Roland Emmerich spills 'Independence Day' sequel details

Well, this is interesting news ...

I was in the glory of my high school years and living arguably the best summer of my life when "Independence Day" hit the big screen. I saw it with a group of friends within days of its opening that early July of 1996. I was thrilled by the amazing action and cast of the film then, and it remains one of my favorite movies of all-time. As far as I'm concerned, it was the pinnacle of action movies before the overuse of CGI ruined the genre.

I believe things are rarely as good the second time around as they were the first time. So I'm skeptical about any notion of an Independence Day sequel.

But I'm intrigued. ...

03.29.2013 Update: Roland Emmerich: Will Smith is 'too big' for 'Independence Day' sequels


A Clearer View of the Space Bullet That Grazed Russia

Two fascinating items at The New York Times this morning about that meteor that exploded over Russia last month ...

First: A Clearer View of the Space Bullet That Grazed Russia.

"The Canadian team has calculated that the energy released in the Chelyabinsk explosion was the equivalent of about 440 kilotons of TNT, or about 30 times the power of the Hiroshima bomb."


And this video ...


March Madness

So I’m officially on Spring Break.

It sure doesn’t feel like it, though. At about 5 o’clock last night, the snow storm weather forecasters had been talking about for days actually arrived. … And it’s still snowing.

This is the scene in our back yard this morning …

And this is Phoebe’s baseball tee. She got it out last weekend and was playing with it while it was 70 degrees and sunny. This morning, it’s buried in white stuff.

We might as well get out the Christmas decorations.

On one hand, I guess it’s a good timing. Most of my Spring Break week will be spent buried in graduate work, finishing my research project and compiling my portfolio. I have less than a month to go.

So the snow is good because it will deter me from wishing I could be doing things outside. And we desperately need the precipitation.

But it's bringing a whole new meaning to March Madness.

* * *

Confession time.

With all the chaos in our lives during these winter months, I’m as clueless about college basketball as I’ve felt in a long time.

Then again, maybe I’m being too hard on myself. After all, I’m aware enough to know there hasn’t been a consistently dominant team this year. I’m also aware enough to know that Louisville, Indiana, Miami and Kansas have been among the best.

Nonetheless, I filled out my bracket with pure guesses Thursday morning – usually I do at least a little research – and went on with my work day. Usually I follow the early games through score alerts and social media, too, but when I left my office around 5:30 Thursday evening, I knew nothing about the outcomes of the afternoon games. Later, we attended Phoebe’s spring concert – she was great, by the way, and sang all of her songs with gusto – and it wasn’t until we arrived home around 7:30 that I was able to finally catch up on some of the scores and highlights.

It was during that time that I also carried on my March Madness traditions of filling out brackets for the kiddos. Building on the precedent set last year, I helped Phoebe fill out her bracket and filled one out for Faye.

Sadly, and just like last year, Phoebe’s bracket was nearly shot up during the first round (I don't count the play-in games) and officially finished off last night. As we filled out her bracket Thursday night, I read off the matchups one-by-one and she picked the teams she thought would win. My theory holds again this year that she picks her winners based on the names with which she’s familiar – or the ones that simply sound fun to her.

Therefore, she picked Wisconsin to win it all. And we all know now that’s not happening after Friday afternoon.

The rest of her Final Four consisted of Pacific, Northwestern State and Memphis. She has a friend at her preschool named Memphis.

Phoebe also picked Iona to advance to the West regional against Wisconsin (oops). And she picked Missouri to advance to the Midwest regional against Memphis (oops and oops). She picked Pittsburgh to win two games – before falling to Wisconsin – because she has a teacher named Mrs. Pitts (oops).

Phoebe, however, correctly picked Florida Gulf Coast to upset Georgetown. Amazing.

She correctly picked 12 of the first 40 games and, after just three days of play and heading into this afternoon’s games, the only teams she has left standing are Kansas and FGCU.

Faye and I are faring much better, thank you very much. Keeping with the tradition established during the magical run that was 2008 (and no, I'm still not tired of bringing that up ... ), the baby’s bracket finishes with Kansas as the national champion. Rounding out Faye’s Final Four are Michigan State, Wisconsin (doh!) and Miami. … Wisconsin was supposed to meet Kansas in the national championship game.

Faye also accurately picked No. 1-seed Louisville and No. 12-seed Oregon advancing to face each other, and she picked No. 9-seed Wichita State upsetting No. 1-seed Gonzaga.

As for my bracket, I have Kansas, Miami, Wisconsin and Louisville in my Final Four, with Louisville and Miam facing off in the championship. Seriously, I really thought Wisconsin, it seemed, had been flying under the radar for most of the season and they were going to have a better showing. One of the talking heads on ESPN – I can’t remember who now – even said as much the other day. … And for the record, I also picked the Louisville-Oregon matchup. The only other upsets – if you want to call them that – I predicted were Iowa State over Notre Dame and Wichita State over Pittsburgh.

Good reads ...
In N.C.A.A. Basketball Tournament, Field Looks Wide Open
Bubbling Up: The Downside of Being No. 1
Darlings of Yore Hear the Cheers, but Not for Them

And whaddaya know, coming up this afternoon, Kansas has a matchup with ol’ Roy Williams and North Carolina.

Bring it. … Sorry, Hitler.

Tina Fey Takes on Sarah Palin One More Time

Tina Fey recently took on Sarah Palin one more time for "Inside the Actors Studio."

... And she's still got it.