Death to My Hometown
Overdose, USA. Plus Weekend Whats and Feel Good Friday.
Well, no cannonball did fly, no rifles cut us down. No bombs fell from the sky, no blood soaked the ground. No powder flash blinded the eye. No deathly thunder sounded. But just as sure as the hand of God, they brought death to my hometown. —Bruce Springsteen
Greenville, North Carolina, is a city of 90,000 people that's not all that different from a lot of other places in America, except in the one way it seems worse. But maybe only a little. In WaPo (Gift Article) Lenny Bernstein and Jordan-Marie Smith take you to one town in America to witness what has become an all-too common American story. Drugs killed 8 friends, one by one, in a tragedy seen across the U.S. "It came and it took them," said Joe Hughes, the St. Peter basketball coach and history teacher who spoke at three funerals and attended five more. "It just, it took them."
+ Many drug-related deaths are related to opiate overdoses. But there's another side to the painkiller story: those who desperately need painkillers, but who are caught up in the war against them. Vice: This Couple Died by Suicide After the DEA Shut Down Their Pain Doctor.
2. Cold Man and the Sea
"At 8:10 p.m., more than nine hours after his family reported him missing, a passing tanker spotted the man near the mouth of the Mississippi River and alerted the Coast Guard." NYT (Gift Article): A Man Fell From a Cruise Ship. And Survived. "Mr. Grimes, whose family described him as an exceptional swimmer, had treaded in 65- to 70-degree water for hours, withstanding rain, 20-knot winds and three- to five-foot waves in the Gulf of Mexico, where bull sharks and blacktip sharks are common." (That actually sounds better than how I imagine cruises.)
+ "We wondered if we hit an iceberg. And there are no icebergs out here, but that's how it felt." Giant 'rogue wave' hits Antarctica-bound cruise ship, leaving one dead and four injured.
3. Age Against the Machine
"Until now, he says, these sorts of accelerated changes in 'brain age' have appeared only in children who have experienced chronic adversity, whether from violence, neglect, family dysfunction, or a combination of multiple factors." Pandemic stress physically aged teens’ brains, a new study finds.
4. Weekend Whats
What to Know: "37 per cent of the world’s population, 2.9 billion people, have never used the Internet ... Applicants are 1.5% more likely to be granted asylum by a US judge the day after their city’s NFL team won ... 40% of global shipping involves moving fossil and other fuels ... A deep learning model trained on 85,000 eyes can tell male from female eyeballs with 87% accuracy but no one knows why." These are a few of the tidbits on Tom Whitwell's always interesting annual list: 52 things I learned in 2022.
+ What to Read: Pocket is out with their annual list of all the best and most interesting reads across different categories. This should keep you busy this weekend.
+ What to Watch: On Hulu and FX: Fleishman Is in Trouble. A recently divorced man must learn how to juggle parenting, the world of app-based dating and his career. (If it all becomes too much, I'd suggest dropping the kids.)
5. Extra, Extra
Nurse Sharks: A special report from USA Today: Many nursing homes are poorly staffed. How do they get away with it? "One-third of U.S. facilities fell short of multiple benchmarks the federal government has created for nurse and aide staffing." And from ProPublica: Endgame: How the Visionary Hospice Movement Became a For-Profit Hustle.
+ There's the Rub: The Browns' history as a sports franchise has been so pathetic, many doubted whether they could make things any worse. On Sunday, they'll confirm that they found a way. The Ringer: Deshaun Watson’s Return Is Not an Excuse to Forget.
+ Morally Bankrupt: "Chris Mattei, an attorney for the Sandy Hook families in the Connecticut case, criticized the bankruptcy filing on Friday. 'The bankruptcy system does not protect anyone who engages in intentional and egregious attacks on others, as Mr Jones did. The American judicial system will hold Alex Jones accountable, and we will never stop working to enforce the jury’s verdict.'" Let's hope he pays. Alex Jones files for bankruptcy.
+ Indo-ctrination: Today in crazy, Indonesia's parliament is expected to pass a new criminal law that will punish sex outside marriage with imprisonment of up to a year. (There are times in my life where this would have sounded like a pretty good deal.)
+ Himes Change: WaPo: "A bipartisan House select committee is set to release a first-of-its-kind documentary-style film on economic inequality in America, a modern historical record of three uniquely American stories that members hope bursts the political and partisan bubble around the issue in Washington." This is a great way for a Congressional panel led by Jim Himes to communicate about the nation's most pressing issue: the economic divide.
+ Brain Food: "To prepare for the depths of winter when food is scarce, many animals slow down, sleep through the cold or migrate to warmer locales. Not the common shrew. To survive the colder months, the animal eats away at its own brain, reducing the organ by as much as a fourth, only to regrow much of brain matter in the spring." This is not unlike my experience being on and then getting off Twitter.
+ Grawing Problem: NYC is looking to hire a Director of Rodent Mitigation. You might be just the cat they're looking for.
6. Feel Good Friday
"With the old seats stripped out, there’s just enough room for everything the family needs. The kids sit at a little table, above them a built-in router for spotty internet. To their left is a modest kitchen: some dishes and silverware, a sink, and a vintage red microwave stacked on a toaster oven stacked on a mini fridge. Further back, the parents sleep on a mattress pad on top of a table, which can convert into a dining area that seats all six. In the middle of the bus, the roof hatch leads to a pop up tent where all the kids sleep, weather permitting. On the other side of the hatch is a solar panel for electricity and a generator in case of emergency. It’s an ambitious ride for an ambitious family on an ambitious mission." It's been too long since we caught up with one of the best stories in America. Couple on nationwide trek to bring books to kids. For feel good everyday, following along with the Busload of Books tour on Instagram or Facebook.
+ "Twelve years ago, a stranger’s choice to pay for three kids' haircuts unknowingly sparked over a decade of generous holiday acts of kindness from a New Hampshire family."
+ John Krasinski’s kids think he has a normal job because people often mention seeing him in The Office.
+ "French referee Stéphanie Frappart became the first woman to take charge of a men’s World Cup game on Thursday as she blew her whistle to start Germany’s game against Costa Rica. Frappart also had two women as assistants — Neuza Back of Brazil and Karen Diaz Medina of Mexico — to complete an all-female refereeing team on the field."
+ Hawaii eruption brings tourism boon during slow season. Hmm.
+ The internet has been pretty rough over the past few weeks. Maybe this will turn things around. Jason Kottke is back.