Webtacular World Issue # 355, January 31, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! Apparently, I have access to a space laser that I helped a company I regulate set fire to the state I live in. How are people this dumb and cruel in Congress? On to the news

STORY OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Meet The New Team
Why: Because there are a bunch of familiar names with decades of experience heading Biden’s cabinet. It’s nice to have the U.S. Executive Branch back in the hands of qualified professionals.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: GameStop Is Breaking The Stock Market
Why: Because hopefully you took my suggestion last week – and hopefully don’t stay in too long unless you’re doing it solely for the LOLZ.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Giuliani Gets Sued By Everyone
Why: Because it’s really hard to lose a defamation suit, but Giuliani is dumb enough to do it. Also, Trump no longer has any representation for his defense at his impeachment trial, because all of his lawyers quit.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Union-bet
Why: Because after the story broke that Google’s employees launched an international union, this follow up piece appeared that potentially hamper US employees’ efforts to have representation.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. watch)
What: How?
Why: Because Danny MacAskill continues to do things on a bike that I just do not understand.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Dance In The Sun
Why: Because the Sundance Film Festival moved online – here are some things worth watching.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read / listen)
What: RIP SOPHIE
Why: Because I was mostly unfamiliar with SOPHIE’s work before hearing about their passing – however, it is clear that SOPHIE was incredibly influential in their short life. Think a futuristic, clubby, queer version of Passion Pit if Passion Pit kept making music like Sleepyhead.
Also, Weezer somehow released yet another album, but not the one people were expecting. (For those of you counting [because who ISN’T?], this is their 6th album since 2014, with another already completed, but delayed due to COVID. For comparison, Weezer released seven albums from 1994 – 2009.)

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (short look)
What: Normal Spouses
Why: Because I’m not sure I ever saw the last first couple show each other any real public or private affection.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (quick buy)
What: That’s A Long Dog
Why: Because my friend Avery who’s work has appeared in this blog regularly due to a seemingly unlimited well of creativity wrote a new children’s book about, well, a long dog.

FOOD THING OF THE WEEK (15 min prep – 6-8 hour cook)
What: Glo-BOWL-ization
Why: Because if you throw oil, diced onion, garlic, mushrooms, and tomato paste in in a pan on medium heat for a few minutes, stir in a dash of salt, pepper, and essentially whatever spices you have in pantry (I used, in no particular order: cumin, ginger, curry powder, Mexican chili powder, herbs de Provence, poultry seasoning, mustard, hot Hungarian paprika, Italian seasoning, and turmeric [YOU DO YOU]), and then throw that mess and some type of stock (I used chicken), some sort of cream (I used Greek yoghurt and half and half), choice of meat (again, I used chicken), some sort of acid (I used lime juice) and some mushrooms into a crock pot for 6-8 hours, you will get something absolutely delicious. CRAZY. If you want to be “healthy,” throw in some extra veg (I used bell peppers and kale) an hour before time is up so you don’t overcook it. Serve over rice, in a bowl, so the name makes sense. I didn’t include measurements because I didn’t use any – I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to mess this up. Go nuts. Of course, if you do happen to make something awful, please let me know. (Other people’s) cooking disasters are one of  my favorite things to hear about.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: How Not To Talk About Video Games
Why: Because the NY Times hosted an Op-ed that completely misidentified just how fucked up a year this has been, and how video games are one of the few ways kids (and adults!) have gotten to stay in touch with their friends. You can worry about too much screen time once people stop getting killed by COVID.
Also, the new Hitman is very good.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: It’s Jurassic Park But Pee-Wee Instead Of Dinos; STONKS!; Maybe Internet Food Delivery Companies Don’t Need So Much Money After All
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Time Machine So I Can Invest My Life’s Savings Into A Dying Video Game Store This Past Summer.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World # 354, January 24, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! So – this is what a week without the worst person in the world screaming at you constantly feels like. “Traitor Ted” is losing a Twitter fight to noted pot head and potter Seth Rogen, Bernie Memes have taken over the world, and I already forgot who all the decent people Joe Biden hired as his staff, such as Press Secretary Jen Psaki, a consummate professional, because they aren’t screeching demon hell-spawn like this or this or this (HAHAHA SHE NEVER GAVE A PRESS CONFERENCE!) or this. It feels… normal. Let’s see how long this levity lasts – I hope a while, because it feels fucking fantastic not waking up to a self-inflicted crisis every single morning. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (6 hour watch)
What: The Biden Experience
Why: Because this whole proceeding felt as hopeful as possible given that we’re still in the middle of the pandemic, and the traitors still in power are trying their damnedest to pretend that they didn’t try to overthrow the government a few weeks ago.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: WSB Vs. The World
Why: Because the most interesting fight between a whole bunch of small time traders vs. institutional powers is coming to ahead when the Reddit subgroup jumped on the Gamestop stock bandwagon and essentially called a bluff on a massive short-sale on a failing company. If you invested last Wednesday or Thursday (or especially a year ago) because you decided to YOLO and go to the moon, please think of me when you make your millions.

HEALTH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: A Comprehensive Plan
Why: Because unlike the previous administration, Biden has a comprehensive plan to do something with the vast power afforded to the Federal government.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Time To Go Electric
Why: Because the value of electric cars, especially when including their carbon cost, are a better buy than their gas-powered counterparts.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: RIP To The Greatest
Why: Because the Hammer was the best. Also, go climb a mountain, because fuck the COVID Bowl. And double fuck Tom Brady.

OTHER REST IN… SOMETHING OF THE WEEK (reads)
What: Larry King And Phil Spector
Why: Because a man who was spectacularly unprepared for his job and a murderer who was famous for creating a wall of sound seem to have been given multiple second and third chances that people now would never be afforded, assuming you aren’t a politician who tried to overthrow your government earlier this month.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: In And Of Itself
Why: Because this one man monologue / magic show / ode to human identity is extremely worth watching. Or, if you’d rather turn your brain off, which, hey, I get it, watch the new Godzilla vs. Kong trailer.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3  min. read)
What: Weeeey Heeey Blow The Man Down!
Why: Because sea shanties are back, baby! What a time to be alive.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (quick / long look)
What: I Mean…
Why: Because we have a Black, South Asian, WOMAN as a VP. The historic nature of this multiple-glass-ceiling-shattering fact still hasn’t been lauded and praised enough.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: If Only We’re Brave Enough To Be It
Why: Because you really should read the words Amanda Gorman spoke to us at Biden’s inauguration.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Most Presidential Presidents
Why: Because video game presidents are something else. Also, if you’re still wondering what the best games of last year are, Giant Bomb currently has it’s guest top 10 lists up for your reading pleasure. The thing about these lists that make them special is essentially that the site somehow has enough connections to the industry that many of gaming’s top creators, personalities, and assorted voices come together in one place to talk about their favorite games of the previous year. It’s basically the equivalent if there was a movie website that somehow got James Cameron, Brad Pitt, and Hanz Zimmer and their peers to talk about their favorite movies of the year. There is also just some excellent, cathartic writing reflecting on a particularly difficult year – I suggest reading Scott Benson’s, Alex Navarro’s, and Mary Kish’s – but all provide some context to a year when video games helped a hell of a lot of people cope with being inside.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: The Wellerman; More Memes; The Muppets Are Coming Back
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: More Low Key News Weeks! OH MY GOD I FEEL SO LIGHT!
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 353, January 18, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators. Welcome to the new year.

First, a few words by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., written from his cell in Birmingham, Alabama.

I must confess that over the past few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says: “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

I created Webtacular World to bring some semblance of “slow news” to the increasing news cycle. I could not, in good conscience, write about what I bore witness to the first week of January due to the spiraling uncertainty of the events that occurred.  It was too raw, and I was too overwhelmed with the fact that supposed “patriots” marched through our government’s hallowed halls bearing symbols of the Confederacy and the Nazis in celebration of their failed leader. I am still furious, but at least I have some additional perspective on the vast failure of American institutions that lead to what I hope will be Trump’s dying crescendo.

On January 6, 2021,  MAGA seditionists, guided by words of the Donald Trump, stormed the Capitol and attempted to overthrow Congress as they were performing their Constitutional duty of affirming the count of the Electoral College votes for the 2020 election of Joseph R. Biden as President-Elect.  

To those of you who were surprised that this could have happened, you really shouldn’t have been –  the undercurrent of American fascism, bellied by American white supremacy, have been apparent throughout America’s history. THIS IS WHO WE ARE.

A short review:

In 1619, before the formation of the United States, white privateers aboard the White Lion and the Treasurer attacked and robbed the San Juan Bautista of its cargo, and brought it to Point Comfort, Virginia. That cargo consisted of 20 or so Black slaves, and were the first slaves traded on present day American soil.

In 1778, the Constitution of the United States was ratified with the following language in Article 1, Section 2 –

Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole Number of free Persons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons.

This clause enshrined the existence of Black slavery within the formation of the United States.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate soldiers fired on Fort Sumter, starting the American Civil War. The war fought by the secessionist South to protect their states’ ability for white people to own Black people.

For a decade following the Civil War, the United States entered a period known as Reconstruction, which attempted to allow newly freed Black Americans the same civic life as their white counterparts.  Reconstruction ended in failure with the Compromise of 1877, where presidential candidate Hayes assured that all Federal troops would be withdrawn from the former Confederacy in exchange for granting him the electoral votes for him to win the presidency.  Without federal support, terror against Black Americans continued.

Following the end of Reconstruction, former Confederate states enacted multiple “Jim Crow Laws,” the colloquial name for a swath of rules and regulations enacted by Southern states for the sole purpose of disenfranchising Black Americans through the use  poll taxes, literacy and comprehension tests, and residency and record keeping requirements.  White people were generally exempt through these requirements through the creation of “grandfather clauses,” which allowed people to vote if their grandparents could.  Through these rules, many Southern states removed Black American participation in the Federal and State electoral process. 

Segregation remained the de-facto policy in the United States from this point until 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act and the 1965 passage of the Voting Rights Act – 100 years after the conclusion of the Civil War. Interracial marriage was not legal until 1967. Extra-legal, racist-based laws and practices exist to this day (gerrymandering; racist police practices; restriction of voting rights; education; COVID mortality rates; access to loans and debt… really I could go on, but I think [hope] you get the point).

On April 4, 1968, Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated.

White, right-wing Americans continued to terrorize Americans of all backgrounds from this period onward.  Between 1994 and the present, right wing terrorism is responsible for a majority of terrorist acts and deaths within the United States, without counting the singular act of religious-based terrorism on 9/11.  This includes incidents at Wacco, the Oklahoma City Bombing, and the vast increase in mass shootings. This especially includes the continued growth in violence perpetrated against Black Americans, and those calling for the end to that violence, by law enforcement.

Jump forward. On January 17, 2017, Trump gave his Inaugural Address. Here are the some of the words I wrote immediately upon reading the content of his depraved words:

DT- “At the bedrock of our politics will be a total allegiance to the United States of America, and through our loyalty to our country, we will rediscover our loyalty to each other. When you open your heart to patriotism, there is no room for prejudice.”
A political system built around total allegiance to country is fascism, not democracy. Also, patriotism by definition includes a prejudice against people who are not of citizens of a particular country, or, in practice, people who are not perceived to be belonging to a particular country.

DT- “It’s time to remember that old wisdom our soldiers will never forget, that whether we are black or brown or white, we all bleed the same red blood of patriots.”
I really have no idea what point he is trying to make here. It doesn’t fit within the context of any of the other sentences around it, and, by itself, seems more like a vague threat than anything else.

Overall, this speech once again demonstrates Trump’s complete lack of understanding of the position of the Presidency. I hope that we can continue to keep America great, but this, as with most of the thoughts and actions Trump has taken so far, continues to leave me underwhelmed and uncertain that he is capable of achieving this goal.

On January 13, 2021, Donald Trump was impeached for the second time in his Presidency.

Trump’s idea of patriotism always was the same idea of patriotism that enabled slavery in the United States. Trump will be remembered as the worst President in history for is continuous, abject failures.  Trump’s supporters will go down in history as the same sort of traitors as the Southern seditionists in the Civil War. The law enforcement that was supposed to prevent this from happening are no better than the slave catchers or men who turned hoses on protestors. This is not hyperbole, exaggeration, or euphemism.  The people who enabled Trump all looked at what he had to offer, weighed the options, and decided a fascist, racist man who was responsible for the death of 400,000 Americans and counting due to his mishandling of COVID was the best choice.  They had four years of worthless policies, befriending dictatorships, purposefully splitting up families, destruction of the middle class, selling out the United States all so they could enact tax cuts that the majority of people will never see and place extremist judges who will continue to destroy the fragile fabric of law that the United States is based on to enrich those who already have too much.  Their selfishness and inability to reason brought us to destruction’s doorstep, and it is still to soon to know whether or not they will succeed.

Republicans, and some Democrats, are hellbent on “putting this behind us” or “joining together in unity to heal.” I have no interest in joining with Nazis and Confederates who would destroy the few decent tenants of our country so that they may flourish. They must face justice. There cannot be peace without justice. Americans must not make the same mistake as a nation that were made during Reconstruction. The rot that has always existed in the United States must be excised. Only then can we prove that we have changed as Americans, and can move forward to a better future. This is a start.

On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: January 6, 2021
Why: Because this will hopefully be the end. The use of the BBC article here is purposeful – this is the same nonchalance that American media give to the havoc that occurs half a world away. Here it is as it happened.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: A Real Recovery
Why: Because it is absolutely infuriating to see how much power the current administration refused to use to help people, and how easy it would have been for them to do so.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Supreme Court Of Killers
Why: Because the self identifying Christians on the Supreme Court were complicit in the deaths of thirteen prisoners on death row over the last six months. During this time, the Trump administration executed three times the number of federal prisoners as had been executed in the previous sixty years, and the first federal execution in seventeen years. To say that this is a miscarriage of justice and goes against the plain text meaning of “cruel and unusual” punishment is an understatement.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Too Little Too Late
Why: Because although social media companies ultimately made the right decision, there must be a reckoning for what they allowed to happen. Trump was banned from Twitter, and then FacebookParler was “hacked,” and Parler was taken offline

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Fuck Sports, And Fuck Fascists
Why: Because leagues continue to pretend like anyone cares while throwing manbaby tantrums to get traded while exposing people to COVID or being destroyed for our entertainment or using the funds gained from said entertainment to provide funding to House Representative insurrectionists, so we might as well enjoy looking at a house we cannot afford while understanding why it is appropriate to call the January 6 rioters “terrorists.”

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK ( a few hours or something)
What: Choose A Bad Movie And Watch It
Why: Because I spent the weekend doing that, and it helped me ignore the awful in the world for a bit.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: More Concerts From Home
Why: Because I am working from home until September, at least.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (long look)
What: The Attack
Why: Because one of the few benefits of modernity is that we can all see what actually happened.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Fuck Hawley
Why: Because he is a piece of shit human who should be thrown in a hole and forgotten. 

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: Foreverever
Why: Because although there are probably bigger stories from last week, sometimes its good to know that some companies are making simple games Like EVERSPACE 2 where you’re just a clone in a spaceship that shoots other spaceships in space.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: State Of Georgia; Fleeing The Death Star; Make Killing Nazis Fun Again
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: 2 More Days.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 352, January 3, 2021

Greetings Webtaculators! We made it to the new year! 2021! The Roarin’ 20s! The 2000s are of legal drinking age! Everything’s going to be great! I mean, even Twitter found and destroyed Bean Dad, a random dude who has some less than stellar parenting advice! Yup – everything’s back to normal. I’ve got a good feeling about this one! On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (long reads / listens)
What: BAD 2021!
Why: Because 2021 went and pulled an even bigger 2020. After a bunch of chucklefucks in Congress decided that maybe states’ electoral votes shouldn’t be counted, Trump went ahead and got caught on tape being all Seditious with a capital “S” by threatening Georgia’s Secretary of State to change the results of Georgia’s election. To top it off, Trump awarded a guy who most likely covered up sexual assault at Ohio State and another guy most famous for losing lawsuits to a fictional cow the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The end to this cannot come soon enough.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Shoulda Bought Bitcoin…
Why: Because a single bitcoin is now worth $33,000.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (2 min. read)
What: 18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious Conspiracy
Why: Because

If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.

Also relevant – the term “by force” means using power, violence, or pressure directed against a person or thing. Force is a compulsion by physical means or by legal requirement. Force can be be either actual or implied.

“Trump alternately berated Raffensperger, tried to flatter him, begged him to act and threatened him with vague criminal consequences if the secretary of state refused to pursue [Trump’s] false claims” to “find 11,780 votes.” It quacks like a duck.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Strong Breeze Grows To Gale Force
Why: Because the SolarWinds hack (remember that?) is likely even bigger than previously reported.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (not worth reading)
What: Punt The Ball
Why: Because college football continues to be one of the worst things ever created. The Rose Bowl, named for Rose Bowl Stadium, home of the UCLA Bruins, located in Pasadena, California, was played in Texas(?) between a shit Notre Dame team who helped get the game moved and the state school of the least educated state in the nation. Speaking of Texas, that school just hired multi-time failure and drunk Steve Sarkisian as head coach, which is costing the school $25 million just to fire their current coaching staff.

Oh right. More positivity. Let’s see… Steph Curry scored 62 points in a basketball game! Hooray!

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Thunderous Silence
Why: Because Riz Ahmed’s performance in “Sound Of Metal” is by far the best thing about the movie, followed closely by the sound design.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: RIP DOOM
Why: Because MF Doom, the masked rapper who you might not have heard of, but your favorite rapper definitely did, passed away.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. look)
What: A Sad Celebration
Why: Because I spent New Years’ Eve texting with friends as idiots blew up fireworks around my house, coming very close to knocking out the power. Hooray…

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Year In Review
Why: Because COVID changed publishing as much as any business.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: To The Future
Why: Because these are some of the games you’ll be hearing more about as the year goes on.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Meet Our Dancing Robot Overlords – PS I had no idea how fucking terrifying jumping robots were, but now my dreams will be sufficiently haunted forever; Maybe Pexachu Can Save Us; TikTok Might Not Be Terrible?
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK BRIAN’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTION
What: My one resolution for this year is more dancing. I think that will fix most things / mean most things are fixed. See you all on the dance floor of the future. Except for the robots. They are not invited to dance with us.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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