Friday, November 20, 2020

Florida Man Caught With Stolen Utility Pole Strapped to Car: FHP

A 71-year-old Florida man was caught red-handed after troopers found him driving around with a large power pole strapped to the hood of his car, officials said. Florida Highway Patrol officials said the investigation began when they received a report of a theft of a downed power pole by a motorist in a small sedan in Hillsborough County. Officials said the motorist loaded the pole onto the roof of his car and took it to a recycling facility, where he was turned away for not having proper documentation. (NBC Miami)


U.S. mortgage debt hit a record high of nearly $10T last quarter

The debt is credited to low-interest rates, which have boosted housing markets across the country. Mortgage rates have already hit record lows 12 times this year, giving buyers financial incentives to incur debt as they purchase properties. Q3 2020 saw Americans take on an additional $85B in mortgage debt. The mortgage debt in America is now significantly higher than before the 2008 financial crisis. Low-interest rates have also led to a record high of $1.36T in outstanding auto loans. Overall, American households have the highest levels of debt in the nation’s history. As of September 2020, they owe over $14.30T. (Federal Reserve Bank of New York)


Layoffs spark new entrepreneurs

COVID-related layoffs, coupled with new ideas and necessity, have sparked a record increase in emerging entrepreneurs, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.  Many of them worked in salons, gyms and restaurants, but shutdowns forced them to pivot to self-employment. And as the “upper layers” of the economy recover faster, new entrepreneurs are trying to build direct relationships with these high-end, potentially recurring clients. Census Bureau data shows applications for solo businesses spiked 77% from July to August; the Labor Department shows self-employment rebounded faster in October than payroll employment. (The Wall Street Journal)


Pepsi unveils apple pie cola in time for Thanksgiving

Pepsi’s latest invention is designed to taste and smell like a freshly-baked apple pie, with warm notes of cinnamon, crisp apples and a buttery crust, according to a press release. The carbonated treat even mimics the texture and mouth-feel of apple pie. Unfortunately, not everyone can get their hands on a bottle. Pepsi announced it will be giving it away to fans who post a photo or video of their most epic baking fail on Twitter or TikTok. Contestants should use the hashtag #PepsiApplePieChallenge. Pepsi will choose the best baking fails and send the winner a 2-liter bottle of apple pie cola. (Pepsi Twitter)


Rate of boomer retirees rising

More baby boomers have retired in the last year than in prior years, suggesting the pandemic is having an impact on their longevity in the workforce. In the third quarter of 2020, roughly 28.6 million of the generation born between 1946 and 1964 said they had left the labor force, or 3.2 million more than in the same time period in 2019. Also of note, the increase “is more pronounced” among Hispanic and Asian American boomers, and those who live in the northeastern United States. (Pew Research Center)


Stowaway owl found in Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree

The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is now standing proud in New York City, but the people in charge of transporting it found a stowaway — a Saw-whet owl. The 75-foot Norway spruce was being moved from Oneonta, New York when the owl was found. Ravensbeard Wildlife Center in Saugerties, New York, said it got a call from someone asking if it takes owls for rehabilitation. The woman on the phone said her husband’s crew found the owl in the tree and that they had removed it and secured it in a box. The Saw-whet owl is one of the smallest in the northeast. The center took in the bird, which it named Rockefeller, and gave him fluids and all the mice he could eat. “So far so good, his eyes are bright and seems relatively in good condition with all he’s been through. Once he checks in with the vet and gets a clean bill of health, he’ll be released to continue on his wild and wonderful journey,” Ravensbeard wrote. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree will be decorated over the coming weeks, and its more than 5 miles of lights will be illuminated at a ceremony on December 2nd. (ABC News)


Calling all holiday cinema connoisseurs!

If watching 25 holiday movies in 25 days for $2,500 sounds like your cup of eggnog, has just the gig for you. The product- and services-review website is searching for its “Chief Holiday Cheermeister,” who will not only get paid to watch 25 holiday movies of their choosing but also receive a year’s worth of viewing pleasure from the following streaming services:

  • Netflix
  • Hulu
  • Disney+
  • Amazon Prime
  • HBO Max
  • Apple TV+
  • Hallmark Movies Now

 Candidates must:

  • Be 18 or older and eligible to work in the United States.
  • Already own or have access to a streaming device.
  • Complete a short post-movie survey after each viewing.

Applications will be accepted through 11:59 p.m. December 4th, and the winner will be announced via’s YouTube page on December 7th. (


University of Wisconsin Declares Large Rock to be Racist; Votes to Remove

The University of Wisconsin-Madison plans to remove a large rock from campus after students complained that it is a symbol of racism because it was referred to in a local newspaper in 1925 using a word regarded as a racial slur. According to the State Journal, the 1925 news article is the only known instance of the offensive term being used. The university’s campus planning committee voted unanimously to remove the rock, though it does not have another place to put it. Removal will also be complicated by the fact that the rock’s current site is near a Native American effigy mound. (Wisconsin State Journal)


Dachshund rescues chiweenie from mountain lion attack in Colorado

Winston the dachshund proved his heroism earlier this month when his buddy Mijo, a 15-year-old chiweenie, was attacked by a mountain lion in Evergreen, Colorado. Their owners say that the dogs got out of the house through an open door and within seconds, a mountain lion grabbed Mijo. Instead of running away in fear, Winston chased the large cat and barked until it dropped Mijo and left. As soon as the mountain lion dropped Mijo, the owners rushed him to the emergency veterinarian. Unfortunately, the dog lost his right eye and had a seizure the night of the attack. Mijo could have some neurological damage, according to a GoFundMe page they set up to help pay for his medical bills. So far, the page had raised over $11,180. (9 News)


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is advising Americans not to travel for Thanksgiving this year in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus

The CDC stated that there is “no more important time than now for each and every American to redouble our efforts to watch our distance, wash our hands and, most importantly, wear a mask,” before advising that the “CDC is recommending against travel during the Thanksgiving period. For Americans who decide to travel, CDC recommends doing so as safely as possible by following the same recommendations for everyday living”. On its Thanksgiving advisory page, the CDC warned that “Travel may increase your chance of getting and spreading COVID-19,” and that, “Postponing travel and staying home is the best way to protect yourself and others this year.” Though recommending Thanksgiving celebrations to be virtual this year, the CDC recommended that those who do celebrate with others in person bring their “own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils,” and wear masks. (CNBC)


Apple has agreed to pay millions of dollars to 34 states over its controversial previous practice of deliberately slowing down older iPhones to extend their battery life

Apple has agreed to pay millions of dollars to 34 states over its controversial previous practice of deliberately slowing down older iPhones to extend their battery life. The company will pay $113 million to settle an investigation by states including California and Arizona over how Apple wasn’t transparent about its iPhone battery problems that led to unexpected device shutdowns. Instead of disclosing the issue to consumers or replacing the batteries, it pushed a software update in December 2016 that impacted the performance of older iPhone models. News of the practice upset Apple (AAPL) consumers, igniting what some called “batterygate.” Many believed it was an effort to encourage users to buy new iPhones. At the time, the company issued a rare apology, temporarily dropped the price of replacement batteries from $79 to $29, and added a feature to allow iPhone users to monitor battery health. In March, Apple agreed to pay up to half a billion dollars to settle a class action lawsuit accusing it of slowing down iPhones to compel users to buy new ones. In addition to paying states millions of dollars, Apple agreed to provide updates about iPhone battery health, performance and power management on its website or installation notes. (Arizona Attorney General)


Woman claims she was fined $350 for eating ice cream while driving

A 34-year-old woman from Melbourne, Australian is fighting a $350 ticket she received while eating ice cream while driving. She said the police mistook the bar she had in her hand for a cellphone. “There’s no way that I could be eating my Magnum Ego and holding my phone and driving, all at the same time,” she said. The woman believes the officer saw something glint and assumed it was a phone. “Whether or not he spotted this ring or my watch, I’m not sure,” she said. The woman has a receipt showing that she’d purchased the treat just six minutes before being pulled over, and still had the stick and wrapper in the car when the officer issued the ticket. The Police confirmed a mobile phone violation, which also comes with license points, was issued and said the recipient has the right to contest the charge in court. (


A new report from unemployment researchers finds 12 million Americans will lose unemployment insurance the day after Christmas

The Century Foundation says aid for over 7 million gig and self-employed workers will expire. As will benefits for over 4.5 million people getting extended unemployment insurance, after exhausting regular benefits. The eviction moratorium, student loan forgiveness, and other protections also expire at the end of year. More than 21 million Americans rely on unemployment benefits right now. (The Century Foundation)



Friday Conquers All With:

  • Absurdity Day
  • African Industrialization Day
  • Child’s Day
  • Globally Organized Hug A Runner Day (G.O.H.A.R.D)
  • Name Your PC Day
  • Peanut Butter Fudge Day
  • Substitute Educators Day (Friday of American Education Week)
  • Universal Children’s Day



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