The Weekender, March 16, 2018

1) “The Rise and Fall of Professional Bowling ” (Priceonomics, 13 minutes, March 2014).

There was a time when professional bowlers reigned supreme.

In the “golden era” of the 1960s and 70s, they made twice as much money as NFL stars, signed million dollar contracts, and were heralded as international celebrities. After each match, they’d be flanked by beautiful women who’d seen them bowl on television, or had read about them in Sports Illustrated.

Today, the glitz and glamour has faded. Pro bowlers supplement their careers with second jobs, like delivering sod, or working at a call center. They share Motel 6 rooms on tour to save on travel expenses, and thrive on the less-than-exciting dime of beef jerky sponsorships.

Once sexy, bowling is now synonymous with cheap beer and smelly feet. In an entertainment-saturated culture, has the once formidable sport been gutter-balled? What exactly is it like to be a professional bowler today?

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3) The Now I Know Week in Review:

Monday: How A Nearly-Perfect Crime Became Perfect Again — Requires twins.

Tuesday: How Hitchcock Kept Psycho a Secret — It’s based on a book, but you couldn’t buy it so easily.

Wednesday: How Chairman Mao Turned Freedom into Oppression — temporary freedom of speech has consequences, it seems.

Thursday: One Armed Bandits — an insurance scam that won’t cost you an arm and a leg (but it may cost you one or the other).

And a bonus one: Where No Sandwich Has Gone Before — corned beef goes to space.

4) “The Extinction of the Early Bird” (Eater, 13 minutes, January 2018). The sub-head: “Baby Boomers and the ailing middle class are killing the value meal mascot of South Florida retirement.” Basically, the generation of retirees who at dinner at 4:30, effectively extending the dinner hours of various restaurants, is going away. Here’s the story behind the end of a phenomenon.

5) “After the Storm” (Popular Mechanics, 29 minutes, February 2018). Thanks to Craig S. for suggesting this.

When hurricanes Irma and Maria destroyed hundreds of homes and displaced thousands of people in the U.S. Virgin Islands last fall, some people sent money and supplies. A smaller group showed up. They left their lives and families, dealt with occasional awkwardness and tetanus shots, to see what they could do to help. This is their story.

6) “The brutal world of sheep fighting: the illegal sport beloved by Algeria’s ‘lost generation‘” (The Guardian, 23 minutes, February 2018). Yes, sheep fighting.

Have a great weekend!