Wednesday, September 13th, 2023


Swamp Rats

This is a story about those damn rats in Washington, DC. I don't mean the stinkers, bums, crumbs, finks, and lowlife vermin one usually associates with the DC rat race. I mean, like, the rodents and the dogs (and dog-owners) who hunt them. And it's quite the story, with quite the opening. "The sound of a rat screaming in the jaws of a terrier is the same sound that a stuffed squeaky toy makes. It seems so obvious. Of course the toys sound that way, because that sound awakens something deep in a docile dog's neurons that says: Shake it. Shake it till it's dead." Even that lede—the similarities to the grip party extremists have on Kevin McCarthy notwithstanding—seems like a refreshing change from the usual reporting out of the nation's capital. WaPo (Gift Article): Washington is full of rats. These dogs are happy to help with that. "The rat hunters' primary motivation, they say, is making their dogs happy. The free pest control for the city is a bonus. But the dogs aren't the only ones having fun. The humans see it as a team sport." (Just like with those other Washington stories...)


Club Med

"Today, tourism is surging. An explosion of newcomers since the pandemic has brought new restaurants, fancy shops and guided tours. But it is also driving up rents and drawing pushback from locals. As cities around the world struggle with the negative consequences of mass tourism." This is a common story of how quickly tourism, remote workers, and outside investment can change a city. What's less common about this story is that we're talking about a city that, not all that long ago, was known as the murder capital of the world. (Murder, shmurder. How's the internet speed?) Bloomberg: Once Beset by Violence, This City in Colombia Now Struggles With Too Many Tourists.


Colorado Springs

"For a brief moment, on Saturday afternoon in Boulder, Deion Sanders is invisible. Hard to believe, I know. Since he took over as head coach at the University of Colorado, Sanders has become college football's centrifugal force, the planet around which attentions circle on loop after thirsty loop. The Buffaloes were on Fox's Big Noon Kickoff the past two weeks, and will host ESPN's College GameDay this coming weekend. Sanders's every word—whether spoken in press conferences or in private locker-room meetings—seems to not only get filmed, but to go instantly viral." The Ringer: How Deion Sanders Made Colorado Football the Center of the Sports Universe. And how he became the prime example of the changes to (what used to be known as) college football that made the whole thing possible.


Grifting is Always in Fashion

"Delvey (real last name Sorokin) has been under house arrest for nearly a year as she appeals deportation to Germany following a two-year stint in prison for grand larceny, among other financial crimes, and an additional 18 months detained by immigration authorities for overstaying her visa. Her ascent up New York's social ladder as a "fake heiress" and subsequent downfall for defrauding financial institutions (and others) out of more than $200,000 were recounted in multiple magazine features and a book written by a former bestie, before being dramatized in the Netflix miniseries." In other words, she makes the perfect hostess for a Fashion Week rooftop runway show. Inside ‘fake heiress' Anna Delvey's rooftop fashion show — hosted under house arrest. (You scoff, but consider how difficult it is to find just the right outfit when you're accessorized with an ankle bracelet.)


Extra, Extra

Three Hots and a Caught: A burglar alarm. A heat signal picked up from an aircraft. A lightning storm. A police dog. A bite. And at last, an end to what must have seemed like an endless nightmare for people living in the area. Escaped Pennsylvania killer captured after two-week manhunt.

+ Damn Breaks: "People are hearing the cries of babies underground, they don't know how to get to them. People are using shovels to get the bodies from underneath the ground, they are using their own hands. There are photos of the city of people getting bodies out with their naked, bare hands. The situation is beyond catastrophic." Flood-hit Libyan city living through doomsday. "The sea is constantly dumping bodies." Libya floods kill more than 5,000.

+ The Wizardry of Oz: "A century ago, the synthesis of insulin gave type 1 diabetics a chance to lead a longer, healthier life. Now a very small study provided a glimpse of a future where it might not be needed at all." Is there anything Ozempic can't do?

+ Friends Like These: "The meeting, which lasted more than four hours Wednesday in Russia's Far East, showed how geopolitical tensions have brought the two neighbors isolated by the West into closer alignment." Kim Jong Un vows full support for Russia as Putin pledges space tech for North Korea.

+ Sugar Daddies: "What these dietitians didn't make clear was that they were paid to post the videos by American Beverage, a trade and lobbying group representing Coca-Cola, PepsiCo and other companies." WaPo (Gift Article): The food industry pays ‘influencer' dietitians to shape your eating habits.

+ You Need a New Radiator: "French regulators ordered Apple to stop selling the iPhone 12, saying it emits electromagnetic radiation levels that are above European Union standards for exposure. The company disputed the findings and said the device complies with regulations."

+ Field General: "Not even two months after her graduation from North Carolina and its field hockey program, Matson announced to her former teammates that she had accepted the position of head coach." How Erin Matson went from North Carolina field hockey's biggest star to its new coach at only 22.

+ You Want Your MTV? MTV still exists. And so the VMAs. They happened last night. They went on for a while. Billboard: The 2023 MTV VMAs: A Delightful Two-Hour Award Show That Couldn't Resist Going Twice That Long. Of course, no one watches this stuff on TV in realtime anymore. Hence, you can watch all the performances (which spanned the generations) here. And if you can't guess the night's biggest winner, you really have missed an entire era.


Bottom of the News

"No sugarcoating here; let's slice right to the wedding cake of truth. After the past year and a half, three weddings, and a sum of money I don't want to think about (precisely $4,634.50), I hereby declare my retirement from the job of being your bridesmaid."

+ "The roughly 581,000 gallons of wine poured out of two burst tanks at Destilaria Levira ... A viral video from the scene shows a 'river of wine' coursing down a hilly street, sluicing over its curbs."

+ In this small Ohio town, trolls outnumber people. (So, sort of like the internet...)