May 29th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Comedy is Not Pretty

The role of comedians as truth tellers who give voice to what the rest of us are thinking (in a less funny way) is nothing new. What is new is that the jokes comedians tell — especially the important ones — are no longer ruled by the limits of the terrestrial world. What a comedian says one night can go viral the next morning. Comedy is now so connected to news that I wouldn’t be surprised if journalism schools taught a course on embedding video clips from the likes of Jon Stewart, John Oliver, Amy Schumer and Louis CK. In The Atlantic, Megan Garber explains how comedians became public intellectuals.


Blatter Over Blotter

After delivering an excuse that most toddlers would be too embarrassed to use (“I cannot monitor everyone all the time.”), Sepp Blatter managed to earn re-election as president of FIFA, even as his organization has been overwhelmed by corruption, cheating, scandals, arrests, indictments, and big money bribes. (At least now Americans finally realize soccer is as interesting as any other sport.)

+ “This is about more than pork barrel politics. It is about patronage, fear and deep loyalty.” Owen Gibson explains how the great survivor won another term.

+ There was, however, one hopeful sign from the FIFA election: Israeli and Palestinian delegates shook hands.


Weekend Reads

“He gets checked wherever we go. Airports, federal buildings, Holocaust museums. After the war, he was a smuggler for a few years. Used to climb out the windows of trains and ride on the roof. Addicted to risk maybe. I suppose that’s why he still gets checked by security. Maybe once you’re on the list, you’re on the list.” Earlier this week, my parents and I visited the Holocaust Museum in D.C. because My Mom Has a Question.

+ “A popular West Hollywood aesthetician was arrested for trying to murder her rival. Was she the perpetrator — or the Victim?” From Greg Nichols in LA Magazine: Under the Skin.

+ “The biggest mistake was the presumption among US political and military leaders that victory was ever possible.” Aeon’s Mark Kukis on the myth of victory and why war isn’t what it used to be.

+ Anwen Crawford in The New Yorker: The World Needs Female Rock Critics.


Mind Over Splatter

The next stop for your texts, maps, social media updates, and even videos could be your car windshield. As the NYT’s Matt RIchtel explains, “These emerging display devices have become part of a debate over whether technology can provide safer ways for people to multitask while driving.” If we continue to add distractions to our driving, the next thing to be beamed through your windshield could be you.


Notes From the Google Gaggle

I’ve decided to leave my family and my job to fully focus on figuring out the best way to manage my photos. There are just too many choices. Google hopes you think theirs is the best as they just introduced a new backup and search service along with several other products during the Google I/O conference. The photo product returns the company to its core value proposition: Search. Here’s Wired’s Brian Barrett on Google’s ingenious plan to make apps obsolete.

+ “What if your phone knew you were getting dressed up, and called an Uber as soon as you finished knotting your bowtie? What if it could automatically track your exercise as soon as you put on your running shoes? What if you could talk to your phone with a single, discreet swipe on your arm? What if it could talk back?” David Pierce: Google is hacking our clothes to work like touchscreens. (What if that freaks us out?)

+ Joseph Bernstein: In virtual reality, Google Is the A’s and Facebook Is the Yankees. (And it goes without saying that the Dodgers suck.)


Going in Style

Some blame it on economic trends, and others see loneliness as a factor. And no one denies that longevity plays a role. Whatever it is, instead of playing golf, the world’s elderly are staging heists and robbing banks.

+ The Daily Beast: California’s drought is so bad, thieves are now stealing water.


Don’t Look Away

I like the Internet. But I love TV. I’m an addict. I watch everything. But even my remarkably experienced remote control thumb can’t keep up with the onslaught of content. In 2000, about one in ten shows got cancelled after one season. Today, more than half of shows suffer that fate. Can we watch enough for TV’s golden age to last?

+ Well, I suppose we can try. Here’s Flavorwire’s guide to to Summer 2015 TV.


Matters of the Heart-Shaped Tub

“By then the Poconos and Niagara Falls could both boast running water, of course, but suddenly Pennsylvania resorts were marketing a distinct indoor aquatic experience that promised a sensual bonus. Business boomed.” Remembering Morris Wilkins, the man who brought the heart-shaped tub to the Poconos. (It was a warm-up for his patented tub shaped like a champagne glass.)


Credit Where Credit is Due

“I never claimed I’m the almighty leader of the world.” On the difficulties of obtaining a credit report when your first name is God.


Bottom of the News

“Barbecue’s good and all that, but it’s not worth sticking somebody in the eye with a fork, you know?” It turns out, not everyone shares that opinion.

+ Syndicated from Kottke: This video features a man who plays with marbles for several hours each day, his custom-built marble alley, and his very patient and understanding wife: The man who loved only marbles.

+ “Genitalia are still there; we’ll check those out later.” The Atlantic on what it’s like to watch a komodo dragon get dissected. I prefer to think of it as the revenge of my friend Phil Bronstein. (Even a decade and a half later, this line still delivers: “The zookeeper suggested Bronstein remove his shoes.”)

+ Michael Jackson’s Neverland goes on sale for $100 million.

+ The lazy dad’s guide to batting practice.

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