Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Michigan COVID-19 deaths pass 40,000, a pandemic update

I wrote "I'm sure I'll return to the 'tripledemic'" at the end of CNBC explains 'Why Everyone Is Getting Sick' during this year's flu season and WXYZ uploaded two videos that helped me keep my promise. Both reported "Michigan COVID-19 deaths surpass 40,000." Here is the earlier one from last night.

On Tuesday, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services announced 8,831 new cases of COVID-19 and 113 additional deaths from the last week. That brings the total number of COVID-19 deaths in the state to 40,085 since the pandemic began.
The second segment from this morning had the same prerecorded interviews, but different commentary and a more comprehensive description.

With Thanksgiving in the rearview and Christmas around the corner, Michigan is juggling a trifecta when it comes to winter viruses. Right now the flu, RSV, and COVID are circulating around the country. According to the CDC map, Michigan is still in the green with low cases but these numbers were taken before the Thanksgiving holiday. Nonetheless, just this week, the state hit a grim milestone when it comes to COVID. According to the state, 40,000 Michiganders have lost their lives to the virus. “It makes me very sad because 40,000 is a huge, huge number," Natasha Ristovski of metro Detroit said. Ristovski lost her father to COVID two years today. “It all happened so very fast and not just to my family, but all the other families because I know how much it hurts losing someone so close to you,” she said.
That's the local picture here in Michigan. ABC News reported on the national situation, with an emphasis on the New York City area, in Health officials fear holiday 'tripledemic' surge l GMA.

Experts fear the holidays may worsen the surge of COVID, flu and RSV, with some hospitals and urgent cares already facing a crush of patients.
As I wrote in February, "the virus isn't done with us even though a lot [of people] are acting as if they're done with it."

That concludes November's blogging, but the health coverage will continue tomorrow on World AIDS Day. In the meantime, may my readers stay safe and healthy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Avoiding scams and finding good charities on Giving Tuesday

Happy Giving Tuesday! I begin today's post with a note of caution from WOOD-TV in Grand Rapids telling its viewers Avoid scams this Giving Tuesday with tips from BBB.

On the eve of Giving Tuesday, you may want to take into consideration some tips to make sure your donation is going to a legitimate place. (Nov. 28, 2022)
All good advice.

NBC 10 Philadelphia (WCAU) gave more positive counsel in Tips on Finding Legit Charities on Giving Tuesday.

Donations can make a great impact on someone’s life this Giving Tuesday. NBC10 Responds reporter Valeria Aponte Feliciano has a few tips to help you be sure your money is being used for good during the holiday.
I'm a big fan of Charity Navigator and I'm pleased to see others recommend it. This includes WDIV/Click On Detroit, who posted Giving Tuesday 2022: 60+ Michigan charities who deserve your donation to its website.
Giving Tuesday is upon us and the season of charitable giving is in full swing.

Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving.

Since its inaugural year in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.

So, if you're looking to donate to a local charity, here are some options:
I like this list, which includes food banks like Forgotten Harvest, animal welfare organizations like the Michigan Humane Society, and political advocacy groups like the ACLU of Michigan. As I wrote nine years ago, Detroit has great charities.

After a week of holiday posts, it's time to return to current events. Stay tuned.

Monday, November 28, 2022

Bill Maher says 'Make the Mall Great Again' for Cyber Monday

Happy Cyber Monday! This year, I'm posting a contrary view, in more ways than one, from "Real Time with Bill Maher" — New Rule: Make the Mall Great Again.

It's time to get back out into the world because online shopping is killing us, psychologically and environmentally.
In the middle of all the "Get off my lawn" sentiment and resentment over reactions to the pandemic, Maher makes some good environmental points, particularly about fast fashion; Americans are buying way too many clothes and throwing them in the trash after a few wearings. On the other hand, a lot of the hidden costs behind the goods we buy would be the same if we bought them in person. It's only we might be buying more online because of the convenience that the environmental costs pile up, just like the shipping boxes for recycling and disposal.

Speaking of which, it's trash and recycling pickup day and I have to take mine to the side of the road. Off to do that chore, then return to work after being at home for Thanksgiving. See you tomorrow for Giving Tuesday!

Sunday, November 27, 2022

The 2022 Environmental Media Association (EMA) Awards winners

I concluded Emmy and EMA Awards for 'Abbott Elementary' on World Television Day by telling my readers "I plan on examining the rest of my picks [at the EMA Awards] for the next Sunday entertainment feature." Read as I compare my picks to win among the 2022 EMA Awards nominees with the actual winners.

I'm glad to see two science fiction movies nominated in this category, "Don't Look Up" and "Jurassic World: Dominion." I also think these are better choices than last year's nominees. "Don't Look Up" got snubbed at the Saturn Awards while "Jurassic World: Dominion" earned two nominations, but I think "Don't Look Up" will win tonight.
And "Don't Look Up" won. Congratulations!

On the other hand, I had not heard of any of the Documentary Film nominees before. "Eating Our Way to Extinction" has the kind of star power that might sway the EMA voters. "Fin" has a more focused subject. I like the subjects of "Youth Unstoppable," but IMDB has a 2018 date for it, so what's it doing being nominated this year? Speaking of IMDB, I can't find an entry there for "Burning." I think it's a good field, but other than all the celebrities involved with "Eating Our Way to Extinction" and the two festival awards for "Youth Unstoppable," I have no good way to handicap their prospects. Any of them could win tonight.
"Eating Our Way to Extinction" indeed had the star power to sway the EMA voters, so it won. Congratulations!

Follow over the jump for the television nominees.

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Shop small and local on Small Business Saturday from National Day Calendar, Yahoo Finance, and WDIV

Happy Small Business Saturday! I begin today's celebration of shopping small and local with National Day Calendar's Small Business Saturday | Saturday After Thanksgiving.

Small Business Saturday reminds us of the prime shopping opportunities right in our own communities. Not only do the small businesses where we work, live, and play offer numerous gift-giving possibilities, they are hands-on and ready to complete your shopping list with quality, thoughtful gifts.
National Day Calendar is nearly always a good place to start with a holiday and seeing the first 2018 post on Small Business Saturday lead off with the site inspired me to see if Marlo Anderson had a video for today. He did.

Next, Yahoo Finance examined the day in more detail as it reported Small Business Saturday goes a long way in 'spurring local economies': SBA Administrator.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the expectations for Small Business Saturday, inflation, and the outlook for small businesses this holiday season.
Despite all the talk the pandemic, inflation, and the next recession, the economy is supporting a lot of retail activity and job growth and I'm glad to hear someone in power discuss that.

Since I live in Metro Detroit and today is all about empowering local businesses, I'm closing with Click on Detroit/WDIV's Survey: Nearly 60% of Americans plan to shop small on Small Business Saturday.

A recent study finds that 60% of Americans say they will shop small this Small Business Saturday. Shoppers appear to be considering more and more just where they spend their money, especially younger shoppers.
That's good news, even including the role of TikTok getting young people to show local. It's another area besides dance where TikTok's influence has been positive. I'm still not sold on the service.

I might return to shopping on Cyber Monday. In the meantime, stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature. More awards shows!

Friday, November 25, 2022

Company Man asks 'The Decline of Macy's...What Happened?' for Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse

Happy Black Friday/Buy Nothing Day! As I promised yesterday, today's entry is a tale of the Retail Apocalypse. Watch as Company Man asks and answers The Decline of Macy's...What Happened?

Macy's is one of the country's oldest, most iconic retailers. This video examines their history while highlighting some of their most dramatic rises and falls.
My only complaint is that Company Man Mike gave the other chains owned by Federated Department Stores, which became Macy's, Inc., short shrift. In particular, a lot of commenters noted the rebranding of Marshall Field's in Chicago as Macy's as unpopular. This also happened to all the stores formerly known as Hudson's, like the ones in Northland Mall and Briarwood Mall. I considered the change from Hudson's to Marshall Field's to be a step up. My wife, who grew up in Chicagoland, and I both think the change to Macy's was not.

Company Man noted that Toys R Us has opened glorified pop-up stores inside Macy's. Erik of Retail Archaeology looked at two of them in Toys R Us Is Back! (Kind of...).

Toys R Us Is Back! (Kind of...). Let's take a look at the new Toys R Us pop up stores inside Macy's department stores.
Erik was not impressed. Just the same, he was able to connect a second tale of the Retail Apocalypse to Company Man's. That impressed me.

Stay tuned for Small Business Saturday. Shop local!

Thursday, November 24, 2022

PBS Digital's 'Be Smart' explains 'The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods'

Happy Thanksgiving to my readers! Yesterday, I celebrated the day early with marching bands. Today, I'm observing the holiday with science and history from PBS Digital's "Be Smart" explaining The Surprising Origins of Thanksgiving Foods.

I’m thankful for science. And also pie.
When it comes to interesting science, I always go back for seconds!

Also, I am thankful for all of you this year.
I echo all of Joe's sentiments.

The capsule history of corn reminded me that tomorrow is National Maize Day. Watch National Maize Day is celebrated a day after Thanksgiving by On This Day.

That's great narration; only the pause after the U in U.S. made me think a computer synthesized it instead of a human speaking it.

Stay tuned for Buy Nothing Day, which should be another tale of the Retail Apocalypse.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

News coverage of marching bands in the 2022 Macy's Parade for Thanksgiving

An early happy Thanksgiving to my readers! I begin my celebration of the long holiday weekend, which extends until Giving Tuesday with this year's version of Local news coverage of marching bands in the 2021 Macy's Parade for Thanksgiving, one of the most popular posts last year.*

NBC News gave one of the bands national attention in Queer Big Apple Corps To Spread Message Of Community During Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade.

The Queer Big Apple Corps is set to march into the history books when the perform at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, delivering a simple message that despite adversity, it’s ok to be yourself. NBC News’ Joe Fryer has their story.
I thought placing this clip first was important this week, not least because it's a national news story. This is also why I didn't call this post local news coverage of the bands marching tomorrow morning.

I begin the local news coverage with Benedict band to perform in Thanksgiving Day parade from News 19 WLTX in Columbia, South Carolina.

The students will get to strut their stuff on the national stage as they participate in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.
Go Tigers, a sentiment I will repeat later on in this post.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the news coverage of the marching bands in the 2022 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

CNBC explains 'Why Everyone Is Getting Sick' during this year's flu season

I told my readers "I have another video from CNBC to share about other respiratory diseases like flu and RSV" at the end of CNBC explains 'Why Long Covid Could Cost The U.S. $3.7 Trillion' and promised I would share it today at the end of Emmy and EMA Awards for 'Abbott Elementary' on World Television Day. Without any further ado, here is CNBC explaining Why Everyone Is Getting Sick.

If it seems like everyone around you is getting sick, you’re not imagining it. Flu season is hitting the United States unusually early and much harder than it usually does. Covid precautions led to much lower rates of flu-like illnesses compared to before the pandemic. But now that much of America has abandoned preventative measures such as masking, more people than before Covid are getting sick with seasonal illnesses.

"I'm scared about what's going to happen this flu season because I don't think we've ever seen a coalition of multiple viruses kind of manifesting in this way before," said Dr. Elizabeth Clayborne, an emergency medicine doctor and associate professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.

One of those flu-like illnesses is Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV, which is most severe in young children, the elderly and immune compromised individuals. There have been more reported cases of RSV in each week of October this year than any other week in the past two years. Doctors around the country are raising the alarm about hospitals being overwhelmed.

Watch the video above to learn more about why this flu season is starting off with a surge and what we can do about it.
In addition to COVID-19, we're facing the worse flu season since 2017-2018, when flu killed 80,000 Americans, RSV, and monkeypox. Yikes! When I posted Skipping last flu season may be an example of 'there is no free lunch,' a pandemic update last year, I was only a year ahead. It also reminds me that I need to get my flu shot for the year and that we need a better flu shot that works for more than a year.

I'm sure I'll return to the "tripledemic" after I cover the Macy's Parade, Thanksgiving, Buy Nothing Day, Small Business Saturday, and the Sunday entertainment feature. In the meantime, may my readers stay safe and healthy!

Monday, November 21, 2022

Emmy and EMA Awards for 'Abbott Elementary' on World Television Day

Happy World Televison Day! As I promised yesterday, "I plan on resuming my Emmy Awards coverage tomorrow for World Television Day where I might also mention TV wins at the EMA Awards, which I plan on finishing next Sunday...Stay tuned." One show earned awards at both ceremonies, "Abbott Elementary." I begin by revisiting what I wrote about the comedy in 'Ted Lasso,' 'Barry,' 'Hacks,' and 'Only Murders in the Building' lead comedy series nominees at the 2022 Emmy Awards.

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
Alex Borstein – The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel as Susie Myerson (Prime Video)
Hannah Einbinder – Hacks as Ava Daniels (HBO/HBO Max)
Janelle James – Abbott Elementary as Ava Coleman (ABC)
Kate McKinnon – Saturday Night Live as various characters (NBC)
Sarah Niles – Ted Lasso as Dr. Sharon Fieldstone (Apple TV+)
Sheryl Lee Ralph – Abbott Elementary as Barbara Howard (ABC)
Juno Temple – Ted Lasso as Keeley Jones (Apple TV+)
Hannah Waddingham – Ted Lasso as Rebecca Welton (Apple TV+)
Unlike Yang, Kate McKinnon is a previous winner of this award, but she's competing against last year's winner Hannah Waddingham and two-time winner Alex Borstein, so I don't consider her the favorite.
Waddingham barely qualifies as the favorite, as only six of the thirteen Gold Derby editors have picked her to repeat. Five editors picked Hannah Einbinder of "Hacks" and two, including Eng, chose Janelle James of "Abbott Elementary" to upset. That gives me pause. If I had to bet, I would put my money on Waddingham, but I would only wager a small sum.
I'm glad I didn't wager any money on this category, because none of the actresses I listed won. Instead, watch as Sheryl Lee Ralph accepts the Emmy for Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary at the 74th Emmy Awards.

Wow! What a great acceptance speech!

I have more of Ralph as Gold Derby interviewed Sheryl Lee Ralph ('Abbott Elementary') on finding 'golden ticket' by being cast as Barbara Howard in May.

Sheryl Lee Ralph ('Abbott Elementary') on how she found the 'golden ticket' by being cast as Barbara Howard. A God-fearing woman who knows exactly what her students need to succeed, Mrs. Howard isn't afraid to say what's on her mind. Gold Derby's Kevin Jacobsen hosts this webchat.
That was an insightful interview that made me appreciate Ralph even more. She also expressed her appreciation for Quinta Brunson in both videos, which leads to the next award.

Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series
Abbott Elementary: "Pilot" – Quinta Brunson (ABC)
Barry: "710N" – Duffy Boudreau (HBO/HBO Max)
Barry: "starting now" – Alec Berg and Bill Hader (HBO/HBO Max)
Hacks: "The One, the Only" – Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky (HBO/HBO Max)
Only Murders in the Building: "True Crime" – Steve Martin and John Hoffman (Hulu)
Ted Lasso: "No Weddings and a Funeral" – Jane Becker (Apple TV+)
What We Do in the Shadows: "The Casino" – Sarah Naftalis (FX)
What We Do in the Shadows: "The Wellness Center" – Stefani Robinson (FX)
My previous comment about this category was in 'Abbott Elementary' wins four Television Critics Association Awards, including Program of the Year, where I wrote "I think these four wins at the TCA Awards have definitely improved the odds of the show winning its categories, but I currently think the only categories where that might push it into the winners circle are for writing and casting, although the competition is stiff for those, too." It won casting and the Gold Derby readers think it will win writing, although the editors split their picks with "Hacks," with six each predicting "Abbott Elementary" and "Hacks," while one editor forecast "Ted Lasso" upsetting the two front runners. My usual handicapping would lead me to pick "Hacks," but the readers break the tie in favor of "Abbott Elementary," as does Eng.
Gold Derby's editors and readers came through for this award. Watch as Quinta Brunson accepts the Emmy for Writing for a Comedy Series for Abbott Elementary at the 74th Emmy Awards.

I enjoyed Brunson's acceptance speech, including how she handled Jimmy Kimmel lying on stage, which was a bit that lasted a little too long. Kimmel said as much and apologized for it in Quinta Brunson & Jimmy Kimmel on Emmys Controversy.

Quinta talks about winning her first Emmy, Jimmy’s comedy bit controversy, meeting a bunch of people at the Emmys, the huge poster of her on the WB lot, loving the tour at Universal Studios, season 2 of “Abbott Elementary,” and playing Oprah in the new Weird Al Yankovic movie.
If Brunson forgives Kimmel, then I do, too.

Before I move on, here is another Twitter graphic celebrating the third Emmy "Abbott Elementary" won, Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

I'll get to the rest of the Primetime Emmy winners eventually. In the meantime, follow over the jump for the EMA Award "Abbott Elementary" won.

Sunday, November 20, 2022

'Good Night Oppy' wins five Critics Choice Documentary Awards

As I promised yesterday, I'm covering awards shows for today's Sunday entertainment feature. Out of several choices, I'm selecting the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards.*
The Critics Choice Association (CCA) unveiled the winners of the Seventh Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards at a gala event in New York City. Good Night Oppy took home five trophies in all including the top award of the evening, winning Gold for Best Documentary Feature. The film’s other victories were Ryan White for Best Director, Best Score for Blake Neely, as well as Best Narration (written by Helen Kearns and Ryan White, performed by Angela Bassett), and Best Science/Nature Documentary.
An award-winning documentary about science, space, and NASA — I couldn't possibly resist! I also can't resist embedding Good Night Oppy - Official Trailer (2022) Mars Rover Opportunity from IGN Movie Trailers.

Good Night Oppy tells the inspirational true story of Opportunity, a rover that was sent to Mars for a 90-day mission but ended up surviving for 15 years. The film follows Opportunity’s groundbreaking journey on Mars and the remarkable bond forged between a robot and her humans millions of miles away.

The film is produced by Jessica Hargrave, Justin Falvey, Darryl Frank, Brandon Carroll, and Matthew Goldberg.

Good Night Oppy, directed by Ryan White, will release in select theaters on November 4, 2022, and globally on Prime Video on November 23, 2022.
Fifteen years is the lifespan of a dog. I can understand why Opportunity's ground crew would get attached and people would mourn its shutdown, which would feel like a pet passing.

Gold Derby uploaded 'Good Night Oppy' director Ryan White: 'One of the best filmmaking experiences I’ve ever had' as I was writing this blog. Perfect timing!

'Good Night Oppy' director Ryan White: 'One of the best filmmaking experiences I’ve ever had, just watching that come alive.' Getting Angela Bassett to voice the Rover diaries in the film was something that blew White’s mind. This segment is part of the Gold Derby 'Meet the Experts' documentary panel hosted by contributing editor Charles Bright.
That the film would elict such a reaction from a bunch of elementary school students tells me that it's emotionally engaging. That's a good sign. Also, while Ryan White has two Emmy nominations, he has not even been nominated for an Oscar. That means he and his film won't run afoul of what I mentioned in passing about "Crip Camp": "The Documentary Branch normally does not [nominate] films by previous winners." I hope he and "Good Night Oppy" don't run afoul of the other issue with that part of the Motion Picture Academy that I mentioned in 'Summer of Soul,' my pick for best documentary of 2021.
[T]he Documentary Branch of the Motion Picture Academy...deliberately do[es] not nominate documentaries that will earn votes from the entire academy as a whole that they don't agree [are] the very best. They also don't like documentaries made with archive footage. They also have political axes to grind.
Speaking of "Summer of Soul," The Critics Choice Association concluded its press release by bragging about being among the first to recognize it.
Last year at the Sixth Annual Critics Choice Documentary Awards, Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised) received the award for every category in which it was nominated, including the evening’s most prestigious award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as Best Director (TIE), Best First Documentary Feature, Best Editing, Best Archival Documentary, and Best Music Documentary. Subsequently, the film took home the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature Film.
May the same be true for "Good Night Oppy," which can become the "My Octopus Teacher" of 2022 and 2023, a science documentary with popular and critical appeal.

*The other possibilities were the 2022 EMA Awards, 2022 Saturn Awards, News & Documentary Emmy Awards, and the 2022 Primetime Emmy Awards. I plan on resuming my Emmy Awards coverage tomorrow for World Television Day where I might also mention TV wins at the EMA Awards, which I plan on finishing next Sunday. As for the Saturn Awards, I'll get to their winners no later than National Science Fiction Day 2022. Stay tuned for posts about all of them.

Saturday, November 19, 2022

CNBC explains 'Why Long Covid Could Cost The U.S. $3.7 Trillion'

I foreshadowed today's topic in the following footnote to CNBC explains 'How Car Safety Became A Major Selling Point'.
*Speaking of which, there's some speculation that the effects of COVID-19 are also causing cognitive and emotional issues in drivers. I don't know about that, but it's enough to make me examine long COVID soon, if not next. Stay tuned.
I haven't yet seen any evidence that long covid or just post-infection effects are contributing to U.S. traffic deaths reaching nearly 43,000 in 2021, the most in 16 years, instead of just the social reaction to it, but I did see cognitive deficits and decreased energy levels from the condition in CNBC's Why Long Covid Could Cost The U.S. $3.7 Trillion.

Long Covid is not just changing the lives of those affected, but it is proving to have a significant impact on the American labor force and economy. About a quarter of the roughly 16.3 million working-age Americans currently suffering from long Covid are out of work, and according to one estimate, long Covid could cost America as much as $3.7 trillion. Many of those suffering are either running out of disability insurance through their employers or getting denied Social Security Disability Insurance or SSDI - an effect that’s expected to be long-lasting. In December 2021, Congress allocated $1.15 billion to the National Institutes of Health to study the long term effects of the disease. But many experts are saying that is not nearly enough.
I can sum all of this up in one sentence: COVID is not over and won't be even if the virus stops circulating. The effects may be with us for decades, just like the effects of polio were and still are. My neighbor growing up had a limp from polio that she contracted as a young child in Iraq and she's probably still alive and living with that limp. The same will be true of the people disabled from COVID-19; they could be impoverished for the rest of their lives unless the disability system recognizes their condition.

I have another video from CNBC to share about other respiratory diseases like flu and RSV. Stay tuned after I post the Sunday entertainment feature. There is no new episode of "Saturday Night Live" tonight, so I plan on posting awards show coverage tomorrow instead.

Friday, November 18, 2022

Vox explains 'Why so many “election deniers” lost in 2022'

I'm returning to election coverage with Why so many "election deniers" lost in 2022, which Vox uploaded this morning.

The belief that Donald Trump actually won the 2020 US election is widespread among his most devoted followers. That belief rests on claims of massive voter fraud in the 2020 election that have never been substantiated. And in the 2022 elections, many “election deniers” ran for state-level offices that have direct control over elections, promising to limit access to voting if they won. Of all Republican nominees for election-administration positions this year, over half openly claimed that Trump won in 2020.

But when the election came, the most high-profile of those “election denier” nominees, many of whom were favored to win, actually lost. And the story of why many of them lost is actually the story of thousands of ordinary citizens using the tools of democracy to protect democracy.
Three states whose gubernatorial elections I covered, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona, played prominent roles in this video. While I quoted Stephen Colbert calling Tudor Dixon "an election-denying, transphobic, COVID-19 conspiracy theorist," I associated Dixon more with her opposition to abortion than her election denialism. The latter I thought were bigger issues for Kristina Karamo and Matthew DePerno, the Republican candidates for Secretary of State and Attorney General, respectively. Still, I'm glad all of them lost and Gretchen Whitmer, Jocelyn Benson, and Dana Nessel won. I'm also happy that Josh Shapiro beat Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania and Katie Hobbs beat Kari Lake in Arizona. Without them in power, the possibility of election subversion succeeding in 2024 drops dramatically. Whew.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

CNBC explains 'How Car Safety Became A Major Selling Point'

I ended U.N. estimates that the human population passed 8 billion by telling my readers "I have another milestone to observe as Snow Bear passed 10,000 miles yesterday, so stay tuned for a driving update." I begin with CNBC explaining How Car Safety Became A Major Selling Point.

Car safety was once an afterthought, but now automakers brag about their safety ratings from groups like IIHS or NHTSA’s New Car Assessment Program. The journey to this has been long, and in some cases, controversial. Fierce battles have been fought over whether automakers should have to stock cars with safety equipment, such as airbags, and whether people should be forced to wear seatbelts.

Now a raft of new safety technologies help prevent collisions from happening at all. Some automakers, such as General Motors are aspiring to a world with no crashes.

While some of these new safety technologies are promising, they often rely on automation to achieve their goals, and automation brings its own risks, such as distraction, confusion, or a false sense of security.

In the meantime, the number of traffic deaths in America has risen in recent years, after hitting an all-time low in 2014. Experts are trying to figure out why, and what to do to reverse the trend.
I'm sharing this as a response of sorts to U.S. traffic deaths reached nearly 43,000 in 2021, the most in 16 years, a driving update. The increase in traffic deaths isn't the cars' fault; as I tell my students, cars are much safer now than they were in the 1960s early 1970s, when more than 50,000 Americans died each year in collisions and the like, as the following graph from Business Insider shows.

I expect all the safety and other driver assistance technologies described in the videos will make cars even safer in the future, although I don't expect they will eliminate all traffic fatalies in 30 years, although I called it a worthy if unattainable goal six years ago.

Instead, the drivers are causing the increased deaths, first through distracted driving, then speeding during the pandemic, which has persisted.* That's individual bad behavior having a collective effect. On the other hand, I'm not going to fault individuals for driving more, which also increases aggregate traffic deaths, even if the death rate per miles driven stays constant or even decreases, as it did last year and so far this year.

That's the big picture. Follow over the jump for my personal driving update.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

U.N. estimates that the human population passed 8 billion

I told my readers "Stay tuned as I return to this blog's regular programming, whatever that is." The regular, but not frequent, subjects of this blog include population, which passed a milestone yesterday as BBC News reported World’s population hits 8 billion, UN says.

The world's population has hit eight billion, just 11 years after passing the seven-billion milestone, the United Nations has said.

After a big surge in the middle of the 20th Century, population growth is already slowing down.

It could take 15 years to reach nine billion and the UN doesn't expect to reach 10 billion until 2080.

It's hard to calculate the number of people in the world accurately, and the UN admits its sums could be out by a year or two.
This is very much the message I tell my students about the history and likely future of population growth and its effects on people and the planet. I might just replace the National Geographic video I embedded in both A video gift from a student and Student sustainability video festival 5: previous years' winners I currently have in my lectures with this one, although it lacks the infographics introducing the topics of health, water, and energy (even though the energy stat it cites for energy use was already out of date when the video was produced) that set up the rest of the course. Still, welcome to blogging as professional development.

The BBC video mentioned India's population passing China's, lower fertility rates, an aging population, and strains on infrastructure. All of those are the subjects of Cities under strain as world population hits 8 billion from Reuters.

As the world population touches the 8 billion mark this week, countries like India, the second-most populous country in the world, are faced with the challenges - from creating suitable infrastructure to creating a skilled workforce from the country's youth.
I tell my students that the world is becoming increasingly urbanized at the same time that population is increasing, so population problems will show up as urban problems. India's situation is a perfect example of this. I might add this video to my lectures on population as well. Again, welcome to blogging as professional development.

By the way, the population milestone has already inspired a song, Kiran + Nivi - 8 billion people (Official Lyric Video).

Lyric video by Kiran + Nivi performing 8 billion people.

More people doesn't mean one can't be lonely in a crowd, it just means one can be lonelier in a bigger crowd.

I have another milestone to observe as Snow Bear passed 10,000 miles yesterday, so stay tuned for a driving update.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

How to recycle smarter for America Recycles Day 2022

Happy America Recycles Day! My catchphrase for today is "America doesn't just need to recycle more, it needs to recycle better." I'm sharing three videos to help myself and my readers achieve that goal, beginning with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency wishing its YouTube viewers Happy America Recycles Day!

Recycling is a simple action that can have dramatic benefits for the environment – from saving energy and water and reducing pollution to fighting climate change and improving our air and water quality.

In honor of America Recycles Day, Administrator Regan is starting a recycle relay to challenge YOU to recycle more and recycle right.
That's a good start to getting Americans (and others, like my French readers) to recycle more effectively.

On the same theme, WUSA9 asked its viewers Verify: Do you know what goes in your recycling bin?

Recycling can be one of the easiest ways to make an impact on the planet, if you do it right. So what goes into the trash and what goes into the bin?
That was a good exercise for Earth Day, but it works just as well for America Recycles Day. I learned something from it and I hope my readers did, too.

I conclude today's post with Expert Shares 5 Ways To Fix Recycling from KOIN 6 from Portland, Oregon.

For "America Recycles Week" an expert walks us through further efforts that we should be taking to recycle materials and caring for the environment towards bettering future generations.
The first two videos concentrated on what individuals can do. This one focused on what businesses and individuals can do. That's important, too. Also, it helped make me aware of The Recycling Partnership, an organization I'd never heard of before I started researching this entry. I've now subscribed to their YouTube channel. I hope to share more of their videos in the future.

That's it for holidays, for now. Stay tuned as I return to this blog's regular programming, whatever that is.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Celebrating 100 years of insulin for World Diabetes Day 2022

The following sentence stood out when I read National Day Calendar's entry for World Diabetes Day: "World Diabetes Day is held on November 14th each year to commemorate the birthday of Sir Frederick Banting who co-discovered insulin in 1922." Strictly speaking, that isn't really true, as Banting discovered insulin in 1921, but, as the following image points out, 1922 marks the first use of insulin to treat diabetes.

A centennial of an event with personal significance! Not only am I an insulin-dependent diabetic, but I read the story of the discovery of insulin in junior high school and wrote a report on it for health class. That was fifty years ago, so I could use a refresher. I could have used any of several videos, but I chose 100 years of insulin use: How it was discovered and where we stand today from Down To Earth because it covered the topic well and had the video description that emphasized the anniversary.

On January 11 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson became the first type I diabetes patient to receive a shot of insulin. While there were some complications after the first shot, the second shot was administered almost a fortnight later, on January 23, 1922. It was a roaring success and gave hope to many Type I diabetes patients across the world. And thus the story of Insulin began.
Back in the 19th century, those suffering from type I diabetes were rarely expected to live longer than a year or two after detection.
In November 1920, Frederick Banting, a Canadian surgeon, and Professor John Macleod from the University of Toronto started working to extract insulin from the pancreas. In December 1921 that year, a biochemist named James Collip joined the trio to help purify insulin, so as to make it safe enough for testing on humans. And the following month, Thompson was administered the first dose.
Insulin was the greatest medical breakthrough of the 20th century and remains the go-to treatment for type I diabetes. Banting and Macleod went on to win the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on October 25, 1923. But even though insulin was a revolutionary medical advancement at that point in time, 100 years later, Diabetes continues to be a leading cause of death. Globally 15 out 100,000 people suffer from type I diabetes with a 9.5 per cent prevalence, according to a study published in National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) in March 2020. And as for insulin, the once miracle drug still continues to be a wealthy affair as most of the economically poor nations struggle to get their hands on this go-to diabetes drug. Although new advancements like oral insulin and glucose-sensitive insulins are making headlines, what we need, is to ensure this medicine can be available, accessible, affordable for all 100 years after it was formulated.
I retained some of this story, but I definitely needed a refresher about the contributions of Mcleod, Collip, and Charles Best. It's a good day when I learn something new, or at least was reminded of something I may have forgotten. I hope my readers learned something, too.

Stay tuned for more about holidays as I plan on celebrating America Recycles Day tomorrow.

Sunday, November 13, 2022

'SNL' lampoons 'Fox & Friends' reacting to the midterm election results

It's time to return to election coverage with Fox & Friends Cold Open - SNL.

The hosts of Fox & Friends (Mikey Day, Heidi Gardner, Bowen Yang) interview Kari Lake (Cecily Strong) and Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) about the 2022 midterm elections.
I'm pleased that Cecily Strong returned with her Kari Lake impersonation that she debuted in 'SNL' shares scary news for Halloween 2022. She satirized Lake's weather vane reaction to the election results perfectly. Too bad that her fans may not see this impression again unless Lake actually gets a job on Fox News or some other right-wing outlet. That may be bad news for TV journalism, but it would be great news for comedy.

Speaking of Fox News, seeing them and the rest of NewsCorp's remaining properties turn against The Former Guy reminds me of what I wrote in Noah, Meyers, Colbert, and Kimmel take closer looks at the red wave that wasn't: "I hope the Republican Party finally abandons Trump, but I have my doubts."

'SNL' continued on this theme along with more election coverage in Weekend Update: Democrats Win Senate in 2022 Midterms, Rupert Murdoch Turns on Trump.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like Reverend Raphael Warnock and Herschel Walker facing off in a runoff election.
The Democrats retaining control of the Senate is good news, but the election continues in Georgia for an actual majority next month. Also, the comparison between the favorability ratings for Joe Biden and "Jurassic World: Dominion" qualifies this as the Sunday entertainment update.

Follow over the jump for more highlights from last night's episode.

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Celebrate World Kindness Day early with National Day Calendar, Central Valley Today, and KHOU 11

An early Happy World Kindness Day to my readers!* I begin today's slightly premature celebration with National Day Calendar's World Kindness Day on November 13.

On November 13th, as part of World Kindness Day, we are encouraged to spread kindness like an infectious cold. We want to share it more than usual because studies show when others observe kindness in action they are more likely to carry out an act of kindness, too.

So, imagine if you head out for the day and your neighbor’s garbage can has tipped over. Instead of ignoring it and letting the wind make a mess, you pick it up and return it to the corner. Three other neighbors notice and give you a smile and a nod on their way to work.

One of those neighbors notices a stranded driver on the side of the road on his commute to work. He remembers your thoughtfulness and offers assistance to the stranded driver. Several passersby take notice.

At a business office, a woman struggles with a paper jam. She’s had a horrible day. The customer has been waiting, but she remembers the stranded driver she passed earlier in the day. The customer lets the office worker take her time. Anyone can have a bad day, but this prevents it from getting worse and may even make it better.
Today isn't the only day dedicated to being kind. A search of National Day Calendar's YouTube channel for "kindness" retrieved National Random Acts of Kindness Day on February 17, National Do Something Nice Day | October 5, and National Good Samaritan Day - March 13 as other days to do kind things for others. I might add one of them to my list of holidays I observe here.

World Kindness Day is a good day to teach kids kindness, as Fresno's KGPE CBS 47 and KSEE 24's shared morning program noted in Central Valley Today! World Kindness Day.

Of course, adults can do kind things, too, as KHOU 11 described in Ideas for observing World Kindness Day.

Nov. 13 is World Kindness Day! Here's how you can celebrate.
I appreciate the suggestion to be kind to the planet, which we should do every day. Finally, "there's always tomorrow" — especially since World Kindness Day is tomorrow!

*I'm observing the day early because Dave Chappelle is hosting Saturday Night Live tonight, so I'm posting a "Saturday Night Live" highlights post tomorrow instead. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 11, 2022

A musical Veterans Day 2022 with 'The Commandant's Own,' the Army and Navy drum lines, and Marine Band San Diego

Happy Veterans Day! As I have done since 2014, I'm celebrating today as one of my marching music holidays. I begin with U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps | 2022 | DCI World Championship Finals, which Drum Corps International (DCI) uploaded yesterday, the Marine Corps Birthday.

"The Commandant's Own," United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps performs during the DCI World Championship Finals at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, August 13, 2022.
This clip is nearly as much about the 50th anniversary of the first DCI Championship as it is about the "The Commandant's Own," the United States Marine Drum & Bugle Corps. I marched in one of the founding corps, the Anaheim Kingsmen, although six years after it won the first championship. I find it ironic that the two surviving founding directors are of corps that are no longer with us, one of whom, Blue Rock, never made DCI finals, although they competed in prelims. At least De La Salle Oakland made finals in 1974, the first Canadian corps to make DCI finals.

DCI also uploaded U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps Drum Line in the Lot yesterday.

The drum line of "The Commandant's Own," The U.S. Marine Drum & Bugle Corps warms up inside Lucas Oil Stadium prior to their performance as part of the 2022 DCI World Championship Finals, August 13, in Indianapolis.
At least this is all about "The Commandant's Own," if only one section.

Continuing with percussion, here's the Army-Navy Drumline Battle 2021 (4K 60 fps) by Mitchell Vinzon.

From the 122nd Army-Navy Football Game on December 11, 2021 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ
I played brass, not percussion, but I do know enough to say that the Navy drum line played a more challenging technical program with more precise execution, while the Army drum line played a more accessible repertoire with greater showmanship. Since Navy has a drum corps, while the Army Spirit band is more of a showband, that's not surprising.

I conclude the musical portion of today's celebration with Music213's Marine Band San Diego - Disneyland: Veterans Day 2012 on the tenth anniversary of the performance.

Marine Band San Diego marching through Main Street, U.S.A. inside Disneyland on Veterans Day, Sunday November 11th 2012.
It may have been Veterans Day, but as I wrote last year, "it does look a lot like Christmas in 'The Happiest Place on Earth.'"

I close today's post with the following images from National Day Calendar.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

Noah, Meyers, Colbert, and Kimmel take closer looks at the red wave that wasn't

After taking a serious look at the election results in Michigan yesterday, it's time to let the comedians weigh in, beginning with Trevor Noah telling his TV and studio audiences Democrats Fend Off "Red Wave" in Midterm Elections | The Daily Show.

The Republicans "Red Wave" turned out to be a puddle, abortion rights had a major win in several states, multiple Trump endorsed candidates lost their races, and numerous historic firsts came out of the race including Alabama's first woman in the Senate, Maryland's first Black governor, Massachusetts first woman governor and first openly gay governor and Florida's first ever Gen Z congressman.
Jokes aside, that was a good summary of the headlines from Tuesday's election. I will miss Noah as the host of "The Daily Show" when he leaves at the end of the year. That's one of the reason I put him first.

The other reason is that I'd normally feature Late Night with Seth Meyers' Trump & MAGA Implode as Red Wave Fizzles, Fetterman Wins, Boebert Struggles: A Closer Look, but I didn't like the idea of this post having a preview image including the likeness of The Former Guy, so in second position Seth goes.

Seth takes a closer look at several races from last night's wild midterm elections that are still too close to call, including control of both the House and Senate, as results continue to roll in.
Detecting a theme yet? Just to make it clear, watch Steve Kornacki Explains How the Midterms May Separate the Republican Party from Trump.

Steve Kornacki talks about covering the midterm elections, explains the possible reasoning behind several close races and discusses how the 1994 Republican revolution shaped politics in his podcast The Revolution.
I hope the Republican Party finally abandons Trump, but I have my doubts.

Next, I go to "GOP Points Finger At T**** For Disappointing Midterms | Warnock-Walker Race Goes To A Runoff.

While the former president is taking heat for backing losing candidates in the midterms, he prefers to blame his wife. In Georgia, neither Senate candidate got 50% of the vote so Herschel Walker and Sen. Raphael Warnock will battle each other again in a runoff.
It's quite the night when I put Stephen's monologue fourth, especially with the caption on the preview image: "May The Fetterman Win" — and he did!

I close with Jimmy Kimmel's monologue Trump LIVID About Election Results, Fetterman Beats Dr. Oz & Herschel Unfazed and Unintelligible.

The CMA Awards aired on ABC, Democrats were riding the high after election night even though they probably lost the House and could still lose the Senate, MAGA-Land was expecting a big victory, we are still awaiting results from a couple of key states including Arizona and Nevada, it appears Lauren Boebert of Colorado might be out of a job, Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock are headed to a runoff and Herschel remains unfazed and unintelligible, at the Governor level Democrats had their best midterm since 1986, John Fetterman beat Dr. Oz in Pennsylvania and Trump is said to be livid over the loss, prevailing wisdom among Democrats and Republicans is that they might have done better without Trump, Rudy Giuliani provided some excellent election day coverage, five states voted on whether slavery should be banned, recreational cannabis was on the ballot in a number of states, and focus now shifts to who will run in 2024, including someone who just entered the world of board games to burnish his financial credentials.
Once again, Kimmel has the most comprehensive video descriptions of all the late-night talk show hosts. As for that closing bit, it reminds me of Mel Brooks. I'm glad Kimmel said it, because I couldn't.

Stay tuned as I take a break from election coverage to celebrate Veterans Day.

Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Whitmer and Benson re-elected, Nessel leading, and proposals pass in Michigan

I begin my promised posts about the election results with news from my adopted home state of Michigan and start at the top of the ballot with Governor Gretchen Whitmer winning re-election. WOOD-TV used the graphic announcing that news as the preview image for Michigan's Election Day 2022 results.

In addition, Hillary Scholten won Peter Meijer's current seat. That's a relief, as I worried about the tactic used to get her a more favorable opponent after the primary.
Not only did TFG go after Meijer, the DCCC did as well, running ads "attacking" Gibbs as too extreme in the hopes that doing so would make him more attractive to the right-wing of the Republican Party so they would vote for him. On the one hand, that's smart politics, as it makes the seat easier for Hillary Scholten to win in November. On the other, it's punishing a holdout for decency and democracy in the GOP by removing him from Congress. Sigh. It worked last night, but I hope it doesn't backfire in November.
It worked again. Whew!

I caught Whitmer's victory speech this morning on WZZM, ABC 13 in Grand Rapids. WATCH: Gov. Whitmer delivers first remarks since being declared winner of gubernatorial race.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is delivering remarks after being the projected winner of the gubernatorial race.

Whitmer was first elected in 2018 after years in the Legislature and has since become a leading voice in the Democratic Party, delivering the party’s response to former President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address in 2020. She has said in interviews that she will not run for president in 2024 even if President Joe Biden doesn’t seek reelection.
Congratulations and go Big Gretch!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the election news from Michigan.

Tuesday, November 8, 2022

John Oliver examines election subversion

I'm continuing my comedic election coverage with Election Subversion: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

With midterm elections approaching, John Oliver discusses what happens after the votes are in, how some elected officials might try to negate legitimate election results, and which teletubby would taste best.
While presented as comedy, all of this reminds me of a quote attributed to Stalin: "I consider it completely unimportant who in the party will vote, or how; but what is extraordinarily important is this—who will count the votes, and how." That's scary, not funny.

It also reminds me of what I wrote in Lawrence O'Donnell says 'America's Future Is On The Ballot In Pennsylvania'.
I agree with O'Donnell; the Electoral College is an anti-democratic institution has become a target for manipulation. It's why I wrote "The real election is the Electoral College, which votes on December 14, 2020. That's followed by a joint session of the new Congress on January 6, 2021," followed by "Trump is trying to game those steps to get electors who will vote for him."
TFG and the Republican Party that is now following him are also trying to get election officials to certify results favorable to him, regardless of what the people actually voted for — a republic not a democracy indeed!

As for "2000 Mules," I fully expect it to be nominated for several Razzies and it will deserve every nomination.

In response to Nick Offerman's admonition to vote, I'm sharing "I Have Faked An American Accent So Many Times" - John Oliver On Voting In The United States from last night's "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

Stephen's interview with John Oliver continues with a chat about what it means for him to vote in the midterm elections for the first time. Stick around for more with the host of HBO's "Last Week Tonight."
Welcome to citizenship and I hope you don't regret it after today's election.

Instead of returning with the second half of Colbert's interview with Oliver, I'm sharing "A Very Merry Midterms" - The Perfect Album For Midterms Eve.

These are the midterm classics exactly how you remember them.
I'd be laughing harder if I didn't find this frightening.

Stay tuned for posts about the results tomorrow and hope they actually get counted.

Monday, November 7, 2022

Meyers and Colbert take closer looks at Kari Lake and other election deniers running for office

I'm continuing my comedic election coverage with Seth Meyers examining Obama Campaigns Against Kari Lake and Warns About Threats to Democracy: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Republican candidates who are in very close races and could easily win in the midterms, including the pro-Trump election deniers who have outright declared they will use their power to steal future elections.

Register to vote, check your registration status, get election info, volunteer to see free shows at or text VOTE to 57568. It takes less than 2 minutes to get ready to vote and make your voice heard in an upcoming election.
Watching this reminded me that 'SNL' on the midterm election and Twitter opened with a sketch about which candidates the Democrats would nominate if they were like the Republican nominees running this year. It was a clown show worthy of "Idiocracy." Speaking of movie comedies, my reaction to Kari Lake saying that people who accepted the 2020 election results were the true conspiracy theorists was "'I know you are but what am I?' was a lot funnier when Pee-wee Herman said it."

Seth revisited Kari Lake in Cecily Strong Loved Portraying Kari Lake on Saturday Night Live.

Cecily Strong talks about seeing bears when she was in Canada for Schmigadoon!, going snorkeling in the Mediterranean Sea and her impression of Kari Lake on Saturday Night Live.
As I wrote about Strong's impression of Lake in 'SNL' shares scary news for Halloween 2022, "she nails another politician. She also nails Arizona, 'the Florida of the West.'" Also, I'm glad to hear that she finished production on the Emmy-winning and Saturn-nominated "Schmigadoon!" My wife and I enjoyed the first season and are looking forward to the next, which will be another chance to display her song and dance skills.

Stephen Colbert and his writers also had fun with Lake in This Is How Kari Lake's Comments Would Sound If They Were Actually Creatively Edited.

The Late Show decided to show Kari Lake what creative editing actually looks like.
*Snork* Be careful what you accuse others of; you might find out what it really looks like when it happens.

Stay tuned for more election coverage.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

'SNL' on the midterm election and Twitter

Last night's episode of "Saturday Night Live" began with President Biden Midterms Address Cold Open.

President Biden (James Austin Johnson) makes some last-minute changes ahead of the midterms and introduces his new team (Kenan Thompson, Cecily Strong, Ego Nwodim, Chloe Fineman, Marcello Hernández, Molly Kearney).
That certainly counts as the continuing election coverage I promised. So do both segments of Weekend Update, beginning with Donald Trump Jr. Mocks Paul Pelosi, Kanye West's Instagram Suspension. Just look at the video description.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Oprah Winfrey endorsing John Fetterman over Dr. Oz.
In addition to the political news, the report about Kanye West qualifies today's post as the Sunday entertainment update, just as I promised.

Weekend Update concluded with Tammy the Trucker on Gas Prices and Definitely Not Abortion.

Tammy the Trucker (Cecily Strong), who promises she's here to talk about gas prices and definitely not abortion stops by Weekend Update.
This reminds me of Strong as Goober the Clown, which I embedded in 'SNL' on infrastructure bill passing and the rest of this week's news. Some messages deserve repetition and reinforcement.

Follow over the jump for the rest of the highlights from last night's episode.