Friday, December 16th, 2022


Age Against the Machine

There's that feeling the first time you realize you're tapping your fingers on the shopping cart and singing along with a song being played in a supermarket. It begins with the pleasure of hearing a familiar song and it quickly morphs into a state of nostalgic gloom when you realize you're now old enough to be the target listening audience for shopping music. In the blink of an eye you went from being in the mosh pit, drenched with booze, perspiration, and rebellious energy, to sweating to the oldies as you pull your glasses out of your fanny pack to read the ingredients on products shelved in the gluten-free aisle. Glory days, they'll pass you by. The folks putting together these playlists are among the most data-driven DJs, and they think of everything. "One such consideration: the so-called 'reminiscence bump,' which is the phenomenon that the music people listen to in their teenage years is the music that they remember the best, and often like the most ... Sometimes that reminiscence bump is passed from one generation to the next, with parents playing songs for their children that they loved during their teenage years, making it a smarter strategy to play songs from decades like the '70s and '80s in order to hit at least two generations with the same playlist." Those two generations are known as old and older. The kids are wearing their Airpods. The playlists with the most crossover appeal feature holiday music. Hence, these tunes are dashing through the snow before the leaves even start to fall. CityLab goes deep into the tracklist: Retailers Know What Your Shopping Experience Needs: Holiday Music.


Brie Speech

"The company hasn't explained to the journalists why it took down the accounts and made their profiles and past tweets disappear. But Musk took to Twitter on Thursday night to accuse journalists of sharing private information about his whereabouts that he described as 'basically assassination coordinates.' He provided no evidence for that claim." Twitter suspends journalists who wrote about owner Elon Musk. You may notice that under extreme pressure, an attention addict is exhibiting signs of delusional paranoia. But don't underestimate the market for these behaviors. Consider the fact that another man with the same symptomology was recently president of the United States.

+ "Earlier in the week, Donald Trump teased a 'major announcement' on Truth Social, the platform he took to after being banned from Twitter last year. Some speculated Trump would be announcing his running mate for the 2024 presidential election, or some other key detail for his campaign. The news turned out to be a disappointment even to some of Trump's supporters: a Trump-themed NFT collection." Laugh all you want. The weird, Trump as superhero cards sold out in a few hours.

+ For some reason, I feel Snopes had the best headline: Is Trump Selling Digital Trading Cards Featuring Himself in Superhero Garb? True.


Under Siege

"The 2022 winter season has been one of prolonged misery for many American families, full of sniffles, sore throats, coughs and trips to the emergency room as bugs kept at bay during the pandemic have been unleashed by the resumption of our old lives.
It's like 'a big bomb of viruses went off,' said Christina Lane, who runs a pediatric practice in New Albany, Ind., and has seen a crush of several hundred children with respiratory symptoms in the past three months." WaPo (Gift Article): How a viral siege is making some people sick for weeks, even months. "Otherwise healthy people suffering for weeks, rather than days, with simple colds." (I happen to be a week into my own.)


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: David Letterman took his Netflix interview show on the road. Way on the road, all the way to Kyiv for an interview with Zelenskyy. The episode is both informative and, at times, moving.

+ What to Book: The novel Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow is on just about every year-end best-of list. And it turns out that is for good reason. A perfect holiday week read.


Extra, Extra

Package Deal: As we approach the holidays, packages are being delivered at an incredibly efficient rate. They're also being stolen and an incredibly efficient rate.

+ Own Goal: Let's not be so one-sided about Qatar's sportswashing. At least one European Parliament vice president is a big supporter of what they've done, explaining, "The World Cup in Qatar is proof, actually, of how sports diplomacy can achieve a historical transformation of a country with reforms that inspired the Arab world." But wait. As the NYT reports, three weeks later that European Parliament vice president was in jail, accused of trading political decisions for cash. (We were sooooo close!) Meanwhile, FIFA rebuffed Zelenskyy's request to share message of peace at World Cup final.

+ Vote Against Pedro: "A Peruvian judge on Thursday ordered ousted President Pedro Castillo to remain in custody for 18 months as nationwide protests set off by the political crisis showed no signs of abating and the death toll rose to at least 14." (Peru arrested its corrupt president in the time it takes Congress to fax a subpoena...)

+ Error Conditioning: "Research suggests climate crisis may contribute to increased gun violence by pushing temperatures beyond normal ranges." Almost 8,000 US shootings attributed to unseasonable heat – study.

+ The Dawning of the Age of Aquarium: "The enormous cylindrical aquarium was a wonder, the centerpiece of a popular Berlin hotel. But in the early hours of Friday morning, it burst."

+ Crocodile Grok: 10 Interesting Ways to (Almost) Die in the Wilderness. This is why I'm indoorsy.

+ Dirty Hairy: And the NYT with a key question: Why Do Men Sprout Hairs in Weird Places With Age?


Feel Good Friday

"Inflation, the curse of our pocketbooks and the Federal Reserve, has hit almost every good in the U.S. But the price of a beloved toy has managed to hover around $1 — for more than 50 years." Why Hot Wheels are one of the most inflation-proof toys in American history.

+ "In 1948, Phillip Sollomi debuted an Italian vinaigrette at his Kansas City fried chicken restaurant, the Wishbone. An immediate hit, the salad dressing formed the foundation for an empire ... Decades after Sollomi left the company, his family has returned to the city to reclaim their legacy." A Kansas City family created Wish-Bone Italian Dressing. It became an American obsession. I chugged this stuff as a kid.

+ SciAm: 9 Science Stories That Restore Our Faith in Humanity.

+ MacKenzie Scott reveals details of her $14bn in donations to 1,600 non-profits.

+ U.S. Postal Service honors the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis with a stamp. Cool, but where is the Tubman Twenty?

+ In honor of Taylor Hawkins, Billie Eilish and Dave Grohl sing Hero.

+ "During its run, the Phantom of the Opera created an estimated 6,500 jobs — including those for 400 actors. That's more jobs than any show in U.S. theatrical history.
Today, 20 employees are still working at 'Phantom' after more than three decades."

+ And for your weekend viewing pleasure, Mbappé vs. Messi Is The World Cup Final Soccer Fans Deserve. (I'm such a soccer newbie that before this week, I though Mbappé was a song by Hanson.)