I'm No Angel

What we believe in, a Blue Zone Grows in Brooklyn

Last week, Shohei Ohtani, who is known for doing the impossible, did something that seemed impossible, even for him. In the first game of a double-header, he threw an 111 pitch, one-hit shutout as a pitcher. In the second game of the double-header, Ohtani hit two home runs. He’s one of the best pitchers in baseball and he’s threatening the home run record set by Aaron Judge just last year. This is all a long way of saying that it makes sense that a lot of people suddenly believe in Ohtani’s team, the Los Angeles Angels. But even Ohtani can’t make his Angels compete with the broader category of angels. The devil is in the details, but according to a recent AP poll, about 7 in 10 U.S. adults say they believe in angels. To put that number into perspective, it’s “about on par with belief in heaven and the power of prayer, but bested by belief in God or a higher power (79%). Fewer U.S. adults believe in the devil or Satan (56%), astrology (34%), reincarnation (34%), and that physical things can have spiritual energies, such as plants, rivers or crystals (42%).” (Full disclosure: After the performance of my internet startup portofolio over the past couple of years, I’m not even sure I believe in angel investors anymore.) With the spiritual energy of crystals and astrology both drawing the belief of more than a third of Americans, let’s look at the belief in reality among recently polled members of Trump’s base. “Zero percent — not a single one of the 319 respondents in this MAGA category — said he had committed serious federal crimes. A mere 2 percent said he ‘did something wrong’ in his handling of classified documents.” Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing angel dust.


A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

“Ever since researchers identified a handful of places around the world where people lived remarkably long, healthy lives, there have been efforts to replicate the magic recipe. The inhabitants of these Shangri-Las known as Blue Zones — where people were said to live to age 100 — shared certain customs thought to contribute to their longevity. They stayed physically active, maintained lasting friendships and ate mostly plant-based meals, among other things.” Can the lessons of long life be applied to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Brooklyn? NYT (Gift Article): Does This Brooklyn Housing Development Know the Secret to Long Life? I’m guessing most people in East New York would settle for affordable housing and a decent grocery store within walking distance, but if we want to call that a blue zone, let’s call it a blue zone.


Hollywood Signs

“One of his bank accounts is overdrawn by $320, and his other one has just 35 cents. His credit card debt is mounting, collection agencies call every day, and he is desperately trying to cobble together enough money to pay rent on his studio apartment in West Los Angeles.” Far from the stars on the Hollywood walk of fame are the working actors and writers who have gone from living on the edge to sliding off it. WaPo (Gift Article): His Hollywood star was finally rising. Now he cleans apartments.


Peaks and Valleys

“As a kid in Miami, I thought I knew heat. In the mornings before school, the windows of my parents’ house would be fogged with humidity, as if the swamp of South Florida were trying to press its way in. As an adult in Los Angeles, I thought I knew heat — that sizzling dryness that arrives each summer and fall, curing the grasses and prickling the skin. But never have I felt anything like Death Valley last week.” Hayley Smith on a death in Death Valley. I searched hell on Earth for a story. What I found will haunt me forever.

+ “The 68-year-old covers his windows with mattress foam to insulate against the heat and sleeps in the concrete basement. He knows high temperatures can cause heat stroke and death, and his lung condition makes him more susceptible. But the retired brick layer, who survives on about $1,000 a month largely from Social Security, says air conditioning is out of reach. ‘Take me about 12 years to save up for something like that.” Record heat waves illuminate plight of poorest Americans who suffer without air conditioning.

+ It was hot enough at Zion National Park for rangers to bake cookies in a parked car.

+ A headline for an era: Calif. home in danger of sliding into the sea is for sale at a deep discount.


Extra, Extra

Master at Arms: “First jotted on a yellow legal pad in 1975, it would transform the N.R.A. from a fusty club of sportsmen into a lobbying juggernaut that would enforce elected officials’ allegiance, derail legislation behind the scenes, redefine the legal landscape and deploy ‘all available resources at every level to influence the decision making process.'” NYT (Gift Article): The Secret History of Gun Rights: How Lawmakers Armed the N.R.A. “Over decades, a small group of legislators led by a prominent Democrat pushed the gun lobby to help transform the law, the courts and views on the Second Amendment.”

+ Spit Take: “People with the syndrome can experience symptoms including hives, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe stomach pain, difficulty breathing, dizziness and swelling of the lips, throat, tongue or eye lids. Unlike some other food allergies, which occur soon after eating, these reactions hit hours later.” A meat allergy caused by tick spit is getting more common, CDC says.

+ Dough Eyed: “The new data shows that among students with the same test scores, the colleges gave preference to the children of alumni and to recruited athletes, and gave children from private schools higher nonacademic ratings.” NYT Upshot: Study of Elite College Admissions Data Suggests Being Very Rich Is Its Own Qualification.

+ Dropping the Dime on Nickel: Even when it comes to cleaner energy, there’s always a cost and that cost is most high for the poor. Rest of World: As EVs surge, so does nickel mining’s death toll.

+ Worm Whole: “Scientists have discovered a worm that managed to stretch its short life expectancy — by tens of thousands of years. A tiny roundworm was revived after it was frozen in Siberian permafrost 46,000 years ago.” (When scientists we’re reviving him, the worm rolled over and said, “Five more minutes…”)

+ Pee-Wee: “Paul Reubens, the actor best known for portraying Pee-wee Herman, died Sunday night after a private bout of cancer. He was 70.”

+ Click Bait: “If you’ve ever heard someone refer to a TV remote as a ‘clicker,’ it’s because of Robert Adler’s 1956 creation. The elegant Star Trek-esque gadget pioneered a durable, clicky action for controlling gadgets and a simplicity of form that has since been naively abandoned.” The buttons on Zenith’s original ‘clicker’ remote were a mechanical marvel. (When I was a kid we had to walk to the TV to change the channel, uphill, both ways.)


Bottom of the News

“It helps that the USWNT’s base camp has a special coffee machine that will make whatever coffee drinks the players want, from flat white to lattes, and it prints realistic photos with food-grade ink. “You can upload pictures of your own photos from your phone, which — that can get crazy.” U.S. soccer stars talk coffee obsession at 2023 World Cup. (Let’s line up some quad cappuccinos before tomorrow’s Portugal match.)

+ This has been the summer of fans throwing things at performers during concerts. Cardi B responded by throwing her microphone at the fan. “Although the rapper no longer had a microphone, her voice was still heard on speakers during the performance suggesting she had been lip syncing.”

+ Here’s a controversy you probably didn’t see coming… Our bears are real, a Chinese zoo says, denying they are ‘humans in disguise.’

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