Another Click in the Wall

A Crazy High School Story, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

Adolescence can be brutal. High school can be emotional. Race can be complicated. Social media can both spark and fuel fires. So it won’t surprise you that the combination these things could create a hell of a lot of personal and social angst. This is still a shocking story, but one that seems somehow par for our era. “It was a private Instagram account with barely more than a dozen followers. Few people saw it when it was live. Yet its discovery derailed lives, shredded relationships and caused families to flee both the town and its public schools. What happened in Albany happened online, but the repercussions played out everywhere … It was the incident that explained everything and yet also the incident that couldn’t be explained. But I have tried: I spent more than five years reporting on what happened.” Dashka Slater in the NYT Mag (Gift Article) with the wild (and wildly depressing in many ways) story of The Instagram Account That Shattered a California High School.


Four Seasons Total Disaster

“Even if he wins, he’s going to destroy you. This guy’s going to humiliate you.” Remember when Rudy was pretty sure he’d be named Secretary of State? It wasn’t that long ago. It wasn’t really that long ago that Rudy was called America’s mayor. The fall has been dramatic, and in some ways tragic (certainly for America). And it doesn’t appear that its hit bottom. Dan Barry in the NYT (Gift Article): From ‘America’s Mayor’ to Criminal Defendant: Giuliani’s Long Tumble.


A Pretty Penne

“Those whole-peeled plum tomatoes from southern Italy are so essential to the success of the entire company that Sovos lists among its business risks the volcanic activity of Mount Vesuvius.” It’s nice to know that, occasionally, good things happen to good sauces. WSJ: This Tomato Sauce Is Delicious. It’s Also Worth Billions of Dollars.


Weekend Whats

What to Read: In my younger years, I was a TV sports reporter covering the SF Giants, sticking my mic into the postgame scrum so I could bring another generic, forgettable quote back to the studio. But what if a sports reporter actually got a postgame comment no one expected? Dave Eggers imagines just such a curveball scenario as only he can in this excellent short story in The Atlantic: The Comebacker.

+ What to Watch: The HBO three-part documentary Telemarketers chronicles the 20-year journey of two unlikely employees who stumble upon the murky truth behind a seedy New Jersey call center. And, trust me, this is not one of the slick, packaged, generic documentaries that often get parodied by Documentary Now.

+ What to Bruce: In Wings for Wheels on Paramount Plus, Bruce Springsteen gives a quite definitive explanation of the deeper meaning of the seminal album, Born to Run. Then he gives about 30 other definitive explanations on the same topic. The album was hard to explain and even harder to make. It landed Bruce on the covers on Time and Newsweek in the same week and launched one of the biggest careers in rock history. But for many fans, it was the next, very different album that really changed everything (and ignited a movement that is commonplace today – artists recording tracks at home). Warren Zanes: Deliver Me from Nowhere: The Making of Bruce Springsteen’s Nebraska.

+ What to Hear: The Georgia indictment of Donald Trump provides an incredible overview of an unthinkable crime against America. But let’s face it, the PDF font is too small to read. So listen to it. The GA Indictment Read by Ali Velshi.


Extra, Extra

California Streaming: “Hurricane Hilary grew rapidly to Category 4 strength off Mexico’s Pacific coast on Friday and could reach Southern California as the first tropical storm there in 84 years, causing ‘significant and rare impacts’ including extensive flooding.” How significant and rare? Hurricane Hilary could dump over a year’s worth of rain on parts of the Southwest. And it could transform hottest place on Earth into massive lake. And Canada’s disastrous fire season continues as 20,000 flee the northern Canadian city of Yellowknife. Here’s the latest.

+ A Peso the Action: “They’re hiring armies of people on both sides of the border to move small sums that are difficult to trace to narcotics kingpins, authorities say. Reuters visited Sinaloa, where some residents admitted to cashing remittances for the Sinaloa Cartel.” Drug cartels are using remittances – money transfers favored by migrant workers – to send illicit earnings back to Mexico.

+ Putin’s Invasion: “Russia’s military casualties, the officials said, are approaching 300,000. The number includes as many as 120,000 deaths and 170,000 to 180,000 injured troops. The Russian numbers dwarf the Ukrainian figures, which the officials put at close to 70,000 killed and 100,000 to 120,000 wounded.” NYT: Troop Deaths and Injuries in Ukraine War Near 500,000.

+ Invite Only: ” President Joe Biden opened a historic summit with Japan and South Korea at Camp David on Friday focused on strengthening security and economic ties.” It’s all about China.

+ Ill Refute: “Former President Donald Trump said Thursday he will no longer hold an event to present what he called an ‘irrefutable report’ about the 2020 election in Georgia.” How dire is is Trump’s legal situation? He’s actually shutting the f-ck up.

+ I Drink Your Milkshake: “All over Maui, golf courses glisten emerald green, hotels manage to fill their pools and corporations stockpile water to sell to luxury estates. And yet, when it came time to fight the fires, some hoses ran dry. Why? The reason is the long-running battle over west Maui’s most precious natural resource: water.” The water wars, coming to a city near you. Meanwhile, the siren debate continues in Maui. The latest move: The guy who said he had no regrets about not sounding the sirens now has no job.

+ Tire Pressure: “Many cars without spares come with kits to patch and reinflate a tire that’s low on air. But even when a tire does go flat, ‘the most common behavior today is calling AAA and sitting in your car and playing on your phone.'” Why your new electric car won’t have a spare tire. (It’s nice to go from being unable to change a tire because of a lack of skill to being unable to change a tire because there’s no damn tire.)


Feel Good Friday

“In a wellness economy that revolves around colorfully packaged supplements, boutique fitness classes and celebrity-endorsed diet pills, psyllium husks may seem an unglamorous throwback. Derived from a shrub native to South Asia, where they have been used for centuries as a digestive aid, the husks look like the bedding found in a hamster cage, taste like sawdust and turn gelatinous when mixed with water.” NYT (Gift Article): A Centuries-Old Fiber Supplement Entices the Ozempic Generation. (This may not be Feel Good Friday, but it’s likely to be Feel Good Saturday, or Sunday at the latest…)

+ A pair of 80-year-old pen pals who have been writing to each other since 1955 have finally fulfilled their “lifelong wish” to meet in person.

+ Coming to Kansas City: the first stadium built solely for pro women’s sports.

+ Dozens of sea lions are treated each year at the Marine Mammal Center in California.

+ All year we’ve been following along with the Busload of Books Tour. The family finally arrived back home. What an absolutely great, and well-deserved, moment for Robbi, Matthew and their kids.

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