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In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to understand America’s fastest growing sport, pickleball. Why did five million Americans turn to pickleball during the pandemic, and why did Tom Brady and LeBron James buy franchises in various Pickleball leagues? David goes to meet and play Pickleball with one of America’s best players, Jessie Irvine, to discover some tips and tricks. Along the way he discovers why Americans are suing each other over pickleball, before talking to Chuck Menke, Chief Marketing Officer for Pickleball America. They discuss what the chances are of pickleball becoming an official Olympic Sport, and whether the rest of the world is embracing pickleball with the same gusto as the US.
Flightless Bird: Rabies
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier gets bitten by a squirrel, forcing him to come face-to-face with his greatest nightmare: rabies. Why does this virus have a near 100% mortality rate and how are you meant to be treated for it? David joins the 60,000 Americans who find themselves having to reckon with the risk of rabies every year, whether they are bitten by dogs, raccoons, bats… or in David’s case, a squirrel. To learn more, David meets fellow victims Courtney and Paul, who all had to have jabs in their arms, legs, and butts! David discovers that American emergency rooms can be very expensive and that rabies makes you terrified of water! For more on his rabies encounter, see Farrier’s newsletter Webworm: https://www.webworm.co/p/rabies
Flightless Bird: BBQ
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier travels to Austin, Texas to investigate America’s love of BBQ. Why do 7 out of 10 adults in America own some kind of BBQ device, and why is there so much BBQ in Texas? David meets up with the BBQ editor of Texas Monthly, Daniel Vaughn. David discovers that Daniel has eaten at over 2,000 barbecue spots all over the planet… 2,119 to be precise - many of them in Texas. Daniel agrees to take David on a day of BBQ eating, from Austin to Lockhart to Luling - shoving brisket and sides town their gullets in a feeding frenzy of epic proportions.
Flightless Bird: Waco
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to Waco, Texas - taking a drive to visit the Branch Davidians compound, the old home of David Koresh. David is surprised to find that the strange offshoot of the Seventh Day Adventist church still exists and sits down to interview their new leader. Why are they still on the same grounds where so many terrible things happened? What do they believe? What do they think of Koresh? What is inside their church? And why did things go so crazy here 30 years ago, America essentially going after one man with an army of guns, helicopters, tear gas, 12 tanks, and almost 900 members of the FBI, ATF, Texas National Guard, the Army, the Waco police department, and the Texas Rangers.
Flightless Bird: Waffle House
In this week’s Flightless Bird, David Farrier sets out to understand Waffle House, the much loved diner found scattered throughout the American south. What makes this chain so special, and what the heck is the Waffle House Index? David interviews Waffle House’s Njeri Boss about the magic of waffles and why it’s actually more about the hash browns. He also talks to photographer Micah Cash about his book Waffle House Vistas (https://bittersoutherner.com/) and why this generic shoebox restaurant is actually incredibly diverse and special. What does Hootie and the Blowfish and the Bloodhound Gang all have in common? Waffle House!