Partially frozen, never faked
Welcome! This is Sunday morning, December 18. We’re desperately trying to get a grip on things here as we’re now only one week away from both Christmas and the first day of Hanukkah. The prophet’s birthday is tomorrow for all our Muslim friends. The stores would be packed if the entire Northern United States weren’t under a sheet of ice this morning. We’ll talk more about that in a little bit. What’s important is that everyone stays warm and safe as much as possible. We’ll try to keep you informed with what’s going on.
The president-elect is still making more cabinet and senior advisory appointments, there are conflicting reports coming out of Syria as to whether people in Aleppo are actually able to leave safely, and apparently Saturday Night Live was a real hoot. I wouldn’t know, I was already sound asleep. We have confirmed and verified five things you need to know, though, so let’s take a look at those.
One nation, under ice
We’ve been talking about snow and ice for a few days now, but the weather is very much dominating the news this morning as yet another wave of snow and ice fell across the Northern half of the United States yesterday and early this morning. So far, the storm is being blamed for at least nine deaths yesterday, though that number could increase as investigations are continuing1.
While there were pileups and backed up traffic all the way from Colorado to Maine, the biggest seemed to be along I-95 where reports of anywhere from 55 to 70 cars were involved in a pileup that killed at least two people. Indianapolis police reported over 500 accidents before 8:00 yesterday morning with at least two deaths there as well. The weather has created a mess all across the country that has caused a number of holiday plans to be canceled for this weekend. Exactly how bad this will affect last-minute holiday shopping remains to be seen, but it certainly isn’t good news for retailers who were already struggling to end this year on a positive note.
Don’t think the South got off scot-free, either. From Missouri down through Mississippi there were severe storms and threats of tornadoes yesterday afternoon and throughout the night. While there have not yet been any reports of death, there has been considerable property damage.
Weather like this is enough to dampen even the most stalwart of holiday spirits.
A problem with the water
Everything being cold and wet across the Eastern half of the country reminds us of just how much water has been a factor in news stories this year. Both Detroit and St. Joseph, Louisiana continue to struggle with finding clean drinking water, and this week we added Corpus Christie, Texas to the mix2. In case you missed it, a chemical leak is to blame for a ban on any use of water coming from the public water supply in the city of over 300,000 residents. This is so bad, that officials there say even boiling the water isn’t good enough. Bottled water has been brought in and is being distributed.
What we’re hearing now, according to the Associated Press, is that city officials had three warnings prior to this current catastrophe. In fact, Corpus Christie Mayor Dan McQueen, who just took office this past Tuesday, won his position in part by campaigning against the previous mayor’s inability to handle water problems in the city. Officials are hoping that test studies released later today will determine the exact source of the chemical leak. An asphalt plant has been the culprit before, but the city also has a problem with aging lead pipes.
Across the country, the deteriorating conditions of public water systems initially installed in the 1940s and 50s are giving way and pose a serious health threat. Unless Congress acts and provides a serious amount of funding to repair these systems, I fear we could see even more water safety issues throughout the next year.
On your mark, get set …
I’ve heard a lot of people say that they feel like running away, whether because of the political climate or financial pressures or just the challenge of trying to survive. A number of people wouldn’t mind strapping on their running shoes and taking off.
Well, if you can hold on a couple of months, you might be able to get those shoes custom fitted. Adidas has startedselling their 3D-printed shoe in limited release3. For now, if you want a pair of the shoes, you have to order them through the Adidas Confirmed app. Then, when your shoes are ready, you have to be able to pick them up at the Adidas flagship store on Fifth Avenue and 46th street in New York City. You’ll also be paying $333 for the privilege of wearing these state-of-the-art sneakers.
This is a huge move for both the footwear and fashion industries. Designers have been working with 3D-printed clothing and materials for a couple of years now, and both Under Armor and New Balance released their 3D shoes earlier this year. Adidas has significantly larger market share, however, and could easily dominate the market if they are able to get 3D shoes into high scale production quickly. Adidas says this is the first step in being able to provide “customized shoes based on an individual’s footprint – including their running style, foot shape, performance needs and personal preferences.”
With custom-fitted shoes, running may be a lot more plausible.
An insult is a good thing
Around the world, magazines and other periodical publications have struggled to remain profitable in an increasingly digital age. Magazine publisher Condé Nast, who owns brands such as Vogue, GQ, and Brides, has certainly seen its share of problems and has even shuttered some publications and moved several to online-only strategies. However, they may have accidentally hit on a new strategy that could save them all.
Earlier this week, Condé Nast magazine Vanity Fair published an absolutely scathing review of the new Trump Grill in New York4. In fact, the headline on the review reads: “Trump Grill Could Be The Worst Restaurant In America.” Now, I’ve eaten in some really bad restaurants and at least three of them were in New York. So, to say the Trump Grill could be the worst in America is really quite something.
Unsurprisingly, the president-elect didn’t like that review too terribly much. He responded with a tweet, as he tends to do, saying, “Has anyone looked at the really poor numbers of @VanityFair Magazine. Way down, big trouble, dead! Graydon Carter, no talent, will be out!” If the president-elect held any respect among the American people, that could have been a death knell for the magazine. But he doesn’t and it wasn’t.
Vanity Fair told Adweek5 that subscriptions for the magazine were 100 times the amount they typically sell in a day, setting a record for the number of subscriptions sold in a single day for any Condé Nast publication. The review has had more than a million views online and Vanity Fair’s Twitter followers increased by more than 10,000. Not bad for a “dying” magazine.
Of course, what Condé Nast has to figure out now is how to get the president-elect to issue similar insults for all its brands. One of the best marketing concepts for 2017 may be getting a diss from the new president.
Is all hope gone
The effect of Donald Trump’s insult toward VanityFair underscores not only a severe lack of respect for the president-elect, but a general feeling across much of the United States that we are entering a phase of the country’s history where the president acts without regard to the people on a regular basis.
The current First Lady, Michelle Obama, gave voice to that emotion when she taped an interview with Oprah Winfrey for CBS and the Oprah Winfrey Network that airs this week. Here’s a clip from that interview:
Mrs. Obama’s words struck home:
See, now we’re feeling what not having hope feels like, you know? Hope is necessary. It’s a necessary concept. And Barack didn’t just talk about hope because he thought was just a nice slogan to get votes. He and I and so many believe that what else do you have if you don’t have hope? What do you give your kids if you can’t give them hope?”
The clip has been shared widely since its release this week with a large number of people identifying with the emotion that the First Lady describes. As the nation prepares to inaugurate the 45th president of the United States, it does so knowing that his victory occurred only in the Electoral College and is not reflected in the popular vote nor popular sentiment.
Mr. Trump responded Saturday night to the clip, saying, “she made that statement not meaning it the way it came out.”
We’re out of time for this morning. We’ll have more pictures and possibly a long read later today, so be sure to check back or, better yet, subscribe so that you don’t miss anything! Stay warm. Stay safe. We’ll see you tomorrow.