Current Event Friday #94

A man attacks a recliner and it has nothing to do with a furniture store

Remember when air travel was an exciting event that people dressed up for and looked forward to? Those days have gone the way of records, analog televisions, and cursive writing. Now, air travel provides opportunities for people to become angry as they are hopefully trying to escape stress to a vacation hotspot or they’re returning rested and refreshed. Sadly, two passengers couldn’t get along and are today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

A traveler flying from New Orleans to Charlotte with American Airlines on Jan. 31 posted an incident from that flight to her social media, and the video quickly went viral. In the video posted, another traveler, an unidentified man begins punching the woman’s seat.

Reading that summary, it’d be easy to say that the would-be-boxer is in the wrong and should apologize. Yet, the woman posting the video had reclined her seat and when doing so it invaded the unidentified man’s space. So, maybe he has at least a legitimate gripe with the woman. Given that airplanes don’t really offer that much space, having a passenger in front of you take away any more of that space by reclining could be a point of contention.

Of course, most of us would just be angered and vent to family or friends after disembarking. But both of these passengers decided if they’re going to go at it over something so trivial, they should turn it up to eleven. The video shows the two passengers loudly arguing about who is in the right, and eventually a flight attendant tries to intervene. The woman posting the video claims the flight attendant asked her to stop the recording and offered the angry man an alcoholic beverage to calm down.

That should be the end of the story, but no such luck. Now the woman who posted the video is seeking legal action and plans to sue the punching man and the flight attendant. She adds that she has reported the incident to the FBI. To support her case, the woman claims she has had to have x-rays, suffers from headaches and has lost time from work.

The legal action is why people tell lawyer jokes. Parents with kids who kick their seats in cars are no stranger to the same issue as the lady posting this video. When’s the last time you heard one of these parents having headaches or missing work from their kids throwing these tantrums? I’ll admit the guy should have refrained from punching the seat and it wouldn’t have risen to this level. Even those who are angry in the moment about strangers’ behavior on planes usually find passive-aggressive ways to deal with it or as the cool conflict managers and elementary teachers instruct, “use their words” to solve problems.

I’m also probably the last person to weigh in on no space on airlines. I’m 5’6” so I don’t take up much space on planes anyways, so I’m not bothered, plus I’m pretty sure that airplane seats barely recline anyways. It’s not like automobile seats that recline to nearly 90o that end up on the laps of backseat passengers.

Regardless, civility and understanding are sorely missed in society nowadays. Airplane travelers need to be aware that other people are on the plane and realize those travelers might be a little stressed from early wakeups or long security checks too. Basically, if everyone could remember the lessons of kindergarten and respect others and their spaces, we’d be better off.

Should the lady who posted the video been more understanding?

Current Event Friday #93

A Democratic Presidential candidate tries to avoid being caught being hypocritical

Let’s play Hide and Seek. 1, 2, 3…28, 29, 30. Ready or not here I come. To be clear, I am not writing a blog post with hidden Easter eggs hidden throughout. The hide and seek is about one of the Democratic hopefuls for president. Today’s #CurrentEventFriday is all about that candidate’s attempt to disguise what could be seen as hypocrisy. Somewhat coincidental, this post like the latest #HistoryMonday is all about a plane and Iowa.

I’m tempted to offer you 3 guesses on which candidate hid when caught being less than truthful and you’ll probably guess easily. If you guessed Elizabeth Warren, you’d be right. She’s seemingly always being caught in a lie or mistruth. This week while returning from Senate obligations to Iowa for the final push in the Iowa Caucuses, Warren was spotted disembarking from a private plane, but realized she was being filmed and hid behind a staffer.

Candidates traveling by private plane wouldn’t normally be newsworthy, but when you’ve railed against the rich and powerful using private planes which contribute to climate change, then it seems a bit hypocritical.  When asked at a climate event in New Hampshire in October, “What specific steps have you taken in your campaign to ensure that your campaign’s environmental impact is as limited as possible?”  Warren responded by telling the host: “So, I’ve mostly been flying commercial, um, but we’ve been trying to look at other ways that we can reduce our carbon footprint and it’s everything from the kind of car we drive, uh and down to … do we purchase offsets, can we make that work as a way to try to reduce the footprint.”

Flying private planes which have been argued as damaging to the planet and a luxury only the evil wealthy seem to own, tends to devalue the argument that climate change is serious. Other politicians who advocate for more regulation to curb climate change have also undermined their argument when buying coastal properties and using transportation like private planes and gasoline-powered ground transportation. Examples of this hypocritical sanctimony about climate change include Leonardo DiCaprio flying all over the world on a private plane to advocate for climate change or Pres. Obama attending an European summit in “The Beast” a diesel-powered limousine while promoting climate change regulations at the summit. Even recently, the Obamas purchased coastal property which might lead skeptics to believe that climate change isn’t as serious as we are led to believe.

Even the newest darling of the Democratic base, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has backed down on climate alarmism. Shortly after being elected to the House of Representatives, AOC said in an interview that the world had at most 12 years, when asked how she arrived at that number, she clarified she used 12 as a placeholder number to mean not in the immediate next few years, but just a little longer.

Admittedly, I’m skeptical of the climate change argument and the near religious belief of its proponents. In the last four decades, the shift in what climate change is upon us seems too flexible to be believed, In the 1970’s the fear was the earth would cool to a drastic level bringing a 2nd Ice Age. When the 2nd Ice Age didn’t happen after a decade and a half of fearmongering, then we were told that the earth was dangerously heating. Then after similar fears didn’t materialize after a decade and a half we were told that the new fear was climate change. I’m willing to believe and admit that the climate is changing, I tend to question the degree or the complete blame on humanity for it. This position seemingly is the conservative position, but there are some on the right who deny any climate change and by extension human responsibility.

Back to Elizabeth Warren, there’s already footage of her on the plane before she hid behind the staffer so she can’t pretend she wasn’t on the plane. She could easily admit that a commercial flight was unavailable to accommodate her schedule, and she made a one-time flight on a private plane and this goes away. Although given her spotty record with the truth, she doesn’t have a lot of credibility to begin with if she made such a statement. The better approach is quit attacking the people who have just as much money and influence as she does. Basically, follow the old adage about throwing stones when living in glass houses.

Should Elizabeth Warren fly on private planes and stop condemning those who do?

Current Event Friday #92

A day to celebrate groundhogs is apparently dangerous to groundhogs

February is upon us and with it, Spring will soon be approaching. Many will turn to rodent meteorologists this weekend, but not everybody is looking forward to that. Why one group is denouncing the practice of Groundhog Day is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

Groundhog Club handler John Griffiths holds Punxsutawney Phil, the weather prognosticating groundhog, during the 131st celebration of Groundhog Day on Gobbler's Knob in Punxsutawney, Pa. Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (Associated Press)
Punxsutawney Phil, being shown to the crowd by his handler from the Groundhog Club on Groundhog Day

As every February 2 comes and goes, if the groundhog Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow this weekend in the small Pennsylvania town, he will retreat, and winter will continue for six weeks. If Phil does not see his shadow, spring will be here soon. Maybe not the most scientific system since we’ve basically agreed that March 21/22 is the vernal equinox regardless maybe Groundhog Day is a strange practice. The folks at PETA tweeted about the practice and believe it’s not only odd but it’s dangerous for Phil.

PETA argues that Phil’s artificial habitat for 364 days out of the year doesn’t provide him with true environments to be a groundhog. Not only that, being picked up, shown to crowds, and photographed like a Hollywood celeb is scary and unnerving for Phil.

As a possible solution, PETA has suggested using a robot groundhog that could predict the weather thanks to artificial intelligence. Using this animatronic groundhog, PETA argues would still celebrate groundhogs and drive tourists to Punxsutawney, PA for the celebration. The Groundhog Club president Bill Deeley responded to PETA’s suggestions that people want to see Phil, a living, breathing, actual groundhog and not some robot.

Frankly, I’m surprised PETA hasn’t made this push before. It’s not a recently created event, so they’ve had decades to protest the celebration and suggest a different approach. Maybe, the advances in robotics would have prevented that until now but can’t imagine that PETA really cares whether there’s a robot or not. Like many others, looking at a calendar and doing some quick math is a lot more realistic than watching a groundhog see its shadow.

Although, I may not celebrate Groundhog Day like those in Punxsutawney or other locations celebrating the day, I’m not going to be a jerk about it. PETA like many other ‘woke’ or PC organizations and groups have become unbearable and lacking nuance in their arguments, appealing to emotional manipulations and insults rather than discussion. So, instead I’ll just treat Groundhog Day like any other obscure holiday and live it like any regular Sunday in the year.

Should Groundhog Day celebrations include a robot groundhog instead of a living one?

Current Event Friday #91

What happens when Winter hits Florida?

As the mercury drops, and many are seeking somewhere warmer, Florida perhaps. Not so fast my friend, it’s actually cold in many places in Florida currently and it’s affecting the wildlife in the region. The effects and consequences are today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Meteorologists warned that a cold snap was set to hit South Florida this week with temperatures in the 40s. This drastic change in temperature meant that at least one day this week, towns in the Northern U.S. sharing a border with Canada were warmer than parts of South Florida.

Even more noticeable and surprising, the chilly temperatures mean cold-blooded animals become immobile and their bodies have to adjust to temperatures they’re not usually equipped to deal with. Meteorologists also added a warning that one of those cold-blooded species, the iguana might fall from trees they usually rest on when the temperatures are higher.

So, that’s a phenomenon that tourists and locals are going to be fascinated with obviously. I can remember seeing iguanas running around Key West when I visited about this time last year. Seeing iguanas lying around and inactive would be peculiar to say the least.

Even more shocking, some restaurateurs and food purveyors are catching the frozen iguanas in order to make dishes using ‘chicken of the trees’ for the more adventurous eaters. One of the more popular dishes is iguana tacos shared by University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences.

USDA officials warned that for those eating iguana meat at restaurants or ordering the meat online, be sure to cook it to an internal temperature of 160o F to avoid salmonella infection. So, in some respects it is like chicken. Connoisseurs of the tropical reptile meat note iguana tastes very much like alligator or snake meat. I’ve had both gator and rattlesnake and they do taste like chicken. Frog legs which I also enjoy are a little more gamy, but still close to chicken flavor. I’ll be honest eating iguana isn’t on my exotic food list. The species is a recently acquired delicacy in Latin America as they are invasive in too many habitats and a cheap source of protein. So, obviously there are people that enjoy iguana meat and would be happy to find another source.

Would you eat iguana meat?

Current Event Friday #90

Cancel culture has a humongous issue with a celebrity weight loss trainer

One of the stars of The Biggest Loser didn’t have to take the DNA test, but according to backlash from music fans and online critics, Jillian Michaels is 100% a word that rhymes with witch. So, there’s a new target for cancel culture and the outrage mob in today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Jillian Michaels, former trainer on The Biggest Loser

Last week, Jillian Michaels appeared on a talk show hosted by BuzzFeed to talk about her ongoing projects and offer some sort of expertise about fitness and healthy living. While talking about pop culture somehow the topic turned to Lizzo and Ashley Graham. Born Melissa Jefferson, an R&B star using the stage name Lizzo has become known for her body positivity as well as Graham, a plus-size model was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in 2016. The host mentioned the body positivity angle espoused by Lizzo and Graham, when Jillian Michaels commented that while a healthy attitude about body image is good and she enjoys Lizzo’s music for her artistic ability and that the body shape was irrelevant. The host pushed back on Michaels, who said why was the body image so important and that celebrating Lizzo’s weight was misguided as Lizzo is dangerously obese. Michaels joked that dying early of diabetes shouldn’t mean that Lizzo’s body image positivity was more important.

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Lizzo, performing at a recent awards show

Naturally, everyone connected to pop culture moved to cancel Jillian Michaels for her harmful and hateful comments towards Lizzo. Complaints that Michaels was fat-shaming Lizzo were leveled by many on social media who pointed out that it’s the 21st Century and we have moved beyond such bullying.

Thankfully, Lizzo hasn’t responded on her social media to Michaels’s comments about her weight. Michaels posted a throwback photo of herself on Instagram from her teenage years with a caption stating, “Here’s me at 5’0 tall and 175 lbs. If I can do it – anyone can.” Michaels’s post was her attempt to show that weight loss can be safe and healthy.

You can probably guess that I agree with Jillian Michaels on this. We now live in a culture where saying a person who is 300+ pounds is celebrated for being happy at that weight. The only person we should expect to be happy being that rotund is Santa Claus. Shows like My 600-lb Life or Hot & Heavy are produced by TLC to show the dangers of unhealthy weight and are guilty pleasures for people who are entertained by the odd and unusual. Even The Biggest Loser, Celebrity Fit Club, and other shows that promote healthy weight loss are popular as Americans realize that the Land of Plenty is sometimes a blessing and a curse and being healthy promotes longer lives. Honestly, I know that my eating habits could be better and the best way to change my habits is to eat meals while watching television shows featuring people at unhealthy weights in order that I might put down that next morsel.

Cancel culture and the outrage mob exemplify where we are that telling objective truth is to be shamed and what was shameful before is now celebrated whether it’s obesity, infidelity, abortions, gender dysphoria, or many other issues that are now so politically charged.

Was Jillian Michaels correct that Lizzo’s weight is unhealthy and the music should be the particular focus?

Current Event Friday #89

Move over, U.K. the U.S. will soon have their own Duke and Duchess

Almost 250 years ago, Americans declared independence from the United Kingdom and news has hit the wires that members of the Royal Family are declaring their own independence from the United Kingdom. This surprising news is today’s focus on #CurrentEventFriday.

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The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle are stepping away from their activities with the royal family and moving back to America where Meghan is originally from. The couple will split their time between America and England. This comes as Meghan has prioritized the couple’s lifestyle to reflect progressive policies including environmental consciousness and social justice concerns.

As the couple made this announcement on social media, and everyone began commenting on the trending topic #Megexit, the Royal Family wax statues of the Duke and Duchess removed from Madame Tussaud’s wax museum.

Seemingly, as the Duke and Duchess are not exactly high on the line of succession this move is not of that much consequence. Upon the passing of Queen Elizabeth, the throne would be assumed by Prince Charles, and upon his death to Prince William, the oldest son of Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana. With Prince William and Duchess Kate having their own kids, Prince Harry has at least three people ahead of him. Assuming that any of the other royals pass away or are unable to ascend to the throne, Prince Harry might have a shot but it’s not exactly likely. Of course, with the monarchy’s limited role in government except as a figurehead and ceremonial agent, it doesn’t hold that much sway.

Personally, as an American I still don’t understand the appeal of the royals. We are no longer British citizens and haven’t been for awhile so paying attention to what goes on with either Princes William, Harry, or their wives is odd to me. Meghan’s marriage to Prince Harry possibly missed the opportunity to mirror art with a parallel to the film King Ralph. The film features John Goodman as the last living heir to the royal line after a wild tragedy to the royal family, but given that Goodman’s character is Las Vegas showman taking over as King with little to no training as a royal provides for missteps and entertainment with the learning curve he must endure. Whether Meghan would’ve struggled like Ralph, I’m not sure but it would’ve kept my attention on her story more.

Does it matter that Prince Harry and Meghan are pulling back from their activities with the royal family?

Current Event Friday #88

A Cat-astrophic reception for a recently released movie

Christmas vacation affords families the opportunities to watch feature films playing in theaters, but one of those meow playing is on hardly anyone’s list. In a surprise to Hollywood studio executives, both critics and moviegoers are avoiding the movie. Today’s #CurrentEventFriday looks at some of the problems with the film and its icy reception.

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While a new Star Wars movie is in theaters, a critically-acclaimed Broadway show should achieve respectable numbers, but Cats hasn’t lived up to the expectations. Based on the original play written by Andrew Lloyd Webber, Cats details the lives of alley cats and an abandoned kitten named Victoria,

The film is directed by Tom Hooper, who adapted Les Misérables to film in 2012 to much acclaim. Somehow, that magic didn’t translate to this film. Even top stars like Idris Elba, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Jenifer Hudson, and Taylor Swift don’t seem to help either.

Released last Friday, the film has already been re-edited with CGI effects as some panned the film for its portrayal of the feline singers and dancers. Jason Derulo’s natural ‘human anatomy’ has been a target of much maligning and was edited by the studio to be removed in the re-released format. Meow that it’s been re-edited since theatrical release drew even more negative attention.

Meow, the subject material is too adult for kids, so you’ll expect that they aren’t coming. They likely are watching Frozen II or Jumanji: The Next Level. The male demographic is likely watching Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker or Richard Jewell. Women might be watching Little Women. Plus, A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood is still in many theaters drawing families, Knives Out is offered for the horror fans. So, Cats was going to have an uphill battle anyways.

I’ve never seen the Broadway show, but I’ve heard several people who loved seeing it. I saw a preview for Cats recently when I watched A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood and could tell it was probably going to be a dud. Even James Corden who stars in the film, is rumored to have avoided watching it in theaters. Of course, a movie about cats is probably not a film worth watching, since dogs are the superior pet anyways.

Have you seen the Broadway version of Cats?  

Current Event Friday #87

A food company has egg on its face

Some may be hard-boiled when they realize they are at risk of being infected by dishes using ingredients contaminated by Listeria. The recall and what it means for the public is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

EGGS

Eggs-actly what caused this outbreak is still unknow, but the FDA & CDC are warning customers to throw away store-bought egg salad and other prepackaged products with hard-boiled eggs. This comes after the FDA & CDC discovered that hard-boiled eggs packaged by Almark Foods of Georgia. The eggs have already infected a handful of people and has been blamed for one death in Texas.

This recall and warning seems to affect restaurants and stores using hard-boiled eggs packaged in plastic pails. Some of the hard-boiled eggs in plastic bags may be affected and if in doubt, throw them out to be safe. It’s more likely that stores and restaurants bought these hard-boiled eggs in bulk for preparation of other dishes and products. Be sure to ask the grocery store or restaurants if dishes containing hard-boiled eggs if they used Almark as their egg purveyor so you can avoid the risk.

I would hope most would avoid this by making their own dishes with hard-boiled eggs at home. With Instant-Pots, microwave egg cookers, or a saucepan making hard-boiled eggs is fairly easy. I’ve discovered the egg setting on my Instant-Pot and will use it to make hard-boiled eggs for my own egg salad. Many will plan on deviled eggs being part of their Christmas meals and home boiled eggs should be fine.

Surprisingly, as noted by the more sarcastic, food recalls only seem to affect healthier foods like lettuce, green onions, and eggs; yet unhealthy foods like Oatmeal Crème Pies and frozen pizzas don’t seem to be recalled. This point has been turned into memes that argue that eating the ‘bad’ foods are actually safer than the ‘good’ foods. While it’s an over-simplifying and a convenient reading of news, it is humorous in the midst of unwelcome news being shared all over social media.

What’s your favorite dish with hard-boiled eggs?

Current Event Friday #86

Lights! Cameras! Christmas Activities!

Less than two weeks until Christmas is upon us, and that means lots of traditions and happenings over the next few weeks along with those same traditions and happenings that have already been going on for possibly a month or better. Part of those traditions is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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Photo by Tim Mossholder on Pexels.com

Last year around this time, I covered the tradition of Christmas Movies on my watchlist, while today’s post is about Christmas lights. Decorating houses and businesses with Christmas lights is a fitting Current Event during this holiday season.

I can remember growing up going with my parents to see Christmas lights in town. We all have our opinions of what makes a well-decorated house. For us, the motto ‘less is more’ seems to be the guiding principle. The more colors of lights and decorative objects make a house or business confusing and as if the decorators are trying too hard.

Surely some might object to this opinion, and that’s perfectly fine since everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I can appreciate that people want to add several objects or colors to their display because that’s their style. There are ways certainly with a larger house and property to spread out the objects, so they don’t clutter the overall look.

As for my own decorating I usually wait until after Dec. 1 to add lights and decorations to the house. I also keep the decorations simple and clean, using a spotlight shining on a wooden silhouette of the Holy Family in the manger with a star above. One of the benefits about being relocated to a parsonage last year means that my house is close enough to neighbors for them to see the decorations. Prior to that, I lived in a house at the end of a dean end road so only mailmen and family saw the decorations.

I shared a post on Facebook that wished for a date to travel around and look at Christmas decorations while drinking hot cocoa and eating Christmas cookies and candy. Obviously, if I had the S.O. we could go to the Lights Under Louisville and around the neighborhood while enjoying Christmas treats. While I’m tempted to be flip about how to go about that, I guess I could ask Santa for a girlfriend. Not exactly sure if that’ll happen though.

Do you drive around looking at Christmas lights?

Current Event Friday #85

It’s a vicious bi-cycle!

Here’s hoping you’ve got either got a good start on your Christmas shopping or finished with it. One product that won’t necessarily be recommended based on its commercial is today’s #CurrentEventFriday.

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A young wife trying her Peloton bike the first time after receiving it as a Christmas gift

If you missed it, Peloton rolled out an ad touting a couple’s yearlong use of their stationary exercise bike. The ad begins with last year’s Christmas and an objectively attractive young wife being gifted a Peloton bike from her husband. She documents her usage of the bike and presents her video diary of her exercise to her husband in appreciation as her Christmas gift to him this year.

The ad drew sharp criticism for promoting sexist and misogynistic themes. One critic alleged that the husband’s gifting of the bike amounted to torture since the wife’s facial expressions were clearly evocative of facial expressions torture victims display during their agony. Also, the ad panned out to show the husband had a handgun fixed on the wife demanding she ride the bike an exercise. Oh wait, that was just an imagined scene from that critic.  For all the criticism that Peloton faced, it experienced a backlash in the stock market and cost the company and its shareholders just over $1.6 Billion.

Getting your wife a gift that encourages exercise or housework isn’t exactly recommended for the modern household, but it can be appropriate in some circumstances. If your wife suggests she needs a Peloton bike so she can stay fit and the accompanying program will help her, get the bike. Similarly, if your wife has complained the vacuum quit working or she needs a new skillet, that’s fine for a Christmas present.

The outrage at the sexist gifts is somewhat bewildering since it patronizes the women featured in them. Christmas commercials featuring husbands who buy their wives cars are far more shocking and burdensome than an exercise bike. I can’t see how a husband is going to secretly spend $30,000 without telling his wife or her noticing. Even if she didn’t know I can’t imagine she’s going to be thrilled that he spent that much without cluing her in.

You could always get clothes or jewelry, but I’d safely guess that as most Americans enjoy the benefits of a nation with plenty those aren’t really worth buying. The fact we have Goodwill, Salvation Army, Plato’s Closet and other second-hand clothing stores is evidence most of our clothes and jewelry are too much anyways.

Anymore, I’ll ask for books at Christmas and probably one Lego model, because I’m a guy that still likes Legos. Buying books for my parents is my usual go-to present and I can see that books, music, or other artistic projects would be worthwhile.

Of course, homemade presents whether food, crafts, or whatever are probably worth more since they are unique and made out of love for the giftee. And even if you can’t think of anything to give, time spent with friends and family are more important. Speaking of which, most of the Peloton ad did seemingly show that the wife enjoyed being involved in the exercise program the entire year she documented as well as sharing time with her husband this Christmas thanks to him helping her stay motivated to be fit. Personally, I would like to see the critics of the commercial spend less time on social media that is overwrought melodrama divorced of actual human contact and spend their time with real people having real conversations about meaningful topics.

Should the husband have gifted the wife the Peloton bicycle?