of what life was like in a virtual time capsule. Participants uploaded tens of thousands of videos, pictures, poems, works of art and other submissions of varying value, and the final product was handed over to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC, for safekeeping. The plan is to crack open the capsule (digitally, of course) on Yahoo’s 25th birthday, which is in 2020. They better open it carefully: Unsealing that thing may bring forth a whole Pandora’s box full of cat memes and cringey MySpace pics.

    8. A total eclipse

    Remember how fun the Great American Eclipse was in 2017? Well, there’s a Great South American Eclipse coming next year, and eclipse watchers are making plans to congregate in Argentina and stare up at the cosmic spectacle (while safely bespectacled, of course). The solar eclipse will shade the region in brief darkness on December 14, but there are other fun space things happening right around the same time. The Geminid meteor shower will spangle the sky the night before, and a special alignment of Jupiter and Saturn a week later will complete a rare space nerd trifecta.

    9. Historical anniversaries

    While 2020 might be a great year to make history, it’s a pretty good year to observe history, as well. There are plenty of interesting historical anniversaries to geek out to, but these are some of the biggest. Go ahead, memorize a few and make your high school history teacher proud.

    10. A bevy of new books

    Treat yourself to a Kindle shopping spree and pre-order some of 2020’s most-anticipated books. “A Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” is sure to be a buzzy release. It’s a prequel to the “Hunger Games” series by Suzanne Collins. Other new releases from well-loved authors: “Writer and Lovers” from Lily King, whose novel “Euphoria” spawned a TV adaptation, and “It’s All Not Downhill From Here” by Terry McMillan of “How Stella Got Her Groove Back” fame. For all of you recovering English majors, pick up “A Long Petal of the Sea” by iconic Chilean author Isabel Allende, who was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama.

      11. A saturated soccer scene

      This is the year the fútbol cosmos finally aligns. The UEFA European Football Championship will go down all around Europe this summer, culminating in a final game at Wembley Stadium in London in July. In South America, the Copa América will take over the continent at the same time. These two major international championships don’t usually fall in the same year (though they did in 2016), but going forward, they’ll happen simultaneously every four years. So, consider 2019’s UEFA championship to be a little extra bonus.

      12. A new hope for peanut allergy sufferers

      It’s 2020, OK? It’s about time for some medical breakthroughs to help people suffering from frustrating, sometimes extremely serious conditions like peanut allergies. Every year the Cleveland Clinic counts down the most anticipated advances in medical technology for the coming year, and one of the 2020 contenders is a new immunotherapy treatment for peanut allergies that was recently given the go-ahead by the FTC. The treatment, Palforzia, won’t eliminate the allergy altogether, but it will train people’s immune systems to help avoid serious reactions to accidental exposures.

      13. An innovative year in Dubai

      If you’ve ever thought about taking a trip to Dubai, this might be your year. The glitzy Arabian city will host the 2020 World Expo for half the year. Expo 2020 is like a World’s Fair, with 192 countries showcasing the newest in art, technology, science and countless other spheres. Expo 2020 will center around a huge, specially built indoor-outdoor area between Dubai and the northern border of neighboring Abu Dhabi. Themes of the event will include happiness and environmental stability and, according to the event’s website, you can “meet Gnasher, the sharp-toothed machine of endless consumption.” (It’s a new recycling technology, not an imprisoned eldritch horror.) Sign us up!

      14. A menagerie of new music

      What will the sound of the new decade be? Well, we can start with some of the most-anticipated albums and tours coming our way in 2020. Keep your ears open for Cardi B’s “Tiger Woods,” Lana Del Ray’s “White Hot Forever,” J. Cole’s “The Fall Off,” Ozzy Osbourne’s “Ordinary Man,” The 1975’s “Notes on a Conditional Form,” plus new album releases from Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Haim, The Strokes, Pearl Jam, Justin Bieber, Drake and Lady Gaga.
      If you’re looking for your next live music thrill, Taylor Swift, Celine Dion, Kenny Chesney and Niall Horan are all hitting the road in 2020. Elton John is continuing his farewell tour through 2021, and after having to cancel 2019 tour dates due to injury, Ozzy Osbourne will return to the stage this year. Fans are holding out hope that other huge artists, like Beyoncé, AC/DC, Adele and K-pop mega groups BTS and BlackPink, will announce 2020 tours.

      15. The next generation of video game consoles (and new games to play on them)

      Video games will continue to take over the cultural mainstream, and they’ll get a huge boost when two new consoles, the PlayStation 5 and the XBox Series X, hit the market in 2020. New video game releases will accompany these next-gen consoles: Halo Infinite and Hellblade 2 for the XBox, and new Call of Duty and Final Fantasy titles for the PS5.

      16. The year of the electric truck

      The world of brawny haul-ems with whisper-quiet, earth-friendly engines is about to explode. We’ve already met the Tesla Cybertruck, and honestly, it wasn’t the gentlest introduction to the world of electric trucks. Don’t worry, the rest are a bit friendlier. Two startup companies, Lordstown Motors and Rivian, will release models this year. For those with very expensive tastes, the Hummer-like Bollinger B2 will be rolling out with a $125,000 price tag. More popular automakers are giving their trucks an electric upgrade. GM is planning an all-electric truck release, and an electric version of the Ford F-150 — the bestselling car in America — is still on the drawing board but is expected to be a 2021 release.

      17. The baseball game of your “Dreams.”

      For the record, baseball is NOT a boring sport. But it will be at its least boring on August 13th when the New York Yankees and the Chicago White Sox meet in the middle of a corn field in Dyersville, Iowa, to play a special “Field of Dreams”-inspired game. The field is even located near the site of the original movie set. Eight thousand lucky fans will get to experience the full rural splendor in person, but there will be all kinds of special programming and events surrounding the game for everyone else to enjoy.

        18. The rise of high-speed rail

        It is no secret that high-speed rail is the future of land travel, but the concept has been slow to catch on in the US. That may change in 2020. Several high-speed rail systems are due to break ground, and other plans could move forward in big ways. Virgin Trains USA will begin construction in late 2020 on a new $4.8 billion, 170-mile high-speed train line from Victorville, California, to Las Vegas. (Another Virgin Trains line, between Miami and West Palm Beach, is already in operation, and will expand to Orlando in a few years.) A plan for a high-speed line between Houston and Dallas is chugging along, so to speak, and construction could start as early as summer 2020.
        Back on the west coast, Microsoft is helping move along a plan for a rail between Seattle and Vancouver. The company, headquartered in Redmond, Washington, shelled out $223,000 in October 2019 to finish an exploratory study into the project by 2020.

        19. A bustling Broadway scene

        Movie remakes are so last decade. Welcome to 2020, where movies are remade as stage musicals! There are a stunning amount of stage adaptations, some or all of which may see a 2020 premiere on the Great White Way (or somewhere else a little more accessible). If you like romance, watch for takes on “13 Going on 30,” “The Bodyguard,” “The Devil Wears Prada” and “Some Like It Hot.” “17 Again” and “Magic Mike” and the Archie Comics franchise may get the theater treatment. Ready to get really meta? Another musical in the works is “Bombshell,” which is based on the fictional stage production at the center of the real TV show “Smash.”

        20. A new decade

        If a new year means a new beginning, then what does a decade mean? We have a whole 10 years to shape the trends, events and questionable hairstyle choices that will forever be associated with the 2020’s. We are the makers of our own destiny. Let’s get to it.
          Correction: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated the location of the Jeddah Tower, which is in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

          Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/28/world/20-things-to-look-forward-to-2020-upcoming-events-releases-trnd/index.html

          What Fruits And Vegetables Would Do If They Were Alive (30 Pics By Alex Solis)

          Uncategorized

          In the parallel universe of “The Freshest Foods,” fruits and vegetables are brought to life and turned into charismatic characters whose daily routines and struggles are not much different from what we, humans, deal with. The creative mastermind behind these humorous digital drawings is illustrator/3D sculptor/b-boy Alex Solis, who is famous for his out-of-the-box ideas. These quirky illustrations might not save fruits and veggies from being eaten, but entertainment and a good laugh are guaranteed.

          Bored Panda reached out to Alex Solis to talk about the passion that he turned into a career. 

          #1

          You can always expect the unexpected when scrolling through Solis’ Instagram feed, and 432k followers know exactly what they have signed up for. “I’m lucky enough that my work is able to touch a lot of people nowadays. I see it as an ongoing art show and a way for me to just share a laugh and also to be able to focus more on my art as a career by having more eyes on it,” said Solis about his popularity on social media.

          #2

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          An avocado with a beer belly, a banana on an important call, a piece of broccoli struggling to braid its untamed hair, a hardworking pear-plumber that cracks us all up, a body-image obsessed potato on a weight-loss journey, a goofy carrot, or a raisin addicted to plastic surgery — these are just a tiny fraction of the bizarre and amusing world Solis has created. But the personalities of these edible fellas, and the life situations they find themselves in, somehow make perfect sense. In his clever illustrations, Solis has linked features of simple foods with relatable struggles we all know by heart. And now we can’t unsee it. 

          #4

          #5

          “Freshest Foods was a way to challenge myself and to show I can also do stuff not focused on pop culture. It started as one or two drawings and brainstorming with simple objects to create something out of something simple like a carrot,” said Solis. The artist said that he would think of as many concepts as he could for different fruits and vegetables, and was left with around 10 concepts for each to pick what he felt worked the best.

          #6

          #7

          Solis loves using humor and satire to experiment with pop culture references and everyday life objects. He has gained fame with his unique and bold concepts that we didn’t know we needed in our lives. “I find it challenging to create new ideas based on exciting art that others wouldn’t think about. But again it’s something I personally love, so it’s more so an exploration of what our culture is,” said the artist.

          #8

          #9

          We have previously featured some of Solis’ most ingenious projects on Bored Panda, such as “Icons Unmasked” that shows a collection of clever mashups of our favorite characters with secret identities, “Famous Oldies” with well-known characters and superheroes aging like everyone else, and “Baby Terrors,” where he imagined horror characters as little babies who are so cute, you almost wouldn’t mind being murdered by them. He has also created disturbing yet adorable illustrations of predators vs. prey, rotten foods, and famous characters who have been eating a little too much junk food. He’s produced unexpected creative doodles with ordinary objects and sign language. It’s obvious that Solis’ life revolves around art and the crazy and bizarre ideas he comes up with. 

          #10

          #11

          “Ever since I could remember, art has been there for me, through hard times and good. Growing up in a humble environment where I didn’t have much, art has always been it, I’m lucky in that way that it was never a doubt what I wanted to do with my life. Everything inspires me, I see my art as a window of expression of myself and what happens around me.”

          #12

          #13

          With such unrestrained imagination and talent, it was a natural progression to turn his life’s passion into a job. With a background in design and web development, Solis was able to combine his artistry and technical skills to create more visual and concept-driven art. A Wisconsin-based artist works full-time on his independent brand, Oddworx, which is dedicated to products based on his art. Oddworx offers a vast variety of merch featuring the artist’s most popular work: from prints and stickers to t-shirts and art figures. 

          We asked Solis about the challenges he faces with his brand; he said: “There are always challenges, especially since a lot of my work is always different, one thing might work great while another fails hard. But the important thing is to keep moving and learning and exploring. If it was simple it wouldn’t be worth it.”

          #14

          #15

          “A lot of my ideas are just concepts and day-to-day thoughts,” said Solis, “so, in the end, it also means I do put out some that are not brilliant or even funny. But I think it’s worth doing ideas regardless: to one person they might be dumb, and to someone else, brilliant. Artists always have to adjust and adapt to continue to grow, it’s an ever-changing job, but it’s what keeps me on my toes.”

          #16

          #17

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          #19

          #20

          #21

          #22

          #23

          #24

          #25

          See Also on Bored Panda

          #27

          #28

          #29

          #30

          Read more: http://www.boredpanda.com/the-freshest-foods-funny-illustrations-fruits-vegetables-alex-solis/

          From Bran Stark to Boris Johnson: TV heroes and villains of 2019

          Uncategorized

          From Game of Thrones to BBC Parliament via a fascist Emma Thompson, there were champions and tyrants aplenty on our screens this year. Here are the best and the very worst

          Heroes:
          Princess Anne, The Crown

          The royal family didnt exactly cover itself in glory in 2019, but salvation came from a most unexpected place. Princess Anne (previously portrayed in The Windsors as a sort of terrifying vampire) turned out to be the breakout star of The Crown. Played by Erin Doherty, she was funny, sardonic and exactly the right character to counter the dreary poshos that make up the rest of her awful family even if they did miss out the (surely intrigue-heavy) kidnap attempt against her.

          Nadia Vulvokov, Russian Doll

          Natasha
          Natasha Lyonne in Russian Doll: the role she was born to play. Photograph: AP

          The role that Natasha Lyonne was born to play in the show she was born to star in, Russian Dolls Nadia is a walking, talking wall of scar tissue. The only thing that can soften her up are several traumatising deaths and rebirths. But the miracle of Nadia is that even this isnt a complete success. By the end of the series she has changed, but remains still just as knotted and grouchy as before. What a concept. What a character.

          Ebenezer Scrooge, I Think You Should Leave

          The story of Scrooge traditionally ends with him embracing the spirit of Christmas and asking a boy to buy him a turkey. But only I Think You Should Leave showed the true heroism at the heart of the man. In the bizarre Netflix comedy, Scrooge was then visited by The Ghost of Christmas Way Future, who came with a dark warning about the future of humanity. By Christmas 3050, Skeletrex and his bone brigade have enslaved the human race. Only Scrooge, with his newfound sense of Christmas cheer, can defeat the bonies by smashing their brains out with his cane. Possibly the one real hero in all of television this year.

          Jennie Gresham, Alan Partridge

          From
          From dismissal to fear to disgust … Jennie Gresham (Susannah Fielding) deals with Alan Partridge (Steve Coogan). Photograph: Colin Hutton/BBC/Baby Cow/Colin Hutton

          Arguably the television performance of 2019, Susannah Fieldings Jennie Gresham felt more strongly about things than any other character this year. She veered from dismissal to fear to disgust to fury to something that briefly approximated seduction, all hidden behind a 6ft blast door of practised BBC cheeriness. Her emotions seeped out only through the sort of involuntary twitches and glances that tend to occur when you sit next to Alan Partridge. A complete professional.

          Dr Manhattan, Watchmen

          Although the finale ended up doubling as a critique of the man a god who lost interest in humanity Dr Manhattan was still the lynchpin of Damon Lindelofs Watchmen reboot. He spent decades exploring the universe until he came to see existence as little more than an abstract. But, still, at the moment of his death, he chose to replay the memories he made with a woman he loved. His last act of selflessness springs the story into exciting new territory.

          Suzie, Stranger Things

          A largely unseen presence who for the majority of the season we assumed was invented, it was Dustins long-distance girlfriend who ultimately saved the world from destruction. She knew Plancks constant, which was the key to defeating the giant blood monster. But she only gave it up on the proviso that Dustin first agreed to perform a duet of Never Ending Story by Limahl in its entirety with her. This is a woman with an appropriate sense of perspective.

          Hamster, Seven Worlds, One Planet

          Only in 2019 could an act of wanton grave desecration count as heroism, but there we are. Of course, it helps that the figure doing the desecration was a chubby cheeked Austrian hamster, carefully bobbing across a graveyard on its way to eat a meal of flowers and candle wax. But as ever, there was a moral to be found. If youre going to eat candles, be prepared to get your head stuck in a jar.

          Bran Stark, Game of Thrones

          Living
          Living like a king … Bran Stark through the ages. Photograph: AP

          All hail the king. While the final season and, in particular, the final episode of Game of Thrones looks set to go down as a historic misfire, at least we have Bran Stark to look up to. A weird little boy who did nothing to help anyone and ended up ruling the world anyway, Bran is everything we should aspire to. May his reign be fruitful and, more importantly, untelevised.

          Villains:
          Mitch Kessler, The Morning Show

          The big bad on Apple TV+s The Morning Show looked and acted like a friendly dad. Mitch Kessler played by Steve Carell at the exact midpoint between Michael Scott and John du Pont was the anchor of a beloved breakfast TV show. The series started at the moment when his world began to crumble at the hands of #MeToo allegations, but it was only as the series progressed that you began to realise what a vile, grasping, self-obsessed monster he really was. Yuck.

          Viv Rook, Years and Years

          A
          A slow and insidious rise to populist power … Emma Thompson as Viv Rook. Photograph: Guy Farrow/BBC/Red Productions

          For the majority of Russell T Daviess apocalyptic drama, Viv Rook was a figure on TV; her slow and insidious rise to populist power playing out in tandem to the real action. But the scariest scene came when a character came face to face with her, and Emma Thompsons politician revealed herself to be nothing but a dimwitted mouthpiece an empty vessel for larger and darker forces. As with everything that Years and Years offered up, it was only frightening because you suspected that it was true.

          Logan Roy, Succession

          Logan Roy (Brian Cox) spent the second series of Succession huffing and raging like a Shakespearian monster. Once absolute, his power was starting to slip between his fingers, and he reacted with supreme cruelty. A villain so mighty that he happily used his own children as collateral damage, Logans barbarism came to a head with the unquestionable act of abuse that was Boar on the Floor, a game where he forced his family to crawl around begging for sausages. May his comeuppance in season three be swift and violent.

          Prince Andrew, Newsnight

          Only
          Only an oafish moron would use such an alibi … Prince Andrew interviewed by Emily Maitlis. Photograph: Mark Harrison/AP

          The gall of the man. The sheer bumptious idiocy. Only somebody as fundamentally stupid as Prince Andrew would agree to be grilled by one of the countrys most dogged interviewers about the sexual accusations made against him. Only a lumbering berk like him would suggest holding it in the countrys most comically out of touch room. Only an oafish moron would use an alibi (that he doesnt sweat) that would immediately trigger a race to disprove him by every picture agency in the world. And only an unremitting fool like him would come out of it thinking that hed done quite well.

          Daenerys Targaryen, Game of Thrones

          What a baddie. What a dictator. What an all-round awful person. Daenerys curdled hard this year, kicking out whenever her brittle grasp of power was questioned until she spent most of one episode literally destroying the world. Good riddance to a thoroughly nasty dragon queen and, er, Starbucks fan.

          Mary Louise, Big Little Lies

          Was Mary Louise really that bad? After all, she was the mother of a dead man, trying to work out who murdered him. However, in the hands of Meryl Streep, she became an absolute tyrant. Her worst move ripping Celestes children away from their mother came shrouded in faux goodness. Again and again she repeated that she only wanted what was best for everyone, but again and again she pushed everyone perilously close to the brink. May we never have to hear the clatter of her false teeth again.

          Boris Johnson, Nowhere

          The easy thing to do here would be to compare Boris Johnson to Viv Rook (see above), but at least Viv Rook agreed to be on television. Sidestepping almost every opportunity for proper televised scrutiny, Johnson instead turned his back and fled and he won. Not everyone can make Andrew Neils miraculous cloud of hair judder with rage, but not everyone is quite as much of a swaggering baddie as Boris.

          Anthony the hairdresser, Fleabag

          Hair-raising
          Hair-raising … Claire (Sian Clifford) with pencil haircut. Photograph: BBC

          He made Claires head look like a pencil and then refused compensation. Yes, sure, she asked for that exact haircut, but that isnt the point. Hair is everything, Anthony!!!

          Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/tv-and-radio/2019/dec/20/from-bran-stark-to-boris-johnson-tv-heroes-and-villains-of-2019

          J.J. Abrams and Michael B. Jordan discussed Superman with Warner Bros.

          Uncategorized

          BTW

          The future of DC Comics films is starting to shape up with a mix of blockbuster hits (Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Shazam!), character deep-dives (Joker, The Batman), and chaotic team-ups (Birds of Prey, The Suicide Squad). But the future of one of DC Comics most iconic superheroes is still up in the air.

          A lengthy report from Variety details the future of Warner Bros. superhero films, including details on how prevalent Arkham Asylum will be in The Batman and a contract option for several stars of The Batman and Birds of Prey to have their own standalone or show up in sequels. After the runaway success of Joker, Warner Bros. is more open to R-rated superhero movies, especially since Marvel isnt really fulfilling

          Theyre on the upswing, BoxOffice.com chief analyst Shawn Robbins told Variety. They had a rocky period, but theyre starting to find their footing.

          A key Warner Bros. goal is to finally get a Green Lantern movie off the ground with Geoff Johns set to write the script (with J.J. Abrams and Bad Robot expected to get a first look at the project). The Ezra Miller-helmed Flash movie thats been in production hell for several years is still on the docket despite Millers key role in the Fantastic Beasts franchise. But the biggest enigma remains one of the publishers most famous comic book character: Superman.

          According to Variety, Warner Bros. discussed Superman and how to make the character relevant to theater-going audiences with both Abrams and Michael B. Jordan, the latter who gave Warner Bros. his own pitch for the character. But with his own slate of films in the works for the next few years, Jordan currently isnt attached to a Superman film, and the chances of seeing a Superman film debut in theaters before 2023 is highly improbable.

          More than almost any character, Warner Bros. has struggled in recent years with bringing Superman to the big screen. Superman Returns fell flat, and although Henry Cavills turn in Man of Steel, Batman v Superman, and Justice League has its fans, those films were largely panned by critics. And while reports that Cavill had left the role (like Ben Affleck did with Batman) surfaced last year, Cavill has since pushed back.

          H/T Variety

          Read more: https://www.dailydot.com/parsec/superman-warner-bros-dc-comics-future/

          Gal Gadot and Chris Pine meet again in trailer for ‘Wonder Woman 1984’

          Uncategorized

          (CNN)She will fight for those who cannot fight for themselves. That’s because she’s Wonder Woman, and now she’s finally back.

          The first look at the highly anticipated follow-up to “Wonder Woman” shows Diana Prince reuniting with her love, Steve Trevor, played by Chris Pine.
          This might have come as a surprise to many as Trevor’s plane blew up in the first film, which was set during World War I, decades before.
            In the trailer, set in the 1980s, Gadot is once again at the center of the action, dodging bullets, crushing guns with her bare firsts, and, of course, saving lives.
            During San Diego Comic-Con in July 2018, Gadot said the movie wasn’t a sequel, but its “own story.”
              “Wonder Woman” is the first major superhero franchise to be led by a woman, director Patty Jenkins. The film earned more than $103 million in its North American opening last June, the biggest ever for a female director.
              The film’s release date is June 5, 2020.

              Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2019/12/08/entertainment/wonder-woman-1984-trailer-trnd/index.html

              Walmart Is In Trouble For Selling A Cocaine Sweater | Betches

              Uncategorized

              By now, it’s become a time-honored tradition for stores and online retailers to make problematic clothing pieces, only to be called out  and have to publicly apologize. It happened to H&M when they put a black boy in a sweatshirt that said “coolest monkey in the jungle.”  Nike got in trouble for releasing a “Boston Massacre” shirt the same year as the Boston Marathon bombing. And American Eagle had to backtrack after people pointed out that one of their bracelets looked a little too much like shackles used to hold slaves. So many f*ckups, so little time.

              Today, it’s Walmart’s turn in the hot seat. The retail giant issued an apology for a holiday sweater that was sold through the Canadian version of their Marketplace, where third-party vendors can sell their products. The sweater says “Let it Snow,” and features a snowman in front of a table that clearly features lines of… a substance. And in case there was any doubt about what was depicted, here’s the description that went along with the sweater: “We all know how snow works. It’s white, powdery and the best snow comes straight from South America. That’s bad news for jolly old St. Nick, who lives far away in the North Pole. That’s why Santa really likes to savor the moment when he gets his hands on some quality, grade A, Colombian snow.” LMAO.

              Honestly, I think the sweater is kinda funny, and it’s not nearly as offensive as some of the other things retailers have sold. But it’s not exactly on-brand for Walmart’s family image, and and it’s obviously it’s not a great look for them to let third-party sellers put things like this on their site. The Walmart Marketplace, which is similar to Amazon, has clearly come with its difficulties. This isn’t the first time that Walmart has issued an apology for a product that made its way onto their site. Two years ago, they got in trouble for a hat on their site, the color of which was named after a racial slur. Yikes yikes yikes.

              The holiday shopping season is just picking up, and companies with marketplaces like this should probably be on high alert for problematic items, because people suck. Just last week, Amazon got dragged for selling Christmas ornaments and a bottle opener that featured images of Auschwitz. Like, the concentration camp. I don’t know who even thought to make these products in the first place, but obviously Amazon needs to have some more strict guidelines in place.

              While most of the products on Walmart’s site aren’t problematic like these, there are definitely some questionable offerings. I went straight to the men’s graphic tee section of the website, and I was not disappointed. I mean, I was disappointed that people still wear this sh*t, but at least I found plenty of stuff to roast.

              For exhibit A, let’s look at this take on the classic American flag tee. But rather than just a classic ~America~ vibe, whoever made this decided to sh*t on Colin Kaepernick and everyone else who has kneeled for the national anthem. Honestly, this shirt basically just means “All Lives Matter,” but with a fun disguise that you really just care about the fallen troops. We probably all have an uncle who would wear this.

              Aside from the icky alt-right vibes, there are also a LOT of shirts dedicated to being obsessed with video games. I kind of thought we had outgrown this as a society, but apparently all the dudes who still love video games have just been hiding in their parents’ basements, so I didn’t realize they still existed. Maybe you can buy this shirt for your older brother who doesn’t have much direction in his life.

              But my absolute (least) favorite shirt on the Walmart Marketplace has to be this one, dedicated to telling your dad that he’s a superhero to you. Cute sentiment, but the shirt is going to give me f*cking nightmares. Honestly, the word “daddy” has kind of been ruined at this point, so it’s hard for me to look at this and not just think about a hookup horror story. But hey, if you’re still looking for a Christmas present for your dad, go off sis.

              The real crime with this shirt is all the competing fonts and the redundant clip-art.

              What did you think of the cocaine sweater? I didn’t hate it, but it definitely seems like companies like Walmart and Target need to be a little (or a lot) more careful about the restrictions on their third-party sellers. But like, does anyone know where I can still buy the sweater?

              Images: Shutterstock; Walmart (4); AuschwitzMuseum / Twitter

              Read more: https://betches.com/?p=74010

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