Sunday, July 31, 2022
From the New Yorker writer and author of The Lost City of Z and Killers of the Flower Moon. The book is scheduled to release April 18, 2023. The Hollywood Reporter announced Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Apple have bought the movie rights. Scorsese, DiCaprio, and Apple are finishing a movie adaption of Killers of the Flower Moon now.
The book plot:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Killers of the Flower Moon, a page-turning story of shipwreck, survival, and savagery, culminating in a court martial that reveals a shocking truth. With the twists and turns of a thriller Grann unearths the deeper meaning of the events on the Wager, showing that it was not only the captain and crew who ended up on trial, but the very idea of empire.
On January 28, 1742, a ramshackle vessel of patched-together wood and cloth washed up on the coast of Brazil. Inside were thirty emaciated men, barely alive, and they had an extraordinary tale to tell. They were survivors of His Majesty’s Ship the Wager, a British vessel that had left England in 1740 on a secret mission during an imperial war with Spain. While the Wager had been chasing a Spanish treasure-filled galleon known as “the prize of all the oceans,” it had wrecked on a desolate island off the coast of Patagonia. The men, after being marooned for months and facing starvation, built the flimsy craft and sailed for more than a hundred days, traversing 2500 miles of storm-wracked seas. They were greeted as heroes.
But then … six months later, another, even more decrepit craft landed on the coast of Chile. This boat contained just three castaways, and they told a very different story. The thirty sailors who landed in Brazil were not heroes – they were mutineers. The first group responded with countercharges of their own, of a tyrannical and murderous senior officer and his henchmen. It became clear that while stranded on the island the crew had fallen into anarchy, with warring factions fighting for dominion over the barren wilderness. As accusations of treachery and murder flew, the Admiralty convened a court martial to determine who was telling the truth. The stakes were life-and-death—for whomever the court found guilty could hang.
The Wager is a grand tale of human behavior at the extremes told by one of our greatest nonfiction writers. Grann’s recreation of the hidden world on a British warship rivals the work of Patrick O’Brian, his portrayal of the castaways’ desperate straits stands up to the classics of survival writing such as The Endurance, and his account of the court martial has the savvy of a Scott Turow thriller. As always with Grann’s work, the incredible twists of the narrative hold the reader spellbound.
The Hollywood Reporter - "Leonardo DiCaprio, Martin Scorsese Tackling Naval Survival Tale ‘The Wager’ for Apple, Imperative (Exclusive)"
Wall Street Journal - "Welcome to Aotearoa? The Campaign to Decolonize New Zealand’s Name"
"The first European contact with indigenous Māori ended with four sailors killed and a hasty retreat. But it led to an identity for this South Pacific country: Nieuw Zeeland in Dutch, or New Zealand when it later became part of the British Empire.
Now, some lawmakers want New Zealanders to drop a name that harks back to an era of colonization and adopt another—Aotearoa, a Māori word referring to the clouds that indigenous oral history says helped early Polynesian navigators make their way here.
Around the world, several countries are rethinking their identities to address resentment at their colonial past and forge a new future. In some cases, that involves changing the head of state, such as Barbados’s severing of ties to the British monarchy. In others, it has meant changing its official name, as Eswatini did in 2018 when its absolute ruler decided it should no longer be known as Swaziland. Australia in recent years tweaked its national anthem because it didn’t reflect its Aboriginal history.
In New Zealand, the issue is coming to a head because a petition to rename the country Aotearoa—pronounced ‘au-te-a-ro-uh’—garnered more than 70,000 signatures and will be considered by a parliamentary committee that could recommend a vote in Parliament, put it to a referendum or take no further action."
New York Times - "He’s Baseball’s Only Mud Supplier. It’s a Job He May Soon Lose."
"While coaching third base for the Philadelphia Athletics in 1938, he heard an umpire complain about the struggle to prepare brand-new balls for use. Blackburne experimented with mud from a Delaware River tributary, not far from his New Jersey home, and found that it de-glossed the ball while mostly maintaining its whiteness.
He now had a side job. After a while, every major and minor league team was using what sometimes came to be called “Mississippi mud” — though “mysterious” would have been more apt than Mississippi.
Before Blackburne died at 81 in 1968, he bequeathed the secret spot to an old friend who had joined him in mud harvesting: Bintliff’s grandfather, who left it to Bintliff’s mother and father, who, in 2000, passed it on to Bintliff."
New Yorker - "The Haves and the Have-Yachts"
By Evan Osnos
"If you’ve just put half a billion dollars into a boat, you may have qualms about the truism that material things bring less happiness than experiences do. But this, too, can be finessed. Andrew Grant Super, a co-founder of the “experiential yachting” firm Berkeley Rand, told me that he served a uniquely overstimulated clientele: “We call them the bored billionaires.” He outlined a few of his experience products. “We can plot half of the Pacific Ocean with coördinates, to map out the Battle of Midway,” he said. “We re-create the full-blown battles of the giant ships from America and Japan. The kids have haptic guns and haptic vests. We put the smell of cordite and cannon fire on board, pumping around them.” For those who aren’t soothed by the scent of cordite, Super offered an alternative. “We fly 3-D-printed, architectural freestanding restaurants into the middle of the Maldives, on a sand shelf that can only last another eight hours before it disappears.”"
"As yachts have grown more capacious, and the limits on passengers have not, more and more space on board has been devoted to staff and to novelties. The latest fashions include imax theatres, hospital equipment that tests for dozens of pathogens, and ski rooms where guests can suit up for a helicopter trip to a mountaintop. The longtime owner, who had returned the previous day from his yacht, told me, “No one today—except for assholes and ridiculous people—lives on land in what you would call a deep and broad luxe life. Yes, people have nice houses and all of that, but it’s unlikely that the ratio of staff to them is what it is on a boat.” After a moment, he added, “Boats are the last place that I think you can get away with it.”"
Saturday, July 23, 2022
From Tom Ziller's Good Morning It's Basketball Newsletter on Substack:
This NBA free agency has, like many others, been focused on unrest. In particular, Kevin Durant’s trade request in Brooklyn, the Utah Jazz’s implosion and Russell Westbrook’s uncertain future are dominating attention. We should, though, take a step back and acknowledge the stories behind some of the free agency contract worth celebrating.
Back on June 30, two deals of note were quickly announced. JaVale McGee signed a $20 million contract at age 37, a monumental achievement for a player whose early years were mostly an NBA on TNT punchline. The second contract was a 3-year, $33 million deal for P.J. Tucker, who has never been a laugh but whose journey to this point is even more amazing.
Seriously, let’s look at P.J. Tucker’s path to this point, signing a $33 million contract at age 37.
He played college ball with LaMarcus Aldridge and Boobie Gibson. In the Big 12 he played against guys like Tony Allen, Wayne Simien, Joey Graham, Brandon Rush and Mario Chalmers. Tucker left Texas the year as a junior before Kevin Durant and D.J. Augustin arrived. He was THREE recruiting classes before Durant and Augustin.
Second-round pick in the NBA. One of four rookies on the Raptors with Andrea Bargnani and two international players, Jorge Garbajosa and Uros Slokar. Tucker finished third in Raptors rookies in total minutes, just edging Slokar with … 83 minutes on the season.
The Raptors cut Tucker toward the end of his rookie year to sign Luke Jackson. Luke Jackson. Jackson played 10 games for the Raps, and then a couple hundred minutes with the Heat the following year, and then left the NBA, never to return.
Tucker, meanwhile, ended up on the Cavaliers’ 2007 Summer League team, also featuring Shannon Brown, Tucker’s college teammate Boobie Gibson, Kevin Pittsnogle and Friend-of-LeBron Romeo Travis. Tucker was seventh in minutes per game on that team. The effort did not result in an NBA contract. So he decided to go to Europe.
Tucker had huge success across the ocean: he won MVP of the Israeli league in 2007-08, was an All-Star and scoring champ (scoring champ! P.J. Tucker!) in Ukraine and won Finals MVP for a German club. He played in Greece and Italy, too.
And he clearly worked really hard to build out his game. He came back to Summer League in 2012 for the Suns. Tucker was 27 years old at this point, with all of 83 career NBA minutes. It had been nine years since he arrived at the University of Texas, six years since he’d been drafted by the Raps. And here he was, fighting to make an NBA roster again, back in Summer League, starring alongside a 22-year-old Markieff Morris and a 20-year-old Kendall Marshall.
His effort in Summer League didn’t wow anyone outside of Phoenix, but the Suns did offer up a minimum contract. Once the regular season hit, Tucker got opportunities on a bad team under Alvin Gentry and his midseason replacement Lindsay Hunter, and Tucker made the most of them. He became an important piece for a weird Suns era, earned a modest-for-the-NBA but life-changing 3-year, $16 million contract in 2014. He made it.
And then he made it some more.
In the post-Bledsoe Phoenix teardown — Tucker got traded back to Toronto a decade after his last Raptors appearance. At this point, he was 31 and about to be an unrestricted NBA free agent for the first time since 2012 Summer League.
You know the rest: he signed with the Rockets and became a key part of a team that could (would?) have won a title if not for those pesky juggernaut Golden State Warriors (starring Tucker’s Texas successor Durant), then Tucker got traded (for Augustin!, among other things) and helped Giannis Antetokounmpo win a championship in Milwaukee (beating the Suns in the Finals, poetry), had to decamp for Miami to get a 1-year contract worthy of his contributions and now gets his last big multi-year deal in Philadelphia.
Talent and potential capture our attention most of the time. There’s something inherently cool about a young athlete who can do amazing things. But there’s so much beauty, too, in the mundane reality of hard work and maximal effort that players like P.J. Tucker exhibit. Maybe it’s corny, but the grind and grit that Tucker has shown over his 15-year career as a pro basketball player is as inspired as anything we see in Summer League from lottery picks. And it’s a story that anyone can take something from.
This isn’t to shortchange Tucker’s physical gifts or the incredible effort that superstar players put in to remain at the top of the elite sliver of the best basketball players in the world. But Tucker’s path feels like a particularly inspiring tale, and it’s worth acknowledging how seemingly unlikely and truly amazing it is.
Cheers to Tucker and all the people out there grinding in their walks of life, working for something better and more secure.
Fast Company - "Airbnb is launching its biggest redesign in a decade. Travel may never be the same"
By Mark Wilson
The other potential effect is on communities themselves. Airbnb has already impacted high tourist destinations: Areas like Sonoma are littered with Airbnb protest signs, posted by residents who are sick of rentals. A recent story in The New York Times demonstrated how Joshua Tree was getting flooded by cookie-cutter modernist rentals, which encroached on the serene desert landscape. I ask Chesky if he’s concerned that Airbnb’s redesign could bring similar problems to small town America, if it might over-popularize quiet areas at the expense of their identity.
“The reason a lot of people go to Sonoma is actually that Sonoma is super famous—as is Joshua Tree. And so people are typing in Sonoma and Joshua Tree into Airbnb,” says Chesky—who goes so far as to call Joshua Tree “the brand desert.” “I guess the point is that what we’re trying to do is move away from the place you think to type, to redistribute and spread out. If we send everyone to Geneva, Ohio, then yes, we will probably flood Geneva, Ohio. The point is, though, to not to send everyone to any one place, and not to limit search to the places people can think of.”
New York Times Magazine - "Michael Mann’s Damaged Men"
By Jonah Weiner
Michael Mann on Marc Maron's podcast.
The best restaurant in the world is in a soccer stadium.
Driving the news: Copenhagen's Geranium, located on the eighth floor of Denmark's national soccer stadium, topped the annual list of the World's 50 Best Restaurants, unveiled this week.
- Geranium follows in the footsteps of fellow Danish eatery, Noma, which claimed the title last year.
- Its full-length windows offer stunning views of the 38,000-seat stadium and surrounding gardens.
In case you're wondering … Geranium's current menu, ''The Summer Universe,' costs $440 per person and lasts for a minimum of three hours.
July 21, 2023
Written & Directed by Christopher Nolan (Interstellar, Inception, The Dark Knight)
Starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon, Robert Downey Jr., Florence Pugh, Rami Malek, Benny Safdie, Josh Hartnett, Dane DeHaan, Jack Quaid, Matthew Modine, Kenneth Branagh, Jason Clarke
Sunday, July 10, 2022
The Atlantic - "Beware the Luxury Beach Resort"
"In the United States, summer resorts had been thickly established along the coasts of the Northeast since the early 19th century; Long Branch, New Jersey, was even touted as the “American Monte Carlo.” But the beach resort in its most romantic form—seared into the public consciousness as a tropical wonderland of sea and surf and fruit and floral shirts—truly began in Hawaii, not long after a bunch of greedy American businessmen effected a coup d’état that removed the Hawaiian monarchy and claimed the archipelago for the United States in 1898. The deposed Queen Lili’uokalani lived by a breeze-swept bay called Waikiki, on the island of Oahu, where one of the first major resorts was built, the Moana.
Later, in 1927, a fever dream of a resort hotel opened, the Royal Hawaiian, a great pink hulk that ushered in the beach glamour and exoticism that we associate with luxury resorts today (where Joan Didion once fled, as she wrote in an essay, “in lieu of filing for divorce”). What was good for the economy of the gorgeous locale, however, was bad for its ecology—a trade-off that, though glaring, not surprisingly went ignored. The new buildings of Waikiki were constructed so close to the shore that they impeded the natural flow of sand, and the once-abundant beaches washed away. A tourist now sees sand that is replenished by machines and held in place by man-made barriers that stop its natural movement, which serves only to erode beaches farther down the current.
Stodola is, like me, skeptical about the beach idyll, constantly seeing the darker forces of environmental and cultural degradation amid all the luxury she describes. She is at her most incisive when she calmly, clearly lists what is lost when beach resorts take over a place. For instance, she describes the Fijian village of Vatuolalai, where two clans used to live as equals, one owning the beach where they fished, the other the acres inland where they grew crops such as taro, coexisting according to solesolevaki, which means that “everyone in a community is obliged to work together toward common ends.” Then, in the 1970s, the resort developers crept in, renting the land from the beach owners, who now had the funds to buy nontraditional foods and goods. The Polynesian chestnut trees were ripped out and non-native coconut palms put in. Fiddler crabs and the golden plovers that ate them disappeared; turtle-nesting on the beach became rare. Silt built up in the local river and blocked the trevally fish from swimming and spawning there, and the coral reefs were damaged first by river silt flowing into the bay and then by the fertilizer runoff from the golf course, as well as by the sunblock that washes off tourist bodies.
Diminished coral reefs meant far fewer fish. Faced with scarcity, Vatuolalai’s inhabitants started working for themselves, not for the collective good. Ninety-two percent of them became involved in tourism. The knowledge of how to make oil and traps and mats was lost, as were traditional dances, supplanted by those from other nations in the Pacific, which young people performed for tourists. The provisions that since time immemorial had been saved up in case of emergency were no longer there for the villagers. When Cyclone Kina hit in 1993, the residents had to rely on the government to survive, instead of on their own stores. Diabetes became endemic, the result of a new diet of processed foods. Stodola watches happy families from Australia in the resort’s pools, the adults bellied up to the bars set into the water, and feels certain that none of them sees any of the trade-offs that went into making the resort they’re enjoying."
New Yorker - "Swamps Can Protect Against Climate Change, If We Only Let Them"
"Many people vaguely understand that wetlands cleanse the earth. In fact, they are carbon sinks that absorb CO2, and they are unparalleled in filtering out human waste, material from rotten carcasses, chemicals, and other pollutants. They recharge underground aquifers and sustain regional water resources, buffering the excesses of drought and flood. In aggregate, the watery parts of the earth stabilize its climate.
Wooded swamps are at the end stage of a fen-bog-swamp succession, legacies of the Ice Age, when the melt started the sequence by first creating stupendously huge lakes. Lake Agassiz covered more than a hundred thousand square miles of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, North Dakota, and Minnesota. Lake Missoula covered about three thousand square miles of what is now Montana; its repeatedly bursting ice dams and cataclysmic floods spread through Idaho and Washington and created bizarre giant ripples as the long-ago gushers scoured out the channelled scablands of eastern Washington. The melt turned much of the North American continent into wet ground, with long chains of swamps gouged by no-brakes glaciers that plowed across the terrain. Burly new watercourses captured smaller streams and made deltas and estuaries.
In the nineteenth century, the United States enlarged in a fever of land acquisition: the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, involving eight hundred thousand square miles from the Gulf of Mexico to Canada, doubled the size of the country; in 1819, the Adams-Onís Treaty added Florida and part of Oregon; five hundred and twenty-five thousand square miles of Texas were annexed in 1845; the Oregon Treaty, in 1846, enrolled the Pacific Northwest from Northern California to the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Great oceans and lakes framed the country, and the interior roiled with tangles of rivers like unspooling silver ribbons. All that territory had once held a wealth of wetness—scientists have estimated that approximately two hundred and twenty-one million sopping acres existed in the early seventeenth century, much of it swamps—and two hundred years later many swamplands remained. As the United States pushed its borders, its population leaped from 7.2 million people in 1810 to 12.8 million by 1830, almost doubling in twenty years. The welcoming arms of open immigration became the hallmark of America, and that reputation lingers in global memory, despite today’s more painfully stringent reality.
The original occupants of the continent knew the rivers and swamps, the bogs and lakes, as they knew the terrain and one another. But for most English settlers and European newcomers nature consisted of passive and inanimate substances and situations waiting to be used to human advantage. Preservation and care of nature were not what they had come for."
Saturday, July 9, 2022
From Wikipedia: "The 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup is scheduled to be the 9th edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial world championship for women's national football teams organised by FIFA. The tournament will be jointly hosted by Australia and New Zealand, the first time that the FIFA Women's World Cup will have two host nations, and is scheduled to take place from 20 July to 20 August 2023. The 2023 tournament will see the Women's World Cup expanded from 24 to 32 teams.
The United States are the defending champions, having won the previous two tournaments in 2015 and 2019."
this is the most insane account on TikTok pic.twitter.com/ku5fQ4qRl4— Turner Novak 🍌🧢 (@TurnerNovak) June 10, 2022
New York Times - "Siberia or Japan? Expert Google Maps Players Can Tell at a Glimpse."
“If I ever go missing, I hope someone hires this guy on my behalf,” one Twitter user commented.
Finally someone behaves exactly how I would behave on Hot Ones.— Jamie East (@jamieeast) July 3, 2022
Sunday, July 3, 2022
Eater - "Owamni Wins James Beard Award For Best New Restaurant"
"Owamni’s menu features only those foods that existed on North American soil before European settlers arrived. In place of beef and pork, flour, dairy, and white sugar are thoughtful compositions of Indigenous ingredients, like Cheyenne River bison tartare with duck egg aioli, grilled forest mushroom tacos made with heirloom corn tortillas, and wild rice sorbet. The restaurant sits in a white stone building on the banks of the Mississippi River not far from St. Anthony Falls — Owámniyomni in the Dakota language, a sacred place of peace and well-being.
“We were able to name the restaurant Owamni because of a book that my Dakota grandfather helped to write with his best friend Paul Durand,” said Thompson. “Where the Waters Gather and the Rivers Meet helped preserve the Indigenous names of so many important waterways in the Eastern Sioux. Our ancestors are here with us tonight — with our staff, with all of us, and in this theater. They’re with us every day in that restaurant.”"
Nike N7: "N7 began more than 20 years ago, as a business plan to support the Native American community. It was created by Sam McCracken, who grew up on the Fort Peck Assiniboine/Sioux Reservation in Montana and is now General Manager of Nike N7. McCracken’s recognition for the impact of N7 programs includes President Barack Obama’s 2010 appointment to the U.S. Department of Education’s National Advisory Council on Indian Education and a 2020 induction into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame. His leadership also supports the Nike Native American Network’s ongoing commitment to education, visibility and representation for Nike’s Indigenous community, including a recruitment and retention strategy. The Nike N7 Fund, created to connect Native American and Indigenous youth to play, sport and physical activity programs, awarded more than $8 million in grants administered by the Charities Aid Foundation of America to more than 270 communities and organizations between 2009-2021."
2022 N7 Collection: "Inspired by berry dyeing and the bold multi-color stripes of ribbon skirts, the latest Nike N7 Collection celebrates the athletes, creators and cultural game-changers of the seven generations. Graphics made from algae-based ink technology gives the collection a special combination of style and sustainability."
The Atlantic - "The Kate Bush Resurgence Is a Reminder That We Can Have Nice Things"
Billboard - "Kate Bush Crowns Global 200 Chart, Harry Styles Makes History Atop Global Excl. U.S."
Billboard - Kate Bush Has Finished ‘Stranger Things’ & Feels ‘Deeply Honored’ Show Used ‘Running Up That Hill’""