Man it's A Hot One

Dwight Garner murders a pig for literature.

The thermometer on my back porch says 102, but more reliable sources for Original Portland tell me it’s 91 here. Out west in the Other Portland it was so hot that the streetcar service was disrupted by melting trees, according to this quasi-walkback of an extremely viral tweet that was widely cited yesterday as more proof that the climate change apocalypse is upon us at last:

Portland Streetcar spokesperson Andrew Plambeck told Newsweek on Monday that the cable pictured in its tweet was the only scorched one in the system but was one of the multiple issues caused by the heat. Sagging wires and downed tree limbs on some of the wires also have caused the delays, he said.

Ok so maybe the climate apocalypse is just focused on this one specific cable for now, kind of limbering up for greater chaos in the future, but the heat is definitely record-breaking. It’s also road-breaking, as expanding asphalt buckles, and spirit-breaking, as semi-fungal Pacific Northwesterners absorb several years worth of SAD lamp dosage in just a few days, launching them all the way through depression and normality and way out into whatever is beyond both. Monday night the temperature dropped an also record-breaking 52 degrees in PDX, and today’s high is supposed to be 92, which probably would have seemed very hot last week.

The baby harp seal Youtube channel considered carefully but decided to stay true to its roots, rather than branching out to videos of other baby animals, although it is launching a sub-channel for tits. Also today in seals: Bloomberg did an illustrated explainer about the great Turkish painted rock copper heist I mentioned back in March. What does that have to do with seals, you ask? That’s a little thing called “the curiosity gap” my friend. Doctors hate it. But Dwight Garner loved Quentin Tarantino’s novelization of “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,” raving that “if you want to know what killing a man feels like, without actually killing a man… grab a pig from behind and stick a knife into its throat. Then hold on tight until it dies. It’s as close as you can legally get.” Ha ha ok! Thanks, Dwight. 😳 Hey remember that weird story about Philip Roth biographer Blake Bailey raping Valentina Rice at Dwight Garner’s house? ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Speaking of Roth, Warren Baker, “a tax attorney that has worked exclusively with self-directed IRA investors for 16 years” doubts that Peter Thiel’s $5 billion Roth IRA could be completely legal. And Phil Jones wrote about Thiel’s old paypal Elon Musk for the London Review of Billionaires: “Like the Soviet state dangling the promise of a radiant future in front of its tired citizens, Musk’s success is sustained by predictions of a technological sublime that’s only ever another decade away.”

I’m going a bit “neuro divergent” myself lately. Intern Linda sent me that tweet, and this is what it’s like editing her every day:

Texts like this are the majority of my contribution, so here she is to make me feel vaguely incompetent again.

There's a point in working a slightly repetitive customer service job when your brain becomes a "little buzz like a bee in a glassjar" and there isn't much else to do but people watch. I worked as a ground agent for an international airline a few years back, when street style blogs were at their peak, so I mostly examined people's outfits. I started noticing that the Sikh uncles routing though South Asia all wore turbans in colours that I would see absolutely everywhere months down the line—to the point that I would joke that these older men were secretly the most accurate trend forecasters. (By the way K-Hole came back recently only to get into NFTs.)

But once I considered the global supply chain, it actually made sense. Most of these men were flying from major centres of textile production and likely directly buying from bolts of cloth to tie their turbans. In this paper on colour trend forecasting, J.A. King writes that seasonal colours are predicted two years ahead of time, and textile mills begin producing fibres at around 18-12 months. (DOI: 10.1533/9780857092564.3.193) Which tracks for how these uncles always seemed to be so ahead of the curve.

However, King observes that this traditional product development timescale has become shorter and shorter with the rise of fast fashion retailers such as Inditex and H&M Group, and the trend has kicked into a social-media-fuelled warp speed in the last few years as a new tier of even faster brands such as Pretty Little Thing and Fashion Nova have sprinted to the forefront. The speediest of these is the notoriously opaque Chinese retailer Shein which, according to Chang Che and Jiayun Feng, “launched an average of 10,000 new products a month” in 2019, following a playbook of literally just making everything possible while also gamifying shopping for consumers. Shein is probably filing for an IPO soon, so pour one out for Greta Thunberg. —by Linda Yu


A.I. tries to give startup advice like the tomatoes guy: “9:11AM go to the best grocery store in town and buy ALL THE CHICKENS. Keep your receipt.” This is just good bookkeeping, idk.

And finally, Facebook launched its newsletter platform Bulletin, with a totally non-controversial slate of invited writers like… Malcolm Gladwell. Nothing controversial about ol’ Malcolm right? We all loved “The Tipping Point” and we haven’t read another book since 2001. Here’s his first post:

For some time, now, I’ve been looking for a place to be a little more, well, Malcolmy. Digress. Hold forth. Rant.

So it looks like the plan is “do the same dumb bullshit I’ve been grinding away at for my whole increasingly embarrassing career, but more so.” I’m sure he already has ten times as many subscribers as me.

Today’s Song: Colleen Green, “I Want to be a Dog” (via Margot Boyer-Dry’s Lorem Ipsum)

~ The tabs of a man’s heart are stonier, Louis ~

Will tomorrow be a little more, well, Malcolmy? I guess we’ll find out. Find me on twitter @fka_tabs and @TodayinTabs. I also want to be a dog.