‘I collected smiles’ / ‘Welcome to hell’ / Wondering Y

‘I collected smiles.’ Patch columnist Mark Konkol cruised Chicago, delighting in the uncovered faces he encountered as the city lifted its COVID-19 masking requirements …
 … a governmental decision that some community groups, public health advocates and Chicago Public Schools parents tell the Sun-Times could put Black and Brown lives in danger. (Photo: Mark Konkol.)
Gov. Pritzker’s added child-care centers to the list of places where masks are no longer required.
New research concludes the Pfizer vaccine isn’t so helpful for kids from 5 to 11.
Poynter’s Al Tompkins: The number of people dying from COVID each day is just about what it was a year ago—but this year, the number is falling.

‘An abrupt end.’ Tribune reporter John Keilman details the dissolution in discord of a pioneering suburban Facebook group that guided many* through the pandemic’s complexities.
Oak Park—the first Chicago-area community to impose a “shelter in place” order at the pandemic’s start almost two years ago—has discontinued its indoor masking and proof-of-vaccination rules.

‘The most disturbing (but important) report of the day.’ Poynter’s Tom Jones praises “a mesmerizing” report by CNN’s Matthew Chance walking across a bridge in Ukraine littered with mangled cars, trucks and military equipment still smoldering from recent battle.
Add this to your lexicon of war: “Vacuum bomb.”
Updating coverage: Russian forces blasted Ukraine’s second-largest city and were closing in on the capital city of Kyiv.
The UN placed the number of refugees from the country at 677,000 and rising.
Associated Press photos convey the plight of Ukraine’s children.
A Rogers Park woman who’d been trapped in Ukraine during a visit with her family has made it to Poland with her mother.

‘Welcome to hell.’ The Washington Post details how Ukrainians have used social media to humiliate the Russians.
New York: “Welcome to WarTok.”
Staffers are bailing at a Russian state-owned news agency in Berlin.
Congratulations, Illinois, on being the first to require media literacy education for high school kids.

Wondering Y. How many Ys are in the last name of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky(y)? The AP likes two, The New York Times likes one.
Quartz explained in 2019 that his passport uses two …
 … so Chicago Public Square will, too.
A Trib editorial: “Zelenskyy is Chicago’s kind of leader.”
Popular Information: How Big Oil props up Putin.”

Help wanted. Chalkbeat Chicago: The city needs 5,500 more applicants for Local School Council electionsby Friday.

‘He’s come to the same conclusion most Americans came to a minute and a half after the inauguration ceremony in 2017.’ Esquire’s Charlie Pierce says ex-Attorney General Bill Barr’s book about his time under Donald Trump “may never be surpassed for pure worthlessness.”

Prescription for savings. The First Aid Kit newsletter offers guidance for avoiding (some of) the worst prescription drug ripoffs.
Low-income Illinoisans will be eligible for free dental care in the Fulton Market district this summer.

Oops. An accidental experiment will send a NASA orbiter crashing into the moon Friday.
A Penn State professor looks ahead to the earthbound environmental dangers looming for her children.

‘The first good Batman since The Dark Knight.’ Critic Michael Phillips gives The Batman three stars.
Variety’s Peter Debruge: “The Batman gets under your skin by asking: What if the good guys aren’t really the good guys?
Rob LaFrentz at Rivet: “Director Matt Reeves says he’s worried audiences won’t get into an actual Batman detective story. … He’s right.”
 … or much of anything else new from Hollywood, for that matter.
The Chicago Philharmonic will perform the score for Black Panther live in concert.

A Mad century. The late William M. Gaines, founder of Mad magazine, was born on this date 100 years ago.
Here he is, a little more than halfway through that span, interviewed in 1978.
David Boggs, Ethernet’s co-inventor, is dead at 71 …
 … leaving a legacy of “incredibly reliable” data transmission.

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