SYSBYRT

Great Lines: The Beastliness Edition

First, a couple of fans get close to their idol.

Perk liked the idea of a digital shrine to his beastliness.


Second, a message to the 2020 graduates:

Who has time for grace right now? Who has time for grace or patience when the world has been blown to shit? All through the pandemic, I’ve seen ads and billboards and yard signs saying that we Americans are in this together, and that it’s on us to beat back the coronavirus and come out the other side stronger than ever. Why is it always on us? Why is it never on THEM? Why aren’t the people who let this virus rip apart bodies and fortunes taking responsibility for their negligence?

I’ll tell you why: Because they want you to be survivors on their terms and their terms only. They want you to suck up what’s happened, then carry on as if it never did. They’re counting on it, both personally and financially. You are their human capital stock. They’d like things to go back to exactly the way they were, and they want to create the illusion that this would be a happy development. Imagine the gall it takes to don a Minnesota smile and appoint yourself shepherd to a generation you just bilked and left for dead.


Third, a law professor claps back on some cowardly students who wrote her an anonymous memo about wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt:

Your use of hyperbolic rhetoric throughout the memo suggests that you really are angry about more than just a T-shirt. If it really is about just the T-shirt, then by overgeneralizing from a specific occurrence, your message is swamped by exaggeration. If it really is about other “conduct” on my part, I can’t tell what that is. By the end of the memo you have lost focus completely, generalizing (in statements that are unexplained and inexplicable) about bar passage and about the faculty and administration of the entire law school.

Great Lines: The I Don't Have An Opinion Edition

First, how a black man and his white mother became estranged because of Trump:

The next day, my mother showed her entire ass. She basically became Trump, in my own house. My mother decided to don that bright-red “Make America Great Again” T-shirt and asked me to take her out to places while she had that shirt on, putting me in a position of having to appear to support Trump’s election. Again, I put my pride to the side. It’s my mother. She birthed me.


Second, an important point for those who always agree to disagree:

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression ‘everyone is entitled to their opinion.’ Perhaps you’ve even said it yourself, maybe to head off an argument or bring one to a close. Well, as soon as you walk into this room, it’s no longer true. You are not entitled to your opinion. You are only entitled to what you can argue for.


Third, you don’t need to have an opinion on everything that’s going on:

It’s perfectly okay to say “I don’t know” or “I don’t have an opinion on that” to those who are desperate to engage in some bad faith discourse on the wild headline of the day.

Great Lines: The Old Man In Poverty Edition

First, a lawyer for the superrich who both exploits the tax code to save his clients money and sounds the alarm when a loophole feels too outrageous:

He's not ashamed of this. His methods are perfectly legal. In fact, he sees himself not as someone who exploits the system for the benefit of the few but as the guy who keeps the system honest for everyone.


Second, a man who made some of the best fake U.S. banknotes using an inkjet printer:

He dedicated an upstairs room in his new house to a regimented counterfeiting process, with two Hewlett-Packard computers, nine inkjet and laserjet printers, stacks of paper divided by type; it was a manufacturing routine based on production-line principles: "Probably the best organised office I've ever seen," Mack Jenkins says.


Third, a man in the late 60s moves to San Diego to live a life of poverty and freedom:

…a theory that time has repeatedly proved: Context is everything. In this instance, the question is, How does a legitimate buffet guest respond to the sight of another guest, presumably legitimate, who is busily looting the table? The answer is, He will do nothing.

Great Lines: The Egotistical Charlatan Edition

First, writing about Gordon Ramsay eviscerating a pretentious douche is very satisfying:

It is brought about because Joe will not stop making elk quesadillas, a dish Gordon told him time and again, with no room for confusion, is a terrible dish that should be taken off the menu. At the outset, Joe was supposed to be the helpless man tied to the railroad tracks, waiting for Gordon to save him. Instead, he is the train itself. He is fixed upon the track, knowing no other option but to make the same crummy food for miles and miles.


Second, in a thing that the Internet was built for, a man tries to figure out the date of the “Good Day” in the Ice Cube song:

The ONLY day where:
Yo MTV Raps was on air
It was a clear and smogless day
Beepers were commercially sold
Lakers beat the SuperSonics
and Ice Cube had no events to attend was…


Third, an African dictator who lives up to the name:

He’s boasted that he will rule for “a billion years”. He’s adopted a ridiculous string of titles: “His Excellency Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr Yahya AJJ Jammeh Babili Mansa.” (The last phrase translates to “conqueror of rivers”.) He’s posed as a fetishistic healer, claiming magical powers to cure Aids, asthma and diabetes, and has launched witch-hunts to root out enemy sorcerers.

Great Lines: The Black Spades Edition

How to Play Black Spades, Part 1

First of all, spades is not a game, it is a skills contest that requires complex permutative calculations while winning a “game” only requires luck. Old black men who carry pocket knives do not play games.

Everyone at The Root knows how to play spades but no one could specifically remember being taught. I erroneously assumed every black person was born with the innate ability to play spades, season chicken and hit the exact notes on Frankie Beverly’s wail in “Before I Let Go.”

Electricity is only needed to keep score. If a person has electricity, that means they receive an electric bill. And, after years of laboratory testing, National Association of Spades Activities (the real NASA) determined that the best medium for recording spades scores was the back of an envelope that previously contained the second notice for an overdue light bill.

The writing utensil can come from anywhere but preliminary studies show that the best ink comes from a pen that was at the bottom of a church lady’s purse that has been used to write down scriptures during three consecutive Bible study classes.

You are only at the stage called “’bout to play spades,” which precedes the “finna play” stage.

Ace high: …This version is usually only played by old Ques, people who have spent time in prison or people who played in the band at an HBCU. You don’t want to play this way.


How To Play Black Spades, Part 2: The Glossary

Unlike our white counterparts, black people already know the answer to “which came first—the chicken or the egg?”

The egg.

Breakfast comes before dinner.


How To Play Black Spades, Part 3: We Finna Play

If you are beating someone really bad or playing against a very experienced shit-talker, you may begin to think your mother is engaged in an ongoing sexual relationship with your opponent. Don’t worry, Frank is just trying to shake your confidence...Maybe.

Great Lines: The Disagreement Edition

From Shane Parrish:

…The first thing we usually do when someone disagrees with us is that we just assume they are ignorant. You know, they don’t have access to the same information we do and when we generously share that information with them, they are going to see the light and come on over to our team.

When that doesn’t work. When it turns out those people have all the same information and they still don’t agree with us we move onto a second assumption. They’re idiots. They have all the right pieces of the puzzle and they are too moronic to put them together.

And when that doesn’t work. When it turns out that people have all the same facts that we do and they are pretty smart we move onto a third assumption. They know the truth and they are deliberately distorting it for their own malevolent purposes.

So this is a catastrophe: our attachment to our own rightness. It prevents us from preventing mistakes when we need to and causes us to treat each other terribly.”


2020


Third, a 72 hour Asian meth party in Denver and Las Vegas:

Back at Nick's house, there are Otter Pop wrappers everywhere. Otter Pop wrappers on the hardwood floors, on the kitchen tile, on the toilet seats in all the bathrooms, in the sinks, on the turntables, on the couch cushions. They are hard, plastic, sticky, omnipresent evidence that something very strange and very wicked went down in this place.

Great Lines: The Flabby Hope Diamond Edition

First, former University of Miami football coach Randy Shannon:

“I've got two choices," he says. "I can sit back and say everything's against me, I'm going in the tank. Or I can accept the hand that's been dealt me and move forward. I never think about why? or why me? I never second-guess it. I forget about what happened three seconds ago. People ask me what I did last night. I can't remember. They think I'm joking. Every second you think about the past is a second when you can't think about the future, about controlling what you can control. That gives other people an opportunity to control your life. You control your life. You have to control the world. You can never let it control you.”


Second, a group of voters in Michigan were able to get a redistricting commission that bars political insiders from being members passed in time for the 2022 map redrawing:

It was all people who were looking for a way to participate because they feel anxiety over problems stacking on top of one another, and this was a way to work with people who wanted a systemic fix instead of help from a political party.


Third, this line can be used for people in all professions, not just football.

“Like a flabby Hope Diamond, Albert Haynesworth is a fascinating, oversized trinket that brings nothing but misery to anyone foolish enough to acquire him.”

Donkey nannies

Steve: Donkey nannies are pretty cool.
Lisette: I am also too young, small and adorable for journeys. I want a donkey nanny.
Muneer: I would place some of those old school saddles on my donkey with the bags on each side. One side would have carrots and the other would have apples. We'd take day-long walks in the countryside and enjoy each other's company.
Lisette: That got a little too romantic at the end.
Steve: The other option was overtly sexual. There was no third path.

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Unplugged

Here are some great lines from the book Unplugged by Joe Barrett:

You have to admire a man who has so thoroughly given up on life.


Allow me to congratulate you on your bizarre but effective work. ”

Great Lines: The Vice Edition

First, from reader Rachel, an important avenue of inquiry at the highest court in the land:

This one, small act of human waste expulsion brought with it mystery, intrigue, and what was almost certainly a pooping Supreme Court justice.


Second, ICP made a Western and this is a review of it:

On his way to town, Sugar Wolf wordlessly rides up to a family and steals the wife. He has sex with her and gives her wine and cheese, and then she is heartbroken to see him go. This sends a complicated message, like much of the film.


Third, this lady is the Pablo Escobar of Fujian. Only without the tigers, or cocaine, or beard:

“In Sister Ping’s 2005 trial, a prosecutor asked the jury to consider “whether a legitimate businesswoman keeps her profits in her refrigerator.”

Great Lines: The Larry David Edition

First, When you’re taken hostage by Somali pirates, it’s important to focus on the right things:

It was a small but disconcerting moment for the civilized world—evidence of the anarchy that prevails where nations fail and savagery threatens Canada. Luckily for the French, the bartender, Bertrand Viallet, had filled some thermoses with aperitifs, which helped to ease the trauma.


Second, I’ve never seen the Dark Knight, but this quote has stuck with me since I heard it:

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

herovillain


Third, I might not go as far as Larry David, but I will very disappointed in you:

When I ask if he is hoarding anything, he is outraged. “Not a hoarder,” he said. “In fact, in a few months, if I walk into someone’s house and stumble onto 50 rolls of toilet paper in a closet somewhere, I will end the friendship. It’s tantamount to being a horse thief in the Old West.”

I also loved the coronavirus PSA he did:

Sech

I was forced to warn my good pal about this man. The following is an excerpt from that conversation:

Muneer: This man is the greatest natural predator of Latinas today. He lures them in with a mix of wealth and balladeering.
Lisette: Even us non-Latinas need to know —who is this man??
Muneer: His name is Sech. Here's some more information about him. Here he is in action. I call him Noriega's Revenge.
Steve: Noriega's Revenge is what I call it when I poop to "Panama" by Van Halen.
Lisette: Oh my god all of these Panamanian rappers are NERDS. You can tell because all of their video vixens sway side to side with no butts.
Muneer: To be fair, in the video I sent, all the rappers are from different countries. But as they were being hosted by Sech, they had to steel themselves and accept the flat butt situation.
Lisette: Loool
Steve: Diplomacy in a nutshell.

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Great Lines: The Money Laundering Edition

First, if you’re an athlete who doesn’t want to be sober, go from being a small fish in a big pond to a colossal fish in a microscopic pond:

After watching his new import drink enough liquor to knock out a horse, Manotoc followed Bates into the street and saw the American pick up the back end of a car by its bumper and do a set of curls with it. He's wild, Manotoc thought, but he's strong.


Second, a guy has no hope of a better life, so he keeps committing petty crimes to go to jail:

She cannot compete with prison. The food at Rikers is tasty, said Mr. Mahes. For supper, he had pork chops.


Third, I looked into getting a Nauruan bank charter in the late 2000s. It was going to cost $25,000 to do all the set up. Alas, I was about $3,000 short. I missed my chance:

Nauru specializes in something called a shell bank, which exists only on paper. There are no teller windows, no A.T.M.'s. Indeed, much of a shell bank's activity takes place not on Nauru (or even in the shack) but in ''correspondent accounts'' in other countries. A correspondent account is just like a checking account -- except it's for an entire bank.

Great Lines: All The Smoke Edition

A couple of weeks ago, I included a quote from All the Smoke, one my favorite new podcasts. The hosts are 2 former pro basketball players, but they talk about a lot more than sports. The only way I can describe is sitting in a room with the two guys at the barbershop who can size people up in 2 seconds and aren’t afraid to say what they think about that person.

Here’s a good intro article about the podcast.


Stephen Jackson and guest Al Harrington talk about a literal shootout Jackson was in:


This is one of the most wonderfully profane phrases I’ve ever heard:


Finally, this is one of the last longform interviews ever given by Kobe Bryant:

Great Lines: The Gucci and Thug Edition

I love this roast of Drake’s new house:

drake


Second, telling a story while using the people’s rap names is a thing that should happen more often:

They thought Gucci was crazy and that he didn’t actually have paperwork signed with Thug,” Jordan said. “Then Gucci produced the paperwork.” That's when Jeff Vaughn, the A&R who brought Thug into APG, called Thug a liar, according to Jordan.


Third, from reader Steven, a wonderful quote from the movie, The Professionals:

J.W. Grant: You bastard.

Rico: Yes, Sir. In my case an accident of birth. But you, Sir, you're a self-made man.


This week, we also have a picture from Live Science. It was too majestic not to share:

whales

Great Lines: The Abolishing Work Edition

empathy


An interesting read about abolishing work (link):

Anybody who says these people are “free” is lying or stupid. You are what you do. If you do boring, stupid, monotonous work, chances are you’ll end up boring, stupid, and monotonous.


The 5 Craziest Soldiers of Fortune (link):

Neall Ellis had a successful career as a military pilot behind him and an easygoing civilian life to look forward to. There was just one problem: He was immensely bored with living like a regular guy.

Great Lines: The Bulljivin' Edition

It’s been hard to focus enough to read anything, so I bring you some podcast episodes that you can listen to:


You bulljivin’ me?- Shannon Sharpe on All the Smoke


If you’re 30 and you have a crew, a squad, or a tribe, you’re mentally ill.- Ali Segel on 90 Day Fiance Slumber Party (link)


Jan Martin

And a gentleman came up to me and actually thanked me for the adopt a street light program. He had just written a check to the city for $300 to turn all the street lights back on in his neighborhood. And I did remind him that for $200 if he had supported the tax initiative, we could have had not only streetlights, but parks and firemen and swimming pools and community centers. That by combining our resources, we as a community can actually accomplish more than we as individuals.

Robert Smith

And he said?

Jan Martin

He said he would never support a tax increase.

Robert Smith

So for him it wasn't the money. He was willing to pay more to turn on the street lights than to pay for all city services.

-From This American Life, Episode 459: What Kind of Country (link)

Great Lines: The Being Different Edition

On books that put forth a grand theory of everything:

A good principle to remember is that if a book appears to be about everything, it’s probably not really about anything.


On being different:

Real contrarianism is painful. It's lonely. It hurts. It's when everyone thinks you're nuts.


On letting things develop as they should:

When we plant a rose seed in the earth, we notice that it is small, but we do not criticize it as "rootless and stemless." We treat it as a seed, giving it the water and nourishment required of a seed. When it first shoots up out of the earth, we don't condemn it as immature and underdeveloped; nor do we criticize the buds for not being open when they appear. We stand in wonder at the process taking place and give the plant the care it needs at each stage of its development. The rose is a rose from the time it is a seed to the time it dies. Within it, at all times, it contains its whole potential. It seems to be constantly in the process of change; yet at each state, at each moment, it is perfectly all right as it is.

Great Lines: The Unsettling Edition

On plastic toys:

The loss of fantasy is the price paid for precision.


On an enigmatic baseball player:

…in December 2003, when the Red Sox were frantically trying to acquire Rodriguez from the Texas Rangers, several Boston executives called on Rodriguez in his New York hotel suite after 1 a.m. Rodriguez answered the door in a perfectly pressed suit, tie knotted tight to his stiff collar. The Red Sox officials found such polished attire at such a late hour odd, even unsettling.


On how the 24 hour news media keeps us hooked:

The trick is to constantly narrow your mental horizons and keep you geeked up on impotent anger. It’s a twist on Manufacturing Consent’s description of an artificially narrowed debate.

Great Lines: The Bachelor Edition

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