August 6th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Talking to strangers, Weekend docs, Feel Good Friday

I should preface this by saying I rarely talk to strangers and I try to keep spoken exchanges with friends and family to a minimum. But I’m willing to learn from The Atlantic’s Joe Keohane who describes the upside of verbal interactions with unknown others, and explains why many of us still avoid them. “If talking with strangers is so pleasant—and so good for us—why don’t people do it more often? That’s a big question, informed by issues of race, class and gender, culture, population density, and decades of (sometimes valid) ‘stranger danger’ messaging. But the core answer seems to be twofold: We don’t expect strangers to like us, and we don’t expect to like them either.” The Surprising Benefits of Talking to Strangers. (So far the only benefits I’ve seen from talking to strangers is that it embarrasses the hell out of my kids.)


Box Frame

“Olympic medalist is a title few people can claim. In the history of the games, fewer than 30,000 athletes have ever brought home a medal. But there is an honor even more rare, a club even more exclusive.” Winning Best Email Newsletter of 1999? Yes, but there’s another category. What’s Rarer Than Gold? Making It Onto A Wheaties Box. (Representing your country is amazing. Representing breakfast carbs writ large is a whole different level.)


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: We don’t surf. But my wife and I are surf movie aficionados. And we’re loving HBO’s 100 Foot Wave, a series that chronicles Garrett McNamara’s obsession with surfing massive waves.

+ What to Doc 2: I don’t deal cocaine on the streets of Miami, but I am oddly addicted to drug-related documentaries. And the excellent Billy Corben feeds my addiction perfectly with his latest doc series on Netflix. Cocaine Cowboys: The Kings of Miami.

+ What to Doc 3: With the Olympics drawing to a close, this is the perfect time to watch Komome (and get Feel Good Friday off to an early start). Come for the single tree that survived Japan’s tsunami, stay for the remarkable friendship between Rikuzentakata, Japan, and Crescent City, CA.


Starving for Vaccines

While millions of Americans are turning down vaccines and shunning the opportunity to move beyond this viral spiral, much of the world is desperate for help. And food. “An estimated 270 million people are expected to face potentially life-threatening food shortages this year — compared to 150 million before the pandemic — according to analysis from the World Food Program, the anti-hunger agency of the United Nations. The number of people on the brink of famine, the most severe phase of a hunger crisis, jumped to 41 million people currently from 34 million last year, the analysis showed.” NYT: No Work, No Food: Pandemic Deepens Global Hunger.


Stop Believing in Desantis Clause

Think you’re tired of this bullshit? Imagine how health workers feel. Amid covid surge, hospitals suffer from worker burnout that forces some to walk off.

+ As COVID cases surge, Montana officials say nursing homes can’t require vaccinations. (It’s a shame that the age of idiocy overlaps the age of Covid.)

+ GOP congressman suing Pelosi over mask fines tests positive for COVID-19. (See above parenthetical.)

+ Some Florida School Districts Will Require Masks. The Governor May Cut Their Funding. (See above parenthetical.)

+ “Me and my brother are siblings, so we have our fights, but I love him and I’d hate for him and any other child who can’t get vaccinated to get sick or die. You’ve been seeing a lot of kids who can’t get vaccinated or who are unvaccinated and have been like really vulnerable end up in hospitals or dying, and it’s terrible. I don’t want that to happen to anybody because it’s just so horrifying.” Florida 12-year-old advocates for mask mandates in schools.


Fox and Friends Like These

“The irony, of course, is that under Orbán, it’s impossible for a Hungarian equivalent of Carlson—a loud television pundit, critical of the government, watched by millions of people—to exist. In Hungary, the ruling party doesn’t merely influence the press. It owns the bulk of the press, and not metaphorically.” Anne Applebaum in The Atlantic: Tucker Carlson’s Self-Loathing International Tourism.

+ I hate to waste our time on Tucker Carlson, but I can’t understand how any advertiser can support this complete garbage. And I get that it’s supposed to outrage people like me. But it also supports people like Orbán.


Surrounded By Real Estate Agents

“Thorne and his son were touring a home Sunday with real estate agent Eric Brown, who’s also Black, in Wyoming, Mich., when police suddenly surrounded the house with guns drawn. The officers were responding to a neighbor’s 911 call about a break in. They ordered the three out of the house, handcuffed them and put them in separate vehicles.” WaPo (gift article to ND readers): A Black Army vet toured a house with his real estate agent and teen. Police surrounded the home and handcuffed them.


Five Ring Circus

“Two coaches from the Belarus team have been dismissed by the International Olympic Committee four days after they ordered sprinter Kristina Timanovskaya back home for publicly criticizing them.” (Imagine being so corrupt that the IOC punishes you.)

+ Everyone relax. The sumo wrestler statue has been removed from the Olympic equestrian ring.

+ Allyson Felix Now Has More Olympic Medals Than Any Female Track Athlete In History. (And she may have one relay to go.)

+ 11 Good Sportsmanship Moments from the Tokyo Olympics. (It’s the Ted Lasso effect, folks.)


Overlay Away Plan

“My mortgage broker emails on my birthday and holidays. So does my dentist. Certain retailers email much more often. The home-furnishings company Room & Board is one of them, hoping I’ll upgrade to a lounge-worthy sectional or entreating me to meet artisanal glassblowers from Minnesota. In the past week alone, the clothing retailer Bonobos messaged me nine times.” Ian Bogost in The Atlantic: What Are Stores Even Thinking With All These Emails? (And why are they blocking me from a purchase with a hundred subscription form overlays?)


Feel Good Friday

“He was the last to leave the room, and as he started walking away, Ronnie grabbed his hand and gingerly asked: ‘Hey, can you stay and watch a movie with me?’ Blair explained to Ronnie that he had to go to work, but he promised to come back later that evening. He had a date night planned with his wife, he said, but knowing her, she would also rather be at the hospital than out at a restaurant.” WaPo (gift, and it really is a gift, article for ND readers): A father nearly killed his son in a gruesome crime. One of the detectives on the scene later adopted the child.

+ Reminder: About 99.999% of fully vaccinated Americans have not had a deadly Covid-19 breakthrough case.

+ “One job turned into two, which quickly became five and then 10. After just a month, or so, a full-blown nonprofit was established.” Wayne man’s lawn-mowing charity growing at ‘overwhelming’ rate, now in 16 states.

+ Imported aloha spirit infuses thriving Hawaiian cultural life into Las Vegas community. (Aloha spirit without the humidity? Count me in!)

+ More than $170,000 raised in 24 hours for mother and three kids facing eviction.

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