Thursday, August 26th, 2021


It’s Your Call

During many games this season you'll have two ways to watch Monday Night Football. You can watch the main broadcast on ESPN. Or you can listen to the gametime musings of the Manning brothers on ESPN2. It's about time. This option should have been offered a long time ago, and it should be dramatically expanded. Viewers should have multiple versions of the game to choose from, and everyone from influencers to regular consumers should be able to take a shot at calling the games and building their own followings. As long as the video and commercials all stay the same, the networks and leagues still make the money, and I can finally get out of the news business and into the virtual sports commentator booth. And while we're on the topic, there is no good reason why baseball fans should be forced to separate from their local TV announcers when their teams make it to the playoffs. Let the national audience watch the national broadcast and let me stick with the Giants' announcers as the team plows through the playoffs and onto their fourth 21st century World Series win.


Living in Denial

"There is a rising group of people who no longer identify with any religious tradition but still experience a real need for conversation and support around what it means to be a good human and live an ethical life." NYT (gift article for ND readers): The New Chief Chaplain at Harvard? An Atheist. I remain agnostic on this topic.


Afghanistan Bombing

At least 13 people, including several US Marines, were killed in two suicide bombings in Kabul. Hospitals are reporting a high number of injuries, so those numbers could increase. A senior Kabul official said more than 60 were killed. Here's the latest from BBC and CNN. (This should be a wake-up call to the media to remember that loss of American military lives is a risk of war and to stop pretending that the whole Afghanistan story is about the first few days of the evacuation.)

+ Powerful take from Phil Klay in The New Yorker: American Purpose After the Fall of Kabul. "9/11 unified America. It overcame partisan divides, bound us together, and gave us the sense of common purpose so lacking in today's poisonous politics. And nothing that we have done as a nation since has been so catastrophically destructive as what we did when we were enraptured by the warm glow of victimization and felt like we could do anything, together."


Hold My Fear

"The reason why we've seen the marked increase in demand is fear." In this case, fear is a motivator I can get behind. NYT: Where the Delta Wave Has Driven Up Covid-19 Vaccinations.

+ It's the Cycle of Death: Fear didn't work in Sturgis in 2020. And it didn't work in 2021 either. Warnings About the Sturgis Rally Have Come Tragically True.


Stocky Theater

"A lucrative enterprise will create enemies, and Camp Shane has made many. Alumni bitter about the deprivation they experienced, and a few who now allege more serious abuses. Competitors who swiped trade secrets and poached campers. But the bitterest rivalries were among members of the Ettenberg clan, who carried on a multidecade feud that included the alleged theft of a grandchild's safari souvenirs, acrimonious lawsuits, a suspected arson attempt, the eviction of another grandchild, a crashed bar mitzvah, a possible IRS tipoff leading to a felony tax evasion conviction, disinheritance, and the endowment of a multimillion-dollar foundation whose beneficiaries have included a charity that provides helper monkeys." David Gauvey Herbert in Bloomberg: The Epic Family Feud Behind an Iconic American Weight-Loss Camp for Kids.


Hit and Done

Remember the South Dakota Attorney General who hit a guy with his car and then went home while the victim died in a ditch? His sentence was just handed down. He got fined a thousand bucks.


Holmes Schooled

"Though Theranos shut down in 2018, Ms. Holmes continues to loom large across the start-up world because of the audacity of her story, which has permeated popular culture and left behind a seemingly indelible image of how female founders can push boundaries." NYT (gift article for ND readers): They Still Live in the Shadow of Theranos's Elizabeth Holmes.


Tik Tokker’s Record Time

"I do this for that random little girl that's sitting out there scrolling through her phone and just listens to one of my videos and hopefully I can help her and change her life in some way." Seventeen-year-old Anastasia Pagonis won America's first gold in the Paralympics. You may not have heard about it. But her 2 million Tik Tok followers sure did.


Sinking Feeling

We've got a little problem in San Francisco that involves a tall tower sinking. But we found a fix. But then we didn't. "The major construction fix to stop San Francisco's beleaguered Millennium Tower from sinking further into the earth has been halted after the building suddenly sank another inch within a few weeks."


Bottom of the News

"We follow certain rules for a very good reason." So said James Akers speaking in defense of mask mandates, after stripping during a school board meeting.

+ Cool video that lets you fly like (or at least with) an eagle.

+ Norman Lear said, "I can't recall a more engaging read." Former CBS News President Andrew Heyward called it, a "smart, funny, compelling and uniquely personal journey through 2020 with one of America's smartest (and funniest) commentators." I love them both. But you shouldn't need anyone else to convince you pre-order my book. You've been reading my stuff for free for years! Let's go! Order Please Scream Inside Your Heart today. (And save your proof of purchase. It will be good for something soon.) IndieBound | Amazon | Barnes&Noble | | Powells