Feeling helpless? You haven’t always been.

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As the world plunges into the coronavirus epidemic, there’s plenty of blame to go around. Why is it that the US was so ill-prepared? How could it be that states are choosing economies over lives? How is the leader of the free world suggesting disinfectant injections and sunlight as potential cures on national television?

It is a helpless feeling to watch our leaders make decisions that leave our most vulnerable—or in some cases all of us—out in the cold. It can feel like there’s nothing you can do, but there is. There always has been. …

A letter to my childhood dog

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Photos: Alex Whitcomb

Dear Clifford,

I want to start this letter by telling you that you have been, and still are, my very favorite thing. I remember so vividly the day you pitter-pattered into my life. I always wanted a dog, but with allergic family members I resigned myself to the kind of drab life that, well, didn’t have you. When you came in the door, both of our tails wagged. I couldn’t believe how cute your stupid face was, and the way your entire body wriggled when you were happy — which was most of the time. My heart swelled when you buried your nose into me, and then pressed harder, because close couldn’t possibly be close enough. I felt it too, bud. …

Getting those colors to line up became the bane of existence

A hand holding up a solved Rubiks Cube.
A hand holding up a solved Rubiks Cube.
Photo: NeONBRAND/Unsplash

New Year’s resolutions were never my thing — holding myself to one goal for 365 days always seemed like a doomed undertaking from the outset.

But last year, I decided to try an experiment: I would give myself a new mini-challenge every month. In January, I vowed to cook three new meals at home each week (a tall order for a guy whose phone contains just about every food-delivery app there is). In February, I promised to break a sweat four days a week.

Things were going great, but by the fall, I wanted to try something I’d never done. I was struggling to think of what that might be — and then one day, I saw a video on how to solve the Rubik’s Cube on WIRED, where I work. Many other people have figured it out, so why wouldn’t I? …

Being a great friend isn’t easy, but these apps will make it easier.

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Image by rawpixel

I’m just going to come out and say it: Being a good friend is hard. Not hard in the not-worth-it kind of way, hard in the it-just-takes-a-lot-of-work way. But anyone who has invested heavily in their friendships knows: the return on investment can be life-changing.

Being a good friend requires putting the time in. Time with those individuals, yes, but also time into improving yourself. Time into learning how to better interact with your friends, time anticipating their needs, making mistakes, and learning how to go from good to great. …

The world has finally found something to agree on, but Alex Trebek is the last of a rare and beloved breed.

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Carol Kaelson Photographer

Today, longtime host of Jeopardy! Alex Trebek announced that he has stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and America’s collective heart sank. The disease that has a 5-year survival rate of 9% (according to the American Cancer Society) will be an uphill battle for one of the nations’ most beloved celebrities. It’s a battle we should all suit up for, too.

Trebek has hosted Jeopardy since 1984—more than 35 years—and serves as one of the last of his kind: a calming, consistent voice that has served as the bass line for our daily lives that run in constant staccato. …

The list of Democratic candidates is growing, and they’re all “feeling the Bern”

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Photo: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

It started with Elizabeth Warren, but it certainly won’t end there. The waterfall of Democratic candidates looking to challenge Trump is unfurling, and there’s no telling how many there will be. Many perceive Trump to be a weak opponent, and with no clear front-runner in the party, it seems as good a time as any to run for the most powerful job in the free world.

Many pundits have strong opinions about whether 2016 Democratic candidate Bernie Sanders should run again, especially alongside the candidates that have already entered the ring. But here’s the thing: He’s already won.

In 2016, a zealous old man came onto the scene with negligible name recognition and fought against one of the largest political machines in U.S. history. The man didn’t even comb his hair for it. Instead of big donor parties, he used social media to host large, free rallies. He wanted Medicare—for all. He refused super PAC money. He did absolutely everything a politician should not do. …

Brian Kemp isn’t just trying to beat Stacey Abrams, he’s laying the groundwork for future voter suppression

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Photo: John Bazemore/Getty Images

Yesterday, Brian Kemp engaged in the most clear-cut, unapologetic voter suppression tactics we’ve seen in a long time. 53,000 voters were stripped from the rolls. Incessant robo-calls to Georgian voters falsely accused his opponent, Stacey Abrams, of encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote. He promoted a false narrative of Black Panthers intimidating voters at the polls, using years-old photographs as evidence. Georgians showed up to poll centers that were closed, had run out of ballots, and in some cases even lacked the power cords to get their machines going. Three-hour wait times were the norm, which sent many voters packing.

Brian Kemp is showing the U.S., and anyone thinking about running in 2020, that as long as you’re ruthless enough you can still cheat your way to a win in America. …

For real. This will help. I promise.

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Photo by Pablo Heimplatz on Unsplash

Alright, listen closely. This is for those of you out there who actually suck at dating. If you just got a Tinder notification for the fifth time today reading this paragraph, this isn’t for you. If you get approached in the grocery store, you’re out. This is for the I-don’t-get-any-matches people. The I-haven’t-had-human-contact-in-an-amount-of-time-I’d-rather-not-say people. I know them, because I’ve been there. Don’t fret, we’ve got this.

Recognizing that you suck at dating is the first part of the process. Catering to that suckage is the second.

I know it’s not easy to admit you suck at dating, it’s not easy for me to admit I suck at it right now. But it is ridiculous to think that everyone is going to rock at dating, despite what your mother tells you. Of course there are people who are better at it than others! And—maybe even more poignantly—of course certain methods of dating cater to certain kinds of people. My poor mother looked like she had been shot in the heart when she heard me say I don’t like online dating apps because I don’t as many matches as I’d like. It’s not sad! It’s just the wrong equation for the numbers I’ve got. I’m not hanging my hat on what a woman thinks of one picture of me amongst a sea of muscle milk-filled Chads. I’d like to be loved for something more than that, don’t you? …

His campaign might remind you of another striking political star with a funny name

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Mural by Anat Ronen. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

By now, we’ve all heard of Beto O’Rourke, the charming, striking, Facebook live-ing, Spanish-speaking Texan who is famously ran against Ted Cruz for his Senate seat. And while his historic loss will be a pain point for many, history might show that it may not even be Ted Cruz’s seat that O’Rourke was ultimately born for.

The proof is in the pudding—or in this case, Facebook ads. Facebook recently published a list of political spending on the platform, and the results were stunning:

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O’Rourke vastly outspent second place by nearly double, and everyone else well more than that. Oh, the second spender on Facebook? The actual president. Facebook has been in hot water for months over the perceived notion that they helped put Donald Trump in office. Whether they did or not, it’s clear that people believe Facebook has the kind of power to pick a president. So if you were, you know, hypothetically running for president, you might invest a whole lot in the platform. …

And it has nothing to do with Dr. Ford’s allegations.

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Michael Reynolds / Pool via AFP — Getty Images

Through 31 hours of hearings during Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination process, the man barely blinked. He was unfazed by pressure, the marathon hours of hearings, hard questions, and made clear he could recite lines of the constitution in his sleep. He was, what many thought, everything you might want in a judge; objective, steady-handed, and wise.

And then came the allegations.

If Brett Kavanaugh doesn’t get his confirmation, it won’t be because of Dr Ford’s sexual abuse allegations. It will be because America got a front row seat to how he reacts under real pressure. …

About

Alex Whitcomb

Journalist, writer, bud. Vermont heart, San Francisco brain. Twitter: @AlexWhitcomb

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