Bad Choices, Bob Dylan, Exorcism, Mosul, Cricket, Cubs

Hic sunt camelopardus: this historical edition of The Browser is presented for archaeological purposes; links and formatting may be broken.

The New Mexican Connection

Skyler Swezy | The Bad Choices | 9th October 2015

From the archives of The Bad Choices, “a collection of true accounts about poor decisions that created interesting stories”. The narrator of this story, Chris, was 17 years old when the events took place. “I happened to have a pretty decent car because I was dealing some drugs. Nate said, if we took a little journey down south, this guy’s Mexican connection would cross the border and we’d buy 5,000 ecstasy pills and some cocaine. The price was $8 a pill, making this a $40,000 deal” (3,500 words)

When Bob Dylan Practised Downstairs

Lucian Truscott IV | Village Voice | 2nd November 2016

“The year was 1974, and I lived in a $200-a-month loft on the fourth floor of 124 West Houston. Dylan had a practice space on the first floor. When I’d rented three years before and the landlord informed me that Dylan was on the first floor, I found it completely unremarkable. He was so much a part of the fabric of the city. Of course when I rented a loft on Houston Street, Bob Dylan would be in the building. When you walked in the lobby you could hear him sometimes, trying out lyrics” (2,800 words)

The Devil And Father Amorth

William Friedkin | Vanity Fair | 31st October 2016

Exorcist director William Friedkin goes to Rome, watches an exorcism — much Latin and shouting, no levitation — and makes a film of it to show neurologists and psychiatrists back in America, who agree that something strange is going on. “It doesn’t look like schizophrenia or epilepsy. It could be delirium, an agitated disconnection from normal behavior. But this guttural voice seems like it’s coming from someplace else. This goes beyond anything I’ve ever experienced — that’s for certain.” (5,700 words)

The Three Shepherds Of Mosul

Christoph Reuter | Der Spiegel | 29th October 2016

Notes from the re-taking of Mosul. “At first you can only see dust trails, but before long they can be made out: three shepherds with their flocks of sheep. They cross the lunar landscape, tiny black and white points in the endless ochre-gray surroundings. They must have set out from one of the villages further to the west. They are walking through the middle of a minefield, so slowly that even a long detour doesn’t prevent us from catching up to them. They are still children” (3,300 words)

The Complete Guide To Understanding Cricket

Ben Tippett | Deadspin | 2nd November 2016

Good-humoured, non-satirical, genuinely helpful piece written for readers who know baseball and would like to extend their knowledge to cricket. “One member of the fielding team hurls the ball at the batsman, who wields a wooden bat and attempts to hit the ball around the field, scoring runs either by running or by hitting the ball into the crowd. The fielding team tries to achieve two complementary aims: to get the batsmen out, and to limit the number of runs scored by the batsmen” (4,500 words)

The Curious Have Won

Rani Jazayerli | The Ringer | 3rd November 2016

Theo Epstein overturns 108 years of history to build a champion baseball team in Chicago, delivering a great victory not only for the Cubs, but also for scientific management. “Baseball has been solved, and the solution is simple: There is no solution. There is always more information to be had, and more information is always useful. The battle was never between the quants and the gut-instinct types, it was between the curious and the incurious. The curious have won” (3,900 words)

Video of the day: Voting Paradoxes

What to expect:

Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem made easy (9’43”)

Thought for the day

History repeats itself. Historians repeat each other
Max Beerbohm

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