The Mother Load

"I'm so sick of my goddamn kids ... I just wanted to say…Aaaah! Aaah! ... This pandemic has made me realize that maybe I'm not cut out to be a mother ... God, every day I think I can't do this again, but then I do. I get it, I get up and I do it. Because that's just what parents do, right? ... There is just so much talking. Talking all the time. All day long. Words. Words. Words. So much talking. I just, I need no more talking. No more words. I need no more. No more. So much talking. I just need silence. Please. Silence." Those were some of the comments recorded after the NYT opened a primal scream phone line for mothers. Long story, short: America's Mothers Are in Crisis. (Early in the pandemic, my wife and I realized that we couldn't possibly do it all. So we decided to stop parenting.)


Israelite At the End of the Tunnel

"We say with caution, the magic has started." We don't want to overstate things. The country is still on lockdown. The orthodox are still not fans of social distancing. And the airport has been closed to international travel. All that said, Israel is acting as a petri dish for the world, and so far, signs are hopeful that the vaccines stop the spread of Covid-19 and that we could be celebrating, next year in Jerusalem. NYT: Israel's Vaccination Results Point a Way Out of Virus Pandemic.

+ The Guardian: Vaccinated Israeli grandparents play with grandchildren again.

+ Johnson & Johnson asks FDA to authorize its Covid-19 vaccine.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: We're going full book this week. Let's start with Nicole Perlroth's incredible look at the cyber-weapons arms race. Usually, books on things you should know about can feel like homework to read. That's not the case here. I got an advance copy and it's riveting. You will be hooked in the first few pages. This Is How They Tell Me the World Ends: The Cyberweapons Arms Race.

+ What to Book: Vendela Vida's excellent new novel We Run the Tides is out on Tuesday. It's such a great story of friendship, girlhood, nostalgia and life in 1980s San Francisco. Tom Stoppard said, "I didn't want it to end." Same.

+ What to Book: After getting rejected by every investor he pitched, Suneel Gupta had a burning question. Could a person learn to be backable? So he asked the people who are and those who back them. And the result is this really informative book with a killer cover and helpful advice no matter what you're trying to achieve. Backable: The Surprising Truth Behind What Makes People Take a Chance on You.


Despair Repair

"'These are people who have chosen hate and ideology as a drug of choice to numb the pain of underlying issues and grievances, and so we treat this the same way we treat addiction,' said Myrieme Churchill, the executive director of Parents for Peace. A father co-founded the group after his radicalized son fatally shot a U.S. soldier. Experts say deradicalization can be a long and winding process, full of reversals, and emphasize that formal programs are just one tool in a sprawling fight against an overwhelming problem. Some say that hardened extremists are often beyond reach until a tectonic shift in their own lives forces self-reflection." WaPo: After Capitol riot, desperate families turn to groups that ‘deprogram' extremists. (Yelling back at them won't work.)


Film Processing

Some people argue that we've overused the word fascist to describe Trumpism. The truth is that we've underused it. Are they Nazis? No. Do they borrow from the Nazi messaging playbook? Hell yes. Jason Stanley with a must-read look at how the Trump movie at the Ellipse is A Study in Fascist Propaganda. "The video begins with Trump's eyes in the shadow, and its second frame focuses the audience on the Capitol building – America's Reichstag, where the decisions being denounced by the rally's organizers were being made that day. The third frame of the video is the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles. This image immediately directs the attention of an audience attuned to an American fascist ideology to the supposedly elite class of Jews who, according to this ideology, control Hollywood. The appearance of the Hollywood sign makes no other sense in the context of a short video about an election. The next two images, of the UN General Assembly and the EU Parliament floor, connect supposed Jewish control of Hollywood to the goal of world government. As we have seen, according to Nazi ideology, Jews seek to use their control of the press and the entertainment industry to destroy individual nations. The beginning of the video focuses our attention on this supposedly 'globalist,' but really Jewish, threat."


Sea To Shining Seahawk

"The Seahawks faced perhaps the most arduous circumstances in the N.F.L. Their 2020 schedule included five cross-country flights, which meant they would log more miles than any other N.F.L. team. And when they were home, the Seahawks trained not far from Kirkland, Wash., the nation's first coronavirus 'hot spot.'" NYT: The N.F.L. Had Over 700 Coronavirus Positives. The Seahawks Had None. (Leadership matters. This story is both inspiring because of what's possible, and incredibly depressing because of what was possible in the country.)


Kamala Land

Kamala Harris didn't waste much time on the way to her first tie-breaking Senate vote. "The Senate approved a budget resolution early Friday morning that tees up President Biden's $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief bill for passage without Republican support. With the Senate evenly divided, Vice President Harris cast the tiebreaking vote."


One Flu Over the Cuckoo’s Next

"Fewer flu cases mean fewer deaths, fewer occupied hospital beds, and fewer overtaxed health-care workers, caregivers, and laboratory employees—a welcome respite for a country still in the coronavirus's grip. But the flu's absence is also unsettling. Without flu cases to study, researchers have been starved of data crucial for developing vaccines and forecasting the next outbreak. Flu viruses haven't gone extinct. They're temporarily in hiding. And no one's quite sure when, or how, they will return." The Pandemic Broke the Flu. (Maybe mask wearing in crowds and hand washing are good habits to keep around when this shit is over...)



"From majestic landscapes, intimate animal portraits and intriguing night-time views beneath the ocean's surface, to glimpses of cultures across the world, the winning images from Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 present a view of life on our planet at a time in which travel has been difficult or impossible." Travel Photographer of the Year 2020 - in pictures.


Feel Good Friday

"In the near future, researchers believe, shots that deliver temporary instructions into cells could lead to vaccines against herpes and malaria, better flu vaccines, and, if the covid-19 germ keeps mutating, updated coronavirus vaccinations, too. But researchers also see a future well beyond vaccines. They think the technology will permit cheap gene fixes for cancer, sickle-cell disease, and maybe even HIV." The next act for messenger RNA could be bigger than covid vaccines.

+ New Israeli drug cured 29 of 30 moderate/serious COVID cases in days.

+ Australian Open set to bring a slice of normalcy to the sports world. (Pun headlines folks. We're having an impact!)

+ WaPo: How this 98-year-old woman has become the ‘Oprah' of a Jewish community center in Florida.

+ Pet-loving sleuths hailed after tracking down stolen van with 12 dogs inside.

+ Steph and Ayesha Curry Have Quietly Served Up 15 Million Meals During the Pandemic.

+ How an Apple Watch May Have Helped Save This Guy's Life.

+ Kenyan woman finds a way to recycle plastic waste into bricks that are stronger than concrete.

+ San Diego man reunited with wallet lost in Antarctica 53 years ago. (As a bonus, it spent all those years mining bitcoin.)