Monday, January 9th, 2023


Getting Wood

If you're looking for a career that offers meaning and pleasure, you might want to load into a crummy and highball it to the woods to log some hours as a logger. Come on, chop chop. It doesn't seem to matter much whether you're a choker setter, a scorer, a bucker, a cat skinner, a faller, a gandy dancer, or a knot bumper, as long as you're outdoors and around trees—upright or otherwise. Sadly, being a lumbersexual—a typically soft-handed, urban dweller who merely grows a thick beard and dons a plaid shirt suggestive of a rugged outdoor lifestyle doesn't work. I tried this look for years and was a huge hit at The National concerts, but I was ultimately outed when my wife asked me to start a fire and I said, "Sure, where's the remote?" WaPo (Gift Article): The happiest, least stressful, most meaningful jobs in America. "Researchers across the social and medical sciences have found a strong link between mental health and green space or being outdoors. Even seeing a tree out your window can help you recover from illness faster. So imagine the boost you get from being right next to said tree — even if, like our friend the lumberjack, you're in the process of chopping it down." (If you'd like to learn more about working among the trees, I'd urge you to inquire at your local branch office.)


Fala-se Insurrection

"I suspect that the real influence of the American experience in Brazil comes not from the preening likes of Bannon, the former Trump adviser Jason Miller, or any of the minor figures who have excitedly, and perhaps lucratively, been promoting #StoptheSteal in Brazil, but—as in the 18th century—through the power of example." The Atlantic's Anne Applebaum on the sadly familiar Brazilian insurrection. What the Rioters in Brazil Learned From Americans.

+ BBC: How Trump's allies stoked Brazil Congress attack. And for some background: Brazil Congress storming: How did we get here? Here's the latest on the now quelled rebellion.

+ And once again, irony survived. Jair Bolsonaro is currently in Florida.



Forget the soul-selling, the endless voting, and the near-brawl on the floor of the House. Even the happy moments of Kevin McCarthy's path to the Speakership were ominous. "Perhaps the most revealing image of the ugly night came shortly after the final ballot had been completed. As McCarthy sat waiting for the official tally, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the far-right election denier and conspiracy theorist who represents Georgia's Fourteenth District, crouched down beside him to take a cheek-to-cheek picture with the soon-to-be Speaker." The New Yorker: Kevin McCarthy's Hollow Victory Will Have Economic and Political Consequences.

+ "To make sense of the nonsensical, Washington's chattering class — not to mention the thousands of Americans who turned to C-SPAN to follow the tragedy on the Hill — found themselves falling back on William Shakespeare's timeless works." Politico: The Shakespearean Tragedy of Kevin McCarthy, Prince of Washington. In this case, when someone wonders, To be or not to be, they're probably asking about America.


Don’t You Forget About Me

Summer Praetorius with an interesting look at Earth's missing memories. The Great Forgetting. "The longest lacuna in Earth's history is known as the Great Unconformity. It represents a temporal gap ranging from a hundred million years to over a billion years, depending on the location. It's visible in the Grand Canyon as the boundary between the Precambrian Vishnu Schist and the Cambrian Tapeats Sandstone, between which there is a billion years of missing time between about 1,600 and 600 million years ago. Looking at this line in the strata, it is hard to fathom all that would have conspired across that vast gulf of time, for which there is simply nothing. If it were instead to have been the last billion years that was erased, it would obliterate the entire history of complex life. No trace of a single animal having ever walked the land. No dinosaurs, no whales, no humans, no pyramids." (I think this roughly mirrors Kyrie Irving's beliefs...)


Extra, Extra

Break on Through: From using CRISPR to solve high cholesterol to mass market military drones, here are MIT Tech Review's 10 Breakthrough
Technologies 2023

+ Another Frick in the Wall: "The brothers estimate that the $22 million wall of remembrance — an addition to the 27-year-old Korean War Veterans Memorial — contains 1,015 spelling errors. It also incorrectly includes 245 names of service members who died in circumstances totally unrelated to the war, they say, including a man killed in a motorcycle accident in Hawaii and another who drank antifreeze thinking it was alcohol." NYT (Gift Article): A Korean War Wall of Remembrance Set Hundreds of Errors in Stone.

+ Tenure Trackmarks: "The indefinite academic appointments that come with tenure — the holy grail of university employment — have faced review from lawmakers or state oversight boards in at least half a dozen states, often presented as bids to rein in academics with liberal views." Conservatives take aim at tenure for university professors. (And they might find allies in University brass looking to cut costs.)

+ The Kid: Last week, a six year-old student shot a teacher at his elementary school. It barely made a blip in the news.

+ Lawyers, Guns, and Migrants: "During his visit, Biden met with local officials, faith leaders and non-governmental groups who've supported migrants fleeing political oppression and economic collapse in their home countries at the El Paso County Migrant Services Support Center." Biden visits El Paso in first trip to southern border as president. Next stop is the "three amigo" meetings with Canada and Mexico. Guns, drugs and migrants: Biden heads to Mexico to face diplomatic challenges with North American allies.

+ Noma(s): "This move is likely to send shock waves through the culinary world. To put it in soccer terms: Imagine that Manchester United decided to close Old Trafford stadium to fans, though the team would continue to play." Noma, Rated the World's Best Restaurant, Is Closing Its Doors. So if you crave grilled reindeer heart on a bed of fresh pine, hurry.

+ Shame that Tune: Bahamas tries to turn page after FTX. "Dressed in a canary blue suit on a warm December night, sweat dripping from his brow, Bishop Lawrence Rolle belts out the lyrics to his latest hit song for the hundreds of children and adults gathered to celebrate Christmas. 'FTX!,' he sings, bent over and shaking his head for emphasis. 'The money is gone!' 'FTX!,' his backup singer and audience scream back. 'The money have done gone!'" (That song has gone viral among thousands of investors.)


Bottom of the News

"What he means when he says 'Miami' is that his SUV rolls down the driveway, past the pristine lawn set for croquet and through the Secret Service checkpoint at the gate, for the two-hour trip to another piece of Trump real estate, the Trump National in Doral, about eight miles from the airport in Miami-Dade County. There, he meets regularly with an impressive, ideologically diverse range of policy wonks, diplomats, and political theorists for conversations about the global economy and military conflicts and constitutional law and I'm kidding. He goes there to play golf." Olivia Nuzzi: Inside Donald Trump's sad, lonely, thirsty, broken, basically pretend run for reelection. (Which isn't to say he can't win.)

+ "That sensibility has seen a seismic shift in recent years as the widely-purported benefits of cold-water therapy have ushered in legions of disciples. Adults are now jumping into (or bathing in, or showering in) bone-chilling water every single morning, in a quest for mental clarity, a better mood, a robust immune system or all the above. Now, bizarrely (though something about this feels inevitable and utterly unsurprising) the trend has reached the business world." Ice Bath Business Meetings Are a Thing Now, Apparently.

+ Some cool facts you may not have known about The Shining.