Not the steak: this week on Fresh Powder

The lede

“Two kindergartners in Utah told a Latino boy that President Trump would send him back to Mexico, and teenagers in Maine sneered ‘Ban Muslims’ at a classmate wearing a hijab. In Tennessee, a group of middle-schoolers linked arms, imitating the president’s proposed border wall as they refused to let nonwhite students pass. In Ohio, another group of middle-schoolers surrounded a mixed-race sixth-grader and, as she confided to her mother, told the girl: ‘This is Trump country.’ Trump’s words, those chanted by his followers at campaign rallies and even his last name have been wielded by students and school staff members to harass children more than 300 times since the start of 2016, a Washington Post review of 28,000 news stories found. At least three-quarters of the attacks were directed at kids who are Hispanic, black or Muslim, according to the analysis. Students have also been victimized because they support the president — more than 45 times during the same period.”


“Listening is hard. We come into conversations with our own agendas and low attention spans, and that can be a dangerous combination.” You’re a Bad Listener: Here’s How to Remember What People Say. (As important in journalism, as in life.)


“Freshly yet firmly on the other side of fame’s door, de Armas is in the rare position to fling it open, to be frank about what it means to be in the spotlight, to have your life reduced to a stereotype, to be sick of Los Angeles (by the time you read this, she’ll be gone). Just a few years ago she was spending seven hours a day sitting in a classroom, learning to speak English, which she did in four months. Now she’s one of Hollywood’s most efficient multitaskers: She’s about to appear in No Time to Die, the 25th James Bond movie … she stars in the upcoming erotic thriller Deep Water with Ben Affleck … as well as in The Night Clerk … and in Netflix’s political drama Sergio; she will be going back to her roots (she was a towheaded child) to become Marilyn Monroe in Blonde. The fact that her earlier work alongside Ryan Gosling and Keanu Reeves is already so far down her IMDB page is fairly astounding.” Ana de Armas is reinventing the Bond girl. “So how did she get here?” (Vanity Fair)

. . . Listen to Billie Eilish’s new James Bond theme.


In an Olympic year, college athletes have a decision to make: Stay in school and continue competing for your team, or drop everything and dive into around-the-clock training? Star Tribune: “According to the NCAA, the U.S. team for the 2016 Rio Olympics included 50 athletes who were on college rosters at the time of the Games. In some sports, such as diving, it’s typical to put college on hold for a year while training toward the Olympics. In others, including men’s gymnastics and wrestling, college competition is considered an ideal pathway into the Games.”


A date baseball circles on the calendar annually had extra drama this year. Pitchers, catchers, and, specifically, Astros reported for Spring Training last Wednesday and Thursday. Out from under the covers of the offseason, you might say the Astros were greeted by a larger than normal media contingent wanting answers. How’d it go? ESPN’s Jeff Passan: “Houston Astros owner Jim Crane’s latest attempt at damage control blew up in spectacular fashion Thursday. In the span of 27 minutes at a news conference, he claimed his team’s routine cheating during its 2017 championship season didn’t impact the game, declared he shouldn’t be held accountable for the organization he runs, used commissioner Rob Manfred’s report on the Astros’ malfeasance as a binky and so often repeated talking points that the Apology.exe program he tried to install in his head looked as if it were glitching. The entire charade devolved into a glorious conflagration, Crane’s mouth a veritable fountain of lighter fluid.”

. . . “In an attempt to understand the scope of the cheating and the players involved, I decided to listen to every pitch from the Astros’ 2017 home games and log any banging noise I could detect. These are the results of my efforts. I’ve logged over 8,200 pitches and found banging before over 1,100 of those pitches.” These are the Astros’ Pentagon Papers.

Thinking ahead

McClatchy, the second-largest newspaper publisher in the United States, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last Thursday. UPI: “The filing ended McClatchy’s 163-year family ownership and hands over control to creditors, whom the company says support independent journalism.” (Is your local newspaper owned by McClatchy? Check here.)

. . . “The city’s second-oldest high school, built with funds from the New Deal in 1937, is named for C.K. McClatchy, the late editor of The Bee. There’s a McClatchy Park in Oak Park and a McClatchy Library in the old family homestead in Poverty Ridge. Sacramento is the ‘city of trees’ in part because C.K. McClatchy championed tree planting and even had the paper publish front-page ‘obituaries’ on trees that had been killed by vandals or developers.” And now, regrettably, an obituary on itself: The Sacramento Bee, on the permanent impact and legacy of the McClatchy family in its hometown.

This also happened last week: For VarietySharon Choi wrote about her experiences as the interpreter for “Parasite” this awards season.