Wednesday, April 28, 2021

Ownership of America's Natural Cathedrals


The Atlantic – "Return the National Parks to the Tribes"

"Thirty-nine years later, Yosemite became the fifth national park. (Yellowstone, which was granted that status in 1872, was the first.) The parks were intended to be natural cathedrals: protected landscapes where people could worship the sublime. They offer Americans the thrill of looking back over their shoulder at a world without humans or technology. Many visit them to find something that exists outside or beyond us, to experience an awesome sense of scale, to contemplate our smallness and our ephemerality. It was for this reason that John Muir, the father of modern conservationism, advocated for the parks’ creation.

More than a century ago, in the pages of this magazine, Muir described the entire American continent as a wild garden “favored above all the other wild parks and gardens of the globe.” But in truth, the North American continent has not been a wilderness for at least 15,000 years: Many of the landscapes that became national parks had been shaped by Native peoples for millennia. Forests on the Eastern Seaboard looked plentiful to white settlers because American Indians had strategically burned them to increase the amount of forage for moose and deer and woodland caribou. Yosemite Valley’s sublime landscape was likewise tended by Native peoples; the acorns that fed the Miwok came from black oaks long cultivated by the tribe. The idea of a virgin American wilderness—an Eden untouched by humans and devoid of sin—is an illusion."

Trophy Trees


"A few years ago, Mr. Johnson had a client who beat out basketball great Michael Jordan in a bidding war over a 45-foot canopied oak tree, which Mr. Johnson deemed the ideal tree. The deal for the oak closed in the low six figures.

“You want a tree that’s balanced,” Mr. Johnson said. “With this tree, it was perfectly proportioned and had a lot of character. The way the branches went off in both directions. This was the perfect oak tree.”

The absurdity of the situation isn’t lost on Mr. Acree. He said his wealthiest clients are finance and business types whose wealth dwarfs that of movie and music stars. “If they want it, it will happen,” he said with a laugh.

Once, he got into a debate with Mr. (Enrique) Iglesias over which way a tree he was installing on his property should face; Mr. Acree thought the curve of the tree should bend away from the house, as it would in the natural world, but Mr. Iglesias wanted it bent toward the house. Against his own judgment, he did it Mr. Iglesias’s way. A short while later, the singer called to have him rotate it back, he said. A representative for Mr. Iglesias didn’t respond to requests for comment.

The appeal of transporting a trophy tree is easy to explain, said Raymond Jungles, a Miami-based landscape architect. For one, a big tree helps mitigate the scale of a very big house. A unique or particularly old tree, like a piece of art, is also a great conversation piece. Lastly, it means high-net-worth buyers don’t have to wait for a newly planted tree to grow on their site."

Monday, April 26, 2021

Fast Friday Screenings


SlashFilm – "Every ‘Fast and Furious’ Movie is Returning to Theaters For Free Screenings"

"As we race toward the release of F9 this summer, Universal is giving fans the opportunity to see every Fast and Furious movie on the big screen – for free. The studio has announced “Fast Fridays,” eight weeks of free nationwide screenings of the Fast and Furious Saga in chronological order “to thank Fast fans and welcome audiences back to movies.” These screenings will initially take place in more than 500 theaters and then expand to over 900 theaters across the country. "

Q&A with Mads Mikkelsen


David Rockwell's Oscar Production Set


Japanese Blockbuster - Demon Slayer


Vulture – "How the Demon Slayer Movie Is Breaking the Mold and Shattering Records"

"In a year without Marvel movies, this sequel to a popular TV anime became the fastest film to earn over $100 million at the Japanese box office, the highest-grossing film ever in Japan, and the No. 4 film at the overall global box office, just ahead of Nolan’s time-travel thriller (Tenet) — all while playing only in its home market and a handful of Asian countries, but excluding the juggernaut that is China."

Dua Lipa NPR Tiny Desk Performance

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

New "Saturday Morning Cartoon" for Adult Kids from the 90's


Created by Robert Kirkman (Comic book writer/creator of The Walking Dead, Invincible)
Voice actors include Steven Yeun, Sandra Oh, J.K. Simmons, Zazie Beetz, Zachary Quinto, Jason Mantzoukas, Walton Goggins, Seth Rogen, Mahershala Ali, Djimon Hounsou, Justin Roiland, Mark Hammil, and more.

WDA – "The Boys" (October 2020)

Rock Climbing World Cup

UKC News – "IFSC (International Federation of Sport Climbing) Boulder World Cup Meiringen 2021: Report" 

How to Make Reggaetón

Internet Fame at an Older Age

Globally Instagram Famous

Monday, April 19, 2021

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings

Written by David Callaham (The Expendables, Godzilla, Mortal Kombat)
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton
Starring Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Fala Chen, Meng'er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, Ronny Chieng, Michelle Yeoh

The Origins of the Boston Marathon


Via Axios Sports newsletter:

124 years ago today, John McDermott won the inaugural Boston Marathon with a time of 2:55:10 on the fourth annual Patriots' Day.

Why it matters: The Boston Marathon is the world's oldest annual marathon, held every year since 1897 (except 2020). After just 15 people ran the inaugural race, it now attracts over 30,000 participants each year.

In 1894, Massachusetts made April 19 a public holiday, commemorating the Battles of Lexington and Concord and the Battle of Menotomy, which launched the American Revolution.

In 1897, building off the success of the event the previous year at the first modern Olympics, the Boston Athletic Association hosted a marathon to celebrate the holiday.

The big picture: Since 1969, Patriots' Day has been the third Monday in April, and it's become synonymous in Boston with two events: the marathon and an early-morning Red Sox game.

As the long holiday weekend comes to a close, fans can flock to Fenway for the only 11am ET start on MLB's calendar, then walk the mile to Copley Square and catch the end of the marathon.

The marathon is postponed until October this year, but the Sox will still take the field against the White Sox this morning wearing special edition uniforms to honor the marathon.

Levels of Athletic Skill


New York Times – "Why the Worst N.B.A. Player Is (Probably) Still Better Than You"

"Of the millions of people around the world who play basketball, fewer than 500 are in the N.B.A. at any given time. Fewer than 150 are in the W.N.B.A. Before retiring in 2012, Brian Scalabrine spent 11 seasons in the N.B.A., far more than the majority of players who have made it to that level. He won a championship as a reserve for the Boston Celtics in 2008. He is 6-foot-9 and roughly 250 pounds.

Yet strangers cannot seem to stop challenging Scalabrine to one-on-one games. Last month, a video that went viral showed Scalabrine being challenged at a gym by an overeager high schooler in Taunton, Mass. Scalabrine, playing the teenager for a pair of sneakers, beat him 11-0."

The Modern Western


The Atlantic – "The Women Reinventing the Western"

"As Quentin Tarantino remarked in 2013, “One of the things that’s interesting about Westerns in particular is there’s no other genre that reflects the decade that they were made or the morals and the feelings of Americans” so well. “Westerns are always a magnifying glass.”


As Nomadland demonstrates, the conventions of the Western lend themselves well to evoking present-day alienation. Zhao’s nomads—like members of other outcast subcultures in American history—wander the landscape of the West because they have nowhere else to go. Yet they recast (or reclaim) that wandering as freedom, self-reliance, and self-knowledge—an opportunity to achieve a purer, less mediated experience of the natural world than they had back in their old houses or jobs. Like the Lone Ranger, Fern is deeply isolated, which is partly because of her circumstances (the Lone Ranger, too, had lost almost everyone close to him) but also seems innate to her personality. When offered the opportunity to be in a relationship with a kind man (Strathairn), she declines, uncomfortable with intimacy and domesticity. When her sister invites her to stay, she demurs, itching to be back on the road. “It’s always what’s out there that’s more interesting,” her sister says, hurt. In classic cowboy fashion, Fern can only move forward, toward the unknown horizon, even when turning back or staying put would raise her odds of survival."

Saturday, April 17, 2021

How Storied NBA Defenders Would Guard Luka Doncic


ESPN – "The lockdown defender's blueprint for stopping Dallas Mavericks' Luka Doncic"

"ESPN asked a trio of the best on-ball defenders from the past couple of decades -- Tony Allen, Bruce Bowen and Metta Sandiford-Artest, who combined to earn 18 All-Defensive team selections and five championship rings -- what their approach would have been to defend Doncic.

"When I watch Luka, I always think, 'How would I have stopped him?' says Sandiford-Artest, who was known by his birth name Ron Artest when he won the 2003-04 Defensive Player of the Year award. "It's getting more difficult to see.""

Wild Horses as Office Perk


New York Times – "The Next Level in Office Amenities: Wild Horses"

How the Associated Press Covered Lincoln's Assassination


Associated Press – "AP Was There: Original AP report of Lincoln’s assassination"

First Days of the Week Across the World


Via ChartsBin.

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

French Tacos


New Yorker – "The Unlikely Rise of the French Tacos"

"French tacos are tacos like chicken fingers are fingers. Which is to say, they are not tacos at all. First of all, through some mistranslation or misapprehension of its Mexican namesake, the French tacos is always plural, even when there’s only one, pronounced with a voiced “S.” Technically, the French tacos is a sandwich: a flour tortilla, slathered with condiments, piled with meat (usually halal) and other things (usually French fries), doused in cheese sauce, folded into a rectangular packet, and then toasted on a grill. “In short, a rather successful marriage between panini, kebab, and burrito,” according to the municipal newsletter of Vaulx-en-Velin, a suburb of Lyon in which the French tacos may or may not have been born.


“France is a country that, for decades now, has been urban, industrial, and diverse,” Loïc Bienassis, of the European Institute for the History and Cultures of Food, told me. “The French tacos is a mutant product, France’s own junk food.”

The trade publication Toute la Franchise recently declared that “the French tacos is without a doubt the product that will drive the market for dining out for the next ten years.” Chain restaurants have proliferated: New School Tacos, Chamas Tacos, Le Tacos de Lyon, Takos King, Tacos Avenue (which used to be called Tacos King before a trademark spat broke out).

In 2007, Patrick Pelonero was working as a drywaller in Grenoble. He often ate French tacos for lunch, so, during the construction off-season, he took thirty thousand euros in savings and opened a French-tacos shop. Eventually, he joined up with a pair of childhood friends to create O’Tacos, which now has two hundred and thirty locations in France. Pelonero had never been to Mexico, still hasn’t. “But I’ve watched a lot of series about tacos on Netflix,” he said, speaking from Dubai, where he currently lives. (In 2018, the Belgian investment fund Kharis Capital acquired a majority stake in the brand.) Pelonero likens the French tacos to the iPhone. “One day it wasn’t there, and the next day it was, and nobody knows how they lived without it,” he said. "

Rethinking the Olympics


New York Times – "It’s Time to Rethink the Olympics"

"Recall that in 2014, the Winter Olympics were hosted in Sochi, Russia. The host nation not only conducted a massive doping operation during the event, but annexed Crimea shortly afterward, prompting widespread international condemnation. Why did the I.O.C. award the 2022 Games to yet another autocracy with a shoddy human rights record?

In 2015, when the final decision was made, only two options remained: China — which held the summer Games seven years earlier — and another dictatorship, Kazakhstan. Nations that would seem to be more ideal hosts, including Norway and Sweden, dropped out of the running, part of a trend toward skepticism about the costs of hosting an Olympics.

The modern Olympics, founded in the 1890s as a way to showcase “a life based on the joy found in effort, the educational value of a good example and respect for universal fundamental ethical principles,” are now synonymous with scandal of many varieties, including doping, bribery and physical abuse of athletes.

They’ve sparked suffering among the poor and working class in host cities through gentrification and the forced removal of tens of thousands of residents at venues from Beijing to Seoul to Rio."


"Instead of hopscotching across the world, consider alternatives. Maybe park the Games permanently at a pair of well-used venues — one for summer, one for winter. That would cut costs, environmental damage and displacement. It would also end the churn of a bidding process that invites corruption.

Or decentralize. Hold individual events in already built sites across the globe during a three-week window. Sure, we’d have to give up the spectacle of a lavish opening ceremony and the thought of athletes from different sports mingling in Olympic Villages. But in an interconnected world full of lavish spectacle, is all that still a must?

I admit, there aren’t many straightforward answers, but it’s time to work toward a new future."By Nicholas Kristof

"Full boycotts, as the United States pursued of the 1980 Moscow Games and Russia undertook of the 1984 Los Angeles Games, have largely failed. But a partial boycott, keeping officials and corporations away while sending athletes and fortifying them to speak up, can express disapproval while seizing a rare opportunity to highlight Xi Jinping’s brutality before the world.

Companies that have already paid for sponsorships of the Games would be losers, but that’s because they and the International Olympic Committee failed to push China to honor the human rights pledges it made when it won the Games. And in any case, a corporate association with what critics have dubbed the “Genocide Olympics” might not be such a marketing triumph.

“Instead of ‘higher, faster, stronger,’ what these companies are getting is ‘unjust incarceration, sexual abuse and forced labor,’” said Minky Worden of Human Rights Watch.

“There are a lot of tools beside a boycott,” Worden added. “The world’s attention is turning to Beijing, and the single greatest point of pressure on Xi Jinping’s China may be the Winter Olympics.”"

U.S Tech and Africa


Rest of World – "Zanzibar’s project to put itself on Google Street View has angered a legion of European video game streamers"

Twitter – "Establishing Twitter's presence in Africa"

" line with our growth strategy, we’re excited to announce that we are now actively building a team in Ghana. To truly serve the public conversation, we must be more immersed in the rich and vibrant communities that drive the conversations taking place every day across the African continent.


Why Ghana?

As a champion for democracy, Ghana is a supporter of free speech, online freedom, and the Open Internet, of which Twitter is also an advocate. Furthermore, Ghana’s recent appointment to host The Secretariat of the African Continental Free Trade Area aligns with our overarching goal to establish a presence in the region that will support our efforts to improve and tailor our service across Africa."

The Depths of the Great Lakes


Giant Clock Towers


New York Times – "What Does It Take to Hear Big Ben Again? 500 Workers and a Hiding Place."

"[Ian G. Westworth] now is a clock mechanic for the Houses of Parliament, and one of the more than 500 artisans and workers restoring the Palace of Westminster’s Elizabeth Tower and its Great Clock, a yearslong project that has been hit with delays and rising costs. (Some people call the clock Big Ben, but Ben actually is the largest of the five bells in the tower and it tolls the hour. It last rang out at midnight on the final day of 2020.)"

The clock was built by Edward John Dent after a design by Edmund Beckett Denison, a barrister. It was installed in April 1859 and started running a month later. The mechanism alone, made of cast iron, weighs five metric tons, and each of the four minute hands is nearly 14 feet long.

The renovation that began in 2017 isn’t the first time the Great Clock was stopped for repairs, but it has become its longest hiatus, delayed further by the pandemic.

Wikipedia – "The Abraj Al Bait (completed 2012) is a government-owned complex of seven skyscraper hotels in Mecca, Saudi Arabia... The central hotel tower, the Makkah Royal Clock Tower, has the world's largest clock face and is the third-tallest building and fifth-tallest freestanding structure in the world. "

From @i_zzzzzz: "I started freaking out last night because I just found out about the Abraj Al Bait and felt like I had multiverse-shifted or something"

Saturday, April 10, 2021

The Origins of Oregon Trail


Watch video here.


By Jon Caramanica

2021 WNBA Uniforms


From @NickDePaula: FIRST LOOK: All 12 #WNBA teams will wear new Nike-designed uniforms for the 25th Anniversary season. Player Numbers will return on the front. Each team will have 3 jersey editions: 
 - “Explorer” (team color)
 - “Rebel” (female empowerment storytelling)
 - “Heroine” (home white)  

Mushroom Renaissance


Vox – "How mushrooms took over food, wellness, and (of course) drugs"

New Super Mario Bros. Record: Four minutes and 54 seconds


Polygon – "‘Perfect’ Super Mario Bros. speedrun beat after two years"

Richard Mille Watches


GQ – "How Richard Mille Made a $250,000 Watch Ubiquitous"

"Pictured here are two recent men's releases, the RM 11–05 Automatic Flyback Chronograph GMT and the RM 12–01 Tourbillon. The RM 11's case is forged out of gray cermet, an aerospace material that approaches the hardness of diamond. Only 140 were made, and each will set you back a cool $239,000. The RM 12 has a unibody Carbon TPT baseplate, a design feature normally seen in racing cars. As a result, the movement and case can withstand a mind-bending 5,000 g's of force—for the equally mind-bending price of $1,111,000. The lightness and durability of Richard Mille's tourbillons have allowed the likes of Nadal, Beckham Jr., and Yohan Blake to wear them in competition—thanks to space-age technology, Nadal's original RM 027 is so light it floats on water."

Sunday, April 4, 2021

Space Jam: A New Legacy Trailer

Space Jam 2 (March 2021)


Wonder Woman 1984 - December 25, 2020
The Little Things (Denzel Washington, Jared Leto, Rami Malek) - January 29
Judas and The Black Messiah - February 12
Justice League Snyder Cut - March 18
Godzilla vs. Kong - March 31
Mortal Kombat - April 23
In The Heights (Lin-Manuel Miranda) - June 11
Space Jam: A New Legacy - July 16
Dune - October 1
King Richard - November 19
Untitled Matrix Movie - December 22

Business Artist (Graphic Designer) - Paul Rand


Wikipedia – "Paul Rand"

Baked Alaska (a Norwegian omelet)


New York Times – "Is Baked Alaska the Secret to a Long Life?"

The New Work Meeting


WIRED – "One Startup’s Solution for Zoom Fatigue? The Walk and Talk"

"His next startup aims to provide a fix: It’s called Spot, a virtual meeting platform made just for walks. Spot can be used on a desktop, but it is designed to shine on mobile, so you can take your calls into the fresh outdoor air. It has a built-in calendar for scheduling meetings and seeing which calls are next. It can record and transcribe calls, using Google's voice transcription software. It also has a feature called Smart Mute, which algorithmically filters out street noise by amplifying frequencies that look like a human’s speaking voice and toning down everything else. For now, Spot is in closed beta on an invite-only basis, but it plans to launch with a freemium model—free for individuals, not for businesses—soon."

Obi-Wan Kenobi Disney+ Series Starting Filming This Month