Friday, May 31, 2024

Silly and serious reactions to Trump's conviction from Jimmy Kimmel and CNN

I told my readers to "stay tuned" after a programming note at the end of Jon Stewart devours the fast-food industry, parts 1 and 2.
I plan on returning with a more topical entry tomorrow, perhaps just in time for the verdict in Donald Trump's election interference/hush money trial. If so, perfect timing!
That happened, right at 5:00 P.M. EDT, just in time for it to be mentioned in the monologues of the late-night talk shows. Unfortunately, only Jimmy Kimmel Live!  among the shows I watch had a new episode last night, so I begin with Donald Trump Found GUILTY on ALL COUNTS & Superfan Jake Byrd is Outside the Courthouse.

It was a big afternoon in New York and for the United States of America as Donald Trump was found guilty of 34 felony accounts in his hush money trial, Jimmy and Guillermo re-enact what happened in the courtroom, Trump marched over to the reporters outside the courthouse to let his displeasure be known, the big question remains if he will do time, the only family member who was there with him when the verdict was read was Eric, all the bloodsucking jellyfish who feed off his essence are losing their minds, and our friend/legal correspondent Jake Byrd has been camped out in New York for a very special report on Donald’s trial.
I'm being a good environmentalist by recycling what I wrote fourteen months ago when Colbert's studio audience gave a standing ovation when told about Trump's indictment; Kimmel's was just as loud.
"[J]ail to the chief" is a great line, but it's going to be a while. I expect he'll be sentenced to house arrest in Trump Tower with the Secret Service as his guards, at least for this set of crimes.
I stand by that prediction with the possible addition of $170,000 in fines, $5,000 for each conviction, although Jimmy K's desire for community service to be part of the sentence would work for me, too.

Follow over the jump for more on the subject of Donald Trump's sentence from CNN.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Jon Stewart devours the fast-food industry, parts 1 and 2

Happy Throwback Thursday! For today's post that will be worth sharing next month, which is only two days away, I'm embedding two compilation videos of classic segments The Daily Show uploaded this month, beginning with Jon Stewart Devours the Fast-Food Industry.

Jon Stewart takes a bite out of the fast-food industry from McDonald's' promise to use chicken without antibiotics, Chick-fil-A’s Appreciation Day protests, and Pizza Hut’s hot dog-lined pizza.
That Chick-Fil-A segment explains why I don't eat there for reasons having nothing to do with their food.

The Daily Show followed up with Jon Stewart Devours the Fast-Food Industry Pt. 2 on May 28th, which just happened to be National Hamburger Day. Deliberate or coincidence? How about serendipity!

Jon Stewart continues to explore the fast-food industry from completely safe and healthy mid-show snacks, to McDonald’s Monopoly fraud, to the disturbing firing of a Taco Bell employee.
Seeing the segment about the McDonald's Monopoly game fraud reminds that that I wrote about McMillion$ when I covered the 2020 Emmy nominations. That was a fascinating documentary series and I highly recommend it.

Watching both of these videos also reminds me that I was not watching The Daily Show then; I didn't start until Trevor Noah was the host during the pandemic. I realize that I was missing something great then and am glad I am watching now.

That's it for the end of May's evergreen posts. I plan on returning with a more topical entry tomorrow, perhaps just in time for the verdict in Donald Trump's election interference/hush money trial. If so, perfect timing! Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Company Man asks 'The Decline of 99 Cents Only Stores...What Happened?' A tale of the Retail Apocalypse

For "another post that will be worth sharing next month," I'm turning again to the Retail Apocalypse with Company Man asking The Decline of 99 Cents Only Stores...What Happened?

The west coast chain of dollar stores is reportedly filing for bankruptcy and shutting down all their stores. This video attempts to identify the biggest reasons behind their failure.
Company Man Mike summarized the reasons for the chains troubles and eventual closing in the following table.

Erik of Retail Archaeology mentioned the leveraged buyout as a major culprit in his video, 99 Cents Only Stores: All Stores Closing!

In this episode we check out the liquidation of 99 Cents Only Stores.
As I wrote most recently in Company Man asks 'The Decline of Red Lobster...What Happened?' A tale of the Retail Apocalypse, "I listed a who's who of retail chains gutted by private equity in CNN Business explains retail bankruptcies and how private equity is gutting retail, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and again in Business Insider and CNBC explain the rise and fall of Chuck E. Cheese, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic." The debt left behind by the leveraged buyout hurt the chain's cash flow afterwards, which Company Man Mike illustrated and which Erik blamed as the major reason for the chain's liquidation.

The rescue plan mentioned in both videos apparently didn't come to fruition, but the Orange County Register recently reported another one did: Dollar Tree lines up to buy 93 shuttered 99 Cents Only stores in California.
Dollar Tree is reportedly the winning bidder for at least 93 of the chain’s discount stores spread across the state, according to reports from the brokerage Retail Specialists. Most of the stores are in Southern California.
The bids and the undisclosed terms are subject to court approval.
At least the locations will be open, although I'd be surprised if Dollar Tree maintains the grocery departments. This is happening as Dollar Tree announced plans to close 1,000 locations by next year. That's a story for another time, as is Red Lobster finally filing for bankruptcy. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Across the Globe explains 'How Detroit Went From Good to Bad to Good Again'

I promised "a post that will still be worth reading in June" yesterday, so I'm returning to the topic of Detroit's population increases for first time since 1957 by embedding Across the Globe explains How Detroit Went From Good to Bad to Good Again.

Did you know that when Detroit filed for bankruptcy in 2013, it was the largest city bankruptcy filing by debt ever, estimated at a massive $18 to $20 billion? Or that in the 1950s Detroit was the richest city in the U.S and maybe even the world according to some people?

Based on this, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Detroit has faced a lot of challenges over the years, from the collapse of its automotive industry during the 2008 financial crisis to the city’s own bankruptcy filings in 2013. However, despite these negative events, Detroit wasn’t always a place of hardships and in fact, during its early years, Detroit was one of America’s most promising cities. What might be even more surprising is that recent events even suggest that things might be looking up for the city today.

But what’s the cause of all of the ups and downs Detroit has faced over the years? Well, today on Across the Globe we’re going to be looking at How Detroit Went From Good to Bad to Good Again.
That's a good summary of Detroit's history for good and ill and it accords well with what I know of the place having lived in Michigan for 35 years, so I don't mind sharing it with my readers.

That was the history of Detroit. CityGeek looks at the city today in Detroit Overview | An informative introduction to Detroit, Michigan.

Detroit is a fascinating American city! Although it's nicknamed Motor City, there is a lot more to Detroit than simply its industrial heritage. In this video I briefy cover Detroits history, population, skyline as well as a few things that make Detroit unique. Thanks for watching : Detroit Overview | An informative introduction to Detroit, Michigan.
Since CityGeek made this video last month, the Census Bureau released its population estimates and Detroit moved up from 29th last year to 26th in U.S. cities by population this year, passing Memphis, Louisville, and Portland. Things are looking up for the Motor City!

Stay tuned for another post that will be worth sharing next month tomorrow on Wayback Wednesday!

Monday, May 27, 2024

Music for Memorial Day from the Marines and Air Force

I wish my readers a somber Memorial Day. After examining the origin and history of Memorial Day last year, I'm returning to military music to observe the holiday with a twist. Watch and listen as I share Luis of Music213's video of 1st Marine Division Band - Disneyland - Memorial Day 2013.

From Camp Pendleton, CA
The 1st Marine Division Band performing at Disneyland's Town Center Square during the Flag Retreat Ceremony on Memorial Day, Monday May 27, 2013.
That was quite upbeat for a serious patriotic holiday that honors the dead, but it's Disneyland, so I shouldn't be surprised. The only music missing was "Taps." For that, I turn to The United States Air Force Band's Memorial Day 2020.

As we head into the Memorial Day weekend, let us reflect on the tremendous price that was paid by the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country. Through the sounding of Taps, members of The United States Air Force Band solemnly render honor to those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

A long-held musical tradition at military funerals, the music of Taps originated from a Civil War bugle call entitled, “Extinguish Lights”. A plaintive call, the sounding of Taps signals the end of the fallen serviceman’s duty and is the final tribute from a grateful nation.

To those who have given the last full measure of devotion, we honor your service, pay tribute to your lives, and thank you for your selfless sacrifice.

We'd like to thank Mr. Matthew Priest, Director of Culpeper National Cemetery, all of the staff at Culpeper National Cemetery, as well as Ms. Richelle Taylor, Public Affairs Specialist with the Department of Veteran Affair’s National Cemetery Administration, for their help making this tribute possible.
This should look familiar, as it's the original of FOX 17 WXMI Grand Rapids-Kalamazoo-Battle Creek's U.S. Air Force Band: 'Taps', which I used to conclude last year's post. It's good to find the source.

Enjoy the rest of your Memorial Day. I'll be back tomorrow with a post that will still be worth reading in June.

Sunday, May 26, 2024

DOJ sues Live Nation/Ticketmaster

Yesterday, I promised that the Sunday entertainment feature would be about Ticketmaster, so without any further ado I'm sharing Yahoo! Finance reporting DOJ files lawsuit seeking to break up Live Nation and Ticketmaster.

US Department of Justice (DOJ) officials filed an antitrust lawsuit against concert promoter and ticket seller Live Nation (LYV) on Thursday, making the case that Live Nation created a monopoly through its ownership of Ticketmaster that ultimately resulted in inflated ticket prices. Live Nation has refuted these claims in a statement, saying Ticketmaster's service fees are no higher — if not lower — than on competing ticketing websites.
Citi Managing Director Jason Bazinet focuses on the DOJ's antitrust crackdown in recent years and whether a breakup outcome would ultimately affect concert and event ticket prices.
"This administration is trying to go back to structuralism, that's what's underpinning a lot of the antitrust actions that they're pursuing," Bazinet outlines. "And so that that's difficult, I think, for the judges to understand because they now have 40-plus years of case law that says this is really all about price. And that's why you see Live Nation in their response, focusing on price."
On the one hand, Citi Managing Director Jason Bazinet expressed a pro-business and government skeptical perspective on this case. He attributes the DOJ bringing this case to a change in legal philosophy, if not outright ideology. On the other, he thinks this case will succeed, despite Live Nation/Ticketmaster's arguments about price. On the gripping hand (hey, the conceit of this blog is that humans are acting like Moties), Bazinet is missing a purely political motive, which I'll get to at the end.

PBS NewsHour hosted a guest with a contrasting opinion in Ticketmaster, Live Nation a monopoly that should be broken up, Justice Department alleges.

The Department of Justice wants the courts to break up Ticketmaster parent company Live Nation, the biggest concert promoter in the U.S. The company has faced intense scrutiny over prices and tickets selling out and reappearing on resale sites. More than two dozen states and the District of Columbia joined the lawsuit. California Attorney General Rob Bonta joined Geoff Bennett to discuss more.
California Attorney General Rob Bonta advocated for the role of government in maintaining free markets. Unregulated markets don't remain free for long. As I wrote last year, "Ticketmaster is a monopoly, which are bad for consumers since there is no competition to drive down prices, so monopolies require regulation. Where's the regulation in this picture? Maybe that's why there were hearings..." Speaking of hearings, MSNBC interviewed one of the Senators who held those hearings in ‘A long time coming’: Sen. Klobuchar on DOJ's Ticketmaster lawsuit before DOJ's press conference.

The Justice Department is set to announce a new lawsuit against Ticketmaster’s owner. NBC News’ Christine Romans has the latest details. Also, Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., joins Ana Cabrera to share her thoughts on what needs to be done and discusses the growing calls for Justice Alito to recuse himself from January 6th cases.
For my response, I'm going to repeat what I wrote last year.
Both the Ticketmaster hearings and the closing of Splash Mountain at Disney World qualify this entry as the Sunday entertainment feature. Both news items tie into what I first wrote in 2011, "America is quite clear about its screwed up priorities­. My experience has convinced me that the surest way to get Americans to act is to mess with their entertainm­ent." Both Ticketmaster and Disney messed with (some) Americans' entertainment, although I'm more sympathetic [to] the Swifties than those complaining about Splash Mountain. The former are reacting to a monopoly, while the latter strike me as a bit selfish and insensitive.
That leads me back to the hearings themselves.
The discussion bypassed regulation entirely and went directly to using anti-trust action to break up Ticketmaster and Live Nation. Wow! That would be radical action that would create competition, which the market needs.
And that's what DOJ is doing, suing to break up the monopoly.

The federal lawsuit shows that messing with Americans' entertainment is getting the U.S. government to act. Politically involved people may think that there are more important things the DOJ can do, but this is a priority for more Americans. I expect it will be very popular, especially among young people, since Taylor Swift was Time's 2023 Person of the Year and the most searched on Google last year, and it was the problems with getting tickets for her concerts that brought this issue to a head.

That's a wrap for this week's entertainment update. Stay tuned for Memorial Day.

Saturday, May 25, 2024

Detroit's population increases for first time since 1957

I am sharing good news that I didn't expect to happen this soon, Detroit reversing its population decline. I begin with Click On Detroit/WDIV 4 reporting Detroit population rises after decades of decline last week.

Detroit had seen an exodus of people since the 1950s. Yet the estimates released Thursday show Detroit's population rose by just 1,852 people from 631,366 in 2022 to 633,218 last year.
That's a great use of graphics to give the numbers impact and make people pay attention to them!

CBS Detroit provided more context and human interest in their report, Detroit sees population growth for first time since 1950s.

After decades of decline, Detroit's population population is finally growing once again, according to new estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau.
This is such good news that it's enough to make me repost Professor Farnsworth.

I haven't shared this particular meme since 2022, so it's a big deal.

I can't let this silver cloud pass without showing its dark lining, which WDIV reported in Experts call for action as population in Michigan dwindles on March 21, 2024.

Michigan's population growth is among the worst in the nation, and it has experts sounding the alarm for some action in Lansing.
Michigan being a climate haven in a warming world will not be enough for more people to move here. The state has to makes itself and especially its cities more appealing, as I wrote last year.
I'm in favor of getting people to move here, both because it's a safer place to live (but not immune from the extreme weather associated with climate change as the second video mentioned) and because the state has room. Detroit alone lost more than one million people since its 1950 peak and other Michigan cities have lost people as well, so they alone could take up the slack — that is, if they can become better places to live and work. People moved out of Michigan to seek work, so state and local governments need to work with businesses to promote and create sustainable industries to employ the people who move here and rebuild infrastructure to support them in a warmer and, for Michigan, wetter world. Infrastructure and housing construction to accommodate people moving here will provide a lot of jobs by themselves, but that only lasts so long. Ask Las Vegas, for example.
Looks like Detroit is succeeding in this department. Just the same, it needs to improve its mass transit, as CityNerd ranked metro Detroit as the fourth worst city in the U.S. for transit. I might share his video next week for a driving update. Stay tuned, after tomorrow's Sunday entertainment feature, where I plan on writing about Ticketmaster.

Friday, May 24, 2024

'The Daily Show' and Stephen Colbert examine Justice Alito's flags

I haven't focused on the Supreme Court since March 1st, when I posted Colbert, Meyers, and 'The Daily Show' take closer looks at Supreme Court hearing immunity appeal. That was nearly three months ago, so it's time to look at the highest court in the land again, beginning with The Daily Show's opening segment from last night, Justice Samuel Alito Caught Flying Insurrectionist Flags & Haley Endorses Trump.

Michael Kosta dives into Justice Sam Alito's collection of radical right-wing flags hung outside his house, Nikki Haley’s backhanded endorsement for Trump, and daily weed use surpassing alcohol consumption. Plus, Troy Iwata unpacks the meaning of Alito’s controversial flags.
I'm going to repeat what I wrote in March.
I've been expressing concerns over the legitimacy of the Supreme Court since at least the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the rush to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett, which I repeated in John Oliver examines the Supreme Court after 'Last Week Tonight' wins four Emmy Awards and CNBC examines 'How The Supreme Court May Threaten Democracy'. This could be another way the Surpreme Court threatens democracy...
Not through "justice delayed is justice denied," which is what's happening to the remaining Trump investigations you should actually care about, especially Trump's Bombshell Federal Document Indictment AKA Donald in the John With Boxes, but through outright bias and contempt for the rule of law.* Stephen Colbert opened Alito Flew “Stop the Steal” Flag After Jan 6 | Trump: Biden Must Take Drug Test | Rudy Gets Served, his monologue on Monday night, expressing a similar sentiment.

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito blames his wife for the insurrectionist flag that flew in front of their home after January 6, 2020, Donald Trump wants President Biden to take a drug test before they debate, and Arizona prosecutors served Rudy Giuliani indictment papers at his 80th birthday party.
Stephen updated the controversy in last night's Marijuana Everywhere | Alito Flew Pro-Trump Flag At His Shore House | Trump Says Biden Will Drop Out.

More Americans are smoking weed than ever before, a Supreme Court Justice and the Speaker of the House have both flown a flag associated with Christian nationalism and the Jan 6 insurrection, and Donald Trump thinks President Biden will drop out of the presidential race before November.
Donald Trump thinks Biden should take a drug test and doubts Biden will still be running in November. First, as I wrote in the most tweeted link from the blog last year, Projection is the Right's favorite defense mechanism. Trump projects, so he fits right in. Second, he is displaying his his vulnerability to conspiracy theories, in this case, showing that he's drinking his own Flavor Aid (not Kool-Aid — the common version of the phrase is historically inaccurate) about Biden.

I close with Monday's cold open, Blaming The Wife.

Sen. Bob Menendez and Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito are the latest political figures to jump on the trend of blaming their misdeeds on their wives.
Both sides do it? Yeah, only the worst people on both sides.

*That case resulted in more comedy this week, which I might cover tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Randy Rainbow returns with 'FORTY-FIVE!'

I concluded John Oliver on duck stamps and octopuses for International Day for Biological Diversity with this program note.
I told my readers "My readers will hear the melody of 'Nine To Five' later this week when I feature Randy Rainbow's latest" in the middle of Marching music for the Kentucky and Oregon primaries — Oregon Crusaders and marching bands. That's next, so stay tuned.
Now that Randy is back from tour, he's putting out new videos. Yay! I'm sharing the ones he's released so far, beginning with FORTY-FIVE! - A Randy Rainbow Song Parody.

Parody of “9 to 5” (music and lyrics by Dolly Parton)

Parody lyrics by Randy Rainbow
Vocals: Randy Rainbow
Song Produced, Orchestrated, Mixed, Mastered by Michael J Moritz Jr @michaeljmoritz
Vocal Arrangement - Brett Boles

Piano, Synths - Michael J Moritz Jr
Bass - Adam DeAscentis
Drums - Billy LaGuardia
Guitars - Dylan Kondor
Saxes - Ryan Saranich
Trumpets - James Canty
Engineer - Joe Amadio
That's the kind of video I was hoping for when I wrote Randy Rainbow asks 'HOW WILL YOU VOTE?' for Flashback Friday two months ago.

As an encore, I'm sharing Randy's first video after his tour, Randy Rainbow 2024 Campaign Ad.

New videos coming soon…

“Campaign Ad” written by Bobby Quinn Rice and Randy Rainbow
Voice of “Trump”: John Di Domenico
Randy's most important campaign promise was that new videos would be coming soon and, so far, he's delivered. May they be enough that he be nominated again for the Emmys. He wasn't last year, which made me grumpy.
I'm going to whine about two of my favorite previous nominees being snubbed this year, The Randy Rainbow Show and Stephen Colbert Presents Tooning Out the News. I finally get on board the Randy Rainbow train and it's not going to the Emmys. Poop. Not having both means that laughing at politics and government has diminished to almost nothing in the short form categories.
These two videos made the eligibility deadline, so they might be enough. Here's to hoping and seeing more videos from Randy.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

John Oliver on duck stamps and octopuses for International Day for Biological Diversity

Happy International Day for Biological Diversity! No Prehistoric Planet today as season 3 has not been announced. Instead, I'm taking advantage of today being Wayback Wednesday by featuring two segments of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver featuring biodiversity from the back catalog beginning with Duck Stamps from 2021.

John Oliver dives into the tense and competitive world of duck stamps.
Art in the service of conservation — I approve!

Next, Octopuses, also from 2021.

John Oliver explains why octopuses are cool, great, and yes, called “octopuses”.
I haven't mentioned My Octopus Teacher outside of the linkspams to retrospectives of Crazy Eddie's Motie News top posts about entertainment for a while, so it's about time I wrote about it again by finally watching and embedding this video, which is just as hilarious as it is informative. John Oliver and his writers and editors should make more segments about animals beyond these two and "Air Bud," but that's a video for another day.

I told my readers "My readers will hear the melody of 'Nine To Five' later this week when I feature Randy Rainbow's latest" in the middle of Marching music for the Kentucky and Oregon primaries — Oregon Crusaders and marching bands. That's next, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Marching music for the Kentucky and Oregon primaries — Oregon Crusaders and marching bands

Welcome to this election cycle's version of marching music for the Kentucky and Oregon primaries! Oregon had a competitive drum corps, the Oregon Crusaders, so I'm beginning today's music to listen to while waiting for results with FloMarching's Oregon Crusaders 2018 Highlight // San Antonio.

Those are the visual highlights, but didn't include any of the corps' actual audio. For that, watch and listen to 22nd Oregon Crusaders 2018 from Drum Corps Library.

This show might look familiar to my long-time readers, as I featured it in Drink to 2018 Oregon Crusaders 'Redrum' for a drum corps Halloween five years ago. That post has held up rather well, so I don't mind reusing the idea. Just the same, enjoy this unofficial upload while it lasts.

Next, the first of two college marching band submissions to the Metallica marching band contest, University of Oregon Marching Band - Metallica Show.

Check out the University of Oregon Marching Band's full Metallica Halftime show at the Oregon vs USC game!

Filmed by: Sam Dennis, Micah Laird and Jason Silveira
Duck video by: Sam Dennis and MarQee Maunakea
Photos by: Dawn Harrison
Edited by: Sam Dennis
That was a fun performance. Better luck this fall, should the band enter this year's contest!

Now for a band I have not featured before, Dolly Parton - 9/29/2023 - The Spirit and Sound of OSU.

Today’s halftime is under the direction of center Drum Major Oliver Devereaux and features the music of one of the all time great singer-songwriters of the 20th century. First appearing on stage at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1959, her success initially came as a songwriter, until breaking on to the scene with seven top twenty singles in the early 70’s. Sing along as we bring you the music of country music legend Dolly Parton!

// I Will Always Love You - Jolene //

Beaver Nation, please welcome back on to the field your OSU Dance Team!

// Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That //

Let’s hear it once again for the OSU Dance Team!

We close today’s program with undoubtedly Dolly’s biggest hit. It was a triple number one hit, reaching 1st position on the country, pop, and adult contemporary charts, and was nominated for the Oscar for best original song. Ladies and gentlemen, pour yourselves a cup of ambition and tap your toes to Nine To Five!

// Nine To Five //
My readers will hear the melody of "Nine To Five" later this week when I feature Randy Rainbow's latest. In the meantime, follow over the jump for two marching bands from Kentucky.

Monday, May 20, 2024

PBS Terra explains 'Why Bumble Bees Are the Fuzzy Heroes We Need' for World Bee Day

Happy World Bee Day! Since honeybees have their own day, I'm looking at the other well-known group of social bees today, bumblebees. Because of that, I'm sharing PBS Terra explaining Why Bumble Bees Are the Fuzzy Heroes We Need.

If the insect world has a fuzzy, charismatic cutie, it’s surely the humble bumble bee. While insect populations are declining around the globe, bumble bees face unique threats that make them particularly vulnerable. Surveying projects across the U.S. are combining the forces of researchers and community scientists to help protect these critical native pollinators.

Our host and museum curator, Jessica Ware, Ph.D. dives inside the hive to explore why honey bees aren’t the coolest pollinator in town. And Hillary Sardiñas, the pollinator coordinator for the California Department of Fish and Wildlife shows us how to net a queen bumble bee and explains how you can get involved in the mission to save imperiled insects! The series is produced for PBS by the American Museum of Natural History.
The opening repeats the point of Vox explains 'What we get wrong about saving the bees' for World Honey Bee Day; we're worrying about the wrong bees. People in North America may not have enough honeybees to do all the things we need them to do, but they're not going to go extinct. Honeybees are not bananas. On the other hand, some species of bumblebees are threatened or endangered, and we need those, too.

That's a wrap for World Bee Day, but I'm not done with biodiversity this week, as Wednesday is International Day for Biological Diversity. Stay tuned for that after tomorrow's marching music for the Kentucky and Oregon primaries.

Sunday, May 19, 2024

'SNL' season finale opens with 'Summer of Trump'

Last night's season finale of Saturday Night Live began with Summer of Trump Cold Open.

Donald Trump (James Austin Johnson) holds a press conference outside of the Manhattan courthouse and introduces some of his supporters (Heidi Gardner, Devon Walker, Michael Longfellow).
Kristi Noem is still a running joke and Devon Walker's Tim Scott reappears after attending a Trump victory party after the South Carolina Republican Primary. Both are top prospects for Vice President, but only Scott attended Trump's trial. I guess South Dakota is too far away and being Governor is keeping her too busy, unlike the Senators and Representatives who took time off from their work in Washington, D.C., to support Trump and then came back and caused trouble, which was one of the top stories in Weekend Update: Trump vs. Biden Debate, Marjorie Taylor Greene and Jasmine Crockett Trade Insults.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like Steve Bannon calling himself the voice of MAGA.
To be fair, while Marjorie Taylor Greene went to New York last month, she didn't go this week and criticized her colleagues who did. Other than causing trouble to attract attention to herself, she's consistently inconsistent.

Weekend Update continued with Tom Brady Regrets Roast, $800 Pee-Stained Jeans.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news, like McDonald’s introducing a grandma inspired McFlurry.
Making fun of Tom Brady alone qualifies today's entry as the Sunday entertainment feature. So does the item about orcas, which reminds me of Blackfish, which was snubbed by the Oscars, but led to SeaWorld phasing out orca shows and orca breeding. I should write about orcas sinking yachts, but I'm saving that for another entry. In the meantime, I'm sharing another animal story, Two Cicadas on the Largest Cicada Emergence.

Two cicadas (Kenan Thompson, Marcello Hernández) stop by Weekend Update to discuss two separate groups of cicadas erupting from the soil this summer.
Would my readers believe I've never mentioned cicadas on this blog before today? I haven't and it's the kind of story I should have written about already. Thanks to SNL, I finally am.

Weekend Update concluded for the season with Colin Jost and Michael Che Swap Jokes for Season 49 Finale.

Weekend Update anchors Colin Jost and Michael Che tackle the week's biggest news and make each other read jokes they've never seen to close out season 49.
I knew this would be an exercise in bad taste and I wasn't disappointed. Also, I think Colin got the worst of it. Sorry, Colin.

Follow over the jump for three more clips worth sharing more than Colin and Michael pranking each other with Michael winning.

Saturday, May 18, 2024

Company Man asks 'The Decline of Red Lobster...What Happened?' A tale of the Retail Apocalypse

Yesterday, I asked my readers "Retail Apocalypse, anyone?" That question was as much for me, so after looking at the latest hush money trial news and Armed Forces Day, I decided the answer was yes. Without any further ado, watch as Company Man asks The Decline of Red Lobster...What Happened?

America's biggest casual dining seafood restaurant may be filing for bankruptcy. This video outlines Red Lobster's history while identifying the main reasons behind their struggles.
While Red Lobster's current, but not for long, owner Thai Union Group is a publicly traded company, its previous owner was a private equity firm. I listed a who's who of retail chains gutted by private equity in CNN Business explains retail bankruptcies and how private equity is gutting retail, tales of the Retail Apocalypse and again in Business Insider and CNBC explain the rise and fall of Chuck E. Cheese, a tale of the Retail Apocalypse and pandemic. That may not have been the case with Red Lobster, but the debt left behind by the leveraged buyout certainly didn't help the restaurant chain's cash flow afterwards. It also probably prompted its upper management to pursue promotions like Endless Shrimp to increase traffic. They achieved that goal, but at a loss. Oops.

Company Man Mike uploaded his video on Apr 24, 2024, so a lot has happened since. For that I turn to Inside Edition asking Could 'Endless Shrimp' Deal Cause Red Lobster's Bankruptcy?

Red Lobster announced it is closing 99 restaurants across the U.S. Last summer, the company said the endless shrimp deal would become a permanent fixture on the menu. However, way more customers took advantage of the deal than expected, which triggered an $11 million loss. When Inside Edition’s Les Trent ordered shrimp at a New York City Red Lobster, he found the ultimate endless shrimp deal was not being offered. Turns out, the all-you-can-eat shrimp deal is now only offered on Mondays.
I often write that Inside Edition is not the hardest news source, but the flip side of that is that it humanizes its stories and presents them in accessible and entertaining ways. This report served as a good example of all that.

I now turn to ABC News reporting Red Lobster closes dozens of locations amid financial struggles for a harder news take on the story.

The restaurant chain abruptly closed dozens of branches across the country and The Wall Street Journal reports that the brand is filing for bankruptcy.
Not only is Thai Union Group closing locations and looking to sell what's left of the chain, they're auctioning off the kitchen equipment. That will make the closed locations even less attractive for new restaurants to move in. That will be a problem for the new owners, the landlords, and the community, but not Thai Union Group. They're done with Red Lobster.

That's a wrap for today's tale of the Retail Apocalypse. Stay tuned for highlights of tonight's season finale of Saturday Night Live as the Sunday entertainment feature.

Friday, May 17, 2024

The Brainscoop explains endangered species for Endangered Species Day on Flashback Friday

Happy Endangered Species Day! Since it's Flashback Friday, I'm going back into the archives for The Brainscoop's Endangered Species: an explainer from 2016.

What does it mean to be an endangered species? Are endangered species destined for extinction? We're exploring some of these ideas in celebration of Endangered Species Day...
That was a concise summary of endangered species and the Endangered Species Act, with just enough detail to be useful but not so much that it overwhelms the average viewer. Good job, Emily Graslie! Because I am an expert on mollusks, it should surprise none of my readers that I'm with Emily and #StandWithUnionidBivalves.

Since I have lived in Michigan since 1989 and the Endangered Species Act turned 50 last December, I'm sharing DISCOVERING | Endangered Species Act from Discover the U.P. for an update and local perspective.

Episode 79 - The Endangered Species Act was signed into law 50 years ago and 5 decades later it continues to help conserve species across the country. We talk about some of those species both endangered and recovered since the ESA was passed in 1973, that you can find here in Michigan's Upper Peninsula (some controversial). And I talk to the USFWS about the process in which species are listed, and delisted.
I'm not surprised that wolves are the most controversial animal protected by the Endangered Species Act, as I covered dueling ballot measures about protecting wolves and protecting the wolf hunt ten years ago, which I linked to in Vox uses wolves to explain a shortcoming of the Endangered Species Act. Wolves are a real bone of contention between the residents of the Lower Peninsula, who want to protect wolves, and Upper Peninsula, who want to hunt the wolves, who are a success story. On the other hand, long-earned bats are still in trouble because of white nose syndrome, which I've only mentioned once a dozen years ago. It's about time I did so again.

I plan on examining biodiversity again on Monday for World Bee Day when I will examine bumblebees. In the meantime, stay tuned for an undetermined topic tomorrow (Retail Apocalypse, anyone?) and highlights of the season finale of Saturday Night Live as the Sunday entertainment feature.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Meyers, Colbert, and 'The Daily Show' take closer looks at Biden and Trump agreeing to debates

Court was not in session yesterday, so no hush money trial news today. Donald Trump means there is no such thing as a slow news day. Seth Meyers examines the story in Biden Taunts Trump as Trump Accepts Biden's Debate Terms; MAGA Weirdos Flock to Court: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Trump immediately accepting Biden's proposal for two debates and a bunch of MAGA weirdos and wannabe running mates traveling to New York to appear with Trump at his criminal trial.
Trump thinks he won those debates for the same reason he thinks he won the election four years ago; he can't imagine losing. The Big Lie is something he tells himself, not just everyone else.

Stephen Colbert cracked jokes about the scheduled debates in Trump Accepts Biden’s Debate Conditions | Blinken Disappoints Neil Young Fans | Orcas Attack!

President Biden and Donald Trump will go head to head in two televised debates, Secretary of State Antony Blinken thought Ukrainians would be cheered up by a performance of “Rockin’ in the Free World,” and another yacht was sunk by orcas in the Strait of Gibraltar.
Of course Trump would try to get Biden to accept a third debate on Fox News. It's friendly territory. Right now, Biden isn't biting.

I close with The Daily Show's Biden Challenges Trump To Debate & King Charles’s Controversial Portrait.

Desi Lydic tackles Biden & Trump’s feisty calls for a pre-election debate without worm-ridden opponent RFK Jr., Michael Kosta proposes we use the presidential debate as a geriatric fitness test, and King Charles sees red in his first portrait as king.
I was with Kosta all the way until he suggested the rest of America sneak out of the country. Otherwise, I think using the debates as tests of fitness works for me. I think Biden will win, because he's in better shape than many Americans think. On the other hand, Trump will think he won, regardless of the outcome, because he always thinks he wins. Let's see if he still believes that should he be convicted. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Closer looks at Michael Cohen's testimony and Wildwood rally from Colbert, 'The Daily Show,' and Meyers

I told my readers to "stay tuned for the late night talk show hosts on Michael Cohen's testimony at Trump's hush money trial" today. I'm following through with Stephen Colbert's monologue from last night, President Mob Boss | Melania Coined “Locker Room Talk” | MAGA Pols Line Up To Defend Trump.

Michael Cohen’s testimony in Trump’s hush money trial reveals a man who likes to act like a mafia boss, Melania Trump suggested her husband brush off the “Access Hollywood” tape as “locker room talk,” and the former president’s congressional allies are giving dumb speeches outside the courthouse.
No, Vivek, you were right the first time. Trump is a "sham politician."

Stephen's writers had even more fun with "the former president’s congressional allies are giving dumb speeches outside the courthouse" in last night's cold open, MAGA Takes Manhattan.

Donald Trump has his MAGA puppets lined up outside the courthouse to defend him.
Naptain America couldn't get his family other than Eric to show up at his trial, nor could he get his base supporters to appear, but he was able to get a lot of Republican politicians to support him. Also, I think he sounds like Crazy Frog when he goes "bing, bing." I'm not alone.

The Daily Show focused on the politicians who showed up to speak on Trump's behalf in Trump's Thirsty VP Contenders Crash Trial & ChatGPT’s Flirty AI Update.

Desi Lydic reports on the latest updates from Trump’s criminal trial, which has turned into a who’s-who of wannabe vice presidents and political ass-kissers. Plus, an art installation connecting New York and Dublin turns into utter chaos, and ChatGPT debuts a flirty new voice to answer users that might just have Ronny Chieng and Josh Johnson sold on AI.
"Whoever this guy is" turns out to be North Dakota Governor Doug Bergum, who might be Trump's running mate now that Kristi Noem may have sabotaged her candidacy by "winning" a race to the bottom. Sorry, Elise Stefanik, you haven't risen to the top of the list. Maybe you should attend the trial, too.

All of that was from last night. Follow over the jump for more on Monday from Colbert and Meyers.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Marching music for the Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia Presidential Primaries

Welcome to this election cycle's version of marching music for the Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia Presidential Primaries. It seems that I never wrote one of these for the Maryland primary before despite two chances, so I'm starting here. Besides, Maryland used to have a competitive drum corps, the Yankee Rebels, so I'm kicking off the music to watch and listen while waiting for results with 1994 Yankee Rebels Alumni from one of the at least two Drum Corps Fan accounts on YouTube.

Welcome to the corps' greatest hits. Since this is an unofficial upload, it may not last long, so enjoy it while it lasts.

Moving on to the Old Line State's marching bands, I'm sharing Music City Bowl Performance | December 30, 2023 | The Mighty Sound of Maryland from the University of Maryland Marching Band.

That was a fun show, enough to make me want to watch more of "The Mighty Sound of Maryland."

Follow over the jump for drum corps and marching bands from Nebraska and West Virginia.

Monday, May 13, 2024

'Last Week Tonight' examines food delivery apps

I haven't featured John Oliver on this blog since John Oliver examines student loans for Wayback Wednesday. That was more than a month ago, so I'm making up for lost time by sharing the most viewed video from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver this year since the one I embedded in Boeing gets the John Oliver treatment on 'Last Week Tonight', Food Delivery Apps.

John Oliver discusses food delivery apps, how they are both helping and harming restaurants and workers, and why starting an orphanage definitely should not be your side hustle.
Welcome to a lasting effect of the pandemic for good and ill. As I first wrote four years ago, "Note that Stephanie Ruhle segued into retail and the transition from brick-and-mortar job losses into job opportunities in online ordering and delivery. The response to the coronavirus pandemic is accelerating existing trends." Using food delivery apps is one of them. Now we have to adjust to the new normal that includes them, such as making sure we tip adequately.

Stay tuned for this election cycle's version of marching music for the Maryland, Nebraska, and West Virginia Presidential Primaries, followed by the late night talk show hosts on Michael Cohen's testimony at Trump's hush money trial.

Sunday, May 12, 2024

'SNL' celebrates Mother's Day with the cast's moms and Maya Rudolph

Happy Mother's Day! As I promised yesterday, I'm posting a Mother's Day edition of highlights from last night's Saturday Night Live beginning with Mother’s Day 2024 Cold Open.

Kenan Thompson, Andrew Dismukes, Chloe Fineman, Punkie Johnson, Mikey Day, Chloe Troast, Molly Kearney, Michael Longfellow, Devon Walker, James Austin Johnson, Marcello Hernández, Ego Nwodim, Sarah Sherman, John Higgins, Ben Marshall, Martin Herlihy, Bowen Yang, and Colin Jost bring their mothers on the show.
That was funny and sweet, just like three years ago when 'SNL' celebrated Mother's Day with the cast's and guests' moms. I was hoping they would reuse that idea and I got my wish.

This week's host had her own holiday feature in Maya Rudolph Mother’s Day Monologue.

Maya Rudolph talks about celebrating Mother's Day on SNL before performing a song.

Follow over the jump for Weekend Update and selected skits.

Saturday, May 11, 2024

Social Security's top ten U.S. baby names of 2023 for Mother's Day weekend

Happy Mother's Day weekend! As I promised yesterday, I'm posting this year's edition of 'Social Security’s Top 10 Baby Names of 2022' for Mother's Day. Watch Social Security’s Top 10 Baby Names of 2023.

Just arrived! Find out the top 10 baby names of 2023 from Social Security, the source for the most popular baby names each year!
Oh, look, Martin O'Malley! I don't think I've mentioned him here since Serious and silly about how the Iowa Caucuses work from CBS News, Samantha Bee, and 'The Good Wife', when I remarked that he participated and then dropped out. I'm glad to see him in the federal government. Way to land on his feet!

Last year, I wrote "a name I've been tracking for years, Mateo, the name of Jane's son in 'Jane the Virgin,' continued its rise to eleventh from fifteenth in 2021, twentieth in 2020, 26th in 2019, and 37th in 2018. I wouldn't be surprised if Mateo reached the top ten this year or next." Mateo made the top ten in a big way in 2023, soaring to sixth. I'm not surprised Mateo made it, just that the name got this high this soon. Theodore also made a move from tenth last year to seventh this year. On the other hand, Henry and Lucas both dropped one place, William fell from sixth to tenth, and Benjamin dropped out of the top ten entirely to eleventh!

All ten of last year's girls names remained in the top ten with only Mia leapfrogging over Isabella and Ava to shuffle the order. Even Harper, which fell out in 2022, stayed in eleventh. On the topic of girl's names, Xiomara, another name from Jane the Virgin I've been tracking, continued gaining in popularity, rising to 402 in 2023 from 493 (corrected from 494) in 2022, 551 in 2021, 606 in 2020, and 652 in 2019. Jane itself managed to reverse its long-term slide in popularity, rising nine places to 281 from 290 in 2022 and 265 in 2021 after peaking at 261 in 2020. Whew! Finally!

On the topic of baby names increasing in popularity last year, CBS News examined those in "Chozen" and "Emryn" are rising fast as most popular baby names of the year are revealed.
While some names didn't break into the top 10, they proved to have grown in popularity. The name Emryn for girls jumped 1,287 places, coming it at No. 888 on the list. Fastest-rising boys name Izael burst into the top 1,000 in 2023, landing at No. 806.

Chozen also spiked, becoming the second-fastest rising boys name, coming it at No. 813. In the Netflix show "Cobra Kai," the character Chozen becomes the hero at the end of the fifth and latest season, which aired in September 2022 and could've had an impact on the baby name trend.

The fastest-rising name for girls may have also been influenced by media – social media, that is. Kaeli, the name of YouTuber and TikTok star Kaeili McEwen, rose 1,692 spots. The content creator, who goes by Kaeli Mae, has 14.8 million followers on TikTok and is known for lifestyle videos focused on cleaning and organizing.

Another popular boy name has a connection to social media. Content creator Wyatt Eiden, who has 3.1 million followers on TikTok, is known for quizzing strangers on the street and giving out prizes. His last name, Eiden, is the third-fastest riser on the boy name list.
That's an analysis I couldn't have written myself!

I'm briefly calling attention to the fourth-fastest rising name on the boys list, Cassian. It's the given name of the protagonist of Rogue One and Andor and is thus a Star Wars name. I plan on covering those names for Father's Day weekend. In the meantime, stay tuned for a Mother's Day edition of Saturday Night Live.

Friday, May 10, 2024

Colbert, Meyers, Stewart, and Kimmel take more closer looks at Stormy Daniels testimony

I told my readers "stay tuned for more coverage" today to conclude yesterday's Meyers, Colbert, Kimmel, and 'The Daily Show' take closer looks at Stormy Daniels testimony and Kristi Noem's book appearances. I'm following through, beginning with Stephen Colbert's monologue from last night, Stormy Zings Trump From Witness Stand | Mar-a-Lago ComicCon | Breaking Up Paramount | Brain Worms.

Stormy Daniels landed a few verbal punches during her testimony in Trump’s hush money trial, the former president hosted NFT buyers for a meal at Mar-a-Lago, CBS could be auctioned off if Paramount is sold, and there’s no end to the fascination around the worm that ate a portion of RFK Jr.’s brain.
If anything, the second day of Stormy's testimony was even better than the first, since Naptain America's lawyers gave her plenty of opportunities. I'll get to those later. Right now, I want to write that media consolidation has not been a good thing, but I'm not sure Paramount's likely buyer selling it off for parts is the way to reverse it. It might just result in a different form of consolidation that might just be worse than what we have now. Sigh.

Second, I have never mentioned Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., (RFK Jr.) on this blog before, which even I find surprising because of how much I wrote about minor party candidates for when it was a thing. That's because I was using that to distinguish my coverage or partition the niche, to borrow a concept from ecology, which gave me a unique angle among Michigan election reporters. They didn't care much about minor parties, so I would. It wasn't because I supported minor party candidates; I was a precinct delegate for the Michigan Democratic Party all the years I covered elections for I no longer have such an interest to promote, so I'll gladly tear down minor party candidates, especially for the Natural Law Party, about whose leader I wrote "I'm annoyed at [Doug Dern] for not cooperating with me as an reporter--but that's another story for another time." "Another time" was in the footnote to Michigan's two smallest parties nominated candidates, too.
I don't much care for the Natural Law Party, and not because of their ideology. It's because of all the minor parties that I covered during my years writing for, they were the least cooperative. I called and asked for dates of conventions and lists of nominees and never got either. It was like they didn't want news coverage or free media. Consequently, I never wrote an article about them.
They finally got free media from news coverage when the Natural Law Party nominated RFK Jr. for President. I was not the least bit surprised that they did. RFK Jr. is their kind of candidate and will almost certainly give the Natural Law Party the most votes ever, which means he's good for the party even if he's bad for the rest of us for no other reason than his anti-vaccine views. Those, at least, make him a bigger threat to Donald Trump than to Joe Biden.

Speaking of Trump, follow over the jump for more late night talk show hosts mocking him in their monologues.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Meyers, Colbert, Kimmel, and 'The Daily Show' take closer looks at Stormy Daniels testimony and Kristi Noem's book appearances

Happy Throwback Thursday! I know I suggested "a serious look back at Trump's hush money trial so far" yesterday, but I couldn't resist examining the proceedings through comedy, just like last week. Laughter helps me digest the news better.

Without any further ado, I begin with Seth Meyers examining Trump Humiliated in Court by Stormy Testimony; Kristi Noem’s Disastrous Book Tour: A Closer Look.

Seth takes a closer look at Donald Trump coming face to face with Stormy Daniels in his criminal trial while his top VP contender Kristi Noem is grilled about lying in her book.
Seth is right; how will we teach today's events to tomorrow's children as history? Seth isn't the only comedian wondering about that. Stephen Colbert did as well in Trump To Stormy: You Remind Me Of My Daughter | Met Gala Looks | Dogs Dyed To Look Like Pandas.

Stormy Daniels testified about her one-night stand with Donald Trump, Stephen broke down his favorite looks from the Met Gala, and a Chinese zoo got caught trying to pass off dogs as pandas.
Unlike SNL, which made Kristi Noem a running joke in 'SNL' covers protests, Kristi Noem, and hush money trial with Dua Lipa doing double duty, Stephen couldn't bring himself to mention her in the video description, even though he included her media appearances in his monologue. Instead, he closed with two light topics, the Met Gala and the dogs as fake pandas. At least those dogs were cute and made even cuter by dying them like giant pandas.

Jimmy Kimmel remarked that his show was entered as an exhibit for the trial in Stormy Daniels Details Sex with Trump, Jimmy Mentioned AGAIN & Puppy Killer Noem's Disastrous Book.

Today the prosecution called Stormy Daniels to the stand in Trump’s hush money case, Jimmy was mentioned AGAIN in reference to an interview she did on our show, she revealed some details about her sexual encounter with Trump, after hearing the first half of her testimony he took to Truth social begging for a mistrial, after making a huge deal about missing his son Barron’s graduation - Donny is set to headline an event in Minnesota, Governor Kristi Noem is now distancing herself from her own autobiography after admitting to shooting her puppy and lying about meeting Kim Jong Un, the Met Gala took place in New York last night, and the monologue gets interrupted by a man named Von Schitzenpantz, who bares the same name that Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen came up with for him.
All of these clips have mentioned that there would be no description of genitalia, but Kimmel told his viewers where to look for one. This manipulated photo gives a hint.

Too bad it's fake. The real dress was plain royal blue without any orange mushrooms. Darn.

The Daily Show had its own take on Stormy's testimony in Stormy Daniels's NSFW Testimony & Vladimir Putin Wins “Democratic” Election.

Jordan Klepper recaps his favorite Met Gala looks, Putin puts on his own night of dictator opulence at his inauguration, and Troy Iwata weighs in on the disturbingly dirty details of Stormy Daniels's testimony during Trump's criminal hush money trial.
At least The Daily Show didn't talk about Noem, her dog, and Kim Jong Un. That was getting painful.

I close by returning to The Late Show with the relevant cold open, Porn Hub’s New Legal Series.

"Court Hub" is a new series of adult legal films released to celebrate Stormy Daniels testifying in the Trump hush money trial.

Stay tuned for more coverage tomorrow.