Texas Outlaw Writers Newsletter: It's Getting Complicated Edition

The world is heating up - Russia has set Ukraine on fire. Europe has not seen a refugee crisis this terrible since WWII. Putin has openly defied much of the 'rules' of war as outlined by the Geneva Convention and is targeting civilians and is threatening to use WMDs. And the Outlaws have something to say about it.

With Ukraine on the brink, and Putin’s army looking like something out of No Time For Sergeants, Roger Gray contemplates the real-life dilemmas world leaders face when one of them simply loses it. And loses it while clutching a fist full of nukes.

...This is the War Room! | Texas Outlaw Writers
Ukraine - The real-life dilemma world leaders face when one of them simply loses it. And loses it while clutching a fist full of nukes.

Plenty of us vividly remember nuclear fallout shelters, air-raid sirens that went off at noon on Fridays, and the near comical "duck-and-cover" exercises of our childhood. There's nothing very 'cold-war' about the hot, unfolding catastrophe in Ukraine. Vlad is burning nuclear power plants and threatening to release pieces of his nuclear arsenal. Jim Moore recounts childhood fear (and confusion) when hearing about mushroom clouds and melting skin.

A Kingdom of Dirt | Texas Outlaw Writers
As the West scrambles to mitigate the ruthless conquest of Ukraine, the suppressed fears of a nuclear war return. The nightmare seems more vivid than before.

In the last few years, there has been much speculation as to the number of psychopaths in positions of leadership. Up in the C-Suite or in the halls of government power, there seems to be a high % of unbalanced individuals lurking around, terrorizing the rest of us. Some simply have massive egos, while others exhibit toxic narcissism, an unnatural lack of empathy, and other destructive pathologies. Myra Jolivet asks a mental health professional if that's the case with the handful of world leaders that are leading us to the brink.

The Mental (Un)health of World Leaders | Texas Outlaw Writers
Do We Dig Deeply Enough into the Mental Health of So-called Leaders? Why Not? “Qualified,” Should Also Mean Mentally Sound.

On a lighter note... well, certainly by comparison... DeeceX brings the saga of another family-values, God-fearing, Trump-loving Republican. (You can see this coming right up Capitol St., right?) This poor backbencher Congressman from N. Texas didn't quite love Trump enough, he got tagged with the wrong God, and evidently, he undervalued his family. "Mistakes were made." Always a chance for a second chance, but with a mistress nicknamed, "ISIS Bride," Deece doubts that this RINO will even get an invite to Dancing with the Stars.

The Ballad of Van Taylor | Texas Outlaw Writers
One designation for my mistress I would do my best to avoid? “ISIS Bride.” This brings us to Congressman Van Taylor ending his reelection campaign.

What have the Outlaws been up to?

Roger recommends pretty much all of Anne Applebaum’s pieces in The Atlantic. She’s trying to make sense of the unsensible in Ukraine.

Jim Moore sent me a note from the road:

Went to Hico, TX this week to hang out with a journalism buddy and see the Billy the Kid Museum. How many people know that Hico is making a bit of a living off a story that Billy the Kid wasn’t really shot by Pat Garrett in New Mexico and slipped quietly away to live as a shop owner in Hico and die unknown in the Texas Hill Country? There's a grave out there, of course. But nobody around Hico is too keen on the idea to dig up a few of those bones to run a DNA test.
Wasted a few hours looking for 60s and 70s music on YouTube and was re-convinced that there will never, ever again be a musical decade as creative and beautifully productive as 1965-75.
Expect to spend some time on the motorcycle this week riding around looking for first growths of bluebonnets.

We're taking a look at The Dropout on Hulu. The story of Elizabeth Holmes and her fall (along with her sham company, Theranos.) It's been documented before in a great podcast produced by ABC (expanded since the trial) and an ABC 20/20 that was pretty good.  (It's important to note that the WSJ and reporter John Carreyrou broke the original story that blew up the multi-billion dollar startup.) Watching Amanda Seyfried as Holmes is worth a look, though. She captures her narcissism and freakish ambition perfectly. The series is little drawn out, and there's not much you can add to the real story...  But for those of us that enjoy seeing the rich and powerful crash and burn in a pile of flaming hubris, this makes for good viewing.

Have you seen Wes Anderson's The French Dispatch? It's a wonderful imitation of a Wes Anderson film directed by Wes Anderson. It's nearly a parody. There's Bill Murray, Owen Wilson, lots of symmetry, some animation, the muted color palette, the clipped dialogue... So if you love Wes Anderson, this is a Wes Anderson. I saw one review blurb that read,

It is a film that begs to be rewatched over and over in order to unwrap the layers of visual reference, commentary and easter eggs that the audience can easily miss on the first viewing.

And all I could think was, "it really shouldn't have to beg." But if you're a fan, it's a Wes Anderson.

Be careful out there this week. Be kind to one another. Take care of yourselves.

-the Outlaws