Bold news. Smooth finish. The newsletter that interesting people love.
When’s the best time for you to spend a little time thinking about you? Whenever time permits, that’s when! And so we advise those who like to imbibe, to kick back, raise a glass and dig on some of the coolest drink doctors around. This while dreaming about someone tall and wondering exactly how far in the future it will be before you can treat yourself to the massage you so sincerely deserve for having survived all of this.
Democrats ended their impeachment case against former President Donald Trump with a warning: Convict, or risk history repeating itself. But Republican senators seemed unmoved, setting the stage for his defense to speak today before a likely Saturday vote to acquit. Meanwhile, dozens of anti-Trump conservative leaders are considering splitting from the GOP to form a center-right third party. (Sources: BBC, Reuters)
2. Bull Hush
The Year of the Ox begins uncharacteristically quietly today, especially in Singapore, where restaurant patrons have been ordered to limit festive outbursts to minimize viral spread. Beijing is also quieting the BBC over critical reporting on Uighur detention camps and coronavirus, a week after a Chinese broadcaster lost its British license. But in Taiwan, fireworks boomed long into morning markets, where one source says shoppers were being especially “bullish.” (Sources: WSJ, NBC)
3. Anti-Vax Evangelization
Some remote Amazon villages are meeting COVID-19 inoculation efforts with bows and arrows as Christian missionaries stoke anti-vaccination fears. Such violence isn’t happening everywhere — just places with evangelical pastors who, as one Indigenous leader put it, are convincing people that “they will turn into an alligator and other crazy ideas.” Critics blame conservative President Jair Bolsonero and religious fundamentalists for preaching discord. (Source: Reuters)
4. Not So Mellow
Cannabis stocks crashed by 20 percent or more in the worst single-day drop in pot history, skunked after a recent rally that had been driven by hopes of decriminalization under President Joe Biden. Some of the turbulence also came from WallStreetBets, the Reddit group that boosted GameStop, backing Canadian cannabis company Tilray — leading to a dose of reality after the initial high wore off. (Sources: MarketWatch, CNBC)
Need a Hand?
IKEA thinks you do. The Swedish design trailblazers may have blazed a bit too hard when they crafted a $20 wooden desk hand as part of their gamer-chic furniture line, with its cubist-style grip perfect for holding cables, headphones and (apparently) the entire fate of the universe.
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate? Based on a few simple questions like this, two MIT grads with a passion for wine created the perfect algorithm to pair you with wines you’ll love. Bright Cellars is a monthly wine club that delivers the best wines for you … right to your door. What could be better than that?
If you had a degree in mechanical engineering, how soon would you start brewing Mahua, the sometimes still-banned Indian booze? If you’re the bearded and bespectacled Nazareth, then it’s as soon as you can. Which for him was last year when he started Agave India and got governmental approval to turn the Mahua tree flowers into the indigeneous Indian drink with a “vodka-like” cleanliness. Compared to? Godliness. ‘Natch!
2. Victoria Eady Butler
Butler’s great-great-grandfather, the wonderfully named Nathan “Nearest” Green, is the distiller (and former slave) who taught Jack Daniels how to make his tipple. That fact alone stewed in her head until Butler decided to dump her day job as a Justice Department analytical manager and follow her ancestor by making the award-winning Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey, smooth tasting, small batch liquid gold that it is.
3. Lorna Scott
You don’t often get gin and South Africa in the same sentence … yet. Lorna Scott, former flight attendant and one-time deputy mayor, started the Inverroche Distillery to change all that. And the name of her drink game — an infused gin — is getting the world away from thinking that African drinks are wild and untamed. All in the shadow of a possible alcohol ban that she’s militantly against.
Speaking of Africa, this gem along the continent’s western coast deserves its due.
1. Mystical (and Lucrative) Wrestling
Much of Africa, and indeed, the world, is obsessed with association football (or “soccer” to us Yanks). But under the unforgiving Dakar sun, fans fill stadiums past capacity in normal times, all to watch two loinclothed wrestlers wade through spiritual Sufi Islamic rites … before beating the bloody pulp out of each other. The sport, La lutte Senegalaise (lamb ji, in the native language of Wolof), has existed since the 14th century with six-figure prize fights emerging in the ’70s. Read more on OZY.
2. Salty Pink Lakes
The best way to explore Lac Rose, a lake colored pink by its heavy salt and algae deposits less than 19 miles from Dakar, is by horseback. Currently being considered as a possible World Heritage Site, its unbelievably photogenic beaches seem destined to someday win the only designation that really matters nowadays: becoming Insta-famous.
3. A Death-Defying Albino Musician
Maah Keita, now in her early thirties, has spent her entire life behind a guitar playing music to raise awareness of the discrimination and violence people with albinism face in Senegal and across Africa — playing bass for a band that’s toured with everyone from Baaba Maal to Public Enemy. Read more on OZY.
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All it took was 20 minutes of a playable demo for the upcoming Resident Evil game for fans to go absolutely gaga for the tall villainess — and meme her so hard that the publishers sent out a press release revealing her exact height (9-foot-6 … with hat and heels on, that is). Could helplessness in the face of this kind of female be the new hip? And, if so, how soon will this redound to the WNBA’s benefit?
2. Queen Latifah
There’s always some hubbub about who the next James Bond is going to be. But with nary a ripple did Queen Latifah, stretching the tape conservatively at 5-foot-8, reboot TV’s old The Equalizer franchise while ably making viewers forget the two Denzel Washington silver screen takes. Yup, ass-kicking, arm-breaking, “retired” special forces/CIA type as revenging angel of justice: Perfect.
3. Anja Rubik
Yeah, like the cube. But this Anja, at 5-foot-10 and a half, is a supermodel of Polish extraction who, rather than just take the cash and the clothes and run, has taken a stand against the rightward swing of a Poland in the grips of the popoulist Law and Justice party (PiS). Specifically, fighting against their hyper-aggressive abortion restrictions. And all that without a cape.
Rubbed a Different Way
Quick: does your favorite massage involve cleavers? Or flames? It doesn’t? Where have YOU been?
1. A Clever Cleaver
Massagehas made a subtle migration from something that relaxed by being relaxing to something with oomph. But if you thought that Rolfing was rough, step into the world of the meat cleaver massage, courtesy of a 300-pound plus Shoshone man. The proof of the pudding is in the eating so here’s some proof for you: it tastes great. Especially when it’s over. You’ll find this particular style near Reno, because, of course.
2. Fire Facials
In the quest to look younger, people have chosen to bathe in the blood of virgins. So it’s no surprise that some in China are now setting their faces aflame to shave a few years off. Well, while the issue should be “well, does it work?” it often ends up being “well, do you think it works?” The fact that it’s still a thing means at least a few people would answer in the affirmative.
3. Massage Champions
The prospect of taking something so distinctly non-competitive, and making it so, seems endlessly amusing. Unless it’s you who is competing and then — with a judging criteria that includes tools, technique and table preparation among other things — it is on. Might also be a place to get a world-class, cut-price massage. The next big competition is in Copenhagen in June. Cleavers optional.
Where Are You Sipping Your Whiskey?
From wherever in the world you are, send us a photo of you and your open copy of this newsletter — and if you want, whatever you’re sipping on — and we may spotlight it in future editions.