Monday, July 18th, 2022


Nauty By Nature

It's a mistake to navigate your insanely large, ridiculously expensive, and you've got to be compensating for something yacht towards a storm, but it's quite common to pilot your new vessel out of one—in this case, a perfect storm that included Covid, which capsized the economy and widened the already wide economic divide, leading many unfathomably wealthy folks with newfound booty to trade in their shabby 150 foot dinghy for something with a little more length and girth. While millions of America's essential workers were thrown overboard, running aground, or nearly keeling over in miles-long lines at foodbanks, those few at the winning end of the pandemic were three sheets to the wind, yelling Yahtzee in between nibbles of caviar in their stocked galleys as they gave new meaning to the line, "You're gonna need a bigger boat." The excellent Evan Osnos in The New Yorker (whose editors finally got in on the pun-headline game): The Haves and the Have-Yachts. "If you hail from the realm of ineligible visitors, you may not be aware that we are living through the 'greatest boom in the yacht business that's ever existed' ... One reason for the increased demand for yachts is the pandemic ... A deeper reason for the demand is the widening imbalance of wealth. Since 1990, the United States' supply of billionaires has increased from sixty-six to more than seven hundred, even as the median hourly wage has risen only twenty per cent. In that time, the number of truly giant yachts—those longer than two hundred and fifty feet—has climbed from less than ten to more than a hundred and seventy." If we keep heading in this direction, America will be split into yacht owners and deckhands. The rising tide does naut lift all boats.

+ In other nautical news, monster waves completely wiped out condos in Hawaii, a whale came really close to a paddleboarder in Plymouth and a photographer caught the wild moment, and sharks mistaking feet for fish are likely behind Long Island attacks.


Apocalypse? Now…

While governments around the world (particularly America's) are failing to address climate change, "Britain is bracing this week for what could be its hottest day ever recorded, while French authorities warned of a 'heat apocalypse.' (Anyone have a one-way ticket to Europe for Joe Manchin?)

+ Heat wave kills more than 1,000 people in Spain and Portugal.

+ If you're traveling to Europe this summer, you won't need too many layers. Which is a good thing, because there's no chance your suitcase is going to arrive with you.


Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels

"The nearly 80-page report was the first to criticize both state and federal law enforcement, and not just local authorities in the South Texas town for the bewildering inaction by heavily armed officers as a gunman fired inside two fourth-grade classrooms at Robb Elementary School, killing 19 students and two teachers." Uvalde report: 376 officers but ‘egregiously poor' decisions.

+ Here's TX Rep. Dustin Burrows on the report's findings: "With hindsight, Robb Elementary was not adequately prepared for the risk of a school shooter. Despite a policy of locked doors, there was a regrettable culture of non-compliance." (We need to get to the bottom of what went wrong in this tragedy. But don't be distracted. It's not the cops. It's not the lack of preparedness. It sure as hell isn't the non-compliance with locked door policies. It's the easily accessible high-powered guns being used to do exactly what they were designed for: To inflict as many deaths as possible in the shortest amount of time.)

+ Sometimes a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun (though it usually only happens after the bad guy with the gun has inflicted damage). "Three people were fatally shot and two were injured Sunday evening at an Indiana mall after a man with a rifle opened fire in a food court and an armed civilian shot and killed him."


Snap, Shackle, Pop

We talk a lot about the Facebook algorithm and the Chinese ownership of TikTok and the hostility of Twitter and the fomo and body image issues on Instagram. But if you're looking for the social media element doing the most damage to your kids, it's Snap's streaks. They're designed to create device addiction and as anyone with kids can tell you, they work. Soon, they'll work with bigger devices! Snapchat brings chatting and video calling to the web.


Extra, Extra

Money Problems: "If gas prices are plummeting, why is inflation rising? If jobs are growing, why is GDP falling? If everybody's on vacation, why are consumers miserable?" Derek Thompson in The Atlantic: The Everything-Is-Weird Economy. And The World Economy Is Imperiled by a Force Hiding in Plain Sight. "This past week brought home the magnitude of the overlapping crises assailing the global economy, intensifying fears of recession, job losses, hunger and a plunge on stock markets."

+ Evil Ways: "Beautiful and serene in a crown of white flowers, 4-year-old Liza Dmytrieva, who was killed by a Russian missile strike, was buried Sunday in central Ukraine as an Orthodox priest burst into tears and told weeping relatives that 'evil cannot win.'" (Sadly, evil can win until good puts a stop to it.) "President Volodymyr Zelensky has suspended the head of Ukraine's spy agency and the prosecutor general, citing many cases of treason in the two powerful organizations."

+ Buy Me Some Peanuts and Cracker Jack (I can't afford them myself): "In the 1950s and '60s — the so-called Golden Age of American capitalism — family outings were within the realm of affordability for most median income earners. Many blue-collar workers could afford new homes and cars and still take their kids to Disneyland. Despite rising wages, many of those same activities are now out of reach for everyday Americans." America's favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach.

+ Exhausted to Death From All the Winning: "Covid has really magnified what had already been brewing in American society, which was that, based on where you lived, your risk of death was much different." People in Republican Counties Have Higher Death Rates Than Those in Democratic Counties.

+ Cam Stroke: St. Andrews is a place that ordinarily won't let guys with mullets and p-rn 'staches onto the premises. But one such man, Cameron Smith, just capped an incredible golf season with a British Open win.

+ Some People Claim There's a Woman to Blame: "I was standing there as his guest, watching this off from the side of the stage and looking out at maybe 100,000 deliriously happy fans. I said to myself, "Wow, you know, this could really be a brand." 33 hotels and 150 restaurants later, it looks like John Cohlan was right. The Margaritaville CEO on Just How Far the Jimmy Buffett Brand Can Go. (Until someone finds the lost shaker of salt?)


Bottom of the News

"To practice yoga naked meant to remove the constraints we impose on our bodies to better access the divine within us." What I learned when I tried naked yoga. (That it wasn't my pants preventing my hammies from loosening?)

+ "A high-cost beauty contest is about to start on the streets of San Francisco. The competition won't only test the looks of the six contestants — Salt & Pepper, Slim Silhouette, Soft Square, BearSaver, Ren Bin and Open Wire Mesh — but also their performance. The winner could be San Francisco's next trash can." (China built like 8 entire cities in the time it took for San Francisco to initiate a trash can test.)

+ Colorado Springs man becomes fourth person to push a peanut up Pikes Peak with his nose. (It took him seven days.)