Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Giving Tuesday in Michigan

Happy Giving Tuesday! I'm focusing on news reports about giving to Michigan charities this year, beginning with WXYZ's Giving Tuesday 2021: Metro Detroit organizations look for donations, volunteers.*

You've heard of Black Friday and Cyber Monday – two days of deals and shopping. But Tuesday marks Giving Tuesday, a day that has become one for generosity when people give to their favorite charities.
Forgotten Harvest is one of the charities I recommended four years ago and mentioned in At least Detroit has great charities, Detroit Zoo director's salary goes up along with zoo's rating as a charity and Forgotten Harvest's farm. I still recommend it, as my wife and I have donated to them before. I also recommend the rest of the charities I listed in those entries.

Follow over the jump for three reports from the west side of the state.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Cyber Monday may set another record while Black Friday sales lag

Happy Cyber Monday! NBC's Today Show has the story of today and Black Friday in Black Friday And Cyber Monday Sales Battle Shipping Delays And Inflation.

Black Friday has been a retail staple for decades – but the longstanding commercial holiday shopping sprees are complicated by shipping delays and inflation amid the coronavirus pandemic. NBC’s Jo Ling Kent reports in this week’s Sunday Focus.
Including the first mention of Black Friday in 1961 alone made this report worth embedding. The police and bus drivers would know how bad traffic is out there.

Supply chain issues are a major focus of ABC News asking Will supply chain issues affect Cyber Monday?

Millions of consumers prepare to take to the web in search of good deals.
Consumers are buying earlier to avoid shortages? Retail desperation — it's not just for retailers anymore.

Since this is a Metro Detroit based blog, I conclude with WDIV/Click on Detroit's Help Me Hank Cyber Monday: Stock, savings and safety.

Cyber Monday means deals, deals, deals. But will the items you want be in stock? And do you know how to shop safely online?
Stay safe as you shop online.

Sunday, November 28, 2021

Daveed Diggs and Jimmy Kimmel on 'Puppy for Hanukkah'

Happy Hanukkah!* For this year's observance, I'm following through on my suggestion to myself last year: "there is a lyric video that I can use next year. Nothing like being an environmentalist who conserves his resources!" Here is "Puppy for Hanukkah" by Daveed Diggs.

I want a puppy for Hanukkah! And I'm gonna get just what I wanted! Check out the lyric video for Daveed Digg's single ”Puppy for Hanukkah!" for Disney Channel!
That was just as fun as I remember it.

I'm also recycling Jimmy Kimmel, who interviewed Diggs about 'Puppy for Hanukkah' among other topics in Daveed Diggs on Celebrating “Meat Fest,” Writing a Hanukkah Song & The Little Mermaid Remake.

Daveed talks about working during the pandemic, celebrating “Meat Fest” with his family and friends, writing a Hanukkah song for kids, being cast as Sebastian the crab in the new live action remake of The Little Mermaid, Lin-Manuel Miranda, his Disney-Pixar movie Soul, and playing in the high school band.
That was worth watching, even eleven months later, as I learned more about Diggs than I knew about him beyond his roles in "Hamilton." It also justifies this post doing double duty as the Sunday entertainment feature. No serious educational content about the holiday today!

Stay tuned for Cyber Monday.

*A bit early for my readers in the Western Hemisphere, since the holiday begins at sundown and it's late morning in Michigan as I write this, but the sun has already set in Jerusalem, so it counts.

Saturday, November 27, 2021

KDKA and WOOD-TV on Small Business Saturday

Happy Small Business Saturday! KDKA CBS Pittsburgh has an overview of the day in Survey: Half Of Americans Plan To Shop On Small Business Saturday.

More Americans than ever say they will spend money at a small neighborhood business on Small Business Saturday.
Millennials strongly support small, locally-owned businesses, while Boomers are only lukewarm about them. Millennials also support minority-owned businesses, which WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids featured in Grand Rapids event to showcase Black-owned small businesses.

The holiday shopping season is about to officially kickoff with Black Friday and Small Business Saturday. (Nov. 25, 2021)
Here's to the event succeeding in promoting small, minority-owned businesses in Grand Rapids! As for the rest of us, "shop small" and "eat local."

Friday, November 26, 2021

The Buy Nothing Project for Buy Nothing Day

Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day! Instead of writing about the Retail Apocalypse today, I'm concentrating on it being Buy Nothing Day by sharing WCCO CBS Minnesota reporting Residents Use Online Service To ‘Buy Nothing,’ Meet Neighbors on Tuesday.

There's a national movement that's de-cluttering homes and saving money in the process. The chain of giving in one Twin Cities neighborhood is also building new connections with neighbors.
The next day, ABC News also told its viewers to Buy nothing!

The “Buy Nothing Project” is on a mission to teach us all how this year’s holiday shopping could cost you -- nothing! ABC News’ Will Ganss shows us.
Instead of a one-day abstention from purchasing products to protest consumerism, the Buy Nothing Project is promoting building community while saving its partipants money and its participants saving the planet year-round. WGRZ-TV in Buffalo showed that in Good Neighbors: Buy Nothing Project this past May.

I close with the Buy Nothing Project's self-description on its website.
Buy less and share more. It makes us all richer and the planet cleaner...We exist for the sole purpose of building community.

The Buy Nothing Project was founded in 2013 with the mission to build community by connecting people through hyperlocal gifting, and reducing our impact on the environment. Our mission has not changed. In fact, we've doubled down by investing in our own platform that will allow us (collectively) to realize this mission to its fullest.
That's a positive message to support locally organized gift economies and freecycling. This Crazy Eddie approves!

Stay tuned for Small Business Saturday.

Thursday, November 25, 2021

KDKA Pittsburgh and WCVB Boston on the 400th anniversary of the first Thanksgiving

Happy ! This year marks the 400th anniversary of the first American Thanksgiving in 1621.* To observe the quadricentennial of the harvest feast of the Pilgrims and Wampanoag, I'm sharing 400 Years Old, Thanksgiving Was Late Being Recognized As National Holiday from KDKA, CBS Pittsburgh.

This Thursday is a uniquely American national holiday, but Thanksgiving wasn't always celebrated nationwide. How did this holiday become such an American tradition? KDKA's Jon Delano reports.
There's lots more to the story of Thanksgiving, but I'm an environmentalist who conserves his resources, so I'll share those in the future. Right now, I'm going to WCVB Channel 5 Boston for their coverage of the celebration at the site of the first American Thanksgiving, Plymouth Thanksgiving parade celebrates 400th anniversary of holiday.

Many people felt this year's Thanksgiving celebration in "America's Hometown" was special because last year's festivities were canceled.
As I wrote yesterday about the Macy's Parade, this parade is also a sign that things are returning to normal and the pandemic is no longer messing with our entertainment. Speaking of entertainment, the clip showed several drum corps. WCVB featured one of them in Boston Crusaders Senior Drum [Corps] performs at 2021 Plymouth Thanksgiving parade.

America's Hometown Thanksgiving Parade is a chronological look back at America's history through the years, beginning with the Pilgrim era.
I could have made an entire post featuring the drum corps and marching bands that participated in the parade and standstill, but I could use those any year for a drum corps Thanksgiving, while the quadricentennial only comes once. Next year, along with more history videos.

That's it for Thanksgiving proper, although the holiday weekend continues with Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day, Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday. Stay tuned.

*Canadian Thanksgiving is older than American Thanksgiving, originating in 1578.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Local news coverage of marching bands in the 2021 Macy's Parade for Thanksgiving

I told my readers "I plan on posting more about the Macy's Parade" today after mentioning the Baby Yoda/Grogu balloon yesterday, so in the spirit of Olaf and other Disney balloons in Macy's Parade plus my favorite marching bands in today's parades, I'm sharing news coverage of the bands marching tomorrow in Manhattan.

No bands from Michigan are performing tomorrow, but one from California is, Trabuco Hills High School from Mission Viejo. Watch KTLA's THHS off to Macy's to see a preview of their TV area routine.

The Orange County Register confirms what I heard; the band is playing "Pure Imagination" from "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory," which I think is an excellent choice for the parade. So does the band's director, Brad Pollock.
Pollock felt “Pure Imagination” was fitting, not just because he believed the band could perform it with the entertainment value the Macy’s parade is known for, but also because it speaks to the feelings many likely experienced during the pandemic.

“What we just went through last year, you know, everybody’s imagination was running wild,” Pollock said. “And, you know, no matter what was going on, you can’t stop us from dreaming.”
The newspaper also reported that the band delayed its trip from last year because of the pandemic. It's the first of at least three with the same story.

Follow over the jump as I look at bands from west to east.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

'SNL' on Thanksgiving

I promised that I would celebrate Thanksgiving next and I'm following through with the Thanksgiving skits from this past weekend's "Saturday Night Live." I begin with the clip showing the preview image most befitting the holiday, Thanksgiving Baking Championship - SNL.

A group of contestants (Simu Liu, Kyle Mooney, Heidi Gardner, Sarah Sherman) have trouble impressing the judges as they compete in a Thanksgiving baking competition.
As a fan of Food Network competition shows, I found that hilarious and on point, if a bit disgusting at the end.

Next, the most viewed clip so far from the episode, Target Thanksgiving Ad - SNL.

A commercial advertises Target’s Thanksgiving deals for the entire family.
This clip serves as another demonstration of the commercials parodies being one of the best parts of "SNL." When they're on, they're on, and this one was ON!

It wouldn't be one of my "SNL" posts without a Weekend Update clip, so here's Weekend Update: Baby Yoda on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade - SNL.

Baby Yoda (Kyle Mooney) stops by Weekend Update to discuss his Thanksgiving plans and dating life.
Here is the Baby Yoda/Grogu balloon that will be flying on Thursday.

As I wrote about Tipsy Bartender's Baby Yoda Cocktail, "it's so cute!"

I plan on posting more about the Macy's Parade tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Debbie Allen accepts the Governors Award from the Television Academy after winning two Emmy Awards

Today, I finish my coverage of the Emmy Awards by looking at this year's recipient of the Governors Award, Debbie Allen. Watch 73rd Emmy Awards: Governors Award.

Debbie Allen accepts the Governors Award at the 73rd Emmy Awards.
That was powerful. Allen had more to say in Debbie Allen: 73rd Emmys Winnerview.

Debbie Allen talks to Marc Istook backstage at the 73rd Emmy Awards after being presented the Governors Award.
As much as I agreed with Samantha Bee dragging TikTok in John Oliver and Samantha Bee on misinformation, I also agree with Allen that dance is one area where TikTok's influence has been positive.

Follow over the jump to read about Allen proving me dead wrong about two categories at the Emmy Awards while being a positive influence.

Sunday, November 21, 2021

'Ted Lasso' and 'Hacks' accepting their Emmy Awards for World Television Day

Happy World Televison Day!* To celebrate, I'm resuming my coverage of this year's Emmy winners in comedy series, "Ted Lasso," "Hacks," and "The Flight Attendant."

Outstanding Comedy Series

Black-ish (ABC)
Cobra Kai (Netflix)
Emily in Paris (Netflix)
The Flight Attendant (HBO Max)
Hacks (HBO Max)
The Kominsky Method (Netflix)
PEN15 (Hulu)
Ted Lasso (Apple TV+)
..."Ted Lasso" is the prohibitive favorite in this category. Like "The Queen's Gambit," it won all the major end-of-year awards last year as well as the Gold Derby TV Awards. Unlike the limited series about chess, its competitor from HBO hasn't been enough to seriously challenge it for the lead.
As I expected, "Ted Lasso" won. Watch Comedy Series: 73rd Emmys for its acceptance speech.

Ted Lasso wins the Emmy for Comedy Series at the 73rd Emmys.

Bill Lawrence got a second crack at the camera in Bill Lawrence: 73rd Emmys Winnerview.

Hearing his description of the show, it's almost enough to get my wife and I to buy an Apple product just so we can watch it — almost.

After producer Bill Lawrence had his turn, Brendan Hunt: 73rd Emmys Winnerview showcased another of the show's winning producers.

Brendan Hunt talks to Marc Istook backstage at the 73rd Emmy Awards after winning the Emmy for Outstanding Comedy Series for Ted Lasso.
Yes, this interview went off the rails, but that's what made it funny.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the comedy series winners at this year's Primetime Emmy Awards.

Saturday, November 20, 2021

Trevor Noah and 'The Daily Show' explain why gas prices are so high

I explained that CNBC's explanation of 'Why Gas Prices In The U.S. Vary' was incomplete.
That's a very good explanation of why gas prices are different from state to state and region to region in the U.S., although it captures only part of the reason. The other is increased demand in the face of lower supply, something I've worried about for a while, most recently in Oil falls below $0.00 for the first time ever, when I wrote "the collapse in oil prices will lead to oil company bankruptcies, which will decrease competition and lead to higher prices in the future." Those higher prices because of decreased competition and restrained supply have arrived and I think they will last at least until next year. Get used to them.
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah focused on the reason why gas supplies are constrained in The Real Reason Gas Prices Are So Damn High | The Daily Show.

Why have gas prices increased so dramatically, and why does it seem so hard to fix this issue? Find out in another edition of Getting Back to Normal-ish.
That's pretty much it. The U.S. is unable to pump as much oil now as before the pandemic, in part because it's going to take a while to reopen the old wells that will still yield oil and drill new wells to replace those that can't. In addition, I predicted that oil production would start decreasing about now in The tax bill and the U.S. economy in 2018 and beyond.
Beginning in 2020, it's predicted to decline. That will cause oil prices to increase from 2021 to 2029 unless more oil is imported, which will reduce GDP as the money leaves the country, or Americans decrease their consumption.
Oil and gasoline prices are increasing as I predicted four years ago, more or less on schedule. Speaking of my predictions, I remarked on another in my comment to What We Can Still Accomplish at Ecosophia in July.
As for the upcoming oil price spike, that's been associated with recessions in the U.S. since the country hit peak conventional production in 1971. At first, the current recession seemed to have severed that link, but now we are going to get it as a result of supply destruction because of lowered demand and prices (even negative prices for oil futures last year) followed by a spike in demand because of recovery. The causation between high oil prices and hard times may be reversed, but the correlation will survive. Now let's see if it takes another six years like it did between 2008 and 2014 for high prices to prompt more supply coming online or if supply of petroleum and natural gas liquids finally has peaked.
I suspect it may take even less time for oil prices to fall, but not to where they were during or before the pandemic. That may not happen until the next recession, which I still think will happen around 2027. As I wrote about high and increasing prices for gas and other goods, get used to them.

Friday, November 19, 2021

November 19 is World Toilet Day

I saw a flyer in the restroom at work yesterday that today was World Toilet Day. I thought "is this a real day? If so, I should be observing it on my blog." It turns out that it is. Watch Global News ask and answer What is World Toilet Day?

Every year over 500,000 children under the age of five die due to inadequate sanitation. A significant amount of those deaths would be prevented if toilets, safe drinking water, adequate sanitation and hygiene were accessible. Every year on November 19, the United Nations celebrates World Toilet Day to raise awareness for the sanitation crisis across the world.
This is one of the points I make when I lecture about urban poverty in the developing world; there aren't enough toilets for everyone, making slums even more unlivable. Increasing access to toilets would improve everyone's lives there. To paraphrase one of Commoner's Laws, not only must everything go somewhere, everyone must go somewhere, too. It should be someplace safe and clean.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

CNN describes 'the secret history of disinformation and how it's used to divide democracies'

CNN returns to the subject of Putin's hackers and agents spreading disinformation in The secret history of disinformation - and how it’s used to divide democracies.

Here’s the disinformation playbook: exploit divisions, push lies, then deny everything. From fake swastikas, to false stories about lab-created AIDS, to astro-turfed BLM protests, Russians have sought to exploit existing tensions around the world with these “active measures.”

In the latest “Reality Check with John Avlon,” Avlon traces the history of Russian disinformation with author and professor Thomas Rid and CNN’s Donie O’Sullivan.
While there are plenty of domestic sources of misinformation and people who want to undermine liberal democracy, I think it's worth reminding my readers of who the masters of exploiting divisions in their adversaries are and how to combat them.
Think critically about the source of the story; Ask if others are reporting it; Do a reverse image search, as a lot of disinformation, misinformation, and malinformation (thanks, Nina Jankowicz, for introducing me to that word) uses misattributed or manipulated images or video, such as the SWAT team clip in "Plandemic" John Oliver showed in Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories; Finally, walk away and calm down so the emotion doesn't overwhelm you.
Also remember that "Technology is intended to make work more efficient. This includes the work of intelligence services of hostile governments." Don't make their work any easier for them!

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

'60 Minutes,' 'CBS Sunday Morning,' and CNBC explain what's happening with the supply chain

On Sunday, "60 Minutes" asked What's caused America's supply chain crunch?

60 Minutes follows the U.S.' struggling supply chain, from choked ports on the West Coast, to packed rail yards in Chicago. Along the way, we found finger-pointing, huge profits, and massive losses.
What a mess! It's also an unpleasant example of everything is connected to everything else.

Another CBS News show, "CBS Sunday Morning," looked at the issue last month and asked What's behind supply chain breakdowns?

In recent months, supply chain problems have been blamed for shortages affecting just about every sector of industry and commerce. But what exactly is broken, and why? Correspondent David Pogue asked the experts to supply answers.
"CBS Sunday Morning" blamed it on a labor shortage in trucking, which "60 Minutes" refuted, finding plenty of blame to go around. CNBC saw this coming in July, when it uploaded What’s Causing The Container Ship Traffic Jam Clogging Up Global Trade.

Around the world, some major ports are experiencing a huge influx of containers, resulting in long supply delays. Trade wars, high demand, and a pandemic have created a perfect storm for the container ship industry which is trying to stay organized in the face of a wave of market unpredictability.
It's not like we weren't warned. It's just that consumers started to pay attention. I guess it's because the supply chain issues threaten Christmas shopping. Like messing with their entertainment, that motivates Americans to act.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

CNBC explains 'Why Gas Prices In The U.S. Vary'

I used to be all over gasoline prices on this blog, but then gas prices fell and I moved away from the corner gas station. Consequently, I no longer saw changes in gas prices in my neighborhood (the closest gas stations are now a mile away, instead of around the corner) and moved on to other subjects. Now that gas prices are rising during the time of year when they should be falling, I'm returning to the topic with CNBC explaining Why Gas Prices In The U.S. Vary

As of October 4, 2021, the average price for a gallon of gasoline in the United States reached about $3.19. A closer look at the costs of a single gallon of fuel can be even more revealing. The refinery count in the United States has shrunk dramatically over the last several decades. That means the country relies on an ever-smaller number of ever-larger plants and is more vulnerable to supply constraints in the wake of outages.
That's a very good explanation of why gas prices are different from state to state and region to region in the U.S., although it captures only part of the reason. The other is increased demand in the face of lower supply, something I've worried about for a while, most recently in Oil falls below $0.00 for the first time ever, when I wrote "the collapse in oil prices will lead to oil company bankruptcies, which will decrease competition and lead to higher prices in the future." Those higher prices because of decreased competition and restrained supply have arrived and I think they will last at least until next year.  Get used to them.

Monday, November 15, 2021

NPR, PBS, and the New York Times ask how to fix recycling for America Recycles Day 2021

Happy America Recycles Day! My catchphrase for today is "America doesn't just need to recycle more, it needs to recycle better." To that end, I'm sharing three videos, beginning with NPR asking and answering Is Recycling Worth It Anymore? The Truth Is Complicated.

America produces more waste per capita than any other country in the world. And recycling, which was once considered the solution to that problem, isn’t really working anymore.

Recycling works, but it’s not magic. As America continues to lead the world in per capita waste production, it’s becoming more and more clear that everybody-- manufacturer and consumers-- “over-believe” in recycling.

This film is based in part on Throughline's podcast episode "The Litter Myth".
Just like I pointed out yesterday on World Diabetes Day, the issues with recycling serve as examples for Commoner's Laws, particularly everything must go somewhere; there is no "away," despite what consumers think. The other three laws apply, too: everything is connected to everything else, there is no free lunch, and nature knows best, which recycling attempts to imitate. The imitation is not perfect, as "there is no waste in nature" but there is still plenty of waste in recycling. PBS shows how humans may better mimic natural processes, at least in terms of the outcome, when it posed the question Recycling plastic has been an uphill challenge. Could chemical recycling change that?

Plastic pollution is a global threat on our lands and seas. Since World War II, we have created over 9 billion cubic tons of it, yet its recycling remains extremely limited. As part of our "Breakthroughs" series, Miles O'Brien looks at new ideas and innovations, such as chemical recycling and urban mining, that may enable better recycling in the future.
Chemical recycling and urban mining are technological solutions. The New York Times has a legal/governmental solution as the answer to Is Your Plastic Actually Being Recycled?

The greatest trick corporations ever played was making us think we could recycle their products.

In the Video Op-Ed above, we debunk a recycling myth that has lulled us into guilt-free consumption for decades.

This holiday season, the United States Postal Service expects to ship almost one billion packages — cardboard boxes full of electronics and fabric and plastic galore. And the Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans generate 25 percent more waste in the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s than during the rest of the year, an additional one million tons per week.

But hey, most of it is recyclable, right?

Well, not really.
While the NPR video pointed out that regulations governing recycling differ from state to state. The New York Times has a national solution for labeling products to show how recyclable they really are, a form of producer responsibility. That definitely will change what goes into recycling bins, but I don't know if the federal government has the power to decide what gets recycled once consumers put items into them. The FTA certainly doesn't. Maybe the EPA has that power, but I don't know. Anyone, anyone, Bueller, anyone?

In the meantime, pay attention to what your local recycling facility actually takes, put that in your recyling bins, and stop "wish-cycling." That doesn't help anyone, including the planet.

I'll return with non-holiday programming tomorrow, unless I succumb to National Fast Food Day. Stay tuned and, unironically, happy America Recycles Day!

Sunday, November 14, 2021

COVID-19 and diabetes for World Diabetes Day 2021, a pandemic update

For World Diabetes Day, I'm re-examining why coronavirus is more dangerous for diabetics, the topic of the eighth most read entry posted during the tenth year of this blog. I begin with Reuters explaining COVID and diabetes: How the pandemic laid bare America’s diabetes crisis from August 2021.

COVID-19 has torn a particularly lethal path through the one in 10 Americans with diabetes, including many who never caught the virus. That's because when the pandemic hit, people with the chronic disease were already in worse shape than in years.
If I hadn't kept up my diabetes treatment regimen, I could have been one of these three unfortunate people. Their stories help explain why there have been so many excess deaths not attributable to the disease during the pandemic. They also serve as examples for two of Commoner's Laws: Everything is connected to everything else and there is no free lunch. All of the systems in our body are connected to each other and what we do to or for one system will have effects on the rest. Also, isolating ourselves to protect us from the pandemic comes at a price, which we have to pay one way or another, either in continuing our treatment during the pandemic, which I did, or the death and disability described by Reuters.

The three subjects of the Reuters report suffered indirectly from the pandemic, as they didn't catch the disease. KHOU in Houston reported on the effects of catching COVID-19 on diabetics in Keeping diabetes under control during COVID-19 pandemic last December.

Data show diabetics have more severe cases of COVID-19. Doctors say it's more important than ever to keep your diabetes under control.
My wife mentioned how dexamethazone increases blood glucose just last night, so seeing it being mentioned in this video made an impression. Again, there is no free lunch.

Dr. Philip Orlander described how some COVID-19 patients developed diabetes after their infections. Bloomberg Quicktake: Now described that more fully in Doctors Find That Covid Spurs Diabetes: Study from May 2021.

Among Covid-19’s many ripple effects, the worsening of the global diabetes burden could carry a heavy public-health toll. The underlying mechanisms stoking new-onset diabetes aren’t clear, though some doctors suspect the SARS-CoV-2 virus may damage the pancreas, the gland that makes insulin which is needed to convert blood-sugar into energy. Sedentary lifestyles brought on by lockdowns could also be playing a role, as might late diagnoses after people avoided doctors’ offices. Even some children’s mild coronavirus cases can be followed by the swift onset of diabetes, scientists found.
Yikes! That's a frightening example of "everything is connected to everything else." The more I learn about SARS-CoV-2, the scarier the virus becomes!

I close by wishing my readers a safe and healthy World Diabetes Day and telling them to stay tuned for America Recycles Day.

Saturday, November 13, 2021

Big Bird joins Drew Barrymore for World Kindness Day

Happy World Kindness Day! I kick off today's celebration with Big Bird and Drew Read Kind Tweets for World Kindness Day | Drew's News from "The Drew Barrymore Show."

Sesame Street's Big Bird joins Drew to celebrate World Kindness Day and teach viewers what true kindness is about, including talking to inspiring seven-year-old Cavanaugh Bell, who's helping the elderly through the pandemic with care packages, and surprising him with a donation from Sprouts Healthy Communities Foundation.
After seeing Big Bird deal with a bunch of mean tweets from Ted Cruz and others over advocating vaccinations, I'm glad to see him read some kind tweets.

KPNX TV 12 News also had some heart-warming stories when it told its viewers to Celebrate World Kindness Day.

It's World Kindness Day, a day to do something nice for someone else and pay it forward. People of the Valley told us about some acts of kindness they've received.
"After the year we've had, who couldn't use a little kindness?" Make that the past two years, as this KPNX uploaded this video last year.

CBS Miami serves a little health along with the human interest in WEB EXTRA: World Kindness Day And The Health Benefits Of Being Kind.

Saturday (11/13) marks World Kindness Day, a chance for people all around the globe to do something good for someone else. Check out how one artist is trying to spread kindness and what experts say are some of the benefits of being kind to others.
Not only is being kind good for others, it's good for you, too.

Stay tuned for more health news tomorrow, World Diabetes Day.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Company Man on the decline of KB Toys, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

Very early in my coverage of the Retail Apocalypse, I wrote "Oh, look, Bain Capital is involved with a failed toy store chain. Where have I seen that before?" in response to my first post about Toys R Us closing. I'm returning to the topic with Company Man's The Decline of KB Toys...What Happened?

I used to love going to KB Toys. It was the nations largest chain of toy stores located primarily in malls. This video talks about the circumstances that led to their multiple bankruptcies and ultimate closure.
Company Man Mike managed to make one of his trademark thorough yet succinct summary histories of a company. My only quibble is his not mentioning Mitt Romney's involvement in Bain Capital at the time, but that wasn't necessary to tell the tale of how private equity has been gutting retail, as much as it's been a pet peeve of mine. Speaking of which, I wish Strategic Marks luck in reviving KB Toys and the other defunct retail brands it owns. I have fond memories of going on shopping trips with my mom to many of them.

Stay tuned for two serious holidays, World Kindness Day and World Diabetes Day.

Thursday, November 11, 2021

A marching musical Veterans Day 2021 featuring 'The Commandant's Own' and the USMC Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band

A happy drum corps Veterans Day to my readers! I'm continuing the tradition I began in 2014 with Drum Corps International's U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps | 2021 | DCI Celebration Indianapolis, which the channel uploaded yesterday, the Marine Corps Birthday.

"The Commandant's Own," United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps performs during the DCI Celebration at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, August 14, 2021.
It was good to see drum corps return to the field again this year, including "The Commandant's Own." This reminds me of what I wrote last year.
Speaking of being right for the wrong reasons, I wrote "I fully expect Peak Oil, economic decline, and social upheaval to end the national touring model, which has been around since 1971, by 2020" in Christmas in July eight years ago. Well, the 2020 drum corps season has been cancelled, so the national touring model is in a coma, not dead, but Peak Oil had nothing to do with it. Instead, it was the pandemic that drove what passes for economic decline and social upheaval and that caused there to be no competitive drum corps this year. I'll have to see if the pandemic ends next year and the activity can be revived. Stay tuned.
Junior drum corps did not compete on the field this year, but they did perform, so that's a start. Let's see if competition resumes next year, when the pandemic may actually be over.

Not only does "The Commandant's Own," The United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps, perform at DCI, its percussion section performs at Winter Guard International. Here is the unit's own video of "Until Valhalla" USMC Drum Corps 2021 Indoor Percussion.

“The Commandant’s Own” is proud to present their 2021 Winter Guard International exhibition performance entitled “Until Valhalla.”
That was a musically interesting show, even if it didn't feature the movement of the performance I featured in Two drum corps and some of my favorite bands marching in the New Year for 2018. That written, I think it is still good for recruiting.

For an encore, I'm sharing Music213's Marine Band - Disneyland Main Street U.S.A. : Veterans Day 2011 on the tenth anniversary of the performance.

From MCAS Miramar - San Diego, CA The Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band performing standstills thru Main Street, U.S.A. inside Disneyland Park on Veterans Day, Friday November 11th 2011.
There is even a drum corps moment in this video of a marching band, as the Third Marine Aircraft Wing Band played "Trooper Salute" at 9:05. Also, it does look a lot like Christmas in "The Happiest Place on Earth."

I conclude today's entry with the following wish.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

CNBC on 'The Great Resignation'

Two days after I posted Trevor Noah, CBS News, and PBS NewsHour explain 'The Great Resignation', CNBC uploaded The Great Resignation: Why Millions Of Workers Are Quitting.

Americans are leaving their jobs in droves. In August 4.3 million Americans quit their jobs. While some people have left the workforce entirely, job security and better pay are top concerns for others. Dubbed "The Great Resignation", the exodus of workers has created hiring challenges for companies and left millions of jobs unfilled. More than half of U.S. workers surveyed said they plan to look for a new job in the coming year, according to Bankrate's August jobseeker survey. Some 56% of respondents said adjustable working hours and remote work were a priority. Working women have faced an additional burden, juggling childcare duties, virtual schooling and their careers. So, what does the realignment of the workforce mean for employees and businesses? And what steps should you take before quitting your job?
I was expecting something more friendly to business and hostile to employees, but CNBC surprised me with a fairly sympathetic portrayal of workers and why they have been quitting while maintaining the high journalistic standards and production values I expect out of CNBC. The network may have a perma-bull attitude and prioritize entertainment as much as information, but they have to give their viewers good advice or they'll leave for Bloomberg or the Wall Street Journal.

I consider myself fortunate to work in a job I find rewarding, both personally and financially. I hope all the people looking for new jobs find positions where they can say the same. In the meantime, I'm sharing a meme for them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Michigan Secretary of State Benson warns of anti-democracy agenda

Today is World Freedom Day, but I'm staying very close to home with MBNBC's MI Secretary of State Warns of Anti-Democracy Agenda: ‘We’re Not Rising With The Same Intensity’.

“There is no bottom,” as conspiracy-based legislation has real life effects on American voters nationwide, with insurrectionists winning elections and local election officials being replaced by those who say they will overturn results. Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson joins Ali Velshi to explain why we need to “start talking more about what’s happening behind the scenes,” and how the complete lack of accountability and consequences -- either legal or political -- is sending the wrong message to both voters and anyone who hopes to lead.
It looks like the people who buy Trump's "Big Lie" are learning from last year's failed effort to overturn the election by not just working the refs, but replacing them. I'm going to recycle my reaction from April in response.
Personally, I'd rather call it Trump's dangerous delusion, his fixed belief that the election was stolen from him despite all evidence, which I see as related to his vulnerability to conspiracy theories, but "the Big Lie" is the established phrase used by CNBC and others, so I'm calling it that instead. It's a lie, too.
To paraphrase what I wrote last month, Benson's remarks show that Trump's delusion is not just dangerous but contagious.

I'm also going to recycle what I wrote two years ago: "The maintenance and expansion of democracy and liberty require constant effort and vigilance; progress will not happen by itself." That's just as true here and now as it was when I wrote it about Europe in 2019. May my readers remember that and act on it.  We need the intensity.

Monday, November 8, 2021

CNN defends Big Bird after Ted Cruz calls one of the character's tweets 'Propaganda,' a pandemic update

Soon after the CDC endorsed vaccinations for children 5-11, the Twitter account for Sesame Street's Big Bird tweeted a pro-vaccination public service announcement. That led to Republican politicians attacking Big Bird. CNN reported on the most notable of them in ‘Propaganda’: Ted Cruz sounds off at Big Bird for promoting vaccine.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on a Twitter rant about Big Bird’s effort to promote coronavirus vaccines. CNN’s John Berman takes a look at Sesame Street’s long history of promoting childhood vaccines.
I've seen this movie before, as I noted in my tweet about this flap.
This did not go well for Romney when he went after Big Bird 9 years ago. For once, I'm glad he and the rest of the Sesame Street characters are now on HBO instead of PBS, so Congress can't threaten the show anymore.
That should have been "in addition to," not "instead of," as Vox reported that "Sesame Street" episodes are available on PBS nine months after they air on HBO, but the basic idea that Congress can no longer threaten the show by cutting funding to PBS is still true and that someone not dependent on public funding can fight back.

This deal also means that "Sesame Street" belongs to the same stable of cable channels as CNN, as both are part of WarnerMedia, so CNN is protecting one of the parent company's shows when it defends Big Bird. Doing so is in its interest, which, in this case, helps the public interest in fighting the pandemic. Still, my readers should keep that relationship in mind when watching the clip above. It's not just news value that's driving it.

I close by reminding my readers about what I wrote the first time I saw something like this happen.
My take on why this blew up in Romney's face was that he ran afoul of what motivates Americans to act.
America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainment.
By attacking Big Bird and the rest of the cast of Sesame Street, Willard the Rat has messed with Americans' entertainment. This will not end well for him.
I don't think it will end well for Cruz, either.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

'SNL' on infrastructure bill passing and the rest of this week's news

Good news, everyone!* The first of two infrastructure bills passed the House and will be signed by Joe Biden. I'll have a serious post about it later this week, but I'm giving "Saturday Night Live" first crack at it in Weekend Update: Biden Passes Infrastructure Bill - SNL.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Biden's trillion-dollar infrastructure bill.
I'm going to be a good environmentalist by recycling my reaction from 'Saturday Night Live' returns after winning eight Emmy Awards.
I guess Jost and the "SNL" writers don't find infrastructure as exciting as the pandemic or 2020 election, but the joke about it was still funny, if a bit dark.
Well, the first was very local, but the second fit my description and it was about the 2020 election, too.

Speaking of dark comedy, Cicely Strong appeared as Goober the Clown on Abortion in the next segment of Weekend Update.

Goober the clown (Cecily Strong) stops by Weekend Update to discuss abortion.
Even if this had nothing to do with Strong's personal experience, it was a brave sketch on her part.

SNL made fun of a sillier political issue in Weekend Update: A Guy Named Brandon on “Let’s Go Brandon” - SNL.

In this Cut for Time sketch, a guy named Brandon (Kyle Mooney) stops by Weekend Update to discuss the viral “Let’s Go Brandon” chant.
Everyone say it with Brandon, "Let's go Badnoodle!"

I close with Weekend Update: Football Team Wins 106-0 and Vaccine Smoothie - SNL.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like the International Handball Federation allowing women to wear shorts instead of bikini bottoms.
That was another very local New York joke about the Jets, but it could just as easily have been about the Detroit Lions, who stink even worse than usual this season, and that's saying something. In truth, the high school team that scored 106 points was my mother's alma mater, Inglewood High, beating their crosstown rival Morningside. In addition to being bad sportsmanship, it could be dangerous. The students and their families have to live with each other!  BTW, I've mentioned my father's alma mater before, but this is the first time I've mentioned my mom's. It only took ten-and-one-half years.

*But not good enough for me to post Professor Farnsworth yet. I'm saving that for the second infrastructure bill, just in case it passes.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

Colbert says 'Daylight Saving Time is not helpful and has no upside'

As Daylight Saving Time ends tonight for 2021, it's time to laugh at the practice like I did in Fall back as 'Last Week Tonight' asks 'how is this still a thing?' and The Daily Show asks 'Daylight Saving Time: Why?' Watch Stephen Colbert's monologue from last night, Time To Drop Daylight Saving Time | Capitol Rioter Who Said "Civil War Is Coming" Appears In Court.

Experts agree that Daylight Saving Time is not helpful and has no upside, and efforts to end it are now underway in Congress. Also underway are court proceedings against the insurrectionists who stormed the U.S. Capitol on January 6th, including one woman who promoted the idea that a new civil war is coming.
As the meme I used for Many states considering bills ending or keeping Daylight Saving Time permanently said, "Happy Daylight Saving Time Day!...said no one ever."

Here's to hoping that the Senate passes the Sunshine Protection Act. In the meantime, remember to set your clocks back an hour tonight, unless you're in Arizona and Hawaii, which never do "spring ahead."

Friday, November 5, 2021

Vaccinations approved for children 5-11 and news about COVID-19 antivirals as U.S. passes 750,000 dead and deer are infected, a pandemic update

I have good and bad news about the pandemic to share today. First, two items of good news from CNBC, beginning with CDC endorses Pfizer's Covid-19 vaccine for kids age 5 to 11.

The CDC director has signed off on Pfizer's BioNTech-partnered Covid-19 vaccine for young children, making 28 million kids eligible for a shot. CNBC's Meg Tirrell reports.
That's good news that will immediately help to contain the pandemic. CNBC reported more possible good news this morning in Pfizer says oral Covid antiviral cut risk of hospitalization, death by 89%.

Pfizer plans to quickly file its oral Covid-19 antiviral with the FDA for emergency use authorization. CNBC's Meg Tirrell reports.
This might start helping patients later this year, but it still counts as good news.

That's the good news. Follow over the jump for the bad news.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Stephen and Seth take closer looks at Tuesday's election results in Virginia and elsewhere

I held off writing about Tuesday's elections in Virginia and elsewhere because Virginia's results depressed me and New Jersey's results weren't settled yet. I'm ready to blog about them today because I Stephen Colbert was able to laugh at the election outcomes in GOP Has A Big Night | Rep. Boebert Thinks Parents Don't Deserve Paid Family Leave.

The gubernatorial election results in Virginia and New Jersey pointed to a strong showing by Republicans and those unhappy with President Biden. Elsewhere in the GOP, Rep. Lauren Boebert offended many by mocking the idea that new parents deserve paid family leave to tend to their newborns.
While I don't like Youngkin winning in Virginia any more now than I did Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, being able to laugh at it makes it hurt less. Still, it shows that I wasn't worrying over nothing. Also, it helps that Stephen and his writers were able to find good news in the mayors-elect of both New York City and Boston.

Seth Meyers also examined the Virginia gubernatorial election results in Virginia Republicans Kept Their Distance from Trump While Courting His Base: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at beltway insiders ludicrously blaming progressives for Republicans winning big in a closely watched race in Virginia last night.
I'm with Seth; centrists Manchin and Sinema are the ones standing in the way of Biden's agenda and making him look bad, not the progressives. Blame them.

I conclude with more good news, as MSNBC reported Gov. Phil Murphy Wins Re-Election In New Jersey, First Dem. Re-Election Since 1977 late last night.

The incumbent beat his Republican challenger by a slim margin. And with Democrats reeling from the Republican gubernatorial win in Virginia – they are now concerned about the midterm elections in 2022.
Congratulations to Murphy, whose win means that the New Jersey bill to ensure Roe v. Wade remains the law in the Garden State can still pass and have Murphy sign it into law. Meanwhile the rest of the report will play out over the next year or more, which is cause for worry. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Duggan re-elected as Detroit Mayor again plus firsts for mayors of Dearborn, Hamtramck, and Jackson

I promised I would cover yesterday's elections in Virginia and elsewhere, but Virginia's results depress me and New Jersey's results aren't settled yet, so I'm going to focus on local results here in Michigan. Watch WXYZ's Duggan projected to easily win third term as Detroit Mayor.

Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan has easily defeated attorney Anthony Adams to win a third four-year term leading the Motor City.
I was all over Duggan's first campaign for Detroit Mayor and covered his re-election four years ago, so it's only fitting that I blog about his second re-election. Congratulations, Your Honor!

WDIV/Click on Detroit had that news and much more in Mike Duggan elected to 3rd term as Detroit mayor.

Michigan's 2021 General Election was held on Tuesday, Nov. 2, with hundreds of jurisdictions holding races.
That's quite the election roundup.

WDIV/Click on Detroit reported on two firsts in Hamtramck elects first Muslim mayor, Dearborn elects first Arab-American mayor.

The city of Hamtramck has elected its first Muslim Mayor, Amer Ghalib. Nearby in the city of Dearborn, voters elected the city's first Arab-American mayor, Abdullah Hammoud.
It's about time that the leadership of both cities reflected their populations. Congratulations to both Ghalib and Hammoud!

WXYZ interviewed one of the mayors-elect in Abdullah Hammoud speaks after being elected Dearborn mayor.

State Rep. Abdullah Hammoud spoke with 7 Action News on Wednesday morning after he won the election to become the next Dearborn mayor.
I think the anchor better get used to saying Hammoud's name. I think he's going to make a lot of news for years to come.

In another first, Jackson elected its first African-American mayor, Daniel Mahoney. Congratulations!

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

MSNBC previews today's elections in Virginia and elsewhere

When I told my readers "Stay tuned for a return to this blog's regular programming, whatever that is," I wasn't sure if I would post something silly or serious today. It turned out to be serious, MSNBC covering today's statewide elections in Virginia and New Jersey, plus municipal elections throughout the country. I begin with Steve Kornacki Previews Election Day In Virginia.

Steve Kornacki, NBC News national political correspondent talks with Rachel Maddow about what to watch for as election returns come in in Virginia's election Tuesday.
Despite the built-in advantages of Democrats in Virginia, it will be a close election that Republican Glenn Youngkin might win. That's not a good sign for Democrats in next year's Congressional elections, just like Democrats having a good showing in Virginia four years ago turned out to be a good sign for them in the next two national elections. I hope it doesn't turn out that way and that I'm worrying about nothing.

MSNBC also covered major local elections, particularly in New York State. The most recent report was Mehdi Hasan asking Could A Socialist Become Mayor Of Buffalo?

India Walton could become the first socialist to run a major American city in decades as the Democratic socialist candidate faces off against the Democratic incumbent she beat in the primary. She joins Mehdi to talk about her already-historic candidacy.
Walton gave a good explanation of "defund the police" without using the phrase, which doesn't poll well. I wish her luck; she'll need it.

An earlier interview covered an easier race for the Democratic nominee in the country's largest city. Watch Jonathan Capehart's segment Democratic Candidate Eric Adams Likely To Beat Challenger Curtis Sliwa in NYC's Election.

Eric Adams is likely to win NYC's mayoral election and is preparing for the challenges that the city is facing.
While Walton talked a lot about police, Capehart asked Adams about homelessness, which was also John Oliver's main story on Sunday. I might get around to that, but only after covering the election results tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 1, 2021

Inside Edition and NBC News report on Day of the Dead

I closed by telling my readers "Stay tuned for November's first post tomorrow, when I might extend spooky season one more day by writing about Day of the Dead." I'm doing just that, beginning with Inside Edition asking What Is Day of the Dead?

The Day of the Dead, or Dia de los Muertos, was in part popularized outside Mexico in the Disney film “Coco.” But the celebration actually dates back over 3,000 years. Emmanuel Ortega aka Dr. Babelito, is co-host of the YouTube channel “Unsettling Journeys.” He told Inside Edition Digital that the tradition is an opportunity for families “to invite their deceased loved ones to partake in a celebration, more specifically, a dinner party.”
That Mexicans have celebrated Day of the Dead for 3,000 years means that they have observed it since the beginning of the first civilizations in Mexico, including the one at Monte Albán in Oaxaca, which I visited ten years ago. That makes it far older than I thought!

Since the past two years have seen more than 700,000 dying from COVID-19 in the U.S., there are a lot of lives to celebrate (and mourn). NBC News showed how that is affecting Day of the Dead celebrations among Mexican-Americans in Day of the Dead Tradition Takes On Deeper Meaning Amid The Pandemic.

We’re approaching Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, a holiday that began in Mexico nearly 3,000 years ago. The tradition is taking on an even deeper significance this year, with so many loved ones lost to Covid-19.
That is quite the ofrenda! I don't recall ever seeing a taller one.

For today's holiday drink, I'm sharing Fox 2 9AM Day of the Dead Drinks Luxco.

As always, drink responsibly.

So ends spooky season at Crazy Eddie's Motie News for 2021. Stay tuned for a return to this blog's regular programming, whatever that is.