El Chapo

Eventually the tunnel was discovered, so Chapo shifted tactics once again, this time by going into the chili-pepper business. He opened a cannery in Guadalajara and began producing thousands of cans stamped “Comadre Jalapeños,” stuffing them with cocaine, then vacuum-sealing them and shipping them to Mexican-owned grocery stores in California. He sent drugs in the refrigeration units of tractor-trailers, in custom-made cavities in the bodies of cars and in truckloads of fish (which inspectors at a sweltering checkpoint might not want to detain for long). He sent drugs across the border on freight trains, to cartel warehouses in Los Angeles and Chicago, where rail spurs let the cars roll directly inside to unload. He sent drugs via FedEx. –via the greatest longread about the cocaine business I’ve read since Snowblind.

The arc of the universe bends towards….

The momentum is clearly now in the direction in finding some way to … accommodate and deal with reality. And the reality is going to be that in a number of American states — and it will be more after 2014 — gay relationships will be legal, period,” Gingrich told The Huffington Post in a story published on Thursday.

Gingrich “continued to profess a belief that marriage is defined as being between a man and a woman,” Sam Stein and Jon Ward report, but “suggested that the party (and he himself) could accept a distinction between a ‘marriage in a church from a legal document issued by the state’ — the latter being acceptable.”


2024 Georgia, United States. 

Newt sits with his seventh wife in his palatial state and points somewhere in the middle distance down the road. “Look, I accept that gay people are getting married, but there should be a distinction between being married in a church, and being married in the church I go to.”

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The cruel march of progress

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“…the Double Sensation is so named because it features not one but two rings of crust. The outer ring is stuffed with melted mozzarella, parmesan, and cheddar cheeses which ooze out at intermittent holes in the crust, while the inner ring is filled with chicken sausage with bits of cheese inside.

But that’s not all! The inner pizza features smoked chicken and zucchini on an pepper Alfredo sauce and the outer ring is topped with turkey ham, bell peppers, and mushrooms, on a salsa sauce. And, for some odd reason, the pizza is finished with a single cherry in the center…”

Instead of picking up chicks with my new flying car we’ve spent the last 50 years investing in new technological advances solely for cat litter and pizza. 

I’ve eaten a tree ripe banana

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I’m the product of years of technology and an example of man’s domination over the caprices of nature. 

In order to become a global commodity rather than an exotic tropical treat, the banana has to be harvested and transported completely unripe. Bananas are cut while green, hard, and immature, washed in cool water (both to begin removing field heat and to stop them from leaking their natural latex), and then held at 56°F—originally in a refrigerated steamship; today, in a refrigerated container—until they reach their country of consumption weeks later.

What this means is that ripening must then be artificially induced in a specialized architecture of pressurized, temperature-and atmosphere-controlled rooms that, contrary to logical expectation, require heavy-duty refrigeration. Paul Rosenblatt, who runs Banana Distributors of New York, one of four main banana-ripening outfits supplying the city’s grocery stores, bodegas, coffee shops, and food cart vendors, told me that “the energy coming off a box of ripening bananas could heat a small apartment,” requiring not just refrigeration but also a series of fully pressurized and vented rooms in order to suck the cool air through the closely packed fruit.

via Cabinet Magazine

Fake it until you make it.

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Medium is a…place on the internet devoted to the idea that the “sharing of ideas and experiences is what moves humanity forward“. From this provocative and controversial stake in the ground they’ve launched a publishing platform via the internet, “The Greatest Idea Sharing Tool Ever Imagined.” But instead of using TGISTEI to swap pictures of cats or leak celebrity sex videos, they want to harness it to share high quality ideas. It is a mission statement with a capital E for earnest. 

So what does it mean in practice?

It means pieces that start off like this: “This weekend I officially joined the future: I got a flat-screen TV.” And continues in the exact same vein. Over a few paragraphs you learn that she has parents, a boyfriend, and a place to put that TV. And then the denouement, reproduced in its thrilling entirety here:

Here’s one small way in which my life has already changed: A few years ago, the networks gave up on trying to make their sports game scores readable on standard-definition TVs, so I haven’t been able to tell if the Knicks are winning, 16-13, or losing, 18-75. Now, I can see the score — and the ball! — without squinting or walking up to the screen.

Sigh.

Way to really stretch out TGISTEI! It doesn’t really matter that the post was banal- most of the internet is. Most of the world is. That is what the word means after all. Not everything is a winner, some things are nicely written fluff. And I’m certainly not calling out the author of the piece – it was fine. It just shouldn’t run on a site that brags about its ability to curate only things that “earn” your attention. 

The site privileges design over content, and thinks you can run a publishing house without strong, literate, editors. For every piece that benefits from this philosophy many, many more suffer and you wonder why they hit “publish.”  My sense is that Medium is aiming at a New Sincerity type of platform, where instead of issuing link-baiting reactionary pieces they want to give you instead a minimalist selection of pieces to Care About. 

This is noble effort and works really well on pieces like this one about Pedro the Lion. But is less successful at other times. This post about Sports in Age of Twitter raised a lot of points without really resolving any of them. 

It seems like the kind of site that would do well to publish Lydia Davis, and be sternly edited by Gordon Lish (wouldn’t we all, like Raymond Carver, wish to be edited by Mr. Lish). Instead it runs writers and personalities that are internet famous and so compounds the original sins that it is set up to avoid. And so you get, in the purest of internet style, one idea stretched to the breaking point over seven hundred or so words. A quick read then on to the next. Which is just like how the rest of the internet works. So much for utilizing TGISTEI.  

And maybe, if the pieces don’t strike you as vehicles to move humanity forward, well maybe it’s because you’re (I’m) too comfortable in your glass house of ironic detachment.