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I’ve become more or less accustomed to the relentless onslaught of terrifying and terrible news, but shit got weird this week. For example, what is going on in Zimbabwe? There was an “army takeover” and president-for-life Robert Mugabe was taken into custody. Sounds like a coup, right? But coups are bad, and everyone hates Mugabe—the man who not only dismantled his country’s economy, he also celebrated his birthday by eating baby elephant—so “army takeover” it is. But maybe he’ll stay in power? No one seems to know what’s up.

In other wtf news, democracy died in Cambodia, which everyone saw coming but is still pretty shocking, and democracy continued its sad, slow decline in the U.S., which wasn’t shocking at all. It doesn’t matter though, because we’re all going to die in New Zealand’s rat war. Personally, I’m just hoping this new planet works out better than the old one.

And now for something completely different: We don’t talk about sports here very often because I don’t want to, but the World Cup is shaping up to be a little odd this time around, no? The U.S. was eliminated, which, ok, the world was not shocked that the country that won’t even call the sport by its real name sucks at it. But then Italy was eliminated, which hasn’t happened in six decades! Italy was awash in political violence and extremist bombings for most of the 70s and they managed to win the whole thing in 1982. That, incidentally, is the last time Peru qualified until this year. Others who did not make it: Ghana, Chile, Ecuador, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, and Turkey. I don’t know who to root for when every match is Peru v. Denmark. I suppose it doesn’t really matter since the Russians will win anyway.

A few things I’m reading this week: 23 things to know before you go to Nairobi. A Marine returns to Fallujah, ten years on. Unbelievable reporting from the New York Times on civilian deaths in Iraq. Inside modern-day slave auctions. Why would anyone bring back elephant tusk hunting? Why? Although it did prompt me to re-read Wells Tower’s interesting piece “Who Wants to Shoot an Elephant?” Mounting absurdity in the post-Brexit world. This profile of Angela Dimayuga makes me want to follow her into battle. I really want to see this movie get madegive them your money! The rise and fall of the English sentence. The triumph of Asian-American cuisine. Let’s never try a licorice mojito. But let’s do try some Thanksgiving desserts. Should I make cranberry pithivier? Perhaps pecan? Are there any truly good Thanksgiving-y chocolate desserts? If so, I haven’t found them yet; send help!

That’s it for this week! Want to do me a solid? Forward this newsletter to a friend or ten! Or just sign them up behind their backs. I won’t judge. As always, tweet me stories you want to see here @caraparks.