Friday, October 29th, 2021


Hey Mikey, He Likes It

Over the Summer, the NCAA changed its longstanding position that college athletes must be barred from making money and introduced the ironically named NIL compensation plan (Name, Image, Likeness). College athletes immediately started making deals. Now we have our first high school basketball player to score a sponsorship package. Mikey Williams, 17, signs historic footwear and apparel deal with Puma. "Williams has more than 5 million combined Instagram, TikTok and Twitter followers, and Puma looks at his unique and early signing as unlocking his hybrid appeal of being both an up-and-coming basketball star and social media influencer." (I was so nervous before my high school football games that the only sponsor that would have signed me is Imodium.)


A Plea For Cop

This weekend, the much-anticipated COP26 summit to fight climate change will get underway. We'll see if we get some real action instead of the usual off-gassing from world leaders. NPR: The COP26 is about to start. Here's what to expect. "These climate meetings began in 1992, when countries signed a treaty promising to stabilize greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere and prevent dangerous changes to the climate. Almost every year since then, the parties to this agreement have met to talk about what still needs to be done. It's called a Conference of Parties, or COP. This is the 26th such meeting. So, COP26." (Hopefully they're better at climate mitigation than they are at branding.)

+ Here's a guide to the make-or-break issues.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: My wife Gina is among the world's most voracious readers, often completing a book a day and somehow retaining all of it. Her fiction list is really good and really popular. There's something for everyone. Check it out and share it with the bookworms in your life. The What List Best Fiction 2021.

+ What to Watch: Squid Game is getting all the hype, but a somewhat similar series called Alice in Borderland is excellent. Obsessed gamer Arisu suddenly finds himself in a strange, emptied-out version of Tokyo in which he and his friends must compete in dangerous games in order to survive. (We're watching this as a family with two teens and no one has complained yet.)

+ What to Pod: Investigative journalist Hunter Walker broke the story on the potential involvement of members of Congress in the Jan 6 insurrection. Here he talks with the excellent Joe Trippi about what he's learned and why this story is far from over.


Abuse of Power

"Every 16 hours, a woman is fatally shot by a current or former intimate partner. Many of the offenders were legally prohibited from having guns." From Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting and The Guardian: How the US fails to take away guns from domestic abusers: ‘These deaths are preventable.' (We also need to change the way we cover gun violence. 2 million stories about a freak accident on Alec Baldwin's set and one about this is not a good ratio.)


Watching the Electives

Virginia's governor's race is getting a lot of attention because it's considered an early bellwether for 2022 and, of course, it's really close. But it's also a testing ground for more of the same damaging election-related lies we've been hearing about since last November. Vanity Fair: Trump's election lies are fueling a surge in poll watchers, heightening fears of voter intimidation in coming elections.


Time to Axe the Tomahawk

"Each of the next three days, a baseball stadium will dim its lights, thousands of people will illuminate the flashlights on their phones and they will engage in a wildly ahistorical, fundamentally problematic and altogether unnecessary ritual. The tomahawk chop." ESPN: It's past time for the Atlanta Braves to move on from the chop. (If the cultural issues don't move you, just consider how unbelievably irritating this chant is while people are trying to watch the game at home. Once is bad enough. But all game long? The beauty of chopping someone with a tomahawk is that it doesn't take long at all to achieve silence.)


Oil Rig

"After the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York declined to prosecute the case, Judge Kaplan took the rare step of appointing a private law firm, Seward & Kissel, to prosecute Mr. Donziger in the name of the U.S. government. Seward & Kissel has represented many oil and gas companies throughout the years, including Chevron in 2018." NYT (Gift Article): Lawyer Who Won $9.5 Billion Judgment Against Chevron Reports to Prison. (Did I mention that there was no jury?)


Ferrell Cat

"A sequel to Elf was written, which would've paid him $29  million had Ferrell not balked at its rehashed premise. He says the decision to walk away was simple: 'I would have had to promote the movie from an honest place, which would've been, like, ‘Oh no, it's not good. I just couldn't turn down that much money.' And I thought, ‘Can I actually say those words? I don't think I can, so I guess I can't do the movie.'" Will Ferrell Just Wants to Entertain You (and Himself).


Cloth Froth

"Apple this month unveiled an array of new gadgets: more powerful MacBook laptop computers, AirPod wireless headphones with longer battery life and HomePod Mini speakers in three more colors. But a different and unheralded Apple release is garnering so much interest that it has become the company's most back-ordered new product." NYT (Gift Article): Apple's Most Back-Ordered New Product Is Not What You Expect. It's a $19 cloth. (This is the craziest, most overpriced product ever. At least I think it is. Will confirm after mine arrives.)


Feel Good Friday

Here's something extra feel good-ish for this week. I've partnered with the fine folks at Pocket to create a list of the The Top Feel-Good Stories of 2021. It's got all the good vibes. Check it out. And share it. If we're gonna make a list of news stories go viral, it might as well be good news stories.