Friday, January 13th, 2023


The Old Man and the C Chord

The morning after a well-lit, early-ending, New Year's eve party, a longtime friend told my wife she thought I was loosening up a bit because she noticed that—as everyone else furiously danced—I was subtly nodding my head to the beat of a song being played by the band. I don't dance. I'm not what you'd call a participator. However, I do rock and I plan to continue rocking until the end. Which brings us to a summer-series in Ann Arbor, where there have been frequent reports of a silver tsunami. "Every Friday night from September to May, at an off-campus nightclub in this thriving college town, a group of die-hard music fans gathers to dance to some of the most devoted live bands in southeast Michigan. There are women in skintight red dresses, long-haired men sucking down bottles of beer and couples flirting in the alcove outside the bathrooms. In fact, just one thing distinguishes the crowd from nearly any other rock-and-roll show in a small city in America: Almost everyone is over 65. OK, two things: The show always starts at 6:30 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m., in time to get to bed at a reasonable hour." I'm torn by the headline of this NYT (Gift Article) from Joseph Bernstein. In 2023, how could any decent rock show not include older people? My kids listen to Taylor Swift and mumble rap. They have no idea how to rock. It's the Coolest Rock Show in Ann Arbor. And Almost Everyone There Is Over 65. Luckily, there are other activities for those who don't dance. "We've been doing this for 50 years," said Ruby Butler, 73, between pulls off a small glass pipe. "Only now, it's legal!" (I just nodded my head so hard I pulled a muscle in my neck.)


Accurate My Homework

"This really does sum up what Exxon knew, years before many of us were born ... We now have the smoking gun showing that they accurately predicted warming years before they started attacking the science. These graphs confirm the complicity of what Exxon knew and how they misled." The only thing Exxon did better than predicting the future was lying about it. Your umpteenth reminder that we've known about the coming (now here) disaster for decades. The Guardian: Exxon made ‘breathtakingly' accurate climate predictions in 1970s and 80s.


Soggy Cardboard

"A pizza box has one job—keeping a pie warm and crispy during its trip from the shop to your house—and it can't really do it. The fancier the pizza, the worse the results: A slab of overbaked Domino's will probably be at least semi-close to whatever its version of perfect is by the time it reaches your door, but a pizza with fresh mozzarella cooked at upwards of 900 degrees? Forget it. Sliding a $40 pie into a pizza box is the packaging equivalent of parking a Lamborghini in a wooden shed before a hurricane." The Atlantic: You Don't Know How Bad the Pizza Box Is. It really is incredible that, in this age of delivery, we haven't come up with a better way to package cooked food.


Weekend Whats

What to Doc: A couple years ago, I decided to try my hand at investing in documentary films—not necessarily to make big money, but to support an art form I love. So far, I've been quite lucky. The first one made it into Sundance and currently rocks a 98% on the tomatometer. I'm pleased to introduce the members of the Middle East's first all-female metal band, as they wrestle with friendship, sexuality, and destruction in their pursuit of becoming thrash metal rock stars. Sirens is now available to rent on your favorite streaming platform.

+ What to Movie: Ready for dinner? A couple who travels to an exclusive restaurant are shocked to see what's on the menu. This is billed as a horror movie, but it's more of a satire. And it's available everywhere from theaters to HBO Max. It's also pretty fun. The Menu. If you're in the mood for this kind of satire, don't miss Triangle of Sadness.

+ What to Read: "A quantum computer could open new frontiers in mathematics, revolutionizing our idea of what it means to 'compute.' Its processing power could spur the development of new industrial chemicals, addressing the problems of climate change and food scarcity. And it could reconcile the elegant theories of Albert Einstein with the unruly microverse of particle physics, enabling discoveries about space and time. 'The impact of quantum computing is going to be more profound than any technology to date,' Jeremy O'Brien, the C.E.O. of the startup PsiQuantum, said recently. First, though, the engineers have to get it to work." And there is a massive race to do just that. Stephen Witt in The New Yorker: The World-Changing Race to Develop the Quantum Computer.


Extra, Extra

California's Bucket List: "In a state that is weathering a crippling, multiyear drought, much larger streams of water — estimated at tens of billions of gallons — have been rushing in recent days straight into the Pacific Ocean, a devastating conundrum for a state whose future depends on holding on to any drop it can." NYT (Gift Article): In a Drought, California Is Watching Water Wash Out to Sea. (Luckily, this won't matter because it's never going to stop raining in California. Never.)

+ Stripe Swipe Gripe: "The dispute goes back 15 years. In 2007, Adidas complained that Browne was using a three-stripe design too similar to theirs on a jacket. Browne agreed to stop using it and shifted to a four-stripe design. For years, Adidas did not argue with that — but as Browne became more prominent after the 2018 sale, he began expanding further into activewear and the sportswear giant took notice." Designer Thom Browne bests Adidas in court battle of stripes.

+ Rounding Error: The Trump Organization was fined $1.6 million for tax fraud and other crimes committed as part of a yearslong tax avoidance scheme. (That'll teach 'em!)

+ Island Stopping: "In order to navigate the experience, you have to normalize the dehumanization. You have to buy into it in order to survive. That is the most horrible thing about being locked up. You're never the same person again. Once you internalize it, you project it outward. If you are being dehumanized, that's how you treat other people. That, to me, is the essence of incarceration: having to buy into the dehumanization." Esquire with an oral history of Rikers. Day One at Rikers Island.

+ Lisa Marie: "Her death in a Los Angeles hospital was confirmed by her mother, Priscilla, a few hours after her daughter was rushed to the hospital by paramedics after a medical episode at her home." Lisa Marie Presley, singer and daughter of Elvis, dies at 54. She was famous the moment she was born. What an awful burden to carry one's whole life. RIP.

+ Suspended Ceiling: "The U.S. is expected to hit the debt ceiling next Thursday, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned in a letter Friday to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy." This is going to be a shit show for the ages.

+ Dave's Headline: SBF has taken his defense to the court of public opinion with a new Substack. He gets zero points for creativity when it comes to the title. SBF's Substack.

+ Robot Vision: In 2014, Pew research predicted robotic sex partners would become commonplace. In 2015, speculative fiction doyenne Margaret Atwood published The Heart Goes Last, with a protagonist who built 'prostibots'. Her writing was inspired by reality, she said. '[Humans] desire robots because we can mould them to our taste, and fear them because what they could decide to do themselves,' she said. In the years since speculation – and moral panic – boomed, what has actually happened in the android sex industry? Where are the sex robots?" (Maybe they're just not that into us...)


Feel Good Friday

US cancer death rate falls 33% since 1991, partly due to advances in treatment, early detection and less smoking.

+ "Those who move out of shelters, prison, foster homes, or off the street and into buildings equipped with in-house counseling tend to stay in their homes, in treatment, and out of trouble. It's expensive, but it's cheaper than the alternatives." Curbed: Two Supportive-Housing Projects Make the Case for Building Many More.

+ WaPo: These dogs ride a bus like humans ‘and now the internet is in love.'

+ Damar Hamlin will be watching this week's playoff games from home. He's been released from the hospital.

+ "Nik loved Matchbox cars, so we started thinking, what could we do to honor his memory with a Matchbox car? So, we got the cars and we bought the little cards to put on them. And we started by putting them in all of the places that Nik loved to go." Muskegon Co. boy spreading joy across the globe a decade after his passing.

+ "An 82-year-old US veteran and Walmart cashier is finally able to retire after an unlikely act of goodwill. Warren Marion, from Cumberland, Maryland, received a check for $108,682 last week thanks to the generosity of online donors.

+ Brock Purdy Was Mr. Irrelevant. Now He's Mr. Impossible. (And in a few weeks, he's gonna be Mr Super Bowl champion.)