Discover more from Understandably by Bill Murphy Jr.
What you get for $140,000 a month
Free for All Friday!
Free for All Friday continues. Here are 7 longer links I got into this week, all set up to provide free access (meaning no paywalls).
Interruption … Last minute addition, right up top … You’ve likely heard this by now, but:
A New York grand jury indicted Donald Trump in connection with a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels. Trump will be the first former U.S. president to be charged with a crime. (CNBC)
With that, we return to our regular Friday email …
From Coaches To Pushy Parents, US Men’s Soccer Is Married To Mediocrity
In 2026, USA along with Canada and Mexico will host the men's World Cup. Here's why a former U.S. team star says the U.S. has almost no chance of doing better in the tournament that's still three years away that it did in Qatar.
As the men’s game in America continues to stall—the women’s game is still thriving after two successive World Cup victories—the rest of the world looks at us and wonders why we can’t figure it out. Why is US soccer still a laughing stock?
People don’t want to hear the reasons why, because they’re totally counterproductive to the industry we’ve created. But here’s the first one: There are too many kids playing soccer.
It’s wonderful that kids are playing the beautiful game, no doubt. But there are too many parents paying thousands of dollars for their kids to play alongside truly great players. That’s not helping our best ones (and it doesn’t help the average ones, who are outclassed in every game they play). (The Guardian)
The Many Ways to Visit Antarctica
Even just a decade ago, Antarctica was reserved for the intrepid. Travelers hunkered down with scientists in cramped tent camps, sharing meals of instant noodles and calorie-dense sledging biscuits.
A lot has changed since 1966, when Lars-Eric Lindblad led the first nonscientific expedition cruise to the White Continent. Early cruises featured dorm-style cabins with “shoilets” (a shower head above a toilet), and passengers spent most days suited up in expedition parkas watching icebergs from the ship deck.
Today, there are more ways than ever to experience the continent, from adventurous heli-ski safaris to cushy luxury cruises with caviar service and even a restaurant overseen by Michelin-star chef Alain Ducasse.
“Antarctica is experiencing an exceptional travel boom,” says Jack Ezon, founder of travel company Embark Beyond. (WSJ)
Think You Can Land A Plane In An Emergency? Pilots Explain Why You Can’t.
Aviation experts say it’s only happening in your Hollywood dreams. (My counterpoint: A lot of men especially seem to think they could do this, but it might be because they wildly overestimating the odds of getting say, a Boeing 737 flight instructor over the radio to tell you what to do.)
Picture this: You are on a flight when you learn that the pilots have fallen ill and can no longer fly the plane. A voice comes over the public address system, asking for a volunteer to help land the aircraft. You have no experience, but you have seen “Airplane!” and “Snakes on a Plane.” Maybe you’ve frittered away hours on Microsoft’s Flight Simulator. You throw off your seat belt and march toward the cockpit, your cape rustling behind you.
Hold on, hero. You might want to return to your seat for this reality check.
“There is a zero percent chance of someone pulling that off,” said Patrick Smith, a commercial air pilot and founder of the Ask the Pilot blog. “Do people think they can perform transplant surgery? No. Then why do they think they can land a plane?” (WashPost)
A 9-year-old California Girl Wanted To Save Her Goat From Slaughter. Then Came The Search Warrant
This story starts out slow but by the end it’s crazy: with police, threats of a felony charge, and the girl’s pet winding up … well, you know …
Cedar the goat had been purchased in April 2022 by Jessica Long for her 9-year-old daughter, who fed and cared for the goat every day, eventually bonding with the animal. “She loved him as a family pet,” the lawsuit says.
The family entered Cedar into the Shasta District Fair’s junior livestock auction on June 24, 2022, the suit says, an event in which animals entered for auction are part of a “terminal sale” in which they are sold off to be used as meat—“no exceptions,” a fair brochure says.
But before bidding began the Long family changed their minds and tried to back out before Cedar was auctioned off, something fair officials said was not allowed. (Sacramento Bee)
Say Goodbye to Daily Hotel Room Cleaning
The pandemic put a pause on many hotels’ guaranteed once-a-day cleanings. Now many of them are making the change permanent, even saying guests prefer it.
In the early days of the pandemic, the daily cleaning of hotel rooms was among the many routines disrupted. Even people who dared to travel blanched at the idea of a stranger entering their rooms. Many hotels started cleaning only after guests checked out, even letting some lodgings sit empty for a day.
Now, with travel largely having rebounded, and with occupancy levels projected to reach 64 percent this year—just 2 percent shy of prepandemic levels, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association, daily cleaning, like the five-day office workweek for many people and printed menus at restaurants, seems to have become a thing of the past. (NYT)
He Came To D.C. As A Brazilian Student. The U.S. Says He Was A Russian Spy.
Like anyone who gets into his dream college, Victor Muller Ferreira was ecstatic when he was admitted to Johns Hopkins University’s graduate school in Washington in 2018.
“Today we made the future—we managed to get in one of the top schools in the world,” he wrote in an email to those who had helped him gain entry to the elite master’s program in international relations. “This is the victory that belongs to all of us man—to the entire team. Today we f---ing drink!!!”
The achievement was even sweeter for Ferreira because he was not the striving student from Brazil he had portrayed on his Johns Hopkins application, but a Russian intelligence operative originally from Kaliningrad, according to a series of international investigations as well as an indictment the Justice Department filed in federal court Friday. (WashPost)
A $140,000-a-Month Apartment Lets You Live Like a Rich New Yorker—For 30 Days at a Time, at Least
The higher demand comes despite rents of $140,000 a month for one of the five, three-bedroom duplexes. Rents are $40,000 a month for one of the seven smaller clubhouse suites. Meanwhile, the rental process has been simplified. Bookings are secured with a credit card. Guests stay for as long as they need, and when they are ready to go, they simply announce they are leaving.
“The whole thesis is luxury rental meets five-star hotel,” says Hailey Sarage, senior vice president of development at Related, which has properties globally and operates more than 20 buildings in Manhattan.
(They also talk about some apartments on the "cheaper" end of the spectrum: $5,200 for a studio.) (WSJ)
Bonus: Iraq War Veterans, 20 Years Later: ‘I Don’t Know How to Explain the War to Myself’ | Op-Docs
Back in 2003, a reporter for the New York Times started filming a U.S. Army field artillery regiment during the invasion and immediate occupation of Iraq.
Twenty years later, he went back and interviewed the same soldiers. This is a 17-minute documentary style video. I always think it's fascinating to see interviews with the same people many years apart, no matter the context.