Photo by STEVEN SAPHORE/AFP.

For Your Edification* is a weekly Slice of Culture series where staff writer Ed Daniel takes on topics — Hudson County or national news related — and provides social commentary.

Alright readers, 2022 has begun and we are starting off with a wrap of the first two weeks.

If you haven’t been reading the news or keeping up with what’s going on don’t worry – we got you covered.

Grocery and Supply Shortage

Grocery shortages has struck the country amid the rise of COVID-19 cases. (Courtesy of AFP/Getty)

Potentially good news if you’re on a diet restriction, but bad news for everyone else. 

Major supermarket retailers across the United States are having trouble stocking their shelves due to Omicron-related shortages.  Many fresh produce and produced food companies are struggling with providing to grocery stores and are paying nearly triple pre-pandemic trucking rates to ship things like lettuce and berries before they spoil. 

Transportation disruptions during the winter holiday season, caused by a lack of truck drivers and recent highway-blocking storms have led to price rises for fruits and vegetables. 

Trucking companies are offering higher wages to attract workers, but employment levels still aren’t high enough to meet the demand for ground transport.  

Mayor Eric Adams of New York and his rough start

New Mayor of New York City Eric Adams has started off his new tenure with some controversy. And poor choices of words.

The retired former NYPD officer of 22 years recently faced a tragedy in one of his borroughs when a fire broke out at the Mitchell-Lama apartment complex a 19-story residential building killing a reported 17 people, eight of them are children. 

The New York City fire department claimed a space heater and a malfunctioning door for allowing smoke to spread through building.

Residents have said there were persistent maintenance issues.

Adams told New Yorkers “If we take one message from this,” he said, it was to: “Close the door. Close the door. Close the door” — a comment that many belief takes the responsibility off of the landlords. 

Landlords should be asked questions such as why did a tenant need to use a space heater? Why were the doors so faulty, eventually leading to accountability by the building owners?

 Adams has an interesting relationship with landlords from New York.

Adams received the most donations from the real estate community during the 2021 election. And one of the part-owners of Twin Parks is a member of his transition team. Rick Gropper. 

With men like him on the Adams pay role, we are not likely to see much pressure put on landlord accountability from the Adams office. 

With the rise of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, businesses in New York City were moving back to remote to prevent the further spread of the virus.

Adams warned that businesses moving to remote work as cases rise could negatively affect these businesses, as well as the economy as a whole.

Mayor Adams has had a rough start following his controversial statement. (Courtesy of NYC Mayor’s Office)

He thinks businesses need to remind their workers they are part of the “ecosystem of this city” with contributions to the economy.

“My low-skilled workers, my cooks, my dishwashers, my messengers, my shoe-shine people, those who work at Dunkin’ Donuts—they don’t have the academic skills to sit in the corner office,” he said. 

These are controversial statements considering during the initial shutdown of the pandemic many of these “low skilled workers” were called essential workers by many government officials and politicians. 

These essential workers were are the backbone of society and risked their lives for the public during the pandemic, now their skill and intelligence are being belittled by their mayor who doesn’t seem to have a plan to protect these workers.

Celebrity Deaths 

Legendary screen actor and civil rights activist Sidney Poitier died at the age of 94. 

The actor who was the personification of the “Tall, Dark and Handsome” was the first black man to win an Oscar for his performance in “ Lilies of the Field” in 1963. 

His career also included iconic roles in classic Hollywood films like “A Raisin in the Sun,” “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “In the Heat of the Night.”  

Sidney Poitier in 1959 in New York. (Sam Falk/The New York Times)

The actor was known for the incredible poise and dignity he portrayed on screen.

Poitier’s influence was not just represented on screen, he was a well-known civil rights activism in which he called for racial equality and human dignity.

During the Freedom summer of 1964, Poitier and Harry Belafonte, legendary actor, fellow activist, and also a best friend, risked their lives to drive doctors’ bags full of cash into Mississippi to bail out jailed civil rights demonstrators. 

Poitier and Dr. Martin Luther King King became good friends through their work in the civil rights movement.

Dr. King said of Mr. Poitier, “He is a man of great depth, a man of great social concern, a man who is dedicated to human rights and freedom.”  

Belafonte said of his friend “I don’t think anyone [else] in the world could have been anointed with the responsibility of creating a whole new image of Black people, and especially Black men.”

Actor, comedian, and director Bob Saget has died at age 65.

Saget and John Stamos together on “Full House” in 1987.(ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Con)

Saget was well known for portraying widowed father Danny Tanner in the popular 90s sitcom “Full House.” He was also the host of “America’s Funniest Home Videos” and the narrator for the hit series “How I Met Your Mother.” 

What was notable about Saget was that his stand-up routine was completely different from his America’s Wholesome dad that was presented on screen. 

His jokes were dirty and were for a mature audience. Saget also advocated for people facing scleroderma, a chronic autoimmune disease, that took his sister Gay Saget in her 40s. 

In his memoir Saget said:

“The goal of living a full life is so, at its end, you’ll have learned some things along the journey,” he wrote. “I’m nowhere near the end yet, but I’ve already had some incredible experiences. I’ve met and worked with some amazing people, I’ve lived, I’ve loved, I’ve cried … and through it all, I did it my way.”

Also want to recognize the life of legendary Actress and activist Betty White who died in December of 2021, just weeks before here 100th birthday.

White is a pioneer of early television and became America’s icon. (ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images)

If you want Ed to tackle a specific topic please email hello@sliceofculture and edaniel@sliceofculture.com.

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