Things I’m Verbing: Gravity, governors and oh wow, the GOP

This would have been such a different list if I had gotten it out on Friday like I intended. But then I would have missed the chance to write about the straight-up nuclear bombshell that was the death of a major and polarizing Supreme Court justice immediately before a GOP presidential debate. Instead of streaming it online, I chose to watch the Roberto Mendoza episodes of The West Wing while checking in on Twitter. Edward James Olmos is still magnificent, and we should be so lucky to get a jurist like Mendoza next. Meanwhile, in South Carolina…

There were a lot of good takes and funny tweets, and everyone has their collection, I’m sure. For those of us certain that the hot takes are only going to get hotter as the year drags on, here are some links that have nothing to do with Scalia, the debate or even the polar vortex currently confining me to my 1BR in Brooklyn.

  • There’s still room for thoughts about “Formation,” right? It’s only been a week, and Beyoncé’s video is, of course, rich fodder for The Discourse. Jesmyn Ward wrote a stirring celebration of the bama identity for NPR, while Maris Jones for Black Girl Dangerous took the singer to task for her use of Hurricane Katrina imagery.
  • It’s also been a week since the Super Bowl, which means you ought to read Gabriel Thompson’s first-person investigation into the workers who staff these events. One beer costs more than they make per hour, and that’s just the start of it.
  • You may have heard that scientists finally confirmed a 100-year-old theory about gravity by Einstein. This is an actual big deal! Try watching the New York Times video explaining it all and not getting a lump in your throat. The New Yorker‘s long behind-the-scenes narrative is next on my reading list.
  • Okay, there are still some politics things I want to share. In October, the Nation wrote about how the GOP’s “current crackup” is the inevitable end result of Nixon’s Southern strategy. Somehow Ohio Gov. John Kasich is emerging as the “most sensible” of the Republican lineup, but plenty of Ohioans (myself among them) have a very different perspective. Here’s an Atlantic profile from last spring. If you’re sorry Scott Walker is out of the mix, this may be the guy the for you.
  • An uplifting note to end on: I just read James Fallows’ long summary of crisscrossing the United States in a small airplane to study how cities and towns of all sizes are pulling themselves together outside the hysteria of The Discourse. A good read on a lot of levels.

Okay, I keep lying about being done. But this ties everything together so nicely, and I just can’t resist:

Things I’m Verbing: Hidden tracks, open theft and the world’s greatest elephant seal

This is one view from my apartment. The light was doing great things yesterday afternoon. Maybe this picture should be more exciting, but YOLO, I like it — not to mention I definitely own the rights.

While the curiosity gap is certainly still a thing, sometimes the headline that just lays it all out for you is my favorite. One recent winner from Jewniverse was “Trotsky’s Yogurt Is Alive and Well in NYC, And You Can Eat It.” I have to credit the Cheezburger network, though: “A Sassy Elephant Seal Enjoys Her Day in the Sun, While Destroying Everything in Her Path” is maybe the most inspirational thing I’ve read this week. Live your best life, Molly. We will follow.

  • Do you have 17 minutes? You have 17 minutes for this staggering Radio Diaries episode, “A Guitar, A Cello and The Day That Changed Music.” Some days I find things that make me remember how much music moves me, and how amazing music journalism is (and could be to do). This is about history’s greatest blues guitarist and greatest cellist jamming together on the same day in 1936. It made me feel so many things.
  • In that vein, Atlas Obscura has taken a look at the vanishing hidden track. (The formative one for me was Alanis Morissette’s “Your House,” a song that seemed to me, at 11, to upend all of Jagged Little Pill in a way I didn’t know you could do.)
  • “All You Americans Are Fired.” BuzzFeed did a long investigation of discriminatory hiring and firing in seasonal agricultural work. I was ready to get angry at this for playing into some “Foreigners are here for our jobs!” argument, and instead I got angrier about something much worse. (Sorry not sorry about that curiosity gap.)
  • The Fader takes corporations to task for stealing culture from the people who are making it: black teens on social media.
  • My first political cause was Free Tibet. For a time, I read everything I could and got angrier and angrier about a thing no one seemed able to make China fix. The New York Times Magazine has a long profile of the Dalai Lama, now 80, who some argue has ultimately not been good for Tibet. Now the Dalai Lama poses his own question: Should he be the last one?