Banana Stand

Food of Champions, Pelosi's Message

After a couple weeks when we’ve felt like we have one foot on a banana peel, let’s digress for a moment from driving ourselves bananas with obsessive coverage of whether or not America’s top banana is a few bananas short of a bunch and whether the second banana should take over, not to mention the broader threat that the walking orange you glad you’re not a banana joke who is totally bananas could turn the country into a banana republic, and focus instead on, well, bananas. A lot of bananas, which it turns out are the food of wannabee champions. “The Olympics are all about numbers: 500, the number of meters in a freestyle swim; 20, the maximum-possible points in rhythmic gymnastics; 3 million, the number of bananas the culinary team at Olympic Village think they’ll need over the course of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, which take place over two weeks this summer.” Eater: How to Feed the Olympics.

+ “This summer’s Olympics are expected to be the first with as many female athletes as male ones.” Like all good fights, this one was neither easy nor quick. The excellent John Branch in the NYT (Gift Article): They Called It ‘Improper’ to Have Women in the Olympics. But She Persisted. “Milliat, 100 years after the last Paris Olympics, is finally getting recognition as a pioneer, Billie Jean King of sorts for her age.”

+ “Skateboarding often favors the young. The gold medalists in Tokyo in 2021, when the sport made its Olympic debut, were 22, 19, 18 and 13. An 11-year-old, Zheng Haohao of China, will compete in Paris this summer. So will Andy Macdonald. He’s 50.” NYT (Gift Article): The 50-Year-Old Skateboarder Bound for the Paris Olympics. (I wonder if he’ll be riding on clay wheels.) Plus, ‘I play with happiness’: the table tennis star making her Olympic debut at 58.


Then It’s Decided?

Joe Biden is still facing calls to cede his spot at the top of Dem ticket. The latest calls include a senator, additional donors, and (if you believe the coverage, the very important) George Clooney. None of that is the big news though. The big news is that Nancy Pelosi answered a question about Biden’s status with this: “It’s up to the president to decide if he is going to run. We’re all encouraging him to make that decision. Because time is running short.” As you may have noticed, Biden has repeatedly and unequivocally announced that he is running. So Pelosi suggesting that he should make a decision sure makes one believe that she doesn’t like the one he’s made so far. Here’s the latest. (I hope the election turnout is as high as the op-eds about Biden’s candidacy turnout.)

+ Meanwhile, a story that dovetails perfectly with the Biden fitness story but that has been wholly ignored … Trump Fumbles Repeatedly in Terrifying Speech at Florida Rally.


Organ Grinder

“Something odd has been happening to young men in the sultry farming and fishing communities of Sri Lanka. Since the 1990s, men in their 30s and 40s have been turning up at hospitals with late-stage kidney failure, needing dialysis or even transplants. In some communities, as many as one in five young men is affected … The trend is most striking in young men, but some women, too, seem to have the disease. And children as young as 10 already show early signs of kidney trouble.” One factor: The heat. NYT (Gift Article): The Killer Stalking Sri Lanka’s Men.

+ “One of the iconic sensory experiences of riding a train is actually the sound of ingenuity. As steel railroad tracks heat up, they grow: Eighteen hundred feet of rail expands by more than an inch for every 10 degrees Fahrenheit of temperature increase. So rails used to be laid down in sections — each between 30 and 60 feet long — with small gaps … Still, in a severe heat wave, the rail can swell until the underlying ties can no longer contain it. Then the rail gets visibly wavy, morphing into what’s known as a sun kink.” Train travel during a heat wave. Long story short, we’re on the wrong track.


Left in a Lurch

“Maybe you’re the dope who couldn’t negotiate that left turn until a yellow light provided a momentary gap in the thick oncoming traffic, which meant that I — and soon even more drivers who’d become backed up in your lane — were now trapped at a red light, our journey impeded by your poor choices.
What you were doing, sir or madam, was perfectly legal. It was also utterly wrong. And it’s time to put an end to such treachery. Why not ban left turns on busy streets in U.S. cities?” Daniel Pink in WaPo (Gift Article): Why not ban left turns on busy streets? “UPS, which deploys some 135,000 vehicles on the road every day, uses routing software designed to avoid left turns wherever possible.”


Extra, Extra

It’s Not Tapering: “A social worker and nurse practitioner demonstrated how to administer Narcan nasal spray — a potentially life-saving treatment during an opioid overdose — to a classroom of more than a dozen barber college students on the city’s South Side on Tuesday. It was part of an initiative by Rush University Medical Center to help combat the opioid crisis in typically underserved communities.” Even your barber needs training in treating opioid overdoses. This has been such a huge issue for so long and yet it gets almost no attention in political discourse. Student barbers add reversing opioid overdoses to their list of skills.

+ De Planes, De Planes: After months of training and negotiations, the first F-16 jets heading to Ukraine. As news comes out of the NATO Summit, Putin first bombed a children’s hospital and now has ordered the arrest of Yulia Navalnaya, the widow of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

+ Jack Ass: “A member of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s security detail shot an armed man during an attempted carjacking in the early morning hours.” The Justice wasn’t involved. It was simply a case of a carjacker picking the wrong car.

+ The Kid Stays in the Picture: Spanish soccer fans are going nuts for “Lamine Yamal, whose goal on Tuesday night put his country into the final and made him, at the tender age of 16 and already the youngest footballer to have played for Spain, the youngest man to score in the tournament’s history.” Before he scored, Yamal passed his school exams. Yamal’s rise makes this story even more incredible. “In 2007, a young Lionel Messi posed for photos with a baby in the dressing room of the Camp Nou in Barcelona for a charity calendar photoshoot. Messi, who was 20, was already making a name for himself and would go on to become arguably the greatest of all time.” But the baby was no slouch. Photos of Messi and baby Lamine Yamal resurface.


Bottom of the News

“A company has installed computerized vending machines to sell ammunition in grocery stores in Alabama, Oklahoma and Texas, allowing patrons to pick up bullets along with a gallon of milk.”

+ And we end where we began. Is that a banana in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? Neither, actually. Man in China caught smuggling 100 live snakes in his trousers. (I haven’t seen someone compensating that much since I drove past a Tesla Cybertruck.)

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