Friday, October 9th, 2020


In Venti Veritas

Much to the chagrin of my daughter, who's usually standing next to me, I refuse to use the terms like Venti, Grande, and Tall at Starbucks, instead blaspheming with the order: One large coffee. But the language (and sales) of coffee is going to lean towards Starbucks and other massive chains as the pandemic takes its toll. And this trend is likely to hit many other retail categories as the big players move in to swoop up space once occupied by the indies who couldn't survive the shutdowns. Bloomberg: Say Goodbye to Your Local Coffee Shop in America's Cafe Shakeup.

+ While big companies have the advantage during the pandemic, it's unclear that big cities will enjoy the same. One trend to watch will be how many people who have gotten used to working from home will decide to do so from a less expensive zip code. Microsoft is the latest company to tell employees they can work from home permanently. "While Microsoft employees will be allowed to move across country for remote work, compensation and benefits will change and vary depending on the company's own geopay scale."


Liberation Detonation

Remember the LIBERATE MICHIGAN tweets? Some people took them seriously and literally. Regardless of the outcome of the election, there are movements afoot that will be challenges for years to come. Buzzfeed: The plot to kidnap Michigan's governor before the election. "The plot to kidnap and potentially kill the governor of Michigan appears to have been born in a meeting held in a small Ohio town in early June, where 14 people from around the country gathered to discuss overthrowing state governments they believed were violating the Constitution. One of them was Adam Fox, a 37-year-old vacuum cleaner salesperson from Grand Rapids, Michigan, who believed that Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, was a "tyrant." He took particular umbrage, according to the FBI, at the fact that she had ordered gyms to be closed to protect against the spread of the coronavirus."

+ Michigan AG Dana Nessel: "This effort to have a mass uprising nationally is something that we should be very concerned about because, again, it's not just a Michigan problem, this is an American problem."

+ Along with the potential for violence, we'll be left with QAnon and other forms of crazy, made all the more powerful after four years of conspiracy amplification. Charles Bethea in The New Yorker: How the "QAnon Candidate" Marjorie Taylor Greene Reached the Doorstep of Congress. "Greene, who campaigns with a sort of aggro cheerfulness, has linked Hillary Clinton to pedophilia and human sacrifice and suggested that Barack Obama plotted to kill a Democratic operative with the help of MS-13. She described the 2018 midterms, which featured the victorious candidacies of Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib, as 'an Islamic invasion of our government.' Greene has also said that Americans now have 'a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to take this global cabal of Satan-worshiping pedophiles out.'"


Weekend Whats

What to Read: "In September 1990, the anonymous white dancer in the crowd would drop To the Extreme, which would sell 15 million copies worldwide, faster than any album since Purple Rain six years earlier. Its inescapable lead single, "Ice Ice Baby," became the first rap song to top the Billboard Hot 100 and accelerated the genre's crossover into the American mainstream. There were Vanilla Ice dolls, a ghostwritten autobiography, a Scholastic book with MC Hammer, rock 'n' roll comics, and a board game that came with a toy boom box; a Vanilla Ice movie and cameos in both Madonna's Sex book and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sequel. The first white solo rapper to become a pop star would have one of the most dizzying ascents and precipitous downfalls in music history. At 23, he was briefly the biggest rapper in the world and the public enemy of hip-hop purists—the subject of (still ongoing) debates about appropriation and authenticity. But before any of that could transpire, he had to win over the doubters in South Dallas." Jeff Weiss in The Ringer: The (Mostly) True Story of Vanilla Ice, Hip-Hop, and the American Dream.

+ What to Watch: "PEN15 is middle school as it really happened. Maya Erskine and Anna Konkle star in this adult comedy, playing versions of themselves as thirteen-year-old outcasts in the year 2000, surrounded by actual thirteen-year-olds." Sound weird? It is, in a good way. Check out PEN15 on Hulu.

+ What to Wear: Time is running out make sure you're dressed for success on Nov 3. Score your Let There Be Light T-shirt now.


Reality Sleeps With the Fishes

"California is gonna have to ration water. You wanna know why? Because they send millions of gallons of water out to sea, out to the Pacific. Because they want to take care of certain little tiny fish, that aren't doing very well without water." That was among the weird comments made by the virus-suffering Trump as he coughed his way through an interview with Sean Hannity. (Admit it. You didn't know it was gonna get this weird.)

+ It's gonna get weirder as the poll numbers widen. NYT: Trump Lashes Out at His Cabinet With Calls to Indict Political Rivals.

+ Twitter will flag premature claims about who won the 2020 election.

+ Mark Meadows hosted a lavish Atlanta wedding in May despite virus restrictions. OK, but that was way back then, before the White House got the presidential positive test wake-up call. Well, Don Jr held a crowded indoor event ... yesterday. (Risking your life to see Don Jr speak is Darwinism's finest hour.)


Feeder Program

"Announcing the prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said it wished 'to turn the eyes of the world towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of hunger.' The committee also said it hoped that bestowing the prize on the U.N. agency would highlight the need to strengthen global solidarity and cooperation in an era of go-it-alone nationalism." AP: World Food Program wins Nobel Peace Prize for hunger fight. Shout out to José Andrés and his team at World Central Kitchen, who have been feeding people hit by Covid, fires, floods; as well as the millions of Americans who have volunteered to help their communities during a year when it would have been easier to turn inwards. In this case, participation trophies are fully warranted.


The Fog of Germ War

"Brain fog seems like such an inferior description of what is actually going on. It's completely crippling. I am unable to think clearly enough to [do] anything ... I can't work more than one to two hours a day and even just leaving the house to get some shopping can be a challenge. When I get tired it becomes much worse and sometimes all I can do is lay in bed and watch TV." 'Brain fog': the people struggling to think clearly months after Covid.


Dog Daze

"The goggles are being developed by Command Sight, a Seattle-based company, with US Army research funding, and would allow military dogs to assist in rescue operations and scout potentially dangerous areas for hazards and explosives while their handlers remain at a safe distance." US military dogs are trialing augmented reality goggles. (I'm sure glad my beagles have bonespurs in their paws.)


Bear Market

"Once the containers are full of goodies, Gravatt gets them in front of the bears, which poke, prod, claw, bite, smash, and sometimes use what he calls 'the CPR method,' wherein bears place their front paws atop a container and pump, almost as if they're trying to revive the unfortunate object. If the container remains intact to a certain standard—gaps, tears, and holes can't be larger than an inch for trash containers; for food containers, it's a mere quarter-inch—it gets the bears' literal seal of approval: a sticker depicting a grizzly's head and shoulders and the product's certification number." These Bears Have a Job, and It's Destroying Coolers.


Warp Speed Browsing

From Discover: The Quantum Internet Will Blow Your Mind. Here's What It Will Look Like. "Capable of sending enormous amounts of data over vast distances, it would work not just faster than the current internet but faster than the speed of light — instantaneously, in fact, like the teleportation of Mr. Spock and Captain Kirk in Star Trek." (I know Spock would be disappointed in me, but internet speeds this fast get me emotional...)


Feel Good Friday

"Not only did those who received the money spend fewer days homeless than those in the control group, they had also moved into stable housing after an average of three months, compared to those in the control group, who took an average of five months." A BC research project gave homeless people $7,500 each — the results were beautifully surprising. (And less expensive than the alternative.)

+ These diamonds are made of CO2 sucked from the air.

+ Embracing cows, or "koe knuffelen" in Dutch, is more than a cute wellness trend. With immense mental health benefits, the practice has growing global appeal. (Hashtag Moo too?)

+ Minnesota man trapped underneath a fallen tree for 4 days is rescued.

+ Geneva is introducing a minimum wage of $25 an hour, the highest in the world.

+ Tasmanian devils have been reintroduced into the wild in mainland Australia for the first time in 3,000 years. (Either they're Tasmanian devils or just Koalas who have been quarantining with their families for six months.)