A Chicken in Every Pot

It tastes just like chicken because it is. Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday.

It tastes just like chicken. Why do people repeat that idiom about so many foods? Because most of the time, what they’re eating is chicken. When humans are feeling a little peckish, bird is almost always the word. Which came first, the chicken or the egg? That’s one of the many philosophical questions humans like to consider over a couple orders of wings. And chicken’s rule of the roost is only getting more dominant as more people worldwide can afford to add meat to their diets. It’s cheaper to produce and it has a reputation for being healthier than others meats. All this adds up, bigly, and when it comes to this one issue, people across a divided world are increasingly birds of a feather. “Humanity currently raises and slaughters a staggering 74 billion chickens each year, which will jump to around 85 billion annually by 2032 … We eat so much chicken that some archaeologists believe their bones will define our modern age.” Vox counts the chickens before they hatch. Chickens are taking over the planet. I hold the bias of a lifelong vegetarian, but killing 85 billion of anything in a single year sure sounds like a kick in the nuggets.


That Worship Has Sailed

Here is the church. Here is the steeple. Open the doors and, wait, where are all the people? Does the decline of church attendance signal a decline in religious belief or does it just reflect the fact that our modern life leaves little time for things like human interaction? The Atlantic: Why So Many Americans Have Stopped Going to Church. “The problem in front of us is not that we have a healthy, sustainable society that doesn’t have room for church. The problem is that many Americans have adopted a way of life that has left us lonely, anxious, and uncertain of how to live in community with other people.” (I knew my personal characteristics would eventually be mainstream). I have an additional theory. Politics has become the new religion, one that inspires ideological fervor, an unyielding belief (no matter how insane the claims), tribal clans convinced that non-believers and false god worshippers are determined to destroy the world, megachurch-like rallies, and a whole lot of passing of the collection plate. Want to change this trend? Start praying.


A Come to Jurist Moment

Mike Pence has had his come to jurist moment. Years after his former boss riled up a crowd so much that they sought to kill the Veep, the former fawner in chief has finally exchanged the sycophantic schmalz for a set of balls and said, “Let’s be clear on this point. It wasn’t just that they asked for a pause. The president specifically asked me, and his gaggle of crackpot lawyers asked me, to literally reject votes.” And with that, Pence has become the star witness—now in public, soon in court. That will serve his legacy well. It probably won’t help his campaign much. NYT (Gift Article): Mike Pence has reached his fork in the road. Neither fork leads to a electoral bliss, but at least it’s not a pitchfork.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: Based on a reality that was probably a little weirder, Blackberry is a fun movie that looks at the meteoric rise and cataclysmic fall of a product that went from being everywhere to being all thumbs.

+ What to Book: “A lot of writers dream of achieving something like this novel, where art and life and love all seem to be addressed in a way we haven’t read before.” So says the excellent Arthur Phillips of Meg Howrey’s, They’re Going to Love You. And as you’d expect from one of America’s finest novelists and a five time Jeopardy champion, Phillips is right.

+ What to Hip Hop: “In short, we passed the mic to hip-hop and let it freestyle. By having artists share what they love about hip-hop — its beauty, its insight, its unapologetic nature — we hope they’ll remind you of what you love too, or introduce you to songs you’d overlooked.” WaPo (Gift Article): 50 years of hip-hop: Rappers, DJs and producers share 50 songs they love.


Extra, Extra

College Station: “I go through all of that in the service of the obvious, which — sadly — needs constant stating and restating: Highly selective colleges are hardly a prerequisite for, and have no monopoly on, lofty careers.” Frank Bruni with a timely reminder in the NYT (Gift Article): The Real, Hidden Truth About College Admissions. (This would be a great piece for my college-applying son to read. Too bad I can’t convince either of my kids to subscribe…)

+ Minefield: “Here in this city on the frontlines of Yemen’s long-running civil war, Shaimaa is just one of the civilians who will be living with the war’s fallout for the rest of their lives. As the nearly decade-long conflict appears to be slowing down, places like this prosthetics clinic offer a glimpse at the challenge that awaits them.” At Yemeni prosthetics clinic, the patients keep coming even though the war has slowed.

+ Thirst Trap: “Meta expects the facility to use about (176 million gallons) of water a year, and up to 195 liters per second during ‘peak water flow,’ according to a technical report. Enthusiasm about the jobs the project is expected to create … is now being weighed against heightened concerns over water.” Bloomberg (Gift Article): Thirsty Data Centers Are Making Hot Summers Even Scarier.

+ Pac Rats: “Capping a week of wild swings and manic backroom maneuvering, Oregon and Washington dealt a potential death blow to the Pac-12 Conference by finalizing plans to join the Big Ten.” For years, I haven’t been able to watch Cal games on any of the TV services to which I subscribe. The pathetic leadership that led to that has now led to this.

+ Damned: “As the flooding emergency in western Beijing turned deadlier at the beginning of this week, taking out bridges, washing away dozens of cars at a time, and wreaking havoc on the city, the decision was made to divert the raging waters.
The effect was almost immediate. The pressure came off in the capital, but the water had to go somewhere.” The Chinese town engulfed by a flood to save Beijing.

+ Slave Knave: “An appointee by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to an oversight board of Disney’s special tax district taught a seminar in 2021 falsely claiming ‘Whites were also slaves in America,’ using discredited research to say there was an ‘Irish slave trade.'” We are increasingly being led by imbeciles and lunatics. (And by we, I mean Florida.)

+ Voting Twice: “The two Democratic state representatives in Tennessee who were expelled by Republicans in April for protesting in support of gun safety on the chamber floor won elections Thursday night for their old seats.”

+ Pressure Snooker: “Exercises that engage muscles without movement — such as wall squats and planks — may be best for lowering blood pressure.” Blood pressure is best lowered by 2 exercises.


Feel Good Friday

“On the eve of wrapping up the US leg of her wildly successful Eras Tour, Swift on Monday thanked a slew of crew members who have done serious heavy lifting on the road with her — among them, the tour’s truck drivers — with a hefty bonus.” Taylor Swift gives ‘life-changing’ $100,000 bonuses to Eras Tour truck drivers. (Now they can afford a Taylor Swift show!)

+ “The dogs, held in cages at a breeding and research facility, were bound for labs. About 4,000 were saved and, almost a year later, many are thriving with their families.” NYT (Gift Article): 4,000 Rescued Beagles, Bred for Research, Found Homes and Best Friends. (My neighbors are convinced that all 4,000 of them live in my backyard.)

+ Kansas man plants 1.2m sunflowers as 50th anniversary gift for his wife.

+ Petting other people’s dogs, even briefly, can boost your health.

+ Simone Biles quietly returns to gymnastics with plenty left to offer.

+ SF Chronicle (Gift Article): This one man makes millions of tacos at S.F.’s most famous taqueria.

+ That time a seal wandered into a hardware store

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