September 23rd – The Day’s Most Fascinating News

Life in a Northern Town, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

It’s hard enough to run a restaurant. It’s even harder to make it work in a mountain vacation town, where employee turnover and changing travel plans can cook your books. But these days, vacation town restaurants have another challenge. Between the misty mountain hop to becoming AirBNB towns and the mass pandemic influx of wealthier home buyers for whom there ain’t no mountain high enough, the soaring cost of living leaves potential employees with no choice to but to go jump in the lake. Here’s a story from my neck of the woods that’s representative of a much broader trend. It’s also a good article about what role a local fixture can play in the life of a community. Andrew Pridgen: After 90 years, one of Lake Tahoe’s oldest restaurants closes without fanfare.
“‘We’re done,’ William ‘Pops’ Hunter, the maternal grandson of founders George and Josephine Bacchi, who opened the restaurant in 1932, told SFGATE. ‘Basically, I’m the chef, and I’m 78 years old. I’ve been doing it for 65 years. It was just time.’ Prior to closing, Hunter’s son, Everett, the fourth-generation co-owner, was splitting time between waiting tables, running the front door, working the cash register and bar and another full-time job while his dad ran the kitchen. ‘It was too hard on all of us,’ Hunter said. ‘Nobody up here you can hire to work. We were turning away 50, 60 people a night. We couldn’t seat them.'”


Shots in the Dark

We now have access to what are likely the most effective Covid boosters. We also have plenty of evidence that these boosters are easy to get, safe, free, and have few side effects other than a sore arm. We should be lining up for this gift from science like its a new iPhone. But, “U.S. health officials say 4.4 million Americans have rolled up their sleeves for the updated COVID-19 booster shot. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention posted the count Thursday as public health experts bemoaned President Joe Biden’s recent remark that ‘the pandemic is over.'” One of the reasons is obviously the total lack of clear communication and marketing from the CDC. When is the ideal time to get the new shot? How long after your last booster should you wait? I read more news than any human and I don’t know the answers to these and other questions.


Strike That, Reverse It

We have a method to reverse opioid overdoses. We’ve had it for a long time. So why does it take so many deaths for this solution to be available wherever its needed? Los Angeles Unified to offer opioid overdose treatment at school sites. “Los Angeles Unified will provide schools with the opioid overdose treatment naloxone following several overdoses among students this school year. Nine students have overdosed across the district, including one 15-year-old who died last week. With support from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, LAUSD is distributing the naloxone units across its schools at no cost, beginning first with middle and high schools.”

+ “A staggering total of 109 soldiers assigned to Fort Bragg died in 2020 and 2021. Dozens have lost their lives there to drug overdoses. Now, their families are demanding answers — and accountability.” Rolling Stone: ‘These Kids Are Dying’ — Inside the Overdose Crisis Sweeping Fort Bragg.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: I’m not an extreme adventurer, but I play one on TV. Or at least I watch others go to extremes on TV, and no one tracks those adventures better than Jimmy Chin. In The Edge of the Unknown, we go behind the scenes and inside the minds of extreme athletes confronting some of their worst moments.

+ What to Series: Speaking of documentaries, Netflix’ Untold series has some great episodes including Operation Flagrant Foul and The Girlfriend Who Didn’t Exist. I’ve watched several and plan to watch them all.

+ What to Show: It’s rare that a good show gets better in its second season, but such is the case for Industry on HBO. I’ve mentioned it before, but since it’s flying under the radar, I’m mentioning it again.

+ What to Read/Hear: The NYT (Gift Article) has an interesting feature on the meteoric rise of Zach Bryan, Music’s Most Reluctant New Star. “In the military, Bryan was an aviation ordnanceman stationed in Washington and Florida, and did tours in Bahrain and Djibouti. He assembled, repaired and loaded weapons, and in his downtime, recorded songs. He was a fan of the Oklahoma country band Turnpike Troubadours — especially the songwriting of its frontman, Evan Felker — as well as Radiohead, Bon Iver, Gregory Alan Isakov and assorted ‘weird indie music.'”


Extra, Extra

Sorry, Not Sorry: “‘Is this a struggle session? Are we in China?” … I’ve already said I’m sorry hundreds of times, and I’m done saying I’m sorry.” Alex Jones declares he’s ‘done saying I’m sorry’ at Sandy Hook trial. The rest of us are done listening to him say anything else. For our society to maintain any ethical bearings, this jackass must be left without dime to his name.

+ Sliding Into Vlad’s DMs: “For years, U.S. nuclear experts have worried that Russia might use smaller tactical nuclear weapons, sometimes referred to as ‘battlefield nukes,’ to end a conventional war favorably on its terms — a strategy sometimes described as ‘escalate to de-escalate.'” WaPo (Gift Article): U.S. has sent private warnings to Russia against using a nuclear weapon.

+ Freedom Rears Its Head: “Systematic corruption among Iran’s political elite, growing poverty with inflation at more than 50%, deadlock in nuclear talks and lack of social and political freedom have left Iran’s young and vibrant population feeling hopeless.” Those were the explosive ingredients. The death in police custody of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman detained for allegedly failing to adhere to hijab (headscarf) rules was the spark. Iran grapples the most serious challenge to its leadership in years.

+ Getting Your Docs Off: “An 8-year-old’s YouTube snafu—and one unlikely parent activist—sparked a nationwide debate on the tech giant’s ubiquity and handling of children’s data.” Wired UK: A Danish City Built Google Into Its Schools—Then Banned It. It’s interesting how little attention we’ve paid to the fact that Google is so ubiquitous in our schools (in part because software sold into schools for various purposes is generally horrific.)

+ To Everything, Churn, Churn, Churn: “This holiday season, grandma’s favorite sugar cookies might be missing a crucial ingredient. While inflation has infiltrated much of the grocery store, few items have been affected more than butter.” We’re nearing a butter meltdown. And from NPR: Your beer needs carbon dioxide, but the price skyrocketed over the summer. Beer prices are also going up because of demand. Every time I look at my stock portfolio, I need to shotgun one.


Feel Good Friday

WaPo (Gift Article): A boy with cancer hoped to see monsters. Hundreds of strangers showed up in costume. Sometimes terrible stories can remind us how much goodness there is in the world.

+ Cancer-killing virus shows promise in patients. (And, there’s something good about Herpes.)

+ MIT researchers invented cooling tech that doesn’t need electricity.

+ Taliban releases US engineer Mark Frerichs in prisoner swap.

+ US installs record solar capacity as prices keep falling.

+ And if you really want to feel good on this Friday, follow along with Robbi and Matthew on the Busload of Books Tour. It’s off to an amazing start. It’s truly incredible to me that no major news outlet is covering this trip yet. It’s a fantastic American story.

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