Thursday, December 1st, 2022


Kicks and Stones

Ahead of America's biggest soccer game in years, we pause to consider whether Christian Pulisic's nether regions will be ready for the Netherlands. After scoring the goal that secured the team's spot in the knockout round, Pulisic writhed in pain near the net. His collision with Iran's goalie caused what was reported as an "abdominal injury," though some viewed that diagnosis as something between euphemistic and complete bollocks, creating the gulf's biggest ball story since Trump fondled the orb. But it turns out there taint no reason for concern. According to Pulisic, who wasn't wearing an official World Cup cup, it's all been an offsideshow and the nut jobs had it all wrong. He suffered a blow to the pelvis and "didn't get hit in the balls." America's FIFAmily jewels aren't junk. The midfielders did not take a penalty kick. No zingers to the wingers. No red cards—or nards. The sack is intact. Reports of involuntary dribbling were overblown. The center spot is game ready. Thankfully, the Iranian goalie did not bend it like Beckham. Soccer remains a game of two halves and both of Pulisic's are expected to play on Saturday. (I tried moving this story down, but it remained undescended.)

+ Apologies for the sophomoric puns about balls. Let's quickly segue to humps. AP: World Cup frenzy puts strain on Qatar's camels.

+ NYT photos: Watching Qatar's World Cup, Off the Field.


Bread, Cheese, and Whine?

"We want to succeed together, not one against the other." French President Emmanuel Macron is in DC for President Biden's first state dinner. The two expressed unity when it comes to Ukraine, but there are some differences when it comes the Inflation Reduction Act, "that favors American-made climate technology, including electric vehicles." AP: Biden says climate law has ‘glitches' after Macron criticism.

+ Putting the friendship to the test: Bidens to serve Macrons US cheeses at White House state dinner.

+ In other big French news, according to the NYT (Gift Article), The Baguette Has Been Granted World Heritage Status. "The baguette's creation is the source of many urban legends: Napoleon's bakers supposedly created it as a lighter and more portable loaf for the troops; Parisian bakers were said to have made it a rippable consistency to stop knife fights between factions building the city's subway system (who could rip the bread apart with their bare hands and did not need knives to cut it). In truth, historians say, the bread developed gradually — elongated loaves were already being produced by French bakers in 1600. Originally considered a bread for better-off Parisians who could afford to buy a product that went stale quickly." In the spirit of international stability, I too celebrate the baguette (every time both sourdough and bagels are unavailable).


Metal Bandwagon

"In the fashion industry, the trendiest pieces—those that mark their owners most clearly as stylish and well connected—have a familiar trajectory. Eventually, a brand starts pumping out more and more of a once-rare item to capitalize on frenzied demand. Other designers riff on the things that made the design so successful in the first place. Less expensive brands and counterfeiters flood the market with knockoffs and fakes. Before you know it, the look is everywhere, and it doesn't have much sociocultural meaning at all anymore. Those in the know are on to the next thing. Ewen said that he's sick of metal credit cards." Confession. I have metal credit cards. They're heavy. There's no point to them. I want to go back to plastics. Amanda Mull in The Atlantic: Please Look at My Metal Credit Card.


The Wonderful Wizard of Ozempic

"It should have been no mystery, then, that when the people of Hollywood started dropping dozens of pounds in a matter of weeks, it wasn't that everyone had suddenly started practicing moderation and logging 10,000 steps. It seemed like overnight everyone knew someone who was injecting semaglutide, whose brand name is Ozempic. The insulin regulator, developed by the Danish pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk in 2012, won FDA approval to treat type 2 diabetes five years later. It works by stimulating insulin release, which helps lower blood sugar levels and slow down food leaving the stomach, in turn making Ozempic users feel satiated for longer periods of time. When doctors noticed that patients using Ozempic were losing weight as a side effect of the drug, Novo Nordisk saw opportunity." So did celebrities. Vanity Fair: Ozempic, the Insulin Drug With Vanishing—Literally—Side Effects. (And I thought I was the only one who called my love handles side effects...)


Extra, Extra

Law Firm: "The European Union has called for the creation of a special tribunal to hold Russian President Vladimir Putin accountable over his invasion of Ukraine, as more than nine months of war continue to inflict a devastating humanitarian toll on the country's civilian population." Ben Ferencz also wants Putin prosecuted. He's the man who prosecuted Nazis at the Nuremberg trials. Laws have to be enforced to have meaning.

+ Xi Sheds Policy: The Chinese protesters are taking big risks. They've also gotten some results. Reuters: China set to loosen COVID curbs after week of protests.

+ Retaking the Test: According to WaPo, Trump's dinner with antisemites provides test of GOP response to extremism. Actually, many moments from birtherism, to very fine people on both sides, to the insurrection have already provided such a test, and each time the result was a failing grade. What Trump's dinner with antisemites tests is his popularity with the base which is the only thing that impacts his enablers' subservience.

+ Mic Dreck: "Every human being has something of value that they brought to the table, especially Hitler." Kanye West Tells Alex Jones: "I See Good Things About Hitler."

+ Month-to-Month Resuscitation : "I've had a bad month." That is one way of putting it. Sam Bankman-Fried strikes apologetic pose as he describes being shocked by FTX's fall. (It's remarkable he's giving all these interviews at this juncture. Fame is the hardest drug to kick.)

+ Tanking: Gas prices are now cheaper than before Russia invaded Ukraine.

+ Perfect Ending: "Christine Perfect was born in Cumbria in 1943, her father a concert violinist and music teacher, and her mother a psychic healer. As the sixties started swinging, she went to art college and started performing with bands, eventually falling in with blues group Chicken Shack." She eventually caught on with a bigger band. Christine McVie of Fleetwood Mac has died at the age of 79.

+ Buddha Bowl: A headline you probably didn't see coming: Thai Buddhist temple left empty after all its monks test positive for meth.


Bottom of the News

"The new trailer begins with two emergency medics arriving at what looks like a horror movie slaughter scene, only to come face to face with the titular bear on the titular cocaine." The Cocaine Bear Trailer Is as Insanely Fun as It Sounds.

+ The movie is loosely based on an article from 1985. Bear Believed To Have Overdosed On Cocaine Dropped By Parachutist.

+ "Salz said that as a Sabbath-observant Jew, he is forced to sit out nearly half of all the team's games." College football gets its first Orthodox Jewish player at Texas A&M. (Ashkenazi & Meshuggah?)