Friday, January 4th, 2019


Gov Actually

On one hand, President Trump and Democratic leaders suggested they made some progress in their meeting to discuss what it will take to re-open the government. On the other hand, during that meeting, both sides say that Trump indicated that, under certain circumstances, the shutdown could continue for months, or even years. Here's the latest on the shutdown that could go on forever, or end quite soon. (Instead of shutting down the government, we should have tried unplugging it for 30 seconds and then plugging it back in.)

+ One (obviously intended) outcome of all the fights over immigration is that Americans now list the topic as one of their top concerns. "Overall, 49 percent mentioned immigration in an open-ended question as one of the top five problems they hoped the government addresses in 2019. By contrast, 27 percent mentioned immigration in December 2017."


Keep Your Protein Powder Dry

"Are you getting enough protein? The question provides its own answer: if you are worrying about the amount of protein in your diet, then you are almost certainly eating more than enough." The Guardian: Protein mania: the rich world's new diet obsession.


Weekend Whats

What to Movie: I usually reserve this section for items that can be enjoyed from the comfort of your couch. But I'll risk going off-brand and tell you to go out and see Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Great art. Excellent story. And a killer soundtrack. My whole family loved it (and it's impossible to express how rare that is...)

+ What to Watch: If you're looking for more family-friendly content to wrap up the kids' school break, check out Dumplin' on Netflix. And once you've explained all the references to Dolly Parton, cue up Nine to Five. (Word is that there's a sequel in the works.)

+ What to Book: Like most highly literate, uber-smart, hilarious wordsmiths, I am a big fan of Benjamin Dreyer. The longtime (or is that long time?) Random House copy chief is out with his own book. Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style. Dreyer is the guy that the world's best writers go to when their kids ask what a gerund is (ok, that might have just been me). The best thing about Ben is that he has emailed to correct my grammar in NextDraft exactly zero times, (though calling him Ben might change that...)


To Ellen Back

"I believe in forgiveness. I believe in second chances. And I believe in Kevin Hart." So said Ellen DeGeneres following an hourlong conversation between the two comedians on her show. Hart is now considering a return to his Oscar hosting role. The internet should try to be a little more like Ellen.


It Just Works

The stock market spent much of the last few months foreshadowing global economic doom. Someone forgot to tell the jobs numbers. They continue to be strong. From Reuters: Upbeat employment report underscores U.S. economic strength.


Sperm Counts

"When Jessica Share bought sperm from a sperm bank in order to start a family, she never imagined that more than a decade later she would meet the donor - and would feel a strong attraction to him." BBC: I met my boyfriend 12 years after giving birth to his child. (This is the weirdest season of The Bachelor yet...)


Nurturing Nature

"Rubisco has one job. It picks up carbon dioxide from the air, and it uses the carbon to make sugar molecules. It gets the energy to do this from the sun. This is photosynthesis, the process by which plants use sunlight to make food, a foundation of life on Earth. Yay for Rubisco!" That said, it could do better. That's why Scientists Have 'Hacked Photosynthesis' In Search Of More Productive Crops. (My kids think photosynthesis is an Instagram filter.)


Son of a Gun

"In a spectacular reversal, the cartel prince betrayed his father — and his birthright — testifying for more than five hours about nearly every aspect of the drug-trafficking empire: smuggling routes, money-laundering schemes, bloody wars, personal vendettas and multimillion dollars in bribes. When it came to the enterprise he seemed poised to lead one day, Mr. Zambada proved he knew almost everyone and everything." If you want a preview of several books, a couple movies, and probably about fourteen Netflix series, check out the latest on El Chapo's trial from the NYT: A Son Betrays His Father, and the Cartel.


Stick and Move

"At a packed venue in North London, a ragtag crowd of curious punters and weekend warriors have gathered around a boxing ring. As the smell of beer and sweat starts to build, a strange chant rumbles through the venue: 'CHESS! CHESS! CHESS!' They are here to witness chessboxing, the ultimate game of brain-versus-brawn where players quickly flicker between rounds in the boxing ring and bouts at the chessboard. To take home the glory, they must their coerce their opponent into a knockout or batter them into checkmate." Huck Magazine takes you inside the ring to witness Chessboxing: the new craze where brain meets brawn.


Feel Good Friday

"The museum's staff credited the huge boost in visitors to the recovery of tourism in Paris after the 2015 terror attacks, as well as a big exhibition devoted to Romantic artist Eugène Delacroix. But they also paid credit to the Carters." How Beyoncé and Jay-Z helped bring a record number of visitors to the Louvre.

+ Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best ideas. Meet the Pizza Lady.

+ All children to learn CPR and basic first aid in UK schools.

+ Austrian women celebrate country's first same-sex marriage.

+ 11-year-old boy pulls a drowning man from the bottom of a pool and saves his life.

+ What makes people happy? One woman walked 7,000 miles to find out.

+ Social Worker Led Frugal Life To Leave Nearly $11 Million To Children's Charities.