Tag Archives: McSweeneys

It’s A Big Ocean, Full of Seaweed

In Lucky Peach‘s twelfth issue, Rachel Khong writes about the harvesting of wild algae, more commonly known as “seaweed,” on California’s coast:

The seashore is where all our stories start. It’s understood that present-day humans evolved in littoral spaces, where the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish and shellfish, originally from seaweed, were needed to evolve complex nervous systems and big brains. Which is to say: eating seaweed — either directly or by proxy — was what made us us. And seaweeds sustain life on earth, producing 70 to 80 percent of the world’s oxygen through photosynthesis.

The word seaweed is about as descriptive as “dog.” The “weed” part is especially misleading, because seaweeds look like plants but aren’t. They’re neither plant nor animal, but actually algae, which doesn’t narrow it down much, either. That term is also an incredibly vast umbrella, encompassing ten million different species that come in a multitude of shapes and sizes, from the tiniest microscopic phytoplankton to the most gigantic of kelp forests.

Read the story

First Chapter: Dave Eggers’ Novel, ‘Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever?’

Dave Eggers | Your Fathers, Where Are They? And the Prophets, Do They Live Forever? | June 2014 | 23 minutes (5,800 words)

 

BUILDING 52

—I did it. You’re really here. An astronaut. Jesus.
—Who’s that?
—You probably have a headache. From the chloroform.
—What? Where am I? Where is this place? Who the fuck are you?
—You don’t recognize me?
—What? No. What is this? Read more…

An essay from Bissell’s book Magic Hours: A film crew and actor Jeff Daniels arrive in the author’s Michigan hometown to shoot a movie:

As the sun sets behind the thick pine stand that perimeters the football field, the lack of extras begins to become a problem. To appreciate how crucial extras are to tonight’s filming, one must know several things about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. First, citizens of the Upper Peninsula are known as ‘Yoopers,’ an inelegant transliteration of ‘U. P.,’ as this underpopulated and fearsomely bleak stretch of land is known. The U. P. is separated from the rest of Michigan culturally and geographically, connected only by the Mackinac Bridge, an architectural marvel built as recently as 1957. The U. P. might be the most rural part of the country, as well as its least familiar. Some maps neglect to include the border separating the U. P. from Wisconsin, an accidental annexation that, if made official, would please the vast majority of Yoopers, who feel a stronger cultural identification with Wisconsin anyway. Finally—and in light of tonight’s scene, not to mention the whole film, this is a key point—for Yoopers, deer hunting has near religious significance. The first day of deer season is actually a school holiday—Deer Day, it is called—and the entire place is a hotbed of gun crazies and gun-craziness.

“Escanaba’s Magic Hour: Movies, Robot Deer, and the American Small Town.” — Tom Bissell, McSweeneys

See more essays from #longreads

I’ve got history with this guy. I’ve been losing money on Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for years. I am a phenomenal sucker who bets against Floyd every chance I get. I’ve never once believed that he will lose a fight, and on that score this upcoming bout with Victor Ortiz is no different. But I always hope he will lose. My reasons why are embarrassing and have nothing to do with boxing, this sport that I consider myself a fan of.

Floyd is a villain, a contemptible person. He changed his nickname from “Pretty Boy Floyd” to “Money Mayweather” and he takes great pride in flaunting his wealth. He burns hundred dollar bills. He belittles his opponents as homosexuals even long after he has beaten them. In the run-up to all of his fights he goes to great lengths to play the bad guy, and that’s truly what it is—playing. He is a promoter and an entertainer and admits as much. But I fall for it anyway. Despite the fact that Money Mayweather is as skilled a tactician in the ring as anyone fighting today I still root for his defeat. A sucker play, sure, but in betting with my heart and not my head, I am at least in good company.

“$50 Under 11.5 Rounds Floyd Mayweather, Jr. VS. Victor Ortiz.” — David Hill, McSweeneys. Each of Hill’s columns tells a story of a single bet that he made.

See more #longreads from David Hill

I’ve got history with this guy. I’ve been losing money on Floyd Mayweather, Jr. for years. I am a phenomenal sucker who bets against Floyd every chance I get. I’ve never once believed that he will lose a fight, and on that score this upcoming bout with Victor Ortiz is no different. But I always hope he will lose. My reasons why are embarrassing and have nothing to do with boxing, this sport that I consider myself a fan of.

Floyd is a villain, a contemptible person. He changed his nickname from “Pretty Boy Floyd” to “Money Mayweather” and he takes great pride in flaunting his wealth. He burns hundred dollar bills. He belittles his opponents as homosexuals even long after he has beaten them. In the run-up to all of his fights he goes to great lengths to play the bad guy, and that’s truly what it is—playing. He is a promoter and an entertainer and admits as much. But I fall for it anyway. Despite the fact that Money Mayweather is as skilled a tactician in the ring as anyone fighting today I still root for his defeat. A sucker play, sure, but in betting with my heart and not my head, I am at least in good company.

“$50 Under 11.5 Rounds Floyd Mayweather, Jr. VS. Victor Ortiz.” — David Hill, McSweeneys. Each of Hill’s columns tells a story of a single bet that he made.

See more #longreads from David Hill

Growing up in Hot Springs put horseracing in my blood. My grandparents landed there as carnies following the horserace circuit. My father grew up in the barns of the backstretch working as a groom and a hotwalker. He started taking me to the track as a child, teaching me to read the Daily Racing Form at the age of nine. Many years ago my father came to visit my wife and me in New York and he only wanted to go one place, to see the fabled Saratoga Race Course. We took him for Travers weekend, the highlight of the four-week race meet, and he was bowled over by the town and the track. “Why couldn’t Hot Springs do this,” he wondered. “This place is awesome. This is what Hot Springs should be like.”

“$100 to Win on Miami Ghost in the 2nd at Saratoga.” — David Hill, McSweeneys

See more #longreads from McSweeneys