Hidden inside rolling garbage bins, an estimated $300 million worth of cash and jewels were carted out of an underground vault in Hatton Garden, London’s diamond district, in April 2015. Astonished Londoners called it “the perfect crime”—a theft carrying all the enterprising audacity of the Lufthansa heist at LaGuardia Airport on December 11, 1978. Lufthansa, though, was pulled off by the Mob. And so what if I told you that the Hatton Garden heist that captured the UK’s imagination was executed by an unlikely “ragtag gang” of seven retirees (some with health problems)? And that it took all the high-tech expertise of one of the world’s leading investigative firms to round up the thieves, who were, luckily for the authorities, a pack of “analog criminals in a digital world?” (Well, that and they were also done in by the missteps of the team’s befuddled bag man, a guy named “Billy the Fish” Lincoln.)
This is another enormously entertaining story by Mark Seal, one of my favorite writers.
For over a decade, gay men in San Francisco had to deal with near-constant grief as their friends, colleagues, and lovers succumbed to HIV. Now those who survived face another reason for sadness: their continued existence. Erin Allday spoke with man after man who were told they should live like their time was running thin. They quit jobs, gave up on saving, and now must face the consequences of those decisions with little help. Peter Greene summed up their struggle. “I’m the luckiest unlucky person in the world,” he said. “No one wants to be the last man standing.”
In 35 days, David Marannis and Robert Samuels zig-zagged across the United States in search of answers to a pair of deceptively simple questions: What’s happening in America? And what does it mean to be an American? This is an ambitious, four-part series that attempts to make sense of easily the strangest Presidential election season in American history that’s noteworthy, most of all, for its anger.
This is a story for those who only nod approvingly when they hear talk of private equity, money managers, and tax loopholes. Alec MacGillis will explain all of it with common language while pulling apart the push for a more sensible tax policy and exploring the people fighting for the loophole to stay.
With the Saints’ Drew Brees as its quarterback, AdvoCare is relying on sports to build a nutrition company juggernaut. But is AdvoCare selling false hope? An outstanding piece of work by my friend and colleague, Mina Kimes.
Modern day abolitionist Kevin Bales takes a dangerous trip to the Eastern Congo in order to show you how the slave economy is still very much alive, and how you might be unwittingly feeding it. He starts with an attention-grabbing lede: "It’s never a happy moment when you’re shopping for a tombstone."
If you fail, that’s OK. If you aren’t always made of grit, that’s OK, too. If you fall short of excellence now, it doesn’t mean you’ll never achieve excellence. Cody Delistraty explains. And here’s another outstanding piece about work, achievement and life goals, in The Economist.
It was the trial of the century, pitting the fundamentalists against the modernists as a public school teacher named John Scopes was prosecuted under a Tennessee state law banning the teaching of evolution in public schools. H.L. Mencken covered the event in 13 installments for his newspaper, the Baltimore Evening Sun, contributing 20,000 hilarious words to the case over the summer of 1925. Mencken took sides from the beginning, advising Scopes' attorney Clarence Darrow against prosecutor William Jennings Bryan, concluding his dispatches with this big swing: "On the one side was bigotry, ignorance, hatred, superstition, every sort of blackness that the human mind is capable of. On the other side was sense." Scopes lost the case, but Mencken and Darrow won in the court of public opinion.
Anger at Wall Street. Anger at Muslims. Anger at trade deals. Anger at Washington. Anger at police shootings of young black men. Anger at President Obama. Anger at Republican obstructionists. Anger about political correctness. Anger about the role of big money in campaigns. Anger about the poisoned water of Flint, Mich. Anger about deportations. Anger about undocumented immigrants. Anger about a career that didn’t go as expected. Anger about a lost way of life. Mob anger at groups of protesters in their midst. Specific anger and undefined anger and even anger about anger.
Across three decades, nothing much changes at NYC’s legendary Comedy Cellar (overseen by tough-as-nails booker Estee Adoram)—except the list of legends that has used the club as a launching pad just keeps growing.