by Jonathan Spira

With Amazon Pharmacy, the world’s largest online retailer wants to be your friendly neighborhood chemist’s shop in addition to being your source for books, vacuum cleaners, laundry detergent, and groceries.
With its acquisition of PillPack and the creation of Amazon Pharmacy, Amazon stated that it seeks to make people’s pharmacy interactions more Amazon-like but there are clearly pluses and minuses to this.
I found out what the minuses were in my two …

Briefly Noted: ‘Bioadapted’ at Culture Lab LIC – Theater Review

by Jonathan Spira

It’s not that long ago that computers started to become a fixture in home and office, a tool we use without really thinking about it.  Artificial intelligence, or AI, is in the news constantly and that brings up many concerns.  As Stephen Hawking once noted: “The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race.”
If you’re as concerned as I am about the possibility of a …

Wastewater Surveillance Reveals Record Covid Levels, Or Why Everyone You Know is Getting Sick Right Now

by Paul Riegler

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, and by that I mean December 2021 when the Delta wave of coronavirus infections hit.
It’s quite possible that the number of infections is hovering at levels close to those of the pandemic’s first peak in 2020, and aren’t that far from the Delta peak of late 2021, this according to wastewater surveillance and modeling by forecasters.
In case you’re wondering what the devil …

Lauren Boebert Becomes Poster Child for Sex, Drugs, and Singalong Bad Behavior at Broadway Shows

by Jonathan Spira

Theatergoers everywhere – London’s West End, on Broadway, at Broadway shows on tour – have seemingly forgotten how to comport themselves once seated when the curtain goes up.
From musicals to Shakespeare, performances are being disrupted in ways far worse than when Patti Lupone snatched a mobile phone from a texting theatergoer in July 2015.  Without breaking character, Lupone literally took the matter – and the audience member’s phone – into …

Big Apple Visitors Scramble for Hotel Rooms as New York City Enforces New Airbnb Rules and Hotels Rates Climb

by Paul Riegler

The month of September brought new challenges for people traveling to New York as the city’s new restrictions on Airbnb listings went into effect just at a time when tourism is beginning to rise.
The pandemic hit the Big Apple’s lodging market harder than any other in the United States.  Dozens of hotels shuttered their doors permanently, pulling thousands of rooms off the market.
Five factors are driving room rates to or …

Apple iPhone and Apple Watch: Tim Cook Says ‘Don’t Leave Home Without Them’

by Jonathan Spira

In the 1970s, Ogilvy and Mather coined a tagline for American Express that became one of the most successful advertising campaigns of all time.
The “Don’t Leave Home Without Them” tagline not only became synonymous with American Express Travelers Cheques and its spokesman, actor Karl Malden, who was in the Zeitgeist with his hit police drama, “The Streets of San Francisco.”
The campaign’s focus was then switched to focus on the American …

Review: ‘O’zapft is!’ Oktoberfest 2023 Opens in Munich with Parades and an Accident With 8 Injuries

by Christian Stampfer

MUNICH—With the words “O’zapft is” (“It’s tapped”), the Oberbürgermeister of Munich, Dieter Reiter, opened the 188th Oktoberfest at the stroke of noon on Saturday, tapping the first keg and handing the first Maß to Bayerischer Ministerpräsident Markus Söder.
A Festzug, or parade, preceded the ceremony from the city center to the Oktoberfest grounds at the Theresienwiese, led by the Münchner Kindl, the symbol of the city, followed by the Oberbürgermeister. The …

Delta Makes Sweeping Changes to SkyMiles Frequent-Flyer Program, Members Cry Foul!

by Kurt Stolz

Delta Air Lines recently announced what can only be called sweeping changes to its SkyMiles frequent-flyer program, but not everyone is happy about them.
The changes, which raise the bar for earning elite status, are set to go into effect in 2025 and won’t impact Medallion elite status for 2024, but it will change how members earn status in 2024 for the following year.
The airline’s lounges have suffered from overcrowding since …