Previous “Features” posts

More Ways to Keep Up With One Foot Tsunami

Saturday housekeeping!

A Saturday post? It must be time for another round of weekend housekeeping.

Find One Foot Tsunami on Microblogging Services

Recently, I added some new options for following One Foot Tsunami. You can now find a link to each new OFT post on the following services:

These accounts are automatically updated with an easy link every time I publish to OFT. Follow them for an easy way to keep up with One Foot Tsunami.

While email is greatly preferred, most of these services can be also used to get in touch. No, not Facebook.

Suggested RSS Readers

I’ll also use this post to talk RSS readers, because RSS is still alive and great. Back at the end of 2017, I had to retract my 2013-era recommendation for NetNewsWire, as the app had been abandoned by its then-owners. Thankfully, my pal Brent Simmons has since regained ownership of his creation, and revived its development. NetNewsWire is now better than ever, and I heartily endorse it. Get it free for your Mac and/or iOS devices at

I also still recommend NewsBlur as a great RSS reader and backend. I use it as a syncing service inside of NetNewsWire, to keep feeds in sync across multiple devices.

Thanks For Reading

As always, I appreciate you spending a bit of your day with this site. However you connect to One Foot Tsunami, I hope you enjoy it.

Email Marketers Live Very Different Lives

Or so I imagine, anyway.

I work to maintain a manageable email inbox. This includes frequently declining to provide my email address when asked, as well as unsubscribing from lists without hesitation. And yet? And yet, the nonsense never fully stops.

Of late, I’ve received a steady stream of emails informing me of modifications to various privacy policies. I imagine this is due to some law somewhere having been amended. Now the absurd nature of our society is laid bare each week, with multiple emails telling me that a document I’ve never read, and never will read, has changed.

Aside from providing a bleak laugh about our terrible future, however, privacy policy update emails aren’t really any fun. Better are those messages which at least provide some sort of amusement. For instance, in mid-December, I received the following:

An email with the subject line “Tis the season for earning AAdvantage miles.”

Ah, yes, the most wonderful time of year! With much mistletoeing, and hearts all a-glowing, when American Airlines miles are earned by dining out at random restaurants and paying with a specific credit card.

The next email sent by the same sender was more uplifting. In fact, it was perhaps the best news I’ve received in a long, long time. I’m sad for the rest of you, however, because 2023 is not your year. No, no, per the American Airlines AAdvantage Dining Program:

An email with the subject line “It’s the year of Paul.”

Sorry, non-Paul chumps and chumpettes.

Last up, I received an email from the home of the Whopper, Burger King. Though I haven’t eaten meat in more than two decades, I do find myself in a Burger King once every year or three, as they’ve long had a few vegetarian offerings. Still, I don’t recall ever signing up for…well, anything. I imagine I received this as the result of placing an online order at some point in the past:

This email informed me that a “Linked (Credit) Card” would now work for loyalty identification, to “earn Crowns not only for in-app and orders, but also for in-store purchases”. Now, that’s really news I can use, because a close look reveals the fact that I currently have a woeful 0 “Crowns”:

Yes, I believe even that “1+” dot should be empty for me. But my favorite part of this particular missive was the subject line, which badly misunderstand the meaning of its own very first word:

An email with the subject line “Important update to Terms and Conditions for Royal Perks

“Important” to whom, Burger King? “Important” to whom?

It Was Indeed Fun

I really cracked myself up with this one.

Recently, while RSVPing for a wedding, I was asked to share some marriage advice:

A form asks “What’s the best piece of marriage advice you’ve heard?” and the response reads “I only caught a snippet of a conversation, but I definitely heard ‘…go to bed angry…’

No, I’ve never been married. Why do you ask?

This Ladder’s Durability Is Immediately Called Into Question

Perhaps this is an epically shoddy ladder.

Recently, I was shopping online for a step ladder, as one does. I came across a product listing which featured an adult man playing at being a construction worker while point a drill at the sky is if intending to shoot off some celebratory gunfire:

A man cosplaying as a construction worker next to the ladder in question

This Delxo (Dell-Zoh? Dell-Ex-Oh?) step ladder has all the features you could want, from “anti-slip rubber feet” to a “comfy & safe handgrip”. But when you buy it on Amazon, you also get another great feature: the ability to subscribe and save!

A “subscribe & save” option for a freaking ladder.

Sure! You can never have too many ladders, right? “Every 2 months” is shown as the most common subscription option to receive a new ladder, and I’m more than a little skeptical of that claim. But in case that doesn’t seem frequent enough, you’ve got plenty of convenient options:

Delivery frequency options, as low as “Every two weeks” for a freaking ladder.

I am extremely doubtful that anyone is actually using a subscribtion to this ladder, whether twice a year, or a ludicrous 26 times a year. I’m sure some people have subscribed to get the easy 5% discount, and then immediately canceled their subscription, but that doesn’t count. On the incredible off chance that some One Foot Tsunami reader out there has an active subscription to a ladder, I would very much like to know why.

“Friend” Can Be the Singular of “Folks”

Life in 2022 can really be exhausting for everyone.

Earlier this week, I had a rather jarring conversation at the supermarket. I needed to flag an employee down to clear an alert on the damnable self-checkout machine. The man had just finished helping another customer, and he was walking away from me, so I said “Sir?”. When turned around to assist, he also muttered “Please don’t call me sir next time”. He seemed…annoyed? Offended? I did not understand, and I was a bit taken aback. It was not as if I had said “Hey, you!”, after all.

As he cleared the error on the machine, I asked what I should say next time. He curtly replied “Just wave your hand, I’ll see you”. This was obvioiusly not true, because unlike my mother, he did not have eyes in the back of his head. Now, I certainly could have just said “Excuse me?”, but that seems longer and also slightly less courteous than a respectful “Sir?”. Anyhow, he and I both moved on. Still, it stuck with me. I left the store, utterly flummoxed.

I found myself contemplating this very strange interaction for some time. I had been trying to be polite, and I felt the response had been a bit brusque, even bordering on rude. The man was a bit younger than I am, so it was perhaps a bit odd for me to call him “sir”, but there was no sarcasm or insincerity on my part. I was being gracious, and I was met with something else.

However, I found the whole thing turned completely upside down while discussing it with my friend Kim, who deserves tremendous credit. The scales fell from my eyes when she said four (mostly) simple words: “Maybe a non-binary person?”.

Well. Fuck.

The whole interaction now looked utterly different. This idea that this person might not identify as male (and thus a “sir”) had not even occurred to me. Now, I saw the possibility that my in-person subconscious assumption was incorrect, along with every instance of the words “he” and “man” written above. If that is indeed the case, then my simple effort to politely get someone’s attention instead turned me into an inadvertent misgendering ass.

We don’t really have a simple and generic word for directly addressing a specific person. There is no singular of “folks”. We rely on “sir” or “ma’am” or “miss” or “mister”, all of which are gendered. That’s a problem.

Fortunately, my favorite gal pal Amy had a wonderful solution. Her suggestion? Let’s just call everyone “hoss”, as in “Hey hoss, can you get this stupid machine to stop pitching a fit about the bag I’m just trying to load my scanned groceries in to?”. It’s pretty solid! If they mishear you, they’ll think you said “boss”, and who is that going to offend?1

However, while “hoss” is an absolutely hilarious way to refer to anyone, its roots are in the word “horse”. That seems unfortunate at best for a catch-all term. I also rejected Amy’s next idea, “dollface”, which was equally hilarious but even more problematic. Next, I spent some time considering “buddy”. I wish it could work, but it just sounds far too informal to my ear.

Thankfully, though, “buddy” led me to a superior option: “friend”. “Friend”! How great is that? It’s self-evidently friendly, it’s gender-neutral, and it’s even hopeful. A stranger is just a friend I haven’t met yet, and what faster way to turn them into a friend than to simply declare them one?

Sure, sure, it might come across as vaguely Amish, but then they’ll really take pity on me. I don’t even have electricity, so of course I can’t manage to check myself out at the supermarket! Or perhaps they’ll think I’m trying to recruit them to a cult. They may be wary, and think I might murder them, but at least they won’t think I’m a bigot.

So, I’ve settled on “friend” as the way I’m going to address people from now on.2 I’ll let you know how it goes, friends.


  1. Oh, somebody, I’m sure. ↩︎

  2. Also probably dogs. ↩︎

I Still Can’t Believe This Worked

Happy birthday, Mom!

My mother is quite the puzzle whiz, and we sometimes do the same puzzles. I introduced her to Wordle, and she pointed me toward another New York Times puzzle, “Spelling Bee”. Now, we play them both each day, and often discuss them. Recently, this led to some amazing fun.

A fair amount of background is in order, but I promise it will be worth it. Even if you’re not a New York Times subscriber, you can sample Spelling Bee at the link above, but I’ll lay it out quickly. The game presents a grid of seven letters, and your task is to make as many 4+ letter words as possible, always including that highlighted central letter:

A honeycomb containg the letters W, A, N, B, E, J, and then O highlighted in the middle
The puzzle for December 7, 2022

For instance, this past Wednesday, you might have entered BANJO, or OBOE, or any other musical instrument containing an “O” that you could spell using the provided letters. You could also spell words that aren’t instruments at all, that’s allowed too. You certainly can’t play “Stairway to Heaven” on NONE, but you could enter it here. How did we even get on musical instruments?! BABOON, that’s a word that would totally count. So would BONOBO, but the words don’t have to be primates either, OK?

Spelling Bee offers several goals in the course of play. Each puzzle contains one or more pangrams, words which use all 7 letters at least once. In the above puzzle, JAWBONE was a pangram (more specifically, it was a “perfect pangram”, because it didn’t use any letter more than once). In addition to pangrams, there are also various point totals to shoot for, culminating in “Genius” level. Finally, one can become a “Queen Bee” by getting all the words on the word list for the day. While I don’t often manage this, my mother attains it frequently.

Beyond the standard gameplay, my mother and I also particularly enjoy an unofficial side quest: finding words that are absent from the day’s word list. For instance, back on November 28, the game failed to accept the word EXIGENCE:

The word “EXIGENCE” being rejected for not being in the word list.
The word dates back to the 15th century!

The word list for each day doesn’t actually consist of all possible words. Instead, editor Sam Ezersky intentionally narrows things down by eliminating obscure words, thus making Queen Bee status a bit more achievable. While we know this, my mom and I still enjoy the chance to grouse to one another about how ridiculous any oversight is. “A kindergarten baby ought to know that word.” Any crossword solver worth their salt has seen this word:

The word “EELING” being rejected for not being in the word list.
eeling (noun): the activity or business of catching eels (Yes, really.)

That should bring you up to speed on Spelling Bee. Now, let’s look at this past Tuesday’s puzzle. That puzzle included the letters D, L, E, P, O, C, and the must-use letter U. After working on it for some time, I sent my mother the following image, along with a message noting my incredulity that this word wasn’t included in the day’s list:

The word “UPDOC” being rejected for not being in the word list.

Please enjoy our ensuing conversation:

Paul says: How does it not have “Updoc”?!; Mom says: What is Updoc?; Paul says Not much, what’s up with you?

I wasn’t sure this would actually work, and I was absolutely tickled pink when it did.1 My mother was greatly amused as well.

Here’s to another trip around the sun, Mom. Many happy returns!


  1. Hat tips for this joke are certainly due to Bugs Bunny, The Office, and most especially Scrubs. Zach Braff’s delivery of “It’s happening” slays me.2 ↩︎

  2. In the event that the linked Scrubs video has been, well, scrubbed from YouTube, I’ve archived it here. ↩︎

Meditations on an Inexpensive Laundry Basket

I’m down to a cost of 20¢ a year and falling.

Something people should know about me is that I’ve had one laundry basket for my entire adult life. If my obituary includes the line “He was the kind of guy who could use the same laundry basket for decades”, well, it will be an accurate reflection of who I am. Or was. Whatever. Just behold my basket, in all its graphite glory:

A simple (albeit holey) gray laundry basket

After I bring my clean laundry upstairs, I flip the basket upside to deposit my dry clothes on the bed for folding. Each and every time, the bottom of the basket catches my eye:

The bottom of a laundry basket

As the r/nostalgia sub-Reddit can tell you, “Yaffa Blocks” was a name brand for a particular kind of inexpensive storage solution. It seems the company also made laundry baskets. What I really notice, however, is the price tag:

A Linens N Things price tag, reading $3.99

$3.99 seems very inexpensive! My basket does date back to around the year 2001, but even an inflation-adjusted price would be just $6.71 today. Seems low!

Now sure, my humble basket is plenty scuffed, and it has one cracked corner:

A slightly cracked corner

But it’s a vessel for transporting toasty warm clothes approximately 50 feet. It does the job. It still works.

The price tag also lists the name of the store where this basket was purchased, and that’s a real throwback. “Linens ‘N Things” was a New Jersery-based big box retailer selling home goods, a competitor to “Bed Bath & Beyond”. You’ll notice I say “was”, because Linens ‘N Things went bankrupt in 2008. Less than a year later, all of their retail outlets were closed. Still, this price tag endures on the bottom of my basket.

In 2022, the Linens ‘N Things name lives on via an online-only store. Impressively, as the tag shows, the Linens ‘N Things website has been around for quite some time. Here’s a look at from around the time when this basket was purchased. It seems the company even had a privacy policy very early on:

Circa 2001, captured via the always-helpful Internet Archive Wayback Machine

In addition to being purchased from a New Jersey-based retailer, this basket was also made by a New Jersey-based manufacturer:

The Basicline logo

It appears “Basicline” was the company that owned the Yaffa trademark, and also I guess that they made at least 11 products. You may notice that I am once again using the past tense. Alas, like Linens ‘N Things before it, Basicline is no more. In 2010, they filed for their own Chapter 11. Further, per Wikipedia, Linens ‘N Things’ current parent company Sequential Brands sought bankruptcy protection last fall.

Given all these bankruptcies, I’m beginning to think that even back in 2001, this product was underpriced. $3.99 was simply too low to charge for a product which would go on to serve me well and faithfully for 20+ years and counting. In life, you have to know your value, and charge accordingly.

The Mickey Mantle Letter

* The All-American Boy

Today, let’s discuss a truly one-of-a-kind piece of sports memorabilia, which I call “The Mickey Mantle Letter”. Back in 1972, to prepare for a celebration of 50 years at Yankee Stadium, the Yankees asked many former players to share an outstanding experience:

A letter from the Yankees asking Mickey Mantle to share an outstanding experience from Yankee Stadium.

In response, retired superstar centerfielder Mickey Mantle sent back this incredibly obscene reply:

I got a blow job under the right field bleachers by the Yankee Bullpen…It was about the third or fourth inning. I had a pulled groin and couldn't fuck at the time. She was a very nice girl and asked me what to do with the cum after I came in her mouth. I said don't ask me, I'm no cock-sucker. It is signed “Mickey Mantle - The All-American Boy.”

I’ve actually heard this hilariously vulgar story before, but I had no idea there was a physical artifact written in Mantle’s own hand. Now, incredibly, it’s available for sale. The current bid, at time of publication, is $24,826. Despite the sum involved, I hope whoever wins this auction donates the letter to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, where it can be displayed publicly. That belongs in a museum!

As a result of this auction, additional details have come out. However, I’m undecided if I believe them. Give the following a read, and decide for yourself. From the auction listing:

Subsequent to the catalog publication, we were contacted by former New York Yankees executive Marty Appel, who has first-hand knowledge of this letter, which he kindly shared with us:

“I was the Yankees Assistant PR Director then, with Bob Fishel my boss. We wrote to many ex-Yankees for a 1973 50th anniversary Yearbook feature on ‘greatest memory.’ That is my handwriting on ‘Dear Mickey’ and ‘Bob Fishel.’ Mick’s response is indeed his, in his handwriting, but it was meant to shock the very straight-laced Bob Fishel on whom he was always playing practical jokes. The item is authentic, but the intent was bawdy humor, not depiction of a real event. I called Mick when I received it and said, ‘We’re going with the Barney Schultz home run in 1964’ and he laughed and said ‘Of course.’ I held the letter for decades (never showed Bob Fishel), finally gave it to Barry Halper, and from there it slipped off to others over time.” – Marty Appel.

Is Marty Appel covering for Mickey Mantle or was the Mick really pulling a hell of a dirty prank? Is this a valiant attempt at whitewashing a hero’s legacy, or just the truth about a good joke? Honestly, I’m not sure which I’d prefer. The “PERSONAL” Mantle scribbled on the return envelope does lend a bit of credence to the idea that this was a farce, rather than the act of a man who simply did not give a fuck.

Still, I find myself not entirely convinced. If this was indeed a bit of tomfoolery, then Appel’s claim that he never showed his boss the letter is an absolute crime. At least the rest of the world eventually got to see.

Previously in auctions for inappropriate Mickey Mantle Memorabilia: A Valuable Apology

Boston Uniforms, Gross and Fly

It would be nice to have more cool designs and fewer ads.

In the continued quest to put advertising in every conceivable place, Major League Baseball teams are now permitted to sell placement on their actual uniforms. Back in April, the Padres were the first team to announce a partnership, one which will feature hilariously large Motorola patches. Sadly, my hometown Red Sox have now joined this vulgar parade.

A Red Sox uniform with an unseemly ad patch on one sleeve.

In a word: Yuck. In an emoji: 🙊. Though MassMutual is a Massachusetts-based insurance company with 170+ years of history in the Bay State, they simply don’t belong on the team’s uniform. No one does. Alas, I have little doubt that this scourge is coming for the rest of the league as well.

In better uniform news, friend-of-the-site Casey L. and I were recently discussing mock-ups for alternate jersey for the Boston Celtics. He had found a fun jersey design created by a fan:

A Celtics jersey mockup, showing the colored lines of Boston’s subway system, as well as the system’s “T” logo.
[Image via @petemrogers]

This design plays off of Boston‘s public transit system (known as “The T”), including our four colored subway lines, two of which (Orange and Green) meet at North Station where the Celtics play. It’s a very nice idea. Unfortunately, it wasn’t an original one. I had actually seen and enjoyed this same image a day or two earlier, before learning that it was actually a fairly obvious knock-off of another artist’s better design:

A better Celtics jersey mockup, also showing the colored lines of Boston’s subway system, as well as the system’s “T” logo.
[Image via Reddit]

Happily, when “timbo_sport” came to defend their honor, it led me to check out more of their work. That brought me to my favorite design yet, their “Cutting Edge”:

A wonderful Celtics jersey mockup, showing the lines and towers of the Zakim Bridge.

This gorgeous design subtly references the cables and towers of the Zakim Bridge, which sits directly next to TD Garden, the Celtics’ home arena. Living just down the street, I’ve captured a number of decent pictures of this bridge. However, this (slightly cropped) 2013 shot from Eric Kilby does a superior job of showing both the bridge and the Garden:

[Photo credit: Eric Kilby]

Built as part of Boston’s infamous Big Dig, the Zakim was at one time the world’s widest cable-stayed bridge, and it remains an icon for the city. Paying homage to it on the Celtics uniform would be delightful. Maybe some day.

From an ad-marred shame, to a decent image that turned out to be a knock-off, to the original creator’s better execution, to the above masterpiece, it was quite a uniform roller coaster. Of course, I’ll be forced to see the livery I most disliked all season next year, while the looks I enjoyed most don’t actually exist. A man can dream, though. A man can dream.

Orange Businesses

“I’m really into fitness - fitness whole cup of froyo in my mouth.”

The Bowls Cheez-It aren’t the only confusing orange things to discuss this week. America has two franchises which I perpetually conflate: “Orange Leaf” and “Orangetheory”. The former is chain of fitness studios started in Florida, while the latter is self-serve frozen yogurt by way of Oklahoma.

Orange Leaf Fitness

Orangetheory Frozen Yogurt

Hmm, or is it the reverse?

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt

Orangetheory Fitness

Like the Gorton’s or Gordon’s fisherman, I can simply never be sure. It is my hope that this post will cause my confusion to spread to others. I also hope that I don’t get a cease and desist letter from Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt (or Fitness), nor one from Orangetheory Fitness (or Frozen Yogurt).