Monday, February 13th, 2023


Pat Answers

Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles completely dominated the Kansas City Chiefs in the first half. In other words, Patrick Mahomes had them right where he wanted them, as he employed his Patricks of the trade—which included overcoming a severe high-ankle re-sprain—to come from behind and give the now dynastic-curious Chiefs their second Super Bowl win in four years. "The Eagles had more first downs, converted more third-down and fourth-down attempts, ran more plays, gained more yards and won the time of possession. But it didn't matter." Kendall Baker of Axios has a good review of the game, and SI's Greg Bishop and Conor Orr take a deeper look at how the Chiefs made this season happen. A Different Kind of Team. A Different Kind of Adversity. Another Chiefs Super Bowl.

+ Patrick Mahomes followed up his season MVP award by being named the Super Bowl MVP, an award he should really share with the syringe-pusher who gave him the pain shot during halftime. Of course, the MVP could just have easily gone to Donna Kelce's uterus. The Chiefs' Travis played well for the Chiefs and Jason was even more dominating for the Eagles. Big brother Jason summed up the experience of playing against, and ultimately losing, the biggest game on earth to one's brother. "Maybe it hasn't hit me yet. I was a little emotional when I saw my mom and dad. Trav was not too emotional about. I was just like, 'F--- you, congratulations." The Super Bowl LVP was the team that mangaged the slip 'n slide turf.

+ Bump and Grind: Rihanna wisely stayed on platforms above the field, especially since she used the performance to reveal her baby bump (if that was the pregnancy announcement, can you imagine the gender reveal party?). "Every artist wants their show to be bigger than the last, and 'you don't want to be a bummer.' So they got together and figured out a fix: Put Rihanna in the air." Wired: How Rihanna Pioneered a New Kind of Super Bowl Performance. Rob Harvilla in The Ringer: Rihanna Quiet Quit the Super Bowl Halftime Show. Rihanna's "hiatus seemed to only make her more powerful and beloved; her absence, too, is charity somehow. We ecstatically miss her even when she's there. Even towering high above the literal Super Bowl field, she is holding back; she is chill; she is quite at her leisure. Like that persistent myth that humans only use 10 percent of their brains, she is operating at 10 percent capacity because that's all our bodies can stand." (If you missed it, here's a video of the halftime show.)

+ Here's a look at how all the commercials went over according to USA Today's ad meter panelists. The most telling cultural shift was that last year, Matt Damon was pushing crypto and this year, Ben Affleck was pushing donuts. Conservative investors should always ignore the hype and seek longterm value (and nothing says longterm value like fried dough dipped in glaze.) I dug the ads featuring Binky Dad and the one with the flag football running girl, and while I'm not a potential costumer for the product or a fan of those behind the effort, the Jesus commercials are pretty damn good (though, at first, I thought the slogan Jesus didn't want us to act like adults was an ad for the House GOP.)

+ While it was a bit of bummer that the game's conclusion depended so heavily on a penalty call, it's worth noting that Eagles cornerback James Bradberry admitted he held. "I pulled on his jersey. They called it. I was hoping they would let it ride." (Admitting a mistake? Someone get this guy some media training.)

+ And finally: How do you know for sure that Vader has turned to the dark side? He goes to the Super Bowl with the Emperor.


Up, Up and Away

No one can ever accuse Joe Biden of being soft on balloons and other floating objects. By the time the Super Bowl started, I was half-expecting the national anthem flyover to include the downing of the Goodyear Blimp. The first Chinese balloon takedown was a unique act in American history. Within a couple days, it's become a cliché. "A U.S. fighter jet shot down an 'unidentified object' over Lake Huron on Sunday on orders from President Joe Biden. It was the fourth such downing in eight days and the latest military strike in an extraordinary chain of events over U.S. airspace that Pentagon officials believe has no peacetime precedent."

+ Meanwhile, China has alleged that more than 10 U.S. high-altitude balloons have flown in its airspace during the past year without its permission. (Sounds like someone has UFOMO.)


Top Dog Days are Over

"He was asking for people to pay a tax, if you will ... He really carried himself as the top dog in that neighborhood, and people who didn't comply had cases put on them." USA Today: A corrupt Chicago cop destroyed hundreds of lives. Now victims want justice. "Nearly 200 people who have been cleared of charges tied to former Sgt. Ronald Watts and his Chicago Police Department team. It's the largest series of exonerations in the city's history."


Trip Wire

"More than 90 percent of full-time, private-industry workers have access to paid vacation time, a figure that has remained relatively steady for decades. And the number of paid vacation days offered by the typical employer has ticked up in recent years." So why is everyone staying home? WaPo (Gift Article): The mystery of the disappearing vacation day.


Extra, Extra

Fire Sale: "It was the first mega-fire of California's new mega-fire era, a flashing red light along the West's path into a new climate. The Tubbs Fire was also the start of a new kind of economic gentrification, one caused by the increasingly harmful effects of climate change, the higher costs of rebuilding and insuring homes in fire-prone areas, and a housing stock diminished by fire and flooding." WaPo (Gift Article): Gentrification by Fire.

+ Tox and Bonds: "About 4.5m tons of toxic chemicals are shipped by rail each year and an average of 12,000 rail cars carrying hazardous materials pass through cities and towns each day, according to the US Department of Transportation." Ohio catastrophe is ‘wake-up call' to dangers of deadly train derailments. And from CNN: After a train derailment, Ohio residents are living the plot of a movie they helped make.

+ The Saud Squad: "The substantial investments by the Saudis in enterprises that benefited both men came after they cultivated close ties with Mohammed while Trump was in office — helping the crown prince's standing by scheduling Trump's first presidential trip to Saudi Arabia, backing him amid numerous international crises and meeting with him repeatedly in D.C. and the kingdom, including on a final trip Kushner took to Saudi Arabia on the eve of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack." WaPo (Gift Article): After helping prince's rise, Trump and Kushner benefit from Saudi funds. (We're so numb to the corruption that even an act this blatant will just pass through the news cycle into nothingness.)

+ The Land of Judicial: "A battle over the future of Israel's judiciary — perceived by many as a fight for the soul of Israel's democracy — grew more fraught and fractious on Monday as roughly 100,000 protesters from across the country filled the streets outside Parliament in Jerusalem in one of the biggest-ever demonstrations in the city." NYT: Netanyahu's Judicial Overhaul Sparks Huge Protests in Israel.

+ Search Goes On: The current norm is too overwhelming to process, so we search for the unique in the places hit by last week's quake. Young girl rescued after 178 hours under rubble.

+ Master Minds: In Texas, state education board members push back on proposal to use the phrase 'involuntary relocation' to describe slavery.

+ Nemo Finding: Scientists find that fish can recognize themselves in photos. (They'd be better served if they could recognize a hook...)


Bottom of the News

"While the toy raked in an estimated $4.5B in sales over the years, its inventor only collected a sliver of the proceeds. The story of his creation is a case study in the cutthroat world of toy sales, where a tiny misstep can be capitalized on by real-life business trolls." How the inventor of the troll doll missed out on a fortune.

+ Mars Wrigley fined after two workers tumbled into chocolate tank last year. This reminds me of the bittersweet demise of Augustus Gloop.

+ "Lloyd Devereux Richards, a full time attorney and father of three, spent 14 years pursuing his dream of writing a book, and the next 11 years hoping for the thriller to take off. It did not, until last week when his daughter posted a 16-second TikTok video with a simple message: 'I'd love for him to get some sales.'" (I just filed the paperwork to adopt this kid...)