Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
Adam Sandler and then some
It's a free for all Friday. 7 bigger things worth your time.
Hey everyone, it’s another Free for All Friday! (FfAF). Here are 7 longer links I read this week that stuck with me. As always, I use gift links, clever selections, and whatever other (legal) means I can to make sure there are no paywalls between you and the stories. (Want to submit a suggestion? You can do that here.)
Adam Sandler doesn’t need your respect. But he’s getting it anyway.
In a rare sit-down interview, the former SNL star and comedy icon reflects on his career as he receives the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor
During every Adam Sandler stand-up show, he straps on his electric guitar and sings a song. Unlike the bite-size ditties he’s peppered through the set about selfies or baggy shorts, this one concerns his late, great “Saturday Night Live” buddy, Chris Farley.
It is a perfect tribute. Sandler, singing softly as he strums in G, captures the complicated beauty of Farley as clips of his most memorable high jinks play on a giant screen behind him. The crowd roars as he references Farley’s electrifying SNL turns as a Chippendales dancer and a motivational speaker “living in a van down by the river.” There is a hush as Sandler slips into the bridge, a peek into his friend’s vulnerability.
I saw him in the office, crying with his headphones on
Listening to a KC and the Sunshine Band song
I said, “Buddy, how the hell is that making you so sad?”
Then he laughed and said, “Just thinking about my dad”
“Only Sandler could do that,” says Dana Carvey, an SNL star when the younger comedian arrived in 1990. “That’s another gear that Adam has. He’ll be really, really silly. But he’s not afraid to go for sentimentality and earnestness.”
The Mark Twain Prize for American Humor ceremony will air at 8 p.m. March 26 on CNN. (Washington Post)
Being Quirky Helped Comedian Diane Morgan Land ‘Cunk on Earth’
The English actress on her early struggles, her Netflix success and why she only watches ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’
From 15 on, I wanted to be a comedy actor. I put all my eggs in that one basket and pushed on. I aimed for drama school, but it took me three years to get in. I was so full of fear and anxiety that I’d ruin my auditions. I wanted it too badly.
In those three years, I worked many appalling jobs. Then I auditioned at East 15 Acting School in Loughton. I chose to read the nurse from “Romeo and Juliet.”
The teacher said, “The nurse is usually a fat lady. You aren’t fat.” I said, “She doesn’t have to be freaking fat, now does she?” Everyone gasped that I had talked back.
He paused. Then he said, “No, no she doesn’t.” He wrote something on his page, and I was in. That’s when I realized I should have been rude from the start. (WSJ)
Taliban Leader Faces Blowback Over Girls’ School Ban—From His Own Movement
Secret classrooms pop up around the country, and even some government officials are allowing their daughters to attend them.
A year ago, the Taliban’s supreme leader revived the Taliban’s signature policy from the 1990s and banned girls from attending secondary school.
Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada is discovering that it is one thing to issue a fiat, and quite another to enforce it in an Afghanistan that has changed dramatically since the Taliban last ruled. The reclusive leader is coming under intense pressure even from within his own movement to reverse it, a clash that is spilling into the open as the new school year begins this week. (WSJ)
A Four-Decade Secret: One Man’s Story of Sabotaging Carter’s Re-election
A prominent Texas politician said he unwittingly took part in a 1980 tour of the Middle East with a clandestine agenda.
It has been more than four decades, but Ben Barnes said he remembers it vividly. His longtime political mentor invited him on a mission to the Middle East. What Mr. Barnes said he did not realize until later was the real purpose of the mission: to sabotage the re-election campaign of the president of the United States.
It was 1980 and Jimmy Carter was in the White House, bedeviled by a hostage crisis in Iran that had paralyzed his presidency and hampered his effort to win a second term. Mr. Carter’s best chance for victory was to free the 52 Americans held captive before Election Day. That was something that Mr. Barnes said his mentor was determined to prevent.
His mentor was John B. Connally Jr., a titan of American politics and former Texas governor who had served three presidents and just lost his own bid for the White House. A former Democrat, Mr. Connally had sought the Republican nomination in 1980 only to be swamped by former Gov. Ronald Reagan of California. Now Mr. Connally resolved to help Mr. Reagan beat Mr. Carter and in the process, Mr. Barnes said, make his own case for becoming secretary of state or defense in a new administration. (New York Times)
A Sandwich Shop, a Tent City and an American Crisis
As homelessness overwhelms downtown Phoenix, a small business wonders how long it can hang on.
He had been coming into work at the same sandwich shop at the same exact time every weekday morning for the last four decades, but now Joe Faillace, 69, pulled up to Old Station Subs with no idea what to expect. He parked on a street lined with three dozen tents, grabbed his Mace and unlocked the door to his restaurant. The peace sign was still hanging above the entryway. Fake flowers remained undisturbed on every table. He picked up the phone and dialed his wife and business partner, Debbie Faillace, 60.
“All clear,” he said. “Everything looks good.”
“You’re sure? No issues?” she asked. “What’s going on with the neighbors?”
He looked out the window toward Madison Street, which had become the center of one of the largest homeless encampments in the country, with as many as 1,100 people sleeping outdoors. On this February morning, he could see a half-dozen men pressed around a roaring fire. A young woman was lying in the middle of the street, wrapped beneath a canvas advertising banner. A man was weaving down the sidewalk in the direction of Joe’s restaurant with a saw, muttering to himself and then stopping to urinate a dozen feet from Joe’s outdoor tables.
“It’s the usual chaos and suffering,” he told Debbie. “But the restaurant’s still standing.” (New York Times)
The Age-Old Food Fight That Beats an Italian Town to a Pulp
Every winter, Ivrea erupts into a ferocious three-day festival where its citizens pelt one another with 900 tons of oranges. (Yes, oranges.)
It looked as if a war was coming. It was. One Sunday last month, in a northern Italian town called Ivrea, the facades of historic buildings were covered with plastic sheeting and nets. Storefront windows had been fortified with plywood and tarps. And in several different piazzas, hundreds of wooden crates had appeared, walls of them stacked eight feet high and even farther across. The crates looked like barricades but were actually arms depots. Inside them were oranges. Oranges, the fruit.
Over the next three days, 8,000 people in Ivrea would throw 900 tons of oranges at one another, one orange at a time, while tens of thousands of other people watched. They would throw the oranges very hard, very viciously, often while screaming profanities at their targets or yowling like Braveheart, and they would throw the oranges for hours, until their eyebrows were matted with pulp and their shirts soaked through. But they would also keep smiling as they threw the oranges, embracing and joking and cheering one another on, exhibiting with their total beings a deranged-seeming but euphoric sense of abandon and belonging—a freedom that was easy to envy but difficult to understand. (New York Times)
Why I Never Delete Any Email. I Just Archive It All.
I have every message and file I’ve written or received for decades. It makes your life so much easier—if you follow a few key principles
What if you had a perfect memory of every professional interaction or task you had tackled for the past 20 years? What if you could zip through your inbox in five minutes, instead of 50?
It’s all possible if you embrace a single principle of digital housekeeping: Don’t delete, archive.
Archiving means keeping every email, message and file that passes through your virtual fingers. Yes, I mean everything.
I have every email I’ve received or created in the past 17 years stashed in my current Gmail “All Mail” folder. That’s 318,568 of them. (WSJ)