Friday, May 21st, 2021


Sweet Om Alabama

At long last, you can perform the Downward-Facing Dog pose in Alabama. But don't get caught doing the Adho Mukha Śvānāsana or you could get busted. Yes, those are different names for the same pose that stretches your hamstring and calf muscles. But Alabama was only willing to bend, not break, when it comes to loosening up the state's ban on yoga. "The new law allows yoga to be offered as an elective for grades K-12. While it erases a ban that, over the years, some schools had not realized existed, it also imposes restrictions on how yoga should be taught. Students won't be allowed to say, "Namaste," for instance. Meditation is not allowed. 'Chanting, mantras, mudras, use of mandalas, induction of hypnotic states, guided imagery, and namaste greetings shall be expressly prohibited,' the bill states. It also requires English names be used for all poses and exercises." NPR: Alabama Will Now Allow Yoga In Its Public Schools But Students Can't Say 'Namaste'. (I guess dabbling in Alabama Sutra is out of the question...)

+ Pre-roll Tide! Alabama becomes latest state to legalize medical marijuana. (Just don't call it Ganja.)


Cease Mire

"Netanyahu, who saw daily polling that showed the vast majority of Israelis opposed a cease-fire, was looking for assurances that if such an offer was extended it would, in fact, be accepted. And he wanted the Biden administration's help. Biden on Thursday morning called Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi and asked him if he could guarantee that Hamas and other militant groups in Gaza would abide by a cease-fire if Israel agreed to a deal." AP: Hour-by-hour: Biden's behind-the-scenes push for cease-fire. (I really hope the violent outbursts among Arabs and Jews in multicultural towns also abates.)

+ One big difference between this and past fighting in the area: Tik Tok. Social media changed the narrative.

+ NYT: U.S. Looks to Rebuild Gaza, but Aid Could Hinge on Hamas's Rocket Arsenal. Dennis Ross: "In a sense, you need to put Hamas in a position where they have to choose between their rockets and the well-being of Gaza."

+ Here's the latest from BBC.


Weekend Whats

What to Animate: I don't want to get into specifics, but I have been both a hostage and a victim of our Roomba. So I could really relate to the first episode in Volume Two of Love, Death and Robots, an adult-ish animated series on Netflix. The episodes are short, binge-able, and all quite different. Give it a try.

+ What to Pell: Over the years, it's been almost impossible to find things that my entire family likes to watch or hear or do (aside from arguing with each other). One exception to the rule is Twenty One Pilots. We all like them. So it's news in my house when the band has a new album. Scaled and Icy is decidedly more upbeat than the duo's previous offerings, but I like in anyway. Our latest family activity is watching Modern Family. Great show, and perhaps the tightest sitcom pilot episode of all time. We watch it on Hulu, but it's widely available.


Faucet Tu?

"We legislated and plumbed this state for a different climate pattern, when annual winter rains reliably fell on Sonoma and points north, and a full Sierra snowpack reliably melted through the spring and summer to feed streams and irrigate orchards and farm fields. That era is long gone." LA Times: If ‘drought' means a period of dry years followed by a return to the norm, California is not in drought. The current climate is the norm.

+ "Your dog loves drinking out of the toilet, why shouldn't you? Well, you actually can with some added filtration steps." The future of water is … sewage? (It's the future of politics and online discourse, so why not water too?)

+ NPR: How Your Hot Showers And Toilet Flushes Can Help the Climate. (Who knew my germaphobia and IBS would save the world?)


The Fog of Store

"At a board of supervisors hearing last week, representatives from Walgreens said that thefts at its stores in San Francisco were four times the chain's national average, and that it had closed 17 stores, largely because the scale of thefts had made business untenable." Welcome to San Francisco, where almost everyone leaves with a free gift. San Francisco's Shoplifting Surge.


Nomo Cuomo Fomo

"Cuomo, one of the network's top stars, joined a series of conference calls that included the Democratic governor's top aide, his communications team, lawyers and a number of outside advisers, according to the people familiar with the conversations." CNN's Chris Cuomo Reportedly Participated in Strategy Calls With Brother Andrew About Sex Allegations, Urged Him Not to Resign. (It's a given that one Cuomo would help the other. But to do it this foolishly and brazenly in an era when news bias is a tool in an American civil war is not something that should be glossed over.)


CDC Clearly Now?

"Before we get to the confusion, let's talk about why scientists and the CDC are so confident that most fully vaccinated people can go maskless." The CDC's mask guidelines are scientifically sound — if you actually read them. (The messaging needs to improve dramatically. Bottom line: Keep it covered if you're in a community where Covid is still spreading.)

+ The Atlantic: When the Texas governor lifted the state's mandate, liberals predicted disaster. But it never came. Why? "The pro-maskers kept their masks on their faces. The anti-maskers kept their masks in the garbage. And many essential workers, who never felt like they had a choice to begin with, continued their pre-announcement habits. The governor might as well have shouted into a void." (I've been writing into one for months, and it does seem to help.)


Exhale Storm

"But there is another crucial difference between May 2020 and May 2021: People have now lived through 14 months of pandemic life. Millions have endured a year of grief, anxiety, isolation, and rolling trauma. Some will recover uneventfully, but for others, the quiet moments after adrenaline fades and normalcy resumes may be unexpectedly punishing. When they finally get a chance to exhale, their breaths may emerge as sighs." Ed Yong in The Atlantic: What Happens When Americans Can Finally Exhale? (Last week, my family spent our first night getting dressed up and going out to dinner since the quarantine started. It was exactly as horrific as I remembered.)


Don’t Russet

WaPo: "Five rural counties in Oregon voted this week to press forward with a plan to leave the state and merge with neighboring Idaho, the latest move in a long-shot campaign by conservatives who say they're fed up with Oregon's left-leaning politics."


Feel Good Friday

"Ms. Mata'afa, 64, a high chief who holds the title fiame, was propelled into political leadership after her father, the country's first prime minister, died when she was 18. Not long after, she became the matai, or head of her family — an unusually early rise." After Weeks of Twists, Samoa Is Set to Have Its First Female Leader. My household has had a female Samoan leader for decades, and I can confirm, it works. Malo Lava.

+ "His own experience of relying on free school meals to eat brings authenticity and compassion to his campaigning, and his status as a Premier League footballer means people and politicians sit up and take notice." Manchester United's Marcus Rashford becomes youngest person to top Sunday Times Giving List. Amazing.

+ Oklahoma siblings separated as young children, find each other after 40 years, living just one mile apart. (This is a good one, folks.)

+ WaPo: After more than a year of separation and isolation, Americans are reuniting.

+ More than 1 million households across the U.S. have already signed up for the Emergency Broadband Benefit (EBB) program.

+ Rejoice. The AppleTV remote, the worst product ever offered by the company, is at long last dead. (I'm burying mine where it always felt most comfortable: between couch cushions.)

+ Slate: The Man Who Is Actually Getting a Free Krispy Kreme Vax Doughnut a Day. "What's funny is that they built this new Krispy Kreme that I've been going to. It just opened up the week before my second Pfizer shot, and it's within walking distance. It's a mile away. It's kismet, right? (If kismet is a euphemism for diabetes, then yes.)