Previous “Links” posts

Here Comes the Ceremonial First Pitch 

Tuesday, May 17th, 2022

Last night, before the Red Sox defeated the Houston Astros, heir to the Benihana fortune (and also some sort of musician, apparently) Steve Aoki threw out a ceremonial first pitch. It was…not great. In fact, it was so airmailed that If not for the netting above the stands behind home plate, the ball would’ve landed quite deep in the crowd.

If only was Max Scherzer had been there when Steve Aoki needed him.

I Didn’t Know They Could Do That 

Friday, May 13th, 2022

Right up front, I’m going to say that I’m sorry. Please note that for your benefit, I did not include any photographs of the following story.

Nevertheless, if I have to know that Malcolm MacDonald’s penis fell off as a result of a blood infection, and then he had a new one grown on his arm, then so do you. That’s just the way it works.

Something Special 

Thursday, May 12th, 2022

Last fall, after privately battling leukemia for almost a decade, comedian Norm MacDonald passed away unexpectedly. Now, Netflix has revealed that before he passed, he shot a comedy special.

The result was a stand-up special shot in Macdonald’s living room. The actor filmed the entire hour in a single take. “He looks great and the material’s fantastic,” Hoekstra says.

“Norm Macdonald: Nothing Special” will be available to stream starting May 30. I imagine it wll be both strange and great.

Get Your Tickets Now 

Wednesday, May 11th, 2022

Dolly Parton seems pretty great. She’s done a whole lot of philanthropic work, from helping fund COVID vaccine research, to giving away tens of millions of books to children via her “Imagination Library”.

On the other hand, she’s now going to star in a TikTok music about Taco Bell’s Mexican pizza.

The musical, inspired by an exchange between Doja Cat and TikTok star Victor Kunda, will be released a week after Mexican pizza returns to Taco Bell’s menu.

Ah, yes, the inspiration for so many great works of art: Taco Bell and TikTok.

The Fake Marina At The Miami Grand Prix 

Tuesday, May 10th, 2022

If F1 had just waited a few years until Miami is more under water, this nonsense wouldn’t have been necessary.

Wordle Whoops 

Monday, May 9th, 2022

As a well-read and intelligent consumer of internet content, you probably know all about Wordle, the simple one-puzzle-per-day word puzzle that took the internet by storm at the end of last year. After rapidly gaining millions of fans, the game was swiftly purchased by the New York Times for at least a million bucks. Not bad! The Times hasn’t changed much about the game, and it remains an enjoyable way to spend a few minutes each day.1

When Josh Wardle created Wordle2, he pre-programmed the entire word list, so that no human input was needed to keep it going. It would appear that thus far, the New York Times has kept the basic system the same. Today, that caused a bit of a problem.

In a statement on its website, the Times warned that some users playing the game Monday “may see an outdated answer that seems closely connected to a major recent news event.”

While the statement didn’t specify which word it was referring to, the publisher confirmed to CNN that it was “fetus.”

The Times said the word was loaded into the game last year — before the publisher acquired it — adding: “When we discovered last week that this particular word would be featured today, we switched it for as many solvers as possible.”

Because of the way Wordle currently works, users who hadn’t updated in the past few days might wind up with the old word. Whoops! I suspect the Times will be updating the game’s backend sooner rather than later, in order to have more powerful editorial control.3


Footnotes:

  1. Though I’ve been playing since last year, I hadn’t written about the game previously. Indeed, prior to today, a search for “wordle” returned only this post, which contains a URL with the word “wordless” in it. I did post this tremendous Wordle-inspired Boston Marathon sign on Instagram, however. ↩︎

  2. How much more perfect could the name “Wordle” be? The answer is none. None more perfect. ↩︎

  3. Also, the game originally had an assortment of British spellings that the New York Times removed to Americanize it for their audience. It’s thus at least a little strange that FETUS was even a solution, given that the too-long British variant of the word is “foetus↩︎

We’ve All Had This Happen to Us 

Friday, May 6th, 2022

Don’t you just hate it when you buy a marble portrait bust for $34.99 at Goodwill and it turns out to be a 2,000-year-old relic that was probably looted from Germany as a trophy at the end of World War II and then you’re stuck with it because of an inability to find any original owner to whom you can return it so you have to hire an attorney who specializes in international art law to help handle the matter and because of slowdowns caused by a global pandemic it all takes years to resolve? That’s just the worst.

Bureaucrats For Lunch 

Thursday, May 5th, 2022

Recently, Florida decided to start banning books from use in their school curricula. Activist Chaz Stevens was bothered by this, so he’s using the system to advocate for the banning of a book loaded with offensive content: the Bible.

Stevens said he is particularly interested in drawing attention to the hypocrisy. “I don’t have the votes,” he said. “My job is merely to turn hypocrisy on itself and let the bureaucrats eat each other for lunch.”

It often feels like hypocrisy has made horrifying gains in recent years. For me, it’s an incredibly frustrating part of modern life.

A Humanoid Robot Operated In VR 

Wednesday, May 4th, 2022

Add “giant humanoid robot operator” to the list of jobs I’d like to have for at least a day. Over in Japan, a cool-ass bot is being controlled by a human using virtual reality goggles, and it’s pretty amazing to see.


[Photo credit: JR West]

The full video of this thing in action is pretty amazing.1


Footnotes:

  1. An archive of the video can be found here. ↩︎

We Do Indeed 

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2022

Plenty has been written about the biggest story in the United States today, the leaked draft of a Supreme Court decision which indicates the court will overturn Roe v. Wade. At the moment, I don’t have anything to add to the discussion.

If you’re worried, however, perhaps this cheery perspective will brighten your day:

Russian state TV hosts discussed the possibility of a war that expands outside of Ukraine on Tuesday, and Margarita Simonyan, journalist and head of RT, told viewers that a nuclear war would be OK because “we’re all going to die someday.”

Sure, yeah. Why don’t we just nuke the planet and get it over with? It’s the waiting I can’t stand.

You know what? I do have something to add. Vote. Vote in every election, because it all matters so, so much.