Friday, November 19th, 2021


The Id Games

"It was, in short, the O. J. Simpson trial of its era. Rarely had circumstances converged to produce such a sensational story, one that, as the Houston Chronicle put it, was teeming with 'love, heat, greed, savage passion, intrigue, incest and perversion.'" In other words, it's the ideal story to read to get ready for the holiday week. Skip Hollandsworth in Texas Monthly: The Notorious Mrs. Mossler. I know what you're thinking: Wouldn't an ideal pre-holiday story have to include a chimpanzee? Of course. "There was no mother in River Oaks quite like Candace. She turned the mansion's ballroom into a giant playroom. She had her chauffeur take the children to drive-in movies, to a bowling alley, to the family's ranch, and to their Galveston beach house. She and Jacques arranged for a baseball field to be built on a lot across from their home, and one of Jacques's employees taught the children to play sports. Once, Candace even had a chimpanzee named Jock-O brought to the mansion to play with the kids ... As the fifties came to a close, Candace seemed to have it all. Then, in late 1961, Candace got a phone call from Elizabeth 'Babe' Powers, her older sister. Babe said she needed help. Her twenty-year-old son, Mel, had been thrown in jail."

+ Need something else to chat about over Thanksgiving dinner while you're avoiding religion, politics, and the Rittenhouse verdict? A California couple who swindled millions in COVID relief funds cut off their electronic bracelets and fled, leaving their 3 teenage children behind.


Good Rittens

The prosecution performed poorly. The judge seemed biased, The jury deliberations went on for days. The case was political. The defendant was white. America is the land of the gun. So, for what it's worth, the outcome of the Kyle Rittenhouse case, not guilty on all charges in the Kenosha shootings, is hardly a surprise at this point. In some ways, the trial's aftermath will be the bigger story. I hope we don't don't see violence in the streets. I'm relieved that Rittenhouse is too young for the GOP to run him for Congress.

+ David French in The Atlantic: If a jury acquits him, it will not be a miscarriage of justice—but an acquittal does not make a foolish man a hero.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Love Hard on Netflix starring Jimmy O Yang and Nina Dobrev is a harmless, familiar story. And that's exactly what families can use right now.

+ What to Hear: Fourteen years after their first Grammy-winning collaboration,
Robert Plant and Alison Krauss are back together and out with a new album. Raise the Roof.

+ What to Read: "You're either going to be the guy that makes Larry mad, or you're going to be the guy that gets mad at Larry." The Ringer on what it's like to be one of Larry David's guest stars. Sharing the Enthusiasm.

+ What to Pod: I had a good conversation with Reed Galen on The Lincoln Project Podcast. We talked news, hate, and the narcissism of small differences.


Build Back Abettor

"After months of negotiations, House Democrats voted to pass a sprawling bill that would fulfill a large part of President Biden's agenda on climate change and the social safety net. It would be paid for mostly through higher taxes on the wealthy and on corporations." NYT Upshot: Everything in the House Democrats' Budget Bill. The Build Back Better bill now heads to Joe Manchin.

+ While he went under for a colonoscopy, Biden briefly transferred power to Kamala Harris, making her the 1st woman in U.S. history to hold powers of the presidency. (In reality, he transferred power to the doctor performing the colonoscopy.)



Europe has been America's bellwether on Covid. Countries like Austria and Germany are headed back into lockdown mode. In the US, as The Atlantic's Sarah Zhang explains, The Pandemic's Next Turn Hinges on Three Unknowns. How our immunity holds up, how the virus changes, and how we behave. (Uh oh.)


Into Africa

"Several recent studies project that by the end of this century, Africa will be the only continent experiencing population growth. Thirteen of the world's 20 biggest urban areas will be in Africa — up from just two today — as will more than a third of the world's population." WaPo: How Africa will become the center of the world's urban future.


Sleep Stalking

Marketers aren't satisfied dominating your every waking moment. They want your sleeping moments, too. "Multiple marketing studies are openly testing new ways to alter and drive purchasing behaviour through sleep and dream hacking. The American Marketing Association New York's 2021 Future of Marketing study found that, of more than 400 marketers from firms across the United States, 77 per cent of them aim to deploy dream-tech for advertising in the next three years. The commercial, for-profit use of dream incubation – the presentation of stimuli before or during sleep to affect dream content – is rapidly becoming a reality." Inside your dreamscape.


Where Will It Endzone?

"As the holiday season nears, countless businesses, big and small, continue to tackle the challenges of a worldwide supply chain crisis. Inflation rates and shipping costs have skyrocketed as demand outpaces supply, exacerbated by swelling labor shortages and contracting transportation capacities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Ports remain clogged with unloaded cargo freights. Consumers are projected to face shopping crunches on hot-ticket items like smartphones, sneakers and game systems." But that's not all. We're also running out of endzone pylons.


Constitutional Contention

"A rare first printing of the U.S. Constitution sold at Sotheby's in New York for $43.2 million, a record price for a document or book sold at auction. The anonymous winning bidder at Thursday night's sale outbid a group of 17,000 cryptocurrency enthusiasts from around the world who crowdfunded to buy it over the last week." (Oh well, they can still bid on the NFT version.)


Feel Good Friday

"The device she built — about half the size of a shoe box — was going to keep watch over the 5 million pieces of fruit jammed into that single room, making sure they didn't overripen during their long stay in suspended animation. As a junior in college, Sizov started a company, Strella Biotechnology, to try to reduce waste in the U.S. food system — a problem that by some estimates creates as much emissions as 33 million passenger vehicles. Now, three years later, Sizov had talked her way into the warehouses of most of the country's biggest apple producers, and her devices monitor about 15 percent of the entire U.S. crop." WaPo (Gift Article): Fighting food waste, one apple at a time.

+ "Raphael has dedicated his free time to fishing waste out of the Seine in Paris using a magnetic rod. He's already managed to pull out 7 tons of waste including electric bikes, scooters, scrap metal and cellphones." Meet the 11-year-old on a mission to clean up the Seine.

+ Westerly High School students build bus stop to shelter boy who uses wheelchair.

+ The winners of the Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards will brighten your day.

+ Adele has dropped the most anticipated album since albums were a thing. Yeah, it's sad. But no one makes sad feel good like Adele.