Intro / Preface / Extra Words
This issue is a draft and is due 3 months ago
At lunch today with a couple buddies one mentioned to me that he was sorry we had stopped with the newslettering. "You must be new here" was my reply. The OG Mark As Reader's have survived worse than this (I think that's true, it might not be, anyway I'm going to pretend it is true... that's what we do now in 2021 with facts we don't like apparently). -Brian
At any rate welcome to issue 70. Let's act like nothing happened and move forward shall we? As some sort of recompense this is a Special Super Beefy™ issue!
The Complete Circle for Bees and Orchids
Nature is amazing... a short clip of a plant's relationship with bees that blew my mind. -B
This is a cool clip, but do yourself a favor and watch the series on Netflix on the biggest 4K compatible screen you can find. And make sure the sound is way up so you can soak up David Attenborough's voiceover in all its glory. -C
How chili peppers conquered the world (or at least most of it)
When we include articles about food, we try to make sure the writers are tackling questions that matter. This article opens with just such a question: "How does a fruit that basically hurts you to eat it not go extinct?" A quick read with pretty pictures of peppers, and also makes me want to try to breed a spicy bell pepper. - C
Rose Totino, Patron Genius of Frozen Pizza
I was born in MN in 1978. While we were there my dad was a food chemist for Pillsbury, which bought Totino’s in 1975. His team worked on the Totino’s pizza expansion project after the acquisition (the secret was frying the crust instead of baking it). In a sense I was born there because of my favorite frozen pizza. -Brian
True Crime Mystery?
H/T Joe D for this weird story about a body discovered in Florida and one man's journey to track down their story. -B
Marriott’s new CEO sat down with TPG to talk Bonvoy benefits, hot breakfast and more
H/T Shaun B. Marriott owns very few hotels but provides services and branding to a collection of thousands of hotel owners. This sets up a tension, particularly as we come out of a pandemic, between the umbrella company, the owners, and you and me who happen to be the ones staying at the hotel. -B
I worry that my wife has installed some sort of tracker on my internet-enabled devices that alerts her every time I click through on an article from The Points Guy. - C
You Fancy, Huh
At the Barnes Exhibit in Philly I fell in love with a Van Gogh painting called The Postman. Here's a bit of backstory about the painting along with a link to every variation Van Gogh painted as well as one of his original sketches. -B
All hail King Pokémon!
H/T to Ashton for the link. I wish I'd collected Pokémon cards, but instead I bought them to play the card game. I didn't have any video game consoles or devices growing up, so instead of dealing with the frustrations of my Pokémon GameBoy emulator on my PC I decided to buy the cards and play. These creased, bent, and worthless cards are probably still kicking around my parents house somewhere. - C
Sports (Disc Golf)
The Rise of the $10 Million Disc Golf Celebrity
Calvin and I, as you are aware, are both pretty deep into the disc golf these days. I've renamed this category appropriately.
Paul McBeth (who is the $10M Disc Golf Celebrity from the linked article) recently lost to James Conrad in a major tournament to what some are calling the greatest shot in disc golf (or maybe all golf) history. If you haven't seen it you have to check it out... it is epic and wild -B
Why Bronze Medalists Are Happier Than Silver Winners
Apropos of the Tokyo Olympics. -B
The 11 Nations of the United States and Their Cultures
So what if North America dissolved into 11 separate nations along these historical and cultural lines? I'm having an ongoing conversation with people around me about who would be elected King or Queen for life of each nation. This is a topic I'm actually pretty interested in and am low-key considering starting a podcast series on. Wes B. has even agreed to help co-host it. So stay tuned maybe? -B
Profiles of the Hidden Tribes
So what if North America dissolved.... etc etc but this time it was on the political sub-tribe lines? Geographically it doesn't work but still an interesting thought experiment. -B
Open air church service in San Francisco during the 1918 Spanish Influenza pandemic
History doesn't repeat but it sure does rhyme.... -B
_______ is not real life
Ramee - Terrorists attacking commercial aircraft?!
Ok, so this is one that I'm not really sure how to explain but it is so good that I'm going to try. Bear with me as some of this may seem very very weird.
1) On an internet TV channel called Twitch, people play videogames and stream so that other people can watch them play. This is a very popular thing and the top streamers make a lot of money and are very talented entertainers.
2) The open world game Grand Theft Auto from ~10 years ago has a mod or game version available that allows several hundred players to all roleplay being normal people, but in a video game. Like The Truman Show or The Matrix but everyone (hopefully) is aware they are in a simulation. This is called Grand Theft Auto Roleplay or GTA RP for short.
3) The most popular version of GTA RP is a server called NoPixel. It is extremely popular and the wait list to be one of the people to get into the server and roleplay as a fast food employee or a taxi driver is tens of hours long every day.
4) A lot of Twitch streamers have been placed on a "White List' that more or less allows them to bypass the queue and enter NoPixel at will. This is at least one contributing factor to why the wait list for normies is so long- everyone wants to roleplay with their favorite streamers.
5) In NoPixel there is normal life, there are normal cops played by normal people, and there are a small subset of players who basically have permission to be criminals. Most of the criminals and a lot of the cops are streamers. You still with me on this?
6) The criminals do things like set up art galleries as legitimate fronts for their businesses. They steal explosives and run narcotics. And they take hostages and rob banks. And the cops try to prevent all this. A common "scene" is for the criminals to take a hostage, rob a bank by hacking the safe, and then turn over their hostage and take off in a car to try to outrun or otherwise outwit the cops. This leads to extended car chases and elaborate getaway plans that end up either with the criminals dead in the streets (to be treated and brought back to life by people roleplaying doctors in a hospital) or getting away and stashing their ill-gotten gains at a secret gang hidey-hole.
7) In this particular scene the cops had recently been given a new airplane and were trying it out. A bank robbery had just taken place and the criminals (this group in particular is known as the Chang Gang (yes I spelled that correctly)) were running from the cops down a highway by the ocean. A third (fourth?) group of people in a helicopter thought the plane had been hijacked and came in to try to help.
8) I've collected a couple of short clips of various players viewpoints of what happened next. I'd just like to mention I watched this in real time from one of the criminals perspectives. It was an emergent, hysterical and dramatic, spontaneous movie as good (or better) than a lot of tedious action movies.
9) Yes... I probably could spend a portion of my adult life in ways that aren't me watching other adults play video games that involve them pretending to be normal people while thousands of people watch and cheer them on... but I'm not going to. -B
A look at the gear from every winner and runner-up of the TV show Alone
Where my preppers and larpers at?
Civil War generals as Muppets
I mean why not?
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