Webtacular World Issue # 347, November 29, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators. I hope you all had a fantastic Thanksgiving, however different it may have been this year. Speaking of this year, we’re in the home stretch. One month to go. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Parting Gifts
Why: Since Trump lost, it seems like he has been doing everything in his waning power to bring everything else down with him. First, “someone”(HINT HINT most likely Israel with the US’ blessing) assassinated Iran’s top nuclear scientist. Considering the number of prominent Iranians that have been killed this year, it is unlikely this one will go unanswered. Also remember, that Iran wouldn’t have been developing nuclear weapons in the first place if Trump hadn’t withdrawn the US from its accord with Iran.

Back at home, Trump continues to fail at convincing courts that he actually won. After a recount in Wisconsin his supporters footed the bill for, Trump actually lost by a larger amount than if he had just shut up and conceded like a normal president. However, since he isn’t out of office until January next year, he continues to abuse his power, most heinously by pardoning Michael Flynn, even though he plead guilty, twice.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Invisible Hand Of Very Wealthy People
Why: Because VCs essentially are able to ignore things like “market signals,” “common sense,” or “reality” while propping up impossible business models until everything else is dead.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: In Jesus’ Name, We Die
Why: Because a bunch of Catholic Justices ignored their Pope, and decided that the First Amendment protects holding religious services from actions taken to promote public health. This ruling is insidious on multiple fronts –  Holding public services are neither required by religions, nor actually unfairly targeting religions because they are religions. Furthermore, this case should not have been heard, since New York had already changed the order at the time of the ruling, and the plaintiffs shouldn’t have had standing in in the Supreme Court the first place.

HEALTH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Still Worse
Why: Because I am not looking forward to reading the numbers at the end of next week. New York decided it’s a good time to reopen schools.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Cocaine Is A Hell Of A Drug
Why: Because Diego Maradona was larger than life, and one of the greatest soccer players ever.

Also, two old men threw punches at each other, but because it’s boxing, and the scores are made up anyway, it was a tie. Tyson was also admittedly high, which is appropriate considering Snoop Dogg was an announcer for some reason.

Probably the only good sports news was that for the first time, a woman played in a major college game.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: One With The Force
Why: Because David Prowse, the original Darth Vader actor (famously, not the voice), passed away.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. reads)
What: The Nineties Are Back
Why: Because there are new versions of both the Animaniacs and Saved By The Bell – if you guessed that the new SBTB was going to be the better reviewed of the two… well, I’m right there with you.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Not So Smashing
Why: Because the Smashing Pumpkins released what sounds like an 80s version of themselves. It’s fine! But when you’re comparing yourself to things like Melancholy and the Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream, just OK doesn’t quite cut it.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: I’ve Seen This One Before
Why: Because France is also having to deal with the inconvenience of brutal police.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Improbable Voices
Why: Because my high school history teacher, who also is a librarian, took a thought many people probably have had (“I wonder what was actually going on in the world outside of of three European countries and the US?”) and wrote an entire painstakingly detailed book about that and the goings-ons of the entire world in both chronological and alphabetical order (again, librarian). I cannot recommend this enough.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK ()
What: DJ Turn The Music Up
Why: Because Harmonix, the creators of Rock Band, made an excellent music game revolving around EDM festivals, and this time it doesn’t even require any expensive plastic instruments! I’ve been having arguably too much fun making my own downtempo remixes of Call Me Maybe.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Horse Girls; Stop Speed Read; The Poopiest Toys
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN SHOULD BECOME OF THE WEEK
What: The Next Sonoma County Pasta King
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 346, November 22, 2020

Greetings Webtaculators! Sitting at home through the dumbest coup attempt ever is enthralling, isn’t it? Really normal democracy stuff. Also, COVID is definitely still very much here, no one is staying home for Thanksgiving because people think they are invincible, or their right to put other people in danger is more important than deciding not eating turkey with their uncle that they hate anyway. On top of that, there’s all the regular nonsense that we are forced to put up with as part of attempting to be a fully functioning adult, which even without those other things provides enough residual crisis to make anyone reach their breaking point.

Finally, because I apparently can’t count right, Webtacular is actually on issue number 346, which completely ruins my perfect segue from last time. Oh well. We good? Good. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Trump Lost
Why: Because I just want to make sure everyone who reads this understands that there is no rational, legal way that Trump stays president. It’s not a “lame stream” media thing, it’s not a conspiracy against him, it’s not a lie. He lost. I did say I’d talk about him way less last time, but he just will not go away.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: Black Friday!
Why: Because who doesn’t want to pretend that everything is fine? If you’re extra concerned you don’t have enough money, just buy it on credit – there’s a non-zero chance that there won’t be anyone able to collect on it.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: A Complete Mockery
Why: Because I am INCENSED that these yahoos are allowed to practice law. There is no such thing as “normal scrutiny,” you drippy cousin fucker.

HEALTH THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. look)
What: COVID Is Still Surging
Why: Because we’re up over a million cases a week, with projections potentially climbing above three million. It’s going to get way worse before it gets better. Yes, there are extremely likely viable vaccines that will be available at some point, but that is far in the future, especially for you. Also, considering the growth of the number of anti-vaxxers in the US and around the world, do you really think COVID is going anywhere?

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Aricibo Is No More
Why: Because the a few of the cables holding up the most recognizable telescope decided to pull a 006 and crashed through dish, rendering it unrepairable. For England, James.

JOURNALISM THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Hey, Webtacular’s Ahead Of The Curve Again!
Why: Because a number of prominent journalists who were… “silenced” by their editors (HAHAHAHAHA) decided to go freelance. BURN THE EDITORS DOWN! MY WORDS ARE MY FREEDOM – FACTS AND TONE BE DAMNED. Who needs truth when you have CONVICTION on your side??? Welcome to the club! Join me in shout-writing into the void. It’s fun!

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: CHAMPIONS
Why: Because whatever is happening in real professional sports consists of famous people breaking or people pretending the world is fine. I’ll just go chase some cheese down a hill, thank you very much.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. listen)
What: Phoebe Bridgers And Maggie Rogers Covered Goo Goo Dolls ‘Iris’ To Fulfill A Promise Phoebe Made On Twitter If Trump Lost, To Help Stacy Abrams Get Votes For Democrats In Georgia’s Senate Runoff
Why: Because this may be the most 2020 thing of the year. The song was available online for one day, but you can find it here for now, and likely somewhere else later. Like most songs those two make, it is gorgeous, even if it was made as a joke.

ALSO – it was the American Music Awards, awarding mostly bad acts save for WAP and Taylor Swift, and the only thing worth mentioning about that is that the favorite artist, album and song for Latin music, and ONLY Latin music, was presented by Cheetos, the chip(?) brand. Every other music category did not have a sponsor, snack based or other wise. I have no idea what to make of that.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Shot From Above
Why: Because it’s fun looking down on ourselves sometimes.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read, but please go read the whole thing)
What: A Perfect Recollection Of An Imperfect President
Why: Because hearing Obama read this to me via audiobook at least let me know that the White House was at one point honorable, and has the capacity to be so again.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: A Refinement
Why: Because I’m pretty sure developers figured out how to make videogames pretty damn well last generation. Between VR, open worlds, and gameplay mechanics that are reliably fun, along with an ever growing interconnection online, gaming really had never been better. The newest consoles now doing the hard work of making them prettier, shinier, and faster. The only real revolution is Sony’s new controller, which you really have to hold to understand. Also, Astro’s Playroom is way too good of a pack-in game.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: A Parody Gone Too Far; Laundry Forever; 2000s Internet Forever
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN EVERYONE OF THE WEEK
What: A Safe And Healthy Thanksgiving
Why: Because Brian everyone deserves it.

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

Webtacular World, Issue # 245, November 8, 2020

Huh. So this is the 245th edition of Webtacular World. Let’s roll with it.

To 45,

Goodbye. 

I cannot begin to explain to you how much your loss means to me – 1. because there is far too much for me to describe here (but believe me, I’ll try), and 2. because you have the attention span of an ADD riddled puppy surrounded by tennis balls, combined with the same capacity for understanding issues as a rock, and the cruelty of whatever the opposite of the Dali Lama is (sorry to dogs, rocks, and Dali Lama’s evil twin for measuring you against one of the worst people in human history). I felt the weight of an eternal four years of awful, meaningless, and sadistic policies that you and your crack team of personified prolapsed assholes put into gear fly off my shoulders Saturday morning as I woke up to the news that you lost to a sleepy old man who can somehow jog up a ramp at night and a Jamaican/Indian-American Woman lawyer who was educated at both an HBCU and the University of California, the living version of your greatest nightmare.

You and I obviously have very different views on what a leader is. As someone who has both been a leader and followed them through various levels success, I think I have a pretty good idea of what a good leader is. A good leader has well defined goals. Make America Great Again, for example, is not a good goal, because it is essentially meaningless. Make America great at what? Foosball? It’s not clear. As far as I can tell, it has been racism, choosing religion over separation of church and state, increasing the prison population, killing black people, abandoning global allies, and lowering taxes for people who do not need more money. Weirdly, most Americans felt like me and decided that wasn’t actually what a Great America should be, especially after living through four years of it.

A good leader is someone who works towards the best version of their goal possible, while taking heavily into consideration how their decision has on the people they lead. This explicitly excludes a WIN AT ALL COSTS mentality, except in a very limited number of situations. This is especially important if you do not follow the previous step of clearly defining your goals. For example, calling for the opening of the US during a pandemic has resulted in the highest growth in COVID cases in the entire world. In case it is not clear to you, THIS IS A BAD OUTCOME.

A good leader uses the best information available to them to base their decisions on. You did not do this: instead, you did things like chose a very confused brain surgeon to lead housing policy, a man who tried to destroy his job previous to getting it because he didn’t know what it actually did, your son-in-law as the head of your COVID task force, even though he has no discernable skills at all, and the rest of your family as various flagrantly nepotistic roles that led to situations like your wife verbalizing that throwing kids in cages is fine, your daughter being snubbed on the global economic stage, and your eldest sons constantly vying for position of worst. I could go on, but Slate has got you covered. Basically, each one of these people was one of the worst choices for the job they accepted, and that is entirely your fault.

Finally, and most importantly, a good leader understands and practices compassion. Compassion is necessary for a couple of reasons. 1. leadership affects people – people are emotional beings that require hope, reinforcement, and a feeling of trust in order to perform at their peak capacity. Without the practice of compassion, you will not get good outcomes over time. Sure, you can rely on tactics like fear and bullying in the short term, but that doesn’t prove out in the long run, and ensuring the longevity of the United States happens to be one of the primary functions of your soon-to-be-not-yours job. 2. Compassion demonstrates to others that you are yourself human, which enables alternate pathways to problem solving. Instead, the country is stuck with your zero sum gaming and admiration of power, which in turn is heavily exploitable against you. 3. Compassion demonstrates that you understand the cost and weight of your decisions. Since you have none, it is obvious why you don’t understand why millions of Americans protested the killing of our black brothers this summer, why people correctly decided you failed at containing the virus, why you failed to protect our children from school shootings, and why the economy has not recovered regardless of your saying so. No one has a reason to trust you except for the gullible and cruel. Your failure to be compassionate has taken your already incredibly weak skill set and turned it into a gaping hole of failure.

If it is not obvious from this newsletter, you have taken up an inordinate amount of rent free space in my head over the past four years. Your rantings have kept me up at night, making me fret over the future world that my son is now forced to grow up in. You made otherwise good people chose evil over decency because you lied to them. You let terrible people feel like their opinions and voices merit consideration. You let Americans who were slowly gaining control over our collective and very real racist heritage unleash our hideous id into daily interactions. You cast a shadow over the people and machinations that make our country great, and sought to break them. You failed America, and it is finally time for your eviction – both actual and metaphorical.

Unlike a business, you cannot just enter bankruptcy and start again. The damage you and your Republican companions have dealt to our nation will be felt for decades, whether its from needing to rebuild our trust internationally, undoing intentional damage to our lauded institutions, and ridding ourselves of the rot of xenophobia and racism you purposefully unearthed. This will take time, energy, and effort by millions of Americans to fix. Worst of all, there is a non-zero chance that despite this herculean effort to fix all that you’ve destroyed, the effort will not succeed. That aside, at least now I have hope.

I know you can’t grasp the significance of you being the only impeached, one term, no-popular vote winning president in history, but I know those you surround yourself with will, and in all likelihood you will find yourself abandoned. Instead, you will hopefully find yourself being stuck with only your followers who you despise most in your purview. Oh, I also fully expect you to be in jail, which is as good as place as any to make sure you never inflict your horrors on humanity again. 

I am gleefully looking forward to never having to think about you or your family. You are done. You lost. Do not, however, conflate my not thinking of you with forgetting you. I promise you I will not forget. I also promise to continue working to ensure what you managed to do never happens again. 

So this is my final goodbye. Sure, you might pop up from time to time, but your loss has set me and everyone else free from your sphere of stupidity.  To paraphrase Billy Madison,

[45], what you [have done in the last four years] is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever witnessed. At no point in your rambling, incoherent [term], were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this [world] is now dumber for having [lived through] it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.”

With all of THAT out of the way… to everyone else who has been reading Webtacular World – sorry for dragging you along through my obvious angst. Considering I didn’t listen to my own first point for good leadership when developing Webtacular World, I didn’t have a great plan in place for knowing what to do when the Internet slowly stopped being fun. So you got news mixed with manic personal journaling and only some fun, which I don’t really think I intended. I apologize. 

I don’t know what the future holds, but I am hoping this place can return to a less serious tone (FUCK OFF 2020, you are a pox on history [pandemic related curses really don’t work that well right now, do they?]). I know I’ll enjoy it more, and hoping you will too.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: The President-Elect
Why: Because Biden and Harris will chart a new course for America. What’s that feeling? Hope??? I almost forgot what that felt like.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Big Bust
Why: Because Jack Ma’s latest venture Ant went completely under to the tune of trillions of dollars after Chinese regulators stepped in before it’s IPO could close.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Bring On The Lawsuits
Why: Because Trump apparently didn’t understand that appointing judges isn’t quite the same as buying them.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Last Tweet 
Why: Because it is no longer in the public’s interest (if it ever was) to give Trump a 24/7 microphone.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Never Learn, America
Why: Because Notre Dame’s last minute win sent thousands of kids to the center of the field to celebrate.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: What Is The Greatest Gameshow Host
Why: Because Alex Trebek passed away after a long battle with cancer.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. listen)
What: New Foo
Why: Because the new single Shame Shame sounds different than much of their past catalogue, which is a brave thing for a 25 year old rock band to do. Rock on.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. look)
What: Celebrate
Why: Because it feels good.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: A Reflection; A Glimpse Inside
Why: Because there a few books worth reading about Trebek and the gameshow personified.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: They’re Here
Why: Because the new Xbox and PlayStation have enough different ideas to appear to be carving out their own distinct paths for gaming for the next generation. Game on.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Kornacki Forever; r/MapBoy (NSFW); John King, King Of Maps 
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: More of whatever this feeling is. I think I said it was hope earlier. Yeah. More of that.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 244, November 1, 2020

This morning, a Trump truck parade drove past my house on Highway 101. The stupidity of these people cannot be overstated – here they are, driving American made vehicles that only exist because of multiple bailouts to an otherwise failed industry, driving on federally funded highways, burning subsidized fuel, flying Don’t Tread On Me flags while treading on everyone else, supposedly promoting “freedom” while supporting the most anti-democratic leader the United States has every seen. Unlike their Tea Party predecessors, it is hard imagine that these people will just up and disappear back into whatever apolitical hole they came from – even though it is still highly unclear what they actually want. I can only hope that there enough others out there that feel the same way I do, and vote.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: VOTE
Why: Because the election for the future of America is in our hands.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: COVID’s Back, Back Again
Why: Because this past weekend, the number of COVID cases in the US blew past the previous record set during July – there were just shy of 100,000 new cases on October 31 reported.  Trump, the GOP, and every single person who is still running about, calling for America to “open up,” not wearing a mask, constantly seeing friends, going to bars/restaurants/movies, pretending this is all OK is seriously fucking up.  Or just keep doing what your doing, get sick, and destroy the economy.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Running Against Democracy
Why: Because the GOP are out of ideas, so they have been trying to use the courts to stop people from voting. They are closer to success than they should be.  One final thing – take a quick look at the official fundraising pages of the candidates. One campaign is clearly lying, and further sowing seeds for violence.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: THE NEW IPHONE OMG!!!!
Why: Because a new expensive piece of tech seems to be the last thing on everyone’s mind. That being said, I did upgrade this time around after 4 years with a phone that wouldn’t hold a charge for more than half the day. While the new phone doesn’t feel like quite the magical leap that an upgrade used to, it still is an extremely well designed device.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: LA Sports Is King
Why: Because the Dodgers won the World Series. Of course, it wouldn’t be 2020 without one of their players playing even though he had COVID.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Bye Bye Quibi
Why: Because it turns out a mobile-based television company isn’t really something anyone needs when we’re all stuck at home.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: VERY NICE 
Why: Because it shows just how much doesn’t surprise us (/ we don’t care??) any more when an actual fake journalist gets the President’s personal lawyer, who runs a goddamned Security and Safety Consulting company, alone in a hotel room in a compromising position, and nothing fucking comes of it. Just a collective shrug.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Boss For A Reason
Why: Because Bruce Springsteen’s latest takes a look back at his career through the rearview mirror. Not so fun personal fact – when I was in grade school, I broke Clarence “The Big Man” Clemons’ son’s arm during a game of kickball – and I still feel awful about it. Chris, if you somehow read this, I am sorry.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: The 2020 Siena Award Winners
Why: Because pictures are pretty.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Things To Read
Why: Because you’ll need something to do this next month – why not read a book?

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (lotsa reads)
What: The Main-Stream
Why: Because everything about games is growing at a rapid pace, especially with the new consoles coming out in a week.  Politicians are streaming and building in-game islands, and pre-orders are selling out faster than concert tickets, and games and services are rising and crashing at an insane pace. There’s never been a better time to play games.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Be Your Own Boss; Be Happy; Be Undecided
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: It had better be obvious at this point.
Why: Because Brian America The World deserves it.

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