Friday, May 15th, 2015


Making Up Is Easy to Do

"He looked like he was trying to get away from the officers." ... "I saw a man who was handcuffed being shot. And I am sorry, maybe I am crazy, but that is what I saw." Those two quotes came from people who had just witnessed NYC police officers as they shot serial hammer attacker David Baril. And both of their statements were completely wrong. As the NYT's Jim Dwyer reports, "the real world of our memory is made of bits of true facts, surrounded by holes that we Spackle over with guesses and beliefs and crowd-sourced rumors." It turns out that counting on first-hand witness accounts is like bringing a hammer to a gunfight.


The Code Less Traveled

"Some were too distracted by programming projects and weekend hackathons to go to class. Others couldn't pay for college and questioned why they should go into debt when there is easy money to be made. Still others had already launched successful apps or businesses and didn't see why they should wait at home for their lives to start." Turn on, tune in, drop out. Start vesting. That's the model being followed by an increasing number of teens who are already working at -- or running -- tech startups. From Nellie Bowles in California Sunday Magazine: The Real Teens of Silicon Valley.


Weekend Reads

From NYT Magazine's Robin Marantz Henig: "When Sandy Bem found out she had Alzheimer's, she resolved that before the disease stole her mind, she would kill herself. The question was, when?"

+ "We're designed to tolerate a certain amount of trauma and stress, but it's the repetitious nature of the suicides that has become too much." SF Mag's Diana Kapp: Why Are Palo Alto's Kids Killing Themselves?

+ "For years and years and years -- 30, 40 years -- I was anxious, and hypochondriacal, and an alcoholic, and many, many other things that made me different from other people." From Rolling Stone: Dave Letterman, Happy at Last. (What's my take on Dave Letterman? Put it this way, you're reading a top ten list right now.)

+ Matthew Teague in Esquire: "The cancer was everywhere, and the parts of dying that nobody talks about were about to start. His best friend came to help out for a couple weeks. And he never left."

+ LA Mag: The Rise and Fall of Bill Pettis, the Man With The Biggest Arms in the World.


Brother’s Reaper

From NBC News: "A jury in Boston voted to execute Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, refuting his lawyers' argument that he was pulled into the plot by his radicalized Muslim older brother and overcoming Massachusetts' popular opposition to the death penalty." The appeals process is automatic and immediate, and is expected to last for years.


Thumb War

Carl Icahn just tossed $100 million into Lyft's trunk adding more financial fuel to the mind-bogglingly masssive ride-sharing race. For this industry to emerge, its predecessor, hitchhiking, had to meet its demise. As Molly Osberg writes in The Slice, the practice once given a societal thumbs up was run over by an imaginary serial killer. "The hitchhiker has been transformed in the public imagination from an unencumbered youth finding adventure across our vast nation to a crazed and dangerous maniac with a homicidal sneer. To pick one up is to meet a death of grotesque proportions."


His Blues Our Joy

"The thrill is gone away from me. Although I'll still live on." Riley B. King (you knew him better as B.B.) has died at the age of 89. He used to play for dimes on the street corner as a way to work his way out of his other job in a cotton field.

+ King explains why he named his guitar Lucille.

+ 13 live performances.


Say (And Be) Cheese

"Food is the second most photographed thing, after yourself. Selfies of people eating food is the sweet spot." Restaurants like Chili's are tweaking the look of top items to make them more photogenic.

+ At some chains, salads are actually worse for you than burgers and fries. That can't be all that surprising when these salads have names like The Quesadilla Explosion. But it begs the question: Why Order a Salad at IHOP?

+ "It's got one-third pound of Black Angus beef. It's got a grilled hot dog split in two. It's got American cheese. And, yes, it's got a layer of Lay's Kettle Cooked Potato Chips." And it was ten years in the making...


Don Draper’s Brands

As the series comes to a close, Consumerist looks at how 72 brands from Mad Men have changed since Don Draper was in charge. For what it's worth, I predict the series will end with Don Draper going back to being Dick Whitman.


Bursting Your Bubble

"Jim McNally, a part-time equipment manager, referred to himself as the 'deflator' only to indicate his desire to lose weight." No really. That's the latest contention made by the Patriots in their public battle with the NFL. Deflategate is the Seinfeld of sports news. It's a controversy about nothing but it's funny as hell.


Bottom of the News

My wife and I complain about this issue constantly, so I'm happy to see that Mike Pesca is finally taking on TV and movie makers who script their characters to eat Chinese takeout straight from the carton.

+ The Feds had to remind insurers that covering colonoscopies also means covering the anesthesia.

+ "His more than 1,600 tweets -- equal parts ode and derision -- are a favorite for weird-news aficionados." And he'll never run out of material. The NYT on Florida Man.