View this email in your browser


Vol. #61 - January 08, 2021

So....., let's everyone just take a breath because DAMN! WHAT A WEEK WE'VE HAD AND ALL OF THIS IS HARDLY OVER.

[[Takes Breath]]

OK, I'd had a relatively restful holiday week, I'd caught up on a bunch of sleep, I'd eaten several pounds of the pork shoulder I smoked on New Year's Day, and I was starting to chip away on some projects for 2021 when all hell broke loose and I watched more hours of live television news than I have in years. The events of the past few days have been absolutely top of mind for me (and I imagine most of you) since they started to unfold and I have some thoughts and related recs to share below so if that's all you can think about at the moment (understood!) just scroll down.

That said, I will use this intro space as I always do, to highlight what's been up with me personally and to share some upcoming stuff that you might be interested in. In a lot of ways that seems silly given the gravity of what's going down (and what might be yet to come). Then again we've been living in this circus for a few years now so I think we've all gotten pretty adept at mixing and matching national emergency, existential crisis, family commitments, social life, mindless entertainment, career pursuits, self care, and memes in a continual rotation so in a lot of ways this feels like business as usual.

What a time to be alive!

If you're newer to WesRecs thanks for being here. As I've often said: this is a compendium of the stuff I've come across (or remembered) in the last week that I think you might dig. It's long. I recommend perusing here and there, spending time with what interests you at a given point and maybe saving or coming back to what you might be interested in down the road. Some of these recs I was hyped about before Beer Gut Putsch 2021, some of them reflect how deeply I've been invested in the news of it since it happened. Go with what you feel, subscribe if it's something you like, and thanks again.

With that: Personal Updates (Including that TV thing I've had to be vague and cryptic about for months).
If you were here this summer you know I got way deep into grilling/smoking (and cooking in general). It's been great to learn more about food, expand my culinary skills, and enhance the menu of stuff that I can make for myself as I try to eat healthier and order out less.

This New Year's Day I cooked but it damn sure wasn't "healthy". Delicious, but not healthy. I smoked a picnic pork shoulder (6 lbs), it took 15 hrs, it came out amazing, I documented it, above is the IG story of the day. Watch if you like slow cooked BBQ I guess.
I'm going to be playing trivia on TV again.

This is the TV project I spent weeks prepping (studying) for back in the late fall/early winter. It's why I had to go to LA in the middle of a pandemic. It's why I had to buy a new blazer when all I've worn for 10 months is sweatpants, wicking t-shirts, sandals, and hiking boots. Overall worth it.

The Jeopardy! GOATS are heading back to prime time starting with The Chase on ABC. If you’ve never seen the British version of the show or the American version that was on Game Show Network a while back it’s pretty great. You get the trivia rigor and question volume of Jeopardy! + speed  + a ton of drama  & suspense + a trivia Jedi in a really high chair making fun of you while 2 others crack on the whole situation while watching it on a monitor in the back. It’s entertaining AF and I’m thrilled to be on the 3rd ever episode to air which will drop in 2 weeks on 1/21 (provided it doesn't get pre-empted by coverage of the Civil War the day after the inauguration). I truly can’t think of a better way to continue my 6 year streak of being on TV for literally anything other than standup comedy. It was a blast to tape and I can’t wait for you to see it. I'm not on until 1/21 but def tune in next week to get a sense of what it's all about.

And with that, let's get into this week...
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

F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K F O L L O W on F A C E B O O K
F O L L O W on T W I T T E R F O L L O W on T W I T T E R
F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M F O L L O W on I N S T A G R A M


What Are We Doing Here?

Just another day in Congress...

Look, this shit was wild. And like anyone who feared it for years, watched it go down, and is observing the maddening attempts to downplay/deflect it and the staggering incapability of our elected leaders to rise to the moment, I have some thoughts. It's very recent and very much still developing so I have nothing sweeping to say. I'll just offer some observations:
  • This was planned, more or less in the open, for weeks and weeks. And that's just the specific actions at the capitol on Wednesday. (A general disinformation campaign and an attempt to disrupt the democratic process in the event of his defeat in the election has been plainly admitted to by 45 since at least this past spring).
  • There was almost nothing stopping this from being so much worse than it was. A mob (with not a few armed people) broke into congress with minimal resistance and remained there for hours. You need to understand how easy it would have been for nearly every elected member of the legislative branch of government to be assassinated in a single afternoon. It didn't turn out that way, but that was most definitely on the table and how possible it was should scare you.
  • This was clearly enabled by a coordinated effort to look the other way by the federal powers responsible for preventing this (or anything even near it). This summer BLM protest organization was tracked online (in the open where it was largely going down) and prepped for with shows of extreme force. The exact same kind of intel was available here (with the added benefit of the sitting President loudly goading people to be there on the date ready to witness something big and never before seen). Any idiot with a Facebook account and an awareness of the current national rhetoric should have been well aware of the thousands of people calling for just such a thing, and the thousands more saying they were ready and on the way. At best this would be gross incompetence, but there's no chance the people in charge at so many responsible agencies could be this obtuse in this moment.
  • I guess it's progress to have seen prominent Media outlets calling out the stark (understatement of the year) discrepancies in force and violence deployed against these violent insurrectionists vs the brutality visited upon black and brown protesters this summer in the moment *as it was happening* on TV. Usually we'd scream about the hypocrisy in the moment and get a few "I guess there is a double standard" think pieces at a later date but, like network TV was on that angle immediately, and it was noticeable.
  • But at the same time I don't think we can continue to responsibly use terms like "double standard" or "incongruity" when we talk about how "justice" is applied to one group vs another. We can no longer (or rather white people can no longer) afford the naivety of thinking that a kid gloves response to white marauders while Black people playing a memorial violin concert get tear gassed is representative of a flaw or an error of the system. The system is doing exactly what it is designed to do. Legitimizing white range and entitlement while crushing Black humanity is how it's supposed to operate. At the very least this should all make this point as clear as day.
  • No Democratic politician who counsels "unity" or "healing" or "putting aside our differences" vis a vis the kind of people doing what they were doing in the Capitol on Wednesday needs to be taken seriously any longer. That's not where we are. If you come with platitudes to this moment then you do not grasp the moment we are in.
Above all: If you're thinking "wow that got kinda scary there for a second, but phew! - crisis averted, the coup has failed, Biden's certified, and Trump has said he's leaving, we're all good in the end here. Democracy prevails!" I want you to ask yourself where you think all of the energy, violence, wrath, resentment, scheming, entitlement, & boldness that was on display on Wednesday has gone exactly???

The answer is nowhere at all. Make no mistake, the people who did this see this as a victory, not a defeat. They planned this more or less in the open for weeks, they earned Trump's seal of approval, they trampled through congress with impunity, they were met with inadequate/sympathetic law enforcement, they were allowed to leave largely without consequence. They feel vindicated, they feel emboldened and they are still 100% committed to the idea that the 2020 Presidential election was rigged (whether they actually happen to believe that or if they just see it as a the perfect pretext under which to continue their efforts for rebellion).

Nothing is over. People who are this fired up (and successful) don't just hang up their MAGA capes and go home. Joe Biden will most likely be inaugurated, but all of these people (and millions more who stayed home this round) are all around the country...all around us, and now they've gotten a taste for what they can do.

I am not interested in any "path forward" that doesn't seek to acknowledge and resist this.
Above is a short tweet thread plainly stating what was very much at risk this week but which few outfits are explicitly saying.

Below is a quote from The Handmaid's Tale which has haunted me ever since i read it a few years ago and which I included in a piece I wrote last summer about what we could likely expect after the election in November ( I was, happily, wrong about the seeming assuredness of 45's victory but I've ended up mostly correct about his behavior thus far).

Given what I've seen, nothing is off the table for America (even if it takes a few years to manifest) unless we get a clear eyed grasp of the issue real quick.
Facts won't fix this: experts on how to fight America's disinformation crisis - The Guardian

Tens of millions of people think the rightful winner of our most recent election was actually put in power via a vast conspiracy involving forged & shredded ballots, hacked machines, dead people casting votes, etc. If you truly/fully believe that then storming the capitol is an extreme, but understandable, course of action. Trump and his minions will never stop spewing this nonsense (while conveniently ignoring the blatant Russian electoral interference that American intelligence has warned us about for years, and the run-of-the-mill GOP voter suppression we see enacted against black Americans every cycle, and the president admitting he crippled the USPS to help his chances). So it seems like this is a fundamental issue to be addressed. Thing is, I have no idea what that would look like since, as detailed here, these aren't delusions that a rational argument with evidence can really combat.
America’s current disinformation crisis is the culmination of more than two decades of pollution of the country’s information ecosystem, Wardle said. The spread of disinformation on social media is one part of that story, but so is the rise of alternative rightwing media outlets, the lack of investment in public media, the demise of local news outlets, and the replacement of shuttered local newspapers with hyper-partisan online outlets.


And the left and right in the US don’t merely have different sets of media outlets for their different audiences: they have also developed distinct models of information-sharing, Wardle said. Mainstream media outlets still follow a traditional top-down broadcast model: an authoritative source produces the news and sends it out to consumers. The rightwing media ecosystem, which developed through talk radio, on the other hand, operates as a network of media personalities interacting with each other, “a community telling stories to their own community”, Wardle said.


“We have an emotional relationship to information. It is not rational,” Wardle said. But people who work in the “quality information space”, Wardle’s term for journalists, scientists, researchers and factcheckers, still often act as if information-processing were fundamentally rational, rather than deeply tied to feelings and the way a person expresses their identity.
I can't imagine. Every single person in that kitchen should get a month of senator's salary as a bonus.
Mike Davis, Riot on the Hill — New Left Review

Mike Davis is keeping it REALLY REAL here. The Republican Party as we know it is toast. But its major players in either of its main factions aren't going anywhere just yet and all its factions have a young and energized base that will have a foothold in congress for years and years to come (and just might take back the presidency in 2024. The current Dem leadership is going to be wildly ineffectual and either way big business is going to be taken care of.
Let me be clear: the Republican Party has just undergone an irreparable split. By the White House’s Fuhrerprinzip standards, Pence, Tom Cotton, Chuck Grassley, Mike Lee, Ben Sasse, Jim Lankford even Kelly Loeffler are now traitors beyond the pale. This ironically enables them to become viable presidential contenders in a still far-right but post-Trump party. Since the election and behind the scenes, big business and many mega-Republican donors have been burning their bridges to the White House, most sensationally in the case of that uber-Republican institution, the National Association of Manufacturers, which yesterday called for Pence to use the 25th Amendment to depose Trump. Of course, they were happy enough in the first three years of the regime with the colossal tax cuts, comprehensive rollbacks of environmental and labor regulation, and a meth-fed stock-market. But the last year has brought the unavoidable recognition that the White House was incapable of managing major national crises or ensuring basic economic and political stability.


That’s one side of the split. The other is more dramatic: the True Trumpists have become a de facto third party, bunkered down heavily in the House of Representatives. As Trump embalms himself in bitter revenge fantasies, reconciliation between the two camps will probably become impossible, although individual defections may occur. Mar-a-Lago will become base camp for the Trump death cult which will continue to mobilize his hardcore followers to terrorize Republican primaries and ensure the preservation of a large die-hard contingent in the House as well as in red-state legislatures. (Republicans in the Senate, accessing huge corporation donations, are far less vulnerable to such challenges.)


Freed from Trump’s electronic fatwas, moreover, some of the younger Republican senators may prove to be much more formidable competitors for the white college-educated suburban vote than centrist Democrats realize. In any event, the only future that we can reliably foresee – a continuation of extreme socio-economic turbulence – renders political crystal balls useless.

COVID Corner

Findings in Plagueland

What Long Flu Sufferers of the 1918-1919 Pandemic Can Tell Us About Long COVID Today - Time

As all of the above madness was going down 4k people died on multiple days this week and we've managed to vaccinate 5M people when the goal by now was 20M. America just keeps being great huh? Here's a piece offering some perspective on the kinds of trends we might see long after life begins to return to "normal".
Given these similarities, perhaps history can offer us some insights into what to expect from Long Covid. “The incapacity caused by the flu and its after-effects seriously affected the country’s economy for some time,” wrote Phillips in 1990, in Black October, his comprehensive study of the 1918 epidemic in South Africa. In what is now Tanzania, to the north, post-viral syndrome has been blamed for triggering the worst famine in a century—the so-called “famine of corms”—after debilitating lethargy prevented flu survivors from planting when the rains came at the end of 1918. “Agriculture suffered particular disruption because, not only did the epidemic coincide with the planting season in some parts of the country, but in others it came at the time for harvesting and sheep-shearing.” Kathleen Brant, who lived on a farm in Taranaki, New Zealand, told Rice, the historian, about the “legion” problems farmers in her district encountered following the pandemic, even though all patients survived: “The effects of loss of production were felt for a long time.”


British doctors noted that cases of nervous disorders including “melancholia”—what we would call depression—showed a marked increase in 1919 and 1920. Schoolteachers lamented that it would take their pupils months or years to recover lost ground.

The trouble with discussing the 1918 pandemic is that it overlapped with World War I, making it difficult if not impossible to determine the relative contributions of the two disasters to any subsequent wave of lethargy or mental illness (the pandemic – like today’s – might also have had indirect effects on health, due to the bereavement and social upheaval it brought in its wake). Studies from countries that were neutral in the war, such as Norway, are therefore invaluable, since they afford a glimpse of the impact of the pandemic that is uncomplicated by that of the war. Norwegian demographer Svenn-Erik Mamelund provided such evidence when he combed the records of psychiatric institutions in his country to show that the average number of admissions showed a seven-fold increase in each of the six years following the pandemic, compared to earlier, non-pandemic years.

Race & Policing

Towards The Reduction Of Harm

‘You Have the Wrong Place:’ Body Camera Video Shows Moments Police Handcuff Innocent, Naked Woman During Wrong Raid - CBS Chicago

I first ran across this story a few weeks ago when it was breaking and I'd meant to include it in an earlier WesRecs but frankly I was just too appalled and furious to fully engage. Now, after the holidays, after a coup rehearsal in the capitol, and in a new year I'm still appalled and furious but this insanity needs to be highlighted. This story ultimately ended up getting a fair amount of attention but unfortunately Black Americans being dehumanized by law enforcement is a daily occurrence and this sort of thing is a feature, not a bug, of our criminal punishment system and until the entire system is brought down things like this (both national news and the far more common unheralded indignities) will continue.

In short: Nearly 2 years ago Chicago police executing an arrest warrant broke their way into an apartment with a battering ram, guns out, while barking orders and kept the screaming and terrified occupant (a middle aged social worker who lived alone) handcuffed, naked, and at gunpoint surrounded by male officers for 13 minutes until a female officer finally arrived who allowed her to dress...before putting her back in handcuffs.

I don't need to tell you that police had the wrong house and that this woman was absolutely traumatized for no reason whatsoever. What you might not guess is that none of it was even remotely necessary because the suspect they were actually looking for (who lived in the unit next door) was wearing an electronic monitoring device by order of the court.

So police broke down this woman's door, ransacked her home, had guns trained on her, left her standing handcuffed/screaming/naked in her own living room, provided no explanation as to what was happening, ignored her assertions that she lived alone and this was obviously a grave error, and then simply peaced out because they couldn't be bothered to use *their own* surveillance technology that was already in place to locate the dude they were actually looking for. Infuriating is insufficient here.

The police should be abolished period, but until that day every single officer who entered that home, their supervising officer, and the judge who signed that BS warrant should be out of a job immediately. This woman's life will never be the same off some incompetent commando bullshit and it's a miracle we know anything about this at all because stuff like this happens ALL THE TIME. Anjanette Young is, in a perverse way, "lucky to be alive" since we've all seen what can happen in the absolute worst of these situations (RIP Breonna Taylor) but this is an outrage and the type of thing Black, brown, & poor people suffer at the hands of law enforcement daily.
The video reveals on Feb. 21, 2019, nine body cameras rolled as a group of male officers entered her home at 7 p.m. Not long before, the licensed social worker finished her shift at the hospital and had undressed in her bedroom.

That’s when she said she heard a loud, pounding noise.

Outside, officers repeatedly struck her door with a battering ram. From various angles, the video captured the moments they broke down the door and burst through her home.

“It was so traumatic to hear the thing that was hitting the door,” Young said, as she watched the video. “And it happened so fast, I didn’t have time to put on clothes.”


Young told police at least 43 times they were in the wrong home. She repeatedly asked them to allow her to get dressed and told them she believed they had bad information.

“Oh my God, this cannot be right,” Young said during the raid. “How is this legal?”

Police did have bad information, CBS 2 Investigators uncovered, and they failed to do basic checks to confirm whether they had the correct address before getting the search warrant approved.


But CBS 2 quickly found, through police and court records, the informant gave police the wrong address. The 23-year-old suspect police were looking for actually lived in the unit next door to Young at the time of the raid and had no connection to her.

CBS 2 also found police could have easily tracked the suspect’s location and where he really lived because at the time of the raid, he was wearing an electronic monitoring device.
History of a Prison - Briar Patch Magazine

This piece does a great job specifically of showing the degree to which we are embedded in a culture of prisons & incarceration to the extent that most of us can simply not imagine a world without them, either now or at any time in the past or future. It basically just rips into on a general audience history of a historic Toronto prison written by an author who (without evidence) assumes the necessity of prisons in every society that's ever existed and the near automatic moral rectitude of prison staff and lawmakers vs the automatic inhumanity of those who are incarcerated. I'll never read this book but this review is saying something that needs to be said.
The Don is a history of the “infamous” and eponymous Toronto jail, which was open from 1864 to 2013 on the east bank of the Don River. Poplak begins by retelling the role of incarceration in Toronto’s colonial past. Conveniently, by starting her history in 1793 with the British settlement of York, Poplak frames the narrative as one in which the existence of prisons is a foregone conclusion, pre-empting any interrogation of Britain’s carceral system. This move ignores thousands of years of Indigenous history, which would show that civilizations can thrive without prisons. Instead, in passing, she makes the bizarre assertion that prisons have existed “since time immemorial.”


Alongside her credulous acceptance of the inevitability of prisons, Poplak reproduces value judgments that dehumanize incarcerated people. Starting with her retelling of the inefficient and expensive process of building the Don, Poplak spends more time and empathy writing about the men responsible for building and overseeing the prison than the people confined within it. She describes the writings and life experiences of duelling prison staff, vindictive politicians, meddling provincial officials, and variously negligent, ineffectual, and dogmatic governors of the jail, in many cases giving them undue credit for holding relatively “progressive” penal philosophies even if they failed to execute them. On the other hand, in her renderings of the jail’s captives, Poplak falls back on pat portrayals of conniving, manipulative, and irrational “criminals,” often describing them using racialized terms like “thug” and “hood.” These flat characterizations are certainly not helped by her reliance on sensational newspaper reports to narrate various acts of violence and jail breaks.


Today, new jails and prison reforms are justified with the same old rhetoric: that a certain fraction of any population is inherently criminal, that prisoners are subhuman, that prisons have always existed and always will exist, and that prisons can be made kinder and gentler.
Nov. 10, 1898: Wilmington Massacre - Zinn Education Project

When white people who think America is only for white people are presented with the mere possibility (nevermind the reality) of living in an America where that notion is seriously threatened you tend to get what we saw on Wednesday (and a whole lot worse). Witness Wilmington at the turn of thee 20th century.
Some 800 white citizens led by Waddell met at the county courthouse and produced the “White Declaration of Independence” which stated: “We, the undersigned citizens… do hereby declare that we will no longer be ruled, and will never again be ruled by men of African origin.”

The following day—Nov. 10—Waddell led a mob of 2,000 armed men to the Daily Record and burned the building to the ground.


As bullets were still flying, Waddell threw out the democratically-elected aldermen and installed his own. This was nothing less than a coup d’état. The hand-picked men “elected” Waddell mayor. Many black leaders were jailed “for their own safety” and then forcibly marched to the train station under military escort and sent out of town.

🎵To The Left! To The Left!🎵

On That Commie Pinko Tip

Dean Spade: ‘Mutual Aid Always Pops Up Where Disasters Are’ -

We ALL deserve better government than we have, than we've had, and than we're about to have. That's a fact no matter who you are. Still: Government will not save you. We need to build the world we want together. If we don't, well, there's a lot of people you probably don't see eye to eye with out there (they mighht be scaling the capital as we speak...) and they are certainly trying to make their world, so unless you want to live in that we've got work to do.
Mutual aid is described as a way to meet people’s needs from an awareness that the current systems in place have failed to do so. Through mobilizing, expanding solidarity, and collective action (as opposed to saviorism), mutual aid aims to take back control from forced dependency on hostile systems and put it in the hands of community-led operations.


The only thing that we can fight this with is movements that have hundreds of millions of people. The opposition has all the money, all the guns, control over land, control over enormous militaries and police forces and border protection agencies. It’s essential to build movements that have lots of people in them.


It is important to distinguish mutual aid from charity. I think of charity as a centuries-old practice in which rich people give really small amounts of relief to poor people whom they select as deserving. And so, charity is always moralizing. Most charities also have very racialized and gendered norms built into them. Those kinds of distinctions uphold existing systems that are producing poverty and crises for certain populations.

Remembering Alex

An Irreplaceable Icon

A Tribute To Alex Trebek | JEOPARDY!

I absolutely got choked up watching this, the tribute to Alex Trebek that was played at the end of the final episode of Jeopardy! that he hosted before passing away last year.The episode was broadcast today and I just finished watching it about 10 minutes ago. I've talked a bunch about Jeopardy!, Alex, and my brief and treasured experience on the show here in WesRecs before so I'll just say that it would be impossible for him to be better at his job, that he was a national institution that brought wit, gravitas, class, and intelligence to millions of Americans every night like clockwork, and that while Jeopardy! will live on without him it will never ever be the same. Godspeed Mr. Trebek.
The Forever Legacy of Alex Trebek - The Ringer

The number 1 question you get when people find out you were on Jeopardy! is "Did you win???". The number 2 question is "What was Alex like???". And to that I always respond "I have no idea" which is true, because as many people don't realize, as a contestant your interaction with Alex is limited pretty much entirely to what ends up on screen at home. A lot of that has to do with the laws they enacted after the 1950s quiz show scandals which limit on-set interaction to reduce the possibility or appearance of collaboration/cheating/etc. The only "extra" time I got with him was the end of the episodes as the credits rolled. I definitely appreciated that time but it was no way enough to get any sense of Alex the man. I liked reading this piece because it gave an unvarnished glimpse of some small part of an entertainment icon. I can never dream of him being a dramatic actor, but apparently that's what he moved to Hollywood to do before he wound up behind the podium. It's hard to think of him humoring a series of prank calls that went on for decades but he did just that. He got injured chasing down a burglar in a hotel?? Wild. And the thought of him with a .45 in each hand blasting away like Bruce Willis is just...wut...but he had that fantasy. I have watched that man's face for more hours than any actor, any other entertainer, and most members of my own family and it's weird and wonderful to know how little I actually know about him.

(P.S. The number 3 question I've been asked about Jeopardy! is, strangely, "Do they tell you the categories beforehand or give you a study guide?" Which...just...NO! Of course not. What on Earth would have ever given you that impression?????)
For the millions of people who watch Jeopardy! every weeknight, not to mention the thousands who have competed on the show, Trebek was a singular television presence, a beacon of intelligence and authority whose identity was inextricable from the quiz show he captained for more than 36 years. He was also an enigma: Federal regulations dating to the 1950s quiz show scandals meant that his interactions with contestants were almost always limited to the short conversations that appeared on camera during the nightly game. As his tenure holding court with each evening’s answers and questions draws to a close, it’s worth asking: Who was Alex Trebek?


Trebek was lukewarm on the idea of game shows, to say the least. “I don’t want to do this all my life,” he said in 1974, the year after he moved to L.A. “Hell, I don’t even watch game shows. But it gets me down here, opens the door into films. I know it’s not the usual route, but anything can happen.” Game shows were simply a waystation to acting—or so he thought. “If they had needed a weatherman,” he said in 1986, “I would have been a weatherman.”


Indeed, Trebek continued making Jeopardy! until the very end, taping his last episode just a week and a half before he passed. In October, Jeopardy! had to cancel two weeks of taping on short notice; Trebek had intestinal surgery, according to executive producer Mike Richards. A week before what would end up being his final pair of tape days in the studio in late October, Richards remembered telling him, “Alex, you’re barely up and around. We have a long way to go before you’re gonna be back in the studio taping.”

“I’ll be there,” Trebek replied—he had managed to get down some Jell-O that day, after all. “Don’t you cancel anything.”


On the drive home, Trebek turned to him. “He says, ‘Well, you know what I want to do? I want to be like Bruce Willis in that movie with a .45 automatic in each hand.’”

So they went back to the range a second time. They loaded up the .45s, and Trebek attempted his best Bruce Willis. It was, alas, not for him, Miller says—Trebek aggravated an old wrist injury. For the man who might have been a lifelong broadcaster, or a movie star, or a weatherman, it was just one more hat worth trying on.

Things Read

Worthwhile Words

Going the Distance (and Beyond) to Catch Marathon Cheaters - Wired

Big Narc Energy.

People should not cheat in competitive running, especially when doing so shuts actually deserving runners out of serious opportunities.

People who habitually cheat in long distance running events, especially when no monetary gain is involved, are likely grappling with some serious mental health / self-image issues.

Competitive people that take participants' money and claim to offer a fair and professionally-run race should absolutely be taking steps to ensure that cheating in their events is prevented and investigated.

You should not develop your own obsession with numbers (and your probable deep-seated inferiority complex re: being such a physically un-gifted runner yourself) into a personal vendetta that causes you to anoint yourself as mankind's last great hope to keep running fair wherein you spend the majority of your free time checking the records of road races throughout the country in order to expose and shame individual running cheats with a doggedness beyond all reason.
I wondered if he was obsessing too much over Moayedi. After all, she was doing good for health and well-being, and her race series allowed casual runners to try out long races without much pressure. “At what point do you just let it go?” I asked.

“I won't,” he said. “Not until Guinness takes a legitimate look at Parvaneh. Those records are now untouchable.”


One of Murphy's sharpest critics is Scott Kummer, a lawyer in Chicago whom Murphy invited to be his cohost on his Marathon Investigation podcast. The show explores famous cheating cases, and often the pair butt heads. (“I wanted somebody to debate with on the show,” Murphy says.) “There's a fine line between newsworthiness and creating an internet pile-on for an otherwise sad person,” Kummer told me. “If it's an elite runner who's caught, that seems OK. But if it's just Joe Average, who are we really helping with that? Anybody who goes to great lengths to cheat in a marathon probably has some issues to begin with, and having 4 million people on Facebook talk about what a piece of garbage they are isn't good.”

Murphy is unyielding. “It doesn't matter if it's a big race or small race,” he told me. “If somebody is reaching the podium and they cheated, it's wrong. The point is to preserve the integrity of the sport.”


“If what happened to Frank happened physically and not in the virtual world,” Faustina added, wiping away tears, “they would all be in jail.”

At some point on July 4, before Meza got out of the car, he'd recorded a video and left it on the front seat. On it, he apologized to his family for what he was about to do. He told them he loved them. “I can't go on with life with the whole world attacking me,” he said. “It feels like it's never going to stop, and I can't be pushed down any further. I just can't continue like this.”

Things Seen

Watched Recently By Wes

Food Theory: STOP Ordering Your Pizza Like This!

Domino's Pizza. Little Caesars. Pizza Hut. Papa John's.

Titans of the global pizza market. Here they're given an exhaustive and scientific price comparison to see which offers a better value for their 14 inch pie. I was engrossed. Note: this is only looking at price, taste/quality is not much of a factor here .

Things Learned:
  • Ordering toppings on a pizza will pretty much always result in you getting less cheese? There's some debate in the comments as to exactly why this is (I'd recommend it if this matters to you in any way) but I'd 100% always thought that a pepperoni pizza was just a standard cheese pizza with....pepperoni on it. Instead some cheese is left off the standard cheese pizza and you get pepperoni in it's place and that just feels diabolical.
  • Little Caesars pizza is stupid cheap. Like, I've known simply by walking by a few of their storefronts in NYC that they had some crazy deals, but I had no idea of the degree to which they were slaughtering their biggest competitors on cost. And that's real cost (adjusting for total weight of a pie). Yes, some of this can be explained by using cheaper / lower-quality-but-totally-fine ingredients than their rivals but it's mostly due to the fact that they don't have dine-in (and its  concurrent costs) and they don't do their own delivery (using 3rd parties like GrubHub where it's offered at all). Additionally their locations are stocked by a food distribution company that is owned by their parent company so it's basically in-house and very cheap for them.
  • Papa John's is pretty crap in the value department. They weren't in my town growing up so I never really got into them, and to this day I've probably had PJ's like 4 times. It's always been fine but wow, vs the other members of Pizza's Big 4 you are getting hosed.
A Glimpse Inside Hundreds Of Brooklyn Apartments In The 1970s - Gothamist

Very cool project from the 70s documenting all kinds of people in Brooklyn and the interiors of their homes.
Nooney, who moved to Manhattan in the early 1970s, worked on George McGovern's campaign in 1972 against Richard Nixon, photographing his rallies in Brooklyn as well as helping organize in the city. A few years later, some of her Greenpoint coworkers from that time became the first people to allow her to photograph them inside their homes.

All photos (NYPL)

NYPL interactive map of photo sites

Word of The Week

Up That Vocab Game

fitna, n
[ FIT - nah ]

A borrowing from Arabic.

Meaning: Trial, temptation; sedition, rebellion; social unrest or strife.

Origin: Arabic fitna, lit. ‘rebellion, strife’.

Fun Facts

Trivia To Bend Your Brain

  • There are no muscles in your fingers. Their function is controlled entirely by muscles in your palms and arms.
  • If you were able to use your nose in outer space it would smell like hot metal, diesel fuel and barbecue. This is due to aromatic hydrocarbons which are emitted by dying stars.
  • Etymology: In the card game bridge spades is the highest suit so a player with many of them is well positioned for the game so if you have something "in spades" you're in good shape.
  • The last cigarette commercial on U.S. television was for Virginia Slims and it aired at 11:50 PM on January 1, 1971 as part of The Tonight Show's Broadcast (the tobacco lobby had arranged to push the start of the national ban to January 2nd of that year so that they could still air ads during the lucrative New Year's Day college football bowl game coverage).
Copyright © 2021 Wes Hazard -- Comic. Poet. Performer., All rights reserved.

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp