By Walt Hickey
We’re now officially one month away from the release of my book! This is a crucial time for preorders; if you haven’t yet, today is an amazing day to get your copy of the book. Supplies are still holding for the bonus gift, but that could run out soon.
The fourth Expendables film lived up to its name this weekend, with audiences skipping Expend4bles as destined-for-VOD film hit a franchise low opening of $8.3 million. It was significantly shy of expectations, which hovered at around $15 million, already rough for a movie that cost $100 million to make. That wasn’t even enough to beat The Nun II, which hauled in $8.4 million in its third weekend. Taken as a whole, the weekend was the single lowest-grossing box office weekend of the entire year.
The Heart of the Cards
Panini had long had a near-total hold on the athletic trading card business, which it has since seen fall apart as upstart rival Fanatics has racked up deals with the NFL Player’s Association and the NBA. The latest blow came in August, when Panini said that the WWE would end the four-year deal it struck with Panini that covered January 2022 to December 2025 over an alleged breach of contract. Panini is now suing, as WWE has asked to be paid the remaining years of the contracted minimum royalties, which amount to $5.6 million.
Workers expanding the natural gas system of Lima, Peru, uncovered eight pre-Inca funeral bales, the latest in a long line of architectural finds by the ancient city’s municipal works efforts. Over the last 19 years, gas company Calidda has found 1,900 archeological finds which range from mummies to pottery to burial sites. Lima has been occupied for 10,000 years, by all sorts of different cultures, and as little as a foot below the surface all sorts of history lurks. According to company archaeologists — yes, they keep some on payroll because it happens that often — the find is believed to be of the Ichma culture, which started in 1100 A.D.
NASA has successfully recovered the return capsule from the OSIRIS-REx mission, which blasted off in 2016, orbited the asteroid Bennu in 2018, collected a sample from the asteroid in 2020, and then began a return to Earth in 2021. On Sunday, after 3.86 billion miles of travel, the sample capsule returned to Earth, dropped from a distance of 63,000 miles above the surface. Thanks to parachutes, the sample capsule — thought to contain around 8.8 ounces of asteroid rock and soil — touched down in Utah going about 11 miles per hour. Recovery teams loaded the canister onto a C-17, which flew it to Johnston Space Center in Houston.
Zebra mussels are an infamous mollusk invasive to the Great Lakes, which by 2000 made up 98 percent of mussels in Lake Michigan. Those notorious pests have been outcompeted by an even more infamous and even more notorious pest: quagga mussels. First discovered in the Lakes in 1989, the quaggas are voracious and handle cold temperatures with ease, and can attach to hard surfaces that the zebra mussels can’t. As a result, as of 2005 quaggas outcompeted the zebras mussels and represented 97.7 percent of mussels in Lake Michigan. This has led to an archeological disaster, as quaggas are devouring the wooden and metal shipwrecks at the bottom of the lakes faster than they can be found, and have sent historians into a frenzy trying to find and catalogue the wrecks before they’re destroyed.
In 2021, lawyers representing the Jamaican artists Clevie Browne and Steely Johnson sued several artists behind two reggaetón tracks, alleging that the backing rhythm — the iconic and genre-defining pulse of much of reggaetón music — was ripped off of their 1989 song “Fish Market.” The classic backing track — you can probably express it as “boom-ch-boom-chick” — appears really all over the place in the genre, a fact that is relatively uncontested, as it’s a hugely influential track. The question is, does influential mean infringing, and if a judge buys that it could be, there might be serious grounds for Steely & Clevie or their estates to sue a whole lot of people. This is indeed how it is going down, as their lawyers have filed suit over 1,800 reggaetón songs by 150 artists, including Pitbull, Daddy Yankee, Drake and Bad Bunny.
Snow Days Galore
The El Niño climate pattern has made for a tumultuous summer of weather, but just wait until we get to winter. While it’ll be mild and wet for many, particularly in the western United States, the typically frosty parts of the country are due for a hell of a winter, with colder, drier weather and much more snow. In the mid-Atlantic and northeast, snowfall is projected to be above normal, and the snowplowing services industry is poised for a record year, anticipating $25.6 billion in revenue in 2023.
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