Webtacular World Issue #293, July 14, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators! Writing this issue is giving me flashbacks to pulling all nighters in college – as of this sentence, it is currently 5:10 AM Paris time, and considering all of Saturday plus some was spent traveling, I definitely need some sleep.

The rest of my European vacation was a way too quick five days in Paris.  We spent most of Monday traveling from Lyon to Paris. On Tuesday, after a quick in-room visit from a doctor in order to get a prescription for meds to deal with the rusty nail, and an impromptu discovery that Meagan is actually pretty good at giving shots, we spent the day at Les Invalides, which is both a French historical military museum and the final resting place of one Napoleon Bonaparte. French military history is especially interesting because not many other still existing nations have experienced such success and failure and are still around to discuss it from a winners perspective – this is especially true regarding both World Wars, which drastically changed France’s image of itself.

On Wednesday, we went to the Louvre. As one of the largest museums in the world, it is overwhelming. There are so many noteworthy pieces of art, the Mona Lisa included, that any one of their significance is almost diminished. Why bother crowding around the Venus de Milo when there are dozens of other (better) examples of Greek sculpting? We managed to spend six or so hours and ten or so miles exploring the majority of it, and it still feels like we didn’t see everything.

On Thursday we woke up early to venture outside of Paris to Versailles, the fancy digs of the (in)famous King Louises. One of the things that French rulers seem to understand better than anyone is true grandeur – not only is the main palace at Versailles ridiculously massive (to the point where there are too many rooms to know what to do with, or even what their purpose should be), but the grounds themselves are at a scale that really needs to be experienced to get the full effect. Aside from the main palace, there at least three other “minor” palaces, a fully functioning fake village so Marie Antoinette could play farmer, and an orange grove, all of which sits on 3 square miles of manicured lawns, gardens, trees, fountains surrounding a central cross shaped canal that is 1670 meters long. Spend a day there on constant move and you can cover about a third of it.

On Friday, our final day, we did a self guided walking tour after a leisurely breakfast of most of the rest of Paris that we hadn’t checked off yet, including the Latin Quarter, the Arc de Triomphe, the Palais Garnier, and, of course, the remains of Notre Dame. We capped the night with a dinner cruise along the Seine to be able to take the city in one last time.

One of the things I will miss most about the trip is just how good it feels to be able to cover a ton of ground with nothing but your own two feet. We averaged over 6 miles of walking a day over two weeks, but my daily life doesn’t really allow for getting that much distance in unless make an explicit effort. Instead, my desk is patiently waiting my return so I can stay safely seated at it for a solid 8 hours a day to quickly undo all that healthy meandering.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Donald Trump Finally Shouts Out The Quiet Part
Why: Because we already knew he was racist – but most racists are not stupid enough to cap a week of anti immigrant fervor and and callousness with telling a bunch of brown congresswomen to go back to countries they aren’t even from.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Prime Day Starts Tomorrow
Why: Because the biggest retailer in the US is going to put a bunch of things on sale. Maybe we shouldn’t indulge ourselves this year?

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: Worst And Dumbest
Why: Because Acosta is out as Labor Secretary for his role in giving an insane plea deal to a known rapist.

INFRASTRUCTURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: We Shouldn’t Need Cars
Why: Because the fact that we need cars in modernity means we have failed at properly designing daily life for humans.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Tennis Greats
Why: Because the battle between Nadal, Federer and Djokovic over the last decade is a historical anomaly that we probably won’t get to see the likes of again.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Good Movie Remains Good
Why: Because this is yet another Disney remake that somehow strips all of the art of the original away and still will be a huge success. Oh I just can’t wait to [see the Lion] King!

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Strangererer Things
Why: Because 1980’s people are still living in Hawkins Indiana even after they’ve almost been destroyed by monsters twice – this time, with more mall. I can’t get enough.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. listen)
What: Lion Royalty
Why: Because two of the biggest current musical acts re-sing one of the biggest songs of my childhood. With Seth Rogen.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: This Is America
Why: Because the detention centers, used for detaining people who are following US law for seeking asylum into the US, are concentration camps by another name.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: A Summit Of Whiny Baby Racists; Snack Attack; The Bug Says Bye
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Plane Ticket To Europe
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

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Webtacular World Issue # 292, July 7, 2019

THE US WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM ARE CHAMPIONS!!!!!!!!!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!! What a whirlwind the last few days have been.  A short recap:
We flew out of Amsterdam to Lyon, France, on Monday. We were in Lyon because that is where we had tickets to two semi-finals and the final games of the Woman’s World Cup. When we first got to Lyon, we were met by a thunderstorm, which promptly took out the power to our hotel and the surrounding blocks.  We made a very wet and dark trudge over to one of the few places that had power, and were able to get our first taste of French cuisine. Luckily, both the power outage and the storm were outliers for the next couple of days.

On Tuesday, we grabbed a late lunch before heading over to an Airbnb to meet up with a group of 9 other friends / friends of friends who we were watching the games with.  We immediately decked ourselves out in red white and blue, including temporary tattoos and face paint, and headed out to the stadium, a cool 7 hours before the game started.  We initially made our way to a bar that was hosting the American Outlaws, the US soccer fan club.  However, by the time we got there, the bar was out of beer, so we decided to go to a local store and just buy some wine for the train ride.  We managed to finally get to the stadium after multiple metro and train transfers without losing anyone in the process, and got to watch one of the most exciting matches I have seen between the US and England.  The US emerged victorious in a 2-1 nail biter.  Since Lyon had not yet figured out to manage its transit system for the almost 60,000 people that were using it after the game, we did not get back to the Airbnb until almost 2 AM.

The next day was our tourism day, since we actually had some time before the second semi-final.  Lyon is an interesting city in that its historical expansion is clearly demarcated from east to west.  The eastern part of the city is overlooked by La Baselique Notre Damede Fourviere, which itself was built on ancient Roman theater ruins which are still in use today.  This area is dominated by small winding streets that run up a steep incline.  The middle section of the city sits between the Saone and Rhone rivers, and has more shopping promenades and plazas. The eastern side is basically like any other modern European city.  In the afternoon, we all met up again to go do the whole soccer thing again, this time watching the Netherlands squeak past a very strong Swedish team, which set the stage for the finals.

Since the finals match was not until the following Sunday, our group split up to go do short trips around Europe. Instead of doing Alps hiking excursions or mountain biking, we decided we needed some actual vacation days, so we headed to Nice in the French Riviera.  The train rides from Lyon to Nice were somewhat of a nightmare, since it turns out we left right around the beginning of French vacation season.  We essentially spent 9 hours in train stations and overpacked trains before getting into Nice at 10 PM.  At least the hotel had air conditioning.  To make full use of vacation mode, we booked beach chairs and umbrellas.  However, the umbrella proved no match for the power of the sun vs. my very pale skin, and I proceeded to get a very bad sunburn.

We limped our way back (literally, I forgot to mention I stepped on a rusty nail as well) to Lyon on Saturday to make sure we had plenty of time to rest up for the Finals. It could not have been a better experience. We got to see Rapinoe seal her golden boot and golden ball award with an impeccable penalty kick, watch Rose Lavelle seal the game with a scorcher from the top of the box, and be part of the general pandemonium as the US got to celebrate its second consecutive and fourth overall win.  And yes, the entire stadium did in fact boo Gianni Infantino and chant “Equal Pay” during the awards ceremony. It was glorious.  

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes
Why: Because Iran has no reason to adhere to a nuclear pact that a prominent backer (AKA the US) already reneged on.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Equal Pay
Why: Because speaking of the economics of the USMNT and the USWNT, the difference between the two is clear – especially when one team continuously under performs, while the other is the pinnacle of the sport.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Epstein Charged With Sex Trafficking Of Minors
Why: Because for some reason it sounds less bad than saying this guy paid money to fuck kids, and get recruit other kids for him and his friends to fuck. Is that clearer?

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: California Gets Rocked
Why: Because a series of very strong earthquakes hit Southern California earlier this week. This is a reminder to make an earthquake kit, or at least update the one you made in 1994.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: I BELIEVED THAT WE WOULD WIN!
Why: Because getting to watch that in person is something I will never forget.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. watch)
What: Knives Out
Why: Because Rian Johnson makes good movies, and this one looks like it will be another.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: What Is A Raconteur Again?
Why: Because it is interesting to hear how similar this is to their previous album, and yet how far away that sound now is from contemporary music and rock.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. look)
What: Magic
Why: Because these are almost as a good as being there (sorry).

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Madness Til The End
Why: Because even though Mad Magazine has been in decline from a cultural relevance standpoint for a number of decades, Alfred E. Neuman’s satirical face is something you just always kind of expect to see around.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Make More Marios
Why: Because Mario Maker 2 takes everything that the first one did well, but put on a system people actually own.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: 18th Century Airports; Americans Love Trump; Wheel, Snipe, Celly
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Tickets To The Women’s World Cup In 2023
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™

Webtacular World Issue # 291, June 31, 2019

Groetjes Webtaculators! Today your weekly update is coming from Amsterdam, the capital of the Netherlands. Going to a different country sounded way better than going to work, so here I am. Here is a quick rundown of the trip so far:

We left the west coast on Thursday afternoon, which, thanks to the time travel enabling time zone difference, meant we found ourselves in Amsterdam at 9am Friday morning. My go to way of dealing with losing a night of sleep is to, well, just pretend I never needed a night of sleep in the first place, and power through the day until I pass out from physical exhaustion roughly around a reasonable bed time in the new time zone. It is not pretty, but it works. We proceeded to meander around the streets and canals of the city until 5 or so, when we met up with my friends Jeremy and Tara to pregame the women’s World Cup match between France and the US. We ended up at a food hall, which like any modern hipsterish food hall means you can get anything from tacos to marsala to sushi. Also, thanks to big beer consolidation, means that I could get Lagunitas, a craft brew that is brewed a mile away from my house on tap in a city across the world. Unlike beer, it was difficult to actually find the game playing anywhere, since most people it turns out don’t actually care about the women’s world cup, especially if their team is not playing, but finally managed to find a bar that both had a TV and was willing to change the channel away from the Copa America, and watch the Megan Rapinoe dismantle the French back line.

On Saturday, we (somehow) overslept our 9am tickets to the Van Gogh Museum. Luckily that was just for the entrance time, so we just got laughed at by the ticket agent when she noticed how late we were. The most interesting thing about Van Gogh is just how prolific an artist he was over such a short period – he did not start painting until he was 27, and even then did not create his most well known artwork until the last four years before his death at 37.  Considering he had enough art to fill multiple galleries and museums is impressive.  Next, we wandered over to the Rijksmuseum, which houses a number of Rembrandts and other Dutch historical artwork and artifacts. From there, we strolled to the northern part of the city, where we ate way too much food thanks to a tasting course style of dinner with 6 appetizers, a main course, and 8 desserts.

On Sunday we started off somberly with a tour of the Anne Frank Museum. Before World War II, Amsterdam was home to over 80,000 Jews.  Most of them ended up like Anne – killed in concentration and death camps of the Germans. A small aside – the way in which the United States is treating immigrants from its southern boarder is no different than the way Nazis handled Jews.  From there we took a boat tour through the canals, where we got a bit more history and perspective of Amsterdam and the way it has changed over the last decade. To end the day, we took a ferry to the NDSM, which is essentially a newer Williamsburg / Dogpatch but being built out with module apartments reminiscent of North Amsterdam’s industrial past.

So far, the trip has been amazing. Our next leg is to Lyon, France, where we are going to get to watch the US women in person. I cannot begin to describe how excited I am, but will be sure to catch you all up on what happened next week.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Meet The Democrats
Why: Because I have specifically refrained from trying to talk about the 2020 election before necessary.  The US has a problem with how long campaigning lasts – it is insanely expensive, it provides too much information about candidates that people do not actually pay attention to.  In my opinion, Warren, Castro, Harris, and Booker “won,” but that probably doesn’t mean anything.

WORLD THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: A President Goes To North Korea
Why: Because the amount of idiocy this man and his cohorts possess is still astounding. His first words when crossing the boarder were “Big moment, big moment.” The lack of reasonable statement following what inevitably is a “big moment” is appalling, but so are most of the things this nimrod is part of.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Energy Parity
Why: Because it was 113 degrees in Paris on Saturday. It has never been that hot in recorded history. We might already be too late to stop global warming at this point, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: A Very Mixed Bag
Why: Because gerrymandering is now set in stone, but at least the census can’t be blatantly racist.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 Min. Read)
What: How To Use Data
Why: Because the way in which a person uses data can either make a story or create a false narrative.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Fuckin’ Rapinoe
Why: Because Megan Rapinoe is a boss.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Another Marvel … Marvel
Why: Because this is the third (or fourth? I’ve lost count) well reviewed Marvel movie that was released this year.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Lil Nas X Is Gay
Why: Because the biggest country act in the US is gay and black. This shouldn’t matter, but it entirely does.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. look)
What: Global Pride
Why: Because it has been 50 years since Stonewall.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Games Done Quick Makes Bank
Why: Because this summer’s GDQ raised over $3 million for Doctors Without Boarders this year.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Sunny Days; A History Of The Super Soaker; Better 4th Of July Ideas
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Seinfield Lego Set
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

Webtacularly yours,
Brian
Managing Editor, Webtacular World
The Internet You Didn’t Know You Needed™