Friday, December 6th, 2019


Oh Caption, My Caption

Photos are often the most effective way to capture and tell a story. Photos are some of the most shared content on the internet. And often, the captions aren't too bad either (example: Men try to capture a leopard after it strayed into a residential area in the northern city of Jalandhar, India). Also, leading with photos means I can take a much-deserved day off from providing the usual story encapsulating wit and insight to which you've grown accustomed. From The Atlantic: 2019 in Photos: How the First Months Unfolded, A Look at the Middle Months, and Wrapping Up the Year.

+ For a more international focus, there's this remarkable collection of the AFP's best photos of 2019.

+ CNN: The year in pictures.

+ WaPo: A Remarkable Year in Photographs. Democracy Dies in Darkness (but it thrives in the Darkroom...)

+ Top AP photos of 2019 range from the epic to the intimate.

+ For something a little less newsy, NatGeo has a collection of the best photos of the year.

+ There are more 'best of the year' photo collections, but by now, I think you get the picture. So let's broaden the scope of our timelapse. From Buzzfeed, an amazing look back at The Most Powerful Photos Of The Decade. OK, that's it. You've officially been photobombed.


Jews for Jesus

"The Dobrofskys hadn't set out to become Christmas movie specialists (they actually got their start writing about serial killers), but like so many working screenwriters, the couple gravitated to what was selling and found they had a knack for screwball dialogue and clever spins on Christmas-movie conventions. Never mind that they don't celebrate Christmas themselves." The Hollywood Reporter: This (Jewish) Couple Has Written 30 Christmas Movies — and They're Not Alone. ("Oy, Santa, vhy do you need to schlep all these meshuggeneh tchotchkes around the vorld vearing that old, red schmatte covered with chimney schmutz? You're gonna get sick. You're doing too much. This year, they get bupkis!)


Weekend Whats

What to Movie: You think you don't want to watch a sometimes dry, fact-based, movie about the writing and releasing of the Senate report on torture. But trust me, you do. This a great movie with an excellent performance from Adam Driver, and it's a reminder of just how hard it is to get the truth out when people in power want to keep it hidden. If that's not a timely message, I don't know what is. The Report on Amazon. (Related from the NYT: "Drawings done in captivity by the first prisoner known to undergo 'enhanced interrogation' portray his account of what happened to him in vivid and disturbing ways." And from The Guardian: "The Report is a surprisingly entertaining film. Most importantly, it shines a light on an important story in recent history, and if we hide our sordid mistakes, we will be destined to repeat them.")

+ What to Read: "Knowing she had the legal right to die helped Marieke Vervoort live her life. It propelled her to medals at the Paralympics. But she could never get away from the pain." A sad but beautiful and often inspiring story that is the culmination of three years of reporting. NYT: The Champion Who Picked a Date to Die.

+ What to Jones: "The blinds stuck, so he ripped them off the wall. A water cooler had mold in it, so he grabbed a large knife, stabbed the plastic base wildly and smashed it on the ground. Headlines weren't strong enough; the news wasn't being covered the way he wanted; reporters didn't know how to dress properly. Once a co-worker stopped by the office with a pet fish he was taking home to his niece. It swam in circles in a small, transparent bag. When Jones saw the bag balanced upright on a desk in the conference room, he emptied it into a garbage can. On one occasion, he threatened to send out a memo banning laughter in the office. 'We're in a war,' he said, and he wanted people to act accordingly." NYT Mag: I Worked for Alex Jones. I Regret It.


For Whom The Doorbell Tolls

We led with photos taken by people. Let's effortlessly segue to the much more prolific world of images captured by the machine. Vice has an interesting look at "how Ring transformed from start-up pitch to the technology powering Amazon's privatized surveillance network throughout the United States." (It all started out with "smart doorbell." I was happy with my dumb doorbell. It didn't even bother me when people just knocked...)


Border Crossing The Line

"The cellblock video shows Carlos writhing for at least 25 minutes on the floor and a concrete bench. It shows him staggering to the toilet and collapsing on the floor, where he remained in the same position for the next four and a half hours." ProPublica:
Inside the Cell Where a Sick 16-Year-Old Boy Died in Border Patrol Care.

+ "Of some two hundred and eighty families split up during the El Paso pilot, more than thirty of them were separated without any written record; others couldn't easily be found because of data-entry errors." Jonathan Blitzer in The New Yorker: A New Report on Family Separations Shows the Depths of the Trump Administration's Negligence.

+ "The spike in pregnant detainees came after federal officials terminated an Obama administration order to release most expectant mothers because of health concerns." WaPo: Pregnant immigration detainees spiked 52 percent under Trump administration.


Base Shootings

"Our entire Navy and Marine Corps team is struck and deeply saddened by the attacks within our own naval family over the past several days, at Little Creek, Virginia last week, Pearl Harbor, Hawaii on Wednesday, and today in Pensacola, Florida. These acts are crimes against all of us." CNN with the latest on the deadly shooting at Pensacola naval base.

+ "Police say the two suspects hijacked the UPS truck after a robbery at a Coral Gables jewelry store Thursday afternoon. They then led police on a harrowing cross-county chase up Interstate-75 that ended Thursday night in a dramatic and deadly shootout on a busy street in Miramar." Man who was taken hostage, killed was on this first day on the job as a UPS driver.


We Can Work It Out

"The overall jobs number got a boost from the roughly 41,000 people who returned to work, after being idled in October by the United Auto Workers strike at General Motors." NPR on the bullish jobs report: Job Market Surges As Employers Add 266,000 Jobs.


Hoverboard at Work

"In the video, Lookhart can be seen standing on a hoverboard in the operating room while he pulls out a patient's tooth. Soon after, he zooms out of the room, takes his gloves off and throws both hands up in the air while zipping down the hallway." Alaska dentist was filmed riding a hoverboard while extracting a patient's tooth. "Lookhart also faces more serious charges of medical assistance fraud, scheme to defraud and theft. Records show that his dentistry license was suspended in June 2017." (Given the hoverboard, I'd assume he was also floating checks.)


The Call is Coming From Inside the Louse

"Spam phone calls accounted for 29.2 percent of all mobile phone calls in the U.S. in 2018, up from just 3.7 percent in 2017, and the trend is continuing." Scams Are Killing the Phone Call. (Maybe it's a cultural thing, but when my phone rings, I assume I forgot to pay a bill or someone died...)


Feel Good Friday

"His whole kindergarten class and school being here to say 'we love you,' and 'we support you' and 'we'll be here not only today, but in all the years in the future." A five year-old boy invited his entire class to watch his adoption. (In a few years, he should invite his entire eighth grade class over to watch him tell his parents that he wishes he'd never been born.)

+ WaPo: These men just released their first music album — at age 102 and 88. (Phew, my novel is right on schedule.)

+ Promising study out of UC Berkeley: Drugs that quell brain inflammation reverse dementia.

+ WaPo: Scientists used loudspeakers to make dead coral reefs sound healthy. Fish flocked to them.

+ NYT: How a Prison Play Goes on Tour.

+ Hiking Wheelchair Opens Up Outdoor Lifestyle To People With Serious Disabilities.

+ Bloomberg: Dutch Company to Light a Million Nigerian Homes With Solar.

+ Plumber who offers free work to elderly and disabled customers hopes to help 1,000 families this winter.

+ Your Entire House Will Smell Like KFC When You Buy This Firelog.

+ "He asked me three times how much he should put on his nipples, to which I replied, 'There's no such thing as too much.'" Outside: Why Body Glide Is My Anti-Chafe Balm of Choice. (When I say Feel Good, I mean it...)