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Happy Friday! Every April, I count down the days to the Tamil New Year, and the taste of a sweet-and-sour raw mango sauce eaten on the occasion. A different celebration, Rosh Hashanah begins today, and whatever your faith or ethnicity, we’ll get you prepped with delicious new-year food traditions from around the world. You’ll meet the gamer opening up streaming for women and hitch a ride on a luxury RV. Get set for the weekend with a Sam Cooke playlist you helped us make, and read to the end for the answer to yesterday’s quiz.
COVID-19 vaccine makers Moderna and Pfizer released details of their clinical trials Thursday to boost declining public confidence amid pressure from President Donald Trump to expedite the process ahead of the November election. Both firms indicated it’ll take months to fully analyze data from ongoing Phase 3 trials. Are pharma giants being transparent enough? Vote on Twitter.
A federal judge in Washington state has temporarily barred the postal service from implementing new changes that could lead to delays in mail deliveries, calling the measures a “politically motivated attack” on the agency before the election. The U.S. Postal Service — whose plan to deliver 650 million face masks to Americans was allegedly blocked by the White House — indicated it might challenge the judge’s order. Meanwhile, Republican and Democratic lawmakers edged closer to an agreement on a spending bill to keep the government open in October.
Ok, that was hardly Friday fare. It’s time to lighten up. How about honoring the most incompetent, bizarre and hilarious scientific and real-life accomplishments of the past year?
Ring a Bell
That’s what Indian and Pakistani diplomats did at each other’s houses, running away before doors were opened. It’s won them the peace prize at the 2020 Ig Nobel Prize award ceremony — satirical awards usually hosted by Harvard that are way more fun than the actual Nobels — announced Thursday. The presidents of Brazil, Mexico, the U.S. and others won the medical education prize for showing that politicians can “have a more immediate effect on life and death than scientists and doctors can,” while five Chinese hitmen won the management prize after subcontracting the task to each other, taking smaller and smaller cuts of the fee, without actually murdering the target.
While some of us have been itching to step outside, many have embraced streaming platform Twitch amid the pandemic, tallying more than 5 billion hours watched in the second quarter of 2020. The most-watched game on Twitch isLeague of Legends — appropriate for these stars defining the future of interactive gaming.
Don’t go by his game name. Lee Sang-hyeokis the real deal. The 24-year-old Seoul native, considered the king of League of Legends, wakes up at noon and practices for eight hours everyday. As a child, he would solve Rubik's Cubes and learn new languages for fun. Many top South Korean esports players have moved to China for large contracts. But Faker has turned those offers down. No one plays around with him.
Born in Florida to Cuban and Colombian parents, Michael "Imaqtpie" Santana wanted to be a pro wrestler growing up, until his girlfriend convinced him that his talents lay in esports. Santana earns more than $2 million annually, and takes friends out to $300 a person dinners. He lives with his partner and their three pets: Dapperdog, Smallcat and Mellowcat. I’ve got a name for him: Cool cat.
Twitch streamers aren’t the only ones thriving amid the recession. There’s never been a better time to build vans.
1. Boom Time
The recreational vehicle industry is seeing a spike in demand as people travel again — but avoid hotels and motels to escape the virus. Marathon Coach expects sales to be up 30 percent this year, while Airstream's sales rose 11 percent year-on-year in May.
Tired of the usual suspects? Every weekday, The Carlos Watson Show brings you a variety of fresh voices you need to hear. Check out The Carlos Watson Show on YouTube.
Shana Tovah! It’s the Jewish New Year. If you’re in Dubai, try this unique “kosherati” cuisine — a blend of Jewish and Emirati flavors. True, different cultures mark their new year on different dates. But food is central to every celebration, and at times carries special significance. Hungry?
Stir-fried with mushrooms, scallions and a tablespoon of Chinese rice wine, you eat them during the Chinese New Year. You must not break a noodle while cooking or bite it into two if you want your meal to be truly auspicious.
2. Doro Wot
The Ethiopian New Year is celebrated each September with this spicy chicken stew that’s eaten with the flatbread known as injera. Top it off with some Ethiopian coffee and local araki liquor.
3. Sabzi Polo ba Mahi
Nowruz,the Persian New Year, falls in March, and there’s no better way to ring it in than with this herbed rice and fish dish.
4. Potato Potahto
It’s the way you predict your financial future on the eve of the Gregorian New Year in Colombia and Peru. Take three potatoes and place them under your chair: one peeled, one partially peeled, and one unpeeled. Without looking, retrieve one at midnight. If it’s the unpeeled potato, you’re getting rich!
What’s your favorite New Year recipe — from any culture?
We don’t need a potato to feel rich — your love’s enough!
Here’s a playlist curated from your Sam Cooke recommendations featuring “Cupid,” “You Send Me,” “Rome (Wasn’t Built in a Day),” “Twistin’ the Night Away,” “Chain Gang,” “A Change is Gonna Come” and “Bring It On Home to Me.”
Thank you Elisabeth S., Steve, Leslie H., Jan L.M., Augustine T., Joe F., Cynthia O., Barbara P., Kevin L., Jackie, Gloria K., J. Michael P., Andrew L., Celeste R., Joyce O., and Jimmy S. for sharing your favorites!!
Carter H. — you got our travel bubble quiz right! You might soon be able to fly to Hawaii from Japan and to Nigeria from India. And if Uruguay opens up after Oct. 31, Paraguay could be the first nation it starts a bubble with.