Wednesday, November 17th, 2021


Solving for Pie

In the darkest days of the pandemic, we turned to baking. We got so into our new hobby - combining comfort and carbs - that thousands of people called the King Flour helpline. Well, the pandemic is still with us. But we're running short of baking supplies. Yes, it's your supply chain being yanked again. But it's more than just that. "Another powerful factor — climate change — is heightening those challenges. Its impact is less visible but more enduring, and its consequences are playing out right as the food industry is struggling to avoid holiday season shortages. Many of the ingredients in Mike's Pies' pies — wheat, berries, honey, soybean oil, among numerous others — have been hit hard by climate and weather effects, including droughts, wildfires and power shutdowns around the world. That's sending prices soaring and, combined with a scarcity of workers and other hurdles, is causing mayhem throughout the global food supply chain." WaPo (Gluten Free, Gift Article): How climate change and extreme weather are crimping America's pie supply. This Thanksgiving, you may have to let them eat cake.


A Fuller Picture of a Half Empty Glass

"In a lot of the developing world, there is a bit more optimism that yes, with each generation our living standards are improving. But there's a recognition in the West that's stopped happening." NYT Upshot: Where Are Young People Most Optimistic? In Poorer Nations.


Crossing Overdose

"Experts blame the continuing surge on the spread of more dangerous street drugs and on disruptions to drug treatment programs caused by the pandemic." Throughout the pandemic, there's been a parallel tragedy taking place. A perfect storm of bad things has led to a massive spike in drug overdoses. Drug overdose deaths in the U.S. have topped 100,000 for the first time.


Ain’t That a Shamon

Jacob Chansley—the 33-year-old who notoriously stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 with a spear and bullhorn while wearing a horned headpiece made of coyote skin—was sentenced to 41 months in prison. "Men of honor admit when they're wrong… I was wrong for entering the Capitol. I have no excuse, no excuse whatsoever ... I am a good man who broke the law ... I look up to Gandhi. I look up to Jesus. I want to mirror them." (I must have missed the time Gandhi wore face-paint and horns.)


Malcolm Xonerate

"Vance and the Innocence Project, which represents the two men, confirmed to NBC News that they would "move to vacate the wrongful convictions of two individuals for the murder of Malcolm X" on Thursday afternoon. Islam died in 2009, but Aziz, who is in his 80s, continued to fight to clear his record. The development follows a 22-month investigation and decades of speculation that the case was mishandled from the start." 2 men convicted of killing Malcolm X expected to be exonerated.


Face Plant

"Botulinum toxin is a poison that by some macabre coincidence both causes botulism and cures wrinkles. When injected at low doses into a crinkled forehead, it blocks nerve signals to muscles and smooths the skin atop them. (It also has medical applications, including for treating migraines.) Though there are several competing brands, Botox is the Kleenex of the category. It presents the kind of bargain one might strike with a nefarious sea witch: She will grant you eternal youth, but at the price of being able to move your face." Amanda Hess in the NYT (Gift Article): The Art of Botox. How facial muscle paralysis insinuated itself into our emotional and creative lives. (Sometimes it looks like I've gotten Botox, but it's actually that I'm just not interested.)

+ Botox is old news. "The yassify (or yassification) meme involves editing photos of figures from pop culture, history, or politics to resemble glamazons with smoky eyes and fabulous hair." How FaceApp and Toni Collette led to a revealing meme in the LGBTQ community about digital culture beauty standards and reality itself.


Home Grown

Pack your bags, kids. We're all going to the living room! "As recently as the 1800s, the home was everything—where Americans worked, and slept, and cooked, and ate, and raised children, and worshipped. For most people, there was no commute; there was no office, or factory. And the agrarian economy ruled out vacations for most families. Then, in the past 150 years, the industrialized world drew sharp lines between life, work, and leisure. It was a period of divergence rather than convergence. Home, work, and hotel meant three different places. But we're going back to the past." Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: The Home Is the Future of Travel. (When I feel like I need to get away, I change my desktop background.)


Osaka Rallies for Peng

"Censorship is never OK at any cost, I hope Peng Shuai and her family are safe and OK. I'm in shock of the current situation and I'm sending love and light her way." Naomi Osaka joins the chorus of those asking what happened to Peng Shuai. The Chinese tennis star accused an ex-vice-premier of sexual assault and hasn't been seen since.


High Brow Taste

"It is the highest price paid at auction for a Latin American artwork. The record had previously been set by a work by Diego Rivera?" Frida Kahlo art fetches record $34.9m at auction. (The price is more than 3x the previous record set by a Diego Rivera painting.)


Bottom of the News

Brass Against Singer Sophia Urista Finally Apologizes for Peeing on Fan During Concert: 'I Pushed the Limits Too Far.' (I now realize that my book promotion hasn't pushed the limits nearly far enough. Better get your copy or I'll escalate.)

+ The home of the Lakers is changing its name to Crypto-com Arena.