Wednesday, December 15th, 2021


Step Right Up

It's the perfect time to get that special someone the perfect gift. Order Please Scream Inside Your Heart. It will make your stocking bulge.

I hope I won't look like a carny's mark by linking to this article. For Brooks Barnes, the upcoming movie Nightmare Alley might feel like a biopic, except his experiences as a kid growing up among the carnies was less of a horror show and more of a wild ride with ups and downs. "When I signed up to lip-sync 'How Will I Know' for the fifth-grade talent show, another teacher called me "unpleasantly abnormal" and sent me to the school psychologist. (Their loss. I would have killed it.) To them, I was the sideshow freak. Among the carnival crowd, it was the opposite. I was accepted, even celebrated." NYT: See the Real Live Man Who Grew Up in a Carnival. (This is a gift article. No strings attached. It like doing the ring toss with hula hoop. It's a three card monte game where you always find the queen. You can shoot out the red star with a single bb. It's as easy as the ping pong toss but you don't have to bring home the goldfish. The bottom of the rubber duck will reveal the top prize, guaranteed. Your mallet will always ring the bell. The funnel cakes won't make you throw up. The cotton candy is sugar-free. And the candied apples are all from this decade! Just start whacking, the moles don't stand a chance.)


There Goes the Neighborhood

"The homes on Tammy Sue Lane aren't fancy. Modest in size and clad in vinyl siding, the houses were priced below $200,000 when most were built about 15 years ago, and for many families in suburban Nashville, they represented a first chance at homeownership. A corrections officer bought one, and so did a housekeeper and an electrician. Then some of the world's wealthiest people bought in." WaPo (Gift Article): This Block Used to Be for First-Time Homebuyers. Then Global Investors Bought In. "Progress Residential has been ringing up substantial profits for wealthy investors around the world while outbidding middle-class home buyers and subjecting tenants to what they allege are unfair rent hikes, shoddy maintenance and excessive fees."


Community Chest Pain

Natural disasters always seem to target small communities where everyone knows each other. Your world gets destroyed. Then you look to the people you'd lean on at a moment like that only to find their world was destroyed too. On a single Kentucky street, the tornado killed 7 children.


The Old College Try Again

AP: Colleges go back to drawing board — again — to fight COVID. "Cornell University shut down all campus activities on Tuesday and moved final exams online after more than 700 students tested positive over three days. In a campus message, President Martha Pollack said there was evidence of the omicron variant in a 'significant' number of samples. 'It is obviously extremely dispiriting to have to take these steps,' Pollack wrote. 'However, since the start of the pandemic, our commitment has been to follow the science and do all we can to protect the health of our faculty, staff and students.'" (I wonder if the science advice is keeping up with the stage of the pandemic. Cornell is highly vaccinated and there are almost no serious cases. Does it make sense to send young people back home to their communities?)


Big Little Lies

"At her annual budget address this month, Gov. Kristi Noem of South Dakota blamed President Joe Biden's economic policies for rising prices, derided the "giant handout" of federal stimulus funds and suggested that she had considered refusing the money over ideological objections. But like many Republican officials, Noem has found it hard to say no to her state's share of the $1.9 trillion pandemic relief aid that Democrats passed along party lines in March. Noem explained to fellow legislators how critical those federal funds were to South Dakota and outlined how she would use some of the nearly $1 billion slated for her state to invest in local water projects, make housing more affordable and build new day care centers." Republicans Who Assailed Biden's Stimulus Bill Are Embracing the Money. (What underpins the Big Lie? A hell of a lot of little lies.)

+ "The violence on January 6 broke a long string of peaceful transfers of power in the United States. If the paperwork coup had worked, though, peace might have prevailed—but the transfer of power might not have happened." David A. Graham in The Atlantic: The Paperwork Coup.

+ House votes to refer Mark Meadows to Justice Department for contempt of Congress. (Turning over the evidence and then refusing to appear could be the stupidest move in an age of stupidity.)


Getting the Picture

"Governments fell, democracies were challenged, and climate-related destruction was unleashed, all while the casualties of the pandemic continued to amass. The vaccine saved some lives, but human passions, hopes and fears did their usual work to create a year that was anything but calm, and is ending with the prospect of a new variant upending plans once again." The NYT Year in Photos (Gift Article).


Wardell Fuego

Usually when one says, "It couldn't have happened to a nicer guy" they're being sarcastic. In the case of Steph Curry who just broke the all-time three point record, it's actually true. My nephew JB was at the game. So was a way too noticeable Pete Davidson.


Put a Crime Ring On It

"The unholy union was part of an elaborate scheme hatched by a human-trafficking ring led by Flores Acosta with two of her sisters and other women, and backed by the muscle and terror of MS-13. The objective? To force women to marry men the gang would later kill so that the group could claim their life insurance money." Vice: Meet MS-13's ‘Black Widow' Who Tricked Men Into Marriage and Killed Them.


SPF Infinity

"For the first time in human history, a spacecraft has flown through the Sun's corona to collect data and capture samples (and, crucially, exited safely)." A NASA Spacecraft Has Touched the Sun. (At the rate climate change is going, we'll all touch it soon.)


Bottom of the News

We all know that the best way to overcome a tech addiction is with the right technology. From me: A Guide to Restoring Your Sanity in the Age of Technology with More Technology.

+ And, from the rail grab to the face touch, I'm pretty sure I found the most unbelievable NYC scene ever filmed—in what may have been the worst episode of television I've seen in years. The Peloton didn't kill Mr Big. The content did.