Numlock News: March 6, 2023 • Iditarod, De La Soul, Sake
By Walt Hickey
Creed III made $58.6 million at the domestic box office, a huge win for the ninth film in the Rocky franchise. That’s good enough for the best opening for a sports movie in history, according to MGM. It also means that actor Jonathan Majors — who plays the antagonist of the film — had a particularly solid weekend, as he’s also the baddie in second-place Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, which made $12.5 million this weekend for a cume of $186.7 domestic. The success of Creed III gives the go-ahead for Creed IV, an installment I have personally been looking forward to, as the fourth picture in a boxing franchise is traditionally the one in which a character is given a goofy robot assistant and I cannot wait to see where Michael B. Jordan takes that.
Pamela McClintock, The Hollywood Reporter
A Cruddy Children’s Book
Author Elee Reeves wrote a children’s book about a turtle that explores the state of Mississippi, going on a tour to give out the book — a 20-page tome which involves her childhood imaginary friend Fred — to fourth graders. The initial print run was paid for by a national foster care foundation with $28,500 for 33,000 copies, but an investigation by Mississippi Today found that thousands of more copies of Fred The Turtle were printed with $10,000 in federal Head Start funds that had been appropriated directly to it by the office of the governor. This is a problem, because Elee Reeves is in fact the wife of Governor Tate Reeves.
Funko, which produces pop culture-themed bobbleheads, reported that their unsold inventory at the end of the year was $246.4 million, up 48 percent compared to the level last year. Their warehouses are so full of the unsold inventory — the company has resorted to renting shipping containers to hold all the extra Pops outside of an Arizona distribution facility — that the company is going to trash anywhere from $30 million to $36 million worth of bobbleheads in the first half of 2023.
The Iditarod kicked off in Anchorage, Alaska, in what is essentially the annual cosplay festival for the diphtheria vaccine fandom. The canine athletic event sees teams of dogs compete with one another to race nearly 1,000 miles across Alaska, and will properly start in Willow, Alaska, 70 miles north of Anchorage and finish in Nome. Per tradition, the teams of dog competitors will also drag a human along. This year there are only 33 mushers, a record low since the first race in 1973, which had 34 mushers. The average number of starts in the first 50 races was 63 contenders, but only 823 mushers have reached the finish line and in the past 50 years only 24 individual people were on the teams of dogs that have won it.
The Associated Press and Mark Thiessen, Associated Press
De La Soul
The rap group De La Soul was instrumental in the development of the genre, with their album 3 Feet High and Rising in 1989 a phenomenon that fundamentally changed the trajectory of the then-nascent genre. It, as well as the other five De La Soul albums that followed, has been unavailable from streaming services, as the album also sparked costly litigation over samples used in the skits and the music, and spent decades in a legal limbo that made them unpublishable. The group was sued by The Turtles over a 12-second sample on “Transmitting Live From Mars” for $2.5 million, eventually settling for $1.7 million, a suit that killed off the rap that incorporated samples into the work. After two years of thorough legal work and investment clearing every single one of over 200 samples across the catalog, the date has come and De La Soul’s music is finally available for people to stream and listen to.
Alex Goldman, The Cool Dude Zone and Ben Sisario, The New York Times
The Pentagon is worried about the massive cargo cranes that are the workhorses of American ports. ZPMC, a Chinese company, controls 70 percent of the global market for the ship-to-shore cranes, and makes 80 percent of the cranes at U.S. ports. As tensions between China and the U.S. rise, the cranes, and the Chinese-made software that operates them, are seen as a liability and a place in which intelligence could be collected. Some ports have switched over to software made by a Swiss company called ABB Ltd. to operate the cranes, while others use cranes manufactured by Konecranes, a Finnish outfit.
Aruna Viswanatha, Gordon Lubold and Kate O’Keeffe, The Wall Street Journal
Consumption of local liquor sake in Japan is down, and as a result the manner in which it’s being sold is changing to mean fewer large-format bottles getting sold to restaurants and bars. Since the 2002 fiscal year, sake consumption is down 50 percent on a volume basis. Shipments of the large 1.8-liter bottles called issho-bin are even worse off, down 80 percent over the same period, spurred largely by the decline in demand from the restaurants and bars that made up about half the buyers of the large bottles.
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Bobblehead-ageddon!! Where else but Numlock can you learn this kind of thing?! That's why I'm a proud paying subscriber! Keep em coming, Walter.