Previous “Features” posts

Grog Build Wall. Build Wall Tall! 

Thursday, December 13th, 2018

At this moment, the following is real content on the Department of Homeland Security’s website:

It’s a “news” release entitled “Walls Work”, and frankly, it’s just weird. Did DHS get hacked? Did they recently hire a caveman copy editor? Is this the work of a disgruntled employee? Anything seems possible, including the idea that this is the average level of education in America now.

Humans Are So Creative

Wednesday, December 12th, 2018

Yesterday, Google CEO Sundar Pichai testified before the US House of Representatives. When he wasn’t providing Tier 1 tech support for Steve King, or explaining why a photo of Donald Trump comes up when you search for “idiot”, he presented some interesting numbers and statistics.

I found this particular tidbit fascinating:

“Last year we served over 3 trillion searches, just as a fact, every single day, 15% of the searches Google sees, we have never seen them before. So this is working at scale. We don’t manually intervene on any search result,” Pichai said.

So much weird sex stuff is getting invented every day!

Previously in weird sex stuff: Loading Wood

Loading Wood

Tuesday, December 11th, 2018

Two landscapers in Connecticut having given me the biggest WTF of the day, thanks to this story. A female landscaper was working at a customer’s home alongside her co-worker, Robert Somley, when he took a break.

After about 20 minutes, the woman went looking for Somley and found him in the home, standing there naked watching pornography on a laptop, police said.

Uh, wow. Huh. That’s…something.

When the woman questioned what Somley was doing, police said, he responded that he needed to relieve himself before continuing work.

Oh, sure, that makes sense then. That’s totally normal, just standing watching pornography on a laptop, naked as the day he was born. You know, like you do.

Police said the woman left and went back to loading wood on the trailer. But, after a short while, decided that she, too, needed to take a break.

Yeah, why should Somley get to have all the fun? Surely this woman has just as much right to strip down in a customer’s home and watch pornography while on the clock!

When she went back into the home this time, she found Somley naked and dribbling maple syrup on his body, police said.

Wait a second. What was he going to do if this woman didn’t come back in? Was the maple syrup just for his own enjoyment?

Police said the woman confessed that this sight was a “turn on” for her and she demanded to be allowed to participate.

The word “demanded” here really cracks me up.

In addition to the syrup, police said the couple engaged in foreplay with blueberry jelly.

Folks, what did we just read? My word. But the real capper is that the only reason we’re hearing about this is that Somley illegally taped this sugary encounter, and refused to delete the video when his co-worker made her second demand.

Update (December 12th, 2018): Robert Somley is now in jail, after threatening the victim in this case. As well, he was apparently not on a job at a customer’s house, but moving stuff out of a home from which he’d just been evicted. Not that that really makes this much better.

Tree of Blood 

Friday, December 7th, 2018

Thanks to a tweet shared by friend-of-the-site Daniel Jalkut, I’ve got a Barvd one-off to ruin your appetite today. As The Atlantic reports, this is an intact blood clot in the exact shape of the right bronchial tree.


It’s so very red!

That’s disgusting. It’s also oddly beautiful.

Eee dont now

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

As I skimmed through the listing for a stamp roll dispenser on Amazon, I came upon this question and answer pair:

A question being unhelpfully answered with the text 'No, í dont now '.

This incredibly useless reply from “Magaly” has been cracking me up ever since. They managed to cram three typos into just four words, which is worse even than this previous train wreck. I have many questions.

FIVE QUESTIONS FOR UNHELPFUL AMAZON USER “MAGALY”

  • Why in the world did you bother replying?

  • Are you aware that it’s not mandatory for you to fill all empty text boxes on the web?

  • How did you manage to type an “í” instead of an “I”?

  • Isn’t it fun to pronounce this emphatically, as “Eee dont now!”?

  • Does a missing period count as a typo? If so, we’ve got four typos in four words.

  • Man, they really nailed that comma, though.

    Previously in stupid Amazon things: This Is Not Helpful, Amazon

This Is Not Helpful, Amazon

Wednesday, November 28th, 2018

Last week, I received the following email in my inbox:

An email from Amazon reading (in part): Hello, Were contacting you to let you know that our website inadvertently disclosed your email address due to a technical error.

The generic nature of this message struck me as bizarre, as did the supposed issue. My email address, and only my email address, was “inadvertently disclosed”, and this is “important information”? My initial thought was that it was a scam of some sort, though I couldn’t figure out what.

Despite the assurances that I did not need to change my password, I thought that perhaps the Amazon link lead to a bogus website. Nope! Apparently, Amazon really was alerting folks to the fact that their account email addresses may have been exposed, to someone, somewhere. This isn’t actionable information in any way. This wasn’t the world’s worst scam, it was the world’s least helpful security alert.

Game-Used

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Since the Red Sox won the 2018 World Series, I’ve received a fair number of emails from the team pitching all sorts of swag. This one really made me laugh.

First off, as the 2001 Seattle Mariners know, regular season wins don’t mean much once the playoffs start. Once the regular season ended, the Red Sox magic number became 119 wins. They hit that goal, and thus, the 108 regular season wins no longer mean too much.

That’s not the truly goofy part of this email, however. Instead, it’s this line:

Oo, game-used dirt! How enticing! And yet, how can I be sure it really is game-used dirt? I don’t want to be fooled by any fake dirt, or even Major League Baseball field dirt that wasn’t game-used. Can Major League Baseball allay my fears?

Fortunately, they can. I know, thanks to the last gift my father gave me before he died. As you can see below, the cover of the 2013 Red Sox World Series Champions book includes a small bit of “Authenticated World Series™ Dirt”, with a hologram sticker and everything. You probably thought there were no dirt authenticators, but you were wrong.

I don’t think my dad bought this expressly for the dirt. Still, now I’ll always be left to wonder.

Lousy Emoji Suggestions

Thursday, November 15th, 2018

Since 2016’s release iOS 10, the Messages app on the iPhone has been able to make suggestions to replace text with emoji.


Emoji suggestions for “Happy”, “Sad”, and “Dog”

These are all perfectly cromulent suggestions, and this is a vaguely useful feature, or at least a vaguely enjoyable one. However, I recently noticed that iOS was giving some very flawed suggestions. It started, as these things so often do, with the word “squirrel”.

When typing the word “squirrel”, iOS suggests this:

Upon spotting this, I initially thought “that’s not a squirrel, it’s a chipmunk”. And indeed, a bit of research showed me that the official Unicode 7.0 spec lists the character in question (U+1F43F) as “CHIPMUNK”. Despite that fact, iOS is treating it as interchangeable with the word “squirrel”, which seems flat-out wrong.

Now you can call me old-fashioned, but before leaning in to my outrage, I wanted to be sure of my facts. While the tremendously common Eastern gray squirrel is monochromatic, I had to consider the possibility that some squirrels may indeed have stripes. It turns out that’s the case, and there are indeed ground squirrels that have stripes. Here’s a comparison provided by NatureMapping:

At a glance, it seems obvious that the chipmunk emoji could also substitute for the golden-mantled ground squirrel. However! The aforelinked page informs us that while chipmunks and ground squirrels are both striped, ground squirrels “look similar to chipmunks, but do not have stripes on the head”. Let’s take a closer look at the 🐿️ emoji in question. Enhance:

Enhance…

Enhance!

Oo, that’s a bingo! We’ve got head stripes, which means that’s a chipmunk, not a squirrel. Come on, Apple. Until we get a proper squirrel emoji, you simply need to not suggest any replacement for that word.

When I first spotted this, I thought it was just an amusing one-off. However, it wasn’t long before I saw another problem. While typing the word “sluggish”, I got this suggestion:

OK, come on! Even at the tiniest size, it’s clear that that is a snail, with a massive shell. That’s the biggest difference between a slug and a snail! Here’s the very first paragraph from the Wikipedia entry for slug:

Slug, or land slug, is a common name for any apparently shell-less terrestrial gastropod mollusc. The word slug is also often used as part of the common name of any gastropod mollusc that has no shell, a very reduced shell, or only a small internal shell, particularly sea slugs and semislugs (this is in contrast to the common name snail, which applies to gastropods that have a coiled shell large enough that the animal can fully retract its soft parts into the shell).

That makes at least two cases where Apple’s emoji suggest feature is missing the mark. The emoji set is of course incomplete, and always will be. But as it gets larger and more specific, it becomes ever more ridiculous to suggest we substitute in entirely different animals. We all look like idiots here, Apple.

Still, at least we don’t look as ridiculous as this emoji snail. Snails are weird, man.

What Do You Want, a Medal or a Cookie?

Monday, November 12th, 2018

I’ve ripped on Potbelly’s before, but I still enjoy both good sandwiches and a good deal. As such, I remain on their mailing list, and so it was that I received this absurd mailing yesterday:

A free cookie for military veterans seems like an alright promotion, and that’s a nice big cookie too. But they really spoiled the whole thing with that subject line:

  • Vets, we can’t repay you, but how about a free cookie?

“We know you sacrificed years of your life for the good of the country, and that you may be suffering from wounds both visible and invisible. Hey, have a cookie, on us!”

It’s as if they realized they needed to acknowledge how utterly insufficient this gesture is, but only wound up making the whole thing worse. Maybe next time, just skip it entirely.

He Took Magic Johnson’s Share of the Team 

Monday, October 29th, 2018

Last night, the Boston Red Sox claimed the 2018 World Series crown with their 119th win of the season. They took down the Los Angeles Dodgers in 5 games, and 35-year-old journeyman Steve Pearce helped lead the way. Though he was raised in Florida, Pearce actually grew up a die-hard Red Sox fan. After playing for six other teams since breaking into the big leagues in 2007, Pearce finally wound up with Boston via a mid-season trade this year. Now, he’s lived out the dream of kids everywhere by winning a championship with his favorite team. His offensive line for the World Series (including a .333 average, 3 HRs, 1 2B, and 8 RBIs) was dominant enough to earn him MVP honors. Not too shabby.

For a time last night, however, he had even more.

He also owns the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team and is the new mayor of Los Angeles.

Pearce’s Wikipedia page was briefly updated/vandalized, to state that he owns the Los Angeles Dodgers. Really, it wasn’t wrong.