Monday, November 7th, 2022


Mack and Cheddar

Jim McIngvale likes to run sports-related promotions at his store, Gallery Furniture in Houston. The deals have become so legendary, that Mack was invited to throw out the first pitch for Game Six of the World Series. This season McIngvale, who is better known by his marketing nickname, Mattress Mack, guaranteed customers who spent $3,000 or more at his store double their money back if the Astros won the World Series. Well, the Astros beat the Phillies in six games. But don't worry about Mack's money woes. He always hedges on these promotions with sports bets. So he wins even when it seems like he lost. The same can't be said for the sports books where he laid his bet. ESPN: 'Mattress Mack' wins historic $75M payout off Astros' title. Ironically, in the current market, sports betting is about the only place you can make a profit and the only safe place to keep your winnings is under a mattress.

+ Mack had a better weekend than Philadephia fans, but their hometown was not entirely devoid of celebration. Hundreds cheer the red carpet eating of 40th rotisserie chicken, ‘a part of Philly history.' Just my luck, I bet on the chicken.


America Has a Drinking Problem

"The worst water providers can have such severe problems that residents are told they can't drink the water. For 10 solid years Dickerson and 175 neighbors in the tiny, majority Black community of Keystone had to boil all their water. That length of time is nearly unheard of — such warnings usually last only for days. The requirement added gas and electricity costs on top of the water bill. In addition, residents would lose water outright for days or even weeks at a time with no warning. A coal company had built the original system, but since left, leaving no one in charge." AP: When destitute small towns mean dangerous tap water.


Neighborhood Watch

"Deep in the bowels of the nation's 2020 Census lurks a quiet milestone: For the first time in modern American history, most White people live in mixed-race neighborhoods.
This marks a tectonic shift from just a generation ago." How mixed-race neighborhoods quietly became the norm in the US. Like just about every other headline this week, this is an election story.


Gravel Pit

"Like a big-city marathon, a typical gravel race is both an élite contest and, at the rear, something less pressing. Gravel evangelists sometimes like to compare this mix to a mullet haircut: "Business at the front, party at the back." Emporia, a low-rise college town, had been filling with video crews and podcasters. Banners printed with the muddy faces of past winners hung from street lamps. The manufacturers of rival anti-chafing creams had set up stands." In The New Yorker, Ian Parker takes you into the increasingly popular world of gravel racing. A Murder Roils the Cycling World. (And you thought things got heated in Pickleball...)


Extra, Extra

Zelensky Conditions: WaPo: U.S. privately asks Ukraine to show it's open to negotiate with Russia. "The encouragement is aimed not at pushing Ukraine to the negotiating table, but ensuring it maintains a moral high ground in the eyes of its international backers." (There are a lot of takes about this story. Here's mine. I'm guessing it means Biden is seeing numbers that suggest a more pro-Putin, and less pro-democracy group might be about to take control of the House. That's a hunch. I'm much more certain that the message that appeared on the front page of the Washington Post was not private.)

+ Mail Pattern Boldness: "Republican officials and candidates in at least three battleground states are pushing to disqualify thousands of mail ballots after urging their own supporters to vote on Election Day, in what critics are calling a concerted attempt at partisan voter suppression." And here we go... (Time to bring back my 2020 election guide: Vote for those who want you to vote.)

+ Chronicling Chronic: "You never forget the first time a doctor gives up: when they tell you that they don't know what to do—they have no further tests to run, no treatments to offer—and that you're on your own." Kieran Setiya in The Atlantic: Why Does Chronic Pain Hurt So Much?

+ Tapped Out: Walt Disney once came pretty close to opening an amusement park in St. Louis. He just had one stipulation that didn't go over too well. There would be no beer. Hence, no park. Riverfront Square, the failed Disneyland Park successor that beer helped kill.

+ Blowing the Lid Off: "Exactly how the US got its public bathroom problem is difficult to untangle — but certainly, it wasn't always like this. In the early 1900s, American cities were flush with public toilets." The fight to build more public bathrooms in America. (I may not know how many there are, but as a neurotic middle aged Jewish man, I can definitely tell you where the closest one is at any given moment.)


Bottom of the News

There's nothing like a confluence of America's pastimes: A man is expected to survive after being shot in the head by what Houston police believe was celebratory gunfire.

+ Amazing drone footage of dolphins swimming alongside a southern California surfer.

+ Restaurant delivery robot tries to cross train tracks. A (very) short story.