Discover more from Morning Martini
9/12/2023: Toilet Talk
PLUS: Self-Serve Soda Removal; “Cher Christmas”; and Royal Survey Says…
Today is Tuesday, September 12, 2023.
It is the 254th day of the year.
111 days remain.
WHAT’S ON TAP
A meeting of the authoritarian minds is underway near the Korean Peninsula and X takes a whack at the Times. More in HIT LIST.
Full time parent KEVIN FEDERLINE wants more money from BRITNEY SPEARS and MEL B wants her own royal wedding. More in SHOWBIZ.
DREW BARRYMORE’s daytime talk show is returning, much to the ire of striking writers. More in CASTING CALL.
KIM KARDASHIAN may soon be living among royalty. More in KARDASH.
Some new surveys shed light on shifting attitudes on the Royal Family — in the USA and UK. More in ROYALS.
Data analytics firm NewsWhip believes X is actively throttling down engagement of links to the New York Times website.
While multiple major news organizations like the Washington Post, BBC, and CNN have noticed decreased engagement, the Times appears to be particularly hard-hit.
Even a recent link to the Times shared by BARACK OBAMA, who has more than 130 MILLION followers, got less than one million views. [via Semafor]
WORTH NOTING: ELON MUSK has openly said that X’s reformed algorithm will prioritize the content of accounts that pay for its premium service. While there’s a $1000-a-month enterprise version, the Times hasn’t even shelled out the $8 a month for the little blue checkmark, either.
KIM JONG JUNIOR is believed to have begun a very rare trip outside of North Korea Monday to meet with Russian President VLADIMIR PUTIN and finalize a new trade deal.
A green train with yellow trim was spotted heading toward Vladivostok, just over the border between the two countries. The 20-car train is believed to be outfitted with bulletproof windows and exterior to protect the notoriously paranoid dictator — but the weight of the safety protocols limits the train to speeds of just under 40 miles per hour.
This would mark Junior’s first time out of North Korea in four years. His last trip was to the same spot for a similar meeting with Putin after a disarmament deal with former President DONALD TRUMP fell apart in 2019. [via BBC]
WORTH NOTING: Junior’s father, KIM JONG IL, was reportedly so paranoid about foreign governments collecting his DNA samples when he traveled out of North Korea that he used a portable toilet to store his bathroom-doings and bring them back with him. No word if Junior shares these concerns.
Just days before the 22nd anniversary of September 11th, two more victims from the tragedy were identified.
NYC officials revealed that a man and woman’s remains were linked to a profile via DNA testing; specifically next-generation sequence technology.
The victims, who have not been publicly identified, are the 1,648th and 1,649th to be ID’d in the years since the attacks.
Remains of countless others are in the possession of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner, which is continuing the process of identification and reunification. [via CBS News]
MCDONALD’s announced they are phasing out do-it-yourself soda stations, with a goal of eliminating them completely by 2032.
The plan is to transition to a new automated system that pours beverages without customers needing to push a button, therefore reducing theft and keeping things a little more hygienic.
Don’t worry though, refills will still be free, one franchise owner told The State-Journal Register. [via SJR]
A research team at Huazhong University of Science and Technology say they’ve developed an ultra-slippery, stick-resistant material they think can replace ceramic and porcelain in the construction of toilets.
The 3D-printed material resists all manner of, uh, materials that come in contact with it — even after the surface was scrubbed with sandpaper. This would not only mean more clean and hygienic toilets, but also less water required per flush.
WORTH NOTING: Don’t start planning to retrofit your bathrooms with this space toilet quiet yet — there are no commercial plans for this advancement. [via BGR]
Country singer CHARLIE ROBISON has died.
He passed away Sunday at a San Antonio hospital after suffering cardiac arrest.
Robison is best known for his song, “I Want You Bad.”
He was 59.
JOSH DUHAMEL and his wife AUDRA MARI DUHAMEL are expecting their first child.
The baby will join 10-year-old big brother Axl, whom Josh shares with his ex, FERGIE.
HANK WILLIAMS JR. is engaged!
The country singer announced the news on Facebook, saying he had popped the question to girlfriend BRANDI and she said “Yes!”
By the way, he’s 74 and she is 43.
BY THE NUMBERS
📈 The DOW added 87 points (0.25%) to close at 34,664 on Monday. The S&P was up 30 points (0.67%) to close at 4,487 and the NASDAQ added 156 points (1.14%) to close at 13,918.
🛢 WEST TEXAS INTERMEDIATE closed at $87; BRENT CRUDE at $90.
⛽ The national average price of a GALLON OF GAS was $3.83 on Monday.
₿ BITCOIN was down, trading around $25,144.
🛩 There were more than 4,810 FLIGHTS delayed within, into, or out of the United States on Monday and more than 736 such cancellations.
💰Tonight’s MEGA MILLIONS drawing will be for a $141 million jackpot or a $68.3 million cash payout.
KEVIN FEDERLINE doesn’t think $40,000 a month in child support from BRITNEY SPEARS is enough since he has their teenage boys 100% of the time.
Insiders told TMZ that Federline is thinking about asking the court to increase the payment, which was based on a 50-50 custody agreement.
Remember, she allowed him to move with the boys from California to Hawaii for a calmer and quieter life. Could that backfire if Federline does ask for more support? [via TMZ]
In honor of what would have been her 40th birthday, former band members of AMY WINEHOUSE are planning to perform in her hometown of Camden in the UK.
Winehouse, who passed away from alcohol poisoning in July 2011, would have turned 40 this Thursday.
The concert honoring her “music, life and legacy” will take place on December 22. [via NME]
As the investigation into actor GARY BUSEY’s latest fender bender continues, sheriff’s deputies in Malibu are considering submitting paperwork requesting the 79-year-old retake a driving test with the DMV.
Law enforcement sources said they are familiar with Busey’s “bad driving” and the latest hit-and-run may be the final straw. [via Sequel]
AMY SCHUMER has been accused of cyberbullying actress NICOLE KIDMAN.
In a since deleted tweet, the comedian shared a picture of Kidman at the US Open, captioning it, “This how human sit,” seeming to imply she appeared robotic.
The post was met with swift backlash, with many calling Schumer “mean” and accusing her of “mean girl public trolling.” [via Daily Mail]
CHER is set to release her first holiday album, titled “Cher Christmas.”
“Are you spending Christmas with me?” the singer captioned an Instagram post featuring the album’s cover art.
A release date has not yet been announced, though the album is available for preorder. [via Today]
Former football player MICHAEL IRVIN has settled his $100 million defamation lawsuit against Marriott.
Many may recall that Irvin was accused of “inappropriate misconduct” by a Marriott employee during Super Bowl week in Phoenix in February.
Adamant the claims were not true, he filed a lawsuit against the hotel giant, saying the allegations cost him “tens of millions of dollars” after he was suspended by the NFL Network.
Dallas Morning News reports that a settlement has been reached -- details of which are not being released -- and Irvin has returned to the NFL Network to cover the 2023 NFL season. [via Dallas Morning News]
MELANIE “Mel B” BROWN wants to marry fiance, hairstylist RORY MCPHEE at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral -- the same spot PRINCESS DIANA tied the knot with then PRINCE CHARLES in 1981.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from St. Paul’s,” the SPICE GIRL told an Australian radio station. [via news.com.au]
DREW BARRYMORE’s self-titled talk show is returning next week, despite the fact there is an ongoing writers’ strike.
Barrymore announced that Season 4 of “The Drew Barrymore Show” will soon resume production while complying with Writers Guild of America guidelines…meaning no writers.
The WGA says she is violating the strike rules by moving forward with the show at all.
Remember, Barrymore bowed out of hosting the MTV VMAs in solidarity with striking writers, which she said was “the appropriate thing at the time.” [via THR]
WHOOPI GOLDBERG was welcomed back to “The View” on Monday with a standing ovation from the audience.
She missed last week’s Season 27 premiere due to her third bout with covid. [via The Sun]
DAMAR HAMLIN’s on-the-field collapse and road to recovery will be the focus of a new film, called “Did We Win.”
After sustaining a hit to the chest during a “Monday Night Football” game last January, Hamlin collapsed on the field and went into cardiac arrest. The game stopped as players and fans watched medical personnel perform CPR.
Hamlin made a miraculous recovery and has returned to the football field alongside his Buffalo Bills teammates for the 2023-2024 season. [via Deadline]
THE DAILY KARDASHOPUS
KIM KARDASHIAN may soon be neighbors with royalty.
As rumors spread that PRINCE HARRY and MEGHAN MARKLE want to ditch Montecito for Malibu, one of the plots of land they are looking at is located near Kim.
According to Showbiz Cheat Sheet, the royals and Kim are friends, so perhaps the move is being motivated by that connection. [via SCS]
WE’LL NEVER BE ROYALS
A Newsweek poll shows that for all the non-attention-seeking-attention-seeking happening in the House of Sussex, the drama has been worse for MEGHAN MARKLE’s reputation than PRINCE HARRY’s.
Meg has a net-negative approval rating in the United States, where 31% like her and 33% don’t. That’s a quick reversal of favor — as recently as June, she had a net-six-positive approval score.
While Harry’s still more popular than his wife, that favor has dwindled from a net-18 score in June to net-12 now.
Both of their numbers imploded as people got an inside look at their minds and lives, starting with the releases of “Harry & Meghan” on Netflix in December and “Spare” in January. Before those dropped, Harry and Meghan had net-38 and net-23 scores, respectively. [via Newsweek]
MEANWHILE, ACROSS THE POND: A DailyMail poll shows 60% of Brits say KING CHARLES should speak out on social issues he deems important — while 41% say that PRINCE WILLIAM should have inherited the Crown when QUEEN ELIZABETH died. That’s up from 35% since March.
A healthy majority of Brits say their country should keep the monarchy, at 62% — but only 53% say the country will still have one in 50 years. [via DailyMail]
DAY OF THE YEAR
National Chocolate Milkshake Day
National Video Games Day
National Police Woman Day
National Day of Encouragement
ON THIS DATE
1609 - After discovering the mouth of a wondrous new river the day before, explorer Henry Hudson sails into it.
He was in search of the Northwest Passage, a secret route across North America that might lead to the Far East.
Today that river is known as the Hudson River.
1777 - The Continental Congress receives word that George Washington and his troops have been soundly defeated at Brandywine. 1,100 Continental soldiers died. 600 Brits lost their lives.
In order to rally the young army, the delegates dispatched correspondence to their newly-found states, encouraging citizens to send reinforcements.
1848 - A war between Swiss Catholics and Protestants that resulted in 100 casualties culminates with the signing of a new constitution. The riots were also the last armed conflict to happen on Swiss territory.
The constitution established Switzerland as a federal state and drew parameters for Swiss citizenship. It formalized the relationship between the 26 independent states that were bound by political treaties and often functioned as a singular political unit.
1885 - The record is set for the biggest blowout ever in professional soccer.
Arbroath scored 36 goals against Bon Accord, which managed none in the 1885 Scottish Cup. Everyone saw it coming.
Bon Accord was actually a cricket club that had entered the wrong tournament. But rules stipulated that any organization could enter.
By some accounts the Arbroath goaltender spent the entire game under an umbrella, trying to stay warm in the rain.
1942 - German U-Boat 156 fires on the British troop carrier Laconia.
German Captain Werner Hartenstein was soon informed by the survivors he picked up that Italian POWs were on board. Hartenstein called for aid from nearby Axis ships.
Allied vessels sped to the rescue. Though the German sub insisted they had surfaced for humanitarian reasons, the Allies suspected a trap. A B-24 raid on the U-Boat caused it to immediately submerge. 1,400 drowned.
1984 - Rookie Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden throws his 246th strikeout of the season, setting the record for the most by a rookie.
He would ultimately throw 276 for the season, and still holds the record.
2005 – The first Disneyland in Hong Kong opens in Penny’s Bay.
Its four themed areas are Main Street, U.S.A.; Fantasyland; Adventureland; and Tomorrowland.
It’s the smallest of all Disneyland parks, able to hold no more than 34,000 visitors a day.
2018 - The oldest known human drawing is discovered in Blombos Cave, South Africa.
The hash-tag-like abstract drawing with red ochre is believed to be more than 73,000 years old.
Ellis Rubin - actor, “The Greatest Showman” - 19
Laine Hardy - country singer - 23
Sydney Sweeney - actress, “Euphoria” - 26
Colin Ford - actor, “Under the Dome” & “Daybreak” - 27
Raquel Leviss - reality star, “Vanderpump Rules” - 29
Kelsea Ballerini - country singer - 30
Freddie Freeman - baseball player - 34
Andrew Luck - football player - 34
Emmy Rossum - actress, “Shameless” - 37
Jennifer Hudson - pop singer - 42
Yao Ming - basketball player - 43
2 Chainz - rapper - 46
Louis CK - comedian - 56
Hans Zimmer - composer, “The Lion King” & “The Dark Knight” - 66
Born On This Date
Paul Walker - actor, “Fast & Furious” films - 1973 (d. 2013)
Barry White - R&B singer - 1944 (d. 2003)
George Jones - country singer - 1931 (d. 2013)
Jesse Owens - runner - 1913 (d. 1980)
Henry Hudson - explorer - 1565 (d. 1611)
Thanks for reading Morning Martini! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support our work.