A regular spot to share some ideas about what’s good and what’s not on the interwebthingy. But, you know, it’s your life, so feel free to agree, disagree or ignore what follows.
What caught my attention last week
LeBron. Peyton. Tiger. Serena. Nigel.
Sport comes in many different flavours, and doesn’t have to be the physical variety. Ahead of the US National Scrabble Championship last week, FiveThirtyEight profiled Nigel Richards, a kiwi living in Malaysia, who is “the greatest Scrabble player to ever live“.
For the record, Nigel finished an uncharacteristic 16th. The winner was Conrad Bassett-Bouchard from Oregon, with this board:
The Economist has a full transcript of a recent interview with Barack Obama when he was flying back from a Kansas City gig. What struck me was his ability to cover a huge range of topics with depth and care. And, you know, it’s Air Force One baby.
It’s interesting. The US security presence is always a source of ambivalence everywhere in the world. If we’re not there, people think we’re neglecting them. If we’re there, then they think we’re militarising a region. Right now I think we got it about right.
“The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
The events in Ferguson, Missouri this week put me in mind of Faulkner’s quote.
Earlier this year Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote The Case for Reparations at The Atlantic Monthly. It’s a deeply thoughtful and challenging reflection on how historical wrongs continue to play out in the present.
It’s Only Better Than The Alternative
The British critic and curmudgeon AA Gill had a milestone birthday recently. Grab a mug of cocoa and enjoy his reflections on Life At 60.
I was born in 1954 in Edinburgh. Winston Churchill was prime minister, there was still rationing, we were the first generation that would grow up with television, pop music, central heating and a National Health Service. As a child, every old man I knew had fought in the First World War and every young man in the second.
War still hung like the smell of a damp, grim nostalgia over everything. We played Spitfires and Messerschmitts in the playground and you could, as Kingsley Amis pointed out, walk into any pub in the country and ask with perfect confidence if the major had been in. London was still moth-eaten with bomb sites and black with coal smoke. One of my earliest memories is of the last pea souper fog.
What I’m Trying To Ignore Next Week
Wellington On A Plate – MrsDavy has me on a starvation diet because, allegedly, she cares. But the rest of you should go out and enjoy my share.