Once upon a time I ran a news site, now I just have opinions on the news. 

Good morning, RVA: Summertime joy, downtown arena news, and the black waffle

Good morning, RVA! It's 71 °F, and temperatures are back up in the 90s today. Dry skies until at least through Wednesday, though.

Water cooler

The Richmond Police Department is reporting a murder that took place on the Southside early Saturday morning. Officers found Trimayne H. Moore, 46, shot to death in a vehicle on the 2000 block of Boston Avenue.

This video of challenging random Richmonders to water gun battles is the best thing you will watch today—maybe the best thing you will watch this week! So much joy!

Whoa, actual downtown arena rumblings! Jonathan Spiers at Richmond BizSense reports that attorneys have submitted 13 applications to rezone buildings in the proposed arena’s footprint. Spiers has a map of the buildings—basically everything between 5th, Leigh, 10th, and Marshall that’s not the Federal Building or the Courthouse. I assume this means we’ll soon get our hands on the full, formal proposal. Here are my uneducated guesses: We’ll see something officially introduced at the September 9th City Council meeting (since Council takes August off), and probably some sort of media event before then. The timing on this thing is fascinating, though. City Council’s Navy Hill Development Advisory Commission has 90 days following the introduction of the relevant ordinances to hold public hearings. That could put us into November, and the first Council meeting in that month is a week after the elections. Why does that matter? Remember, Paul Goldman says he’s got enough signatures to add another charter-changing referendum to the ballot which would either blow up or significantly change the financials of the downtown arena project. We’ll also have a new 5th District councilperson, and who knows how they’ll feel about areana, TIFs, and all that sort of stuff. I have no idea what’s ultimately going to happen, but I certainly don’t see Council fast-tracking anything about this entire situation. Stay tuned!

Del. Herring from Alexandria has a column in the paper about why she’s skipping tomorrow’s Trump-laden Jamestown celebration. You already know all the reasons: xenophobic immigration policies, children in cages, and horribly racist rhetoric. I’m into the legislator boycott, of course, and I appreciate all the elected officials who are staying home. Herring closes with this, which I think sums it up: “We are rejecting President Trump’s racist rhetoric and actions, and we’re representing our vision for Virginia’s future — one of inclusivity, diversity and humanity. That is neither partisan, childish nor petty.”

Bike Walk RVA is looking to hire a lead organizer. Is that you? It totally could be if you want to do the hard work of organizing folks to demand a better and safer Richmond region for pedestrians and people on bikes. It’s important work, and I’m sure that someone out there would thrive in this job—or at least know someone who’d be a perfect fit.

Style Weekly’s Sabrina Moreno talks to the folks behind Brewers Waffles, including the eponymous AJ Brewer himself. Aside from waffles, they talk about the importance of black-owned businesses. Brewer’s quote on why he decided to name the waffles after Richmond Public Schools is perfect.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch has a “dining survey” that you can fill out—I’m not sure to what end, but I link to so many surveys in this space, it felt wrong not to include this one. I guess it’s theoretically possible that people go to restaurants other than CookOut and Edo’s? This is one way to find out.

Tonight, at 6:00 PM at MLK Middle, the Education Compact will have their regularly scheduled quarterly meeting. You can view the pretty barebones agenda here. I still believe that these combined meetings of the Mayor, the Superintendent, City Council, and the School board are important—especially with all of the schools-related stuff going on at the moment. I’ll do my best to find out who made it their beeswax to be at tonight’s get-together, because the combined meetings only work if everyone’s combined into the same room.

This morning's longread

Yeah, the egg is bigger than before, but also the algorithm is still terrifying.

The thing is, “want” and “satisfaction” in the context of the YouTube brain can only be articulated by attention, which means there is no clear line on YouTube between “entertaining” and “useful,” which means that strangeness can be a kind of strategy to itself. Maybe strangeness is a conscious choice, a tactic for attracting viewers. But it wouldn’t need to be. If people click on your strange videos, you will be taught to make your videos stranger; your competitors will make their videos stranger. Eventually the search term decouples from the results: When people search “lifehack” they only click on strange videos of big eggs, and so only videos of big eggs appear under the results. What am I watching when I watch 5-Minute Crafts? I’m watching the YouTube mind at work.

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Good morning, RVA: Boycotting the commemoration, Education Compact attendance, and a snake eating a fish

Good morning, RVA: High-speed rail impacts, speed limit enforcement, and a fake seal