Friday, November 4th, 2022


Let’s Put Things on Ice

It's the Friday before midterms and the crazy weeks (and likely years) that will follow. So it's a good time to get some rest. The problem is that between our devices and our generally high level of stress, getting some shuteye isn't an open and shut case. (Every time I put my head on the pillow, I start stressing that the My Pillow Guy could be Secretary of State in a couple years.) A sleep scientist has some advice by way of the NYT (Gift Article): Can't Sleep? Try Sticking Your Head in the Freezer. Part of the trick seems to be keeping yourself awake during the day without consuming things that will keep you up later on. Instead of reaching for an afternoon coffee, "you can go for a brisk walk in the afternoon, or spend five to 10 minutes taking a break from work and engaging your brain in a simple task — pull weeds in the garden, reorganize a bookshelf, turn on some music and really focus on a song. Focusing on a non-work task can energize our brains, Dr. Prather said, jolting us out of our routine. Or, for a more extreme option, stick your head in the freezer. That brief shock of cold activates your arousal system, Dr. Prather said, like jumper cables on a car battery to wake you up." (I'm saving my jumper cables for democracy.)


BiBi Q

Now that you've had some time to rest, "Imagine you woke up after the 2024 U.S. presidential election and found that Donald Trump had been re-elected and chose Rudy Giuliani for attorney general, Michael Flynn for defense secretary, Steve Bannon for commerce secretary, evangelical leader James Dobson for education secretary, Proud Boys former leader Enrique Tarrio for homeland security head and Marjorie Taylor Greene for the White House spokeswoman. 'Impossible,' you would say. Well, think again. As I've noted before, Israeli political trends are often a harbinger of wider trends in Western democracies — Off Broadway to our Broadway. I hoped that the national unity government that came to power in Israel in June 2021 might also be a harbinger of more bipartisanship here. Alas, that government has now collapsed and is being replaced by the most far-far-right coalition in Israel's history. Lord save us if this is a harbinger of what's coming our way. The coalition that Likud leader Bibi Netanyahu is riding back into power is the Israeli equivalent of the nightmare U.S. cabinet I imagined above." Tom Friedman in the NYT (Gift Article): The Israel We Knew Is Gone.

+ The America we knew a couple years ago could be back soon and looking even worse. If the GOP takes the House, we're in for a nonstop period of whacked out investigations and impeachment efforts. This will be augmented by Trump's presidential run which will start in a couple weeks and is sadly inevitable. It's the only way for him to reposition the effort to bring justice to his treacherous lawbreaking as political attacks, and winning would be the most effective way to get himself off the hook. Meanwhile, a recent poll found that 44% of registered voters think the federal government is controlled by a secret cabal. If it is, it's the least effective cabal ever.

+ Meanwhile, the total cost of the 2022 state and federal elections is projected to exceed $16.7 billion. It's sad. That money could be put to much better use as kindling.


The Heavyweights

Chris Schroeder is one of the most well-read and knowledgeable global investors around. In US and China: No longer room to maneuver? he lucidly summarizes two books that cover the latest stage and stakes of by far the most important relationship in the world, China and America. This is a good chance to catch up on an important topic.


Weekend Whats

What to Book: Business books rarely start with a founder quitting his job and looking back at what he created with a deep sense of concern while lying on a bed in a cheap motel (when he could easily purchase the whole motel, the hotel nearby, and the whole block). But Mike Evans is no ordinary founder and his just-released book Hangry: A Startup Journey is no ordinary business memoir. If you've been reading recent headlines, you'd be forgiven for assuming that being a successful founder means you have to be an a**hole. It's turns out nice people can build big things. Mike Evans is proof of that. As a sidenote, I had the distinction of being the only person to invest in each round of the startup he chronicles in this book: GrubHub.

+ What to Doc: No one makes more entertaining documentaries than Billy Corben. And he's done it again with Hulu's God Forbid: The Sex Scandal That Brought Down a Dynasty. The pacing of this doc, starting with the salacious stuff about the infamous pool boy and then getting to how the whole affair fits into the much bigger picture of politics, power, and presidents, is just perfect.

+ What to Hear: If you see me walking, hiking, or kayaking with my AirPods on, there's a very good chance I'm listening to one of two things. Howard Stern or Bruce Springsteen. After 30 years, and at just the right time, Springsteen finally agreed to join Stern in the studio. The result was worth the wait. Both men agreed it was among their best interviews ever. Some outtakes that include a bit of interview and bits of songs: Thunder Road, The Rising, Tougher Than the Rest, and the song Bruce played as Clarence Clemons passed away, Land of Hope and Dreams.


Extra, Extra

Irving Deserving: The Nets finally suspended Kyrie Irving for his antisemitic crap. Good. Kyrie finally issued an apology for his offensive behavior. Also good. We can give this stuff no quarter. When you don't stop it, it catches on. FBI warns of ‘broad' threat to synagogues in New Jersey. And it's spreading. French far-right MP De Fournas suspended for shouting 'Back to Africa'. Inch by inch, decorum gets removed, racism emerges, and things get bad.

+ Chief Twat: All the headlines today are about the Twitter layoffs (because journalists are obsessed with Twitter and give it undue coverage). But tech companies across the board are also laying people off as the economy and the market craters.

+ Lysol Wasn't The Only Thing We Were Drinking: What were the impacts of us spending so much time at home stressing during the pandemic? US alcohol deaths rose nearly 30% in first year of Covid.

+ Tom Cruises: "Former President Donald Trump's longtime friend and former fundraiser, Tom Barrack, was found not guilty Friday of charges that he acted as an unregistered foreign agent for the United Arab Emirates during the Trump administration and then lied to the FBI about those contacts."

+ Line of Fire: "Scholz and Xi agree Russia would cross a line with nuclear weapons in Ukraine." Uh, yes, we all agree. Some of us feel he crossed a line with a murderous invasion.

+ Jimmy Hafta: Jimmy Kimmel Told ABC He'd Quit if Execs Stopped Him From Making Trump Jokes. "It appears the execs once spoke to Kimmel about laying off Trump in order to not alienate Republican viewers. Kimmel said ABC execs were right in their apprehension, as he estimates he lost around half of his audience due to Trump jokes." That hits a little close to home. Interestingly, just about the time ABC was trying to shut Kimmel up, I was telling him and everyone else to get a lot more loud. The Real Jimmy Kimmel Test.

+ Taxi Driver: Judd Hirsch Brings an Extraordinary Life—And Career—To The Fabelmans. Oh Judd, you had me at Taxi.


Feel Good Friday

"Twenty-nine years later, Helminski tries not to dwell on the most traumatic moment of her past. But she also doesn't forget. Every morning, as she takes her service dog, Zoey, out for exercise—sometimes a run, sometimes a walk, sometimes a racewalk and sometimes a combination of the three—in their neighborhood, she sees the sneakers sitting beside her front closet door. 'They empower me to put one foot in front of the other," she says. "They empower me to accomplish what I want to accomplish.'" The Unthinkable Kept Her From Racing the NYC Marathon in 1993. Now She's Back.

+ Severe depression eased by single dose of synthetic magic mushroom.

+ WaPo: Brendon Birt made a wrong turn as he drove a friend home just before 2 a.m. in Red Oak, Iowa. The mistake ended up saving the lives of four siblings.

+ He saw a classmate get bullied for shoes, so he stepped in with a meaningful gesture.

+ Meet the Daring Father-Daughter Motorcycle Duo Who Are Defying Stereotypes About Pakistan.

+ Lena Horne becomes first Black woman to have Broadway theater named after her.