Grampa Bay

Tom Brady is a senior citizen by NFL standards, but young Patrick Mahomes was the one who kept falling (even though, to his credit, he kept getting back up). For those who had been craving normalcy, this year's Super Bowl delivered. There's nothing more normal than Tom Brady throwing touchdown passes to Gronk, while benefiting from a remarkable performance from his team's defense; a crew that delivered Mahomes his worst day ever, and proved that football and social media have one thing in common: It's all about the offensive lines. Brady became the first QB ever to beat two State Farm spokespeople back to back. Plus, he was on a new team in a year with no preseason and 43 years old. To turn that into a seventh Super Bowl win is among the greatest achievements in professional sports. Life isn't a simulation. Tom Brady is. GQ: Tom Brady Isn't Supposed to Be Able to Do This.

+ SI: Once Again, Tom Brady Did Exactly What He Had to Do. (If Brady's going to Disneyland, I think I'll go to Gisele.)

+ Many watch for the ads. Vulture provides a look at almost all of them. I'd say that Alaska Airlines and Guinness were the best because they acknowledged the pandemic and this moment. GM and Will Ferrell had one of the funnier ads that ended with the line "We're coming Norway. (Meanwhile, Norway was like, "You're not coming here until you get Covid under control."). Amazon's ad featuring Michael B Jordan as an Alexa assistant was also pretty awesome. Bruce Springsteen's Jeep ad had the best message (Reuniting America) and the best overall quality. But it's just too weird seeing the Boss in a commercial (and equally weird seeing him in a Cowboy hat). And though it was pretty good, the most unrealistic commercial featured John Travolta making a Tik Tok with his daughter...no daughter with a dad that age would ever agree to be seen in public with him. What's next: asking him if she can wear his denim jacket from is days playing Barbarino? People can't seem to decide if the Oatly ad was the best or worst thing ever. (Hint: Everyone knows what Oatly is now.) And someone noticed that two of the Super Bowl ads used the same stock footage. (I'm not pointing fingers. I plan to use the exact same intro when Brady wins the Super Bowl next year.)

+ I wasn't a big fan of The Weeknd's halftime show; and since it was sponsored by Pepsi, I was surprised that he was dressed as a Coke. (After the performance, The Wknd, as he's now known, was mugged by the masked men and robbed of two more vowels.)

+ All of the pregame performances were solid, including H.E.R. jamming America the Beautiful and Jazmine Sullivan and Eric Church on the National Anthem.

+ Kevin Harlan was good calling the action when a streaker took the field. (There's probably no achievement less impressive than streaking with your clothes on and then sliding just before reaching the end zone.)


Individual One Trial Two

If Tom Brady winning a Super Bowl felt like a rerun, get ready for this week as Impeachment 2, Capitol Insurrection hits the screen. The trial is expected to last no more than a week. That should be long enough for Trump's legal team to finally spell United States correctly 100% of the time in their briefs. (Trump couldn't find a single qualified lawyer to defend him. Yet a lot of Senators will.)

+ Wyoming GOP Censures Liz Cheney For Voting To Impeach Trump. (Supporting liars, attacking truth-tellers. It's not my party, but I'll cry if I want to.)


Worse for Wear

Atul Gawande in The New Yorker: "I wanted to learn about Minot because it was exceptional: it was in the worst-performing county in the worst-performing state in the worst-performing country in the world. But I also wanted to learn about it because it didn't seem unusual at all: the city was divided over what to do about the pandemic, and even what to think about it. I wanted to understand what made it so difficult for people to come together and address a deadly crisis."

+ "We've created a separate and unequal hospital system and a separate and unequal funding system for low-income communities. And now with Covid, we're seeing the disproportionate impact." NYT: Dying of Covid in a ‘Separate and Unequal' L.A. Hospital.

+ Texas Rep. Ron Wright Has Died After Getting COVID-19 While Sick With Cancer. (Wright is the first member of Congress to die from Covid-19 related conditions.)


Chip Slip

"Lockdowns fuelled sales of computers and other devices to let people work from home - and they also bought new gadgets to occupy their time off. The automotive industry, meanwhile, initially saw a big dip in demand and cuts its orders. As a result, chipmakers switched over their production lines. But then, in the third quarter of 2020, sales of cars came roaring back more quickly than anticipated." There's a worldwide chip shortage. How will 'chipageddon' affect you?


Chick Flick

"Torture a single chicken in your backyard, and you risk arrest. Abuse tens of millions of them? Why, that's agribusiness." Nick Kristof in the NYT: The Ugly Secrets Behind the Costco Chicken. "An investigator went under cover and brought back disturbing video from a farm growing those famous birds."



"The sudden cancellation of Lou Dobbs Tonight — which has been on the air since 2011 — came one day after after Smartmatic, a voting tech company, filed a massive $2.7 billion defamation lawsuit against Fox News." Fox Business Cancels Lou Dobbs. (Don't look at the Lou Dobbs firing as Fox News losing an insane host, look at it as Mar a Lago gaining a cocktail lounge drunk.)

+ It's a new year, but a few vestiges from 2020 are hanging on; like the fact that Stormy Daniels was a guest on Michael Cohen's podcast. Daniels described her sexual encounter with the president as "the worst 90 seconds of my life, for sure, because it just made me hate myself." (I hear Hydroxychloroquine improves stamina.)


Counter Revolution

"This was the start of the first successful student-led sit-in of the civil rights movement, a protest that would last three weeks. It led the popular drugstore chain, Rexall, to change its segregation policy across the state of Kansas, and started a chain of events that led to the Greensboro sit-in 19 months later. Still, few people outside Wichita — even many inside it — have any idea this happened. The story illustrates the gaps in our historical record, and how they come to be." WaPo: The brave, forgotten Kansas lunch counter sit-in that helped change America.


Ex Post Factoids

"Posts from members of the 116th Congress received more than 2 billion favorites and reactions across Twitter and Facebook, as well as half a billion shares and retweets on the two platforms combined. Meanwhile, the total number of users who follow members of Congress on Twitter or Facebook has nearly tripled over the last three sessions." Pew: Though not especially productive in passing bills, the 116th Congress set new marks for social media use. (Well, at least in this one way, they are representative of their constituency.)


Popeye Popping News

"Researchers engineered the roots of spinach plants to contain microscopic nanosensors that are capable of detecting nitroaromatics — chemicals that are often found in explosives and man-made industrial chemicals. When the nanosensors detect those compounds, they can send a signal to an infrared camera, which can shoot out an email alert." Nanotechnology allows chemical signals from spinach to send emails. (Great, now my friggin' salad is gonna have a Substack newsletter...)


Bottom of the News

"It is remarkable to think that each of us spends roughly three years of our life going to the toilet. And that's not to mention the reading, watching, and maybe for some — though it's still an etiquette grey area — talking on the phone. Potty training is a child's first step to becoming a functioning member of society. Along with learning to communicate, this is phase one of proto-personhood: say please and thank you, and try not to wee on the floor. For those of us who are fortunate, this is the start of a lifelong lack of thinking about using the loo. It is something we take for granted. An accessible, clean space is often available, whether it's in the home or out and about. When nature calls, we know exactly how to answer and can do so, for the most part, comfortably." Rose Hendrie with a lot of interesting things about bathrooms. Bathroom Reading.

+ SNL with a classic Zillow commercial skit.

+ And cancel culture comes for kids. "We expose problematic kids and cancel them."