Vague? Good. Specific? Awful. 

Friday, May 25th, 2018

I’ve previously linked to Portraits of America, a fascinating little blog where Ivan Velinov photographs and shares the stories of strangers. Following the theme of yesterday’s post (namely “things that make me want to puke”), here’s an awful individual with absolutely zero sense of modesty.

“I’m the most privileged person I know. My life is amazing. I live better than a celebrity. I went to the Olympics in Korea. I went to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year. I go on average to four countries overseas per semester. I go to every big event.”

Recognizing your own privilege is a very valuable thing. Rattling off a litany of great things you have or did, however, just sounds like gross boasting. It would only take minor changes to make this woman come off far better. If she’d said “I’m incredibly fortunate! I get to travel a tremendous amount, and do things I really love. Even better, I have a loving family.”, I wouldn’t be thinking about how perhaps this woman could use a broken foot to help change her ways. Alas, it’s increasingly clear that karma does not exist.

Animal Garbage Smoothies 

Thursday, May 24th, 2018

Do you want to eat more meat? Sure, we all do.1 So sign up for Smoothie Box, to find out how easy it is to eat the garbagiest parts of animals.2

SmoothieBox focuses on providing high-protein smoothie packs based on recipes that use collagen, which is found in parts of animals not typically eaten in the American diet, such as tendons, cartilage, hide and bone.

Mmm, mmm. That sure does sound appetizing, and not at all gross!


  1. This is demonstrably false. I’m a vegetarian. I know this! Just go with it. ↩︎

  2. It would seem that Sally Struthers has a permanent home in my brain. The relevant video is archived here. ↩︎

Awfully Prudish for a Store Whose Name Looks Like “Pube Licks” 

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2018

This story about a censored cake made for high school graduate Jacob Koscinski is more than a little funny. Just look at this dumb cake purchased from the grocery store Publix!

[Photo credit: Cara Koscinski]

It seems certain that this was the result of an overzealous automated filter, coupled with a worker not getting paid enough to care about the details. That’s stupid, and somewhat shameful, but it doesn’t merit any real outrage. And yet, my goodness, the overreaction!

Jacob was “absolutely humiliated,” Koscinski said to The Post. “It was unbelievable. I ordered the special graduation edition cake. I can’t believe I’m the first one to ever write “Summa Cum Laude” on a cake.

Getting a censored cake is really not “humilating”. Having your mother share the story with the entire world, however, is.

Shame on you Publix for turning an innocent Latin phrase into a total embarrassment for having to explain to my son and others (including my 70 year old mother) about this joke of a cake

That’s quite the sentence construction! But setting that aside, it seems to me that saying “Oh, they messed up the cake. Oh well” might also have been an option. Also, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and given the initial warning the system provided, it would have been smart to prepare the folks picking up the cake. They could have gotten it corrected in person, or even done it themselves. The message was written in icing, not stone.

Finally, in re-reading their article, I noticed that the Washington Post adeptly managed to avoid explaining why the word was considered profane. I expect most readers of this site already know. If not, have a look at Merriam-Webster, scrolling down to the “vulgar” definition.

Condolences to Mostik’s Family 

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2018

Last week, Russian president Vladimir Putin ceremonially opened a new bridge to Crimea, territory Russia annexed in 2014. However, according to the crew that constructed the bridge, Putin was in fact not the first across the bridge. That honor belongs to Mostik, a cat adopted by the bridge builders. It seems likely that this cat will be deceased soon enough. Watch for reports of Mostik’s “suicide”, sure to come in the near future.

Hockey May Be Las Vegas’s Downfall

Monday, May 21st, 2018

The Vegas Golden Knights are a first-year expansion team in the National Hockey League, based in the desert of Las Vegas. That sounds like a joke, but it’s entirely true. Much like the entire city of Phoenix, a Las Vegas ice hockey team is not something which should exist.1 Even their logo is an abomination!

“But Paul, it’s got a hidden V! Like the FedEx arrow!”
“Yes, but it also has clearly visible awfulness.”

And yet not only do the Vegas Golden Knights exist, they’re good. In their inaugural season, an expansion team usually struggles just to attract fans and win games. Unlike previous blowful expansion teams, the Golden Knights have been selling out their arena and winning games. They soundly won their division, and after three playoff series victories, they’re headed for the Stanley Cup finals. There are 4 teams in the 31-team league who’ve never made the finals, and they had a combined 83 seasons to do it before Vegas did.2

Vegas will face either the Washington Capitals or the Tampa Bay Lightning, and they’ll still need four more wins to claim Lord Stanley’s cup. If the Golden Knights do manage to win it all, they’ll have bested 13 current franchises which have never won a championship, across a combined 369 seasons.

Even if you don’t care about hockey, you may enjoy the Medieval Times-on-steroids spectacle that is the Golden Knights pre-game introduction. When I saw this on Wednesday, there were more than a few looks of incredulity, as well as plenty of “What the fucks?” uttered. This reminded me of nothing so much as the Vancouver Olympic Games opening ceremonies, which I also happened to watched in a bar with no audio. If you missed it live, be sure to give the video a watch.3 I’ll wager that you’ve never seen a man masquerading as a knight while wearing ice skates face off against a digitally projected fighter jet quite like this before.

Personally, I’d always bet on the guy with corporeal form.

Speaking of wagers, if the Golden Knights manage to claim the 2018 NHL championship, it will be to the detriment of Vegas’s local sports books. At the beginning of the season, the odds on the Knights winning it all were as low as 500-1, which could translate into millions of dollars in losses for casinos. Surely everyone can be pleased with that. I know who I’ll be rooting for in the finals. Go Knights!


  1. King of the Hill had its moments, and this particular video is archived here. ↩︎

  2. Those four teams are the Arizona Coyotes (formerly the Phoenix Coyotes and originally the first Winnipeg Jets), the current incarnation of the Winnipeg Jets (originally the Atlanta Thrashers), the Columbus Blue Jackets, and the Minnesota Wild. ↩︎

  3. This video is also archived, so future generations can see just what we did as the climate began to burn around us. ↩︎

The Man With the Golden Arm 

Friday, May 18th, 2018

Since 1955, Australian James Harrison has made almost 1,200 plasma donations. In so doing, he’s helped save countless lives, including the lives of literally millions of babies.

X IS the Roman Numeral for 10

Thursday, May 17th, 2018

Recently, I received a message from Credit Karma. Credit Karma is a useful service for watching over your credit and finances, but this email was really something.

  • Hey Paul,

    Guess what!

Oh boy, Credit Karma! What?!

  • We’ve expanded coverage for our free identity monitoring service.

Oh. I see.

  • Not only can we spot your info in another company’s public data breach, but we can also pinpoint specific passwords that were compromised.

I fear I know where you’re going with this.

  • Based on findings that go back as far as 2007, we’ve found your info in an additional 3 breaches and identified 1 password that should be changed.

This is decidedly less fun than your opening indicated.

  • Sign in to review your report!

Well, I was annoyed to learn about these latest data breaches, but that final exclamation point has really lightened the mood. Let’s do this!

Logging in…

Hey, look at that, everyone! I just earned my 10 Breach badge. Gosh, this is exciting. It’s really a lot of fun how they’ve gamified my possible identity theft.

But please, please; don’t be jealous. Given the seriousness with which most sites treat the security of our data, I’m sure you’ll be a part of double-digit breaches soon enough.

Very On Brand 

Wednesday, May 16th, 2018

Arson or no, if you name your restaurant “Flames”, you have to be prepared for people to be amused when it burns down.

Not the Last of Its Kind 

Tuesday, May 15th, 2018

The optics on a new hotel in the Maldives are pretty terrible.

In a tiny nation that will likely be underwater due to sea level rise within the next century, an American luxury hotel chain is constructing an underwater hotel room that the world’s wealthiest will be able to reserve for $50,000 a night. No one seems to have noticed the irony. But it’s hard to imagine a more perfect example of the way we think about climate change: a scary thing that will happen at some point in the future but not a problem worth mentioning in the present.

With sea levels rising, it’s unlikely this will be the last submerged hotel in the Maldives. If nothing else though, it ought to be the last one that’s intentionally built to be underwater.

Medical Twitter Is Heart-Wrenching 

Monday, May 14th, 2018

On May 5th, the hashtag #ShareAStoryInOneTweet took off on Twitter. Medical professionals used it to share hundreds of incredible stories worth reading.


Slate has more on the viral phenomenon.1


  1. They characterize the hashtag as “self-aggrandizing”, which seems rather incorrect to me. The examples I saw were generally touching, and definitely not boastful. ↩︎