The Taylor Swift Waiting List. Plus, the world's most corrupt DEA agent.
I'm a failure as a father. It's not because my son was born around the same time as the first iPhone and has therefore never had my complete attention. It's not because I swear constantly, obsess over subscriber numbers and retweets, or because I extol the importance of hard work but model the importance of sinking into a couch and watching hours of prestige TV while wearing a T-shirt with one's own logo. All that is fine. It's nature over nurture anyway. No, I'm a failure as a father because the one time my daughter really needed me to come through for her, I ended up on the outside looking in, banished to the barren badlands of the Taylor Swift ticket waiting list wasteland. I've been successfully buying concert tickets since I was a kid. Back then, it was a meritocracy. You woke up early on a Sunday morning, rode your Sekai 2400 ten speed to the record store, waited a few hours for the doors to open, and then prayed the dude manning the ticket machine could type faster than the dudes at the neighboring record stores. Now all that has moved to the Internet. Yes, the Internet, where I have spent my whole life at the expense of my kids. This was my chance to prove it was all worth it. I'm Internet enabled, Internet savvy, and Internet famous. And where did this lifetime of selling my soul for a decent WiFi connection get me? Onto Taylor's ticket waiting list. And this is a particularly hopeless waiting list. Even the half-decent dads who got accepted into the official queue were foiled by a Ticketmaster site that was immediately trampled by a throng of Swifties and the parents who let them down. In all my years of buying tickets, from the early days waiting in front of the record store to competing online for some of the world's biggest tours, I've seen some show demand. But I've never seen anything quite like this. If this all seems like a cheap and pathetic effort to see if there's anyone on this list who has the connections and power to get me some decent tickets to the Taylor tour, then you're probably reading it right.
2. Narco Dependent
"José Irizarry accepts that he’s known as the most corrupt agent in U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration history, admitting he 'became another man' in conspiring with Colombian cartels to build a lavish lifestyle of expensive sports cars, Tiffany jewels and paramours around the world. But ... he says he won’t go down for this alone, accusing some long-trusted DEA colleagues of joining him in skimming millions of dollars from drug money laundering stings to fund a decade’s worth of luxury overseas travel, fine dining, top seats at sporting events and frat house-style debauchery." On his way to the big house, the DEA's most corrupt agent spills on the parties and sex amid an unwinnable war. "The way Irizarry tells it, dozens of other federal agents, prosecutors, informants and in some cases cartel smugglers themselves were all in on the three-continent joyride known as 'Team America' that chose cities for money laundering pick-ups mostly for party purposes or to coincide with Real Madrid soccer or Rafael Nadal tennis matches. That included stops along the way in VIP rooms of Caribbean strip joints, Amsterdam’s red-light district and aboard a Colombian yacht that launched with plenty of booze and more than a dozen prostitutes." Even this dude couldn't make it past the Taylor Swift ticket waiting list...
3. All's Not Well That Ends Well
"Amid rows of almond and orange trees, entire communities are relying on deliveries of bottled water to survive. More than 2,400 homes in the region keep their taps running with emergency plastic water tanks installed in their yards by the nonprofit group Self-Help Enterprises. It sends around a fleet of trucks to fill the tanks, which hold 2,500 to 3,000 gallons, at least every two weeks. More than half of the tanks are new this year." As California's wells dry up, residents rely on bottled water to survive.
+ "Amid the cycles of wet and dry — both phenomena exacerbated by climate change — a coalition of local farmers and the nearby city of Huron are trying to turn former hemp and tomato fields into massive receptacles that can hold water as it percolates into the ground during wet years." California tries to harness megastorm floods to ease crippling droughts.
4. Track Record
"Little cars are big business. While Toyota was busy celebrating its status as the world’s largest car company after selling 9.5mn cars in 2020, Hot Wheels – the maker of the micro machines that litter living rooms around the world – was already well past the 500mn mark. After starting out in California in 1968, Hot Wheels has gone on to sear its flaming red and yellow logo on the minds of millions of children, adults and collectors alike." FT: How Hot Wheels became ‘the largest auto manufacturer out there.'
5. Extra, Extra
UVA Shooting: "College students should be loud, boisterous. But Monday night, if you listened closely, you instead heard the slightest weeping. A cough or two. The crunching of feet over fallen autumn foliage. Whispers into the chilly night. Some muffled cries. They gathered here on The Lawn, the large, grassy court at the center of the grounds—their lit phones and candle lights raised high above their heads providing literal and figurative light after a dark day." Hours after three football players were killed and two additional students were injured in an on-campus shooting, thousands united at a vigil of support and solidarity.
+ Blue Lake: "After days of ballot counting, Arizona Democrat Katie Hobbs has been elected governor in a hotly-contested race against election-denying Republican Kari Lake." Lake tweeted, "Arizonans know BS when they see it." Actually, only slightly more than half of them do. It's good she lost. Its scary she almost won.
+ We Talkin' About Practice: "Even as the traditional warfare is underway, new advances in technology and training in Ukraine are being closely monitored for the ways they are changing the face of the fight. Beyond Delta, they include remote-controlled boats, anti-drone weapons known as SkyWipers and an updated version of an air-defense system built in Germany that the German military itself has yet to use." NYT: For Western Weapons, the Ukraine War Is a Beta Test.
+ Camorra's Box: Roberto Saviano "lives under police escort and has been in hiding from the Neapolitan mafia, the Camorra, since 2006 after being threatened by mobsters following publication of his book Gomorrah." It's not just the mob that's after him. So is Italy's new prime minister. Writer Roberto Saviano goes on trial for comments about Italy’s PM.
+ Ink Blotter: "Last month, a 10-year-old boy walked into the nurse’s office of his elementary school in Highland, N.Y., and asked for some Vaseline. He wanted to rub it onto his new tattoo — a crude rendering of his name in large block letters on the inside of his forearm. The nurse called the police." NYT (Gift Article): A 10-Year-Old Got a Tattoo. His Mother Was Arrested.
+ Extended Layover : "Bees that collect pollen from the sprawling groves of blue gum eucalyptus in Golden Gate Park often produce a honey with a rich and buttery taste, like a chardonnay or butterscotch. Potrero Hill honey has a 'warmth and wildness' with hints of anise, because of the wild fennel growing there. Telegraph Hill honey can have notes of citrus, on account all the lemon trees in the old Italian neighborhoods of North Beach." Robert Mackimmie and His Local Bees Capture the Tastes of San Francisco in a Honey Jar. Cool story, and the honey is good.
6. Bottom of the News
"The brown suede Birkenstock Arizonas were worn by Jobs in the 1970s and 1980s during 'many pivotal moments in Apple's history,' according to the auction house." Steve Jobs' worn-out Birkenstocks sell for $218,000 at auction. If the shoe fits...
+ As per usual, The Onion was ahead of the curve. Here's a headline from April: Man Who Lost Everything In Crypto Just Wishes Several Thousand More People Had Warned Him.