“Game of Thrones” — Starbucks joins the legendary tale

❝ From all of the bizarre things we’ve seen on Game of Thrones—from an undead dragon to the warlocks of Qarth—a disposable coffee cup probably takes the cake.

❝ In last night’s episode, fans spotted the cup on the table of the great hall of Winterfell as the surviving army celebrated their victory against the battle against the undead. While the cast ate from wooden bowls and swigged from goblets (except for Tormund, who chugged his drink from a horn), the coffee cup was definitely out of place.

HARPER’S BAZAAR has one of the better collections of fan comments about the screw-up. And the updated version of their article reveals that the scene has now been edited and the paper coffee cup has now vanished.

McDonald’s trying out AI-powered menu boards

❝ Savory bacon, sweet Donut Sticks and a $5 value meal contributed to better-than-expected U.S. results for McDonald’s Corp. despite negative guest counts in the first quarter…

Going forward this year, McDonald’s said it is pivoting its focus to overall restaurant operations, especially at the drive-thru. McDonald’s said it has deployed menu boards with automated suggestive selling at 700 restaurants through Dynamic Yield. In late March, the Chicago-based chain purchased the decision logic technology company, which uses artificial intelligence to automate the upselling of menu items based on time of day, trending items and weather…

❝ When asked by an analyst where McDonald’s stands on adding a plant-based dish, CEO Steve Easterbrook said his culinary teams are “paying close attention to it.”

“The key for us is to identify the sustaining consumer trends,” he said.

I zeroed in on the plant-based consideration because of the dynamic IPO this past week for BEYOND MEAT. Their CEO emphasized that the simplest advantage they will offer consumers – beside a healthier planet and healthier consumers – is lower prices than meat. I haven’t any confidence in McDonald’s using lower wholesale commodity prices to reduce the tab for consumers. But, I look forward to taking advantage of the difference in the cut-throat world of supermarkets.

And – I wonder at the intelligence of fast food retailers who utilize the tastebud brain-switch of salty or sweet to bump their profits and don’t consider saving money for consumers to be equally compelling.

Phony campaign to smear Mayor Pete

❝ On April 29 someone shared a post titled “Pete Buttigieg Sexually Assaulted Me” on Medium, a site that lets anyone upload stories, essays and any other bit of text. It was attributed to a college student named Hunter Kelly.

Within hours, the fake allegation against the South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate would begin to crumble, and the real story — the story of the smear campaign — would emerge…

❝ According to Kelly, the scheme started when Jacob Wohl, a far-right internet personality, messaged Kelly on Instagram. “Do you want to be part of a political operation?” the message said, according to a copy reviewed by CNN.

Kelly, a 21-year-old, gay, Donald Trump-supporter, was intrigued. On Sunday, the Michigan native took a late flight to the Washington area booked for him by Wohl and Jack Burkman, a Republican lobbyist and a conspiracy theorist…

Hunter Kelly was sickened by the plan to produce a phony account of sexual assault by Mayor Pete. Wohl and Burkman went ahead with their plan, anyway. Apparently, they didn’t expect Kelly to speak up once they had the plot rolling.

They were wrong.