He’ll Never Forget Those Directions 

Monday, October 18th, 2021

One week ago, Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair division of the Boston Marathon, earning himself a $25,000 prize. Hug also nearly set a new course record, which would’ve netted an additional $50,000 in prize money. Alas, he missed a turn near the finish line, forcing him to double back and costing him precious time. This is a shame. However, there are two things to note.

First, this is Hug’s fifth title in Boston, along with a third place finish in 2019. At a minimum, he had raced this course five times prior to last Monday.

Second, Hug’s error occurred when he initially failed to turn right onto Hereford Street. This is perhaps the single most famous portion of one of the world’s best-known marathon courses. “Right on Hereford, left on Boylston” is a very well-known phrase for all who compete in the Boston Marathon. In fact, a company by the name of “Right On, Left On” sells a wide assortment of merchandise with this exact phrase emblazoned on it:

A shirt reading “Right on Hereford Street, Left on Boyslton Stree”

Nevertheless, Hug missed his turn, and lost at least the seven seconds he needed to set a new record. Though he was upset, he made no excuses, blaming only himself. Here’s to his pursuit of a new record next year.

Plausible but Also Ridiculous 

Friday, October 15th, 2021

In the past few years, I’ve found myself skimming an assortment of advice columns published by Slate. I don’t really need any parenting advice, as I have no children, but it’s still an interesting way to see other perspectives. It’s also a great way to occasionally be horrified by other people and their relationship problems, financial issues, and sex lives. Some humans really seem to be downright deranged!

Now thanks to writer Bennett Madison, the next time I read something truly awful, I can always fall back on the hope that the letter might be a complete fabrication.

No Police Action Was Taken Against the Pair 

Thursday, October 14th, 2021

What do you picture when you read the headline “Rogue grandma breaks bones on slide after sneaking into water park at 2am”? Me, I see a blue-haired biddy who has possibly broken out of her nursing home. Apparently, that was very much not the case!

UK woman Claire Vickers, 46, and friend Barry Douglas, 44, were stuck in a water slide flume for two hours with fractured shins and shattered feet before they were rescued. The pair had snuck into Aldershot Lido water park early August.

The drunken duo splashed water down the slide from the top in a bid to generate lubrication and speed before stepping into the side. But their drunken ride soon became a nightmare when they slammed into a barrier towards the bottom.

Now, that is downright horrific. And I’m curious why a closed waterslide needs a barrier at the bottom. But more to the point, even if a woman happens to have a child who has a child, describing a 46-year-old as a “rogue grandma” is just misleading.


Update (October 17, 2021): Friend-of-the-site Lex F. pointed out that the “boozy gran” in question is suing the water park. That is really something. Also, these dopes really should not have been given a platfom (in this case, a morning talk show).

The Weary Affleck

Wednesday, October 13th, 2021

At some point in my travels across the internet, I was introduced to this fantastic paparazzi shot of Ben Affleck:

Ben Affleck, alone, looking weary

I believe it was presented as something along the lines of “Thanksgiving with your ex-wife and the kids”. Whatever the actual context, it’s an amazing image that beautifully conveys exhaustion.

In the midst of the COVID pandemic, I found myself identifying with Affleck’s evident weariness, and looked the photo up again. I soon found myself laughing at the sheer ridiculousness of the picture itself. He’s so over absolutely everything!

In an effort to more deeply connect with this, I weighed the idea of making this picture my phone’s lock screen:

Weary Ben Affleck as an iPhone wallpaper

As I do with all of my life decisions, I discussed this with my pal and podcast co-host Amy Jane:

A discussion approving the setting of the weary Affleck as an iPhone wallpaper

After chatting extensively about the picture, I did indeed set it as my lock screen, where it remains to this day. Every so often I notice it, and it gives me such a chuckle. The weight of the world is clearly on Ben Affleck’s shoulders. The man needs a goddamned cigarette and a brief moment of solitude. But can he get it? NO! No he cannot, because a paparazzo is lurking in the bushes. Of course a paparazzo is lurking in the bushes. Welcome to the 21st century.

Much more recently, I received a package from print-on-demand marketplace Redbubble. Having not ordered anything, I was quite surprised to unpackage it and find this:

The weary Affleck on a t-shirt

I guessed correctly that Amy had spotted this shirt and sent it my way. She really gives great gifts. As you can see, the shirt got a little wrinkled in transit. I was thus planning on washing it before wearing it anyway, but that plan became more urgent when I caught a whiff of the shirt. In a word, it stunk.

Packing slip

In case you can’t read that, it says:

The vinegar scent is part of the pre-wash print odor of our high quality, water-based ink and will wash away in the first rinse cycle.

I’m glad they warned me, because the stink was quite noticeable. Doesn’t it seem like once they identified the issue, though, they might actually rectify things before sending out the item?

Anyhow, to thank Amy, I decided to send her a photo of me wearing my new shirt. Naturally, I wanted to do my own weary Affleck pose. It was surprisingly difficult! In 2021, I find I can readily access my own ennui. However, with the camera snapping away, I also found myself repeatedly cracking up. The whole thing was simply too ridiculous! Eventually, however, I think I nailed it:

Not bad, right? In case you’re wondering, I’ve now managed to fit five weary Afflecks into this post, along with one Paul-doing-a-weary-Affleck. I hope you’ve enjoyed it even a tiny fraction as much as I have.

Plane-Eating Bridges 

Tuesday, October 12th, 2021

Back in July, I wrote about truck-eating bridges in America. In India, they’ve apparently got a plane-eating structure.

A plane wedged under a bridge or other structure.
Photo and video1 via Rishabh Kumar


Footnotes:

  1. The video is archived here. ↩︎

Try Not to Get COVID or Mono 

Monday, October 11th, 2021

Today is the 125th running of the Boston Marathon. Ordinarily a spring event, this year’s race was pushed to the fall due to COVID-19. In reference to the pandemic, the marathon offered an unusual tip to reduce the spread of COVID.

The Boston Marathon specifically recommended “refraining from kissing a stranger around the halfway mark of the Boston Marathon,” referencing a Wellesley College tradition that gained momentum in the 1970s.

“Kissing a stranger while halfway through a marathon” may not be the most embarrassing way of getting COVID, but it would definitely be up there.

The Big Rick 

Friday, October 8th, 2021

Last spring, a high school senior managed to Rickroll his entire school district, taking control of over 500 screens in multiple schools. It was a hell of a senior prank, but what’s really impressive is his thorough writeup of how it all worked. Thanks to friend-of-the-site Ben T. for tipping me off to this.

An Adorable, Violent Little Gang 

Thursday, October 7th, 2021

Alaska is home to more than just some amazingly fat bears. It also seems to be home to a group of vicious attack otters, who’ve chased and bitten local children and dogs. On a related note, I just learned that river otters can run up to 15 miles per hour. That just seems unnecessary.

Celebrating the Beauty of Fat Bears 

Wednesday, October 6th, 2021

Thanks to friend-of-the-site Alex S., I can bring you news of the fall’s most important playoffs: Fat Bear Week. Some of the largest brown bears on Earth make their home in Katmai National Park, Alaska, and all summer long, they gorge on salmon. Unlike human gurgitators, these bruins aren’t eating for sport. Instead, they need to fatten up to survive the winter.

As the weather grows colder, they are getting ready to hibernate in their dens where they will not eat or drink until spring. During the long Alaskan winter, they can lose up to a third of their body weight and survive solely on their fat reserves.

It’s an impressive spectacle to say the least, and thanks to the rangers at Katmai, it’s one folks can gamble on too. Alas, if you were hoping to get a March Madness style betting pool going this year, it’s too late. Sadly, Fat Bear Week 2021 has now concluded. With nearly 100,000 votes cast, Otis is this year’s winner:

This marks an astonishing fourth victory for Otis, with previous wins coming in 2017, 2016, and the inaugural 2014 contest. If my math is correct, he’s now won a full half of the Fat Bear championships. Let’s meet back here in about 50 weeks, to bet on whether he can claw down a fifth.

Treat Yourself to Mom’s Spaghetti 

Tuesday, October 5th, 2021

If you live in the Detroit area, do not miss your chance to blow a few bucks on grub from Eminem’s new restaurant, “Mom’s Spaghetti”. If the mere existence of a restaurant based around a rap lyric that includes the word “vomit” isn’t enough get you to go to Woodward Ave right now, perhaps the fantastic commercial they made will convince you.