Cut Loose: Steven Strauss writes a piece for USA Today this week, taking a look — mostly satirical — at America Inc. Says Mr. Strauss:
“We’re told that, with President Trump as our nation’s CEO, America will now be run more like a business. Well, the first thing our new CEO should do is stop the hemorrhage of cash in money-draining operations.”
First on the list of those money-draining operations: the commonwealth of Kentucky. “Running the country like a business means we can’t afford to carry low productivity states.”
According to Mr. Strauss’ figures, Kentuckians are bringing home less money than a high-earning state like Massachusetts, therefore paying out fewer taxes, but because we’re a poorer state, also in need of more assistance and, as such, a drag on the rest of the country, along with fellow underperformers Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina.
Mr. Struass asserts that running government as a business is flawed from the get-go because they’re built with separate rules to do completely different things, ironically pulling at a tenuous thread using states who helped elect President Trump as examples because they are frequently the states exhibiting the greatest need.
Many commenters didn’t quite get he was stretching the concept to absurdity to make his point and argued the point, which in turn, kind of made his point. So irony on top of irony on top of irony. Which is great. Unless you were really hoping people appreciated the message.
Staying Afloat: An “In Other News…” reader Mike tipped me off to The Washington Post’s check-in with the Ark Encounter in Williamstown, Kentucky, “A giant ark is just the start.”
Ken Ham of Answers in Genesis says things are going swell. They plan to expand with a Tower of Babel replica, an amphitheater and a new, Egyptian thrill ride featuring 10 plagues, called “Frogs! Fiery Hail! Locusts!”
They also want to open an 800-seat restaurant on the top deck of the ark to do “Bible-inspired dinner theater.”
Next year, some poor MFA Theater graduate is going to get his first job offer to play a giraffe in “Noah! The Musical” at the Genesis Playhouse Dinner Theatre, where every night a man dressed as Moses will come out and give the audience curtain speech commandments. “Thou shalt silence your cellphones. Thou shalt not take flash photography or video the performance…”
The Post points out that there is still some controversy with how the ark was paid for and its employment practices. Mr. Ham says the ark was funded with 42,000 small gifts from donors; “But the project’s single largest source of funding,” says the Post, “was actually $62 million in junk bonds floated by the town of Williamstown, population less than 4,000, home to the Ark Encounter and the county seat of Grant County, which faced bankruptcy this spring.”
And the jobs haven’t trickled outside the boat just yet and you’re required to state your beliefs are in alignment with the mission of the Encounter to work there. Discriminatory hiring practices should prevent you from getting any kind of state assistance, which was the previous administration’s stance. That was reversed when the Bevin administration came into office.
The founders hope to add a new attraction every year.
Star Crossed: As Insider noted this week, CNBC reported that Constellation Brands, owner of Corona and Svedka Vodka, made an approach to buy Brown-Forman, according to “people with knowledge of the matter.”
Fortune says if the two companies were to merge, it would create a $53 billion monster, but analysts don’t think it’s happening for two reasons: Constellation doesn’t appear to have access to the money it would need to acquire Brown-Forman, — estimated worth around $20 billion — and the Browns don’t want to sell.
That second reason is pretty much the only one you need.
The Brown family still has majority voting power and according to the article, they “have indicated historically that they do not want to sell their company.”
Those “people with knowledge” say even though there’s no interest in becoming a part of Constellation, they notified their board all the same.
Even if you’ve no interest in the party, it’s nice to be invited sometimes.
Top Notch: As Insider reported Friday, Southern Living compiled its “2017 Southern Living Food Awards: Best Southern Made Products” and two Louisville products made it on the list: Louisville Cream Ice Cream and Pappy & Company Maple Syrup.
The article implies Louisville Cream has a storefront, but that’s not true just yet. They do have a store coming to NuLu, but it’s due to open “spring, 2017,” according to Louisville Cream’s site and recent photos on Facebook suggest work is still underway to get the place ready. But soon. In the meantime, you can buy pints of Louisville Cream at Rainbow Blossom and Old Town Wine and Spirits.
Pappy’s syrup is aged for six months in a Pappy bourbon barrel and will set you back $38, via the Pappy & Co. website. Free shipping if your order goes over $200.
The Rent Is Too Damn High: Today says you can rent Jennifer Lawrence’s Manhattan condominium, should you find yourself in the Big Apple. It’ll only set you back $27,500 per month.
To be fair, the three-bed, three-and-a-half-bath Tribeca getaway cost her just over $9 million, so she has a hefty mortgage payment. According to the online mortgage calculator, she’d be paying $42,000 per month, so $27,500 is really a steal.
And Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively live somewhere in the building. Justin Timberlake, too. And there’s a Turkish bath tucked in there.
Megan and I looked at a new place to relocate “In Other News…” headquarters just this week. We were just happy to see just, like, a bath of any origin.
We’ve talked before about this, I know, but researching the mighty “In Other News…” column each week can send me tumbling down any number of virtual rabbit holes. Sometimes it’s a logical extension of an article I’m already pursuing; others it might be a stray headline that grabs me.
Like this piece from Ira Madison III for Vulture: “What Is Katy Perry Doing?”
It’s a damn good question. Exhibit A:
Then there’s this piece from The Telegraph: “Why female sex robots are more dangerous than you think.”
I didn’t even know there was such a thing, so I guess I hadn’t thought about it at all. I’ve been waiting on the hover boards and flying cars that we were promised would be here by now.
But a California-based company is about to introduce a robot going for about $15,000 that can make small talk with you, you know, before. And there’s another robot developed in Hong Kong designed to look like Scarlett Johansson that will wink at you when you call it pretty. And you’re getting these rapid advances because sex tech is a $30 billion industry. By comparison, NASA’s 2018 budget request is $19.1 billion.
Which brings me to “Star Wars.” Yesterday marked the 40th anniversary of the film’s release and to celebrate, The New York Times rereleased its initial coverage of the film-turned-phenomenon. The Washington Post caught up with fans who saw the film when it first appeared in 1977 to relive the magic. CNN gives some little-known trivia about the film, with “But did you know…” The Hollywood Reporter revisits an earlier concept through the comic tie-ins. And Vanity Fair offers “40 things that happened because of Star Wars.”
Certainly big effects extravaganzas owe a debt to the effects house that “Star Wars” built. The new Spider-Man film, for instance. The new trailer came out this week:
See you next week.