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WesRecs

Vol. #58 - December 18, 2020

I cannot believe that this year is almost finally over and that Christmas is so near. If there's one thing that 2020 has reinforced it's that anything can happen so I will be very sparing in my proclamations and predictions for 2021.

In the meantime this has ended up being one of the busiest weeks I've had all year. I hosted trivia almost every day (often twice a day). I put in crazy hours (including an all-nighter) working on a Boston Tea Party themed comedy show (video below) and I coached storytelling plus a bunch of other stuff. As such I did not cook much or watch stuff but I am very excited about trying my had at deep fried chicken livers for the first time this week...so there's that. Without much further ado I'll get right into this week's newsletter. Thanks so much for reading. I hope your holidays are happy and safe!
These days I wear sweatpants and graphic tee-shirts every day almost exclusively. Last month I thought I'd need a nice new outfit for a performance thing. I got to do the thing and you'll see it early next year, but the wardrobe department went in a different direction so I have a new shirt and blazer that probably won't see the light of day until mid-late 2021. I still had to submit a reference photo though, so here it is, one of the only pics of me in this entire year where I don't look like a hobo farmer or a stay at home dad.

P.S. I have found most people don't really like yellow. I for one am a fan.
WesRecs is the weekly newsletter where I (comedian/storyteller/TV Host) Wes Hazard recommend a bunch of cool content (recs) to YOU (the person reading this). There's no particular reason for this other than the fact that I love curating stuff and I'm always excited to share items that I personally have found worthwhile, exciting, or necessary. If you like what you see please be sure to subscribe to get each week's edition delivered straight to your inbox and if you know someone else who might be into it definitely share with them. You can check out all past issues HERE.

WES Around the WEB

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COVID Corner

Findings in Plagueland

Texas Wedding Photographers Have Seen Some $#!+ - Texas Monthly

We're all gonna die.
 
The wedding photographer had already spent an hour or two inside with the unmasked wedding party when one of the bridesmaids approached her. The woman thanked her for still showing up, considering “everything that’s going on with the groom.”

When the photographer asked what she meant by that, the bridesmaid said the groom had tested positive for the coronavirus the day before. “She was looking for me to be like, ‘Oh, that’s crazy,’ like I was going to agree with her that it was fine,” the photographer recalls. “So I was like, ‘What are you talking about?’ And she was like, ‘Oh, no, no, no, don’t freak out. He doesn’t have symptoms. He’s fine.’ ”

...

Photographers’ experiences shooting weddings during the pandemic have run the gamut. Several photographers described couples who were cautious, respectful, and understanding. But many were not. “I would say about fifty percent of the weddings I’ve shot, there’s been no masks at all. It’s like we’re living in the pre-COVID parallel universe,” one photographer told me. “I’ve been in hotel ballrooms inside, and it’s been packed like sardines, and everyone’s having a great time. No one’s wearing masks. I’m there as the photographer documenting the reception, and there’s sweat flying, and it’s hot, and the music’s blaring, and the fan’s on, and I’m just like, ‘Well, the odds are that one of every ten people here have COVID and don’t realize it.’ ”

...

He was one of the more upbeat and forgiving photographers I spoke to. But even he was shocked by what he’d seen. At plenty of weddings, he said, guests in their eighties and nineties walk around maskless. “I saw a guy with an oxygen machine. He was carrying around an oxygen machine to breathe, but he didn’t have a mask on.”

America

What Are We Doing???

Right-Wing Embrace Of Conspiracy Is 'Mass Radicalization,' Experts Warn - NPR.org

OK, so the biggest existential threat to humanity is climate change. After that I'd say our biggest worry and generator of misery is global capitalism (which of course is the greatest contributor to climate change). But when it comes to America today I increasingly feel that what we need to fear most is the total splintering of "reality" into camps. I've spoken about this here in WesRecs many times before and have had the opportunity to share a number of insightful (and dire) pieces about the many different manifestations of this problem. Here's another. What was once "fringe" may now have 60M+ adherents and then it's well past the point of being obviously ridiculous and well into "the 'truth' is what we agree on is the 'truth'" territory. We are there. It is scary. I have no solutions. I think about it every day.
 
At conferences, in op-eds and at agency meetings, domestic terrorism analysts are raising concern about the security implications of millions of conservatives buying into baseless right-wing claims. They say the line between mainstream and fringe is vanishing, with conspiracy-minded Republicans now marching alongside armed extremists at rallies across the country. Disparate factions on the right are coalescing into one side, analysts say, self-proclaimed "real Americans" who are cocooned in their own news outlets, their own social media networks and, ultimately, their own "truth."

...

While it's impossible to pin down the scope of such beliefs, analysts say, the numbers are staggering if even a fraction of President Trump's more than 74 million voters support bogus claims that say, for example, the election was rigged, the coronavirus is a hoax, and liberals are hatching a socialist takeover.

...

Jason Dempsey, a military analyst and former Army officer on the panel, said too many people are turning to force as a response to fears over political divisions, whether through the military and law enforcement, or the formation of local armed groups. The election-rigging rhetoric only ups the ante as Democrats are painted no longer just as fellow citizens with different views but as enemies who must be vanquished.
I Was the Homeland Security Adviser to Trump. We’re Being Hacked. -NYT

This seems very very very bad and I'm both surprised and very much not surprised that the sitting president of the United States, who is rarely at a loss for words (regardless of how garbage they are), has absolutely nothing to say about it.
 
According to SolarWinds S.E.C. filings, the malware was on the software from March to June. The number of organizations that downloaded the corrupted update could be as many as 18,000, which includes most federal government unclassified networks and more than 425 Fortune 500 companies.

The magnitude of this ongoing attack is hard to overstate.


The Russians have had access to a considerable number of important and sensitive networks for six to nine months. The Russian S.V.R. will surely have used its access to further exploit and gain administrative control over the networks it considered priority targets. For those targets, the hackers will have long ago moved past their entry point, covered their tracks and gained what experts call “persistent access,” meaning the ability to infiltrate and control networks in a way that is hard to detect or remove.

While the Russians did not have the time to gain complete control over every network they hacked, they most certainly did gain it over hundreds of them. It will take years to know for certain which networks the Russians control and which ones they just occupy.

...

The actual and perceived control of so many important networks could easily be used to undermine public and consumer trust in data, written communications and services. In the networks that the Russians control, they have the power to destroy or alter data, and impersonate legitimate people. Domestic and geopolitical tensions could escalate quite easily if they use their access for malign influence and misinformation — both hallmarks of Russian behavior.

...

The remediation effort alone will be staggering. It will require the segregated replacement of entire enclaves of computers, network hardware and servers across vast federal and corporate networks. Somehow, the nation’s sensitive networks have to remain operational despite unknown levels of Russian access and control. A “do over” is mandatory and entire new networks need to be built — and isolated from compromised networks.

...

President Trump is on the verge of leaving behind a federal government, and perhaps a large number of major industries, compromised by the Russian government. He must use whatever leverage he can muster to protect the United States and severely punish the Russians.

Race & Policing

Towards The Reduction Of Harm

Abolition Is Not Complete - NYT

There was chattel slavery in this land from 1619 - 1865 (246 years). Only 155 years have elapsed since slavery was officially outlawed (and it's only been 55 years since Black people were guaranteed the right to vote and a seat at the front of the bus [yay...]). An institution as ingrained and as sprawling and as lucrative as slavery doesn't just vanish because some people in Washington drag their pens across a piece of paper in the wake of The Civil War. No, it morphs, it evolves, it becomes socially acceptable yet again because this time the only people who are subjected to it are "criminals", which in our society is shorthand for "people who deserve every bad thing that happens to them" despite the fact that since the end of The Civil War the people who benefit most from Black subjugation have been doing everything possible to equate criminality with Blackness. Funny how that works huh? Eric Foner continuing to do essential work here.
 
The problem is that the Thirteenth Amendment, ratified in 1865, which prohibits slavery throughout the country, allows for “involuntary servitude” as a “punishment for crime.” This loophole made possible the establishment of a giant, extremely profitable, system of convict labor, mainly affecting African-Americans, in the Jim Crow South. That system no longer exists but its legacy remains in the widespread forced labor of prisoners, who are paid far below the minimum wage. The Abolition Amendment would eliminate the Thirteenth Amendment’s “criminal exemption” by adding these words to the Constitution: “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude may be imposed as a punishment for a crime.”

...

Because of its very familiarity, the text of the Thirteenth Amendment did not undergo necessary scrutiny. The criminal exemption was almost never mentioned in congressional debates, contemporary newspapers or at antislavery conventions that endorsed the proposed amendment.

But the clause did not go unnoticed by white Southerners. The all-white governments established in the South by President Andrew Johnson after the war’s end enacted laws known as the Black Codes, which sought to use the courts to consign African-Americans to involuntary labor. Black Americans who failed to sign a contract to work for a white employer could be convicted of vagrancy, fined and, if unable to pay, sold at public auction.

“Cunning rebels,” one congressman complained in 1866, were using “the exceptional clause” to reduce freed persons to slavery. In 1867, the National Anti-Slavery Standard, an abolitionist journal published in New York City, called for the passage of a new amendment eliminating the words “except as a punishment for crime.” Today’s abolition amendment seeks to accomplish the same result by other means.

...

Conditions were barbarous and the supply of convicts seemingly endless. “One dies, get another,” became a popular refrain among those who profited from the labor of prisoners.

🎵To The Left! To The Left!🎵

On That Commie Pinko Tip

Am I providing free advertising for a soulless multi-national corporation that's worth billions of dollars and whose primary investors are hedge funds and private equity groups? Yes. Does the reduction of a song's or an artist's value/importance to the mere number of plays they get in a given time period represent a diminishment of all that is good and worthy and essential about music. Yeah. Are these yearly wrap playlists super fun to receive and share and reflect on? Yup.

Just like so many of the trappings of market capitalism that contribute to frequently unseen yet utterly diabolical human misery, ecological disaster, and cultural erosion the Spotify wrapped campaign is also very very entertaining. Check out the story below from Liz Pelly in The Baffler about the clear downsides of a marketing campaign like this (and never forget: it is a marketing campaign and we're doing all the promo for free).

As to the music: Future, Drake, and The Weeknd have all been in my top 3 artists and tracks for like 3-4 years running (I am once again in the top 1% of Future listeners). I have seen all of them in concert. They're as mainstream as you can get and they each pretty much put out different versions of the same basic album over and over again with every release. But you know what? I like those sounds and I can rely them to deliver it with juuuuuust enough variation each time for me to dig each new thing every time so I'm good. Teardrop is an older song. I discovered (and fell in love with) Massive Attack, who did the original version, in the summer between high school and college and was hooked on it for a while. Then in sophomore year I stumbled on an mp3 of Elbow doing a live version of it and loved it. Then, later on in college, Jose Gonzalez got hella popular, mainly on the strength of 2 acoustic covers Heartbeats (originally by The Knife) and, you guessed it, Teardrop. I always liked his version of both but his Massive Attack cover made my 2020 year-end list by virtue of soundtracking probably the most emotional scene in the incredible ESPN documentary mini-series The Last Dance about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls' quest to win their 6th NBA championship in 1998 (if you haven't seen it def do, it's on Netflix now). Roddy Ricch's "ee-oo" vocalization on The Box was straight addictive. You hear it once and it's just glued to the side of your brain. The Baby Keem isn't something I'd normally rock a 100 times in a year but I dunno, I just liked it and heard it at the right time.

Now that I have satisfied the desires of Spotify's corporate overlords by making a free and personalized ad for them please check out Liz Pelly's piece right below this to think about why that may be eroding our art and culture.
Wrapped and Sold - The Baffler

OK, having just participated above in the corporate cheerleading that this very piece challenges, I can say that I'm very happy for this article for challenging the ease with which so many of us have slipped into this practice and this way of regarding music, perhaps without enough of a critical eye on it. I really enjoy Pelly's writing about music (especially re: its intersections with capitalism) and she makes a strong case for wariness re: the value of streaming metrics.

P.S. Liz and I don't really know each other but we did both DJ on the college station WZBC 90.3FM in Boston back in the day, and for a time my show followed hers so it's just great to see someone who was talented then being talented now in a different format.

 
What if, instead, Spotify just got people to do this stuff for free? That is the basic premise behind the Spotify Wrapped campaign: it’s free social media advertising for Spotify. The campaign began with annual personalized playlists; then, in 2017, Wrapped asked listeners to “be brave enough to share [their] listening history,” allegedly leading to five million social media shares. Now, every December, the company sends users automatically generated, Spotify-branded graphics summarizing their listening habits, like top-played songs and artists. They also send these graphics to musicians in the form of scorecards indicating their yearly numbers: how many streams and listeners they amassed, what countries they came from, and more. And every year, like clockwork, they fill social media feeds for days, giving Spotify its biggest social media marketing push of the year. Wrapped also typically incorporates a yearly billboard campaign, where user data is used as material for ads plastered on city streets and subways around the world.

...

It makes perfect sense that a company whose product is fully built on exploited labor would scheme new ways to squeeze more uncompensated value out of its varied user base. To that end, it is worth remembering what you’re advertising when you are doing advertising for Spotify. And that is: a publicly traded corporation with a fifty-three billion dollar valuation that’s only responsibility is to its stakeholders, who are largely investment management firms and major labels (who reportedly make millions per day from streaming).

...

If we accept the idea that the number of streams a song or an artist is able to amass is a valid way of determining what is important, we are significantly limiting the scope of sounds, voices, and emotional responses that are deemed valuable within music and culture. Do we want a publicly traded tech company, whose only responsibility is to make returns to major labels and banks and investment firms, setting the terms of how value is decided across all corners of music? And do we want these financial forces wrapped up in another task of this yearly campaign: labeling and bolstering Spotify-created so-called micro-genres?
Here’s proof that tax cuts for the rich don’t boost the economy - MarketWatch

First thought: ...Well DUH.

Second Thought: Well I'm glad they at least they did a formal study to bolster the common sense observation with scientific evidence.

Third Thought: Americans on the edge of poverty will still defend the absurdly lenient taxation of corporations and the super rich because deep down we all think we're next in line for astronomical financial success.

...When I get discovered and get big you're all gonna see! Just watch me...
 
Governments shouldn’t be worried that raising taxes on the rich will harm their economies when deciding on how to pay for COVID-19. Our new research on 18 advanced economies shows that major tax cuts for the rich over the past 50 years have pushed up inequality but have had no significant effects on economic growth or unemployment.

...

The data suggests that low taxes on the rich bring economies little benefit. This suggests there is a strong economic case for raising taxes on the rich to help repair public finances following the pandemic.

...

Falling taxes on the rich have coincided with a period of rising inequality, especially at the top of the income distribution as the graph below shows. This trend has been most severe in the Anglo-Saxon countries. The U.S. really stands out, with over one-fifth of pre-tax national income now going to the richest 1% of individuals.

Things Read

Worthwhile Words

TOBACCO COUNTRY’S DIRTIEST OPEN SECRET - Mel Magazine

Independent tobacco farmers have been scamming government backed insurance companies with false claims of crop damage for so long that it's gotten to the point where this is pretty much just how business is done in tobacco country. I found this article fascinating not only because it showed me a world which I am totally unaware of, but also because of the stark contradictions it highlights when we talk about welfare as a political/economic issue in this country. Single (POC) moms seeking aid to feed and house their children are vilified as lazy "welfare queens" who need to get back to work while farming subsidies, insurance payouts (legitimate and not), and tariffs on foreign imports are thought of as necessary "protections" for "real" working (white) Americans. You might wonder why that is, but then you think about it for half a second, remember that you're in America, and you remember exactly why that is.


If you don’t have a hailstorm, well, then you make one up, like Robert and Viki Warren, who between the years of 1997 and 2003, swindled the government and insurance companies out of more than $9 million in bogus insurance claims — all it took was a bag of cocktail ice and a disposable camera. “The way we did it, we was down taking pictures, out this row, and then we just stood behind it and throwed the ice over the top,” Bobby Chambers, a former manager for Warren Farms, told NPR in 2005. “To me, it looked like a hailstorm.” But just for good measure, according to Chambers, they then had another employee use a wooden tomato stake to beat the shit out of 16,000 tomato plants.

If the disaster is confirmed by the insurance adjuster — which, according to Henton, it almost always is, since the insurance adjuster is likely in on the scheme — the crop insurance company sends the farmer a check. It’s no sweat off the back of the insurance companies, since the indemnity payout comes directly from government funds, i.e., tax dollars.


“The [insurance] company says, ‘Well, what do we care? It’s not our money,’” Henton tells me. As such, there is little stopping the farmer, the insurance agent and the adjuster from running the same scheme the following year. “When I go to buy insurance next year, who am I going to choose?” asks Henton. “The guy that paid off like an ATM machine.”

...

In an AgWeb article detailing how federal agents busted a record-breaking $100 million crop insurance fraud ring in North Carolina, Don Doles, the lead investigator of the case, said that despite his record-breaking case, he and his fellow agents “touched about a tenth of those truly participating at some level,” adding that “the scope of what happened is so much bigger than what could ever be included in a story.” To that end, it’s possible that crop insurance fraud costs taxpayers somewhere in the ballpark of a billion dollars a year.

...

The question then becomes, why does the government continue to supply billions of dollars in subsidies to farmers without at least keeping a close eye on where and how the money is funneled?
That, explains Westhoff, is largely a political question. He tells me that while Republicans have dominated the farm vote for quite some time, it’s become even more pronounced recently. “
The current administration was definitely trying to provide support to a major constituency in making some of the payments they’ve made this year, no question about that,” he says.
What’s Behind the Pandemic Puzzle Craze? - JSTOR Daily

I remember it starting with adult coloring books. Then it was the re-emergence of paint-by-numbers kits. And now, as the pandemic rages on for the better part of a year, I see more and more people preaching the gospel of puzzles. While the most a jigsaw puzzle has ever meant to me was one's use as a plot device in the "Budnick and Michael Fake Being Sick" episode of Nickelodeon classic Salute Your Shorts (when the title characters solved a puzzle showing heaps of ice cream (with the pieces lying upside down mind you) in order to inspire them toward an ice cream heist in the nurse's office, I do, kind of, understand their appeal in an uncertain world. And yes, I do consider the NYT crossword puzzle to be a daily highlight of my life, so I get the desire to be presented with a concrete problem that has a definite answer and the satisfaction of reaching it. But when it comes to paint by numbers and jigsaws.... that's gonna be a no from me dawg. You put in all that time and at the end of it you have achieved....a vague sense of satisfaction??? At least when I do the crossword I get some trivia facts and new vocab out of the deal. If I finish a puzzle I get...a recreation of a picture I already saw on the box and a mess to clean up. I dunno. Te each their own. If you do puzzles and they bring you joy keep doing you boo-boo. Everybody gets to have whatever (pandemic-safe) joy they can get in 2020. I'm just glad to have this piece (no pun intended) to offer some perspective on the craze.
 
Puzzling, which many adults find to be both meditative and engrossing, is particularly well-suited to staying at home. With all the tragedy, anxiety, and uncertainty stemming from the pandemic, one way to stop doom-scrolling is to literally unplug from devices and do a puzzle. You can have music or TV on in the background while puzzling, but you can’t really be on social media.

...

However, as Pepe notes, contrary to the sensationalist headline, puzzling wasn’t accessible to all. It was an activity associated with the wealthy, who did puzzles at vacation homes and during lavish house parties. At the time [1908], a 400-piece puzzle cost $4; the average American worker earned only $12 a week. In response to this economic inaccessibility, puzzle clubs and rental libraries sprung up. Then as now, puzzling had a strong psychological pull: it offered a distraction from life’s problems.

...

The historian Anne Williams, speaking to CNBC about the surge in puzzling during the Great Depression, gets to the heart of why puzzles can be so appealing in times of great societal upheaval: “It’s something you can control… It’s also a challenge over which you can prevail.”

...

In his essay on puzzling, English professor Tim Morris ruminates on the various feelings the activity provokes. One of the most satisfying, he writes, is the teleological aspect—there’s only ever progression when you’re working on a puzzle, never retrocession. And, at a certain point when you’ve completed enough of a puzzle, the drive to finish kicks in and propels you to the finish line.

...

Much like life, a puzzle-related obstacle can feel insurmountable, but with fresh eyes and some time away, a solution presents itself.
ARE WEIGHTED BLANKETS GIVING PEOPLE EXTRA-VIVID SEX DREAMS? - MEL Magazine

Trigger warning: this article contains a description of dream-world sexual acts involving Coach Bill Belichick (undeniably a football coaching genius leading our beloved Patriots to 6 Super Bowl titles in fewer than 20 years, a stunning feat that will almost certainly never be duplicated in the NFL) who is also one of the crustiest, dustiest, caraggiest, most non-amorous creatures to ever walk the face of the Earth. If you can live with these images then proceed. If not, turn back.

I honestly cannot tell if this story is a backdoor ad for weighted blankets cooked up and commissioned by a weighted blanket cartel. Suffice it to say I found it thoroughly fascinating and while I have dismissed this fad until this point it does make some convincing points about the therapeutic benefits and I am now considering purchasing one. Regardless of its origins it is hilarious and I found this to be one of the more smile inducing articles I've come across in a difficult year.
 
Gravity blankets have been used to treat sensory disorders since the late 1990s, but they’ve become especially popular over the last few years thanks to the work of sleep scientists and influencers who hawk them as quick solutions to anxiety, ADHD, chronic pain and insomnia. The pandemic — which has created legions of lonely and touch-starved people in need of their hug-like embrace — has only increased their popularity.

...

Then there are people like John. Not everyone’s cooking up Belichick-level fantasies under the comforting crush of their heavy blankets of course, but it seems as though plenty of others are having hot AF sex dreams while pinned to the bed like cheap iHop pancakes under a boatload of butter and strawberry syrup. Camille, a 30-year-old lawyer from Milwaukee, tells me she recently had a weighted blanket sex dream about getting “Eiffel-Towered” by her old boss and brother-in-law in Paris. “I never saw my boss’ face,” she remembers. “I just knew he was the one behind me. When I looked out the window, I could see the actual Eiffel Tower.”

...

In other words, we can’t definitively say that a weighted blanket gives you sex dreams, but we also can’t definitively say that it can’t. All we can do in the meantime is hope and pray that Bill Belichick is as gentle of a lover for everyone else as he was for John.
The Distinguished Medieval Penis Investigators - Narratively

Look, I thought about whether to include 2 back-to-back academic/investigative journalism related articles with focuses on offbeat intersections of sex and culture and I decided that....it's Christmas season so what the hell. This is just a fascinating piece on medieval divorce law and the (nowadays) shocking freedom with which people back in the day approached sex. Merry Christmas.
 
In the year 1370, Tedia Lambhird filed for divorce from John Saundirson, claiming that her husband was impotent. Next, she had to prove it. Fortunately for Tedia, she had eyewitnesses.

One key witness, Thomas son of Stephen, testified in church court that he had seen the couple unsuccessfully attempting to have sex in John’s father’s barn before 9 o’clock one springtime morning. In spite of the fact that John and Tedia were “applying themselves with zeal to the work of carnal intercourse,” Thomas reported that he saw “John’s rod was lowered and in no way rising or becoming erect.” Furthermore, Thomas claimed that John’s brother also witnessed the failed sexual encounter, adding that the brother stroked John’s penis with his hand in order to see if he could help.

So to summarize: John Saundirson not only tried (and failed) to have early-morning barn-sex with his wife before an audience of two men but also received ineffective manual penis stimulation from his own brother. Thanks to Thomas’s devastating testimony, Tedia won her case.

...

Several women also inspected William Barton’s genitalia, including one who agreed that William’s “rod and testicles appeared sufficient to serve and please any honest woman.” But some women had less glowing comments about William’s genitalia, supporting his wife’s accusation of impotence. Robert Lincoln, however, countered that these particular women had handled William’s penis too roughly and with such cold hands that “on account of shame, his rod retracted itself into William’s body.”

Things Seen

Watched Recently By Wes

What Do You Eat in Antarctica? | Antarctic Extremes

Main takeaway: there is at least one Black man in Antarctica and boy did they make sure he got featured in this video.

Other takeaways: Food in Antarctica kind of sucks...except for the pizza...which everyone LOVES.

So there  are a few thousand people stationed in Antarctica for scientific research during the "warmest" parts of the year. As nothing can grow there and people don't generally have a taste for penguin they have to ship 100% of their food in, but it can only arrive, by boat, at certain points of the year so they order all of it in bulk at the start of the season and keep it frozen until it's ready for use. It takes so long to get there that most of the food is past its expiration date before it arrives in Antarctica...then it gets frozen.

When it's almost time to prepare the food they have to move it to a fridge from a. freezer to thaw...but because the ambient environmental temperature is so low they need to heat the fridge lockers in order to do that. Wild. Also, since food is so rare and precious down there the food service cooks almost never throw anything away: The food is served buffet style and then whatever isn't picked up that day gets recycled into stews, hash, omelettes, etc.

This really had me thinking about the food service workers on our southernmost continent. The vast majority of Antarctic inhabitants are students and research scientists. But from this video it's also clear that there are people who live there for like nine months a year who are there exclusively to chop vegetables, grill hamburgers, and wash dishes and I cannot imagine how much they are getting paid. Think about it. Food service workers in like hospitals or corporate cafeterias are criminally underpaid on the mainland. But if you had that job and were also expected to live for 9 whole months in one of the harshest environments imaginable, in college style dormitories, away from all of your friends and family and every creature comfort imaginable, you would be in a position to demand a crazy salary as compensation and with literally nothing to spend your money on during all that time I'd guess you walk away with some serious bank (that you most  definitely earned). Just a thought.
Random Viewing

Things Made

By My Own Hand

Here's the comedy show I helped make as part of this week's 247th anniversary of The Boston Tea Party. It's part legit history with actual published historians and scholars and half comedy with a bunch of Boston comics. The whole thing is entertaining and informative and I'd recommend it all but if you want to specifically check out my segment this video should start there (the last part of the show) but if not you can head straight to me at 1:03:43.

Word of The Week

Up That Vocab Game

Entheasm, n.
[ EN - thee- AS - um ]

now rare.
Meaning: The state or condition of being possessed or inspired by a divine power; divine inspiration. In later use, esp. with reference to the Neoplatonic philosophy of Plotinus: a divine trance; religious ecstasy. Cf. enthusiasm n. 3

Origin:  Byzantine Greek ἐνθεασμός < ancient Greek ἐνθεάζειν to be inspired or possessed by a god (see entheastic adj.) + -μός , suffix forming nouns

Fun Facts

Trivia To Bend Your Brain

  • Costco sells more hotdogs annually (over 100M) than every MLB stadium combined
  • The original name for 7-Up was “Bib-label Lithiated Lemon-Lime Soda”
  • Globally more than 10% of marriages are between first or second cousins
  • While MySpace was the most visited website in America in 2006 its current rank is about the 1700th.
  • The chocolate river in the classic 1970s film “Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory” was made primarily of dyed water with cream added to thicken it. The cream soon spoiled under the heat of the film production lights and went rancid, causing an awful order on the whole set.
Copyright © 2020 Wes Hazard -- Comic. Poet. Performer., All rights reserved.


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