The Devil Went Down to Georgia

History drops a scowl movement, Weekend Whats, Feel Good Friday

The devil went down to Georgia, was lookin’ for a poll to steal
He was in a bind with a judge assigned
And co-defendants ready to squeal.

The devil scowled for a mugshot, gave a weight far south of real
A bail bond signed, a great nation declined
Lost to lies and a spiteful zeal.

The devil went down to Georgia, rewriting the Art of the Deal.
Nearly lost his mind while Fani had him confined
Time to start planning the appeal.

Seinfeld was a show about nothing that was quite entertaining. Trump’s Georgia surrender was a show about a very big something, but in the end it wasn’t very entertaining. As I mentioned yesterday, while Trump may one day go to prison, American news consumers are already there. The latest image to be forever burned into our collective psyche: The mugshot seen around the world; a scowl movement dropped from history’s ass. Some see a criminal. Some see a hero. I see an Imodium ad. And Trump? He saw a grifting opportunity. (Some people see the same thing in every ink blot.)

+ Susan Glasser in The New Yorker: The Harsh Glare of Justice: “There was no real news in this, of course, since he was indicted earlier this month. But that did not stop the breathless hours of coverage—the scenes of his plane slowly rolling down the tarmac, the extensive motorcade ride through Atlanta, his self-reported and highly suspect description of himself as six feet three and two hundred and fifteen pounds. The big reveal of the evening was his photo, in which he wore a navy suit and red tie. He glared straight into the camera for his big moment; the trademark Trump glower—eyebrows raised, vaguely menacing, closer to a scowl than a smile—is one he has cultivated for years. In the White House, his aides called it, simply, the Stare.” (In this staring contest, whoever looks away first, wins.)


Jackson Whole

“Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell on Friday warned that inflation was still far too high, and suggested the central bank may need to raise interest rates further in coming months.” The location of his comments couldn’t be more symbolic of the broader issue. “Among the top 1% in Teton County (where Jackson Hole is located), the average annual income is a jaw-dropping $22.5 million.” Fed policy collides with reality in the most unequal county in America.

+ The economic divide is the story behind almost every economic story, including stories that on the surface, don’t seem like economic stories at all. Nordstrom Says Theft at Historic High as Retailers Battle Crime, and Dick’s Sporting Goods blames ‘increasingly serious’ theft problem for profit plunge.


Case Cracked

“Scientists came to Greenland on an unprecedented mission to drill for rocks that would reveal the fate of this fast-melting ice sheet. Then a sudden crack in the ice threatened to doom their experiment — and imperiled their plan to predict just how devastating sea level rise could be.” I can’t promise this saga will have a longterm happy ending, but climate science makes for quite an adventure story. WaPo (Gift Article): Buried Under the Ice.


Weekend Whats

What to Watch: One of my biggest pet peeves (aside from the phrase pet peeves) is the way modern tennis players request 4-5 balls from ball boys and girls and then discard the ones they don’t like, leaving them for the ball people to retrieve. Big tournaments should provide new balls every game or two and players should be forced to take the first two balls offered to them, following a rule instituted at my elementary school on Hot Dog Days: You touch, you take. All that said, enjoy this short doc from GQ on Ball People: “The film explores the lives of the US Open Ball Crew who might go overlooked when retrieving and supplying balls for players and officials, but their journeys and love for the sport make them true unsung heroes of the tournament.”

+ What to Doc: Kurt Vonnegut: Unstuck in Time, is a solid documentary about one of the more interesting American authors. But more than that, it’s a truly amazing story of a multi-decade friendship. Great stuff, whether you’re a Vonnegut reader or not.

+ What to Book: The Guest by Emma Cline is one of the “it books” of the summer of 2023. So let’s all read it before the Fall.


Extra, Extra

Bet Your Bottom Collar: “To be brutally honest, we had a hierarchy of things that technology could do, and we felt comfortable saying things like creative work, professional work, emotional intelligence would be hard for machines to ever do. Now that’s all been upended.” NYT (Gift Article): In Reversal Because of A.I., Office Jobs Are Now More at Risk.

+ Masks Back in Fashion: A ‘growing number of experts’ say it’s time to pull those leftover N95 masks out of the junk drawer to protect against a rising tide of Covid-19 infections and hospitalizations.” Is it time to mask up again? We’re done with it. But is it done with us? Meanwhile, the updated vaccines are coming mid-September. (Which means we’ll have new, stupid antivax crap to deal with by early October.) Most of us don’t want to think about Covid anymore. The growing number of those with long Covid can’t think about anything else. Study shows ‘long COVID’ likely to cause mass misery if treatments can’t be developed.

+ Burned Into Memory? “The Hawaii power utility believed to have started the deadly Lahaina fire removed damaged power poles and other equipment from a key fire scene, potentially affecting evidence that is part of an official investigation into how the blaze ignited.”

+ Dis is the End, My Friend: “An array of circumstances is fueling the retreat: Mass layoffs at Meta and other major tech companies have gutted teams dedicated to promoting accurate information online. An aggressive legal battle over claims that the Biden administration pressured social media platforms to silence certain speech has blocked a key path to detecting election interference. And X CEO Elon Musk has reset industry standards, rolling back strict rules against misinformation on the site formerly known as Twitter.” Just in time for election and indictment season… WaPo: Big Tech is surrendering to disinformation. (This is almost as bad as surrendering to Fulton County Jail.)


Feel Good Friday

“Potenzano had met Elkind, 83, at his sister’s wedding in 1959. She was the groom’s cousin and the maid of honor, and he was the best man. After the wedding, they’d dated a couple of times, but it hadn’t led to romance.” Then some time passed… WaPo (Gift): He was a lifelong bachelor. Now he’s getting married at age 93. (What’s the rush?)

+ If you missed it earlier in the week, I featured an amazing story about how AI gave a woman her voice back.

+ Virginia man meets Chilean family 42 years after he was stolen as newborn.

+ A cargo ship that harnesses wind power has set sail on its maiden journey. Boats powered by wind. What’ll they think of next?

+ “Burger King cook and cashier Kevin Ford was happy to receive a small goody bag from management as a reward for never calling in sick. But people on the internet were less thrilled. They believed Ford deserved more — over $400,000 more.” Have it his way.

+ “Iceland has made significant progress toward closing its gender pay gap in the past 50 years. In 1975, Icelandic women made around 40 percent less than what men made. Today, that number is around 10 percent, making Iceland one of the few countries in the world where women are paid almost as much as men.” The day women shut down Iceland.

+ Scientists strengthen concrete by 30 percent with used coffee grounds.

+ A 5-Year-Old’s Lemonade Stand Raises Over $16,000 for Maui Fire Victims.

+ Lego to sell bricks coded with braille to help vision-impaired children read.

Copied to Clipboard