I am ashamed to say that I have only recently signed up for the daily email from the high caliber British webzine Unherd, although I see several of my colleagues have been discovering jewels there for some time.
On Saturday I was alerted to a true masterpiece: The corruption of CaliforniaBribery is the only way to get things done, by Matthew Crawford, March 4, 2023. It begins:
I backed into a spot where I could watch both entrances of the Papa Johns Pizza parking lot, punctual for my rendezvous. To be safe, I had first taken a slow cruise through the lot, on the lookout for the telltale signs of an unmarked police car. I was here to meet someone I knew only as Smog Lady. Adam, the night manager at Autozone had given me her telephone number. Word on the street was that Smog Lady could get me a smog certificate, and thereby cut the Gordian knot of the California Department of Motor Vehicles bureaucracy