Friday, April 19th, 2019


Too Clever By Half

"The loss of half of all humans would probably be a boost, at least temporarily, to many species currently squeezed into vanishing and degraded habitats. But assuming Thanos wasn't thinking of the imperiled western lowland gorilla when he was fishing for those Infinity Stones, it's safe to say that his plan wouldn't achieve his grandiose, twisted, aims." But that's not to say it's not worth considering. With the Avenger: Endgame arriving in a few days (and after this week's insane newscycle) it's worth pondering whether Thanos' big idea would leave humanity's glass half full or half empty. From Gizmodo: What Would Really Happen if Thanos Erased Half of All Life on Earth? (The key question is who gets to pick which half...)


The Changing of the Guardrails

With a summary and a press conference, William Barr took it upon himself to provide the prequel to the Mueller Report. That emboldens me to write its epilogue: The people in the administration who prevented Trump from being the worst version of himself have been replaced by people like William Barr. Or as The Atlantic puts it: Trump's Guardrails Are Gone.

+ "The president's efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the president declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests." WaPo: The Mueller report showcases eight Trump loyalists who resisted the president to protect themselves.

+ NYT: The Mueller Report Is 448 Pages Long. You Need to Know These 7 Key Things.

+ "The special counsel investigation was often cast as a clash between President Trump and Robert S. Mueller III. But there was always a third player, for whom victory seemed assured no matter the outcome." WaPo on the win for Putin.

+ Vanity Fair: Collusion or Not, Does the Mueller Report Hold Up as a Spy Novel?

+ And the other scandal: Why The Mueller Report Has Two Spaces After Every Sentence. (Don't normalize this...)


Weekend Whats

What to Bey: Yeah, the Mueller Report was the most anticipated book since Harry Potter was in his prime. But the biggest drop of the week was still delivered by Beyonce. One of the most well-reviewed documentaries and/or music movies we've seen in a long time. Homecoming on Netflix.

+ What to Stream: In a change from previous years, YouTube will stream the second week of Coachella giving you a chance to catch up on what you missed (and them a chance to correct the sound problems that affected some of the biggest acts). Billie Eilish was among the acts that killed during week one. Check her out this weekend.

+ What to Watch: "A dysfunctional band of outsiders are united by fierce loyalty, a penchant for petty theft and playful grifting." No, that's not a line from the Mueller Report. It's the description of an award winning Japanese movie that follows the daily struggles of a family of shoplifters. Check out Shoplifters.


Son of a Preacher Man

Whether you're celebrating Passover or Easter (or nothing) this weekend, there's a little bit for everyone in Vanity Fair's look at the The Church of Living Dangerously. "He looked like Sammy Hagar, preached like Billy Graham, and brought a 350-pound tiger to church. Then he shot heroin with his son and was busted at the border for running drugs for a Mexican cartel."


Mob Movie

"In a 41-minute video posted by the group this week, a large gathering of people, including several young children, are seen sitting in dirt as members of the militia encircle. Children are bundled up in sweaters, some wearing backpacks, while illuminated by flashlights ... Some of the people in the video are heard coughing and asking for water. When asked why they entered the US, some said they were seeking asylum." Buzzfeed: A Militia Group Detained Hundreds Of Migrants At The Border At Gunpoint.

+ NYT: Militia in New Mexico Detains Asylum Seekers at Gunpoint. "The governor of New Mexico, Michelle Lujan Grisham, said in a statement that it was 'completely unacceptable' that migrant families 'might be menaced or threatened in any way, shape or form when they arrive at our border ... It should go without saying that regular citizens have no authority to arrest or detain anyone.'" (Nothing in America goes without saying anymore...)


Building Code

"If they can give tens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, then they should stop telling us there is no money to help with the social emergency." WaPo: Billionaires raced to pledge money to rebuild Notre Dame. Then came the backlash. (I wouldn't be surprised if this becomes a bigger story in France, and across Europe.)


Shoestring Budget

"Most are small-time entrepreneurs hoping to earn some spending money on one or two pairs, maybe dreaming of snagging once-in-a-lifetime kicks that might bring five figures in the thriving secondary market for basketball-inspired shoes. But for Aguirre, this is a serious second-income business." LA Times: Those Nikes — buy, sell or hold? Sneakers are now assets trading like stocks. (Years ago, I invested all my capital into leg warmers. I was so close!)


Insane in the Membrane

"This is something I would have thought was just impossible, these numbers. Statistically, he's playing at as high a level as anyone who's ever played the game. And then he's got these incredibly confident wagers. He's maximizing money. He can make two or three times what any other player ever has with that same level of play, which again is top-shelf. He's as good as anybody. I've always wanted to see somebody play that way." Wired: Jeopardy! Legend Ken Jennings On James Holzhauer: 'It's Absolutely Insane.'


The Mile Why Club

"At this point, I've accepted Matthew McConaughey isn't going to save me from a runaway dumpster after my heel gets caught in a grate. But an attractive single person sitting in the airplane seat next to me? Now that seems plausible." Vox: The persistent myth of finding love on a plane. (I'm sticking with love in an elevator.)


Feel Good Friday

"Workers on an oil rig about 135 miles offshore from southern Thailand noticed something stunning in the water: a dog."

+ A Math Teacher's Life Summed Up By The Gifted Students He Mentored.

+ All national parks are free on April 20.

+ Jimmy Kimmel and Norman Lear will host and exec produce ABC's 90-minute live production of All in the Family and spinoff The Jeffersons. (Norman Lear himself had the best reaction to the news.)

+ This cafe in India is fully run by acid attack survivors.

+ Burned black churches in Louisiana raise $1.8M after Notre Dame fire.

+ Canadian who had heart attack while jogging in Florida saved by stranger — from his hometown.

+ Hawaiian flower, thought extinct, rediscovered by a drone.

+ Lil Pump doesn't censor lyrics during bar mitzvah gig. (My parents tried to get Manilow to come to mine...)