October 18th – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

What can you learn from a master? Plus the Manchin on the Hill.

Can you learn to be a master at something by getting advice from a master? In some ways, that’s the promise of the increasingly popular Masterclass, where folks who are great at things share some of their pro tips. It’s like Cameo for A-listers. “Wayne Gretzky tells us that as a kid he’d watch games and diagram the puck’s movements on a sketch of a rink, which taught him to ‘skate to where the puck is gonna be.’ Likewise, Martin Scorsese says in his class that he used to storyboard scenes from movies he admired, such as the chariot race in ‘Ben-Hur.’ The idea that mastery can be achieved by attentive emulation of the masters is the site’s foundational promise. James Cameron, in his class, suggests that the path to glory consists of only one small step. ‘There’s a moment when you’re just a fan, and there’s a moment when you’re a filmmaker,’ he assures us. ‘All you have to do is pick up a camera and start shooting.'” The New Yorker’s Tad Friend: Can MasterClass Teach You Everything? I don’t really think MasterClass is about making you a master. It’s about entertaining content. I’ve watched every surf movie, yet my record ride was 2 seconds on nearly flat water. I watch Alex Honnold free-climb the sides of cliffs while repelling into a family-sized bowl of pasta. I’ve never ridden a Peloton, but I occasionally view the videos from my couch just to watch attractive people covered with beads of sweat exert themselves. Of course watching multiple sweaty people exert themselves in front of a camera has been the internet’s most popular masterclass since the beginning. And it sure didn’t take a masterclass to figure that out…


A General Dies

Powell “was the nation’s first African American national security adviser and the first African American chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as well as the youngest person to serve in the latter post. Described frequently as the most popular American general since Dwight Eisenhower, Powell often was mentioned as a possible candidate for president, but he never elected to run.” Colin Powell, who was ill with multiple myeloma, dies from Covid complications.

+ The AP with the headline that fairly or not sums up most people’s immediate reaction: Colin Powell dies, exemplary general stained by Iraq claims.

+ Colin Powell – a life in pictures.


Hait Crimes

“Haiti’s economic and political turmoil has contributed to what some experts are calling a kidnapping crisis. On Saturday, the latest high-profile kidnapping targeted a group of 17 missionaries, including five children. Sixteen members of the group are American citizens, and one is Canadian.” Haiti’s kidnapping crisis is plunging the country even further into turmoil.


Running Storyline

“At trial, Travis McMichael, 35, Gregory McMichael, 65, and another neighbor, William Bryan, 52, will face state charges including murder, false imprisonment and aggravated assault. They’ve separately been charged with federal hate crimes. That trial is scheduled for February 2022.” The trial in the killing of Ahmaud Arbery is seen as a test case for racial justice. (It’s important to recognize that without the viral video, there would be no trial at all.)


The Manchin on the Hill

“Manchin, a Democrat whose vote is crucial to passing his party’s climate legislation, is opposed to its most important provision that would compel utilities to stop burning oil, coal and gas and instead use solar, wind and nuclear energy, which do not emit the carbon dioxide that is heating the planet.” West Virginia Leads U.S. in Flood Risk, Adding to Manchin’s Climate Dilemma. (It’s only a dilemma if the risk of climate change is your priority. It doesn’t seem like much of a dilemma for Manchin.)


Pinky Promise

“I was willing to do everything and die for my organization, and now I am just switching gears with that same mentality and putting that determination into living and working in normal society.” WaPo (Gift Article for NextDraft Readers): As Japan’s yakuza mob weakens, former gangsters struggle to find a role outside crime. (Blending into society is made more difficult by full body tattoos and missing pinkies.)


Boogie Man

“Morey was living in Hawaii when he cut a large piece of polyethylene foam in half. He then worked to shape the foam with an iron after putting pages of the Honolulu Advertiser on top. By the time he was done Morey had a short board with a mostly rectangular body and a rounded nose. It weighed around three pounds — a fraction of what traditional surfboards weighed at the time.” Tom Morey, inventor of the Boogie Board, dies at 86.


A Candace Do Attitude

“Candace Parker had no work left to do, but because she is Candace Parker, she kept working. She grabbed one last defensive rebound and ran toward her family, a sprint that took a few seconds and all 35 of her years—a journey from child prodigy to veteran leader, and from Chicago to Chicago.” Behind their hometown hero, the Sky won their first WNBA title.


Squeeze Play

“In a normal year, Basic Fun, based in Boca Raton, Florida, can export everything its customers order from its factories in China. ‘It’s automatic,’ Foreman said. The company can ‘set it and forget it.’ But not this year. Not in a year in which 20-foot and 40-foot shipping containers became scarce and more expensive to deliver goods from factories overseas to US ports and back. The spot rate of booking a 40-foot container from Shanghai to Los Angeles hit $10,229 the first week of August, up 238% from the same time a year prior.” Storage containers are scarce, so toymakers are focused on small, squishy toys for the holidays. (After the last couple years of craziness, I was planning to get my kids stress-toys anyway…)


Bottom of the News

“There are lots of interesting ways to do yoga these days, like in a cat cafe or outside at a farm with goats, but as one yoga instructor and her students learned, you probably shouldn’t do yoga on an untethered paddleboat on the ocean.” Yoga teacher and students meditating on paddle boards swept into the ocean.

+ “Christchurch, New Zealand, is parting ways with its official city wizard after more than two decades. His offensive remarks about women and the local government’s new tourism strategy reportedly spelled his doom.”

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