Thursday, November 11th, 2021


Canon Fodder

Don't forget to grab a copy of my book. I’ll be doing a Zoom on Friday with Peter Coyote and Phil Bronstein. Sign up here.

A school official in a district just outside Wichita had this to say about some books that may be pulled from school libraries. "At this time, the district is not in a position to know if the books contained on this list meet our educational goals or not." Maybe there's no better example of the prideful ignorance sweeping America than a local district official doing their own research to determine whether Toni Morrison and August Wilson are worthy of inclusion in their literary canon. Of course, book bannings have been a core weapon in the culture wars for years, so it's not a huge surprise that they've re-emerged as contempt has become the most valuable political currency. There's some irony (assuming that's still allowed) that Toni Morrison's earth-shatteringly great novel, Beloved, is at the center of the current iteration of the book wars. Its key theme is about the importance of abused cultures reappropriating history to reestablish the truth about the past—a goal as unpopular in some circles as establishing the truth about the present. WaPo (Gift Article): ‘I think we should throw those books in a fire': Movement builds on right to target books.


Wane’s World

The covid case numbers are on the rise. The death and hospitalization numbers in well-vaccinated places are still pretty steady. So what can we expect this winter? How do we know when to get a booster? NYT (Gift Article): What We Know So Far About Waning Vaccine Effectiveness.

+ This COVID Winter May Cause Fewer Deaths yet Still Bring a Surge.


Lukashenko Dependent

"For almost two weeks, Shwan Kurd has been stuck in limbo. The 33-year-old from Iraq is one of thousands of migrants currently stranded at the Belarus-Poland border.
They have been caught up in a political tussle between the European Union and Belarus's leader, Alexander Lukashenko. He has been accused of funnelling migrants through Belarus to destabilise EU nations in revenge for sanctions." Poland-Belarus crisis: The lives caught in a stalemate.

+ Alexander Lukashenko (who's been putting the dic into dictator since 1994): "We are heating Europe, and they are threatening us. And what if we halt natural gas supplies? Therefore, I would recommend the leadership of Poland, Lithuanians and other empty-headed people to think before speaking."


Stock Car Racing

"Rivian Automotive, a company that has delivered about 150 electric pickup trucks mostly to employees, has surpassed General Motors to become the nation's second most valuable automaker." Amazon owned 20% of the company. Amazon has a big order for delivery vans. That deal helped the stock to soar, so Amazon is getting vans and making money in the process. Van Life is Good. Imagine what the stock would have done if Rivian had delivered like 160 or 165 trucks! (Sidenote: I really want a Rivian.)


Kill Zone

"Hands shaking and palms drenched with sweat, he picked up a plastic tube connected to a man he did not know and slowly pushed into it the vials of drugs to stop his heart. Baxley did not look away as the lethal cocktail did its job. He watched as the light of life left the condemned man, whose head was on a gurney just a few inches in front of him. And then it was finished. Where there once was a face, there was suddenly just a corpse, left with a frozen expression of anguish." They executed people for the state of South Carolina. For some, it nearly destroyed them.


Yellow Bricked Road

"There haven't been enough school bus drivers nationwide for years. But it took a pandemic to make that shortage visible and painful to more than just the drivers themselves." Would You Manage 70 Children And A 15-Ton Vehicle For $18 An Hour? (Can I opt for a heavier vehicle but without the kids?)


Time Keeps on Slippin

"Each suggests that the other is in the pocket of special interests. Yates has gone so far as to question whether Jay Pea is actually a real name (Pea showed POLITICO a California ID with his name on it) and accused Pea of operating several fake accounts on Twitter (Pea said he didn't have time for fake accounts). Pea, meanwhile, believes Yates is a 'wealthy powerful friend of Marco Rubio' (Yates said he did consult with Rubio's office but has never had face time with a member of Congress on the issue)." The political war around daylight saving time takes a nasty turn. (It turns out that political wars always turn in that direction.)

+ For a funnier look at the issue: Daylight Saving - Movie Trailer.


Picks or It Didn’t Happen

"I don't think my father wanted people to know his child was a complainer, so that became the just started because I was being a sh*tty little kid." Pickleball: How a Bored Teen Inspired His Dad to Invent Today's Fastest Growing Sport—In 1965. (I started playing in about 1975, and no one but the kids I played with had ever heard of it.)


Avoiding the Rapid

"Adventurer Beau Miles has been focused recently on exploring near where he lives rather than in far-flung locales. He's walked 56 miles to work a couple of times, adventuring and foraging along the way and recently posted a video of him commuting to work in a kayak. It took him four days." (Sorry I was late for work, I was yakking for days.)


Bottom of the News

"Tourists trample over the vegetation, remove plants and sand, make their own 'nests' -- even fencing them off -- and dump waste including cigarettes, condoms, toilet paper, wipes and cans." Tourists having sex in the dunes is ruining a Spanish beach.

+ Joe Pesci Just Sold His Inimitable Jersey Shore Mobster Palace. (I'd laugh at how out of place this house looks in the neighborhood. But it's never wise to laugh at Pesci.)

+ I know a little about a lot of things. I might know more than anyone about this thing. Why Newsletters are Bigger Than Ever.