Wednesday, November 27th, 2013


The Secret Family Recipe

NextDraft will be off through the weekend for Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and for the cooking of what promises to be my most epic plate of Latkes ever. Have a great weekend. Thanks for reading.

Leo Tolstoy probably wasn't thinking of an American Thanksgiving when he opened Anna Kareninia with this line: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." These days, all families -- happy or not -- are less alike than ever. In the NYT, Natalie Angier takes a look at the changing definition of family: "Families are more ethnically, racially, religiously and stylistically diverse than half a generation ago -- than even half a year ago. In increasing numbers, blacks marry whites, atheists marry Baptists, men marry men and women women, Democrats marry Republicans and start talk shows." And they're all coming over to your house for Thanksgiving, which brings us to another quote -- this one from Oscar Wilde: "After a good dinner one can forgive anybody, even one's own relations."


They Really Like to Watch

According to the latest Edward Snowden data dump, the NSA liked to spy on porn habits as part of a plan to discredit radicalizers. When I said it was kinky to have someone watch, this wasn't what I had in mind...


Who’s on First?

The idea is to create a "virtual environment that maximizes a player's potential to attain a state that the psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi calls "flow" -- a condition of absolute presence and happiness." The New Yorker's Maria Konnikova on why gamers can't stop playing first-person shooters.


You Are Expelled

Silvio Berlusconi told his supporters: "No political leader has suffered a persecution such as I have lived through." (He obviously doesn't follow Anthony Weiner on Twitter.) The Italian Senate just voted to expel the ex-prime minister. He's also lost immunity from prosecution. Luckily, no one throws a senate expulsion bunga bunga party like Silvio.


Throwing the Book At Him

For a brief period of time, Tim Tebow was by far the most talked about player in the NFL. Now, it's unclear whether we'll ever see him play again. Thomas Lake of Sports Illustrated attempts to write the Book of Tebow: "He prayed. He won. And then he disappeared. Will we ever see Tim Tebow in the NFL again?"

+ Nick Bollettieri is famous for his boarding school where he and other coaches helped to create tennis greats like Andre Agassi and Monica Seles. Then they added golf. Now, they've added football.


Deal With It

Forget the war on Christmas. The big question this year is: Why are retailers trying to kill Thanksgiving?

+ I don't get shopping on Thanksgiving. And I don't get rushing to the stores on Black Friday. Even if you were actually getting great deals, you'd have to exchange your time, reputation, and dignity for the discount. But you're not even really getting good deals. Here's the WSJ's Suzanne Kapner on the dirty secret of Black Friday discounts.

+ Still not convinced you should stay home? Here's a supercut of Black Friday shopping chaos.

+ Did Polaroid's first camera introduce the first case of Black Friday?


Hitting Peak Turkey

This is the year. For the first time in history, the average weight for a Thanksgiving turkey has crossed the thirty pound mark. That number represents a consistently skyrocketing increase since the 1930s when we hit the 15 pound mark. How do we get the turkeys so big and what does that mean for the turkeys? Alexis Madrigal takes a look the supersized birds: "Artificial insemination is a required part of modern turkey breeding. The modern bird is too heavy and misshapen to procreate the old fashioned way." I guess these birds have more in common with humans than we thought.

+ WaPo: The turkey pardon is America's dumbest tradition.

+ Wired: The sublime weirdness of the annual turkey pardon (with some incredible photos that show just how weird it really is...).

+ This year's winner: A 38-pounder named Popcorn. Obama explained that the office of the presidency holds "many awesome and solemn responsibilities. This is not one of them."


Tis the Season

According to The Atlantic's Caroline Kitchener, this weekend marks the official opening of break-up season: "During their first trip home, freshmen have to decide whether they stick it out with their first love, or succumb to what is known as the 'Turkey Drop' -- the phenomenon of high-school couples breaking up when they come home for their first Thanksgiving."

+ The good news for those concerned someone is flying home to break up with them: The weather is so bad, they might not get there anytime soon.

+ Could the weather force Macy's to run a parade without balloons?



Even if you're staying home this weekend, you can travel the world thanks to this great collection of shots from the National Geographic Photo Competition.


The Bottom of the News

"We wanted him to focus on delivering that same intensity, but to put it in a proper sentence structure." How ESPN trains athletes to be broadcasters. It would be a lot harder to do the opposite.

+ Not going anywhere for awhile? Here's a list of the best airport restaurants to eat at this Thanksgiving.

+ Need some binge TV-watching ideas for the long weekend? The folks at Wired have come up with a list. If you haven't already watched it, I'd go with Friday Night Lights. Tremendous show.

+ Kanye West doesn't like appearing on Keeping up with the Kardashians because he has issues with the cinematography.

+ Not a fan of the upcoming holiday? It could be worse. Just take a look at these ten depressing world holidays. And on that note, have a great weekend. All the best to you and yours.