Intro / Preface / Extra Words
Welcome to the 4th quarter of 2020 y'all! We're confident the next three months will be easy-going and uneventful.
Also, we want to take a moment to celebrate the 60th issue of this silly newsletter. Thanks for sticking around and casually perusing our intermittent deluge of Internet content. We recently passed a small but meaningful milestone in terms of total subscribers. If you would like to spread the Mark As Read joy to your friends, family, and enemies they can sign up here.
No, Lori Laughlin Did Not "Choose Her Prison"
So apparently everyone with any sort of online following is using substack to monetize that support. The only one I've given money to so far is my spirit animal but I subscribe to the free portion of a number of them. Just wanted to explain that if you were wondering about the increasing presence of substack links in this newsletter. Calvin runs the product behind Mark As Read which probably could be thought of in some ways as a competitor to substack. If you ever see me on substack without Calvin you'll know that we've gone and Lennon/McCartney'd this junt.
At any rate, Ken White (akak Popehat) is a lawyer who appears on the KCRW podcast All the President's Lawyers with Josh Barro. Josh Barro also hosts the KCRW podcast Left, Right, and Center or as it should properly be called Extremely Left, Quite Left, and Slightly Left.
In podcast form I rarely agree with Josh Barro. On Twitter I love his tone and often agree with him.
In Twitter form Ken White is awful and mean and petty. In blog form he's incredibly intelligent, charitable, and as in this link often helpfully debunks stupid viral takes with concise legal analysis. -Brian
The strangest stories from the golden age of plane hijacking
Long before 9/11 a mostly benign(-ish) wave of plane hijackings roiled America with at some points more than one taking place on any given day. Almost all of them were diverted to Cuba so the hijackers could defect. Passengers were inconvenienced but otherwise unharmed (unless they always wanted to go to Cuba). Fidel Castro gleefully charged the airlines $7,500 to retrieve their airplanes. Eventually as is the way things started to get more violent and out of control and serious steps in airline security had to be taken to put a stop to the fad. -Brian
You Fancy, Huh
Gulfstream Advances the G700 Flight Test Program
This $60M private jet lets you choose between a master suite option and a chef's kitchen option. Putting two of these (one for each option) at the top of my lottery wish list. -Brian
Brian over here not even acknowledging that there's a website called "Billionaire Toys". I went down the rabbit hole and have been particularly drooly over the Luxury & Supercar section. - Calvin
A bewildered European redditor recently asked how Trump was elected in 2016. As you can imagine the thread (on the famously very left leaning Reddit) quickly devolved into a mess of ad hominen attacks, snide cheap shots, and a few honest analyses from mostly left leaning commentors. There were a (very) few actual admitted Trump voters here and there. I've picked out one that I thought gave an interesting analysis on one strand of right leaning thinking. I can't find the direct link so I've copied the text
into a google doc. If you want to read more feel free to descend into the abyss yourself.
"Steel Man" refers to the hypothetical strongest argument you can think of for something you disagree with (as opposed to "Straw Man"). As someone who voted third party in 2016 for the first time in my life I think it is a good exercise for all of us to steel man in good faith the viewpoints of those we disagree with. -Brian
I've learned that emailing links to Google Docs is no bueno, so in an effort to continue landing this newsletter in inboxes, I've copied that doc into a page on my personal site. But I did try my best to find the comment in that mess of a thread and it's not there anymore. Alert the conspiracy theorists! - Calvin
Sweet Meteor of Death 2020
This week we are introducing a new content category which will loosely cover various aspects of all the bizarrely terrible things that have taken (are taking?!) place in 2020. To get us started here is a cerebral post by the often excellent Ben Hunt about how we tend to glamorize what it would mean to live in a post-apocalyptic society but how in reality that would really really be awful for everyone. I haven't read the particular Larry Niven book referenced but I have read Ringworld by him which I can tell you is quite excellent and worth your time. -Brian
My Dad has a copy of Lucifer's Hammer, and I tried to read it when I was eleven. My memory of this was that my Dad said nah and handed me Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I wasn't ready for either book and need to read both. - Calvin
What's up with Armenia and Azerbaijan?
I knew absolutely zero about this conflict and was edified by this brief explainer of the history and current conflict that has been erupting recently. -Brian
I read this and still feel as though I know absolutely zero about this conflict. - Calvin
Hundreds of Americans Planted 'Chinese Mystery Seeds'
Yeah if we could not plant the mysterious seeds sent to millions of Americans unsolicited by unknown Chinese senders that would be great.... -Brian
I actually LOL'd at this passage: "...communication from the general public is concerning. People planted seeds even when expressly told not to. Hundreds of people had no idea whether they had ever ordered seeds, or how to check. Some people called 911. Others ate the seeds." - Calvin
_______ is not real life
Meet the Mystery Meme-Makers Behind the Popular Instagram ‘Daquan’
Another new category will give us more focus for the eponymous theme of how awful social media is for our kids, our politics, our culture, and our mental health. -Brian
Listen, man, I give you admin privileges on this Internet tool and you're just making categories willy-nilly... - Calvin
All Geek To Me
How to Be a Professional Dungeons & Dragons Master Hosting Games
I was recently invited to a board game bar in Memphis where they were having the D&D equivalent of pick-up games. I had to decline for now, but knowing a small percentage of the complete rules makes me think this will be something I try in the near future. - Calvin
Board game bar??? Tell me more! -Brian
My favorite conspiracy theory
The more amusing cousin of the Birds aren't real movement. Narwhals man.... do they even exist? -Brian
"Bye Buddy, hope you find your Dad." - Elf, the scene where Jon Favreau invents the narwhal. - Calvin