Monday, December 11th, 2017


Apocalypse Chow

You've got the storms and the hurricanes. You've got the fires and the floods. And you've got a generalized (and not-unfounded) anxiety that 2017 has been coming for you -- and that 2018 might be worse. In other words, it's a good time to be in the survivalist food business. From Bloomberg: Delightful Holiday Dinner Ideas for the Apocalypse. "The scene evokes Willy Wonka's factory in part because the workers are achieving Wonkian ends. As a kid, I spent hours imagining the sensations of Roald Dahl's three-course chewing gum invention "made of tomato soup, roast beef and baked potato, and blueberry pie." This, too, is an attempt to create an all-in-one meal that bears little resemblance to the foods it conjures—a product that when combined with a serving of hot water simulates a home-cooked dinner." Just give me an everlasting gobstopper and some decent WiFi, and I'll be fine...


Victim and Criminal

"Even rape victims are sometimes killed by their own relatives, who believe the shame attached to rape is worse than the suffering of the rape victim. 'In Afghanistan, we are both the victim and the criminal. I can't even tell my own family that I quit because of sexual harassment. Western women are so lucky.'" The NYT: Harassment All Around, Afghan Women Weigh Risks of Speaking Out.

+ "The use of rape by Myanmar's armed forces has been sweeping and methodical." AP: 21 Rohingya women recount rape by Myanmar armed forces.


Sign of the Times Square

"One suspect is in custody after detonating a pipe bomb strapped to his body in a busy corridor of New York City's subway system on Monday morning, injuring himself and three other people in what officials have called a terror attack."

+ "A law enforcement source says suspect Akayed Ullah told investigators recent Israeli actions in Gaza are the reason he carried out this morning's attack in New York City." Here's the latest on the Times Square subway incident from CNN.


Coup De Louisville

"Perhaps more than any other place in America, Louisville came to embody the contradictions of college athletics -- a multibillion-dollar industry built on amateur athletes. The Adidas partnership was supposed to be a crowning achievement that validated the university as a national power." ESPN's look at how a midlevel school became The University of Adidas at Louisville. (It's worth noting that while Louisville took a hit, Adidas is hotter than ever...)


The Crimson Tidal Wave

"When Beverly Nelson told her story on CNN about the night in the 1970s when she says Roy Moore sexually assaulted her, her voice quavered, and tears streamed down her face. 'Instead of stopping, he began squeezing my neck,' Nelson said, 'to force my head onto his crotch.' ... Laughter breaks out around me." Vox's Brian Resnick spent the weekend talking to Roy Moore supporters in Alabama. Here's how they see the world.

+ "I didn't vote for Roy Moore. I wouldn't vote for Roy Moore. I think the Republican Party can do better." Alabama's Richard Shelby speaks out against Roy Moore. Will that be enough? The splits among voting blocks are major and look pretty intractable. WaPo: Alabama's desire not to be embarrassed may be the best thing going for Doug Jones.

+ Trump is less determined not to be embarrassed. Between a rally Friday night and a robocall over the weekend, the president has gone all in for Roy Moore.

+ "For us to put ourselves out there to try and show America who this man is and especially how he views women, and for them to say 'meh, we don't care,' it hurts. And so now it's just like, alright, let's try round two. The environment's different. Let's try again." Three Women Who Accused Trump Of Sexual Misconduct Speak Out Again.

+ "Despite all his bluster, he views himself less as a titan dominating the world stage than a maligned outsider engaged in a struggle to be taken seriously." As a crazy year comes to a close, the NYT takes you inside Trump's hour-by-hour battle for self-preservation. He spends 4-8 hours a day watching TV, and often Tweets at the same time. (I do the same. But I watch better TV and my Tweets haven't set America back several decades.)


It’s a Vlad Vlad Vlad Vlad World

"The United States intelligence community is unanimous in its assessment not only that Russians interfered in the U.S. election but that, in the words of former FBI Director James Comey, 'they will be back.' It is a stunning escalation of hostilities for a troubled country whose elites still have only a tenuous grasp of American politics. And it is classically Putin, and classically Russian: using daring aggression to mask weakness, to avenge deep resentments, and, at all costs, to survive." Julia Ioffe in The Atlantic: What Putin Really Wants.

+ For a quick overview of Putin's strategies, listen to this excellent discussion between Preet Bharara and Garry Kasparov. Like all good prosecutors, Preet can get an amazing amount of information out of people with just a few questions. (And Kasparov is a particularly willing witness...)


Bone Spur

Its "incredible run ended this morning with the release of a cheaper, generic version of the world's first impotence-fighting pill. And what a run it was." (It was more of a stand, than a run, but you get the point.) An Oral History of the little blue pill that changed sex and made billions. (Hey, you wanted more uplifting news...It's just too bad I already used my everlasting gobstopper joke in today's top item.)


The Fire Down Below

"This could be something that happens every year or every few years. We're about to have a firefighting Christmas." Governor Jerry Brown calls the fires ripping across Southern California "the new normal."

+ The fires "have destroyed more than 800 homes and buildings, forced at least 190,000 people to flee." Here's the latest from Buzzfeed.


Golden Global

"The first movie theatres will be opened by March and it is intended that up to 2,000 screens will be in place within 12 years." Saudi Arabia is lifting a 35-year ban on cinemas. (Too bad all the good stuff is on Netflix and HBO...)

+ Shape of Water and Big Little Lies lead the Golden Globe nominations. The Big Sick and Wonder Woman are among this year's snubs and surprises.


Bottom of the News

"One day, he asked me, ‘How come I'm not on YouTube when all the other kids are?' So we just decided — yeah, we can do that. Then, we took him to the store to get his very first toy — I think it was a Lego train set — and it all started from there." Meet the 6-year-old who made $11 million in one year reviewing toys on YouTube.

+ "If I can go back over there … you'll see me talking to him, and sitting down and having dinner, a glass of wine, laughing and doing my thing. I guess things will settle down a bit and everybody can rest at ease." Dennis Rodman asks Trump for formal role as North Korea envoy. (Trump could name Rodman as the ambassador to North Korea and it wouldn't even crack this year's top hundred weirdest stories...)

+ For the Good of Society — and Traffic! — Delete Your Map App.