Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Monstrum on 'The Golden Age of Movie Monsters' for Halloween

Happy Halloween! I'm keeping my promise to blog about monsters today. I begin with Monstrum exploring The Golden Age of Movie Monsters.

Some monsters call to mind very specific images. Their iconic on-screen personas overshadow their earlier histories. I’m talking about: Frankenstein and his Creature, Dracula, the Invisible Man, the Wolf Man, the Mummy. Why is this? Universal Pictures. These famous Monster faces inspired decades of Halloween costumes, and make up a distinctive brand of horror that defined early Hollywood cinema.
I enjoyed Dr. Z's history of Universal Pictures horror films and learned a lot about how the Hayes Code and Universal's new ownership made for slightly more subdued and definitely more recycled horror films after the mid 1930s. Those did not make the studio's monsters any less iconic. Universal Studios' theme parks still use them, more than 90 years after Dracula and Frankenstein first appeared on the silver screen.

On the other hand, the attempt to revive the monsters in the 21st Century have been uneven. On the one hand, The Invisible Man won Best Horror Movie at both the Critics Choice Super Awards and the Saturn Awards, while Elisabeth Moss won Best Actress in a Horror Movie at the former and Best Actress in a Film at the latter. I even voted for her. On the other hand, 2017's The Mummy earned seven Razzie nominations and Tom Cruise the Razzie for Worst Actor. Yikes!

Speaking of mummies, Monstrum's next video was Egyptian Mummies: From Sacred Vessels to Scary Undead.

Mummification was a sacred, transformative practice in Ancient Egypt - a ritual process that made one’s body and soul fit for existence in the afterlife. It begs the question: when and why did the Mummy become the popular movie monster that we are so familiar with today?
That was fascinating, as well as a worthy sequel to the Universal Monsters video.

I close with "The Mummy" Inspired Cocktail | 31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN by Secret of the Booze.



2 oz devil’s cut
1 oz. honey whiskey
1 cup hibiscus tea
Dry ice
Drink responsibly!

That's it for Halloween, but spooky season continues for one more day with Day of the Dead. I'm feeling like continuing with Monstrum's examination of Mexican monsters. Stay tuned to see if I follow through with that thought.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Duran Duran sings 'Psycho Killer' and other spooky songs for Halloween

Happy Candy Corn Day, when I usually blog about monsters. I'll do that tomorrow. Today, I want to share some music with my readers. Watch shuttermuze's Duran Duran Halloween Show - Psycho Killer (Encore Theatre at the Wynn, Las Vegas) October 31, 2022.

Duran Duran in costume playing Talking Heads on Halloween — I couldn't resist. Talking Heads is one of my favorite bands — (Nothing but) Flowers is the theme song for this blog, after all — and my opinion of Duran Duran has grown over the decades. Forty years ago, I thought they were a band of pretty boys who sang shallow dance-pop songs. Not for me. Then I learned two things about them that made me respect them more. First, my friends and I watched Barbarella together. When the villain introduced himself as Durand-Durand, we all looked at each other and thought, "no way." Yes, way. I listened to a radio interview of Simon Le Bon, who confirmed that the band had indeed taken their name from the character. Score one for a unique inspiration. In that same interview, Le Bon said that Duran Duran wanted to be to video what Pink Floyd was to stereo, the first to explore the technology to the fullest. The band had greater artistic aspirations than I had given them credit for. Score two. Since then, I've been a fan. It helped that they performed the title song to a James Bond film, View to a Kill, which earned a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Song - Motion Picture. Good song, but not a great Bond flick; geology makes for a poor mad science.

Follow over the jump for live performances of two original songs for the album.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Speaker Mike Johnson pays President Joe Biden a Halloween visit in SNL's cold open

I was already looking forward to tonight's episode of Saturday Night Live in 'SNL' satirizes Jim Jordan's losing bid for Speaker.
SNL will return on October 28th for a Halloween episode with Nate Bargatze hosting. I'm looking forward to it, as last year's Halloween episode spawned two posts. I should be so lucky this year.
Biden Halloween Cold Open certainly lived up to my expectations.

President Joe Biden (Mikey Day) delivers a Halloween message with the help of House speaker Mike Johnson (Michael Longfellow) and the spirit of Halloween (Christopher Walken).
All Christopher Walken needed was more cowbell. Also, Mike who? It's too bad we're going to find out, as his election provided part of the headline for Weekend Update: Mike Johnson Elected as House Speaker, Trump Testifies in Civil Fraud Trial.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Michael Cohen testifying against Trump in his civil fraud trial.
I was rooting for Elise Stefanik because she already had a label, so I'm a bit disappointed that didn't happen. Now that Johnson is Speaker, I'm repurposing the Liar for Jesus label, which I created for my former Representative Tim Walberg and last used in 2015, for Johnson. I expect him to live down to the epithet and I probably won't be disappointed.

I was a bit disappointed, but not terribly surprised, to learn that Mike Pence had dropped out. I was hoping to have more laughs at his expense before he figured out that he wasn't going to beat the former guy. Now he isn't going to beat Ron DeSantis or Nikki Haley, either. Darn.

Speaking of TFG, I thought the depiction of him and Michael Cohen in conflict as rats fighting to be funny and fitting, if a bit unfair to rats and maybe Cohen. Weekend Updated missed TFG's reaction to Ivanka being called to testify, which the New York Daily News via Yahoo! Finance reported as Trump attacks 'unhinged judge' for requiring Ivanka to testify in New York fraud trial. This was after Judge Arthur Engoron fined TFG twice for violating the gag order. How much will the next fine be?

I've been refraining from mentioning Mitch McConnell's health problems, but I sincerely hope he's right that he's recovered. That written, I could see the Weekend at Bernie joke coming a mile away.

Enough politics. Follow over the jump for the clips that qualify today's entry as the Sunday entertainment feature.

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Broken Peach sings 'One Way or Another' from 'Hocus Pocus 2' for Halloween

Allow me an opportunity to brag as I continue my Halloween tradition on this blog of sharing songs by Broken Peach. I made two predictions in James Austin Johnson's 'Trump' hijacks the Last Supper on 'SNL' for Easter.
"I Put A Spell On You" is a 1956 song written by Jay Hawkins, whose recording was selected as one of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll. In 1993, @Bette Midler starred with Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Najimy in the @Disney, Hocus Pocus. The Sanderson Sisters covered the song & this is our humble tribute!
It turns out my wife and I had never watched "Hocus Pocus," so we watched it Halloween weekend. Then we watched "Hocus Pocus II," which is on my short list for Outstanding Television Movie at this year's Emmy Awards. I bet Broken Peach sings "One Way or Another," the equivalent song from the sequel, this fall. Any takers?
No one took me up on that, but I would have won the bet. Watch and listen to Broken Peach - One Way Or Another (Halloween Special).

"One Way Or Another" is a song by American new wave band Blondie from their 1978 album Parallel Lines. The song's music was composed by bassist Nigel Harrison, who introduced the Ventures-influenced track to keyboardist Jimmy Destri. "One Way or Another" was released as the fourth North American single from Parallel Lines, following the band's chart-topping "Heart of Glass" single.
Called it! Also, scary cheerleaders! That's right up there with the creepy nurses of 2021's "Tainted Love" for turning figures of desire into figures of fear. It helps that this performance brought out the scary stalker vibe of the song more than Debby Harry did, although Bette Midler gave it the right amount of comic menace in Hocus Pocus 2. That's an accomplishment.

Speaking of Hocus Pocus 2, I thought it should be nominated for Outstanding Television Movie. It was, along with Dolly Parton's Mountain Magic Christmas, Fire Island, Prey, and Weird: The Al Yankovic Story. I don't think it will win; the experts at Gold Derby have it tied for last place with Weird: The Al Yankovic Story and Prey tied for first. I plan on writing more about that category and the other nominations for TV movies when I resume my series on the Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards. In the meantime, called that, too.

I'm not as confident about a third prediction I made on Easter, that Broken Peach: Singing Spanish goths and witches for Halloween "will return in next year's edition of this post because of its evergreen popularity during spooky season." So far, it's earned ~200 page views since March 21, 2023, which is not enough to make the top 20 and the increase in readership during October has barely materialized with only 45 page views so far this month with just four days to go. Time's running out.*

Follow over the jump for another Broken Peach video, a drink recipe, and a footnote.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Dancing American witches on Black Cat Day for Halloween

Happy Black Cat Day! One of the posts enjoying its share of seasonal interest today is Dancing German witches for Halloween, so I decided to be a good environmentalist and recycle the theme by reviving Dancing American witches for Halloween. Watch three videos by Robert Bernstein of a dance performance on State Street in Santa Barbara the day before Halloween 2021 beginning with Witchy Woman/German Witch Song: La Boheme Halloween Dance.

The performance continued with Staying Alive: La Boheme Halloween Dance.

After a short break, the show concluded with Thriller: La Boheme Halloween Dance.

From witches to zombies — nice trick — and treat!

I close with a witch-themed drink, THE COVEN | THE CRAFT INSPIRED COCKTAIL from Secret of the Booze.

This witchy cocktail is perfect for your Coven

Empress 1908 Gin
Lavender Sryup
Elderflower Tonic Water
Purple Sugar
Crescent Moon Cut Out

Mix 0.5 oz Aquafaba, 1.5 oz Empress 1908 Gin, and .75 oz Lavender Sryup over ice. Strain over top of a splash of Elderflower Tonic Water Sprinkle Purple Sugar over top using crescent moon cut out to make the moon final shape.
Drink responsibly and stay tuned for more Halloween posts through the end of the month. Trick or treat!

Thursday, October 26, 2023

More spooky songs from the Harp Twins for Halloween 2023

I'm continuing my celebration of spooky season with music from Camille and Kennerly, the Harp Twins. Unlike last year's version, I'm working forward from the video they released just after I posted my entry, Twin Destinies (Gothic Celtic: "Blood Song" theme) Harp Twins.

When their great-grandmother Kaia, a world-famous harpist, dies, two sisters find themselves the heirs to twin harps, an ancient book of music, and a legacy that stretches back centuries. TWIN DESTINIES is the title track from our new spooky supernatural ORIGINAL album Twin Destinies!
Next, a song about a city rated as the most haunted in the U.S., Spooky Savannah - (Gothic Celtic) Harp Twins.

Spooky Savannah is from our new dark fantasy ORIGINAL album, Twin Destinies! The companion dark fantasy novel was written by New York Times Bestselling author, Debbie Viguié!
The Harp Twins have five more videos of songs from the Twin Destinies album on their YouTube channel, but I'm saving them for future Halloween posts. I'm an environmentalist who conserves his resources, after all.

I close this post with a drink recipe, The Viking Funeral | Smoked Cocktail from Secret of the Booze, inspired by Camille and Kennerly's Norwegian heritage.

We have been issued a challenge on our TikTok Channel to develop a Viking Cocktail. It required Akvavit and Spiced Rum for the fellow who starts this episode with us. We feel we rose to the challenge to create a smoked cocktail that develops the smokiness in the most unique of ways, because when a fan wants something awesome... We rise to the challenge.

1.5 oz Akvavit
1 oz Grapefruit Vodka
0.5 oz Lime Juice
0.5 oz Elderflower Tonic
Top with Kraken Rum
1/2 a Lime Wedge
Applewood Shavings

Mix Akvavit, Grapefruit Vodka, Lime Juice, Elderflower Tonic Water. Layer Kraken Rum on top. Take 1/2 a lime wedge and fill it with apple wood shavings light it on fire and then cap the fire off with a glass cloche. Fire will choke itself and smoke the drink. Remove the lime wedge and enjoy.
Drink responsibly and stay tuned for more Halloween posts through the end of the month. Trick or treat!

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

I begin Spooky Season with the 2016 Academy's 'Drum Corpse Bride' for a drum corps Halloween

I foreshadowed today's post in a footnote to Drink to 1988 Santa Clara Vanguard playing 'The Phantom of the Opera' for a drum corps Halloween 2021.
Courtney also has a reaction video to The Academy's "Drum Corpse Bride" show. If it's still up next year and none of the 2021 or 2022 shows inspire me, I might use it.
I posted Kicking off spooky season with 2014 Cavaliers 'Immortal' for a Drum corps Halloween instead last year, but I'm an environmentalist; I recycle, so watch New Zealand Girl Reacts to DRUM CORPSE BRIDE - The Academy Drum and Bugle Corps 2016.

Hi everyone welcome back to another video!!! Big thank you to Nick for sending this one through!!
I always find Courtney's naive reactions fun to watch. Besides, she's preserving shows that would otherwise disappear from YouTube.

Speaking of preserving things, I first wrote about this show in The Archdruid and I talk drum corps.
@JMG: "drum and bugle corps (corpses? How do you pluralize that?)" Both the singular and plural are spelled "corps," but the s is silent in the singular but pronounced in the plural; the word is French and the original rules sort of followed along. Coincidentally enough, a corps played on that very confusion by calling their show "The Drum Corpse Bride." The program could have been very pretentious, but it ended up being a great crowd pleaser.
That show was good enough to place eleventh, ahead of Boston Crusaders and Madison Scouts, who didn't even make the final show of the championships.
Drum Corps International played along, too, as it's among the first of 5 reasons “Drum Corpse Bride” is everything you need for Halloween.

The Academy's “Drum Corpse Bride” trick or treated its way into the hearts of fans as one of the most charming shows to hit the field during the 2016 Drum Corps International Tour.
LOL, "Drum Corpse International."  I'm glad to hear that the announcer has a sense of humor.

Follow over the jump for a bonus show video and a drink.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Vox examines hog farming's poop problem for National Food Day

Happy National Food Day! As I wrote in 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on food safety for World Food Day, "I still plan on observing the day next week with the third video in the series that began with Vox explains how 4 companies control the beef industry for a late National Food Day and continued with Vox explains 'The chicken industry’s worker safety problem' for Food Day 2022." Here's the video, Hog farming has a massive poop problem.

Inside North Carolina’s search for solutions for its thousands of pig manure lagoons.
For this third episode of our video series with Vox’s Future Perfect team, we went to North Carolina, a state that for decades has been a battleground over the public health impact of hog farming.
I'll repeat some of what I wrote last week as my response.
I just watched Food, Inc. with my class last week and some of questions on the worksheet pertain to Oliver's video.

12. What is a CAFO?

A concentrated animal feeding operation.

13. How did the feeding of corn to cattle along with other raising and slaughtering practices lead to evolution and spread of a dangerous strain of E. coli?

I answered the first part of this question in Corn questions from 'Food, Inc.' worksheet: "Corn makes cattle stomachs acidic, which promotes strains of E. coli that are pathogens in humans. These strains can then survive passage through human stomachs." The video shows the second part; cattle finish their growth in crowded conditions on CAFOs that allow pathogens to spread from animal to animal. The pathogens, particularly E. coli, can then enter water supplies and pass into vegetables.
The last part, and more, is true of the emissions from manure lagoons and spray-fields, which pose an environmental justice issue.

This video also provides examples of Commoner's Laws, everything must go somewhere, everything is connected to everything else, there is no free lunch, and nature knows best. The poop has to be disposed of, but it gets into the air and water and affects people's health. That's a not-so-hidden cost of cheap meat. The solution to derive energy from the manure, which reduces methane and some of the odors, connects "there is no waste in nature" with nature knows best. I wrote more extensively about how that works in Paean to the power of poop, a Squirrel Case entry. Too bad it does nothing about the other problems like nitrogen and phosphorus. Sigh.

Stay tuned for a full week of Halloween posts. Spooky season!

Monday, October 23, 2023

'Last Week Tonight' covers McKinsey for National TV Talk Show Host Day

Happy National TV Talk Show Host Day! I'm celebrating today by embedding last night's McKinsey: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO).

John Oliver discusses the oldest and largest management consulting firm: McKinsey & Company.
John Oliver made a superficially dull subject interesting by connecting it to income inequality, the opioid crisis, and Saudi Arabia. Including a cameo by Katie Porter helped. Bravo!

I'm only beginning with holidays, as I'm celebrating National Food Day tomorrow, followed by a full week of Halloween posts. Spooky season!

Sunday, October 22, 2023

'SNL' satirizes Jim Jordan's losing bid for Speaker

Saturday Night Live began last night by satirizing Jim Jordan's 'Groundhog Day' of losing votes in Jim Jordan Cold Open - SNL.

Jim Jordan (Mikey Day) hears from George Santos (Bowen Yang), Lauren Boebert (Chloe Fineman) and Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) after losing the House Speaker vote again.
Yay, a good political skit. That's what I've been waiting for since April 8th, when James Austin Johnson's 'Trump' hijacked the Last Supper on 'SNL' for Easter. Pete Davidson's cold open last week was moving and the right thing to do, but it wasn't it.

Jordan's woes continued to be the topic in the opening segment of Weekend Update: Jim Jordan Dropped as Speaker Nominee, Trump Gag Order - SNL.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Netflix planning to open brick and mortar stores and Ron DeSantis spending $1.5 million on private jets.
As I wrote last week, "Weekend Update...opened with jokes about the reactions to the crisis, not the conflict itself. Those are worth ridiculing." This includes President Biden telling Israel's adveraries "don't." I just hope it's more effective than telling his dogs not to bite Secret Service agents.

Colin Jost and Michael Che also examined Trump's gag order. I admit to being pleased that the former guy found it frustrating. As far as I'm concerned, that's the point.

I haven't mentioned Ron DeSantis this month, so good for SNL bringing him up. He deserves this kind of attention. As for Netflix planning on opening brick-and-mortar stores, I found that a surprising combination of the Retail Apocalypse and entertainment, to say nothing of it being a questionable business decision. That reminds me that I've embedded videos mentioning Blockbuster Video in Ten of the companies that went out of business this decade and 9,300+ stores closed this year, two tales of the Retail Apocalypse and WatchMojo's 'Top 20 Stores That Don't Exist Anymore' for Throwback Thursday, tales of the Retail Apocalypse, I've never written a post highlighting the company's rise and fall by itself. I'll keep that in mind.

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

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Happy Sweetest Day 2023 on a day that also celebrates pumpkin cheesecake, apples, reptiles, and 'Back to the Future'

Happy (National) Sweetest Day! I begin today's observance of a day unfairly called a Hallmark Holiday on a day that celebrates pumpkin cheesecake, apples, reptile awareness, and Back to the Future with Uploads of Fun's Sweetest Day and Other Stupid Made-Up Holidays!!!

Hey Goonie Gang! Today, Deez Quizzes is all Sweetest Day and other stupid made-up Holidays!!! Some of these holidays you've probably never heard of. Our challenge is even stupider than the holidays we are talking about!!! As always, THANKS FOR WATCHING!!!
*Snork* That was hilarious! I'd have done better, but only because I always have at least one tab open to National Day Calendar. I love holidays!

Follow over the jump for the rest of the days I'm celebrating today.

Friday, October 20, 2023

Meyers and Kimmel take closer looks at Sidney Powell pleading guilty and Jim Jordan's 'Groundhog Day' of losing votes

I told my readers "Stay tuned" at the end of Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and opioid crisis because "I plan on returning to Jim Jordan running for Speaker, which is turning into another Groundhog Day." I'm still doing that, but another story has bumped it down to second place. Watch Seth Meyers explain in Sidney Powell Flips on Trump, Pleads Guilty and Cooperates with Prosecutors: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Trump's former election lawyer Sidney Powell pleading guilty to election interference while Jim Jordan still lacks the votes to become House speaker.
LOL, the Kraken kracked under pressure. This reminds me of what I wrote about Powell in Trump's lawyers face sanctions in Michigan over conduct during election lawsuits.
Powell shows that Trump's delusion is not just dangerous but contagious and when its believers said the suits were "releasing the Kraken," they were really releasing the Krak(pot)en(ing). I liked the Kraken better in the "Pirates of the Caribbean" movies.
Just as a reminder, Federal judge in Michigan sanctioned Powell and other Trump lawyers for abusing the legal process to undermine democracy.
This is exactly the outcome I was hoping for and that I thought the Kraken-shot lawyers deserved. May the ruling for sanctions deter other lawyers from doing what Sidney Powell, Lin Wood, and others did in this case. It also satisfied the sentiment I repeated in Seth Meyers updates late-night talk show hosts on the 2020 election and its aftermath for Throwback Thursday on April Fools Day.
As I have written repeatedly about the criminal prosecutions of public officials for their roles in the Flint Water Crisis, "The wheels of justice are grinding slowly in this case, but I expect they will indeed grind exceedingly fine." May they also grind exceedingly fine for Trump and his seditious supporters, if not as slowly.
I think the sanctions and referrals for discipline look like being ground exceedingly fine, don't you?
Two years later, Powell's guilty plea shows that the wheels of justice continue to grind slowly, but they are indeed grinding exceedingly fine, pun intended.

Jimmy Kimmel reversed the order of stories in his monologue from last night, Chaos in Congress, Trump Lawyer Pleads Guilty in Election Fraud Case & Romney/Cruz Unity Ticket?

The fire department stopped by after the show to respond to smoke pouring out of our edit bays, Congress has now gone 16 days without a Speaker, Jim Jordan still claims to be in it after losing twice, Republicans are infighting, Fox News is trying to bully the holdouts into voting for Jim Jordan, Mitt Romney talks about trying to form a unity ticket with Ted Cruz in 2016 in his new book, Donald Trump’s former lawyer Sidney Powell pled guilty to six charges in Georgia, Joe Biden’s campaign now has more followers on Truth Social than the Trump campaign, we check in with the “Bachelor in Paradise” contestant who is the new face of American constipation Sam Jeffries, and This Week in Unnecessary Censorship.
On the one hand, "'Coach Gym' Jordan as Speaker...[a]s I've written before, things can always get worse." On the other, it looks like that won't happen. Jordan keeps losing votes, both the ballots and the number of Republicans voting for him. Instead, as I predicted in Closer looks at Steve Scalise running for Speaker and George Santos indicted again from Colbert, Meyers, and Kimmel, "If I were betting, I'd put my money on Hakeem Jeffries to have the most votes on the first ballot, although he's not going to be Speaker - this time." That's happened twice already.

So who would I pick next? Well, I already have a label for Elise Stefanik, so I'm prepared for her as I was for Kevin "Pickled Tongue" McCarthy to become Speaker. It would make it easier for me. Also, it's not an entirely original idea. Just as this situation began to unfold, Pablo Manríquez of The New Republic asked Could We Really Be Headed Toward—Gulp—Speaker Stefanik? Earlier this week, Chris Churchill wondered in The Albany Times-Union Elise Stefanik, a candidate of compromise in House mess? Neither of them think this is actually a good idea, but Stefanik makes a certain amount of sense. She's a policy moderate who supports Trump, she's already in leadership, and her main competition after Jordan, who she nominated for Speaker, while mentioning his wrestling past, is Majority Whip Tom Emmer. He's not an effective whip and is so bland I've never heard of him before. That might make him an acceptable compromise candidate to Republicans after they give up on Jordan, but I'm not sure the House GOP is ready for compromise. Besides, I think he would make for boring blogging. Stefanik would be more interesting. Too bad she doesn't appear interested in being Speaker. Here's to hoping appearances are deceiving.

I close with a song dedicated to Powell, The Kraken.

Enough crime and politics. Stay tuned for Sweetest Day.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Rite Aid declares bankruptcy, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and opioid crisis

I closed UAW strike enters second month, a driving update by telling my readers "stay tuned for a retail apocalypse update tomorrow, as Rite Aid has declared bankruptcy." Time to follow through with Yahoo Finance reporting Rite Aid bankruptcy complicated by opioid lawsuits, debt.

Rite Aid (RAD) has officially filed for bankruptcy while struggling with piling debt and ongoing opioid lawsuits. Yahoo Finance’s Josh Schafer reports on this story and deep dives into the unique nature of this particular Chapter 11 filing for the chain pharmacy.
The Retail Apocalypse and the opioid crisis finally cross paths. After all the years I've written about both, it was time I saw it happen. ABC News has more on that intersection in Rite Aid files for bankruptcy.

The company, which reportedly has billions of dollars in debt and is facing more than 1,000 lawsuits claiming it filled illegal prescriptions for painkillers, will close hundreds of stores.
It's not just individuals suing Rite Aid, but the Department of Justice pursuing legal action over filling illegal prescriptions. Ouch.

KDKA/CBS Pittsburgh emphasized the effect of the bankruptcy on workers and customers in Several local Rite Aid stores to close after company files for bankruptcy.

Rite Aid, a Philadelphia-based pharmacy company, has filed for Chapter 11 reorganization.
I expect to be writing about store closures in the near future. This probably won't affect me. I haven't been in a Rite Aid for years and stopped shopping there regularly when I moved out of Ann Arbor at the end of the last century. I couldn't even say where the nearest Rite Aid is to me, but I can tell you where the nearest Walgreens and CVS are. I shop there now.

Finally, CNBC looked at the responses of drug stores to new competitors in Rite Aid files for bankruptcy.

CNBC's Gabrielle Fonrouge joins 'Power Lunch' to discuss Rite Aid filing for bankruptcy and what went wrong.
CVS and Walgreens have decided to become healthcare providers as much as retailers. My wife, who alerted me to this story, and I just got our flu, COVID-19, and RSV shots at Walgreens last month and we weren't alone.

That's it for today's installment of the continuing saga of the Retail Apocalypse. I plan on returning to Jim Jordan running for Speaker, which is turning into another Groundhog Day. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

UAW strike enters second month, a driving update

I foreshadowed today's post at the end of Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump's gag order and Jim Jordan running for Speaker.
I haven't mentioned the UAW strike since Meyers' and Colbert's guests on strikes and labor issues. I plan on posting a driving update tomorrow, so it will be the perfect opportunity to do so. After all, both are about cars.
I begin with WDIV/Click On Detroit reporting UAW strike against Detroit 3 could have potential long-term consequences.

Ford chairman Bill Ford sent a warning to the United Auto Workers Monday and its President Shawn Fain. He said unless the company and the union get together on a contract, the industry could suffer and its future put in doubt.
Ford is preaching (domestic) industry solidarity, Fain is preaching class solidarity. Those could potentially be working in parallel, but right now they are at right angles to each other.

WDIV reported on decisions GM and Stellantis, formerly Chrysler, made in UAW strike: Week 5 sees both friction and hopefulness, Big Three layoffs.

The UAW has yet to reach a deal with any of Detroit’s Big Three automakers, though contract talks that started in July have continued since the historic strike was initiated one month ago.
I tell my students how computerized cars are every semester and the auto companies going to the Computer Electronics Show (CES) serves as an example of that. That Stellantis is not going next year is a sign of how severe the effects of the strike have become. Speaking of which, Fox 2 Detroit mentioned that the auto industry has already lost $8 billion from the strike in As UAW strike marches on, smaller auto suppliers may be left behind.

Marick Masters, a Wayne State University business professor, says the small suppliers make the plastic and metal parts that go into the cars we love. And right now, they risk running out of money.
A partial but escalating strike has cost the big three U.S. automakers $8 billion in just one month, while two complete strikes cost the entertainment industry nearly $6 billion over five-and-one-half months. The comparison shows that manufacturing is more important to the economy, even though entertainment is more fun to write about.

That's the current snapshot of the big picture involving cars. Follow over the jump for my personal driving update.

Tuesday, October 17, 2023

Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump's gag order and Jim Jordan running for Speaker

Last Thursday, Steve Scalise was the GOP Speaker nominee. That blew up that night, badly enough that I was thinking of writing "Friday the 13th was an unlucky day for Steve Scalise." I wasn't feeling it, so instead I wrote WCNC asks 'Why is Friday the 13th so scary?' The situation went from bad to worse, as Seth Meyers described in Trump Hit with Gag Order in Jan. 6 Case; Jim Jordan Vies to Be Next Speaker: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Republicans nominating Congressman Jim Jordan, a key player in the January 6 coup attempt, for House speaker and Trump getting hit with his second gag order.
"Coach Gym" Jordan as Speaker. As I've written before, things can always get worse. Speaking of which, good luck getting the former guy to comply with the two gag orders he's under. The man has the right to be silent, but not the ability.

Finally, I haven't mentioned the UAW strike since Meyers' and Colbert's guests on strikes and labor issues. I plan on posting a driving update tomorrow, so it will be the perfect opportunity to do so. After all, both are about cars.

Monday, October 16, 2023

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' on food safety for World Food Day

Happy World Food Day!* I have just the video clip for today, Food Safety: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, which was uploaded in the wee hours of the morning. Perfect timing!

John Oliver discusses the groups in charge of keeping our food safe – from the FDA, to the USDA, to, most crucially, the Association for Dressings and Sauces.
I just watched Food, Inc. with my class last week and some of questions on the worksheet pertain to Oliver's video.

12. What is a CAFO?

A concentrated animal feeding operation.

13. How did the feeding of corn to cattle along with other raising and slaughtering practices lead to evolution and spread of a dangerous strain of E. coli?

I answered the first part of this question in Corn questions from 'Food, Inc.' worksheet: "Corn makes cattle stomachs acidic, which promotes strains of E. coli that are pathogens in humans. These strains can then survive passage through human stomachs." The video shows the second part; cattle finish their growth in crowded conditions on CAFOs that allow pathogens to spread from animal to animal. The pathogens, particularly E. coli, can then enter water supplies and pass into vegetables.

14. What effects has the spread of hemorrhagic E. coli had on the food supply? List at least three examples.

In addition to the incident at Jack-in-the-Box, where I worked in the late 1970s, the film mentioned peanut butter and leafy greens, both of which John Oliver also described. Some things haven't changed since Food, Inc.'s release 15 years ago. That's why I still show the documentary to my students.

15. Summarize the story of Kevin Kowalcyk and Kevin’s Bill.

I'll let Wikipedia do that for me.
Kevin's Law (as referred to in Representative Anna Eshoo's introduction of the law in 2005 and in the 2008 documentary Food, Inc.; formally known as the Meat and Poultry Pathogen Reduction and Enforcement Act of 2003, H.R. 2203) was proposed legislation that would have given the United States Department of Agriculture the power to close down plants that produce contaminated meat.[1]

Kevin's Law was nicknamed in memory of two-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk of Colorado, who died in 2001 after developing hemolytic-uremic syndrome due to eating a hamburger contaminated with E. coli O157:H7.

The bill was reintroduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, as H.R. 3160, in the 109th Congress.[2][3] This bill never became law, as it was referred to committee but never reported on.

In 2011, President Barack Obama signed into law the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), introduced by Rep. Betty Sutton. The FSMA contains key elements of Kevin's Law.
So some of Kevin's Law has been enacted. That's good news, which I can tell my students. The bad news is that some key provisions were not included in the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act and the FDA is still underfunded, to say nothing of the FDA's glacial bureaucratic organizational culture. Congress could take care of that by funding the agency and reorganizing it.

By the way, not only can I recommend this video to my students, I can recommend Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food to them as well. Welcome to blogging as professional development.

*I normally wait until National Food Day to post an entry like this, but I didn't feel like waiting. Don't worry, I still plan on observing the day next week with the third video in the series that began with Vox explains how 4 companies control the beef industry for a late National Food Day and continued with Vox explains 'The chicken industry’s worker safety problem' for Food Day 2022. Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Pete Davidson hosts as 'Saturday Night Live' returns

Saturday Night Live returned last night for the first time since April 15th, when Classified documents leak headlined 'Weekend Update' on 'SNL', nearly six months to the day. That's been a long drought of comedy. That written, the Pete Davidson Cold Open was very serious while still talking about the power of comedy to deal with tragedy.
Host Pete Davidson takes a moment to speak on the crisis in the Middle East.
I've been avoiding this crisis; some things are too horrible even for me to write about on my doomer blog. They're too horrible for SNL to make jokes about it, either, although not so horrible that they can't tell stories related to it. Note that Weekend Update: Middle East Crisis, Trump Calls Hezbollah “Very Smart” opened with jokes about the reactions to the crisis, not the conflict itself. Those are worth ridiculing.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like Congressman George Santos getting hit with new Federal charges.
The former guy really does like the worst people. Speaking of the worst people, I think it's valid to mention Senator Bob Menendez right after George Santos. I haven't cared for Menendez since his previous run-in with the law, so I think he deserves the mockery.

Weekend Update continued on with California’s Ebony Alerts, National No Bra Day.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week’s biggest news, like dog owners questioning the rabies vaccine.
Yes, vaccine skepticism has spread to pet owners, as if being skeptical about the COVID-19 vaccine in people wasn't bad enough.

The interview segments began with Weekend Update: Christopher Columbus on Statues of Himself and His Discoveries.

Christopher Columbus (Bowen Yang) stops by Weekend Update to discuss whether to take down statues of himself and brag about the things he discovered.
Yang was hilarious, but it's only the half of why I de-emphasize Columbus Day.

Weekend Update: Deion Sanders on Coaching at University of Colorado Boulder closed out the fake newscast.

University of Colorado Boulder football coach Deion Sanders (Kenan Thompson) stops by Weekend Update to discuss his team and career.
I'm enough of a Michigan fan to be pleased to hear my school listed among the undefeated. I'm surprised that the Air Force Academy, which I applied to but was rejected, is also undefeated. That means that Sanders is not even coaching the best college team in his new state. On a more serious note, I'm glad SNL suggested some charities to donate to alleviate the suffering caused by war.

That's it for last night's season premiere, but I'm not done with the show. I wrote "I'll get to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's Emmy nomination that I didn't cover in Nixon saying 'Sock it to me' and Outstanding Talk Series Emmy nominees for Presidential Joke Day when Saturday Night Live returns, since the two are competing against each other for Outstanding Scripted Variety Series in 'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' covers homeschooling. Follow over the jump for those nominations.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

'Retrograde,' 'Escape from Kabul,' and 'In Her Hands' — three News & Doc Emmy winners about Afghanistan

Change of plans today. Instead of blogging about the solar eclipse happening today, I'm writing about Retrograde's three News & Doc Emmy Awards as I promised in 'The Janes' wins Best Documentary at the News & Doc Emmy Awards.* I begin with my reaction to its trailer from 'Retrograde' about the final 9 months of the U.S. in Afghanistan earned 6 nominations at the News & Doc Emmy Awards.
Retrograde joins Escape from Kabul and In Her Hands as nominated documentaries about the final days of the U.S. operations in Afghanistan. It's the most nominated of the three, earning recognitions for Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary, Outstanding Direction: Documentary, Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary, Outstanding Editing: Documentary, Outstanding Sound, and Outstanding Promotional Announcement.
Retrograde won Outstanding Current Affairs Documentary, Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary, and Outstanding Editing: Documentary. In addition, Escape from Kabul and In Her Hands won their outstanding documentary categories, the former for Outstanding Investigative Documentary and the latter for Outstanding Politics and Government Documentary.

Follow over the jump for the tweets announcing the three films' wins and revisit what I wrote about them and the categories they won.

Friday, October 13, 2023

WCNC asks 'Why is Friday the 13th so scary?'

It's Friday the 13th! This year, instead of celebrating the U.S. Navy's birthday with nautical superstitions, real-life tales of woe, or spooky theme park attractions, I'm returning to exploring the psychology and history of the day with WCNC asking Why is Friday the 13th so scary?

A lot of people consider it bad luck when a Friday falls on the 13th of the month, but did you know this superstition goes back way before the 1980 horror film about Jason Voorhees?

Do you have any Friday the 13th superstitions? Comment below and we'll share your responses on our newscasts!

Historians aren't sure of the origins of when it started, but we do know that Fridays and the number 13 have been unlucky throughout history.

The ancient Sumerians developed a number system based on 12. So, on the heels of a 'perfect' number, 13 was unusual.

And Fridays have been unlucky for some since biblical times. It's said to have been the day Eve ate the forbidden fruit, Cain murdered Abel and when Noah's ark set sail.

So, when the two collide, a lot of people think it's a recipe for disaster, which is just bad news since any month that starts on a Sunday will have a Friday the 13th.
I begin my reaction by recycling from January: "As I told my students yesterday, don't walk under any ladders, break any mirrors, or open an umbrella indoors!" The WCNC morning team managed to hit all of those, while having just a little too much fun doing so. Despite the preview image, they didn't mention black cats. Just as well, as I also told my students yesterday "Black cats aren't unlucky. I owned two of them for years and they weren't bad luck for me at all." In fact, they were the two favorite cats who ever were my companions.

I have more foreboding happenings to write about, as tomorrow is a solar eclipse. I haven't blogged about solar eclipses this decade, so stay tuned to see if I do.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Closer looks at Steve Scalise running for Speaker and George Santos indicted again from Colbert, Meyers, and Kimmel

I'm returning to the fallout from Kevin "Pickled Tongue" McCarthy being ousted as Speaker of the House, which I haven't covered since Friday's Colbert, Meyers, and Kimmel turn their attention to Matt Gaetz. The House needed a break and so did I. I begin with Stephen Colbert's monologue, Scalise Nabs House Speaker Nom | George Santos Scammed His Own Donors | Bigfoot Found!

Rep. Steve Scalise is the GOP’s nominee for Speaker of the House, Rep. George Santos faces new federal charges for defrauding campaign donors, and Stephen has incredible news about a new Sasquatch sighting.
I have my doubts that Scalise will be elected on the first ballot, or even any ballot today. So do the writers for The Late Show, which is one of the reasons they created Now You Can Bet on the House Speaker Race for last night's cold open. The other is that it's funny.

Get in on the action at DraftKandidates!

If I were betting, I'd put my money on Hakeem Jeffries to have the most votes on the first ballot, although he's not going to be Speaker - this time.

Stephen name-checked Jimmy Kimmel, who I will get to later, but I'm sharing Santos Charged with More Crimes, Mace Mocked for Scarlet Letter Shirt: A Closer Look from Seth Meyers, who reversed the order of stories, first.

Seth takes a closer look at Republicans choosing Congressman Steve Scalise as nominee for Speaker of the House and whether or not he actually has enough votes to become Speaker.
I haven't blogged about George Santos since May, when I posted George Santos evades expulsion, for now and Trump found liable for sexual abuse and defamation and Santos reported criminally charged. I concluded the latter by whining "It's unfortunate that the writers strike has canceled the late-night talk shows. The jokes about these two stories would have been priceless." The shows are back and the jokes are indeed priceless, although Santos makes them easy to write.

Jimmy Kimmel had more to say about these stories in Congressman George Santos Dodges Reporters After Being Charged with CONSPIRACY, FRAUD & MORE.

Republicans took a fake break from fake-impeaching Joe Biden to nominate Steve Scalise of Louisiana to be their next Speaker, the first U.S. state to allow sales of medical marijuana at regular pharmacies will be Georgia, Google announced that effective immediately entering a password will no longer be their default way to sign in, crazy things are happening in Florida and Michigan, Jimmy has been washing his jeans the wrong way, Sarah Huckabee Sanders has been accused of spending more than $19,000 on a lectern and cooking the books to cover it up, and we track down soon to be former Congressman George Santos (Nelson Franklin) to talk about him being indicted on charges of conspiracy, wire fraud and falsifying records.
Once again, my prediction that, as long as George Santos remains in the news, he will be an inspiration for comedy continues to come true.

Finally, the joke Kimmel told about Scalise learning the wrong lesson from being shot is the one that always comes to mind when I think about him. I gave up on Scalise ever coming around on guns after that. He's a lost cause, pun intended.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Franz Nopcsa, 'The Gay Palaeontologist Spy Who Discovered Transylvanian Dwarf Dinosaurs'

Happy National Coming Out Day and National Fossil Day! As I wrote yesterday, I've found a video that works for both, J. Draper's The Gay Palaeontologist Spy Who Discovered Transylvanian Dwarf Dinosaurs.

"Franz Nopcsa was a gay palaeontologist spy who discovered Transylvanian dwarf dinosaurs." I agree, that's probably the coolest sentence J. Draper has uttered in all her videos I've watched so far. It's also a cool story that deserves a longer video, despite its tragic end.

I've mentioned insular dwarfism, which Nopcsa first described, in PBS Eons on Pygmy Mammoths, so I have a connection to his work. I just didn't know that he was responsible for the concept until now. It's always a good day when I learn something new. I hope my readers agree.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

'Last Week Tonight with John Oliver' covers homeschooling

While I wrote "I've missed Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, Jimmy Kimmel, and especially John Oliver" in Writers Guild reaches tentative agreement with studios and repeated in 'Stephen Colbert Recaps A Crazy Summer' as he returns from the writers strike, I haven't featured any of John Oliver's monologues since the end of the WGA strike. Sorry, his guest appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers in Meyers' and Colbert's guests on strikes and labor issues doesn't count. Fortunately, he covered a topic I care about in Homeschooling: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO) this Sunday.

John Oliver discusses homeschooling, its surprising lack of regulation in many states, and, crucially, Darth Vader’s parenting skills.
I agree with Oliver that the ceiling for homeschooling can be very high. My experience with home-schooled students is that they are much nicer and get along with adults better than children who went to public and private schools; I like them better as people. That's my positive observation about the results of homeschooling. My negative comment is that they often have noticeable holes in their education, knowledge that students who actually went to school learned from their teachers. I'm seeing a little of that even with students remotely educated during the pandemic; some skills just can't be taught over a Zoom call.

I also agree with Oliver that the floor for homeschooling can be so low as to be subterranean and the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which Oliver describes as "the homeschooling equivalent of the NRA," is enabling that. The HSLDA might enjoy that comparison, but Oliver makes sure that it's not flattering, calling each "an extremely powerful organization that...represents a large number of people, [but] pursues an outermost fringe version of their agenda." With friends like that, the homeschooling movement hardly needs enemies — and it has those, too.

I'll get to Last Week Tonight with John Oliver's Emmy nomination that I didn't cover in Nixon saying 'Sock it to me' and Outstanding Talk Series Emmy nominees for Presidential Joke Day when Saturday Night Live returns, since the two are competing against each other for Outstanding Scripted Variety Series. In the meantime, stay tuned for a joint observation of National Coming Out Day and National Fossil Day tomorrow. I've actually found a video that works for both.

Monday, October 9, 2023

A holiday pile-up today with Indigenous Peoples' Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Leif Erikson Day, and, oh yeah, Columbus Day

Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, Leif Erikson Day, and Columbus Day! I begin today's celebration of multiple holidays with ABC 13/13 On Your Side declaring It's Indigenous Peoples' Day in Michigan.

Monday, Oct. 9 is a national holiday called Columbus Day. But in Michigan, it's also Indigenous Peoples' Day. There are 12 federally recognized tribes in Michigan.
This is a Michigan-based blog, so I'm going to feature Michigan content when I can. I also occasionally feature U.S. government content when appropriate, like Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland wishing Americans Happy Indigenous Peoples' Day!

At Interior, we work hard to honor our promises to Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian and Island communities. Today, we celebrate the rich traditions, diverse cultures, and resilience of Indigenous communities. We honor the first stewards of this land, the Indigenous people who survived through periods of brutal colonization and forced assimilation policies.
Thank you, Secretary Haaland.

USA Today's Recognizing Native Americans on Indigenous Peoples' Day across the US | USA TODAY explains why Indigenous Peoples' Day is supplanting Columbus Day and lists when various states celebrate their own versions of the day.

A growing number of cities, states and universities are replacing Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples' Day, also known as Native Americans Day.
The second Monday of October has been a national holiday for close to a century, but this will be only the second year that Indigenous Peoples Day has held that designation.

Last October, President Joe Biden signed the first presidential proclamation of Indigenous Peoples Day, a commemoration-turned-holiday that began in 1977 to honor Native American history and culture. That presidential stamp of approval was the most significant boost to date of efforts refocusing a federal holiday that for decades celebrated Christopher Columbus' discovery of America.

Although few Americans are arguing with the notion of being off work come Monday, Columbus Day and Indigenous People's Day have prompted political debate in states, cities and municipalities around the U.S., especially in the past decade, with some pushing against change and others favoring Indigenous Peoples Day instead.
This is a good explanation of why I generally stopped celebrating Columbus Day on this blog years ago and replaced it with Canadian Thanksgiving. I'm still observing Canadian Thanksgiving as well. Watch Canadian Thanksgiving Explained from Squirreled History, an updated version of the video I embedded last year.

We remade and updated our video on Canadian Thanksgiving, where it came from and how it's different from the American version.
I subscribed to Squirreled History after last year, but haven't used one of the channel's videos again until now. I should rectify that omission.

I close with Enchanted Insights, formerly 8SA, asking Leif Erikson Day (October 9), Why do we not celebrate Leif Erikson Day?

Leif Erikson Day (October 9) - Why do we not celebrate Leif Erikson Day?

On October 9, Nordic communities worldwide will celebrate Leif Erikson Day – remembering the explorer credited with bringing the first Nordic people to America around the year 1000.
Good question. Too bad the woman behind the account is no longer making holiday videos.

Whichever holiday you celebrate, have a good one!

Sunday, October 8, 2023

'The Janes' wins Best Documentary at the News & Doc Emmy Awards

I told my readers yesterday to "stay tuned for the Sunday entertainment feature, which will be about the Emmy Awards, whether the winners of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards to the nominees for the Primetime and Creative Arts Emmy Awards. I haven't decided which yet." I chose to continue with the winners of the News & Documentary Emmy Awards, particularly the winner of Best Documentary, The Janes, which also won Outstanding Social Issue Documentary and Outstanding Direction: Documentary, three of the four categories in which it was nominated, tying Retrograde for most Emmys taken home by a documentary at last month's awards. I've embedded the tweets (xeets?) from the News & Documentary Emmy Awards announcing each award, followed by my handicapping from August's post.
"Based on total nominations, I'd say The Janes is Good Night Oppy's stiffest competition" for Best Documentary at the News & Documentary Emmy Awards...The timing of the premiere was uncanny, as it happened the same month that the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. America needed a look at the pre-Roe situation in order to understand what a post-Roe America could look like. That alone makes The Janes a valuable and moving documentary and a worthy competitor to Good Night Oppy...I would be neither surprised nor disappointed if The Janes won.
And I was indeed neither surprised nor disappointed that The Janes won Best Documentary. Congratulations!
Only The Janes has nominations in categories in addition to this one, Outstanding Research: Documentary, Outstanding Direction: Documentary, and, as I mentioned to begin this entry, Best Documentary. On that basis alone, I consider it to be the frontrunner to win Outstanding Social Issue Documentary. The other reason is that it has its subject matter, sexism and reproductive rights, to itself in this field. The rest of the nominees examine African-American lives and particularly the effects of racism, which I think is likely to split the vote among them.
I don't know which of my criteria mattered more, but I was correct either way. Yay, me, and congratulations to the team behind The Janes! On the other hand, I got this award wrong, writing "My preliminary pick...[is] Retrograde for Outstanding Direction: Documentary." I never did change that prediction. That's O.K. My feelings about The Janes winning this category are the same as for The Janes winning Best Documentary; I am neither surprised nor disappointed. Again, congratulations!

I plan on getting to Retrograde's three News & Doc Emmy Awards, but only after celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day/Native American Day, Canadian Thanksgiving, and Leif Erikson Day tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Previous posts about the 2023 News & Documentary Emmy Awards