Families Fight 

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

Recently, hedge fund Starboard Value published a 294-page report on how to fix that mediocre-at-best chain of “Italian” restaurants, Olive Garden. The manifesto contains gems like this:

Shockingly, Olive Garden no longer salts the water it uses to boil the pasta, merely to get a longer warranty on its pots. This appalling decision shows just how little regard management has for delivering a quality experience to guests. We believe this results in a mushy, unappealing product that is well below competitors’ quality despite similar cost. How can management of the world’s largest Italian restaurant chain think it is okay to serve poorly prepared pasta?”

Over and over again, the document takes Olive Garden to task. However, I’ve recently made an only-semi-willing visit to Olive Garden, and I can confidently state that the table of contents of what’s needed to fix Olive Garden alone should easily top 300 pages.

Vancouver Seems Like the City to Do It

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Last week, a rogue art installation in Vancouver caused something of a stir, and friend of the site Michael W. provided the heads-up on this delightful story. Apparently, a pedestal which once displayed a Christopher Columbus statue had lain barren since that piece was moved a decade ago. Much like a hermit crab who happens upon a discarded shell, another artist eventually decided they liked the looks of this location. Under the cover of night, they installed their own piece on the pedestal for all to enjoy. For a few hours last Tuesday, commuters on Vancouver’s SkyTrain were treated to an eye-catching spectacle.

Satan and More
Well, Hell-o!

It was quite something, as you can see. Alas, by around 3 PM that day a city crew had removed the statue, and the world was a little sadder for it. Thankfully, both professionals and amateurs alike were there to document it all. This particular photo of the statue in the back of a truck is simply fantastic, both for what it doesn’t show, and what it does.

Just The Tip
Gee, do you think he’s in there?

Following the removal of the statue, a petition was started by one Darryl Greer, requesting that the artwork be returned. Over 2,500 people have added their support to “Bring the Giant Satan-With-an-Erection Statue Back to East Vancouver”. Greer notes that while some may be offended by the work, plenty were also offended by a seven-foot tall porcelain dog statue which cost taxpayers almost $100,000. At the very least, in the case of the aroused prince of darkness, no one can quarrel with the price.

You may think it’d be preposterous to bring this ridiculous statue back, and it would be. Nevertheless, Vancouver seems like just the city to do it. After all, thanks to another enterprising and impish artist, Vancouver is already home to “Dude Chilling Park”.

Dude Chilling Park
The sign was inspired by the “Reclining Figure” sculpture the park contains.

Dude, Chilling
Yup, that’s a dude chilling alright.

As you may be aware, many TV series are shot in Vancouver. I sincerely hope we get a chance to see our extremely red-blooded friend in the background of a future episode of something. If you care to add your voice to the cause, be sure to sign the petition.

Just The Tip Chows Down on Some Leftovers 

Tuesday, September 16th, 2014

As mentioned last month, Just The Tip has returned for Season 2. If you’ve got thirty minutes to spare, Just The Tip is likely to provide you with more than a few laughs.

This week’s episode is entitled “A Cold Steak in the Shower”, and it’s received some great feedback from our audience. If you’re not a regular listener, take thirty minutes and give this episode a shot. If you are a regular listener, thank you! If you have a second to leave a positive review in iTunes, it’s always appreciated.

Complete and Utter Horseshit From Urban Outfitters

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Back in 1970, students at Kent State who were protesting the Vietnam War were fired upon by National Guard members. Four students died, and many others were wounded. It was a tragic event, and one which still impacts the community and the country. Now, Urban Outfitters has attempted to profit from it, with a truly despicable sweatshirt.

The despicable Kent State shirt

After the item was noticed by Buzzfeed, it quickly sold out and then disappeared. It’s now gone from the Urban Outfitters website, and they’ve made the following statement:

Urban Outfitters sincerely apologizes for any offense our Vintage Kent State Sweatshirt may have caused. It was never our intention to allude to the tragic events that took place at Kent State in 1970 and we are extremely saddened that this item was perceived as such. The one-of-a-kind item was purchased as part of our sun-faded vintage collection. There is no blood on this shirt nor has this item been altered in any way. The red stains are discoloration from the original shade of the shirt and the holes are from natural wear and fray. Again, we deeply regret that this item was perceived negatively and we have removed it immediately from our website to avoid further upset.

That’s really not an apology, and Urban Outfitters can get right and truly bent.

The Myth of Voter Fraud 

Friday, September 12th, 2014

In recent years, Republicans have passed laws throughout the country to make it more difficult to vote. Often, they’ve claimed that they’re cracking down on voter fraud. The only problem? Voter fraud effectively doesn’t exist.

Those findings confirm a recent analysis of primary, general, special and municipal elections by Loyola University professor Justin Levitt. He found that since 2000, more than a billion ballots have been cast in the United States and there have been just 31 credible incidents of voter fraud.

That’s not exactly an epidemic.

This War of Mine 

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

A studio in Poland is nearing completion of a game entitled “This War of Mine”. It sounds like a very different take on war games.

“You don’t believe that your world is going to change,” he says. “When you read about the Second World War, they had exactly that same feeling: War is not going to happen.

“It came anyway.”

The article describes a rather dark and somber mood. That may not be the mentality to make a fun game, but it’s certainly an appropriate one for a war game.

The Gift of Divorce 

Wednesday, September 10th, 2014

When a biologist and his family had their DNA analyzed, a seemingly-small feature lead to a rather disastrous outcome. The writing on this piece is shaky at best, but it’s still worth a read.

Argo 

Tuesday, September 9th, 2014

Alex Robinson recently purchased a house in Charlestown, just a few miles from Scotch ’n Sirloin, and began doing renovations. As he was pulling up old floorboards, he received a message from the past.

“I really liked the floors Albert Stella put in, but I wasn’t able to keep them,” said Robinson. “I realized the floors weren’t level, so the only thing to do was pull them up. Lo and behold, I was told to go fuck myself.”

Lo and behold, indeed.

A+ Name, D- Ads

Monday, September 8th, 2014

While walking in Boston, I spotted this sign high on the side of a building:

The Scotch n Sirloin Sign

I was amazed by this simple yet descriptive name. It brought to mind exactly what it was: an old-school steakhouse. A bit of research1 confirmed that this had once been a restaurant. Despite the fact that it closed all the way back in 1991, the Scotch ’n Sirloin sign has remained in place for over two decades. Nowadays the building is apparently home to tech offices, including those of PayPal.

And yet, that’s not the most embarrassing thing about this building. No, further searching led to two monstrously bad television commercials from the 80s featuring the Boston Celtics. Take 60 seconds and bask in the sheer horribleness of them both.2 The writing! The acting! The wardrobe! It’s all more than enough to make you lose your appetite, and that will not serve any restaurant well.

The Scotch n Sirloin Sign
This man does not know how to eat lobster.

Despite its near-perfect name, the restaurant couldn’t manage to keep its doors open. Perhaps “Scotch ’n Sirloin” was simply too on the nose. Or maybe they spent all their profits on those terrible, terrible TV commercials.


Footnotes:

  1. Which is to say, a few seconds of punching “Scotch n Sirloin” “Boston” into the old Google machine.

  2. As always, the videos are archived here and here respectively.

Best Joke Ever 

Friday, September 5th, 2014

Over at McSweeney’s, Mark Peters is doing a deft job of analyzing comedians, and their best jokes ever, in a recurring column called “Best Joke Ever”. Far from killing the humor, Peters has managed to isolate and preserve it, while improving our understanding of it as well

In reference to Mitch Hedberg’s classic escalator joke1, Peters had this to say:

The beauty of this joke is that it sticks with you forever, objectively making your life better. Once you’ve heard the joke, I defy you to see a broken escalator and not think of it. This is an accomplishment: to write and tell a joke that can get in people’s heads and cheer them up during one of life’s annoying little moments.

In my case at least, he’s nailed it:

Escalator
Mitch Hedberg was wrong?!


Footnotes:

  1. It seems ridiculous to even quote the joke, as if a reader of this site could somehow have missed it. Nevertheless, here is Hedberg’s gem: “I like escalators, because an escalator can never break: it can only become stairs. There would never be an “Escalator temporarily out of order” sign, only an “Escalator temporarily stairs. Sorry for the convenience.”