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™

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Webtacular World Issue # 290, June 23, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators! Remember, the next time I say I’m going to do something and then change my mind at the last minute, it’s not because I’m indecisive or an asshole, it’s because I’m practicing “shrewd brinkmanship.” On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK ()
What: It’s War Time, Baby! Or Is It?
Why: Because Trump almost sent us to war, although once again, he demonstrated he is entirely unclear if he understands what his job actually is.

But let’s get to the real issue here. On June 21, Trump tweeted the following in regards to him recalling an airstrike in progress against Iranian targets:

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,”

My biggest concern about this tweet is his misspelling of the word “site” with the word “sight.’

Let me explain. I can understand Trump not realizing that bombing something might kill a lot of people, because who normally thinks about something like that? The way our government and media talk about air strikes makes it seem like the only thing that happens is that a bunch of buildings go down in a puff of smoke – so not having an understanding that a very real outcome of an air strike is a massive loss of life is at least somewhat defensible.  And, (unlike many of his decisions) in the scheme of things, choosing NOT to kill people is ultimately the correct choice, even if it took him a second to put two and two together.

With the mix-up of “sight” vs. “site,” though, I take true umbrage. How the hell does he not know the difference between the two words?  Unlike foreign policy or war, the word “site” should be something he is intimately familiar with.  Trump has worked in and around construction for his entire adult life, and presumably is something that he at least knows something about. The word “site” is to the construction business as the words “buy” is to a stock trader, “cell” is to a biologist, or “eye” is to an optometrist. Most professionals who do not know the correct version an homophonic word that is inherently tied to their business are not very good at their job, if they are even allowed to practice their profession in the first place.  Just saying.

Also, the phrase is “locked and loaded,” not “cocked and loaded,” but now we all know what porno was watching recently. So thanks for that.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (1 min. 30 sec. watch)
What: The Facebank
Why: Because Facebook is hopping on the crypto train with Libra – the difference being that Facebook already has one billion customers.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Clarence Thomas Hates Black People
Why: Because he wrote one of the most astonishing dissents in support of the a clearly racist reasoning to remove jurors from a jury.

JUNETEENTH THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. watch)
What: The Case For Reparations
Why: Because many of the people who read this are not sold on the idea of reparations for African Americans who have inherited their disadvantage in modern society directly from American slavery – so let someone who is way more persuasive and knowledgeable on this matter than I will ever be.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: VAR – HUH! What Is It Good For?
Why: Because the Virtual Assistant Referee has already caused issues in the Women’s World Cup.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Disney Cannot Lose
Why: Because the studio has the four top grossing movies this year so far.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (longer read than you would think)
What: I Bought An Electronic Drum Set
Why: Because I can now be a rock god without bothering my wife or pets.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Secret Commonwealth
Why: Because Philip Pullman’s second book in the Book Of Dust trilogy is out soon.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: A Stabby Dance
Why: Because Cadence of Hyrule is one of those fever dream games that somehow actually exists.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Trump Free Knitting; Mario Royale; Truckla
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A Truckla
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 289, June 16, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators! Happy Father’s Day to all you dads out there, especially you new ones. It is so great to see just involved all of you are in your children’s lives, and how good of role models you will be for them. You are doing a great job. Keep it up! (OK older dads, now that the new Millennial dads have gotten their unearned accolades and stopped reading, you can go back to quietly just knowing you all did an even better job at raising kids, and you didn’t even need paternity leave to do it). On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: You’ve (Not) Got The Power!
Why: Because aside from the other things that happened this week (Trump saying that he would collude with foreign governments in the future and other nonsense; Sarah Huckabee Sanders will no longer not be doing her job; the US blaming Iran for attacks on oil tankers that were immediately disputed by much of the rest of the world; and continued protest in Hong Kong), the news about the amount of fragility within our power systems reached an all time high with the collapse of two countries’ electric grids. Immediately preceding this failure, two related electric issues were noted: 1. A targeted probing of the US electric system is ongoing and at a much larger scale than previously reported, and 2. The New York Times released a report that our very own country has been strategically attacking Russia’s power grid. The ability to cause massive economic and societal damage for relatively low stakes is not something any country should be doing, yet here we are.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: The Importance Of The Census Being Right
Why: Because if the Census is wrong, it will deny Americans their rightful claim to a portion of “an estimated $880 billion a year in federal tax dollars for schools, roads and other public services are distributed to local communities.”

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Legal Weed In Prisons
Why: Thanks to the way our world works, it is now possible for an inmate in CA who was arrested, charged, and convicted of weed possession to now possess weed (but not smoke it [?]) while in prison.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (short reads)
What: Boo. Yay. YEEEEESSSSSS!
Why: Because sports are the best and the worst.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. reads)
What: How To Do A 4th Movie / How Not To Do A 4th Movie
Why: Because you don’t need a 4th movie after a trilogy wraps up, you’d better make sure it is amazing.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Day The Music Died
Why: Because Universal lost a huge portion of the master recordings of its catalog in 2008, and didn’t tell anyone until now.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. watch)
What: Resist
Why: Because this is what over a million people protesting looks like.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: The Weird World Of Literary Fellowships
Why: Because writing as a professional seems like a terrible time.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: The Best Of E3
Why: Because everyone still just wants Keanu.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: MIB; Coming Out; So Claby
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Iron Man Suit
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 288, June 9, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators! With all the craziness in the world, one of the few things that I have been able to do to feel somewhat grounded is help people around me.  This weekend, I helped run Ribs for Kids, a BBQ competition event put on by my local chapter of Active 20-30 in order to support local underprivileged children. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by everything else as well, donating your time and effort to local issues is one way to feel like you can actually make an impact.  On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Why Is There Gay Pride?
Why: Because things like this, this, and this are continuously happening in today’s world.  These are not problems straight people have. At least some groups are trying to admit and apologize for their past bigotry.

WORLD STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: One Out Of Seven
Why: Because over a million people Hong Kong took to the streets to protest a bill that would allow suspected criminals to be extradited to China for trial.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Explosive M&A
Why: Because companies that build things to kill people probably should not be joining together.

NEWS NEWS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Why Unions Work
Why: Because employees at Vox Media,  a news conglomerate that I rely on quite frequently, recently walked off the job in order to secure favorable terms in from their employers. It worked.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Meet Your New Heroes
Why: Because the Women’s World Cup is great soccer. It is amazing what these players have to go through to play, especially compared to their male counterparts.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Dark Phoenix Not Doing What It’s Namesake Says It Does
Why: Because the last X-Men movie made before Fox was sold to Disney is not good. Here’s why.

THEATER THING OF THE WEEK (6 min. read)
What: The Tonys
Why: Because Hadestown won for best musical, and The Ferryman won for best new play. I need to go to more shows.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: RIP Dr. John
Why: Because one of the premier voices of New Orleans music passed away this week.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: The Fall Of The Internet
Why: Because when one of the foremost writers of the cyber punk genre understands that the promise of the internet doesn’t hold up weaponized bad information.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (long watch)
What: E3
Why: Because Microsoft came out very strong on the first day of the conference by announcing a new console and a reasonably priced subscription bundle.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: Why Theater Is Good; How To Draw A Stick Figure; People Love Keanu Reeves 
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: A fast forward through the next couple of weeks so I can go watch the World Cup.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 287, June 2, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators. Everything Is Fine. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Mueller Says The Same Thing, On Television
Why: Because America is full of idiots who do not believe something happened unless it is told to them by a person on television. It does not help that Mueller uses big words and language that requires inference and basic logic to determine its meaning (“[i]f we had had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so,”) so it is unlikely that his repeating his findings will change anyone’s mind at this point.

INTERNATIONAL STORY OF THE WEEK (7 min. read)
What: Back To The Drawing Board
Why: Because Netanyahu failed to form a new government after his recent election.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: How Not To Advertise
Why: Because North Face, a company that usually does good, decided the best way to advertise its message was by taking advantage of a non-profit. Not a great look.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (10 min. read)
What: The Quacking Waddling Thing With Wings Does Turn Out In Fact To Be A Duck
Why: Because it turns out that the change to the 2020 census regarding the addition of citizenship status was included specifically to deter immigrants from being counted in the US census in order to help Republicans.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long reads)
What: Liverpool Does It
Why: Because Liverpool F.C. won the Champions League for the first time in 14 years.  Speaking of international football, let’s just say there are some problems with the amount of money in the league.  If you think this only applies to European sports, you might want to take a look at the meltdown that the Lakers had in its front offices.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Maybe Rom Coms Aren’t Terrible?
Why: Because Always Be My Maybe is legitimately funny and sweet, and has one of the best uses of a celebrity cameo I have seen in a very long time.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Good Good Omens
Why: Because Good Omens, based on the Neil Gaiman / Terry Pratchett novel of the same name, is a very enjoyable 6 episode palate cleanser from GoT.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: byeTunes
Why: Because assuming reports are correct, iTunes is no longer the one stop location for all of your Apple apps, music, and movies.

ART THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Maybe Not The World’s Most Expensive Painting
Why: Because it is entirely possible that Salvator Mundi was not actually painted by da Vinci.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: What Libraries Are Good For
Why: Because libraries still have the ability to organize information better than the Internet can.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. watch)
What: Fewer Walls More Bridges
Why: Because Hideo Kojima, one of video game’s most well known auteurs, released an 8 minute trailer for his new game, Death Stranding.   If you’re wondering why a video game needs an 8 minute trailer, lets just say it covers babies with psychic powers, ghost demons, WW1, Guillermo Del Toro, a character named Die Hardman, and fire demon terminators.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: If This Is Real, Humans Deserve Nothing; “I Had Nothing To Do With Russia Helping Me To Get Elected”;
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Ferrari SF90 Stradale (It’s Ok, It’s A Hybrid)
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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

Webtacular World Issue # 286, May 27, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators! I hope everyone had an enjoyable Memorial Day weekend.  I’m pretty sure most of Northern California missed the memo that it’s supposed to be time for hanging out outside while BBQing, since it is still raining / snowing even though it is light until 8:30pm, but oh well.  It would also be nice if our own Armed Forces celebrated the holiday correctly, but apparently they care more about dead soldiers than the ones served their time and lived to tell about it. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (3  min. read)
What: Brexiters Brexiting
Why: Because Theresa May is a failure.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Decisions Decisions
Why: Because do you really think anyone knows the difference between all of the different hair care products on store shelves? Now take away your ability to test their smell, add a couple more thousand choices, and that’s what online shopping is for essentially every category of product.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Slow March To Taxes
Why: Because the US will eventually see Trumps tax returns.

SCIENCE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: New Way To Weigh
Why: Because there is a new kilogram in town, and it’s ready to be a constant companion to people looking to figure out mass.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: That’s Not A T-Shirt Cannon, THIS is T-Shirt Cannon
Why: Because even though the Bucks are out, they still figured out a way to give T-shirts to the masses in the nose bleeds.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (medium read / watch)
What: The Early Nineties Are Coming Back To Take Our Money
Why: Because there is a new Aladdin, a new Star Trek: Next Generation, and a new Terminator. If you want something new, check out these flicks from the Cannes Film Festival when they inevitably end up on Netflix.

TELEVISION THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: The Lonely Island Throws A Bash
Why: Because The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience is one of the most surreal things put on film I have ever seen. Easily worth a half an hour of your time.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (long read / listen)
What: Every Song Of The Summers
Why: Because NPR made a playlist of 56 years of songs that represent what got people dancing during the longest days of the year.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read / look)
What: The Story Behind The Pictures
Why: Because nature doesn’t even need to try to look good in pictures.

LITERATURE THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read)
What: Kids Don’t Read Books
Why: Because there is no need to use a physical version of something that you can get access to whenever you want on your computer or phone.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Crank It
Why: Because the new Playdate, besides being developed for by many renowned developers, has a crank, and is adorable.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: I Don’t Dance I Work; Uniform On; The Only Genie You Need
Why: Because Internet.

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

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

Webtacular World Issue # 285, May 19, 2019

Greetings Webtaculators. The final season of Game of Thrones is the appropriate show for our current times.  What began as a true revolutionary show during the Obama years winds up barely being able to perform basic story telling. On to the news.

STORY OF THE WEEK (4 min. read)
What: Alabama Hates Its Citizens
Why: Because someone who rapes a woman and causes a pregnancy now has a lighter potential jail sentence than if that person who was raped decides to abort their pregnancy.

ECONOMIC THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Get Huawei From Here
Why: Because the Republicans and Trump continue to demonstrate that they definitely do not believe in or want a free market. Which is fine, but not if their constituents don’t understand that they are continuously being lied to.

LAW THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Stare Indecisis
Why: One of the most important underpinnings of our judicial system, that precedent be taken seriously, is being thrown out of the window by Conservative judges.

TECH THING OF THE WEEK (long read)
What: Not Living Up To Its Promise
Why: Because as the world of technology fails to live up to its promise (see a running theme yet?), there are parts of our tech forward lives are in some ways still OK. It’s also good when we realize just how pervasive it can be, and as a society, decide that we don’t need it.

SPORTS THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: Make That Paper
Why: Because “student”-athletes might actually be able to be partially paid for their talents.

MOVIE THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. read)
What: John Wick 3 – The Wickiest
Why: Because what started out as a movie about a guy who was mad at the people who hurt his dog has turned into one of the best action franchises.

MUSIC THING OF THE WEEK (8 min. read combined)
What: How Are You Feeling?
Why: Want some pensive music with strong female vocals (actually) as you drink a glass of wine while thinking of how things could have been? Check out the new National album.  Want to pretend you live in the 80s and dance all your feelings away? Then the new Carly Rae Jepsen album is your jam.

PHOTOGRAPHY THING OF THE WEEK (3 min. look)
What: B2B
Why: Because Bay To Breakers remains one of the most fun races in the US, even if it is no longer the wild free for all it once was.

VIDEO GAME THING OF THE WEEK (5 min. read)
What: Rage Harder
Why: Because sometimes all you need out of a video game is something that allows you to shoot mutants with a BFG.

INTERNET THINGS OF THE WEEK (∞)
What: RIP Grumpy Cat; You Were The Man Then, Dog; The Truth About Comas
Why: Because Internet.

THING YOU SHOULD GET BRIAN OF THE WEEK
What: Sensible access to abortion.
Why: Because Brian deserves it.

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